Wow! Cow!

After reading the first panel, I was kind of expecting the second panel to show that Mitchell had John Darling’s preserved corpse on display. Or that it turns out John wasn’t actually dead, and that Mitchell was keeping him trapped in his house and was forcing him to act out a new show every day. Honestly, given the way Batiuk’s writing is so bad and how he’s inexplicably spent so much time on JD related stories the past few years it wouldn’t shock me at all if he decided to bring the actual character back.
I’m not sure which of Mitchell’s two facial expressions is worse, but I really don’t like either one of them.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

39 responses to “Wow! Cow!

  1. William Thompson

    Uh . . . an animatronic John Darling? Like that rubbery Abraham Lincoln robot that Disneyland featured back in the Sixties? That’s the only thing I can imagine that isn’t gross, grotesque or disgusting, especially in such a creepy place.

  2. Y. Knott

    How did they miss seeing the set already? I mean, it’s RIGHT THERE IN THE OPEN, not behind a curtain or anything.

    Perhaps they were blinded by the glare off Mitchell’s forehead?

    • Epicus Doomus

      It makes no sense. It’s RIGHT THERE BEHIND HIM.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        This seems like a scale problem. You couldn’t have a set like that in a normal-sized house and have a way to go “WOO! REVEAL!” Especially not since there seems to be klieg lighting in place. But that’s where Batiuk wants the story to get, in defiance of any plot point or making any sense, so here we are.

        • Green Luthor

          “But that’s where Batiuk wants the story to get, in defiance of any plot point or making any sense”. Every Funky Winkerbean and Crankshaft story, summed up.

  3. Epicus Doomus

    Looks like someone (ahem) was watching that “Merv Griffin Show” episode of “Seinfeld” twelve months ago, as this is a blatant ripoff of that premise. Maybe Mitchell will hold them captive and force them to recreate “John Darling” for his sick amusement.

    • RudimentaryLathe?

      I would forgive this strip a lot if someone – *anyone* – would adopt an evil Newman-esque sidekick.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Don’t be silly. They’ll stand around talking about the furniture for a week, then on Saturday he’ll give it to them for free. Or in trade for comic books.

  4. Gerard Plourde

    And of course the set is uncannily close to the set that Phil Donahue had when his show aired from Cleveland.

    Unfortunately, I can’t find a public domain one.

  5. RudimentaryLathe?

    And with P2, Darrin and Jessica claim the title of “Stupidest People in Comics, Ever.”
    Even Luann DeGroot and Jeffy Keane are going “Seriously?” at this reaction.

  6. What the hell is going on with Mitchell’s eyebrows in panel 2?

    Dillhole and Lessica’s dramatic reaction seems unearned. How did they not expect that setup?

    • sorialpromise

      I will give them the benefit of the doubt. She certainly has seen pictures of the set. There are rumors that she did a documentary. I assume that covered her Dad’s career. As for her husband, I wouldn’t be surprised if he has never seen the set. She may have never shown him her alleged documentary. I compare it to this: I have seen pictures of the Oval Office. I have been to the mock Oval Office in the Truman Presidential Library. But I might get more emotional seeing and being at the real one in Washington DC.

    • That’s Mitchell’s O-face.

  7. Epicus Doomus

    And how did they not notice it immediately? It was apparently right behind Mitchell the entire time. He just gestures over his shoulder with his thumb, and presto, it’s the entire JD show set, right there in his house, the very same house they’re currently in. Once again, he painstakingly ensures that literally every single tiny detail of the story makes no sense.

  8. billytheskink

    Wow?! Holy Cow?!

    It’s like these two have never seen the furniture clearance section of an OfficeMax before.

  9. sorialpromise

    I would like to cover something that many of you have said. Mr. Batiuk mentions John Darling, Bartleby, Captain Penny, and others. Why is there no description? My only connection to Darling is when I read about Les solving his murder. How long ago was that? Batiuk throws these people out with the barest of info. It’s too bad that he has no way to get more information to his readers. Gosh! If he only had a personal blog that with a single line on the comic directing the reader to the correct day on his blog, we could actually appreciate and understand the strip.

    • none

      The fundamental problem is that any back story that any of us can whip up or even have generated from an AI text generator is as valid as anything Batiuk writes, because anything Batiuk writes is subject to change or disposal at any given time. His inability to adhere to his own written history delegitimizes it in entirety.

      In fact, let’s see what happens when I use the first bracketed sentence as a seed for a text generator:

      “[John Darling was a famous television talk show host in the 1980s.] He died in 2012 after a long battle with lymphoma disease. (Photo: AP) Story Highlights A second study to look at cancer risk in men who took aspirin as men turned 50 appeared to find that women aged 50 to 64 were less likely to develop prostate cancer.

      Overall, 14% of women of reproductive age are now at risk by cancer. Even if most aspirin users take it to reduce prostate cancer risk, that’s only a tiny fraction of cancer-causing drugs.

      According to Dr. David K. Witherspoon of Northwestern University and colleagues who conducted the study, this is true in a number of ways. Some cancer patients take an aspirin to reduce prostate cancer risk; others simply stop taking the medication. The researchers say those who take aspirin don’t experience prostate cancers much more often in older men, because a high level of aspirin is metabolized by lymphoma cells. These cancer patients respond well to placebo and aspirin.

      For some cancer cells to synthesize proteins, they must be destroyed by the immune system, and that’s what they do on the outside. But the immune system, and some cancer cells as well, don’t synthesize proteins. It takes a few days to stop the secretion of antibodies from the body’s own cells to keep prostate cancer cells from being destroyed by these cell transplants.

      Some cancer cells are naturally killed by the natural process of infection”…

      Directly to cancer? That’s a good a call, Well done.

      But, anyway, the larger point is that all past material of John Darling shown him to be a vain narcissistic idiot. There’s no sense that he had the kind of charisma or charm to be someone like an Oprah, Donahue, Geraldo, Morton Downey Jr., and so on. Every portrayal of his show has been him making the blandest or dumbest possible statements and questions in response to guests who usually had dumb pun names. That’s it. That’s all we know. Can the author provide anything beyond that? He’s had fifty fucking years running content in hundreds of papers across the god damned country to try.

  10. William Thompson

    If these characters were children, I’d say that Dullard and Messica were in the fourth grade (and likely to be held back for the next school year). They’ve snuck off to see the neighborhood bad boy, Knox, who is in the sixth grade and talks like he’s always in trouble. He’s just shown them the dead tarantula he has in a jar and it’s like super-gross! Next he’s going to teach them how to write dirty words on the sidewalk. Poopy head! Doo-doo breath! Won’t that upset the grown-ups!

    And if I called it, I’m going back into therapy.

  11. J.J. O'Malley

    You know, if we hadn’t already seen Comic Book Guy…er, Mitchell Knox resting his voluminous arse on the JD set in last Sunday’s strip, this actually could have been an interesting reveal to the readers. Leave it to Batiuk to ruin a potentially big moment by prematurely shooting off his “storytelling” wad.

  12. erdmann

    “And then there’s this!” Knox said, jerking his thumb over his shoulder to an empty place in the living room. On cue, the lights went out.
    Darrin grabbed Jessica’s hand, but before either could react further, twin spotlights began to dance about the room. They coalesced in the center of the floor, just as the entire house shook.
    As the opening strains of “Thus Sprach Zarathustra” played, the illuminated floor split open. The two shag-carpeted halves slid back and a bright light and gouts of steam belched from the opening. Then, slowly, it emerged, rising phoenix-like from the cellar, pushed upward by rumbling, unseen machinery.
    “Oh, Jesus,” Jess gasped, immediately recognizing the “John Darling Show” set. This was no reproduction; she had visited the studio enough as a child to know this was the real deal, somehow impossibly here today.
    The set in place, the music, steam and rumbling ceased. A bank of stage lights flared to life.
    “Jess,” Darrin croaked from between parched lips, “we need to get the hell out of here!”
    “Oh, no. You can’t leave now.”
    The couple spun. As if by magic, Knox had slipped behind them.
    “You can’t leave when the show is about to begin,” he said, mockingly.
    Darrin stepped forward. Then, glancing down, stopped.
    “Is that —” Darrin cut himself off; he already knew the answer. Briefly he had believed the set was Mitchell Knox’s prized possession, but now he knew otherwise. He knew that in the old man’s fleshy hand was the true centerpiece of his collection — the gun that killed John Darling.
    “Take your seats, folks,” Knox hissed. “It’s show time!”

    • sorialpromise

      Keep writing, erdmann. I want to know more!

    • ComicBookHarriet

      We’ve got some SERIOUS talent hiding in the comments section…

      And yes. I would read a weird Stephen King horror story set in the Funky Verse. If you can guarantee that Les Moore dies more than once in the book, due to magic or whatever, I will even fund it!

      • sorialpromise

        It was October 31 in Montoni’s Pizza . Les Moore was just finishing his second slice of pizza. His best friend and owner of the pizza shop came over and sat at his table.
        Les said, “Slow night. Everybody trick or treating?”
        “Must be,” Funky replied. He wiped his sweaty brow with his chef apron.
        Being observant, Les replied, “You look nervous.”
        Funky said, “I am. It’s almost time for the arrival of Pizza Box Man. I hate that guy!”
        Les shook his head and smirked. “He’s just in your imagination.” More made obvious smirking.
        Funky shook his head several times. “No. No. He’s real. He’s coming after me!”
        Just then the Pizza Box Monster burst through the door. Slapped pizza sauce on Funky’s head. Stole 2 pizzas and charged upstairs to the waiting helicopter.
        Funky screamed in horror and anger. But Les smirked and plotted.
        The next night, on All Saints Day, Funky stood at the register. In marched the Pizza Man straight at Funky. Funky reached in the cash register. Pulled out a pistol and fired it at the monster. The boxed fiend fell down dead.
        “Let’s find out who is this creep!!” shouted Funky. He crouched over the corpse pulling off boxes. IT WAS LES MOORE!
        Stunned. Funky took out his phone and called 911. “Police. Come to Montoni’s. I just killed my best friend.”
        The police asked, “Are you sure?”
        Funky said, “One second.” He shot Les a second time. “I’m sure.”

        For CBH for her next birthday. 🎊🎂🎈

        • ComicBookHarriet

          Thank you! It had everything I could ask for! Murder, comedy, Murder, suspense, Les Moore being Murdered!

    • J.J. O'Malley

      At what point does Mitchell take them up the lab to see what’s on the slab? Jessica and Durwin are already shivering with antici…pation.

  13. Hitorque

    1. Honestly… How is Jess not creeped the hell out by all of this? Especially when it’s her father? **ESPECIALLY** when her father got murdered by some similar batshit insane stalker when she was only five? Normally situations like this turn awkward and uncomfortably ugly really fast and Jess silently tells herself this was a really really stupid idea and she makes up some excuse to get the fuck out of that house ASAP never to return again and she begins to have serious doubts about Chester’s character for even associating with such a fuckwit…

    1a. …But of course Darren and Jess are genuinely excited and amazed and oohing and ahhing because this level of geek obsession is a badge of honor in the Funkyverse…

    1b. Can’t wait to see Darren and Jess’ reaction tomorrow when Mitch shows off the display case with the preserved bullet and the gun and an original signed copy of the autopsy report…

    1c. I’m done with this shit… Jessica please just shovel this fat loser a few bucks, grab that coffee mug on the table, say ‘mission accomplished’ and get the hell out…

    Now, over to Krankenschaaften:

    1. It’s funny because Masone is popping a boner over the price not knowing he’s looking at a major fixer-upper. Oh, and way to keep your cards close to your vest, Masone…

    1a. Since she’s got a bona fide sucker on the hook, this is the part where Lois Flagstone should say: “Oh I’m sorry did you read that as $800,000? My hand must have been blocking the first digit… The actual price is $2.8 million!”

    1b. It’s funny because Masone looked at one row of seats, an old popcorn machine and a 16 mm projector and he’s already itching to sign without even trying to negotiate… I mean yeah, forget about giving the whole place a thorough once-over or calling in some technicians for a proper inspection… For all we fucking know the Valentine hasn’t been inspected in decades and isn’t up to code, or it doesn’t have clean running water… Or working air conditioning… Or 70-year-old wiring that isn’t a four-alarm fire waiting to happen…

    1c. It’s funny because like other Hollywood A-listers Masone could easily set up a “vintage” home theater in that huge-ass Malibu mansion… But if he did that he wouldn’t be able to stroke his ego and feed his “savior” complex….

    1d. It’s funny because Masone thinks he’s sitting on an untapped goldmine yet it hasn’t occurred to him to inquire exactly why the previous owners went broke and filed for bankruptcy…

    1e. I don’t know if she’s joking or not, but Cindye is a goddamned lie if she thinks a vapid pinhead like Masone is negotiating his own contracts instead of his agent… If Masone Freaking Jarre was seriously negotiating his own salary, the movie studios would be paying his ass entirely in fuckin’ Regal Cinemas gift cards…

    1f. It’s a damn shame that a city like Los Angeles doesn’t have any accountants, attorneys or financial managers that Masone could hire… They’d be useful in talking him out of stupid shit like buying a run down theater in some Ohio one-stop-light town…

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Lois Flagston should not talk prices in front of random strangers. They called her for a private showing and she should have asked him to leave. The fact that his idiot descendant is the second-most recent owner is of zero relevance. And Cindy shouldn’t be talking about her family finances with this random. Why do “Mr. How To Behave In Hollywood” and Cindy both still act like they just fell off a pumpkin truck?

      • Hitorque

        Exactly… Lois Flagstone doesn’t seem to have any training into how this whole “realtor” thing works…

        I was trying to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she’s still in shock at learning some celebrity multimillionaire dimwit called her out of the blue to ask about an unsellable derelict commercial property and is literally trying to force a *blank check* in her hands and sign the papers today after a five-minute tour…

        Lois must think she’s on some hidden camera reality TV prank show!

  14. KMD

    This is going to end like Waugh’s “A Handful of Dust.” Instead of being forced to read Dickens aloud to his captor, Darrin will be forced to interview Mitchell about his eccentric collecting habits forever. Jessica will probably be in for a better fate. Mitchell might be a creep but since he lives in the Funkyverse he is an asexual blob who buds to reproduce. He’ll probably just have her dress up as liberty Belle or another comic book character from before his time. TB is so enthralled by nostalgia that he is now nostalgic for his old work.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      Ah, let us have *Little Dorrit* again…

      Old-Time Radio again! Both “Suspense” in 1947 and “Escape” in 1952 adapted “The Man Who Liked Dickens” (it was published originally as a short story under that title and incorporated into *A Handful of Dust* as “Du cote chez Todd”); Waugh provided a second ending in which Tony Last returned to England) for broadcast.

      Methinks Batiuk would prefer the “Suspense” version.

  15. batgirl

    I have such trouble getting my head around TB’s nostalgia. He loves mediocre media from his childhood (and before) but not because it’s associated with a happy childhood. The childhood depicted in the strips is so solitary and lonely and confined – a trip alone to the drugstore to buy comics, which are read alone in one’s room/attic. Even watching the Phantom Empire in a theatre doesn’t seem to involve other kids.
    The closest he’s come to the comics experience I remember (trading, arguing, tracing and drawing our own) was the retcon of Flash and Phil as childhood friends. Otherwise, the only joy Knox or Batton or Jeff had in their young years was passively watching a screen or reading a comic. They have no memories of biking around town, swimming at the pool, building a treehouse, watching clouds, hopscotch or checkers, not even playing at superheroes with towels for capes.
    I know that for abused children (and Jeff at least was canonically abused) books and other media can be a lifeline, a mental escape, an alternative to the hellish present. But TB’s avatars seem to mistake the image for the thing itself. (Magritte’s pipe) Jeff loved the Phantom Empire as an escape from his unbalanced mother, providing a world where every catastrophe and setback was resolved in the next instalment, painlessly (is this why TB insists on immediately defusing conflict in the strip?). But as adults, free from their childhood constraints, autonomous, all they can do is return endlessly to the same contexts, only able to enjoy the exact same media in the exact same setting. Essentially, they are recreating their unhappy, lonely childhoods at a time when they could choose to do anything else.
    And this is something TB celebrates.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      And the thing is, by Batiuk’s own admission in his match to flame digressions he had a decent childhood, with caring parents and fun siblings.

      So it isn’t even that HE was lonely or unhappy. It’s just his maudlin artistic sensibilities drawing him to that trope in his stories. Like a rich kid playing at street urchin because they saw a stage show of Oliver!

    • Hitorque

      Yeah, I’ve noticed that same thing over the years… He’s starting to make me resent my own nostalgia for my beloved 1980s…