Link To This One

To recap: Mitchell found the actual gun used to kill Jessica’s father (John Darling) “in with some memorabilia” he bought, like it was an old Reggie Jackson baseball card and not the actual handgun used in the John Darling murder. I repeat: he acquired the gun, unknowingly, after some guy just happened to include it in a collection of other junk Mitchell was buying. Not being especially interested in the handgun used to kill John Darling (his hero), Mitchell casually tossed in an unsecured drawer, where he promptly forgot all about it until the murder victim’s daughter’s husband happened to find it while snooping around in the murder victim’s old desk after dropping by uninvited. And now they’re passing the gun around, apparently as confused by these developments as I am. If nothing else, this is some absolutely APPALLING gun safety being practiced here, by everyone involved.

I’ve seen some nutty shit over the course of Act III (and let’s be honest, Act III at its most whacked-out has NOTHING on Act II, where this kind of shit happened every week), but man alive, this one is just so very wrong on so many different levels. The whole gun thing is unbelievable enough on its own, but then he throws that “autopsy photos” thought bubble in there, and the whole thing just veers off into previously uncharted waters. There’s just such a wildly divergent tone to this mess, it’s all over the place to the point of being practically abstract. Just a few short days ago, Jessica was innocently trying to hunt down a piece of her late father’s TV legacy, and now she’s holding the gun used to kill him as the guy who gave it to her muses over autopsy pictures. How did this story ever come to this? What was he going for here? Did he even know?


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

72 responses to “Autopsy-Turvy

  1. billytheskink

    I’d call this strip some of the better dark humor I’ve read on the comics page if I felt remotely confident that TB intended it to come across that way. I’m much more than remotely confident he did not.

    Still, I chuckled at the audacity of it all, which is more than can be said for literally thousands upon thousands of other FW strips.

  2. William Thompson

    So, uh . . . Dullard and Messica leave with the gun, and decide to dispose of it by tossing it in the Westview River. They park by the river at Aroundthe Bend, and as Dumdum gets ready to throw the gun they’re surrounded by the police. The police demand to know what’s going on, and when Messica says that they’re getting rid of the weapon that killed her father John Darling who was murdered, the police arrest both of them. There’s no statute of limitations on first-degree murders, a cop says, and at long last they have two suspects with the murder weapon!

    In other words, this story could be good for a laugh after all.

    • Green Luthor

      Though they already have a suspect, since Plantman is in prison for the murder already. Also, “at long last” seems a bit strong, since the police obviously cared so little about the murder of John Darling Who Was Murdered that it took friggin’ LES MOORE to solve the case. (I would mention that they were both too young at the time of the murder to be considered actual suspects, but apparently being “too simian to be a murderer” wasn’t enough to stop Batiuk, so…)

      Basically, that story wouldn’t make any sense whatsoever, and there’s no reason for Batiuk to go that route, so… let’s say a 30% chance?

      • Anonymous Sparrow

        There’s the historical example of Gaius (Caligula, to you), who was murderous at a very young age.

        To say nothing of the fictional Limbless Girl Killer in Joe Orton’s *Loot.* There, the Limbless Girl wasn’t the victim, but the killer, and if you’re wondering how a limbless girl could be a murderer, well, Inspector Truscott says you’re just not cleared for such information…

      • Hitorque

        Wait… I thought Plantman shot himself after he was outed as the murderer? Or am I thinking about something else?

      • ian'sdrunkenbeard

        “A South Carolina mother died on Wednesday after she was shot by her 3-year-old child, after the toddler got a hold of an “unsecured firearm” in their home, authorities said.”

        Here were the top results for “3 year old shoots” and “2 year old shoots”:

        3 year old shoots self
        3 year old shoots 2 year old sister
        3 year old shoots father
        3 year old shoots self in head
        3 year old shoots dad
        3 year old shoots sister
        3 year old shoots brother
        3 year old shoots 8 month old

        2 year old shoots dad
        2 year old shoots father
        2 year old shoots mom
        2 year old shoots self
        2 year old shoots sister
        2 year old shoots father orlando
        2 year old shoots mother
        2 year old shoots brother

        Beware of toddlers with guns!

        • ComicTrek

          Right, the possibility of them taking the thing home made me almost immediately think of Skyler! However old he’s supposed to be.

  3. ComicBookHarriet

    I posit, that if you are not on some level enjoying what this week has to offer in terms of sheer baffling stupidity and nightmare dream sequence tone shifts…you really need to rethink why you engage with this strip at all.

    For me, this is the best Funky Winkerbean has to offer these days. The absolute MonkeyGunLoving best.

    Not to say we shouldn’t pick it apart for all of the glaring terrible flaws. But just that I think we should be smiling and laughing while we do it. SO MUCH FUN!

    • I agree. This is snarker’s heaven.

    • I had just hours ago written that if this strip weren’t so fun to hate-read I’d have quit it and … I mean, I’m appalled. But it’s not the way I’m appalled by 9 Chickweed Lane; it’s the kind of appalled I want to explain to people who don’t realize this is going on.

    • Green Luthor

      Yesterday I said Tom should lean into the crazy and have the gun be Jessica Darling Whose Father John Darling Was Murdered’s “physical memento”, but I honestly can’t say I expected him to actually, y’know… do it. I just thought it would be the most insane way to follow up the most insane plot twist in this inane (not a typo) story.

      But I am just DELIGHTED he’s at least attempting to go that route. Dunno if Jessica Darling Whose Father John Darling Was Murdered and Boy Lisa will take it, but… just the fact that it’s even being brought up as a possibility!

    • Mela

      Yes, this all deliciously dark & morbid. But I’ve got to ask: How can someone who claims he has the definitive collection of John Darling (who was murdered) memorabilia NOT be interested in the gun that did the deed? A guy who has autopsy photos hidden somewhere is not going to forget he had the murder weapon. It would be on display or at least put in a special storage place. Gross as it sounds, the gun would be a prize find, not just thrown in a drawer.

      This arc is wonderfully tacky and wrong on all fronts. The only thing worse than giving Jess the murder weapon would be for him to name a price for it!

    • be ware of eve hill

      I am enjoying the heck out of this, too. When was the last time there was a story arc where we anxiously awaited the next strip? My forehead is sore from all the slapping.

      Mitchell Knox is allegedly a misanthrope who doesn’t like visitors. He angrily tells them everything in his John Darling collection was obtained legally. But he invites them in?!🤔

      Mitchell is friendly, he’s angry, he’s jovial, he’s threatening, he’s unhelpful, he’s giving, he’s Sybil.

      Oh, look, Darrin is rudely poking his nose where it doesn’t belong. He’ll find some kind of legal document legally giving Jessica everything. WRONG! It’s the pistol that killed John Darling.🤯

      Mitchell forgot he had the murder weapon that killed his hero. Ya, shurrrr.

      Mitchell is giving the pistol to Jessica? How inappropriate! (Hi Mrs. Lincoln. Here’s the pistol that killed the President. We think you should have it.)

      Wait! Mitchell has the John Darling autopsy photos?! 🤯

      The pistol? The autopsy photos? How is Mitchell obtaining these items?

      I can’t believe some folks bailed on this arc. What’s going to happen tomorrow?

      Jessica: Why do you have the gun? Did you murder my father?!
      Mitchell: I am your father! Join me, and together we can rule the collectibles world as father and daughter!
      Jessica: Nooooooooooooo! It’s not possible! It’s not true! Mom, why did you lie to me?!

      • sorialpromise

        “Mitchell is giving the pistol to Jessica? How inappropriate! (Hi Mrs. Lincoln. Here’s the pistol that killed the President. We think you should have it.)”

        Like you, I can’t wait till tomorrow’s strip. bwoeh, this is comedy gold! In a mountain of salt, Mr. Batiuk found that fleck of diamond. (But I wonder, if it’s not too soon for comedy regarding Lincoln’s murder?)
        [emoji for Illudium Q-36]

    • hitorque

      Agreed… This is storyline has been such a craptacular pile of burning garbage that God help me I’m not angry or frustrated anymore; I think I’m enjoying it??

      I’m not saying it’s so-bad-its-lowkey-good, and I’m not saying it’s a can’t-look-away freakshow circus of trainwrecks, but I AM saying I’ve been entertained and like clockwork, every night at midnight I’m checking SOSF so I can get a head start on thinking about my comments later in the morning…

  4. “Don’t mention the autopsy photos” would be truly chilling in any other context. In the context of FW, it’s just sad and stupid.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Batiuk almost NEVER uses thought bubbles. He just has his characters talk to themselves out loud things that normal people would be thinking.

      If he pulls one out it’s only when there’s something he wants us to know a character is thinking that he can’t have them say in front of another character, like Marianne imagining the Oscars audience naked. Or when they’re incapable of speech, like Dinkle playing the sax while marching.

      So us knowing that Knox has photos of a dead, naked, John Darling being sliced open was VERY important to Tom.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Batiuk never gives you any insight into what his characters are thinking. What is even Mitchell’s motivation for any of this? Just get rid of these people (understandable)? Does he actually want to help if he can?

      • Anonymous Sparrow

        He hasn’t used any thought-balloons lately, but he’s no stranger to them: see Holly Budd’s reunion with Funky Winkerbean where she thinks about laughing like the AFLAC duck.

  5. RudimentaryLathe?

    This story has gone so off-the-rails it’s hard to even comment on, but I will say the way Knox, and Duhrrin yesterday, handles a firearm makes me really angry. I have no doubt that Batty is pro-gun control, and that’s fine, but then don’t present guns as little toys people can just fling around unless they’re part of a Very Serious Gun Violence Episode (like that tone-deaf school walkout arc from whenever that was).

  6. I’ve seen those autopsy photos and they are gruesome!

  7. spacemanspiff85

    Batiuk’s writing now is so bad, that’s it not even that it contradicts what came before. His plots contradict themselves as they’re unfolding. People do not act the way he seems to think they do.

  8. sorialpromise

    Man! I love Funky Winkerbean! I have waited a year and a half for something meaningful to happen in this strip. Batiuk delivered. This arc comes as close as Mr. Batiuk can get to perfection in Act 3.
    1. “Here. Take the gun that murdered your father, John Darling who was murdered.” I just wish Ayers drew the pistol 🔫pointing at the other 2.
    2. Just until a few minutes ago, I did not know I had a craving for autopsy pictures!
    I want those autopsy pictures.
    I need those autopsy pictures!
    Dishonor! Cold! Disloyalty!

    I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to any man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of that very science that provides me with a view of the very pictures of dead men’s bodies who just happened to be murdered. Don’t question the manner in which I acquire those orgasmic photos. I would rather that you just said “thank you” and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up that pistol and start using it. Either way, I don’t give a DAMN what you think you’re entitled to! I must have those glorious, indescribably delicious, restricted photos!

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      It’s not as funny as the handling of the gun in “Plan Nine from Outer Space,” though. (Tor Johnson was a bigger boy than John Darling. And now he’s dead,,,murdered…and someone’s responsible!)

    • be ware of eve hill

      It cracks me up that the only gun emoji offered looks like something from the Marvin the Martian cartoons.

      Where are the emojis for the Illudium Q-36 explosive space modulator and the Illudium Q-38 dimension disintegrator?

      • sorialpromise

        Let me tell ya eve, I have been googling (mainly distracted on TikTok) but researching Illudium Q-36 and Illudium Q-38. I got nothin’. Nothin.’
        By the way, tomorrow is LaDonna’s last race of the season at Lakeside. I am actually going to be there. Why don’t you and Mr. bwoeh come join me. I will look for the man making ammunition. (Although, considering it is Kansas, that may not be much of an identifier.)

        • be ware of eve hill

          You’ve never seen a Looney Tunes Marvin the Martian cartoon before?

          Marvin: I need the Q-36 explosive space modulator in order to destroy the Earth.

          Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2 century?

          Aw, thanks for the invite. Best of luck to LaDonna’s brother. I hope they win.

          Go team LaDonna!

  9. Gerard Plourde

    While I am enjoying the absurdity (Unintentional on TomBa’s part? Or is he offering us, his most loyal readers, fodder for snark?), I do have to stop to give background for the point that TomBa may be trying to make. Ohio is a state (like most states) that doesn’t require a background check for private sales. It also doesn’t require registration of guns and lacks any law that allows for the confiscation of guns from those prohibited by law from ownership, i.e. felons convicted of a violent crime.

    • LTPFTR

      If Batiuk were capable of making that kind of nuanced point through narrative we wouldn’t have *gestures vaguely at all of Act III*

  10. Banana Jr. 6000

    “Here you wanted something, take this” could have been a lot funnier if we were clearer on what Mitchell wanted from the visitors all this time. It’s funny, tacky, and dismissive. But he spent so much going back and forth between friendly and annoyed that it has no meaning. This is why you write the story first and the jokes second.

  11. A guy whose eyebrows do this should never be trusted with a handgun.

  12. Andrew

    The only logic I can see in this is that Mitchell here must’ve bought memorabilia off the murderer himself, Mr. Plantman. I wouldn’t put it past that guy to have autospy photos to feel extra proud of his crime.

    Guess it’s a question of if he got a new gun or not when that whole business of him trying to off Les happened, though. If he didn’t that still brings up the “how did this get out of police custody” question (though in that case, since Lisa was involved in saving Les and grabbed the gun at one point, there could be a Lisa story in here still)

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Why would Plantman have autopsy photos, though? They’re not something anyone can buy. Even in 1990 they would have been protected by medical privacy laws. They wouldn’t even be useful to the media in reporting on the incident. This hints at something a lot darker than heretofore hinted at.

      • Green Luthor

        Or it would hint at that, if Batiuk ever considered the implications of the things he writes. Smart money says that never even occurred to him.

      • Oh good grief it would be so stupid if the autopsy photos revealed that My Father John Darling should have survived the gunshot wounds and it was surgical incompetence that actually killed him … but would it be stupid enough to be the new story?

        The case for: it would be really stupid, and it would let Tom Batiuk answer the snark about Dead Lisa’s failure to do anything about the doctors who misdiagnosed her by very belatedly doing something that kind of covers a similar theme except we have less reason to care.

        The case against: but would it be Murder Chimp Stupid?

        • Green Luthor

          Hm. “Dr. Zanzibar, Emergency Surgery Chimp”. (Bonus points if he also worked as the lab that mixed up Dead Saint Lisa’s results.) (Bonus bonus points if he then pays Rex Morgan a visit…)

          • erdmann

            Coming soon: The big reveal where we learn Zanzibar was the collector who sold Knox the gun. He found it years earlier in Hal Foster’s trash can.

        • Perfect Tommy

          Eh, if the gunshot didn’t get him then the cancer would of.

      • hitorque

        You forget that this is the Funkyverse…

        I have no doubt in my mind that the Centerville or Central County Police Department just threw all this shit into a dumpster out back of the station for Mitchell Knox to find once the case was over…

  13. ComicTrek

    I’ll finish what I was going to say yesterday…you’d think this guy would be more respectful, apologetic, tactful, anything, to the actual daughter of his hero (her father) ((John Darling)) (((who was murdered))). He warmed up enough to show off his collection, probably grateful that they didn’t bring the cops to demand anything of him, but now he seriously thinks she’s going to be interested in keeping the thing that TOOK her dad’s LIFE? Never mind that it should be locked up in police custody, or destroyed, or whatever they do with murder weapon evidence.

    Well, who knows? If they don’t leave in rage or disgust, they’ll get to loving the thing. Maybe even mount it up on the wall like a swordfish. Forget bifocal eyeglasses and vintage Seiko watches! Between the Lisa tapes, Bull’s Death Helmet, and now the gun that killed John Darling, death relics are as good as family heirlooms in Westview!

  14. Tom from Finland

    This week’s arc is great! Every morning I’m exited to see what crazy things will be happening that day’s strip.
    And every day I’m left with intriguing questions.
    Like today:
    Why did Batiuk mention the autopsy photos?
    Will they reveal that Mossman wasn’t the real murderer? Was the murderer perhaps Jessica’s mother?
    Did the hospital mix up the patients and the person who died wasn’t John Darling and John Darling has amnesia and he has been living with hobos? Jessica and Darrin will find him and take him to the tv studio which will return John Darling’s memory, but when he sees what has happened to the television after he left, he will vow revenge on humanity.

  15. The only thing and I mean the only thing this arc has going for it, so far, is that Jessica hasn’t touched the gun…yet. Maybe TB can, but I can’t imagine any family member would want to touch the weapon that took away their loved one and changed the course of their lives forever. Like I said, I can’t imagine it, but I sure TB can.

  16. hitorque

    1. All I’m going to say is Mitch is a sick pathetic asshole and Batiuk damn well better bail out of this flaming storyline before it ventures into even more distasteful territory…

    2. Also motherfuck Chester Hagglemore for not warning these two pinheads that Mitch is batshit insane and a danger to himself any anyone around him… And no, don’t even try to tell me for a second that someone as well-connected to the online geekboi nerd collecting community as Chester didn’t know exactly the type of danger he was sending them into…

    3. So let me get this straight – The self-appointed “Keeper of the Flame”, the sole guardian of John Darling’s legacy, the single-biggest hoarder of Darling memorabilia on the planet is treating the murder weapon (by far the costliest piece of his collection) like a radioactive hot potato because ONLY NOW has he become concerned that these complete strangers might start thinking his harmless hobby has descended into some kind of obsessed derangement…

    4. I’ve got to keep on repeating this until it gets through to the cheap seats: THIS IS EXACTLY THE TYPE OF MENTALLY DISTURBED WEIRDO GODLESS PSYCHOPATH WITH DELUSIONS OF GRANDEUR WHO MADE DARLING FAMOUS BY MURDERING HIM IN THE FIRST PLACE!! And the fact that Jess of all fucking people can’t see what is plainly obvious makes me think her mind ain’t right, either…

  17. Dood

    As many others have pointed out, it’s ridiculous that Jabba the Knox, the “definitive” Darling collector, would possess the murder weapon in such a haphazard fashion as portrayed in this arc. Instead, it would be cataloged, bagged, recorded and properly curated.

    Speaking of curation, do we have a list of top-of-the-line physical mementos for the SofSF virtual museum? I’m thinking the gun in this story arc, of course, along with Bull Bushka’s helmet. What else belongs?

    • ComicBookHarriet

      The PT cruiser that Funky crashed. The car Wally amputated Becky’s arm with.

      Just, an entire garage full of broken hearts and wrecked vehicles.

    • Andrew

      “Holtron”, Funky’s talking computer certainly deserves a spot, nay, an interactive exhibit complete with Star Trek transporter effects.

    • sorialpromise

      I am thinking of the Eliminator helmet, and Les’s well deserved Oscar, and a Montoni’s Pizza box.

    • be ware of eve hill

      In addition to what people have already mentioned:

      -Dinkle’s generalissimo band director suit
      -The Montoni’s band box and jukebox
      -The pizza (box) monster costume
      -Holly’s flaming baton, maintained as an eternal flame
      -Lisa’s chart mix up folder
      -Lisa’s cancer hat and sweater
      -Lisa’s urn
      -Lisa’s Central Park bench
      -The countless VHS tapes/DVDs from the blessed Dead St. Lisa collection.
      -Rubble from the post office bombing (USA!USA!)
      -Les’s helmet hair
      -Les’s lucky quarter that Lisa gave him
      -The gym rope
      -The porch swing from the Taj Moorehal
      -Summer’s hoodie
      -Remnants from Summer’s exploded knee, lovingly kept in a jar of formaldehyde.
      -The wood Khan used to belt the land mine that Wally stepped on.
      -Owen’s chullo hat
      -Owen’s game-winning Scapegoat mascot costume
      -Mickey Lopez’s game-winning homecoming dress
      -The gay prom castle
      -Crazy Harry’s original cap
      -Crazy Harry’s locker
      -A handwritten band room sign sloppily taped to a wall

      • Anonymous Sparrow

        And now the Nails with “The Things You Left Behind”:

        A pair of stockings, a pair of shoes
        A record by The Moody Blues
        A bottle of Chanel No. 5
        A poster of a band called Dead or Alive
        A silk negligee and a black garter belt
        A book about how to get to know yourself
        A shirt you adopted used to be mine
        These are some of the things you left behind
        Paintings painted by a man you knew
        Someone you dated in ’82
        An autographed picture of Junior Wells
        I didn’t even know you liked soul that well
        Three pieces of paper with cryptic notes
        Cigarettes you never smoked
        A bag of beads and fishing line
        These are some of the things you left behind
        A dozen contraceptive sponges
        Anyone here got a rhyme for sponges?
        Dental floss, some baby powder
        Fourteen cans of clam chowder
        Forgotten how much you liked that stuff
        Sex and clams you couldn’t get enough
        Your driver’s license in ’79
        These are some of the things you left behind
        A pack of rusty razor blades
        You threatened to use those things one day
        A nickel bag of Mexican pot
        You bought downtown in a parking lot
        A wedding band. Where’d that come from?
        Forget to tell me about someone?
        A bottle of cheap Italian wine
        These are some of the things you left behind
        A ticket stub to a Broadway play
        A button saying “Make My Day”
        A broken mirror with a lipstick smear
        A telephone number where the name’s unclear
        Two pressed roses in a blank paged book
        Containing all the notes that you never took
        A Valentine card saying “Please Be Mine”
        These are some of the things you left behind
        A rosary, some holy cards
        A photo of your daddy’s Brooklyn bar
        A list of possible job interviews
        A list I guess you chose not to use
        A glacine bag with a printed skull
        I didn’t know things had gotten that dull
        A note on the door, one word, “Goodbye”
        These are some of the things you left behind
        A pair of stockings
        A garter belt
        An autographed picture of Junior Wells
        Dental floss
        Clam chowder
        A razor blade
        Wedding band
        Broken mirror with a lipstick smear
        A valentine card
        A rosary
        A glacine bag
        Heroin? Oh shit, not heroin
        One word, tacked up on my door
        One word

      • The Duck of Death

        How could you forget Coach Jack Stropp’s ghoulishly mishandled ashes?

        • be ware of eve hill

          I figured it may have been redundant. I already implied Lisa’s ghoulishly mishandled ashes by writing “Lisa’s urn” not “Lisa’s ashes.” 😉

          Who can forget Les dumping Lisa’s ashes in Central Park in the driving rain during a thunderstorm. I reckon those ashes were washed away, PDQ. 😂

  18. The Duck of Death

    There’s so much going on here that I’m almost lost for words to critique it. But I’ll put in my two cents:

    1. Far from being something thrown in with a lot of memorabilia, a morbid memento like a murder gun would be the prize of the collection. It may appall some people, but grisly = valuable. Objects closely associated with infamous crimes are intensely collectible.

    2. Are we taking nominations for panel of the year? I nominate P2.

  19. hitorque

    Now, on to Krankenschaaften…

    1. Another day, and another young, nubile 23-year-old girl who is 100% indistinguishable from the 68-year-old Baroness Cindye Von Sommerse-Winkerbeane-Jarre, the woman who cannot age…

    2. Another day, and another pair of Funkyverse characters fail upwards by sheer happenstance and through no effort of their own… I’ve been telling y’all for 12 years that the Westview Nepotism Mafia is undefeated – I’m just jealous because I need something like that in my life right now…

    3. Yes, I know that a whole lot of other strips use the “unexpected financial windfall from a stranger” trope to resolve or move storylines… Hell, for long time every plot in Luann, Rex Morgan, Mary Worth or Judge Parker seemed to start with someone knocking on their door and offering some valuables/good/services for free or at least a 90% discount… But Batiuk seems to have it down to science.

    4. GOD DAMN IT MASONE YOU BONEHEADED IDIOT! You didn’t just purchase a fucking movie studio so you would be “silent theater partners” and not “silent film partners”!!! The sad part is you know Masone probably had his brain working in overdrive to come up with that uninspired punchline.

    5. So, to recap – Masone Jarre spends two weeks absolutely jizzing in his pants at the thought of owning his very own vintage movie theater and showing movies old school style so he signs a deal on the spot with no negotiating, nor fully inspecting the property, nor even gauging to see if there is enough of a demand from the yokels in smalltown Ohio to support the venue financially… Between 30 and 90 seconds after signing the papers he realizes his new toy is 2500 miles from Los Angeles and it’s not like he can pack up the Valentine Theater in a suitcase and toss it on the plane… So why not just hire the previous owners to run the place?? Who cares if they drove it straight into bankruptcy the last time around?? (And even if Masone didn’t know why the Valentine closed and was sold, a well-connected gossip like his wife who grew up in that region damn well should have already known)… And naturally the horndog lovers will get a 100% raise in salary and get to keep all the daily profits while Masone foots the bill for maintenance, expenses and a complete interior/structural overhaul because that’s exactly how the Funkyverse works… And despite being the new owner, Masone wouldn’t dare do something unsavory like impose some professional rules or standards or economic benchmarks for them to meet or bring in one of his own people to manage daily operations or tell them not to play the same obscure movie on a 24/7 loop or whatever…

    6. Just to fuck Masone over, I’d love nothing more than to see this young couple “surprise” him on his next visit by completely tearing up the inside of the Valentine and converting it to a modern curved-screen IMAX 3-D theater with vibrating seats… And why shouldn’t they when Masone is paying all the bills?

    7. The Over/Under on the number of times Masone Jarre comes back to visit “his” theater he was so excited and enthusiastic about before Tommy Batiuk retires for good and closes up shop is 1.5, and I’ll take the under all day long…

    8. It’s funny because years ago I predicted that eventually Chester would be the one to bail out the Valentine, since he was the most obvious choice…

    9. It’s funny because off the top of my head, Pete Rattabastardo, Darren, Cindye, Funkin’ Archie Bunker, Johnnie from Komixxx Korner, The Big Dink, Lester Freaking Moore, Jerry Bushka’s widow, Mr. Montoni, and the three fossils working at Atomikkk Komixxx could ALL afford to buy the Valentine if they gave a rat’s ass… Most of this list could even buy it out of petty cash…

    10. God, how many times has someone in the Funkyverse been thrown an overly generous financial lifeline by some wealthy benefactor, Daddy Warbux or Fairy Godmother?? And even when there isn’t a millionaire in the picture, literally anybody in town can easily generate tens of thousands in cash on a whim by selling off a few rare comics in their collection, selling band turkeys door-to-door, or just plain old crowdfunding…

    • J.J. O'Malley

      “Thanks for the opportunity, Mr. Jarre! I think our grand re-opening film should be the classic 1935 Mascot serial ‘The Phantom Empire,’ starring Gene Autry and little Frankie Darro!”

      Masonne’s business stratagem is somewhat akin to hiring Capt. William Thomas Turner (Google him, by all means) to run your charter fishing boat.

      • The Duck of Death

        HELL NO to that newfangled talkin’-pitchers nonsense! Did you not parse Masonne’s oh-so-clever pun about being a “silent film” partner?

        It’s gotta be Casey of the Coast Guard and Tarzan the Mighty or nothin’! Once the kids discover the joy of a tinny piano accompanying a flickering, scratched, soundless image, they’ll toss aside their GTAs and their Ticker-Tocks and settle in for some REAL entertaiment!

        We’ll be turnin’ ’em away from packed houses at every showing, boys!

    • The Duck of Death

      Why not just put up a video of Bingo the Church Cat? As I recall, it raked in enough to allow Dinkle & Co to buy choir robes AND rebuild the church bell tower (or some other construction project that would probably cost in the 7 figures).

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      How the hell do the Bobbsey Twins still have any stake in it? They sold it to a strip club, which has since failed. And why is their equipment even in it for Masone to find? The strip club would have remodeled and tossed that useless junk.

      This whole thing is just too stupid for words. A strip club that “didn’t catch on.” Pfffft.

      • William Thompson

        It’s especially hard to understand how the Valentine strip club failed because all the strippers had at least forty years of professional experience behind them.

  20. Andrew

    Also in the spirit of remembering John Darling (who was murdered), on a Googling whim I found a Bautik blog post talking (well, reposting words from one of the Funky volumes) about the final strips of John’s comic (which actually ends on a funeral and not just the “BLAM” of the gun).

    Not only is it funny to note Platman’s presence at the funeral, I found it amusing seeing Tom’s thoughts about murdering Darling have him describe him being so dead as: “I’m not just talking dead here, I’m talking ‘Bucky dead.'” Bucky of course is one of his well-known comic references, an obscure guy named Bucky Barnes, a one-time sidekick of Captain America who for many years was established as dead, and intended to stay dead and avert the usual “death is cheap” trope of superhero comics. However, this actually didn’t stick, and he was brought back as a villain to the Cap named Winter Soldier… who happened to get adapted into Disney’s Marvel films and remain prominent to the point of co-leading one of the Marvel/Disney+ television shows.

    So what I’m saying is, if John Darling is “Bucky dead”, anything is possible now. Not like Bautik hasn’t retconned deaths before anyway.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      Now it would probably be “Uncle Ben Dead,” or “Thomas and Martha Wayne Dead.”

      • ComicBookHarriet

        The old saying was no one stays dead except for Bucky, Jason Todd, and Uncle Ben.

        Only Uncle Ben is still dead.

        • J.J. O'Malley

          Isn’t it alive under the new name Ben’s Original? I saw some at my local Shop-Rite the other day.

        • Anonymous Sparrow

          This *Sgt. Fury* fan requests a moment of silence for Jonathan “Junior” Juniper, who died in the series’s fourth issue and has remained dead ever since.

          With Jason Todd and James Buchanan Barnes (Bucky’s real name, by the way) back among the living, we need a new trinity of dead-and-staying-dead. I vote for Junior and Lady Pamela Hawley to join Uncle Ben in a rousing version of “Abraham, Martin and John.”

          Don’t ask me about Private Lee Baker of the Leatherneck (later Battlefield) Raiders.

          (Not even you, my old friend Bob.)

  21. matt2amy

    I think we’re in for a multi-week storyline that will find the real killer, in an arc that will make the Butter Brinkel fiasco look like Pulitzer material n