Not Sure If Serious

As Les and Summer drone on, we learn that MONTONI’S IS CLOSING???!!!

*record scratch*

Well, this is a shocker. Montoni’s is so central to Westview that Tom Batiuk will have to completely retool the comic strip. It’s a key location in the storytelling world of —

Oh right. I forgot. This is Funky Winkerbean. Batiuk will just forget this strip ever happened.

Funky Winkerbean has a serious problem with introducing sudden dramatic turns that radically alter the status quo, and then just disregarding them. Dinkle’s deafness, Mort’s dementia, and Phil Holt’s death were all examples of this. Sometimes it does the lame “all just a dream” cop-out, but more often they just fade away without ever being addressed. Or any character even commenting on these miraculous recoveries. It happens so often that terminally ill people should be going to Westview like it’s Lourdes. (I already used that line, but I like it so I’m using it again.)

Everything I’ve said about Summer this week applies to this stupid plot twist as well. Montoni’s suddenly needing to close doesn’t ring true. The story didn’t hint at this in the slightest. It very clumsily mentioned the pandemic, but the biggest hardship we know about was Funky having to move the jukebox.

And it ignores what we do know. Funky has no signs of financial problems. Quite the opposite: in the middle of the pandemic he paid for two surgeries, mocked a financial planning seminar, and had a major house renovation. Keep in mind, this is his house:

So there’s a good chance this seemingly monumental announcement will amount to nothing.

On the other hand, this doesn’t feel like a throwaway story. I predicted earlier that the deification of Summer would take months. Funky mentions a Montoni’s memorabilia auction. You’d better believe that’s going to happen, because memorabilia collecting is one of the strip’s favorite things to depict. And with no Montoni’s, where will Summer have her book release party? This week is setting up a lot of future sub-arcs that the strip is likely to deliver on.

It’s tough to speculate on what today’s strip means, until we know if it’s for real or not. Either this is a major step in the winding down of Funky Winkerbean, or the strip is about to reach new lows for retconning itself into meaninglessness.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

77 responses to “Not Sure If Serious

  1. Tomorrow, it will be “Yeah, close our doors, so that the deep cleaning guys can do their work. We reopen Saturday afternoon.”

    • Rusty Shackleford

      I was thinking “ while we repaint the restaurant “

    • Margaret

      Yes, I was thinking it would be something like that too. Renovations, or maybe an expansion. But if that was the story, why would they auction off memorabilia? Surely they’d want to put it all back after.

  2. Andrew

    Ironic that I brought up the New York location’s closing, then.

    Probably too soon to judge if this is a permanent shake-up of the status quo or not, but it is amusing to imagine if this was the Pizza Monster’s long-term goal or something.

  3. Y. Knott

    At the memorabilia auction, Mitchell Knox and Chester Hagglemore get into a bidding war on an old grease-stained napkin signed by Ohio comics legend Zeus X. Machina. The sale of the napkin raises enough money to save Montoni’s. Yay!

    (Is that potentially-interesting-but-in-fact-completely-boring enough for this strip?)

    • Green Luthor

      At least Mitchell will be able to get his autographed photo of John Darling Who Was Murdered. I’m sure we were all on the edge of our seats on that lingering plot thread.

    • William Thompson

      Satan will outbid them all. He’s redecorating Hell, and everything at Montoni’s–from the recipes down to the green cup–is a horror beyond Dante’s imagination.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        Tell me honestly. Did you steal this?

        If you did or not. I’m stealing this. It’s going on the giant and ever growing pile of, ‘Clever Quips I Stole from WT.’

  4. Epicus Doomus

    Well, this is unexpected. Without pizza, FW is barely half a comic strip. Is it possible that the long-awaited, frequently speculated-upon Grand Finale is at long last upon us? Or is BatYam just planning a whole slew of “retired Funky” gags? What will become of Wally, Rachel and Adeela? Also bear in mind that Funky is DSH John’s landlord, too. Could Westview even survive a future without pizza and comic books? And if so, how?

  5. Panel 1: Is that Tony Montoni poking a waitress’ eye out?
    Panel 2: That bunting is not Montoni’s colors. Is this simulating some kind of Ayahuasca trip? Or just the usual laziness trip?
    Panel 3: Ayers rips off Chief Whigham’s Exploding Eyeball Syndrome from Gil Thorp! And he shows Less pathetically trying to ape Jack Benny.

    Regardless, if Montoni’s is closing, so is this strip. Neither is going to happen any time soon.

  6. billytheskink

    I think the chance that this gets reversed in some incredibly ridiculous and utterly boring way is about 93% (probably due to something that comes up while Summer researches, writes, or inexplicably but successfully publishes her stupid book). However, this is the kind of thing we all thought TB might do back when we were counting down to the 50th anniversary of the strip with the thought that he might call it quits after making it to the spring of this year.

    Way way way back in the original Stuck Funky days and the early SOSF days we had a regular commenter who went by O.B. Dan who frequently offered his thoughts on how TB was going wrap the strip up in the coming years, a scenario he dubbed “The Grand Finale” (discussed often enough that he eventually just called it “TGF” and we all knew what he meant). Closing Montoni’s is the kind of move that would get O.B. Dan talking about TGF. One of these days Dan’s gonna be right about TGF… right?

    • ComicBookHarriet

      I would agree, except that in the telling of a NORMAL story before the big reversal would come some kind of actual pathos.

      This is MONTONI’S. Everyone in this strip, Summer and Les included, has worked there. It was the lifelong career of the main character. It’s the only known place of employ for Holly, Funky, Rachel and Wally.

      I thought it was supposed to be passed on to Wally Winkerbean, who a few years ago had a bunch of virtue signaling strips about veteran parking, wheelchair ramps and window signs that I figured were supposed to signify him taking more control of the space. What is Wally going to do now?

      Funky and Les are best friends who’ve spent like half of this year hanging out, playing sports and going to funerals. Why would Les have no idea that Funky was even considering this?

      And he’s just like, shrug, guess I’m closing.

      What the everloving funk IS THIS?

      I’ve said before, Montoni’s is the Axis Mundi around which this strip spins. The High School once served as another locus of action, but that hasn’t been true for years now.

      If Montoni’s goes, the strip is on it’s way out. It’s like tossing the Ring into Mount Doom, you can have 45 minutes of endings after that…while the plot lines wind down and conclude. But the eldritch artifact propelling the Third Age is gone forever, and Batiuk is preparing to sail into the West(view).

      • Rusty Shackleford

        Batty himself has said many times that Montoni’s is the main stage for this strip. I always thought this a poor choice as it made for nonsensical things like people sitting at a bar drinking coffee, yet you never see anyone drinking beer.

      • billytheskink

        The reason why I’m 93% sure that something will save Montoni’s from closure is that I cannot imagine TB retiring without announcing it well beforehand so everyone knows he’s taking a victory lap. All of the major events in this strip have been announced in advance (time jumps, story arcs about “substantial ideas”, etc.), even if only on TB’s own blog, surely the most major of major events would be too, right?

        Or maybe the syndicate’s publicist floated the story of TB’s retirement out to the usual media outlets and didn’t get the bites they got for cancer or CTE or bullying or whatever else TB has inexplicably gotten ink for in recent years.

        • ComicBookHarriet

          One thing I’m wondering about is if he is somehow planning on merging Funky Winkerbean and Crankshaft back together. That could be the reason for aligning the two in the same timeframe.

          Ayers artwork has gotten really rough over the last year. The guy is older that Batiuk. I wonder if Ayers is going to bow out before too long. If Batiuk can’t find a new artist for FW, maybe he plans to put the merged strip onto Davis, who is at least a decade younger.

          The wrinkle in this is that Crankshaft is the more popular strip at this point, but FW is where his ‘prestige’ and ‘history’ is located. Would the 200 odd newspapers, such as my local, that pay for five days of Crankshaft cleaning his gutters, cancel the strip if Les Moore starts appearing every other week?

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            This is another good theory. It would explain why there have been so many pointless, unnecessary crossovers: Mason Jarre buys the Valentine; the John Darling rerun story in both strips; Crankshaft saves Susan Smith from nothing. This could all be a “soft launch” to work out a new art style.

            I think it would be a mistake. The best thing Funky Winkerbean has going for it is its legacy status. Enough people remember when it was actually good to make a stink if any newspaper tries to drop it. I doubt any such goodwill exists for Crankshaft. If anything, he should end CS, and merge it back into FW to get the FW name recognition.

          • ComicBookHarriet


            It’s my experience that Crankshaft is the more widely read and known strip at this point. Anytime I try to explain Funky Winkerbean to the uninitiated, people stare at me gaping until I mention that the guy also writes Crankshaft.

            It’s also the better strip. Hands down. No contest. It’s a fat asthmatic on crutches beating a gasping flopping tuna fish in the 100 meter dash. But it’s still a win.

          • billytheskink

            I think merging the strips (either due to Ayers’ age, his own desire to cut down on his workload, or pressure from the syndicate that is surely having a hard time selling both strips) is a very plausible theory that would explain a lot of the decisions TB has made in writing both strips this year. Still, I just can’t see TB doing something like that without trying to drum up press for it well in advance.

          • Rusty Shackleford

            I agree, Crankshaft is definitely more popular. I know long time readers who gave up on it years ago but still read Crankshaft.

          • Gerard Plourde

            Merging the strips does sound plausible and explains why Crankshaft was magically de-aged. It would also explain the name change of TomBa’s web site.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            Crankshaft is the more widely read and known strip at this point. It’s also the better strip.

            No argument here, but I still think name recognition matters a lot. There have been a lot of stories about newspapers trimming their comics pages even further, and FW never seems to get the axe. I’ve also seen anecdotes that readers will go to bat for it in surveys and whatnot.

      • Green Luthor

        “Why would Les have no idea that Funky was even considering this?” Well, it is the same Les who had no idea of the box office performance of the movie adaptation of the only defining thing in his life, so… maybe not so far-fetched?

        Probably there was a conversation (that we didn’t get to see, of course) where Funky says “Business at Montoni’s hasn’t been going great” and Les thinks “Wait, is he talking about me? No? Guess I don’t have to pay attention, then”.

    • William Thompson

      Having Summer rescue Montoni’s from extinction sounds like a sensible and efficient use of the story elements Batiuk has set forth, so there’s no way he’ll do that. It’s got to be something that involves either comic books or pizza. So maybe, while taking down pictures, Holly discovers a crack in the wall, peeks into it and discovers dozens of comic books that have fallen through another convenient crack in the Komix Korner floor. And the comic books are all long-lost, super-rare first editions! Chester buys them and Montoni’s is saved, just in time for Christmas. Or, the demolition crew arrives to clear away the building. The work begins when a man with a pick-axe hits the kitchen floor. Whoosh! Oil gushes out! Decades of discarded pizza crusts have congealed into a vast deposit of low-sulfur petroleum. Jed Clampett has nothing on Montoni’s!

      Of course Batiuk will out-dumb those guesses. It’s his gift.

  7. William Thompson

    So that’s what it takes to wipe the smug off Summer’s face. How can she become an authentic writer without the inspiration of Montoni’s pizza?

  8. Green Wave of Kanagawa

    Funky never shared this news with his best friend? They just played football two weeks ago and he never thought to mention that he and Holly were thinking it was time to sell Montoni’s? He drops it when Les happens to come into the place? That’s not how people in reality act but, of course, it’s par for the course for people who are a quarter inch from reality. As our esteemed host points out, the main action will be the minutiae of memorabilia. Plus, the requisite moral judgment of the buyers’ motives. Maybe Antiques Road Show will show up to evaluate the jukebox. Maybe a stash of Silver Age comics will fall out of hole in the wall behind some boxes and the fun will really begin.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Considering how Les reacts to this news, I can’t blame Funky for not telling him until now. At least Summer had the decency to be shocked. Les immediately makes it about himself and spews a stupid wry observation that’s basically name-dropping Lisa.

    • William Thompson

      Oops–I should have read all the posts before suggesting the hidden comic-books gag.

  9. Green Wave of Kanagawa

    Oh, beckoningchasm, I bet you’re right. I wish I’d read your comment first, sorry about that. Also: apologies for dropping “course” in there twice. As TB might quip, my writing needs a “course correction.” (I’ll let myself out and accept a flogging with a cold slice of Montoni’s.)

  10. Gerard Plourde

    Here we go with another example of “first thought, best thought”.

    Montoni’s closing would destroy the Westview economy. And what happened to Wally? I thought he was being groomed to take over management so Funky and Holly could cut back on their involvement.

    And how come there’s no Pizza Monster arc this year?

    Maybe we are seeing the strip’s denouement, but who can tell?

  11. The Dreamer

    Montoni’s is probably moving to a new location out in the ‘Burbs Bigger and better, more space.

  12. ComicBookHarriet

    AS IT WAS FORETOLD IN THE ELDER DAYS (2010) BY THE PROPHET OB DAN REGARDING THE GRAND FINALE. When the heavens part, a holy rapture occurs and all story lines are wrapped up.

    “It’s coming, it’s coming…Les will be at the center of it all, as he is the elder contact the world has with Zombie Lisa. Keep in mind, the strip’s best-told (and longest) story, the only one spanning all three ears, is the “Les & Lisa” soap opera.

    Repent, sinner, the end is near!”

    • billytheskink

      Man I miss O.B. Dan. He could be prickly, but he pretty much always had something interesting to say.

      This site has grown by leaps and bounds since those early posts over a decade ago. Without those original commenters, we don’t have the SOSF we do today. Heck, we don’t survive the infamous cease-and-desist (someone hold me accountable to this promise) if Dan and others who aren’t still hanging around here didn’t stay interested.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        Yeah, commenters come and go. Some people hop in, post a ton for a few months, and then disappear completely. My heart breaks remembering HeyItsDave.

        But I was astounded when I went back and looked at the Time Pool how many names I could find that were still posting as of this year. Time Pool was about the beginning of my lurkdom…made me feel like a neophyte.

  13. none

    This isn’t a Saturday or Monday strip. I’m not buying it.

  14. spacemanspiff85

    My money is on some “anonymous bidder” who turns out to be Chester buying all the memorabilia, then Atomik Komix buys out Montoni’s and nothing changes.

    • Charles

      Or Mason buys it up as part of his Failing Ohio Businesses Collection. After all, he flew across the country to go to this damn pizza place.

      It’ll be especially ironic when Batiuk rails against rich people who destroy small towns when he has all of his characters effectively owned by and utterly dependent on the whims of two superrich emotionally erratic men.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        Good point! Maybe he thinks it’s ok because Cindy will be pulling the strings.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        I think Les is the third superrich emotionally erratic man who runs the town. He’s not a business owner, but he’s so wealthy and important he gets everything he wants, like Biff Tannen in the second Back to the Future movie. It would explain why the whole town indulges his massive ego and his maladaptive coping.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      Which would make it either Jim Ignatowski buying Mario’s on “Taxi” or Dave Brandstetter buying Romano’s in Joseph Hansen’s mystery series.

      If it’s not, and Montoni’s is, in fact, closing, it’s the Noid (infamous for ruining pizzas) able to leave Ohio in good conscience, knowing that his work there is done. (Ooh, indeed, Marge Simpson, nee Bouvier.)

      Summer could have her book launch party at the gazebo, or else in the gymnasium at the high school (shut up, Cynthia: remember when you said you were calling yourself that? Probably not, because it was B.B.*).

      Before Buddyblog.

  15. batgirl

    Sorry, meant to do this earlier! My stories online:
    Bluebeard Contented:
    The King of Elfland’s Stepdaughter:
    On the Transmontane Run with the Aerial Mail Express:

    Hoping this gets through, despite having urls in it. I’ve got another somewhere but haven’t found it at the moment.

    • sorialpromise

      Thank you! I will check them out.

    • batgirl

      My three 3-Day Novels (shortlisted but not winners) collected here as Threefold (free download):

      Eve! As a follower of Defunctland on Youtube, I also would be interested in your brother’s book! If he has a surviving copy, maybe he could scan and upload it somewhere?

      • be ware of eve hill

        He told me the book was stored on a thumb drive “somewhere.” I have a feeling he knows exactly where it is. If he “found” it, he could upload it himself.

        For something he spent so much time and effort into, he seems incredibly ambivalent about it now. He even got arrested for trespassing while researching for the book.

        You’re the second person who has shown interest in his book. That’s two-thirds the number of copies he sold. Perhaps if I sent him a self-addressed, stamped, unsealed envelope, he’d mail it to me. If it’s not too big, he could even email the file.

        We usually share a weekly phone call on Saturday afternoons. Hopefully, he’ll pick up.

  16. Jeff M

    Oh please, Mary Beth Francis. This is just the setup for 2022’s pizza box monster “arc.” We will learn that Funky has set this up as a clever plan to catch the monster. It will fail.

    • be ware of eve hill

      Your scenario is too clever for Batiuk. You’re giving him far too much credit.

      If it actually happens, I’ll eat my snarkers hat and ban myself from this website.

      • sorialpromise

        You try that and we will drag you back here kicking and screaming. (I hear you have a soft, melodious voice.)

        • be ware of eve hill

          You try that and we will drag you back here kicking and screaming

          Who’s “we”? 🤼‍♀️

          I’ve been told there’s a blue jay like quality to my voice. That’s a beautiful songbird. Right?

  17. Paul Jones

    Not only would the economy collapse, the only thing that would be left is that idiot Dinkle selling band things.

  18. ComicBookHarriet

    Ugh. Had a horrible nightmare thought.

    After researching the entire town, learning all about the heartwarming stories centered on the lovely little Pizzeria at the center of it all….Summer decides she can’t let the place die, and buys it herself with her book money. The book will have a distinctive cover, (drawn by Darrrrrrin,) identical to the Best of 50 Years of Funky Winkerbean volume soon to come out IRL from Kent State University Press.

    Also, Apple Annie will have moved up to publisher, and Susan will be an editor in her employ instead.


    • Banana Jr. 6000

      That sounds plausible. Batiuk is going to make Les and Lisa’s zygote not just a world-famous author, but the SAVIOR OF THE TOWN.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      OMG that is dumbest…. (Thinks to myself with a Funky slack jawed look) … yep, that checks out.

  19. Charles

    I don’t think it was the pandemic, Funky. The pandemic was a problem that a restaurant with a well established built-in delivery service like your pizza place was especially equipped to handle. I think it was you promoting your idiot cousin to manager of your busiest shift from dishwasher despite the fact that he had no practical experience that qualified him for the job, and that one of the first things he did as manager was hire one of his idiot friends to be manager of the other shift, despite, again, her having no practical experience that would qualify her for that position.

    And add me to the complaints that this is how Les finds out about Montoni’s closing down. If he and Summer had not come in on a whim, would Funky have never told Les, his best friend, about his business failing and closing up shop?

    Anyway, it would be interesting if Batiuk had the failure of this tent pole business result in the cascading failures of the other businesses in the area. Gross John’s first forced to let Crazy go because he actually has to pay his rent to a new landlord who doesn’t cut him breaks. Then the Korner goes out of business completely and John has to work as an entry level custodian at the school, because with Becky’s connections it’s the only job in Westview he’d be able to get.

    Not sure how Atomik Komix gets blown up, but I’m sure Batiuk will find a way.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Yeah, my cousin owns a local pizza shop. 99% of his business is carry out anyways. Covid actually increased his business as people did not want to go to normal restaurants.

    • Probably that guy who was ranting about how bad the comics are. You remember, the guy who actually buys all of them.

    • billytheskink

      And let’s not forget overlooking Rachel for both temporary and permanent management positions that went to his own inexperienced relatives (relatively speaking… what is combat if not preparation for slinging the worst pizza east of the Mississippi?) despite Rachel having extensive experience having worked at Montoni’s nearly as long as Funky.

      It’s like Funky blames Rachel for that time he got blackout drunk at Montoni’s and Rachel took him home which lead to a bad sitcom misunderstanding (but played all dramatic-like) with then-wife Cindy about what Rachel was doing next to the bed Funky had just lied down in… Shmuck.

  20. Hannibal’s Lectern

    “Nothing good ever lasts.”

    That may be true, but what’s it got to do with Montoni’s?

  21. bayoustu

    If nothing good ever lasts, that certainly explains the interminable run of Funky Winkerbean! Sans Montoni’s, the denizens of Westview will have no choice but to resort to cannibalism…

    • Green Luthor

      “Huh. That homeless guy we just ate, the one we found behind what used to be Montoni’s? He tasted exactly like a Montoni’s sausage pizza. How odd.”

  22. Jimmy

    A local group that owned a few pizzerias had its assets seized by the tax man. I attended the ensuing auction, which was fairly mundane except for the fact that the large pizza oven sold for just $50.

    Yeah, it probably cost a couple grand to move the sucker, but that’s a smoking deal.

  23. Don

    Here are some possibilities (besides “it was all a giant swerve” – and there’s still the matter of the Pizza Monster, which will probably be resolved Sunday or Monday):

    Funky drives off into the sunset, with the last panel being the cover of Summer’s book…which just so happens to be the new name of the Funky-less (and, I am surmising, Batiuk-less) strip taking its place the next day.

    FW pulls a “Heart of the City,” and the new strip, “Les is Moore,” which now concentrates on Les, looks very little like the current strip except for the characters.

  24. If Batiuk does close Montoni’s, it means the strip will be nothing but Dinkle, Atomik Komix, and Les.

    It would effectively be the end of the strip’s title character.

  25. Odds of:

    Montoni’s temporarily closing for renovations or re-branding–Even money

    Montoni’s moving to another location–3-1

    Montoni’s closing for good–About the same as Les not behaving like jerk

  26. Green Luthor

    Mason will see an article somewhere that mentions Lisa Story in passing, and immediately fly out to show it to Les (instead of calling or e-mailing like a normal person). When he finds out Funky’s continual managerial incompetence led to Montoni’s closing, he’ll buy the place himself, and make Funky the manager again, since he was so good at it before.

    Or maybe Bill Clinton will arrange to have the 2024 Democratic Convention be held at Montoni’s. (It’s more plausible than Clinton getting someone released from ICE during the Trump administration, that’s for sure.)

    (Hey, wait. Bill Clinton loves Montoni’s pizza. Maybe HE’S the Pizza Monster! What a twist!)

  27. So Less and Summer are eating at Montoni’s and take no notice that Rachel and Tony taking all the stuff of the walls. It’s only when Funky mentions closing that Les acknowledges what is happening. You’d think he would at least have acknowledged Tony’s presence, since he must have made a special trip from Florida for this.

    It’s also very odd for TB to drop a bomb like this on a Friday. That alone indicates to me that it will be a non-event. I think the key phrase is “auctioning off our memorabilia”, which is one of TB’s favorite ass-pulls. Maybe Mitchell Knox will make some outrageous bid on the John Darling photo that will be enough to bail Montoni’s out of whatever supposed financial straits they’re experiencing.

    Or the pizza monster could show up tomorrow and somehow save the day on Sunday.

  28. PrezGAR

    What if this is just to lure the Pizza Monster into a trap, so his or her identity can be exposed?

  29. be ware of eve hill

    Oh! Tony Montoni is alive.

    Last December, Tony Montoni appeared in the 12/19/2021 Sunday strip as some kind of force ghost. (link should be visible to all)

    Do you folks remember how perplexed we all were? Was Tony dead? When did he die? Were we deprived of a Very Special Story Arc covering his tragic demise?

    I have a theory.

    As a lot of you probably know, many comic strip creators do not create their Sunday strips at the same time as their daily strips. The Sunday strip could be finished days, weeks, or even months before the daily strips published adjacent to it. That’s why the Sunday comic sometimes takes a drastic break away from the daily story arc. Often there is a cliffhanger on Saturday that doesn’t get addressed until the following Monday.

    Suppose Batiuk had a story arc “in the pipeline” featuring Tony’s demise when he created this Sunday strip. The Sunday strip was scheduled to be released to the public after Tony had died in the daily strips. Is it possible Batiuk decided to abandon the Tony Montoni death arc, and had completely forgotten about this Sunday comic? A comic featuring Tony’s ghostly form that was months away from release? Oops!

    Funky Winkerbean has a serious problem with introducing sudden dramatic turns that radically alter the status quo, and then just disregarding them.
    BANANA JR. 6000 – today

    Couldn’t have said it better myself, Banana Jr. 6000. What do you folks think?

    Does anybody in this discussion believe Batty stuck force ghost Tony in that Sunday strip to see if we were paying attention? Does anybody believe he submitted it with a mischievous little boy grin, saying to himself, “This will drive those beady-eyed nitpickers nuts”? Yeah, me neither.

    • Y. Knott

      I prefer the simpler explanation: Batty is extremely bad at remembering details.

      We can propose various theories about WHY he’s bad at remembering details. Me, I’ve made no secret that I’m in the “beginnings of dementia” camp — Batiuk’s forgetfulness, obsessive nostalgia, and endless rehashing of a narrow range of pet enthusiasms all point in that direction for me. But … BJr6K has made cogent, well-reasoned arguments surrounding the “undiagnosed autism” theory. And another highly-regarded school of thought (espoused by several long-time commenters) is that Batiuk’s always been lazy, forgetful and prone to half-assing his way through things — it’s just more noticeable now that there’s 50 years of story detail for him to forget.

      So, with that in mind, do I believe that ghost Tony was a deliberate fake-out? No.

      Do I believe Batiuk had a plan for Tony, and forgot what it was? Probably.

      Do I believe that if anyone points it out to Batiuk, he’ll just shrug and say that he changed the continuity because, y’know, it’s better this way?

      Yes, absolutely.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        A major part of the problem has been TB’s lack of any oversight since Jay Kennedy died in 2007. Whatever’s wrong with him personally, the syndicate is making it worse by letting him call all his own shots.

      • The Funky Winkerbean strip of the 70s that CBH so painstakingly documented here was at its core a gag-a-day strip or at most a gag-a-week. In the way it was presented, the characters didn’t age so there were never any issues with continuity or timelines. Where he got into trouble was in Act II, where he attempted to take these characters, who are silly caricatures of High School stereotypes, and turn them into real people who are aging roughly in the same timeline that the comic strip is written. The grown up Funky, Les, and Crazy just can’t possibly carry on the same endearing qualities of the lovable losers they were in the 70s. He constantly resorts to flashbacks and time machines in some desperate effort to reclaim that past glory. Once he opened that door to Act II there is really no going back.

      • be ware of eve hill

        Thank you for your support.

        Sometimes I fear that folks here look upon me like I’m some kind of truffle pig when it comes to finding junk in FW to complain about.

    • “That’s why the Sunday comic sometimes takes a drastic break away from the daily story arc.”

      The most infamous example would be when Les showed up to comment on Funky’s new car, right in the middle of his Kilimanjaro climb.

  30. hitorque

    I’d have thought that it would have been INSTANT BREAKING NEWS in the Four-County Region that the best and only pizza joint in all of northeast Ahia was “closing their doors”…?

    How would Lester just be finding out about this now on a whim?

  31. batgirl

    It could be that Funky and Holly are not shutting down, but retiring. I mean, they are (whatever age they are this week) and need a rest.
    My bet: Wally gets the nod to carry on the business, and renames it “Funky’s”. Rachel stays on as a waitress because she is female and Wally needs someone to smirk wryly at his ‘punchlines’. Wally will soon cease to resemble Young Funky and morph into Old Fat Funky, and Rachel will look just like Holly except on the days she has red hair. Cory will continue to wipe down the counter and smirk. The original Funky will move into Bedside Manor and Mort will take his place in Westview. No one will notice.
    Lillian will merge her bookshop business with the Komix Korner and she and John will be the new Odd Couple.