Claim Jumpers

Oh hey, Mitchell Knox is unpleasant, who could have seen that coming. And he’s also overweight and bald, just like every other “bad collector” character Batiuk has had in this strip. I still really don’t get how or why Batiuk thinks some collectors are good and some are bad, but he clearly does.

It’s funny that Jessica just says “we were told” without any more details, and Mitchell doesn’t care at all about who told these strangers what he owns and where to find him, which is what my concern would be if I were him.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

30 responses to “Claim Jumpers

  1. Epicus Doomus

    And of course Mitchell is a weird, hostile prick, because he COLLECTS things, you see. Then again, I can understand his hostility, as I’d probably be pretty annoyed if some boring blonde couple showed up at my front door unannounced and started bugging me about my stuff, too. I mean come on, it really is a peculiar thing to do.

    Also note how it’s already Wednesday and they aren’t even in the house yet. “Boy Lisa and Jessica arrive at Mitchell’s house. They ring the doorbell. He opens the door”…this is the sum total of the week thus far. He needed THREE DAYS for that. We’ll be well into next week before we get to the actual JD stuff.

    • sorialpromise

      Contrast 3 days to get to the point with Mitchell to how many years it took for real conflict to arrive in FW. We know that can’t stand, so by Friday everybody will be hugging each other, and quaffing John Darling beer in official mugs. Mr. Batiuk needs to get to the part of the story where Chester offers Mitch a job. I can barely sleep with this torrid storyline.

  2. William Thompson

    Okay, he bought or traded for every memento he has. But what if the souvenirs were obtained illegally? His sudden defensiveness makes me wonder if he engaged in daring acts of burglary, raiding TV stations, private homes and city dumps as he amassed his treasures.

    Or, hell, what if he’s crazy? “They’re mine, all mine! The spirits that possess them all say so! Except the chair, which makes farting noises when I sit on it, because that’s where John Darling re-enacted scenes from the Kama Sutra with the secretaries who rotated in and out of his office.”

    Bring on Skylark, who probably hid in the Batiukmobile’s trunk, and will melt Knox’s thymus gland once he crawls into view. “You have your grandfather John Darling’s eyes . . . and I want them for my collection!”

  3. You know, despite the fact that Mitchell is:

    *The Bad Kind of Collector
    *Non-comically Obese

    he kind of has a good point.

    As for the Blond Brigade, I’m still not sure why they’re at his doorstep. It seems like Messica just wants more memorabilia shit for HER collection. Are they going to try some O.J. Simpson antics here? I sure hope so!

  4. billytheskink

    I didn’t have “TB uses Mitchell Knox as a stand-in for North America Syndicate as he continues to gripe about how his contract didn’t give him ownership of John Darling 3 decades after he petulantly nerfed the already dying strip.” on my weekly SOSF bingo card, but surely one of you all did.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Good call! NO ONE lugs around a grudge like BatYam does. So here he has a chance to lash out at The Syndicate AND obsessive weirdo collectors who ruin his hobbies.

    • none

      Great insight.

      It’s simply amazing how he manages to make so many characters have aspects of being an Author Avatar if not being one outright – and the Author Avatar aspects are all very unflattering at best.

      Let’s recall how many posters in the puff WP piece wanted to see the strip in that newspaper. Well, posters, here’s what you are being deprived of by not coming here or finding it online. Truly a lamentable absence. I know my day isn’t complete without reading a comic strip where 70 year olds harbor grudges and mentalities from their teens or even further back.

      Who indeed are the readers who are looking at this week and wanting to know more about Mitchell Knox? Besides the author? Anyone?

  5. ComicTrek

    Case. In. Point! I knew this guy was going to be horrible just because he doesn’t collect comics. Sure, he has a somewhat good reason, but he’s not sympathetic either.

  6. Y. Knott

    I still really don’t get how or why Batiuk thinks some collectors are good and some are bad, but he clearly does.

    Good Collectors vs. Bad Collectors: A Helpful Guide

    Good collectors can be distinguished by their ability to collect in the right way. The rightness of the way they collect is easy to spot: it’s good. To further clarify: Good Collectors collect for the right reasons, and their rightness and goodness is clearly both good and right to any clearheaded (i.e., right and good) observer.

    What are some of the right reasons to collect, you ask? You may think it’s for the love of the thing being collected — but remember, it must be a pure and good love that the object being collected is rightfully worthy of. An example: collectors of Silver Age comics are obviously right and good IF they are collecting the comics for the right (and good) reasons, reasons which involve loving the object for its inherent rightness and goodness. This means that good collectors do not love Silver Age comics for their monetary value, even if the monetary value is part of their appeal. They can also sell their collection if they need to … if the reasons are good, like they need the money. This is all true because good collectors are right and good, and their goodness and rightness allows their actions to be viewed as both right and good. QED.

    Bad collectors, meanwhile, may also love the thing being collected, but they can be distinguished from good collectors by their fundamental wrongness. The wrongness of the way they collect is easy to spot: it’s bad.

    Are there easily visible signs of bad collecting? There is some debate as to whether baldness and obesity are predictors — or even causes — of bad collecting, or if these are simply actual side effects of bad collecting that only develop after a collector has engaged in acts of collecting that are both bad and wrong. But in order to gauge whether the collecting in question is bad, remember that loving the thing being collected is bad if it is loved wrongly, i.e., in a way that is neither right nor good. Remember, good collectors instinctively know the right and good way to approach collecting! This means that if you don’t know instinctively how to approach collecting, you are probably bad and should immediately check your scalp and waistline for visible signs of badness.

    Okay! We hope this guide to “Good Collectors vs. Bad Collectors” has been helpful! Now please feel free to check out the next guide in the Batiuk series: “Continuity vs. Writing Whatever The Hell Crosses My Mind: Why I Insist I Can Do Both Things At The Same Time, No Matter WHAT Evidence You Have To The Contrary”

    • The Duck of Death

      It’s all so damn clear now, Y. Knott. Good collectors collect in a good way; bad collectors collect in a bad way. And to think, I thought Batiuk was inflicting some arbitrary and baffling worldview on us by making good and bad collectors essentially the same in every discernable way. Thanks to you, I’ve seen the light!

      Next, can you explain how bad collectors turn good? (cf. Chester Hagglemore)?

      • Anonymous Sparrow

        DC’s Jack Knight (the seventh Starman) ran a collectibles shop and would probably agree with every word you wrote.

        Unless, of course, in discussing “Money’s Too Tight to Mention,” you mentioned Simply Red and not the Valentine Brothers.

      • Charles

        Next, can you explain how bad collectors turn good? (cf. Chester Hagglemore)?

        They start throwing money at Batiuk’s faves. It’s similar to how Mason’s character changed once he started being nice to Les.

        But they’ll never be fully “good”, there’s still a small slice of contempt cheese in the shit sandwich that is both of their characterizations. That’s why both of them are the biggest doofuses in the room when they’re around Batiuk’s favorites.

        Seriously, look at how Crazy treated Chester when Chester went to Gross John’s to find out how he could contact Mopey Pete to hire him for Atomik Komix.

  7. J.J. O'Malley

    I gotta say, Ignatius J. Reilly has really let himself go.

    • sorialpromise

      I gotta say, I had no idea who IJR was. I was also prepared to let the reference drift away in the flowing waters of my psyche. But it being 0520AM, I then checked several comics on CK. I stopped to read the comments on FW. There it was! Some gallant, suave, sophisticated, debonair, literary poster also mentions IJR. I was swept off my feet, that fate threw IJR in my face twice in 20 minutes. So I looked him up. There is even a statue! But what a story of the writer and a determined mother.
      Yet so sad. There is a connecting theme to this week’s mentions of celebrities. There is suicide among the creators of IJR and Captain Penny. Then the surgical death of James Joyce.
      “Tis better to have written and suffer? Or to never write at all, and live a blissful life?”

  8. ComicBookHarriet

    Fun callback to the Atomik Komix “Stardusters” first issue adventure with your post title, Spaceman!

    Mitchell Knox, as big as a building himself, does an admirable impersonation of The British Museum.

  9. Tom from Finland

    Aargh, Batiucalypse is getting worse!
    Last week his ego had grown so big that it bent the time and space and the strips were jumping from timeline to another.
    Now it’s slowing down the time and nothing happens in the strip.
    I predict that soon there is only one letter of dialogue per panel and finally there will be just same static image of Les in every panel every day forever.

  10. TomBat’s ideal reader: Uh-oh, I wonder how they’re going to talk their way out of this situation?

    Me: Uh-oh, I wonder if Ohio has a castle defense law?

  11. Maxine of Arc

    Somebody sure cut through that fence all right.

  12. The Duck of Death

    Imagine, if you will, that you were an obsessive collector of, say, Johnny Carson memorabilia. Further imagine, if you will, that one of his sons arrived at your door and announced himself with a smile.

    Would you start to rage hatefully at him before he even stated his business? Wouldn’t you greet him pleasantly, even fondly, as the child of your idol? If it were me, I’d assume that he was looking for memorabilia for a film or biography, or possibly to share something with his own children, and I’d be honored to help him.

    I’d also assume that if he were asserting legal rights to the memorabilia, he would have done that through a lawyer, not by showing up at my door and expecting to be let in so he could grab random stuff.

    In short: Once again, not only does this not make linear, logical sense, it doesn’t even make emotional sense, even through the lens of obsessive fandom.

    • Margaret

      What also doesn’t make sense: why do they show up unannounced at his front door? Why on earth wouldn’t Flash or Chester call Mitchell and explain that Jessica and Darrin want to meet him? Just going over there without any previous contact they don’t even know if he’ll be home.

      • sorialpromise

        Well my dear Margaret,
        If they had set up an appointment thru Flash or Chester, it would TOTALLY ruin the hilarious, hugely, comedic value of showing up unannounced. This is complete comedy gold by Tom Batiuk. If there were comedy Oscars for comic strips, today’s strip wins hands down. (Did I mention this is funny? FUN-N-N-NY!!!)

    • William Thompson

      Knox’s reaction would make real-world sense if, for a reason to be disclosed, he hates John Darling and collects memorabilia the way a psycho-killer collects trophies from victims. “John Darling, I possess and command your coffee mug, from which you once sipped the finest of brews and which I now desecrate by slurping Ovaltine!” It’s a deranged kind of sense, but that’s still more sense than usually appears in Funky Winkerbean. Batiuk could use Knox’s anger as the opening to a story about John Darling being a horrible person, allowing him to further destroy the character’s value to The Syndicate, and even draw a human reaction from Jessica.

      Which will never happen. This Friday or next year, depending on how Batiuk drags it out, Knox will surrender.

  13. Gerard Plourde

    The ongoing pity party in the reunion arc was too much for me so I had to take a break, thereby missing a chunk of CBH’s cogent commentary, including her observation that merging the timelines creates impossible situations for characters shared by FW and Crankshaft. Once again I get the feeling that TomBa is channeling Tommy Westphall.

    Turning to today’s installment, how is it that Mitchell Knox looks like a contemporary of Darren and Jessica? If memory serves, according to the Batom history, he was in 6th grade in the mid-1950’s, meaning he was born either at the end of World War 2 or shortly thereafter, making him over 70 years old.

    Are we seeing some kind of weird self-destructive urge being played out on TomBa’s part?