Guess Who’s Not Coming To Dinner

In today’s strip, Les and Summer’s visit to Montoni’s continues. To recap: Summer has returned from being out of town for a decade, and she and Les are celebrating her decision to write a book that will no doubt become a seminal event in the history of Westview.

Where’s Cayla?

Shouldn’t Summer’s stepmother be along for such a momentous event in her step-daughter’s life? This wasn’t an impromptu trip to Montoni’s. Les and Summer have both changed out of their jogging clothes and into more formal dress. They had to go home to do this. Did they just walk in, silently shower, and leave again without even telling Cayla where they were going?

Summer’s relationship with Cayla should be a lot more complex than it is. Cayla was more a part of Summer’s life than Lisa ever was, though that’s not saying much. Cayla’s daughter Keysha has been Summer’s closest companion. But Summer treats Cayla just like Tom Batiuk does: as a prop to be brought out for Lisa- and race-related stories, and ignored the rest of the time. Everything revolves around what Les wants.

And what Les wants right now is another Lisa fetish object. I can’t imagine why he needs one: every known object and human activity reminds this man of Lisa. Bird feeders, cancelled checks, VHS tapes, book ideas, class reunions, time travel journeys, motion picture production, and of course his hand-delivered Oscar for Best Actress. I shudder to think what that statuette has seen.

Funky Winkerbean thinks it’s a realistic comic strip. But no wife would accept being ostracized from family activities, or being made to accept ridiculous monuments to ex-wives. Cayla has already been way too indulgent of Les’ inability to move past Lisa’s death. In the Lisa’s Story era, you could argue that she was putting aside her feelings to support his work. But that justification doesn’t exist anymore. Lisa’s Story is over. And despite being Les getting an Oscar-winning movie made to his exact specifications, he still can’t move on. Now he needs a pizza sign because it reminds him of Lisa.

Les Moore is a sick, sick man. Everyone in this town needs to quit enabling him. Starting with the two other people in today’s strip. Summer’s reaction to this sickness is to throw jazz hands and try to steer the conversation back to herself. What she says makes no sense, but her facial expression is clear: “It’s time to talk about me some more. I’m writing a book, remember?”

Even Funky should be interjecting here. He tried telling Crazy Harry that salad dressing wasn’t a good anniversary gift, so he should be hinting to Les that this is a much worse idea. He could at least offer some pre-fab divorce papers, like Atomik Komix does if you buy a life-size Iron Man figure. But Funky’s more interested in making a sale. He’s grinning like he knows someone else wants to buy that sign, and Les is going to bid the price through the roof. Great guy, that Funky Winkerbean.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

104 responses to “Guess Who’s Not Coming To Dinner

  1. Oh, my God. I am actually laughing. The closing and bulldozing of Montoni’s is yet another opportunity to praise Lisa. Tom Batiuk truly has no idea what “shame” means. Or “talent” if we’re breaking out the dictionary.

    • William Thompson

      I want to know how Les would mount that sign in his studio. Will it be flat to the wall or will it stick out like a sore plot-hole? Will it be hooked into the wiring system? Does his studio occupy the entire garage, or is it sized to let the Batiukmobile still park inside? Either way a sign that big is going to be overwhelming in a small space.

      • ian'sdrunkenbeard

        I picture him hanging it on the front of the garage and then getting pissed off when people keep stopping by for pizza and a cup of coffee. Cayla will tell him, “If you don’t want people coming here for pizza, turn the goddam sign off!”

        • William Thompson

          No, she and her daughter will make pizza for all those people who came for the pizza and stayed to worship Les.

      • Green Luthor

        Given that the sign reminds him of Lisa, I really don’t wanna know how he plans to “mount” it. *Shudder*

  2. William Thompson

    Right, all sorts of people stopped ordering pizza during the past few years. That explains all the times I had to dodge the local Domino’s cars every time I went out. More likely that Montoni’s pizza weakened people’s immune systems, making them more vulnerable to infection. None of these characters noticed the massive die-off because they’re too self-absorbed to care about their neighbors.

    • Hitorque

      1. Les and a neon sign to remind him of Blessed St. Lisa?! Didn’t we just we just endure six weeks of this bullshit with the quest for authentic John Darling memorabilia?

      1a. It’s funny because Lester already has a house and garage chock full of St. Lisa memorabilia.

      1b. It’s funny because Lester’s single most valuable piece of Lisa memorabilia, i.e., his daughter, aka the fruit of St. Lisa’s blessed womb, is always treated as an afterthought…

      2. THIS ENTIRE STRIP IS BULLSHIT BECAUSE I DISTINCTLY REMEMBER CAPTAIN FUNKYTIMES BOASTING TO HIS AA MEETING ABOUT HOW BUSINESS WAS EVEN *BETTER* FOR HIM DURING THE PANDEMIC… Jesus Fuckin’ Christ I hated the Funkyverse before and I hate it even more now that TomBa just retcons whatever whenever he feels like it.

      2a. Either way, I’m still trying to figure out how the BEST, MOST FAMOUS and ONLY pizzeria in a four-county radius goes bankrupt… Maybe Rundfunk could lay off half of the do-nothing nepotism hires on his payroll??

      2b. Wait just a goddamned minute here, TIME-OUT!!! Over in Centreville, even though the Valentine Theatre is run down, 84 years old, infested with roaches and rats and smells like dry rot, mold and mildew and it’s got crusty jism stains all over the seats, EVEN IT WAS ABLE TO FIND A BUYER! Why the hell is Funkenstoner auctioning off assets already while they’re clearly still serving food? I’m sorry I’m no businessman but don’t you usually close the business up first before selling it off piecemeal? Knowing Dr. Funk, he’ll probably surplus the coffee maker, the pizza ovens and the cash register before the shift is over…

      And are we really supposed to believe not one person anywhere who sees an underappreciated asset in Montoni’s and wants to make a go of it? Are we really supposed to believe that he didn’t take advantage of those COVID business loans during the pandemic? Because the Fed was literally giving money away in 2020… Even if he didn’t, are we supposed to believe that a long-term well-known local business leader and president of the Chamber of Commerce couldn’t get a loan with very generous terms from the town bank?

      WITH EVERYTHING WE KNOW ABOUT THE FUNKYVERSE, are we really supposed to believe Funkdoobiest doesn’t know within the next 72 hours, some hyper-wealthy manchild will be passing through town, spot Montoni’s and instantly buy it lock, stock and barrel for a premium price because he’s always wanted to run an old-timey pizzeria just like this and it reminds him of the old-timey pizzeria he had in his shitty assed hometown and just like that a grown multi-millionaire turns into a giddy nine year old on a sugar rush… We’ve seen all these stupid stories before…

  3. sorialpromise

    1. Cayla. She took the smart route and stayed home. Although weren’t the odd pretty slim that Les would bring up Lisa.
    2. Bwoeh. I got home too late to respond to yesterday. So…I am still interested in your brother’s book. Where else can I turn for abandoned Ohio parks?
    …Yes. I believe your blue jay voice must be soft and melodious. It has Mr. Bwoeh ensnared within your little finger.
    …And truffle pig? Really? That’s how you think is our opinion of you? At the very worst, you would be OUR truffle pig. But in no way shape or form do we think of you that way. You are our dearly beloved be ware of eve hill on a very high pedestal.

    • be ware of eve hill

      2. Apologies to you and batgirl. I called Rob as usual this afternoon, but he gets angry every time I mention his book.

      He growled, “There are plenty of articles on the internet covering abandoned amusement parks in northeast Ohio!”

      Perhaps that is why he is angry, but he hasn’t been the same since Dad died.

      I haven’t spoken to my older brother since Christmas. He didn’t even thank me for the birthday card I sent for his birthday in August. I’ve called several times and left messages, but Andrew never returns my calls.

      Whatever has happened to that happy family of mine? Mom, the glue that kept our family together, died just before Christmas 2017. It hasn’t been the same since. 😢

      • sorialpromise

        That is so sad. I feel for you. On my side it is often difficult to visit with my family. You and the Mister are loved.

        • be ware of eve hill

          It’s not all gloom and doom. Tomorrow is video call day with my son’s family. Grandkids. YaY!

          • sorialpromise

            Just spent time with mine today. Went to Haywards BBQ in Overland Park. Best burnt ends in the city. The grandkids were nice also😜.

          • be ware of eve hill

            Sweet! Grandkids are the best. Mal and I have plans to visit my son’s family in December. It’s been too long. I can’t wait to give them all big hugs. 🤗🤗🤗🤗

            KC barbecue is the best.

      • batgirl

        Oh, sympathies – that must make Christmas hard for your family.

        • be ware of eve hill

          Thanks. It stinks.

          Mom and Dad, who lived in Ohio, are gone. My younger brother still lives in Ohio, my older brother lives in Kentucky, and I live in New Mexico. The brothers aren’t talking to one another at all. According to my younger brother, they last spoke in December 2020. I doubt we’ll ever share a Christmas holiday again.

          It’s complex. Dad died in June 2020, and he hasn’t had his funeral service yet. My younger brother has always been there for Mom and Dad and cared for them in their final years. He’d like to see his older brother step up and do something. He didn’t care for his older brother’s drunken, over-entitled behavior when he visited and banned his older brother from his home. My younger brother is not religious and would like to see his older brother, who claims he is, finalize the funeral arrangements. There’s a little bit of the Mom and Dad always liked you best argument, too (older brother got Dad’s car). It’s currently a stalemate. It seems my older brother would rather make excuses than the arrangements. How selfish and lazy can he be? Younger brother, put your jealousy and anger aside. The funeral is paid for. Choose a minister and call the funeral home. I’ve volunteered to make the arrangements, but as the adopted sister, I’ve been told to stay out of it. Unbelievable.

  4. Hey everybody! Montoni’s is closing because of the pandemic, which seemed to bypass Westview completely! (Other than that poor jukebox, which had to be moved temporarily out of an abundance of caution.)

    Look how happy everybody is in panel 2! They’re all grinning, because this sudden closure of a key part of their lives means Less might get something he covets. And after all, that’s really all that matters in this Rust Belt dump of a town. Huzzah!

  5. RudimentaryLathe?

    During the pandemic – which FW did not address at all while it was happening – food delivery and curbside food pickup were *massively* important. If Montoni’s Pizza couldn’t survive covid then it doesn’t deserve to survive.
    And of course Les makes this all about hmself (under the pretext of making it all about Lisa).

  6. Green Luthor

    Seriously, if Montoni’s business took that big of a hit because of the pandemic, their pizza really has to be as awful as the snarkers joke it is. Does Batiuk think people resorted to growing their own food or something? Did he not, at any point over the past (almost) three years, order food from a restaurant? You’d think he’d notice that he’s been getting takeout a lot more than he used to.

    With his lead time and the weirdly fluctuating timeline in his comics, he really would have been better off just not mentioning the pandemic at all. Saying business has been slow for Montoni’s of late would be perfectly believable. But blaming it on the pandemic? That’s just asking for people to question it.

    Or maybe Funky is just so much of an asshole that everyone in Westview decided they didn’t want to give him money. That’s plausible, too. (Though them showing up to buy his crap at the auction will probably prove that they’re willing to give him some money after all, so maybe not. Or they’re paying just because they’re glad to be rid of him. I’m rambling now.)

    Maybe the Pizza Monster will show up and shoot Funky to death, John Darling style. Then they can turn the gun into a pizza oven or something.

  7. Y. Knott

    Proof-reading alert: a word is missing in panel 1. It should read “wiped out our thin-crust profit margins”.

    Uh, wait a minute, though — okay, actually it shouldn’t actually read that, because that’s a stupid line. Right. Okay, look, just hang on for a sec….

    (looks through rest of strip)

    Y’know what? It fits right in with the rest of this crap. In fact, the more words left out, the better.


    • Green Luthor

      Good a call!

    • Hannibal's Lectern

      The only way I can make sense of that line is to say the pandemic “wiped out our thin-as-my-crust profit margins.” That’s still a pretty tortured simile, but Batiuk is famous for such things.

      Having never been to the Luigi’s in Akron that’s supposed to be the inspiration for Montoni’s, I have no idea how thin their crust is. Back in the ’70s I ate a lot of pizza from the Luigi’s in Terre Haute. It was pretty thin, but I suspect “Luigi’s” is somewhere in the top twenty or so pizza joint names, so I doubt the two places are connected.

      • be ware of eve hill

        It’s been about 25 years since I was last at Luigi’s in downtown Akron. I went with my bother, niece and husband. My brother, husband and I split a large pizza with everything, Mr. bwoeh wouldn’t have it any other way. I had no complaints about the pizza. It was fine. The crust was similar to a hand tossed. Not too thick. Not too thin.

        My niece wanted to be adventurous and ordered something called “a meatball casserole”. She exclaimed, “I can have pizza anytime”. When it arrived at the table, it was several meatballs smothered in mozzarella and marinara. No pasta whatsoever. Her face was priceless, “WTH?! Can I order a side of spaghetti?” Nope. “Can I order a vegetable?” Nope. She had to order a side of garlic bread.

        To be honest, I don’t remember if the plates were ceramic or plastic, but I remember being unimpressed that my ice tea glass was a plastic tumbler.

  8. Andrew

    It’s definitely hard to believe we’re ending the week’s dailies with the gang feeling upbeat and dropping obligatory Lisa lip service. Doing something monumental by having the decades-long social hub of your comic’s activity and living shout-out to an IRL restaurant as a victim of the topical social upheaval that is still affecting people now feels like something that Bautik would’ve milked for all the drama’s worth several years ago. He must really be getting soft now.

  9. Epicus Doomus

    As usual, Cayla is presumably home alone while Les reminisces about Lisa again. What “sounds way too true”? That Les and Lisa lived above Montoni’s? Who hasn’t?

    And what is Funky so happy and giddy about? He’s apparently not closing Montoni’s by choice, but there he is, grinning away like a total idiot. This makes no sense whatsoever, and I don’t anticipate that changing anytime soon.

    • Tom from Finland

      Funky probably realized that by closing Montoni’s , every item in the restaurant becomes memorabilia — the most valuable thing in Westview — and he’s going to be rich!

  10. billytheskink

    Always somebody else’s fault, isn’t it Funky? Like when those “greedy, amoral morons” (read, Wall Street) were responsible for the failure of Montoni’s New York location. The terrible pizza had nothing to do with it, of course.

    The worst thing is that we’re gonna have to hear this whole story again at Funky’s next AA meeting…

    • Green Wave of Kanagawa

      We sure didn’t hear about it at his last AA meeting when he was talking about the pandemic. It sure didn’t seem to affect business then. No monologs about how he couldn’t make money on deliveries or about a PPP loan. A week of whining about the paperwork for a business-saving loan that he would not have to pay back seems right up Funky’s alley.

  11. Andrew

    Oh! And if people are mourning the lack of Pizza monster, just made a discovery for myself (though maybe the regulars here know already) that the idea doesn’t just exist in the strip; the IRL Luigis actually has one too as an annual gimmick:

    So stop by Akron this weekend if you’re looking a sighting I guess.

    • ian'sdrunkenbeard

      A few years ago on Hallowe’en I dressed up as a human fly and stopped by Luigi’s on my way to Jilly’s Music Room. It was about 9 PM and a waitress told me that the PBM had been there at 7. Later that night I won $100 for my costume at Annabell’s, so that more than made up for missing the PBM.

      I would guess that PBM will be at Luigi’s tomorrow night at 7 but I really don’t know.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        My wife and I have been to Annabell’s on Halloween multiple times. I probably drank a beer right next to you!

  12. Anyone who presumes to call himself “writer” would have addressed the Cayla Problem long ago. And it would have been addressed thusly: “Yes, you were married to Lisa, and Lisa died. But I am your wife now. I am not one of the bearers for Lisa’s sarcophagus. I am, believe it or not, a person who exists outside of Lisa. And where do you exist, Les?”

    She would have immediately been written out of the strip. But the above probably would have garnered Batiuk far more kudos. Oh, decisions, decisions….

    • Green Wave of Kanagawa

      Exactly right. And Cayla could have been the catalyst for actual character development. Live wife eventually calls out husband, which inspires him to let go of dead wife and find gratitude and grace in this second chance for love. And we could have seen the stepsisters’ bond develop. Instead we get never-ending Festival of the Dead Lisa, and a guy whose idea of graciousness is letting people who’ve “offended” him apologize and genuflect. Cayla’s daughter is AWOL but maybe she’ll show up to buy something at the auction. Something that reminds her of the time Lisa did an amazing deed that changed her life, though we never heard about it until now.

      • Yes, every time that he has an opportunity to go deeper into the Moore family dynamics (or any other dynamics for that matter), he veers off into Atomik Comix.

  13. The Dreamer

    yes it’s true- as implied in today’s strip- Summer was conceived at Montoni’s in the upstairs apartment So it’s only natural that she be the one to start a ‘save Montoni’s’ campaign Or she writes Pizza Hut corporate and convinces them to buy Montoni’s What more fitting could there be after all to FW than for Montoni’s to become a Pizza Hut

  14. Gerard Plourde

    “You two should stick around for the auction”

    What? The auction is happening imminently? Was it advertised? Why isn’t there an auction notice at Montoni’s? And how come there’s no going out of business sign on Montoni’s?

    This is reaching the absurdity of the final St. Elsewhere episode.

  15. Professor fate

    I’d bid for the band box just so I could smash it with a hammer.

  16. J.J. O'Malley

    Panel Three: I had no idea Mopey Pete was so buxom.

    Also…”stick around for the auction”? What, Funky and company just decided to spontaneously hold a going-out-of-business auction late in the day without any advance notice around town that Lester or Girl Mopey might have seen or heard? Or all they supposed to camp out in Montoni’s overnight and swap Pizza Box Monster stories to be ready for the auction the next day? Nothing in the last two strips has been in spitting distance of reality, even FW reality, and I’m for tomorrow’s sideways reveal that this is all a dream after Les bumped his head on a branch while jogging with Summer.

    • Green Wave of Kanagawa

      He passed out from the outgassing fumes of a plastic park bench. Cayla was jogging with him and, when he collapsed, she shrugged her shoulders and kept on running.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      Because I read too much…

      This reminds me of Helen’s pregnancy in E.M. Forster’s *Howards End,* which comes so completely out of the blue that the bio-dad (some steal from Mr. Thompson; I make do with Mr. Batiuk) seems not to be Leonard Bast, but his umbrella.

      Forster recognized that he hadn’t exactly handled this as well as he should have and defended himself as best as he could by saying that the pregnancy had to be a surprise to everyone, and even, in a way, for Helen herself.

      Forster published four novels between 1905 and 1910; a fifth appeared in 1924. (His novel of gay love, *Maurice,* was written in 1913-14, but not published until a year after his death in 1970.) When asked why he stopped writing novels, he replied that he had forgotten how.

      There might be a moral in that for a certain storyteller who never wrote *Spider-Man,* but I will not name any names.

      • Y. Knott

        Meanwhile, at Tom Batiuk HQ:

        “It’s called writing! Why, my fans compare my work to that of E.M. Forster!”

        • Anonymous Sparrow

          Should I be punished with something lingering involving boiling oil or molten lead, Y. Knott?

          If you can’t decide, leave it up the Emperor of Japan, whose object all sublime (which he shall achieve in time) is to let the punishment fit the crime.

  17. Cabbage Jack

    Aren’t these two dipshits supposed to be close friends? How does Les learn Montoni’s is closing and memorabilia is being auctioned off just by chance?

    I wonder if Batty is going to retire Funky Winkerbean and just move everything to Crankshaft. It’d be the only thing that would make ending the time disparity, this absurd “victory lap” year through random Funkyverse locations, and shutting down Montoni’s make any sense. With the Time Jump gone, his Westviewians could spread into Centerville…you know…like a cancer.

  18. Paul Jones

    Batiuk still thinks of Les’s house as Les and Lisa’s place. He doesn’t realize it but, well, he tends to see her as a sort of babysitter for Les as he makes a meal of being without Dead Saint Annoying And Theatrical Moron.

  19. Hannibal's Lectern

    Obviously Les will buy the sign and then build a perfect replica of the Room Above Montoni’s on the second floor of the Taj Moore-hal, hang the sign outside, and spend his nights “sleeping” and dreaming of Dead Lisa. Cayla will continue sleeping downstairs.

    As for Flunky, if a carryout/delivery pizza joint can’t make a killing during a pandemic (especially one that destroys people’s ability to taste and smell how miserable his product is), he deserves to go broke.

    • Paul Jones

      It would be the end game of Tony handing it to the person who wanted it most and not the person who’d be best at running it.

  20. Y. Knott

    A serious question here, from a relatively recent reader.

    Is Montoni’s pizza canonically terrible? I mean, are there examples of characters not liking it, or getting food poisoning from it, or using it solely as spackle?

    Or are we assuming it’s terrible because it’s in a terrible strip?

    • Green Luthor

      When Funky was turning Montoni’s into a franchise, he started to use cheaper ingredients to increase the profit margin. Eventually, the other characters held an intervention and made him actually taste what he was producing, at which point he realized it was, indeed, terrible, and not a true “Montoni’s” pizza anymore. Presumably, this revelation inspired him to reverse his cost-cutting measures.

      So canonically, it’s actually not supposed to be terrible, but it was for a while. (At least, if I remember the history right. Like Batiuk, I don’t care enough to make even a cursory attempt at looking this stuff up.)

    • gleeb

      It was canonically bad during the expansion that was talked about but only seen as having a Montoni’s in Manhattan. It seems Funky had put profit before quality, not to mention his family (indeed, it was implied that Funky’s neglect caused Cory to become a bad seed). At one point, Tony wandered into town from Florida and tasted the pizza at Khan’s insistance. He was angered that it wasn’t up to snuff. So, several months later there was a whole Pizza Intervention.

    • Y. Knott

      Thanks for the history lesson!

      I suppose that even if canonically the people in this comic find Montoni’s pizza delicious, we’re not buying it. Because if everyone in Westview thinks Les is a wonderful writer, they’re clearly not to be trusted in matters of taste….

      • ComicBookHarriet

        Also, expired ranch dressing on pizza during a rehearsal reception caused the entire wedding party of Bull and Linda Bushka to be rushed to the emergency room due to food poisoning. So Montoni’s has almost killed people.

        • I’m sorry, but if you put ranch dressing on a pizza, you deserve food poisoning. Is that an Ohio thing?

          • My apologies, that was a pretty strong statement. I shouldn’t wish food poisoning on anyone, no matter how bad their taste.

          • ComicBookHarriet

            Not really? Though I have seen BLT, or chicken bacon ranch pizzas in lots of places.

            While Montoni’s basic pizza is presumed to be good, Tony himself had a running gag obsession in late Act I through Act II with trying NEW disgusting recipes.

          • We have a local pizza/brewery that has a “pizza of the month” that’s usually some weird combination of ingredients, and sometimes includes something like ranch dressing. Here is the October POTM:

            Go Home Pizza! You’re Drunk!

            Italian Seasoned Garlic Olive Oil Base. Hickory Nut Gap Bratwursts cooked in Asheville Brewing Ninja Porter. Drunken onions and Jalapenos. Pepperjack beer cheese with Asheville Brewing’s Fire Escape Jalapeno Pale Ale. After the oven it gets a swirl of Lusty Monks spicy mustard.

          • Andrew

            Geeze, quasiessential Ayers-era Funky really is just defined by “Everyone smirks because every wry statement is funny haha what a quirky-yet-realisitically-hardship-filled world we live in”. One week is serious disease drama, the rest is quirky quotes and teasing that the Act 1 zaniness is “maybe” still there.

        • Green Wave of Kanagawa

          CBH, I am actually replying to your post with the food-poisoning strips below (where I cannot see a reply button.) Just wanted to express gratitude to you for finding and posting these old strips so often. Along with your comments they really add life to much of what we’re all talking about here. Thank you.

          • ComicBookHarriet

            Thanks GWoK! BTS is also good at bringing the history, and has a much better handle on the time period still not covered by the Comics Kingdoms archives than I do. But I feel like 50 years of context is what makes FW snarking so much fun.

            The reply button disappears after the comments line goes a certain number of layers deep. Knowing us around here, it’s probably a good thing, or SP and BWOEH would eventually be conversing in posts one letter wide and five feet long.

          • Green Wave of Kanagawa

            Thanks for your kind reply, CBH. TB should be grateful to you all for keeping alive any interest in his creation. W/out the Internet I sure wouldn’t bother following it b/c there’d be no SoSF community. I’m shaking my fist at enough clouds by myself, as it is.

    • be ware of eve hill

      The way Montoni’s pizzas are drawn is extremely off-putting (to me, anyway).

      Over the past few years, every time a pizza is drawn in Funky Winkerbean it is a “pepperoni pizza”. It’s a yellowish mass with black polka-dots.

      What is the yellow mass? Does Funky drop a full pound of mozzarella on every pizza? The disgusting way the cheese drips off the pizza makes me think so. Where’s the red? No pizza sauce?

      Why are the pepperoni slices shown as black? Is it burnt to an unrecognizable crisp?

      Just thinking of one of those pizzas makes me queasy. YUCK!

      Oh, and please note the way people hold a pizza slice. They hold the slice with their palms pointed towards their face. There is nothing supporting the end of the slice. It should flop over, spilling toppings all over their shirts.

  21. Hitorque

    1. Didn’t Summer use to have a black stepsister? Or did she get quietly retconned out of existence?

    2. Look, I’m trying to tread lightly here and I don’t mean to fall into cheap cliche stereotypes or gender roles but why does a young, fit woman like Summer Moore have zero fucking friends nor has she expressed any romantic interest at all in either men or women? Or is Summer just one of those asexual types??

    • Hitorque

      Just your daily reminder that P Funk All-Stars just has to make one phone call to his buddy William Jefferson Clinton to instantly save his business

      • Tom from Finland

        Wait a minute… is that Bill Clinton’s head in the Stuck Funky banner??

        • Green Wave of Kanagawa

          Holy Monsters of Pizza Boxes, Hitorque and Tom of Finland! You are probably right! Clinton will get news of Montoni’s closing on Twitter and it’ll make him remember a paralegal named Lisa who once interned at a firm in Little Rock. Maybe he’ll organize an IMF bailout for Funky.

        • Rusty Shackleford

          Looks like it. Sigh..

        • Hannibal's Lectern

          I’m hoping against hope that it’s actually Jon Pertwee, the third actor to play Doctor Who (and my personal favorite). Of course, Pertwee’s been dead for 26 years, but in the Batiukverse that’s not much of an obstacle.

      • Green Luthor

        I’m tellin’ ya, Clinton is the Pizza Monster! It’d be the most insanely idiotic thing to happen in this strip. (Or at least, the most insanely idiotic thing since Summer decided to write a book. Which was the most insanely idiotic thing since Funky and Les decided to play football in the park with a bunch of teenagers. Which was… well, you get the idea.)

    • batgirl

      My theory on Summer’s lack of relationships: TB will not consider her having a man in her life other than Les, or a woman other than Dead St Lisa Who Died.
      She can’t have a boyfriend, a girlfriend, a breakup, a marriage or a baby, because Lisa didn’t make tapes for those milestones.

      If Summer were real, I’d be recommending her to check out the subreddit ‘raised by narcissists’.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Keisha made an appearance four months ago at the G.I. Joe wedding.

      Which raises the question of why Keisha was still in college as recently as last December. Just because Summer’s on the perpetual undergrad plan doesn’t mean Keisha has to be.

  22. Rusty Shackleford

    Unlike Batty, I actually know how things like this work as my cousin bought our local Montoni’s Pizza. He worked for the original owners as a delivery driver and later a pizza maker.

    When the owners were getting ready to sell, he was obviously one of the first to know. My Aunt and Uncle put up some collateral and he got a business loan.

    The sign stayed on the building for two reasons: name recognition and zoning. He wanted to keep the name as this shop had been a local staple for over 20 years, and he wanted to keep the sign because removing it would have meant having to comply with updated zoning regulations on signs and he obviously didn’t want the hassle and expenses.

    As for the pandemic, he made so much money that he purchased the ice cream shop next door.

    Does Batty have any friends in the real world or all they all wannabe writers and comic book fiends?

    Speaking of that, Batty will be doing book signings at the Akron ComicCon this weekend and this is only 15 min from house. I’m not going. I’m instead going to hike and enjoy the fall foliage.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      Sounds like a stroke of genius, Rusty!

    • Far be it for TB to do research!

    • be ware of eve hill

      Book signings? Doesn’t that require people to actually buy one of his books?

      Akron ComicCon Patron: Will you please sign my book, Mr. Batiuk?
      Tom Batiuk: Why should I sign that book? It’s not one of mine.
      Akron ComicCon Patron: Aw, would you consider giving me your autograph?
      Tom Batiuk: $10.

  23. Hannibal’s Lectern

    So… am I correct that Summer was conceived by the light of the Montoni’s sign? That would explain a lot: the sign isn’t electric; it glows because of radioactive paint, and the ionizing radiation scrambled Summer’s DNA to the point where her appearance constantly morphs, she can’t focus long enough to complete a course of study in any one major, and she has a variant on Tourette’s that causes her to make spontaneous jazz hands at inappropriate times.

  24. batgirl

    Not Bill Clinton again?
    Come on, TB, have Mason show up, option Summer’s unwritten book for a gritty documentary film (because he wants to be taken seriously), and buy Montoni’s to use as the set and centrepiece for filming.

  25. Perfect Tommy

    Stick around for the auction? It’s happening right now? What, they’re going to grab all the tableware from them mid-meal?
    “Sorry. These dishes are up in the next lot”.

  26. Don

    Les is going to buy the sign and put it…in the window of Montoni’s, which he bought with the help of some investors (“Try our Pink Ribbon Special – $1 from each pizza goes to the Lisa’s Legacy fund!”). Between Cory, Rocky, whatever Army buddies then can rope into this, one of those silent auctions like the one that saved Summer’s basketball team (and ended up with Les at the summit of Kilimanjaro), and don’t tell AMPAS, which doesn’t allow this, but Les will probably sell that Oscar he has, to raise the money.

  27. Hannibal's Lectern

    Bill Clinton, Masoné Jarré, Chester “the Molester” Hagglemore… doesn’t really matter, one way or the other there’s a deus ex machina in our future.

  28. Mela

    Pandemic kept him open, pandemic closed him-whatever. A more plausible reason would have been “I’m 70 years old, I’ve been running this pizzeria for 30-50 years (depending on the timeline) it’s time to retire.

  29. The Duck of Death

    I live just a couple hundred feet from a major avenue with wall-to-wall retail. A couple of the locations close to my house are what locals refer to as “cursed locations” — spots that seem to have a very high turnover of businesses. I’ve gotten to know many of the business owners as they come and go, and not a single one of them has been giddy and jolly as they closed down.

    Is Funky bipolar? Between the inappropriate deep depression over irrelevant and benign events, and the hebephrenic exuberance over getting Holly pain pills and closing down his restaurant, I do think he has some kind of mental illness that’s crying out for treatment.

    BTW, does this confirm Tony’s death? He’s not mentioned or apparently even considered. Even his ghost(?) isn’t making an appearance. It’s hard to know, since Lisa’s death is the only death that matters.

    • Funky was more distraught about dropping his discman than he is about losing the business he spent his life building.

      • The Duck of Death

        Come to think of it, wasn’t he jolly when he closed his Manhattan branch? He was giving away pizzas and there was a line around the block for them.

        That ticked me off because ACTUAL pizzerias (unlike Montoni’s) don’t stock pizzas. They’re made fresh every day. Each pizza requires skilled labor and time to create, and running the ovens is expensive. Even if you had 300 lb of pizza flour, 200 lb of cheese, and 50 gallons of tomato sauce left, you wouldn’t be incurring further expense for your already bankrupt store by making those into pizzas, baking them, and giving them all away.

        • The Duck of Death

          Replying to myself…. and also, restaurants approaching bankruptcy don’t stockpile ingredients. Far from it — they’re likely already being blackballed by unpaid vendors, and may even resort to buying ingredients retail, on an as-needed basis.

          That’s why I’ve never heard of a bankrupt restaurant giving away food, even though in NYC restaurants go under by the score, every single month.

          The only time I’ve ever heard of anything like this is when stores have given away ice cream during blackouts. What else are they gonna do? If it melts in the freezer, it’ll just be a huge mess to clean up, and insurance will cover the loss of stock.

          ~~digression over~~

        • Hitorque

          He just gave the pizzas away? He couldn’t have taken them to some homeless shelter or soup kitchen?

          He truly is a fuckwit.

          • batgirl

            Poor people in the Batiukverse blink into existence only to serve and support the Main Characters (like becoming their literary agents). Then they vanish back into the plot holes.
            Look at the Crankshaft strip where Mailbox Guy buys a bike for his long-dead son for Christmas. Not to give to another kid whose family couldn’t afford presents – that wouldn’t be as poignant as an empty gesture.

          • ComicBookHarriet


            I can’t believe I’m doing this. It’s sad. But mailbox guy is George Keesterman. Bicycle guy is Ralph Meckler, who used to own and run The Valentine before Max bought it.

            I have now corrected someone on the names of Crankshaft’s friends…I’m going to go sit in a corner and rethink my entire life.

  30. Funky’s not closing Montoni’s. He’s telling people that because he wants to unload all the junk that has accumulated there. Rather than renting a dumpster, he wants people to think he’s selling valuable collector’s items, bits of history soon to be gone forever.

    In a week or two, he’ll announce that the bank was able to renegotiate his loan, and they’re staying open.

    That’s assuming, of course, that Batiuk just doesn’t forget all of this. In a week or two, Funky could be talking about opening up a second location because he’s rolling in profits.

  31. The Duck of Death

    Tune in tomorrow, when the gang pries off the sign, and with it comes a steel plate concealing $346,720 in twenties! Everyone knows that Tony’s dad, “Big Tony,” who ran all the numbers games in the Centerville-Westview metroplex, used the pizza as a money-laundering operation — but no one realized that he also kept his cash hoards in the wall!

    The restaurant is saved, yadda yadda, whoda thunk it, send a pizza to Slick Willie, sax solo ensues, etc.

  32. The Duck of Death

    But the reindeer! What of the reindeer?

    (And weren’t there live reindeer at one point? Or am I suffering from outgassing-induced hallucinations?)

    • batgirl

      Yes, live reindeer and fairly recently. Tony Montoni’s idea, after Funky(?) noticed that the plastic reindeer were looking kind of decrepit. The potential comedy of getting live ungulates up the stairs, onto the roof, feeding them, dealing with the poop and getting them downstairs at the end was ignored, of course.