Forging New Memories One Gun At A Time

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Look at that thing. They haven’t made cast iron toys like that since the fifties, so naturally Batiuk remembers them very fondly. It seems pretty clear that this thing is finally, mercifully over, but then again, as Joaquín Andújar once said, “youneverknow”. One day we’ll all look back on this and have a hearty laugh, and newer SoSF commenters will think we’re making it all up.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

67 responses to “Forging New Memories One Gun At A Time

  1. William Thompson

    With the way that five-year-old is hafting that chunk of metal, he must have a lot of muscle. Are we sure he’s related to Dullard?

    • J.J. O'Malley

      Out of idle curiosity (and because enquiring minds want to know), I went on Grandpa Google and looked up how much the average talk show host-killing revolver weighs. Turns out they’re usually less than two pounds, so–assuming the smelter didn’t toss in some lead bullets–that Millennium Darling which little Skycap is pretending to have fun with probably isn’t that heavy. Heck, I’d wager even Mopey Pete could pick it up…with two hands, of course.

  2. Four Yorkshiremen skit: “And you try to tell the young people of today that, and they won’t believe you!”

    • billytheskink

      One could imagine the origin story of Act III Funky Winkerbean being a young(er) Tom Batiuk watching that sketch and believing every last word.

  3. sorialpromise

    First, I realize it is Batiuk and Ayers artwork. I also, know there is zero realism expected from Batiuk. I am fully aware this spaceship is properly registered as ‘science fiction’. But it has to include science. No way does that craft escape Earth atmosphere. The wind drag and air friction would prevent any escape velocity. (truth telling: I would enjoy seeing a 3D model of the ship.) it is not aerodynamic. Now if it was used as a dirigible, that I could accept.

    • Epicus Doomus

      It looks like some sort of mutant space bee…a dull, colorless, mutant space bee. Why didn’t he at least paint it or something?

    • William Thompson

      The abomination could get to orbit, if it had a magical propulsion system with unlimited energy. It would just have to rise at a slow speed until it was above most of the atmosphere. That might take an hour, during which time anyone on board could wish for a more aerodynamic design. Or it could have a technobabble shield that deflected the atmosphere at high speeds. But as you said, there’s no science here.

    • hitorque

      It could be an alien ship, it could be a spaceship from a kiddie cartoon, it could be a Star Trek Universe ship completely constructed in orbit, there’s any number of perfectly reasonable sci-fi explanations…

    • be ware of eve hill

      That “spaceship” looks unique like it might have been copied from a particular work of science fiction. Perhaps the inspiration came from a book, movie, TV program, or even a comic book.

      Too bad there’s not a blog or something where the author could enlighten us on where he got the inspiration for such a peculiar looking craft. /s 🙄

  4. J.J. O'Malley

    Lord, what an unattractive, colorless lump…and the toy spaceship he’s zooming around isn’t too hot, either.

  5. RudimentaryLathe?

    Jesus, look at Skynet’s face in P2; this is fucking sick.

    • Epicus Doomus

      And what happened with Jessica there in panel two? It looks like he was going for a full smile, but from an angle, but she ended up looking kind of disappointed, perplexed, and maybe even a little queasy. It doesn’t fit the dialog at all.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        I think even she has had enough of this nonsense. I have a feeling she will be calling her agent to have him demand her kill fee.

    • William Thompson

      He must have hit himself in the head with that metal blob. Several times.

  6. Y. Knott

    It’s a metaphor for SoSF itself. Taking something that brings nothing but pain, and turning it into something that brings a lot of pleasure.

    Thanks for the shout-out, Tom!

    • Epicus Doomus

      Also note how Jessica’s quest to learn more about her father just abruptly ended, with no actual resolution. She always gets all wistful re: her father (John Darling), then throws herself into a JD project of some kind, then gets all ambivalent about it. Then it just goes away, never to be mentioned again. Just like her JD documentary. She’s possibly one of the most just plain half-assed characters in the strip.

      • Green Luthor

        Hm, gets an idea, does a half-assed job on it, doesn’t follow through, and then forgets about it altogether? Sounds like SHE’S the author avatar!

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      What really bothers me is that the dialogue here is so close to the dialogue yesterday. In *Farewell, My Lovely,* Philip Marlowe calls a cop “Hemingway,” and the cop, whose name is not Hemingway, asks who this Hemingway guy is.

      Marlowe’s response is that he’s a guy who says the same thing over and over until he persuades you that it’s good.

      It ain’t happening here.

    • Mela

      “Taking something that brings pain and turning into something that brings a lot of pleasure” vs. “we turned my father’s murder weapon into a toy for our son”. Guess it’s all about how you spin it…

  7. Green Luthor

    I’m guessing we’ll now move on to a different story that’ll run for three weeks (because Batiuk is such a rebel who breaks all the “unwritten rules”), and then… PIZZA MONSTER. That will undoubtedly be utterly stupid, but it’ll probably be less insipid than this. (Although I will admit I’ve found this story to be fascinatingly entertaining, just not for any reason Batiuk intended. Seeing how he would out-crazy himself has certainly been an experience.)

    Honestly, I was expecting something like Boy Lisa showing the gun at Montoni’s (because you’d totally show your friends and family something like that, right?) only for the gun to go off and shoot the autographed picture of John Darling Who Was Murdered. Bonus points if he nailed it wherever Plantman shot him. Then they could sell it to Mitchell Knox, who could display it next to the autopsy photos. It would certainly be adequately moronic to be a Funky Winkerbean story, but I guess that wouldn’t be dark and twisted enough to compare to what we did get.

    • sorialpromise

      Green Luthor,
      You have just brought a breath of fresh air. It is universally known that without knowing how, Mr. Batiuk will always make the next story worse than the last one. But your 2 words: PIZZA MONSTER, brings hope that Mr. Batiuk can’t make that story infinitely worse. Shoot, how many years has Mr. Batiuk followed the same script. We all know it. It just can’t be as bad as these other previous arcs. (Can it?)

  8. billytheskink

    This spaceship’s design is really bizarre. It simply being weird and unrealistic doesn’t matter to me necessarily, but it looks… off? I don’t really have the words, so here’s a stupid anecdote.

    Back in the early 2000s, me and some other guys went over to a friend’s house to play his brand new Playstation 2, he was the first among us to get one. Fueled by cheap pizza, we planned to play as long as we could stay awake, through the evening and into the wee hours of the morning. Since he didn’t have but a couple of games, we went down to the neighborhood Blockbuster and rented a couple more. One of the rented games was a Konami title called Zone of the Enders, a space mecha shooter/beat ’em up game with very anime-influenced graphics. Early in the game there is a cut scene where a mecha shape-shifts and… well, uh… the center part of its codpiece area rises in a likely intentional and definitely suggestive way. Being VERY easily-entertained young men, we reset the game again and again so we could play that cut scene. We laughed about it for weeks afterward.

    That memory is what this weird gunmetal space ship reminds me of. I’m not proud to say it, but I felt like I had to.

  9. One day we’ll all look back on this and have a hearty laugh

    I think you misspelled “rising gorge.”

  10. Banana Jr. 6000

    Unbelievable. Batiuk spends a month building up to the giving of this meaningful toy, and what does he do? He cuts around it. Cuts straight to the kid playing with the toy, so the parents can stroke their egos some more. Like they haven’t said “I made something good out of something bad!” enough times this week.

    Batiuk does this constantly. His ambition is always writing checks his talent can’t cash. He can’t deal with his characters going to college, so we get a time skip. He can’t deal with Lisa’s death after he spent a decade setting it up, so we get another time skip. Then he can’t stick to the time skips, so we get more crossover stories that make no sense. He doesn’t have the writing skill to deal with any of the tragic situations he creates, so we get wry smirking and death relics every single time.

    Tom Batiuk, you are a terrible, terrible writer. Possibly the worst I’ve ever read. I’ve never seen anyone attempt so much serious drama, and then cut away from it every single time. And then spend so much time praising himself.

  11. sorialpromise

    Wow! I can’t keep FW women straight in my mind. I must be blonde in one eye, and can’t see out of the other.

  12. Coco

    It must be heavy. A toddler wouldn’t be able to wave a metal toy around like that. And why didn’t Jessica come across someone who collected her-father-John-Darling memorabilia when she did her documentary?

  13. Epicus Doomus

    The women of the Funkyverse are all divided into different tiers. You have the magic tier, which consists of Lisa and Summer. Then you have the married enabler tier: Cayla, Holly, Becky, Donna, and Harriet. Then you have the married sidekick tier: Jessica, Rocky, Rachel, Vera, and possibly Mindy. Then you have the “others”: Ann Fairgood, Keisha, Alex and Ruby. Then the widow tier, which is just Linda. And the “hot” tier, which is just Cindy and maybe Marianne, though she’s a stretch. And you have the Muslims, Adeela and Rana. And those high school kids, whose names escape me at the moment.

    • Margaret

      And you have Holly’s mother, who is in a tier of her own.

    • sorialpromise

      A little bit of Funky #5

      A little bit of Marianne in my life
      A little bit of Adeela by my side
      A little bit of Holly is all I need
      There is too much of Lisa is what I see
      A little bit of Summer in the sun
      A little bit of Cayla all night long
      A little bit of Jessica here I am
      A little bit of Pam makes me your man.

  14. Rusty Shackleford

    Crankshaft: so now Mason is paying them more than they used to make, ok, yeah that is believable. What suddenly made all these customers show up? Oh right, films.

    Boy is Mason foolish with his money. That crappy theater is going to bankrupt them. But I guess they will just move to Westview.

    • The Duck of Death

      Unearned success, money, and jobs? Yep, checks out for a Funkshaft character.

      Meanwhile — you ask what made all these customers show up. What customers? We haven’t seen any.

      My theory is that the Valentine is like the bar in the Shining. Mork and Mindy are having all kinds of conversations with people talking about their jobs, but none of it is real. It’s a symptom of their gibbering madness and the unspeakable ancient evil that grips Centerville.

      Supporting evidence: The spooky twins, who are not seen in the theater but seem to haunt the town itself.

  15. Paul Jones

    And thus, we end another arc that goes nowhere, does nothing and reminds us that Batiuk is fixated on the gaudy trash that littered his childhood imagination. Too bad his idea of a palate cleanser is that clueless blowhard Dinkle or having Les whine about having to deal with readers.

    • gleeb

      Cheer up. It could be Crazy Harry complaining about music recorded sometime in the past 40 years while still insisting he’s a hepcat.

  16. KMD

    Based on her expression in the second panel, Jessica is clearly showing her reservations about letting her kid play with the metal prosthetic posterior made from the gun that killed her father. Boy Lisa on the other hand is gushing about the pleasure of the metallic fake hiney and is already seeing its potential in the bedroom. These are sick people. Lets hope this insane and inane arc is over. I for one am ready for the next round of misery.

  17. The Duck of Death

    Gotta love the Mary Worth-style “Dogs are Great” padding Bats puts at the end of his arcs. We just saw all of this yesterday, did we not?

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Speaking of Mary Worth, we’ve had a couple weeks now of her patting herself on the back for the advice she has given to Dawn. ( In the real world it was insanely bad advice.)

      Moy/Brigman need to move on already.

  18. jp

    The part that amuses me the most about this arc (if by “amused” you mean veering between outright horror and wtf) is the sheer number of felonies committed –evidence of which remains in plain sight, apparently (by the looks of that thing) for all eternity.

  19. The Duck of Death

    The most disappointing and disturbing thing about this very disappointing and disturbing arc:

    The Batiuk’s Gun of the autopsy photos.

    Batiuk’s Gun states: An author should introduce unnecessary, tantalizing elements into a story, then drop them forever.

    But I’ve just come up with a new corollary.

    Corollary to Batiuk’s Gun: If an actual gun appears in the story, quickly render it inoperative and harmless. Avoid dramatic tension at all costs.

    • Mela

      I think that the autopsy photo line was just supposed to show that Knox was an obsessive weirdo, nothing more. But he had to have just enough decency to not want to display the gun, which is why it thrown in the drawer. That way, when he offered it to Jess/Darin it would be OK for them to take it since no one was obsessing over it and therefore making them decent too. And then they could continue in their decency by flipping the bad karma on an inanimate object into something positive.

      As we’ve seen so many times, it’s always about the object and how it is collected that is the ultimate judge of character here. Possession of autopsy photos=creepy BUT possession of murder weapon but forgotten and thrown in a drawer & not on display=odd but not creepy. Murder weapon taken by family and melted down into a toy for child=moral victory.

      I’m a little concerned that I’ve thought way too much about this and that it actually makes sense in my head.

      • Hitorque

        It doesn’t work that way… If Mitchell Knox had the “common decency” to not display the revolver he should have had the “common decency” to not pull whatever less-than-ethical strings he did to obtain it in the first place, to say nothing of the crime scene photos…

        Nevermind the fact that Mitchell’s house ain’t exactly the Smithsonian — I’d bet dollars to donuts that Darrin+Jess were the first people to ever “visit” his collection; so whose delicate sensibilities was he trying to protect anyway?

        • Mela

          I don’t disagree. I was just trying to get into TB’s head to figure out the autopsy mention and the whole deal with the gun, but I’ve learned my lesson.

        • Green Luthor

          He didn’t exactly obtain it on purpose, though. He said “I found this in with some memorabilia I purchased from a collector”. Which… is probably even MORE messed up, honestly. It means that someone, somehow obtained the gun… and then just randomly gave it away to someone without the recipient even knowing about it. The only way that could make sense is if the seller was the real killer and was trying to ditch the evidence, but we already know Plantman did it and he’s in prison for it. (And he had the gun with him when he didn’t shoot Les, an act for which there can be no forgiveness.)

          I honestly can’t think of any series of events in which Mitchell accidentally obtained the gun, but it also doesn’t seem plausible that he was lying about it, either. (If he had gone to the effort of acquiring the gun, it wouldn’t make sense for him to just give it away like that. He was more reluctant to part with the cracked coffee mug!)

          Basically, absolutely nothing about this story makes even the slightest bit of sense. But then, it was written by Tom Batiuk, so… THAT part makes sense, at least.

  20. TB has written a lot of disjointed tales over the last 50 years, but this has been the most disappointing and disturbing arc I can recall. A gun that was used to change the life path of a young Jessica is now a plaything for her son and TB sees nothing wrong with this. It’s like a family of Jeffrey Dahmer’s victims keeping his refrigerator in their home because it still works. Or using the rope your grandfather was lynched with to hang curtains in your living room because it brings pleasure to look at the curtains. In the real world, people don’t keep the instruments of family death around as a toy for their children. Hopefully, this arc changes soon and is never revisited.

    • Well, the symbol of Christianity is essentially the weapon that was used to kill Jesus, so there’s that. Reminiscent of this Bill Hicks bit.

      • Margaret

        True. It’s actually a horrible instrument of torture. I can’t see one without thinking of the terrible suffering of all the other thousands of people who were crucified. My dad used to say it’s as though some religion had picked a guillotine as their symbol.

    • Margaret

      I don’t know, I think the arc where the state police brought Linda Buck’s football helmet and then helped her commit insurance fraud was at least as disturbing. And probably involved as many felonies as this one.

  21. Hitorque


    1. Yep, just like I said, Masone’s only real involvement in running this old-timey movie theater (which he was just jizzing in his pants over last week and had to buy on the spot after a ten minute tour) will be mailing a stupidly large check every month like a dutiful fairy godmother and that will be it… And I have no doubt that it’s a personal check made out directly to the Crankshaft Couple instead of the theater’s business account. Hell I don’t even think business banking accounts even exist in the Funkyverse, to say nothing about accountants, vendors, contractors, or wireless funds transfers…

    2. I know I shouldn’t be, but I’m still shocked that these two idiots are running a movie theater by themselves again and it never crossed Masone’s mind to hire additional employees or God forbid use his extensive network of industry contacts to bring in people who might actually get this half-assed stunt to turn a profit…

    3. It’s funny because the Crankshaft Couple was seriously expecting their multi-millionaire celebrity benefactor to pay them the same salary they were making when they were self-employed…

    4. The over/under of how many times Masone comes to visit his theater is still 1.5…

    5. I hope the hiring manager over at Channel One has permanently deleted the Crankshaft Couple’s files and security has a standing order to shoot them on sight if they ever try to enter the building again…

  22. sorialpromise

    What an excellent thought provoking statement, bobanero. If all we had of Jesus was his 33 years of life, and especially his last 3 and a half years, then the cross would be a horrible reminder. Such as celebrating November 22 for JFK.
    But with Jesus, we have the resurrection that makes his death beneficial and necessary for me. Then you add his ascension to the Father’s right hand, and you have now a relationship today with God himself. Great post!

  23. Banana Jr. 6000

    Funky Winkerbean is all procedure and no drama.

    One explanation of Narrative Beats is that there are two major types: procedural and dramatic. Procedural beats are the things the protagonist has to do. Dramatic beats are about personal aspirations and relationships between characters.

    The Blues Brothers is a good example of the difference. What do they constantly say in that movie? “We’re getting the band back together” and “we’re on a mission from God.” The first is procedural; it’s the task they have to complete to achieve their goals. The second is dramatic; it’s why they’re doing it.

    Everything in Funky Winkerbean is procedure. Nothing is drama. This whole arc was nothing but find the John Darling collector, go to his house, ask him for memorabilia, get the murder weapon and the coffee cup, go home, get an idea, make a clay mold, take the gun to the be melted down, make the toy, and congratulate yourself six times. Tom Batiuk can’t spare one panel in a month to show the characters having any emotions about this horrible object, or giving it to their own child. He skips over them because he is incapable of writing them.

    And when he does show any actual drama, it’s as shallow as possible. Characters just announce their feelings. That makes me feel angry! Or they spend a week talking about “not fitting in” when they all fit in just fine every day, and completely blow off a transsexual character, and two African-American characters from the early days of integration. (A 50-year reunion in 2022 works out to 1972.)

    Funky Winkerbean is a complete embarrassment at this point. And look what this asshole just wrote about himself. Tom Batiuk, you are completely delusional.

    • RudimentaryLathe?

      Oof, what’s that German word for feeling embarrassed for shameless people?
      You’d need all Earth’s fossil fuels to drive the distance between what Batiuk thinks he’s doing and what he’s actually doing.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      You beat me to it. Man is this guy delusional. And his new website is a piece of crap…almost unusable on mobile devices. I’m surprised he doesn’t have flashing banner text and a logo saying the page was created using Microsoft Frontpage.

      • The Duck of Death

        I keep waiting for the flock of butterflies to follow the cursor, as in 90s Geocities sites.

        IMO, all he gave a shit about was the ferkakte virtual spinner-racks in the Batom Comics section. In which, by the way, he brags that he’s using names, characters, ideas that he came up with in the 5th Grade. When he was 10.

        He’s proud of that.

    • The Duck of Death

      His self-praise is very weird in tone. It’s in the first person, but removed in some way as if it were third person. As if Tom Batiuk, the man, were an awestruck fan observing Tom Batiuk, The Artiste.

      Creepy as all hell.

  24. be ware of eve hill

    In case anyone is wondering how old Skyler is supposed to be, he’s rapidly approaching his ninth birthday.

    Skyler emerges: – 11/22/2013

    In today’s comic strip, Skyler has the appearance of a five-year-old. Looking through the archives, it looks like the scamp hasn’t aged since 2019.

    Clothes aren’t presents – 2019

    What eight-year-old wants to be held by both hands? – 2021

    I’d like to meet Batiuk’s son, Brian. He must be in his early forties, but I have to wonder if he looks like he’s five.

    • The Duck of Death

      I realized recently that if Lisa was preggers in high school, class of ’72, Boy Lisa must be at least 50. He and Cindye should open a plastic surgery clinic. They don’t look a day over 22.

      • batgirl

        Didn’t TB retcon the dates to the 1980s though?

        • Y. Knott

          The most recent retcon (only a few weeks ago) had the gang attending their 50th anniversary high school reunion. This would mean they graduated high school in 1972.

          But at this point, time has absolutely no meaning in the Batiukverse. The events is Crankshaft are simultaneously decades behind Funky Winkerbean, AND are taking place at exactly the same time. Funky is decades older than Les, even though they went to high school together. Cindy is decades younger than ALL of her classmates, who were once the same age as her. Harry can time travel back to 1982, when he was in high school, but just scant days later he attends his 50th reunion (which meant he graduated high school in ’72). Les’ daughter is in her ninth year as a college sophomore. Skyler’s age ping-pongs back and forth from 2 to 8 to 4.

          Next week, the gang may be graduates of the class of ’92. Skyler could be 18. Crankshaft might be 127, but also have played major league baseball as a rookie against Sammy Sosa.

          Do not expect even the simplest trappings of continuity from Batiuk’s work. He has become untethered to any sort of linear, time-based reality … although unlike in the case Billy Pilgrim, who also became unstuck in time, the results don’t make for entertaining, thought-provoking reading.