I Bet Jessica Will Be In A Display Case Soon

Link to today’s strip

I’m curious to know how much trouble Mitchell had to go through to get this memorabilia. If nobody remembers them anymore, then there really couldn’t have been much of a demand for the stuff. I did some quick Googling, and I think all of these are actual real Cleveland TV personalities. I’m very interested in local history and tend to be pretty nostalgic, but I do kind of wonder how old Mitchell is supposed to be, and if he’d really remember this from his own childhood. I do again wonder why Batiuk had to portray him as a schlubby paranoid jerk, since he’s apparently appreciating old timey stuff, which is absolutely something Batiuk thinks is good.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

57 responses to “I Bet Jessica Will Be In A Display Case Soon

  1. Epicus Doomus

    “Mac Arony”? Come on, Tom, that’s piss-poor even by your lowly standards. On the plus side, they’re in the house. On the minus side, though, I have no earthly idea who he thought this might appeal to. Maybe some of these Cleveland TV personalities are real, maybe they aren’t. I don’t care, and neither should you.

    So this is kind of a weird unforeseen twist on the “collector” trope, as Mitchell is apparently the keeper of the local Cleveland TV flame, which might be “good” or might be “bad”. But given how BatYam feels about pointless nostalgia in general, perhaps this Mitchell weirdo might be a collector with a big ol’ heart o’ gold after all. Sigh.

    • sorialpromise

      Isn’t it a Batiuk trope to be strongly against something on Monday or Tuesday and then do a 180° turn immediately? Like what he did with Flash and Phil. I think we could have the largest amount of comments on SOSF by giving examples. It could be every 2 weeks, and certainly monthly.
      So far the only odd thing about Mitchell is he let those 2 in the house.

      • Epicus Doomus

        He was all hostile yesterday, but apparently he completely caved off-screen, decided to let them in after all, the began showing them around. Which is extremely strange behavior. As always, great attention has been put into making sure not a single aspect of the story makes sense, not even accidentally.

        • The Duck of Death

          I have never encountered a writer in any medium who is as conflict-averse as Puff Batty. Not even in books for little children. Even Dr Seuss has far more conflict, resolved far more realistically.

          The odd part is that Batty does introduce conflict, but every single time he just waves it away or skips over it. (Batiuk’s Gun, I call it — the opposite of Chekhov’s Gun.) The essence of storytelling is getting your characters into some kind of trouble or turmoil, and having them struggle to get out of it.

          Even Batty’s beloved Silver Age comics followed this rule. The struggles and resolutions may have been totally unrealistic, but at least they happened.

          Imagine this: The Giant Bee flies into Central City, threatening to sting the mayor to death and create a hurricane with its giant bee wings! The Flash dashes to the rescue! He will need all his cunning and skill to vanquish this 500-foot-long evil bee with a stinger larger than a telephone pole! Just before the Flash arrives, the Giant Bee flies away. The end.

          Wonder why Puff Batty couldn’t get hired at DC or Marvel?

    • Gerard Plourde

      I do think that Chef Mac Arony comes from the John Darling strip appearing as a semi-regular guest like Pete Moss AKA Plantman.

      I would be interested to know if the other characters alluded to are real Cleveland kids’ show hosts because I suspect it will represent another breakdown in Batom/Funkyverse continuity.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        I looked it up. Everyone else except Mac Arony is a real Cleveland TV personality.

        • be ware of eve hill

          Jungle Larry, along with his wife, Safari Jane, also had an attraction at the Cedar Point Amusement Park named ‘Safari Island’.

    • ian'sdrunkenbeard

      If I created an Italian chef character he would have to be named Al Dente. A Mexican chef would be named Jimmy Changa.

    • ian'sdrunkenbeard

      Even as a little kid, I was adept at working the controls of our RCA. After the set warmed up I would control the horizontal. I would control the vertical. I would sharpen the focus to crystal clarity. I would watch Captain Penny, Jungle Larry, “the ineffable” Barnaby, and several years later, in living color, Superhost.
      It’s too bad Ayers didn’t get to draw the ineffable Barnaby’s natty double-breasted jacket and inexplicably beat-to-shit straw boater.

      • be ware of eve hill

        Poor Ayers probably did lovingly recreate Barnaby’s jacket and straw hat… only to watch on in horror as Batiuk callously pulled out his giant gum eraser of doom and obliterated most of it to make room for one of his word zeppelins. 😞

        Shame, Tom Batiuk. SHAME!

  2. billytheskink

    Where’s the Norton Furniture tiger? And this guy calls himself a collector of Cleveland television memorabilia…

    • Gerard Plourde

      I think the Norton Furniture guy is the creepiest local talent I’ve seen. I clicked on the follow-up ad because I had to find out if that raspy voice was a regular feature. (It appears so.)

      • billytheskink

        He’s well known enough to have earned a spot in the painfully earnest “We Are The World” parody that a bunch of Cleveland media personalities and government officials (including then-Governor of Ohio Ted Strickland, IN-STUDIO!) recorded as part of the effort to keep Lebron James in town before he took his talents to South Beach.

        Since I live near A Cleveland, but not THE Cleveland, this is how I learned who he was.

  3. RudimentaryLathe?

    Those display cases remind me of two different movies: “The Cell” and “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent”. In the former, a serial killer (played by Vincent D’Onofrio) tries to kill a girl in a giant fishtank, and when the heroine tries to delve into his psyche she encounters a lot of disturbing images in display cases. In the latter, Pedro Pascal’s character has a butt-ton of Nic Cage memorabilia in his bunker (much of which is displayed like today’s strip), which understandably Cage freaks out at a little.
    Thing is, in “The Cell” the character was clearly established as psychotic/violent and the heroine is trying to prevent him from killing again. In “Massive Talent” the obsessive fan’s motivations aren’t clear at first; the character is weird but also likeable and charismatic.
    Mitchell is neither of these things. I’m guessing, like many others here, he’s going to be a jerk until he isn’t, and then he’ll join the Atomik Comik “bullpen”.

  4. We have yet to see the Piece de Resistance*, the display case for John The Murdered Darling. I’m guessing it’s real, and it’s spectacular.

    And this still reminds me mostly of the Simpson’s Halloween sketch, “The Collector”. So I anticipate Mitchell trying to shrink-wrap Jessica and position her next to her murdered father. That would be cool.

    *Sorry, I don’t know how to do diacriticals on this site.

    • be ware of eve hill

      *Sorry, I don’t know how to do diacriticals on this site.

      The character map app is your friend.

      Especially if you want to bypass the incredibly harsh nanny bot filters utilized in the comment sections of The Comics Kingdom and GoComics.

  5. As a child, I had a wonderful beagle named Barney. I wish I had named him The Ineffable Barney.

  6. So how did we get from Mitchell pointing threateningly at Jess and Darin to him calmly giving them a tour of the place?

  7. The Dreamer

    I know who this guy is! He loves costumed personalities so much that he makes himself one one a year He is the Montoni’s Pizza Monster! Not realizing Darrin used to work at Montinis he is going to show them the Pizza Monster costume in a glass case Mystery solved!

  8. Hitorque

    1. Yeah, we can pretty much predict with high accuracy that Mitch is going to die an awkward, unloved virgin…

    1a. Everything is all fun and games until Mitch wants to show off his Cleveland TV host slash fiction his Cleveland TV host DeviantArt account, and his one-man Cleveland TV host subreddit and his TikTok where he’s prancing in front of the mirror wearing a synthetic John Darling skin suit like he’s Anthony Hopkins….

    2. What exactly does this Knox character do for a living? He seems to have a comfortable living in a nice house in a decent neighborhood? And don’t give me some bullshit about how he’s adept at playing the “Long Dead Cleveland TV personalities” collectibles market on eBay like it’s the fucking Dow Jones…

    3. It’s funny because not one person has tried to even mention the possibility that this is a very very bad idea…

  9. J.J. O'Malley

    As a dues-paying member of The Elves, Leprechauns, Gnomes, and Little Men’s Chowder and Marching Society, I can tell you that Barnaby was an elfin (at first) character who hosted Cleveland kids’ shows for an astounding 33 years, from 1957 to 1990. Jungle Larry was a recurring guest on Captain Penny’s 1955-71 program (what, no cap and gown from Jim Breslin’s Professor Yul Flunk?. I’ve no idea who Super Host was.

    Anyone out there interested in the rich history of local TV kids hosts should look for a book titled “Hi There, Boys and Girls.”

    Frankly, I’m more than a little disappointed that Mr. Knox has no memorabilia from Cleveland horror show icon Ghoulardi, played by future ABC announcer Ernie Anderson.

    Oh, and today’s strip is pointless and unfunny.

  10. ComicBookHarriet

    Reminds me of THIS.

    • be ware of eve hill

      A collection that enormous and there’s only 13 pairs of shoes?!

      Okay, I guess it makes sense. Ms. Parton did not want to part with too many of her shoes.

      Women and their shoes, right?

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        And she probably didn’t want to give any of her shoes to a man who keeps life-size dolls of her in his house.

        • be ware of eve hill

          One of the guys in the video remarked how the usually talkative Dolly was speechless as she walked through the collection. I wonder if she was saying a little prayer to herself.

          Dolly Parton: (thinking to herself) Please Lord, let me make it through this safely.

          It must have felt like strolling through Henry Jarrod’s House of Wax.

      • sorialpromise

        Mrs. sp loves her shoes. We went to IKEA and bought a wall mounted shoe closet. That puppy was full in a week and a half.

  11. The Duck of Death

    This strip could be exhibit A in everything that’s gone so terribly wrong with FW in the last few years.

    1. Starting, then abruptly dropping, conflict.

    2. Old-man fixation on childhood memories, which would be okay, except that it is:

    3. Worshipful namechecking of obscure entities 98% of your audience has never heard of, but:

    4. Completely devoid of any explanation of why they were so wonderful or why anyone — FW characters or FW readers — should give a damn about them.

    No disrespect intended to those of you above with fond memories of Cleveland TV. I have lots of fond memories of my childhood too, but I wouldn’t indulge them by just listing them and expecting random readers to bounce with glee.

    (TB as Marcel Proust: “Aren’t madeleines great? Boy, they bring back memories.” ~The End~)

    • ian'sdrunkenbeard

      You’re right, DoD. A person would have to have watched kiddie tv in the Cleveland area more than 50 years ago to know who these characters were. For anyone else outside of that granfaloon these characters have as much meaning as Plopp the clown or Grunt the elf. On the brighter side, I’m sure there are tens of people reading FW in the Plain Dealer who get it.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      And here’s Tom Batiuk’s *Ulysses*:

      Part One: Telemachia

      Stately, plump Buck Mulligan decided to go on a diet.

      Part Two: Odyssey

      There would be no breakfast today for Mr Leopold Bloom or his wife Marion, better known as Molly.

      Part Three: Nostos

      Nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so so I won’t think of anything just make my mind a blank and go to sleep yes yessiree yes you betcha Yes.

  12. sorialpromise

    I do not think Mr. Batiuk will mention the late night duo of Big Chuck and Lil’ John. I worked with a wonderful nurse at the mental hospital. She and her folks were from Cleveland. Her Dad was a refugee from Belarus in WW2. At age 12, he had to sit in first grade classes to learn English. But he grew up. Had a family. Well my nurse, his oldest daughter and he would stay up on Saturday nights and watch a goofy Cleveland horror show called “Big Chuck and Lil’ John.” Mostly skits, bad jokes, likable hosts. The Dad and his little girl watched it year after year. The Dad passed away several years ago, and I sent my nurse pictures and links to Big Chuck.
    Thanks to Puff Batty and to you all, I relived some great memories and thought of some sweet people.

    • be ware of eve hill

      I believe I mentioned here before that I grew up in a suburb of Akron, Ohio. First grade to first child, as Mr. bwoeh likes to say.

      I was a bit too young to see Ghoulardi, but my brothers and I spent quite a few Friday nights watching The Hoolihan and Big Chuck Show.

      Bob Wells a.k.a. Hoolihan was Big Chuck’s co-host before Lil’ John Rinaldi. Bob was also a weekend weatherman at WJW channel 8. He left Cleveland for greener pastures in Florida sometime in the late 1970s. Lil’ John slid into the co-host role.

      These guys were always very charitable with their time. If somebody was having a grand opening, these guys were almost sure to make an appearance.

      I remember a couple of fundraiser events in my town featuring “The Hoolihan and Big Chuck All-Stars.” One was a basketball game at the high school gym between the All-Stars and the city police department. Hoolihan and Big Chuck recruited a ringer to play for their team. Gus Johnson an NBA all-star from Akron. I remember Gus trying to make a shot by bouncing the ball off a sidewall. The ball hit the rim. Like a Harlem Globetrotters game, there were a lot of tricks and gags.

      There was also a charity flag football game featuring The Hoolihan and Big Chuck All-Stars versus the city fire department at the high school stadium. The star of the game was Lil’ John. He’s remarkably fast and agile for a little person. It was next to impossible for an opposing player to grab one of his flags.

      They featured some pretty scary movies too. I can remember an 8-year-old me scampering out of the family room and into bed after watching a scene from the movie Die, Monster, Die! featuring Boris Karloff. I remember because my brothers will never let me forget.


      • be ware of eve hill

        GO CHIEFS!!!!

      • sorialpromise

        You are right. Boris did not play around in his movies. Same for Bela Lugosi selling it as a vampire. My favorite was Lon Chaney Jr. as the Wolfman. He was so tragic. I ached as I watched him transform. To show you how good they were, Abbot and Costello meet Frankenstein, let the characters play it for real, and A&C did their thing. But one line always stood out:
        The Wolfman says, “I hate it. At night when the moon comes out, I turn into a wolf.”
        Costello answered, “You and a million other guys!”
        Of course Karloff did not play the monster. Glen Strange from GUNSMOKE was the big guy.
        The Chiefs better listen to you. Third quarter. They are behind. San Diego just scored…17-7. Bummer!

  13. Lord, have mercy…why, oh why did Mitchell allow them into his house? The next logical action from yesterday’s outburst would have been for him to slam the door in their faces. Instead, he allows potential litigants to see the collection he claims they have no legal right to. I’m not a lawyer and don’t play one on TV, but this sounds legally stupid to me.

    • hitorque

      “potential litigants”? More like “potential buyers”…

      Any stalker (who’s also a comics geekboy as well) would already know that John Darling’s daughter is married to some hotshot Hollywood comics artist pulling in six figures in salary…

  14. “Have you forgotten about Mr. Mac?”
    “I will never forget Leif Ancker. He was a good soldier. He honored us. But the war goes on.
    “Also, he wouldn’t return my calls.”

  15. hitorque


    1. It’s funny because Eddie is actively trying to fuck up a once-in-a-lifetime deal with a millionaire celebrity sucker which could finally get his granddaughter and his grandson-in-law out from under that black hole of massive financial burden called the Valentine Theatre… Maybe he doesn’t want them to move out after all??

    1a. It’s funny because Lois Flagston hasn’t told Eddie to kindly fuck off while she’s trying to do her job…

    1b. So wait a minute — If the dumbassed sex-crazed couple were able to buy back the theater (turning a profit in the process), why is it still closed? Why didn’t they reopen it?

    2. God damn it, yes Eddie — We all know your granddaughter and his grandson-in-law birthed their aryan hellspawn right there in that seat… We also know which seats are most ‘aromatic’ with dried love juices due to how often they liked to fuck just out of earshot of the usual 10-15 patrons who showed up to shout their best MST3K one-liners at “This Island Earth” or whatever the hell movie was being shown while getting high off the finest quality Mexican ditchweed/lawn trimmings available in Northeast Ohio… We know this because they’ve been regularly uploading their sexcapades to Redtube…

    3. I’m sorry, but Masone Jarre is pissing me right the fuck off. As I noted a few days ago, there is no way in hell a veteran actor who finally had a breakthrough hit and is a certified A-Lister for the first time in his career would be running away to manage some craptacular small-town movie theater 2300 miles away from home… Not when there are plenty of old-timey theaters in Los Angeles just itching for some wealthy buyer with more money than brains…

    3a. Naturally there isn’t a single word of opposition from Cindye and she’s supposed to be a voice of reason when dear hubby has the mindset of an eight-year-old who just saw a hot must-have toy on the shelf at Wal-Mart… Yeah, great marriage y’all have there…

    3b. So is Cindye still working for BuddyBlog.com, or what? Is she really going to move back to the place she busted her ass to leave behind?? Or is she too intimidated by the sheer number of beautiful women and middle-age wannabe jet-setters in Hollywood and wants to be a big fish in a small pond again?

    3c. It’s funny because you’d think it would be all over town by now that “HOLLYWOOD STAR TO BUY LOCAL FAILED MOVIE THEATER”… What happened to that one-armed weirdo who writes for the local fishwrap??

    3d. I guess this time next year, Academy Award Winner for Best Actress Marianne Winterse will also leave Hollywood behind to become a hairdresser in Westview?? Maybe Batiuk can marry her off to Bernie Bernbaum or the Chullo Kid? Because you KNOW he wants to…

    3e. God help us, Masone is going to run “Lisa’s Movie” on a 24/7 loop and force it down everyone’s throat just as a ‘fuck you’ to the distributors, isn’t he? If nobody (especially St. Lisa’s direct descendants) in Westview/Centreville gave enough of a rat’s ass to see the movie the first time around, why would they watch it now?

    3f. God help us, Masone is going to start up his own faux-grassroots one-man Dogme 95 movie studio in NE Ohio, aka, the “Atomikkk Komixxx” of the film industry, isn’t he? And their corporate mission will be to bring as many obscure unknown Silver Age superheroes to the big screen as possible, right? And the “all-star staff” will consist of Cliffe+Verae, Cindye (Or Cindye’s long-lost baby sister), Summer+Keisha, Chullo Kid, and a wildcard Krankenschaaften character or a new yet-to-be-created character…

    • The Duck of Death

      100% spot on, except you forgot to mention that unbeloved centenarian Lillian will certainly be involved somehow.

      Isn’t it interesting that a guy Masonne’s age is apparently fascinated by smalltown mid-century culture? In fact, in the Crankerbeaniverse, all humans from conception to age 100+ are fascinated with smalltown mid-century culture.

      A guy Masonne’s age would be expected to have cut his teeth on… well, I’m not sure what his age is, but let’s say 30-40. So say the earliest era of pop culture he would have grown up with might have included the Star Wars movies, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, perhaps John Hughes movies, the A-Team, Knight Rider, etc. That’s at the earliest.

      But no, like all characters in the Winkershaftiverse, he’s fascinated with the pop culture prevalent in northeastern Ohio between 1950-1960.

      Jeez, Batty sucks as a writer.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      Mr. Rawlings must have Skipped out.

    • Green Luthor

      Also, when the Valentine was sold, it was turned into a strip club (albeit one that, according to Ed, “didn’t take off enough”). And yet EVERYTHING inside is exactly the same as it was when it was a movie theater. The strip club keeping the theater concession stand was dubious enough, but they ALSO kept the theater seats? WHY????? Or did the owners helpfully reno the place back into the theater when the strip club failed, because that’s something people would totally do in reality?

      Seriously, the sheer amount of non-effort Batiuk puts into writing these things is astounding.

      (Also gotta love how Lois didn’t consider that the place might need a good cleansing until she found out someone gave birth in there. And not, y’know, because it used to be a strip club. Obviously all THOSE stains are perfectly acceptable to a real estate agent.)

      • Hitorque

        Someone informed me a few days back that the new owners of the Valentine somehow failed miserably before their business could even get started and ownership either reverted back to the young lovers or they re-purchased it at a huge discount… Either scenario would be highly problematic since I distinctly remember the young lovers filing for bankruptcy…

        • Green Luthor

          Huh. I don’t recall that ever being mentioned at all, though I can’t say I memorize Batiuk’s comics. (That way lies madness.) Although Ed did say “it was a strip club for a little while”, which kind of implies it actually operated as a club, not that it failed before it could become a club. On the other hand, trusting that anything Ed says is accurate is never a good idea, and “Ed heard it was going to be a strip club and thus assumed it had once been a strip club” is actually a believable explanation. (On the other other hand, because it’s a plausible explanation, that almost guarantees that it’s not what Batiuk would go with, because his stories have so little resemblance to reality.)

  16. Y. Knott

    I have a genuine interest and passion for early TV history. It’s something I’ve studied, and have taught at the post-secondary level.

    But Tom Batiuk has an extraordinary ability to take something that has enormous potential to be interesting, and make it dull, pointlessly self-contradictory, and completely lacking in entertainment value. Look, I’m practically THE target market for this arc … and it registers zero with me.

    Which leads me to this conclusion … if Tom Batiuk had been around when Max Bialystock was looking for a property guaranteed to have no audience? A presentation that would appeal no-one — that couldn’t even be enjoyed on a so-bad-it’s-good level? Tom Batiuk would have been able to put “Broadway playwright” on his resume … and Max Bialystock would be in Rio today, living off the proceeds of a most successful con job.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      Ideally with Leo Bloom right beside him!

      (Max, I’m no longer hysterical! I’m no longer wet!)

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Batiuk has no ability to see beyond his own fandom. He thinks anyone who likes comic books and 1950s local Cleveland TV likes it the same way he does. And anyone who doesn’t is wrong.

  17. Banana Jr. 6000

    I bet Jessica will be in a display case soon

    The image in the banner sure supports that theory.

    • Gerard Plourde

      Is it too much to hope that Mitchell has dug up John Darling and has mounted his embalmed corpse in a display case?

      (Sorry if this is over the top. I’ll blame a pleasant Spanish red wine that I’m finishing after dinner.)