Keeper of the Lame

So today we have a single panel Sunday strip that really doesn’t add anything new that wasn’t in yesterday’s second panel. I guess all the John Darling megafans are swooning over seeing the set again, or something (it still boggles my mind that Batiuk could think there’s really an audience for this). I am very curious as how to how Mitchell obtained his memorabilia. He’s repeatedly said that he’s basically the only one interested in any of these things, but he’s still kind of acting like what he has are rare, highly desirable artifacts. I have a feeling he probably found this in the dumpster behind Channel One. And two chairs, a nightstand/filing cabinet and a backdrop doesn’t strike me as super impressive.
Thanks for having me these two weeks! The always great Epicus Doomus takes over tomorrow.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

32 responses to “Keeper of the Lame

  1. Epicus Doomus

    This Akers guy is doing a TERRIBLE job re: drawing Mitchell. Yesterday he was all contemptuous and sneery, now today he’s all kindly and benevolent. And on top of that, today’s strip makes it clear that they were standing RIGHT NEXT TO the JD stage the ENTIRE TIME, yet didn’t notice it until now. Which is, of course, not possible, as they would have been LOOKING DIRECTLY AT IT the entire time. Mitchell didn’t draw any big curtains or turn on any spotlights, he merely pointed at the stage, which was there the entire time. The entire time, I say!

    Keep an eye on that mug, folks, as there’s no doubt it’ll be playing a key, key role in the story. It’s just too specific.

    • sorialpromise

      Keeping an eye on that mug, I noticed that it has no name on it. It does not say “John Darling.” It just has a generic yellow star ⭐️ on it. How collectible can that be? But Mr. Batiuk will treat it as if it’s the holy grail. (Poor Epicus Doomus. He certainly has at least one more week of John Darling mania.) [smart money is on 2 more weeks.]

  2. billytheskink

    Mitchell bragging about reassembling the set like that’s more impressive than if he’d knocked out one of the walls of his house so that the set could be moved inside as originally assembled.

  3. erdmann

    From left to right:
    1) Good lord! Is Durwood aroused by this?
    2) Calling it “the old ‘Darling’ show TV set” makes me think we should be looking at an old 21-inch Magnavox the was used as a prop on the series.
    3) “I’m the keeper of the flame… and there can be only ONE!” Beware, Jessica. He’s about to go totally “Highlander” on you.

  4. It’s got kind of a Zach Galifianakis “Between Two Ferns” vibe. I’m hoping Mitchell and Dullard re-enact an episode, ending with Mitchell smashing a fern planter over Dullard’s skull. That would be fun.

    • J.J. O'Malley

      Funny. I was just wondering if those were the original–and plastic– JD stage ferns, or if they’re living replacements that Mitchell lovingly waters thrice weekly, puts in the sun for a few hours each day, and carefully picks aphids off of (which he then eats).

      I just hope that Jessica is better at negotiating with Mr. Knox over some of his “priceless” Darlingbilia than Masonne Jarre is at negotiating movie theatre purchases

  5. Y. Knott

    (it still boggles my mind that Batiuk could think there’s really an audience for this)…

    There is only one audience member Tom Batiuk writes this for, and only one audience member he cares about. And it’s an audience member who is always completely happy with Tom Batiuk obsessively cataloguing and re-cataloguing his very limited interests; an audience member who is thoroughly pleased to have Tom Batiuk scrawl down whatever idle thought passes through Tom Batiuk’s increasingly foggy mind; and an audience member who gets great pleasure out of seeing all the strip’s characters turn into avatars for Tom Batiuk.

    And, as is becoming increasingly obvious, it’s also an audience member who almost certainly has been forgetting the specifics — and maybe even many of the generalities — of what he has written even only a year ago. Which means Tom Batiuk is able to look on his strips with a sense of awe and wonder and delight, as they again and again reference his pet obsessions in a way he finds comforting. Tom Batiuk is pleasing his chosen audience completely.

    • Gerrd Plourde

      You raise a good point. Given that Jessica did a documentary about John Darling Her Father Who Was Murdered a few years ago, it’s surprising that she didn’t attempt to or even feel the need to find memorabilia then (although we know that the reason for that is that it didn’t occur to TomBa at the time).

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Given that Jessica did a documentary about John Darling Her Father Who Was Murdered a few years ago, it’s surprising Chester thinks he’s the “keeper of the flame of John Darling’s legacy” because has all this junk. And she doesn’t get offended at this or even correct him.

        • Green Luthor

          If I recall correctly, she made the documentary, but it was only for her own closure. It was never released to the public or anything, so there’s no reason anyone that she didn’t talk to for the documentary would even know it ever existed.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Yes. It may not always seem that way to a casual observer, but regular FW readers know that FW is the most unbelievably self-indulgent creation in all of popular culture entertainment. It’s Batiuksturbation, in its purest form. The strip exists to entertain himself, and no one else.

  6. So the element of this storyline that Tom Batiuk thought most needed explanation in the wide space and featured position of a Sunday page was “how he could fit things through his door”.

  7. William Thompson

    Mitchell Knox has the entire set in his home? Does that include the audience area? I really want to see that so I can get some answer. Was it a live audience? How big was it? Was there an “Applaud Or Else” sign that flashed above the set? And the most important question is, did the audience sleep in theater seats or were cots supplied?

  8. Hitorque

    1. I’m going to keep asking this until I get an answer: Exactly what in fuck’s name does this antisocial manchild loser geek do for a living? Because he doesn’t strike me as someone who would be good at anything besides the “Long-Dead Cleveland TV Hosts” category on ‘Jeopardy!’, but he is living quite comfortably in a nice home which is easily large enough to fit all this shit…

    1a. It’s funny because Darren is supposed to be working right now, but it’s not like Chester made him the highest paid comics artist in the industry because he’s insanely talented or some shit… I’ve realized that Chester has “collected” his rare Silver Age all-star staff like he collects everything else and they are literally nothing but breathing, talking, full-size “action figures” that he plays with all day in a life-sized office diorama…

    1b. So why didn’t they bring along their brat? Doesn’t he have a right to see his grandfather’s shrine?? Why aren’t Darren and Jess whipping out their phones and taking a bunch of selfies and recording some video of this momentous discovery?

    1c. It’s funny because John Darling really sucked at his job, his show was bland and unwatchable and the only people who had it on were stay-at-home housewives who needed some background noise while they vacuumed the den and Darling was the last thing on before the soap operas at noon… And the only people in the entire Greater Cleveland Region who even remember he EVER existed are his widow, his daughter, and Mitch Knox the sociopathic stalker… So exactly what “flame” is Mitch keeping alive here? It’s not quite JFK’s gravesite, is it?

    2. And in Krankenschaaften, I’m asking myself how the hell a fuckin’ idiot like Masone Jarre made millions in Hollywood when he has the maturity and impulse control of a six year old on Christmas morning?

    2a. This is the part where Cindye pumps the brakes and tells her hubby to take a cold shower and pop a few downers while they sleep on this offer for a few days… But then I remind myself that this marriage was never based on love or caring for one another — Cindye married Masone because she needed a final, permanent validation that she still had enough sex appeal in her late-50s to reel in a hawt hunky wealthy younger guy that would make her the envy of all women everywhere… Masone married Cindye because he’s a shallow one-note character who doesn’t know any better… And you will note that the longer Masone has been in the strip, the more he has morphed into a persona that is 100% indistinguishable from the average Westview male; reinforcing the same old mantras:

    Comics are good!

    Weirdo ancient sci-fi movies that weren’t even bad enough to get featured on MST3K are good!

    High School marching bands are good, but high school sports are bad because they take funding and attention away from marching bands…

    Geekdom taken to absurdist obsessive extremes is Good!

    The smalltown Midwest is good, and life here is always preferable to the elitist hellholes of L.A. – Chicago – NYC!!

    Nostalgia is good and those blessed with an abundance of money or resources has a God-given obligation to preserve and promote nostalgia wherever possible, no matter how obscure or esoteric…

    No matter what it is, doing things the “old school” hipster way will always be better than modern technology/methods! (The only thing missing in the Funkyverse are a doctor and dentist treating patients with original instruments and medicines and techniques from 1937!! Wouldn’t that be really popular??)

    Montoni’s is the only place to eat, drink, order takeout or delivery, and when not at work or home, this is where everyone will go…

    Westview women only exist for two purposes and two purposes only: 1. To always encourage or enable the geekdoms and immature obsessions of the men in their lives, and 2. Be the official “proof” that the men in their lives are hetero and have working peeners…

    • ComicBookHarriet

      “2. And in Krankenschaaften, I’m asking myself how the hell a fuckin’ idiot like Masone Jarre made millions in Hollywood when he has the maturity and impulse control of a six year old on Christmas morning?”

      Charlie Sheen seems to have figured out a way.

    • be ware of eve hill

      1. I’m going to keep asking this until I get an answer: Exactly what in f**k’s name does this antisocial manchild loser geek do for a living?

      Mitchell was chaperoned by his mother when he visited the Batom Comics offices as an adolescent. Do you suppose she might still be alive and running Mitchell’s life?

      Mrs. Knox: Mitchell Knox, what have I told you about inviting strangers into my house?
      Mitchell Knox: (dejectedly) Sorry, mother.
      Mrs. Knox: Say goodbye to your little friends. It’s time for you to give me a sponge bath.
      Mitchell Knox: (mouths to Darrin and Jessica) Kill me!

      • ComicBookHarriet

        Alternatively, Mitchell’s comic stories are so famous they’re still being reprinted, and he lives off of a combination of royalties, investment, and inheritance.

        Alternatively Alternatively, he has a patreon for his weird internet artistic empire that involves an intersection of fanfiction, reenactment, review, and memorabilia unboxing videos.

        “Whatttsup Fort Knox! On today’s podcast we’re finally at the apex of season 3 of John Darling:Reborn. Will Barnaby finally confess his love for John? Will Mac Arony overcome his addiction to MSG?

        Later I’ll be explaining the history and manufacture of the different shag carpets used in the JD set. Learn about that magical time in the 80’s when asbestos was finally phased out of upholstery production!

        Finally! UPS tracking shows that my pair of genuine 1987 Superhost red boxers is set to arrive! So stay for the unboxing as we slowly expand our collection, and measure how the waist bands on the costume continued to increase through the late 80’s!

        Remember to like, comment, share, and subscribe! Follow me on twitter and a big shoutout to all my friends of Patreon! Especially my high tier patron BattyBoy72!

        Another big shoutout to today’s sponsor! Raid Shadow Legends!”

        • Gerard Plourde


          As usual, you’ve thought up creative solutions. Either explanation would offer lots of material for TomBa. I’m really partial to the YouTube/Patreon alternative. The permutations it offers are nearly endless.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Plus some amount of comic book selling. This is the solution to all financial problems in the Funkyverse.

        • be ware of eve hill

          Aw, don’t pick on Marty Sullivan. He was a very nice man.

          The alleged antisocial misanthrope wth a social media internet empire. 😂

          Mitchell ends every show with a camera close up.

          Mitchell: (angrily glaring at camera) I bought or traded for everything I have! Legally, you don’t have a claim to any of it!

  9. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    It happened again.

  10. robertodobbs

    What all did he have to take apart and reassemble? The chairs? The plants? The curtains? The cabinet thing? I guess the backdrop. The rest he just carried in the front door.

  11. batgirl

    Apologies if this has been addressed already, but … Why does Mitchell care about the John Darling show? Yes, he’s another of TB’s lonely manchildren fixated on the media of their youth, but the other icons are from children’s shows that he plausibly (if you ignore the major timeline issues) could have watched with enjoyment. Was a mediocre talkshow that interviewed bland celebrities and random “experts” really his greatest solace when he was an overworked child-artist?
    Barnaby tells Little Mitchell he’s the nicest person Barnaby knows, Little Mitchell says the next bit along with Barnaby, smiling tearfully, then settles back on the couch to listen to a random starlet dishing about her latest divorce? Does not compute.
    It would make a little sense if Mom Knox was a fan and Mitchie used to cuddle up next to her and maybe half-listen while leafing through a comic or something. Then the association would be of a comfortable time with his mother – but that’s something TB is apparently incapable of writing.

    • Charles

      Exactly. “Why do you have all of these things?” “What made you decide to collect these things to the exceptional extent that you have?”

      And then Jessica could have some bonding moments with this weird man and learn about her father’s legacy and what it might have meant to people, through the guy who would seemingly be his biggest fan.

      But Batiuk ignores all of that, because it doesn’t even seem to occur to him. There’s no genuine human sentiment here. It’s all just “YOU HAVE STUFF!”

      I suppose that should have been obvious since Mitchell has been designed as a character with thinly veiled contempt for him since the very moment he was introduced in this arc.

  12. be ware of eve hill

    Wow (unenthusiastically). Thank you for sharing, Mitchell. /s

    Why don’t you open this up as a tourist attraction like the Christmas Story House? I bet there are millions thousands hundreds dozens of fans who would love to see your kiddie show host collection and John Darling set.

    More adventurous tourists could spend the night in one of your dungeons… I mean guest rooms.

    You could call it “Creepy Fat Guy House”.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      I don’t think it would ever be as popular as the “Honey House” on “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.”

  13. be ware of eve hill

    I had a pipe dream where “Mitchell Knox” turned out to be an alter ego for disgraced silent film star Butter Brinkel (Brickle? Batty don’t care?).

    Too old? Nope. No such thing in a Batiuk strip.

    Butter pulls back a curtain to reveal everyone’s favorite stogie smoking, whiskey swilling, car driving, gun toting murder chimp Zanzibar.

    Zanzibar: I found Father. *BLAM* *BLAM*

  14. sgtsaunders

    You know what he doesn’t have? John Darling’s daughter, whom he’s eyeing in a desirous manner. Run, Lady, run. RUN NOW AND FAST!

    • The Duck of Death

      Wouldn’t it be cool if the reason for the obsession was that he was actually Jessica’s father, having had a torrid affair with her mother, and he enjoyed the idea of “possessing” even more of John Darling Whowasmurdered’s life?

      Yeah, that’d be interesting, so nothing like that would ever happen. Besides, Puff Batty is so invested in this world he thinks is so wholesome, I’m sure adultery wouldn’t fit in.

      (Rape(?) is fine, though, I guess, although he keeps retconning the Frankie/Lisa story, and never made it clear exactly what he’d settled on. I think his last phrase was something like “Frankie forced himself on Lisa,” which sounds like a Victorian way to avoid mentioning indelicacies.)