Link to today’s real strip.
Filed under Son of Stuck Funky
Tagged as clouds, Crankshaft, flimsy guardrails, school bus, Susan, that unnamed cranky guy, water
“Of course, I was a moron who didn’t show up for a game because I was told I wasn’t the starting pitcher. Looking back on it, I should have killed my self. I am plainly too stupid to live.”
Susan Smith: “What makes you think I’m suicidal?”
Crankshaft: “You’re listening to me,”
“What makes you think I’m suicidal?”
“Because Les hasn’t gotten to be an attractive woman’s hero in almost a year. And believe me, Susan, you don’t exist for any other reason. Go ahead and jump if you want to; Les is waiting by the river with a stolen ambulance and an EMT he kidnapped at gunpoint, just to prove that he can get you to the hospital faster. Didn’t you notice him siphoning your gas earlier today?”
“You’ll spend two weeks in intensive care, with Les hovering over you, fishing for compliments. Then the story will get bored with itself and move back to Atomik Komix. Your depression, unrequited love, broken spine, and crushing medical bills will never be addressed. You can try to kill yourself again, but the sweet release of death will never come. Les will always be there to ‘save’ you.”
“So yeah, it’s pretty obvious why you’re suicidal. You want some help? I’ve got a gun you could borrow. Mitchell Knox gave it to me.”
Okay, credit for a major-league fakeout to TFHackett. Very nicely done!
Agreed! painting someone out of a panel is hard enough, but removing an entire speech bubble? I stand in line.
Lisa would have liked that.
My only complaint is that you left the wrong person standing on the bridge at the end.
I honestly have no idea why BatNut suddenly decided to pick up Susan’s story where he last left it ELEVEN YEARS ago, nor do I understand why he’s pimping his “Crankshaft” baseball-themed strip collection, on a bridge, with Susan Smith.
What I do know, for certain, is a) I will never read “Crankshaft” no matter how hard he tries to sell it, and b) Susan Smith is possibly the most ridiculous character in FW history, barring weird one-offs like Zanzibar. He character arc is pure contrivance, no one has ever liked her, and no one was clamoring to learn what happened after Les forced her to exit WHS in shame after failing to control her insatiable Les desires. On the contrary, I think the general consensus was that everyone was kind of relieved, in a really blasé way. I mean, no one really cared one way or the other, but at least we’d be spared future “Susan loves Les” arcs, so it was a rare case of the daily FW reader actually winning for once.
And now she’s back…with Crankshaft…talking about Ed’s baseball career…and God only knows why. I told you it was about to get really weird again. I’ve pondered a few scenarios here re: where this might be going, but to be honest, they’re all way, way too complicated and ambitious for FW, thus they have to be ruled out. Now I’m beginning to think that nothing will happen. And I mean literally nothing, as in whatever this is, it’s already peaked.
If nothing comes of this, it’ll remind me of the weeklong arc where the weird weatherman from John Darling was forced into retirement, and that’s it. The character hadn’t been in FW for the entirety of Act III, and he has never been seen again.
The only way the Susan Smith story works is if Creepy Les was gaslighting a vulnerable woman. It seems like the sort of thing he’d do–romance her, dump her for Lisa and pretend she misunderstood his interest in her–but I don’t think Batiuk would make Les look like a callous, toxic monster. Well, not knowingly.
“…but then I became a school bus driver. I quickly became a bitter, hateful asshole whose only source of pleasure, if you want to call it that, was knocking over mailboxes and setting shit on fire. Everybody hates me. But not as much as I hate myself. So jump, young lady, jump! Save yourself from decades of pointless misery!
I’m kidding of course. That’s just me being the asshole that I am. Get back in your car and drive the fuck away.”
Can anyone identify what real-life bridge this is supposed to be? Because now that I think about it, this little detour into surrealism might be all about the location. You know how he gets after he’s seen something new. He saw the outside of a Hollywood film studio and got a fifteen week-long arc out of it, so a picturesque bridge could very well wrap up the entire year, if history is any indication.
Beginning with the caveat that I have no direct familiarity with Northeast Ohio outside of the Ohio Turnpike, a search of Apple Maps reveals that in the vicinity of Cleveland-Hopkins Airport there is a Nobottom Road and the apparent valley of the West Branch Rocky River which is crossed by a number of bridges. Would that be close enough to TomBa’s native habitat to be a possible source of inspiration?
I drove down Nobottom Road via Google Street View, and despite the name it is very flat with the only bridges dropping only 8-10 feet.
If it does have a real location I’m going to guess it’s one of the bridges going over the Cuyahoga.
Most likely it’s the All American Bridge in Akron. That bridge wasn’t fenced off until 2012 and had become a suicide magnet, with at least one jumper a year for more than 20 years.
Following your lead, I found the All American Bridge in Akron. Imagine my surprise to notice that its southern approach is directly behind Luigi’s Restaurant!
I think it is a bridge over River Styx which is near his house.
So what you’re saying is, after Battocks moved there, the sudden increase in traffic to the netherworld required retiring the ancient and traditional ferry and boatman? Sounds about right.
As hilarious as that would be, looking down into the river of the underworld, I don’t see any bridges high enough crossing the Styx in Ohio.
Could also be the High Level Bridge connecting Cuyahoga Falls with Akron.
I heard that bridge in Ohio had a terrible fly/insect problem, so they hired a guy to go under it and take care of them. It was so bad they had to hire two more. Yep. It was a bridge over trebled swatters.
*one pair of hands clapping*
I’m curious. Where do you folks believe the mythical Westview and Centerville are located within Ohio?
Some people believe those places are near Akron. Others believe that those places are closer to where Batiuk was raised, i.e. Grafton and Elyria.
I think we learn a lot from each town’s socioeconomic traits. I think of Westview as a gentrified inner-ring suburb of Cleveland. Everybody cashed in their comic book collection, replaced their run-down working-class homes with McMansions, and pretend they’re still poor. I think Centerville is more genuinely middle class, as it has many more residents with blue-collar jobs.
I don’t much about Ohio geography, so place the towns wherever you think they go based on those descriptions.
Well the gazebo he often shows in his strips is based on the one in Medina Square near his house. It is a pretty little town and I think Westview is based on it. He then pulled in Luigi’s from Akron. But I think Westview and Centerville are based on the small town Ohio that Batty is familiar with.
Trying to find this bridge may be difficult. There’s the Cuyahoga River, the Little Cuyahoga River, Rocky River, etc.
The Native Americans named it “Cuyahoga” meaning “crooked river”. There must be dozens of bridges crossing it.
ComicBookHarriet has already nominated a couple of bridges:
All American Bridge (Little Cuyahoga)
The High Level Bridge a.k.a. The Main St Bridge (Cuyahoga)
I used to live in the area. Here are a few more off the top of my head:
The Valley View Bridge on I-480 (Cuyahoga)
Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge on Route 82 (Cuyahoga).
Lorain Road Viaduct (Rocky River)
There are many bridges in the Metro parks, but they’re not very high.
Lots of NE Ohio people (former and current) on this comics snark blogs!
And yeah, the bridge I was thinking of was actually a railroad trestle….I still have Covid brain!
Oh, there really is a River Styx near Medina. I thought you were joking about that. Sorry not to include your input.
Ed: A part of me wasn’t sure whether life held anything for me anymore. But then I discovered comic books.
Susan: Weren’t you illiterate until you were 77?
Ed: I was? Well, comic books have pictures, y’know.
Susan: True. True. I do love comic books.
Ed: Everyone loves comic books!
Susan: What genre is your favorite?
Susan: Me too! Marvel, DC, or Batom?
Susan: Me too! What title?
Ed: The Amazing Mr. Sponge
Susan: Me too! Phil Holt era or Mitchell Knox era?
Ed: Phil Holt.
Susan: Me too! Before the death of Absorbing Junior or after?
Susan: Me too! Spongemobile issues or Spongedog issues?
Ed: Spongedog, of course.
Susan: DIE HERETIC! *pushes Ed off the bridge*
*With apologies to Emo Philips*
I love the fake out. No need for a blog. ‘Nuff said.
Well done, sir! The only way to tell it’s not real is the “twitter@sonofstuckfunky” in the margin between the second and third panels. Also, I like that you used in place of “tombatiuk.com/books.” No free advertising on this website, TB.
Did you hand draw the splash, @TFHACKETT? Sweet!
“When I was your age, I had a shot at playing major league Baseball…but the Federal League folded after the 1915 season ended, so I never pitched for the Cleveland Green Sox.”
“When I was your age, I had a shot at playing major league Baseball, but that’s all water under the bridge now! Umm, I mean, I was too proud t0 tell them I was illiterate then, and as the Good Book says, pride goeth before a fall! Umm, I mean, asking for another chance would have been a real leap of faith! Umm, I mean, I didn’t want to burn my bridges behind me! Umm, I mean…ah, forget it! Like Van Cliburn says, might as well jump!”
I’m thinking of a “Get Smart” called “Washington 4, Indians 3,” in which Agent 86 tries to persuade a group of disgruntled Indians not to launch “the second biggest arrow I’ve ever seen” at the White House. He realizes, eventually, that his arguments carry no weight whatsoever and resignedly tells Red Cloud, the leader of the Indians, to fire away.
That at least had a happy ending.
Chief of Control: It might interest you to know that Red Cloud’s enormous arrow is now on display in the west wing of the White House.
Maxwell Smart – Agent 86: No kidding, Chief. Where did it land?
Chief of Control: In the west wing of the White House.
“Would you believe a fish sandwich and a regular order of fries for just 99¢?”
(Don Adams did White Castle commercials using his “Get Smart” catchphrase.)
Fun fact: Steve Ditko penciled some “Get Smart” comic-book stories for Dell.
1. My nominee for best post of the week from Banana Jr. 6000: “Terminally ill people should be going to Westview like it’s Lourdes.” Brilliant!
2. CBH, keep on the caffeine. You are setting records for number of posts this week. All of them spot on.
Thanks, glad you liked it.
If Batiuk is going to have his annual Pizza (Box) Monster story arc in time before Halloween, he’ll have to start it by Monday at the latest. Unless he’s planning to do a one-day strip on 10/31, otherwise it will be too late for Halloween. Perhaps there will be no Pizza Monster at all this year? 😞
Batiuk’s Pizza Monster stories are getting more adventurous every year. Sue me. I enjoy them.
2019: The Pizza Monster makes an appearance, then flees through the alley, shedding boxes.
2020: Funky brings in Mr. Monster to confront the Pizza Monster. The Pizza Monster flees after leaving Mr. Monster catatonic by revealing the person inside the costume might not be a man.
2021: The Pizza Monster arrives, grabs a pizza, and flees the rooftop of Montoni’s via helicopter.
Is this Susan Smith story arc only going to be one week long? That’s highly unlikely. A couple of people have made the conclusion, and I agree.
SUSAN SMITH IS THE PIZZA MONSTER.
Susan returns as the Pizza Monster year after year, waiting for Les to be present in Montoni’s. Waiting to attack him with a pizza cutter.
Pizza Monster: How many slices, Les? Eight or twelve?
Les: *whimpering* None?
Pizza Monster: Sixteen it is!
Please be there, Les. Please be at Montoni’s this Halloween.
There is plenty of time for that. Heck, we could see the pizza monster running out of Montoni’s, he accidentally runs into Susan and both collapse on the ground. We see that it is Les who is the pizza monster, and they embrace.
Then the following day a new BattyBlog post extolling the virtues of said strip.
I liked the first one better
Unless this turns into a video with a very young Adam Savage, I’m not looking forward to it.
A Billy Joel video, huh? I didn’t know that. Gives me an idea, though.
ADAM: This myth is hot off the presses from the pages of the popular comic strip Funky Winkerbean.
JAMIE: There’s a popular one with the same name?
ADAM: Uh, we’ll have to get the research department on that. Anyway, in this strip, Susan Smith is standing at the railing of a bridge being talked at by an elderly bus driver. So the myth is, if Susan Smith jumps into the river and dies, someone will care.
ADAM: Like, anyone at all.
ADAM: Say, Jamie, didn’t you used to be an elderly bus driver?
JAMIE: (flatly) No.
NARRATOR: It’s a straightforward setup for this comics conundrum. Can a Susan Smith who leaps off a bridge to her death cause anyone to care? Will it be water under the bridge, or is this a bridge over troubled water? Before Adam and Jamie can lay them down, they need to start by building a scale-model bridge with a scale-model Susan and angry bus man. But while the Mythbusters are getting to work, Adam thinks this myth has its work cut out for it.
ADAM: I’m pretty dubious about this myth. I’d give it a 99.999 repeating percent chance of being totally busted.
NARRATOR: Wait, doesn’t that equal 100%?
ADAM: (after a pause) Yes.
This is amazing.
You know, if you’re going to try and talk someone off a bridge, the first thing out of your mouth should be something other than stories about your baseball career. How selfish and egotistical. Nobody in this strip can put their celebrity egos aside for a nanosecond.
I know, Ed! Tell her about the Bean’s End Catalog! That’ll show her life’s worth living!
Just stop, Tom Batiuk. Just stop. This is beyond your ability.
Why is a bridge over a tiny trickle — calling a creek would be generous — as high as the Brooklyn Bridge?
Is it just to provide a handy suicide contemplation spot for Westviewians and visiting Centervillians?
Presumably once you’ve contemplated sufficiently, you drive off Nobottom Road at highway speed.
How benevolent of the state and local governments to provide these convenient tools for the depopulation of toxic towns.
There are places in the Northeastern US (and probably in Eastern Ohio) where watercourses have carved gorges into the landscape. Some are surprisingly narrow and deep.
An example not far from me in Philadelphia is the Walnut Lane Bridge which spans a 147 foot deep gorge made by the Wissahickon Creek (approximately the height of a 15 story building).
Bravo for today’s entry, TFH. That’s the most I’ve laughed at a FW strip in…ever.
Yesterday’s strip was just as good!
Having already tried comic strip time (where time passes locally but nobody ages and nothing ever changes), realistic time (events have consequences and people age), time jumps, time skips, time pools, time helmets, etc., Battocks seems to have bravely chugged ahead to what I’d call the time blender, where stories take place at whatever time in history The Author says they do, and characters are whatever age is needed to make the story work. Times and ages can change arbitrarily within stories, as needed by The Author. So Harry can go back in time to his high school days and stumble upon a drugstore comic-book rack that’s existing many years earlier. Less and Flunky can crash a pick-up football game as people in their 60s, execute a pass play as thirty-somethings, and revert to being old and cranky, all in the passing of a few panels. Krankus and Masoné and Cinder can all be whatever age they are needed to be at this exact moment.
Lesser people, beady-eyed nit-pickers can call this a lack of “continuity,” but The Author knows it’s actually an innovative new form of storytelling. Kinda like “Slaughterhouse-Five,” or “The Time Traveler’s Wife,” but with bad dialogue and lazy art.
Cody and Owen
Dead Skunk Head
Les' yellow shirt
Old dying people
photo album corners
traveling green shirt
unnatural hand gestures
Westview High School
Westview HS Band