Leaves Of Ass

Link To The Always-Amusing Sunday Strip

Unless this is some kind of Sunday fake-out, it would appear that the John Darling handgun arc is finally, mercifully, over. That was weird. So anyhow, today BatYam aims his always insightful and cutting wit at leaf blowers, and how much they suck. Real topical there, Pulitzer (nominee) Boy. I could point out that Funky obviously hired the landscaping crew because he didn’t feel like raking the leaves himself, thus making him quite the hypocrite, but whatever. It’d totally kill the melancholy, depressing vibe he was going for here, and Lord knows I wouldn’t want to do that.

I assume that’s a young Cory there in panel four, which means that scene/memory probably took place during the time skip, which definitively proves it did in fact happen. Or maybe not, I don’t know.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

59 responses to “Leaves Of Ass

  1. William Thompson

    Poor Funky! If only he had descendants who could come over and rake the leaves for him, so he could create one more not-totally-unhappy memory before he shuffles off to the grave.

    • Paul Jones

      That always bothered me. It’s as if Batiuk were punishing him for being more popular than Ol’Helmet Hair Les by making doughy and sterile.

  2. The Duck of Death

    Does he realize the leaf blower fan is made from the melted-down steering wheel of the car whose crash cost Becky her arm?

  3. Banana Jr. 6000

    Oh waaaah, things aren’t like they used to be. Boo hoo hoo. Somebody please end this tired comic strip.

  4. louder

    I, for one, heartily endorse today’s strip! Blowers are the instruments of Satan, and I cringe whenever they are blowing anywhere close to me. And I also remember raking leaves by hand, and it was nice and peaceful. No snark for today, but a loud Amen! to the way it used to be. Now get the F off my lawn! Dang kids with your new fangled ways! Next thing you know, you’re going to tell me gas mowers are better than push mowers! Anarchism running wild!

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Yeah, leaf blowers are annoying, I will agree with Funky on that one. But the strip still sucks.

      First, it’s too early for this strip, the leaves have just started changing here. Nobody is raking anything.

      Second, raking leaves is not fun.

  5. Leaf blowers are too loud and too stupid. And raking is an awful activity. Just mulch that stuff with your mower. Everything will be fine*

    *For more landscaping tips, contact someone who knows what they’re talking about.

    • Epicus Doomus

      See, he could have turned this one into a reasonable gag if he’d bothered with putting in the effort. You have Funky reflecting on all the times he suffered and raked the relentless tide of Westviewian leaves, then you have him gloat about how now he’s well off enough to hire people to do that for him. Then he sits back with a non-alcoholic beer, and says “ahhh, life is good, what could possibly go wrong?”. Then the leaf blowers start, and he smacks himself in the forehead in woebegone defeat.

      But Batom chose to have Funky reflecting happily about his leaf-raking memories (except that one time), and wistfully bemoaning what we’ve lost as a culture re: leaf blowers. But, as I pointed out above, the leaf blowers are on his property, which means he hired them, so it’s his own damn fault. So not only doesn’t it make sense, but there isn’t even a gag there.

  6. Y. Knott

    I have no idea what the hell is supposed to be going on in this one. I thought it was maybe “everyone in town is quietly raking leaves, but I have to live next to these idiots who use leaf blowers, ha-ha.” It’s poorly presented (no surprise), but at least there’s the semblance of a gag.

    But, no … apparently this is a “Funky Through The Ages” story. Except there’s no clear indication that this is a panorama through time: are we supposed to get that this is the same person at different ages? If so, how? There are no cues to indicate years are passing — perhaps era-appropriate clothing? Cars in the background representing different years? Nope. But even if I had been given that, it still doesn’t work for a relative newcomer. I can sort of see that maybe there’s a kid growing up from one panel to the next … but then the guy in the window in the last panel looks nothing like the others. Who’s he? What’s going on?

    Ayers sure puts a lot of effort into illustrating absolutely terrible material.

    • Epicus Doomus

      As usual, it’s all incongruous and logic-defying. For the most part, Funky seems to fondly recall the annual leaf-tsunami clean up, but he hired landscapers this year, and now has to endure their annoying leaf blowers as they blow away his old, nostalgic leaf-raking memories. So why didn’t he just, you know, rake the leaves himself? I mean, he jogs, he plays tennis, he goes to the gym, surely he could handle a little extremely heavy leaf raking, right?

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      There are so many characters in Funky Winkerbean, and so little difference in any of them, that “through the ages” gags simply don’t work. You can’t tell who’s who or who grew up to be who. Batiuk also refuses to put in any hints, like having the same people wear the same clothes. But he keeps trotting this tired gag out, thinking he’s tugging at people’s heartstrings. All in the service of a sub-Pluggers cultural observation.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Terrible material? What? Didn’t you read Batty’s blog post?

      To quote Tom:

      “But, as that was happening, or maybe because that was happening, I became increasingly ambitious on the writing side and started advancing toward an even more mature writing approach. The first art changes made by me were no longer going to be sufficient for carrying the kind of work I wanted to do, and I was already looking beyond them.”

      • The Duck of Death

        The distance between what he’s doing (end-stage Apartment 3G-quality work) and what he thinks he’s doing (upending the world of comics and blazing a trail that will be remembered hundreds of years from now as the high-water mark of cartoon art) is measurable in gigaparsecs.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        I”d love to hear that conversation. ,”Chuck, your artwork is not keeping up with my increasingly mature writing. You need to start making these changes…”

  7. Andrew

    All these years on and it’s still bemusing to me that title character Funky was made to age into the most generic old man possible while practically everyone else still has a bit of a unique look to them (with Les of course getting the most handsome appearance of all). There’s realistic aging and then there’s this.

    Heck, there was a vibe of that as well with Act 2 Funky, kinda offset by the whole alcoholic story he was put through. Only thing going for his iconicness was the 5 seconds of fame Bautik got in the Simpsons when they basically called his comic one of the lamest things ever (of course that was 2000 and before he doubled down on cancer drama and other things)

  8. billytheskink

    Mort in panel 2 is such a disappointment. Where’s that Mr. Incredible chin?

    Also, I own a leaf blower that is about as old as the time depicted in panel 3 (thanks for not specifying who gets your yard equipment in the will Grandma). It’s not some new-fangled invention, TB.

  9. ComicBookHarriet

    The colors are nice.

    Corey has an absolutely awful receding hairline for a child.

    If he wanted to go with comedy, he could have used what Epicus described above. Where the leaf blowers are great until they’re annoying.

    If he wanted to go with tragedy, he could have Funky attempt to rake leaves, realize it hurts because he’s too old and fat, and just hire the leaf blowers.

    If he wanted to go with positive nostalgia, he could have shown Funky pulling out the rake and smiling at this wife, or even have a pan over where he sees that she is already raking, inviting him to make a new memory.

    What is interesting to me is the LAST LEAF on the tree branch. Since the very beginning Bats has been obsessed with ‘fall-leaves-as-mortality’ symbolism, with Livinia the first to reference it back in ’72. He used to do two leaves pondering the end of existence on the reg.

    Now he shows Funkmeister glancing at THE LAST LEAF, still clinging to the branch…but alone.

    I keep on sensing all these subtle hints that he might, despite all his interviews to the contrary, actually be thinking of wrapping this up. But it could just be all the 50th anniversary nostalgia trips adding together.

    • Gerard Plourde

      “I keep on sensing all these subtle hints that he might, despite all his interviews to the contrary, actually be thinking of wrapping this up.”

      I wonder that as well, CBH. I especially find his decision to merge the FW/Crankshaft timelines inexplicable and bizarre. The depictions of the characters make Pmmm and Jfff appear younger than Funky and Holly, who look like Crankshaft’s contemporaries. And what has happened to Mort and Holly’s mom?

    • The Duck of Death

      If it were anyone else, I’d agree. But it seems that sometime during his early adulthood, Tom Batiuk had a stunningly original realization: The seasons of the year roughly correspond to the seasons of human life! And thus, late fall corresponds to impending death! And thus, leaves carry a portent far beyond the simple shedding of deciduous trees! And no leaf has a portent greater than… THE LAST LEAF!

      So I read this as just umpteenth verse, same as the first.

      Of course, a charitable read of today’s strip would be that it’s just a generic rumination on fall melancholia, which is a common theme in Peanuts and many other strips. Are you feeling charitable?

      • The Duck of Death

        I just realized the falsehood, the utter lie in that title. Lisa’s Story doesn’t conclude there, oh no. It will never conclude, not as long as Tom Batiuk draws breath. Not as long as one single Act III Funky Winkerbean strip survives in physical or digital form.

        Come, sweet Sun, and go supernova, so that Lisa’s Story may finally conclude and fulfill the prophesy of THE LAST LEAF.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        Yeah, such an original thought from Batty. Nobody else ever thought to do that.

        • ComicBookHarriet

          The thought doesn’t have to be original. Many of the greatest thoughts from Peanuts or Calvin weren’t original. They were poignant because they were finding a beautiful way to say something that had been said before and would be said again.

          IMHBCO (In my humble but correct opinion) Batiuk is at his WORST when he’s trying to be unique. Novelty pales next to craftsmanship.

          Batiuk seems to genuinely love fall. I’m not going to begrudge him that. But this isn’t one of his better strips on the subject, since the punchline is kind of nonsensical.

          If you want a punchline on aging. This one is better.

          If you just want a feel good strip to remind you to enjoy the beauty of nature, I like this one.

          • The Duck of Death

            I agree. I’m FAR more critical of Batiuk than you are, CBH. I suspect you’re kind of a softie at heart. But it seems that you and I agree that the simple, sweet, observational moments between Funky and Holly are the most rewarding strips Batiuk has to offer. Often they’re dialogue-free, or nearly so, which helps to rein in Batiuk’s bloviating tendencies.

            Something tells me some of these strips are literally drawn from his own current life experiences with his wife. Mundane, truthful reality beats self-important Meaningful Statements any old day.

          • Rusty Shackleford

            Yes, I agree. But they didn’t write puffy praise pieces about their work either, and so the criticism is valid in this case.

          • ComicBookHarriet

            @Rusty Shackleford,
            No argument from me on that front. While I am nicer to Batiuk than many, (Someone has to balance out the righteous vengeance of BJ6K.) even I won’t defend him when he’s tooting his own horn by ignoring or devaluing the work of others.

      • Anonymous Sparrow

        I’m Funky the Eighth, by gum, by golly/I got married to majorette Holly…

    • gleeb

      Oh, God, the talking leaves. Two leaves on the same tree. Next to one another. Yet one leaf knows things the other does not. How could it have gained that knowledge an experience? The metaphor collapses. And Batiuk kept using it for years.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Nah, I can’t see him gracefully retiring the way Watterson and Johnston did. No way.

      FW is his mouthpiece and he isn’t giving that up ever.

      • Dood

        If there is an end, these strips — Funky and Cranky — will be John Darlinged on the way out.

        That’s the comic strip equivalent of salting the earth.

        • The Duck of Death

          What kills me is that he earnestly believes that FW and Crankshaft, along with John Darling, have “legs” — that they’re so valuable the syndicate would instantly replace him to keep them running indefinitely, like Blondie, Thimble Theater/Popeye, and other comics approaching their centennial.

          Crankshaft…maybe. But more likely, once Batiuk puts down his pen, it’s the end of the road for Crankshaft too.

          • Y. Knott

            I believe Batiuk has pre-empted the possibility that no-one would want to continue his strips by announcing that no-one else will be allowed to continue his strips.

            It’s completely in character for Batiuk. No-one was interested in continuing John Darling (including Batiuk), but he killed off the lead character to make the property “unusable”. Hey, if Batiuk isn’t using him, nobody can!

            But in the real world, had anyone in the syndicate wanted to continue the property, it would have been easy to do so: just don’t run the last two strips, and continue from there, OR have a plot where John was faking his own death for attention. (Which would be totally in character for him.)

            But nobody had any desire to continue John Darling, and the syndicate let it die simply because the strip was unpopular, unprofitable, and creatively spent. However in Batiuk’s little dream world, John Darling died because he wouldn’t LET anyone else continue it.

            It’ll be the same way with FW and Crankshaft.

      • none

        Johnston’s retirement would have been graceful if the last strip was that Sunday condensed novel that she wrote which gave abbreviated finality to the remaining lives of the main characters.

        But, it wasn’t. As a result, the body of her work and the comics page in general suffers for it.

        • Mela

          Are you referring to her going back and updating the original strips? I liked how the final strip wrapped everything up, but once it was done I had no interest in revisiting the old ones to she what she had changed.

          • none

            Correct. The big Sunday final expo-dump tied it all up. Liz and Anthony married, April moved to the country, blah blah. All done, golf clap, well done, thank you Lynn.

            But no. She couldn’t leave well enough alone, and, yet again, nobody in charge of anything has the heart or ability to tell the strip author “no”, for whatever reason.

  10. Dood

    Corey Winkerbean in his pre-crime years.

  11. sorialpromise

    1. Love the title
    2. I recognized ’72 Funky, so I got the aging of the character. Apparently raking leaves was a magical(?) time. Okay.
    3. Nobody blows leaves at 6am, so what’s to object? Now if Mr. Batiuk had added that early morning bit, he would have had a joke.
    4. Batiuk could have gone with age 68 Funky (and age 75 Batiuk) complaining of raking leaves, and that could have been a joke. But he goes with leaf blowing.
    5. Kansas City Kansas has everyone get their leaves to the curb. They come by with an industrial vacuum and a giant truck and suck them up. The 2 grand kids (ages 5 & 3) were over and thought watching it was the grandest experience.
    6. If you remove the characters from the strip, Ayers did some beautiful landscapes.

  12. Count of Tower Grove

    That’s Morty in P1? Hard to imagine even transitory joy in the Fungyverse.

  13. Paul Jones

    It’s like he’s the robot version of Hawkeye Pierce from Futurama but instead of switching between irreverent and maudlin, Batiuk switches between implausible and maudlin. Also, only fungus people in basements say that he wasn’t the first person ever to realize autumn = the declining years.

    • Gerard Plourde

      “he wasn’t the first person ever to realize autumn = the declining years.”

      Very true. One of the most poignant songs linking aging with autumn is “September Song” from Kurt Weil and Maxwell Anderson’s “Knickerbocker Holiday”. This You Tube link is sung by Walter Huston who also sang it in the original 1938 production and appears to be dedicated by the uploader to a deceased loved one.

      • Anonymous Sparrow

        There’s a British sitcom called “May to December” which uses “May to September” as its theme song.

        It is a gorgeous song, and I remember the show as being a very sweet look at the relationship between an older man and a younger woman.

        Kurt Weill as a composer in the U.S. worked with a variety of lyricists: Maxwell Anderson is one of the few with whom he worked more than once. His one-time lyricists include Ira Gershwin (*Lady in the Dark*), Ogden Nash (*One Touch of Venus*) and Langston Hughes (*Street Scene*)

        Unlike a certain Mr. Moore, Walter Huston, his son John and his granddaughter Anjelica got their Oscars by winning them. (Walter and John for “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” and Anjelica for “Prizzi’s Honor.”)

  14. Hitorque

    This is odd to me personally because I grew up in a household where leaves were never raked, they were just sort of there…

    When I was maybe six or seven, I remember a thanksgiving at my grandparents house in Charlottesville… “Peanuts” was my dad’s favorite comic strip and as a result it was also mine… It’s weird to think about how much of my life was molded by that strip: It’s because of Peanuts that I first got into baseball, that I became a dog lover and cats were the “enemy”, I’d use “good grief” as a lamentation and call my classmates blockheads, and yes, for a solid 7-9 month stretch of my life, I even had a “security blanket” which I carried *everywhere* and had as many uses as I could imagine until my parents “accidentally” forgot to pack it as we were leaving a D.C. hotel as part of a multi-city road trip…

    Anyway, in Charlottesville for Thanksgiving week and in the corner of his small backyard was a large leaf pile. And because I’d seen it on Peanuts, I decided to take a big old running belly flop into the pile…

    …And it was utterly disgusting!! All the leaves below the top layer were soggy and muddy, there were bugs everywhere (I have a debilitating insect phobia) and it was all over my pants, my sweater, my hair, and my body began to itch uncontrollably… My grandfather was upset because I messed up his leaf pile and he’d have to take it again, mom was ticked off because I got myself dirty right before dinner and I immediately had to take a bath even though I’d already taken one that morning…

    So I never messed with another leaf pile since that day… If anybody wants to try and explain the universal appeal to me, by all means the floor is yours.

    • The Duck of Death

      IMO, the proper way to enjoy leaf piles is to drag your legs through them and then kick up to create a colorful shower of leaves.

      I have never jumped in a pile of leaves. The physics of it always suggested that the leaves would instantly compress to nothing, and the result would be a jolt as if I’d just leaped up and jumped onto the bare ground.

      Now I’m glad I didn’t.

      • Hitorque

        I mean, it’s no big deal for a small kid… Hell sometimes I’d throw myself on the leafless ground and take a tumble just out of sheer boredom.

        The physics of it are fine — All you need is a big enough pile. Of course the heavier you are, the bigger cushion of leaves you’d need. The comic strips and cartoons never told us how filthy and infested those things can be — It’s like diving headfirst into Mother Nature’s trash dumpster.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      Isn’t there a *Peanuts* strip where Charlie Brown observes things falling and making a “ker” sound (such as “ker-splash”) and is stunned when a leaf thrown on a pile of other leaves goes “ker-leaf”?

      I never raked leaves, but I shoveled snow growing up, and it didn’t allow me to find much magic in the white stuff

  15. Hitorque

    As I’ve ranted before, there is zero fucking reason for Dr. Funk to be this mopey over everything all the time quite the contrary he needs to be on his knees praising God for such a wonderful life…

    He’s 68 years old and his father is still alive. He’s 68 years old and he has no major health issues, and when he does have major health issues he always bounces back fairly quickly. He’s 68 years old yet he has no problems participating in an annual 5k charity fun run. He’s 68 years old and he’s a successful and respected independent businessman who never has to worry about paying bills or where his next meal is coming from or affording prescription meds. He’s got his own paid-for car and house. He’s got the love of a good woman. His extended family are all generally sorta decent people and their collective lives have mostly been tragedy-free. Not to mention the second chance Dr. Funk got at life when rock bottom alcoholism cost him his first marriage, his friends, and damn near put him in an early grave!!

    I’m convinced deep down that Batiuk hates Dr. Funk and if he wasn’t the title character of the strip he would have been killed off 20+ years ago.

    • The Duck of Death

      The cataract surgery arc galled me for this reason. He acted as if he were being tortured by mad scientists, whining and bitching the entire time. It’s elective surgery, Funkwad. Go ahead and go blind for all anyone cares, and save us taxpayers the expense of your surgical bills. Either way, man up and quit pitching a hissy fit.

    • Gerard Plourde

      “I’m convinced deep down that Batiuk hates Dr. Funk and if he wasn’t the title character of the strip he would have been killed off 20+ years ago.”

      I concur. I think deep down TomBa hates that he called the strip “Funky Winkerbean” (he may even have admitted that at one point) and takes it out on the strip’s namesake at every opportunity.

  16. Doghouse Reilly (Minneapolis)

    Funky could learn a few things about how to button down the hedges from the Crankshafts.

  17. The Duck of Death

    Leaf Blowers Are Another Degenerate Modern Abomination; Human Culture Reached Its Apotheosis in Northeastern Ohio in 1961 and It’s All Been Downhill Since Then.

    Sounds like a great theme for your next 2-hour AA jeremiad, Funky.

  18. You guys, KFS has opened a Crankshaft store. Now’s your chance to snag (for just $36) a trucker cap like the one ol’ Ed wears! Or that Crankshaft bowling shirt you’ve always dreamed of rockin’.

    • Epicus Doomus

      I want one of those “my other car is a school bus” bumper stickers, so I can stick it on an actual school bus. It’d amuse me, if no one else.

      • The bumper stickers at least have a potential market among actual school bus drivers, who no doubt revere Ed Crankshaft the way band directors idolize Harry Dinkle. I have no idea who would shell out $36 plus shipping for the trucker hat…

    • Y. Knott

      Amazing! I can’t make up my mind which is my favourite part of the site:

      – The total disconnect between the absurdly grandiose strip descriptions, and the actual strips they show;

      – The idea that a whole line of cars behind you would be “entertained” by a barely legible, visually unappealing bumper sticker with a dull, uninteresting statement;

      – That the site’s creators believe people apparently “daydream” about Crankshaft;

      – That anyone under the age of 75 would purchase and wear that bowling shirt, unless it was the result of some sort of horrendous wager gone sour;

      – Batiuk’s whimsically incomprehensible musing: “Crankshaft’s favorite bowling is made from antimatter.”

      – The exclamation mark that adds the perfect level of excitement and awe to the caption ““Crankshaft” creator Tom Batiuk at his drawing board!”

      Bonus: in keeping with Batiuk’s standards of research and accuracy, Chuck Ayers is identified as the strip’s artist.

      • none

        For me, it’s the pictures of the Zoomer models wearing the attire and not making any kind of eye contact with the camera. It’s like they have no idea what they’re wearing but they’re still ashamed to be wearing it.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I’m flabbergasted.

  19. sorialpromise

    Bowling pins are like mailboxes to Crankshaft… he likes to knock them over.

    ~ tom batiuk
    The joke is reversed. It should read: MAILBOXES are like bowling pins…that’s the setup for the joke.