Today’s strip

The Eliminator, who has been presented all week as an important figure in Westview’s history, walks through the front door. Funky proudly tells Summer “but here comes the person you really need to talk to! A man!”

This is like when Ruby Lith was elected to the Comic-Con Hall of Fame, and the strip replaced her with Phil Holt in the middle of her own press conference. Tom Batiuk thinks he’s an advocate for women with his showy, award-grubbing, phony empowerment stories. But Funky Winkerbean‘s day-to-day treatment of women is very different.

Donna’s sarcastic expression is perfect. “Oh, don’t mind me, I’m nobody important. I’ll just turn my head to look at my own pictures on that ‘history wall’ you’re studying. Which I earned at age 12. You want a real insight into Westview’s ‘social dynamics’? Ask me why I hid my gender from these people.”

That’s it. I’ve got nothing else to say. Today’s strip speaks for itself.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

84 responses to “Eliminated

  1. This is the kind of drawing I would do, seriously.

    If I hated my job, hated the characters, had 30 seconds before the deadline, and didn’t care about results or reputation, but really needed that paycheck. This is exactly how I’d draw these characters.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Ayers subtly lets us know what he thinks of this strip by hiding it in the background behind Donna’s head.


      • Damn, you beat me to it by seconds, CBH!

        Other than that, I count 9 smirks in 2 panels.

        • sorialpromise

          CBH and Sourbelly,
          “ASS” cannot be accidental in any way. It has to be deliberate, doesn’t it? It’s on the inside of the glass. So if accidental, what could it be short for?
          Then we get to “forever stamp.” It has no context to Funky’s conversation. That would fit into his name of CH. But I do not think TB meant it that way. Gosh! There are depths into the logic? of Mr. Batiuk’s writing.
          (For Advent, I am starting a new character building exercise. For the next 30 days, I will not reference be ware of eve hill in any of my posts. Starting today! Yesterday was my last reference to be ware of eve hill. So I am good. I feel lighter, fresher for not mentioning be ware of eve hill today.

          • Green Luthor

            I don’t know if Ayers intended it to look the way it does (it seems like the type of thing one would have to notice), but it’s not really “ASS” in the window; it’s “PIZZA” but we’re only seeing the last three letters, and reversed because it’s on the inside.

            (Looking back on the previous strips in this “story”, there’s windows on both sides of the door, one that reads “MONTONI’S” and the other “PIZZA”. Some of the wall photos – the Fairgood(?) wedding, Bill Clinton – show “MONTONI’S PIZZA” on one window, but… I think Funky may have expanded into an adjacent space? There’s a limit to how far back I’m willing to go to research these things, but maybe he took over Khahn’s deli space when that went under? So it might have all been on one window in the past, then Funky expanded (in more ways than one haha) and split the name across the two windows. Or no one bothers to make sure these details stay consistent, either way is believable.)

            (Still, Ayers HAD to notice what just the “ZZA” would look like, right?)

          • sorialpromise

            Great explanation. But Ayers had to know. Surely, even without editors, there is some form of proofreading. Maybe this is Ayers getting passive aggressive on TB. Maybe TB really is closing up shop, and Ayers is somewhat angry?

          • be ware of eve hill (chastened)

            I thought it was all in good fun. Sorry it was such a burden.


          • sorialpromise

            Eve, you and my wife LaDonna have this ability to receive a silly, little, playful joke (really little, almost microscopic) and suddenly I feel 3 inches tall.
            Well played. Point. Set. Match.

          • It could easily be accidental. This is the same team that said the Subloser came from the Earth’s “bowles.” No one noticed that one except us.

          • sorialpromise

            Thank you. This is all true. My mistake is giving TB & FW credit for being a professionally run organization.

  2. William Thompson

    I’m sure that Crazy Harry knows all sorts of local secrets. Like, which people received salacious magazines in brown paper wrappers, which men received negligees (in their size) from Victori’s Secret, and how many rejection slips Creepy Les received from which publishers (“And those notes from porno presses were really cutting!”)

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I wondered that too. Harry’s indifferent attitude to his job aside, how does being a mailcarrier make someone an expert in local history? You don’t interact with people much. You’re not supposed to read their mail. The whole premise is stupid.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        Right, the only thing mail carriers know, is where people live. When my wife was first looking for her relatives in Romania, we hired a driver to take us to the little village where her family was from. We asked around and someone pointed us towards the house of a retired mailman. Sure enough, he knew the name and directed us to another house where my wife found her relatives.

        An old man came to the door and said that he did have relatives that went to the US and produced an old photo. My wife started crying and showed him a copy of that same photo on her phone!

        • ComicBookHarriet

          Once again, our comments section produces a better story in two paragraphs than Batiuk’s been able to tell in two months.

      • Anonymous Sparrow

        Maybe Harry is Ruth Rendell’s Joan Smith, the nosy postmistress in *A Judgement in Stone,* waiting to meet her Eunice Parchman and commit multiple murders.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      I was a garbage man for a few years and I knew a lot about people. However, if you really want to know what is going on, ask an EMT. My friend became one and couldn’t believe what goes on behind closed doors.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        I was thinking a cab driver would know a lot of salacious things. Who’s going where with whom, who needs to be rescued from the bar, what goes on in the seedier neighborhoods they have to drive to, and so on.

        • Rusty Shackleford

          The stories I heard from the EMT were crazy. From all the drug use, people acting out kinks and getting injured, all sorts of crazy stuff. And a lot of it from those you would least expect to be involved.

  3. William Thompson

    If you open Summer’s notebook and read every third word of today’s entry, it’s a suicide note.

  4. billytheskink

    I remember when Crazy was the mail carrier… He spent most of his time drinking coffee at Montoni’s. I’m guessing Funky’s already told Summer everything Crazy could.

    Maddie doesn’t have anything better to do than hang out with her parents? Summer, I get… but Maddie?

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Yeah, I never saw a pizza shop that doubled as a coffee shop. I mean it’s not like people are lining up to buy pizza at 9 am.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        In my town there is a hippie dippie wood fired pizza place/coffee shop/ used book store. It’s very crunchy granola free range organic soy pepperoni, but not bad.

        Nice place to sip chai while munching on avacado walnut pizza and listen to the book club two tables over talk about the efficacy of crystals and the dangers of vaccination.

  5. Jimmy

    I’m sorry, but when I think of Westview and the post office, only one thing comes to mind:
    USA! USA!

  6. Epicus Doomus

    Taking away Crazy’s mailman job was another totally unnecessary cruelty inflicted upon another of his old Act I heroes, just like when he deafened Dinkle and sent Funky into a spiral of misery and woe. Other than illustrating “this economy”, what was the point of it? It was Crazy’s entire post Act I identity, and BatYam snatched it away, just because he could. Then, just to twist the knife, he condemned him to the lowliest of professions, and turned him into a comic book store sidekick, where he plays second fiddle to John, a fate no character deserves. It was one of the meanest things he’s done in Act III, right behind making Cayla marry Les.

  7. Y. Knott

    “Thanks, Funky … you’ve got my research off to a great start!”

    Further insight — as if it were needed — as to what Tom Batiuk thinks ‘research’ consists of.

    Seriously, if my only two choices to hire as a research assistant were a nine-year-old formally diagnosed with ADHD and Tom Batiuk? That nine-year-old would be getting a nice early start on their 401(k) plan.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      “Fetch me a child of three,” said Rufus T. Firefly.

      “I’m sorry, Your Excellency,” said Bob Roland, his faithful secretary, “but there are no children of three available.”

      “What about a nine-year-old formally diagnosed with ADHD?”

      “There are several available, yes.”

      “Well, get one before we have to go to war with Sylvania again! You can’t duck soup forever, you know, especially when you only have fifty-one cards left!”

      “Plenty’a those kids in Dallas, Taxes,” said Chicolini, “or there were when I was last there…”

  8. The Dreamer

    So is Crazy going to bid on the video game he played in there all those years? Or maybe he should give Summer his time travel helmet?

    • Andrew

      The helmet got thrown into the trash (and hijacked by a stray cat) so no chance there unless there’s more hijinx.

      • William Thompson

        Considering what had been inside that helmet, the cat undoubtedly mistook it for a portable litter-box.

  9. Gerard Plourde

    Is Funky saying that Harry was Westview’s sole letter carrier? How small is that town?

  10. Lord Flatulence

    Good Lord. Summer grew up in this town, and they’re all acting like she’s never seen it, or its people, before.

  11. Great Cheese of Kanagawa

    5 smirks adds up to an ASS. Might not be a front runner, but will panel 1 be on the list for Panel of the Year?
    My 8th grade teacher wrote a history of our small town. My folks’ friend wrote one of the town where they were raised. The extensive bibliography and footnotes of each contain neither mail carriers nor restaurant photo reminisces.
    Even by the standards of “Toys in the Batiuk,” this story is a mess. It’s the speed round of “first thought best thought.”

  12. Great Cheese of Kanagawa

    What history of Westview? It’s a history of a clique of the WHS Class of 1972 being recorded so far by someone who would already know it. And what is Westview? A pizza parlor (“of love” 🤮), a comic publisher, a gazebo, and a high school. Why should we care about the whole town now?
    Sorry for posting twice in a row. I live in Japan.

    • Great Cheese of Kanagawa

      * I live in Japan, which is 13 hours ahead of the East Coast (about to be 14).

      • ComicBookHarriet

        LOL, and here I was wondering if Japan had instituted some kind of double posting rule to make up for their declining population….

        • Great Cheese of Kanagawa

          LOL!!! That’s a fantastic line, CBH-Sam? May I “borrow” it, please? Anyway, I’m afraid that typos and double postings are just signs of my declining hand-eye coordination.

          • Great Wave of Kanagawa

            * CBH-san (@&¥!*# auto-incorrect. )

          • Lord Flatulence

            I love your curse word with the Yen symbol. Very Japanese.

          • Great Cheese of Kanagawa

            Thank you, Lord. For good and for bad, with a couple of rarely used exceptions (sh¥t, and Die!) there are no swear words in Japanese.

          • ComicBookHarriet

            Steal away Cheesy-Kun! It’ll make up for all the quips I’ve stolen from William Thomas over the years.

          • Great Cheese of Kanagawa

            Cheesy-kun!? 😀👍🏻Thank you, CBH-chan! 🙇🏼‍♂️ If you know “kun,” then you’ve either studied Japanese, lived here, or consume manga/anime – or some combination of these.

            I’m grateful Batiuk-sensei has not sent his characters to Japan (knock on wood!).

            By the way, your pizza-coffee-book club place sounds like it could also be in my hometown in the Dairyland.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      I may or may not admit to consuming a disgusting amount of subbed anime.

      I may or may not admit to owning manga.

      I just can’t help it! The western comics that Batiuk-Sensei constantly blathers on about have gotten so darn boring and stupid.

      I mean, there are plenty of boring and stupid anime too. But for every 30 isekai you scroll past you can usually find one Dororo (2019) or at least a Somali and the Forest Spirit.

    • It also has a prison, as I saw when Jessica Darling, daughter of John Darling, who was murdered, was making a documentary about her father.

      Of course, Batiuk could’ve rescued it out of existence.

      • Great Cheese of Kanagawa

        I never knew that, dougouthoff. Thanks. I guess we should be glad TB didn’t try any prestige arcs about the prison-industrial complex.

  13. Rusty Shackleford

    “ Ask me why I hid my gender from these people.”

    Does anybody really want an answer to that question? Yes it was rude, but funny, to see her pushed aside so Harry can speak.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Well, it would answer a long-unresolved question: why did she feel the need to do that? It’s another one of those “quarter inch from reality” things that has no contact with reality. In my experience, girls didn’t like arcade games, but nobody cared if they wanted to play one. She didn’t even have a “no dogs allowed” moment like Snoopy did.

      Though the rampant chauvanism in this town would be a good reason.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        There were a couple girls in our neighborhood that liked to play arcade games, but they also generally liked to hang out and even play some sports with guys. It was no big deal to us. We were all just hanging out together having fun.

        You hit it with your awards grubbing comment. Batty just created this fake conflict so he can show what a nice guy he is…but the truth inadvertently comes out in today’s strip!

        • ComicBookHarriet

          I think the real real reason is that all through Act I the Eliminator was a boy in Batiuk’s mind. Then, when he was thinking of who to hook Harry up with in the early aughts he thought it would be funny to reveal that she was a girl all along, in a Samus is a Girl trope.


          Batiuk then had to work backward to form the ‘why’ and his brain, stuck a false remembrance of the 60’s, couldn’t think of a better reason than inexplicable sexism.

          But you can’t tell me that Act I Eliminator wasn’t firmly male in Batiuk’s mind the whole time he was writing him. In that regard Donald/ Donna was actually the first trans character in the strip. Assigned male at conception by her creator, then transgendered.

          • Rusty Shackleford

            Yes, I would agree. But I know he thought he could milk the sexist angle for awards too.

          • Green Luthor

            Yeah, there’s really no way for anyone to believe “Donald” wasn’t supposed to be a boy. Maybe if he had used a less gender-specific name (“Sam”, “Chris”, “Pat”) he could’ve gotten away with it, but “Donald”? Nope, you didn’t plan for that to be a girl, and then not bother to reveal that for something like 20 years, after the character hadn’t appeared in who knows how long.

    • Green Luthor

      I’d say Tony answered that question fairly well when he called her “Crazy Harry’s Wife” instead of an actual name.

      • Great Cheese of Kanagawa

        And wasn’t it established that Crazy was already a teenager when Donna first became The Eliminator? In any case, I think CBH is right: Batiuk created the Eliminator as a boy, originally. Again, he undid his own sound idea with a retcon whose only purpose was to score prestige points. But at least Donna hasn’t gotten the Bull treatment. TB can’t even have his characters ever stop to remember him fondly.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          I agree with this also. It’s the same kind of artless retcon as Batiuk often does. “Oh, I’ve never shown their face, I’ll just make them a girl!” Which could work if you made her a certain type of girl. But Batiuk had to make her same busty, potato-shaped blonde as all the others.

        • be ware of eve hill

          It would have been hilarious to see force ghost Bull Bushka laughing his ass off when Les got smeared by those teenagers playing football.

          It’s a shame Batiuk lacks the sense of humor or the inclination to ever use the Bull Bushka character again.

  14. KMD

    “Nobody knows the town who was the mailman here for years.” He knows all the secrets–like why his wife Donna is a doppelganger of my wife Holly! Turkey wasn’t the only meat Dinkle was selling back in the day….

  15. Maxine of Arc

    Let’s pretend for a second that Summer was actually writing a book and this wasn’t just an excuse to hang around the same ten characters as always. Wouldn’t she start with the town archive? Or town officials? Who is the mayor of Westview? Has it ever come up?

    • Margaret

      That is a good question! It never occurred to me before. But now that you mention it, why hasn’t Les run for mayor? He’s the most important and greatest citizen Westview ever had – it seems like inevitable destiny.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        I suspect Batiuk dislikes politicians as much as he dislikes most professions. I also think “mayor of Westview” is way too small for Les’ ego at this point.

  16. OT, but I see that cartoonist George Booth died recently. He did those New Yorker cartoons about befuddled people in ramshackle houses, usually with a strange dog hanging around. Like a lot of New Yorker cartoonists, he wasn’t especially funny but his work was memorably odd.

    • Margaret

      I have always loved his cartoons, and I do find many of them to be laugh out loud funny. I am very sorry to hear of his passing.

  17. And we don’t see Crazy’s two sons. Batiuk fails again!

  18. And I think this is only the second time we’ve seen Maddie since she graduated high school.

    And what about Crazy’s two sons, have they be retconned out of existence, like Gil Thorp’s kids?

    • billytheskink

      Crazy’s other two kids, Tyler and Little Abbey, appeared only once back in 2007. They’ve been retconned out of existence for close to 15 years now. Even Wally Jr. and Rachel’s kid with the changing name have cameoed a few times since, but no word on Tyler and Little Abbey. Maybe TB will revisit them in 40 years the way he did Fred Fairgood’s daughter Kerry, who originally existed solely for a gag about the football coach kidnapping her so Bull would remain eligible to play.

      Gil Thorp’s kids have reappeared with a vengeance this year, by the way. It’s… well, it’s something over in that strip.

  19. Perfect Tommy

    Gah! The laser focus on trivial ephemera. To paraphrase Steely Dan: “The things you think are useful I can’t really understand”.

    • Paul Jones

      He’s been telling us he’s a genius since he was seventeen and in all the years I’ve known him, I still don’t know what he means.

      • The Duck of Death

        High school, comix, spinner racks, youth?

        He can see it fading fast. So he grabs a piece of something that he thinks is gonna last.

        • Y. Knott

          Hey, Tom, I’ve never seen you looking so bad, my funky one. You tell me that your superfine mind has come undone?

  20. Paul Jones

    Watching Batiuk’s gyrations when the bullying word mansplaining is directed at him makes me marvel that a man that old is that nimble.

  21. The Duck of Death

    Re: Today’s banner —

    “Climate Damage.” I’m really surprised he doesn’t use the equally vague, but more woke-sounding “Climate Justice.” But no matter what words he uses, the result will be a crotchety, incoherent, and mind-numbing lecture to us straying lambs that we must do better, work harder, care more. We must follow the holy example of St. Thomas Batiuk, patron saint of empty bloviation.

    We will begin with the “Hail Lisa.”

    So hail Lisa, full of tapes.
    Les is with thee.
    Blessed art thou among women,
    And blessed is the fruit of thy womb,
    Whatzername and Boy Lisa.
    Holy Lisa, wife of Les,
    Pray for us unwoke ones
    Now and at the hour
    of Masky McDeath escorting us away.

  22. The Duck of Death

    Somehow my most recent comment has run afoul of the auto-mod. Where did I go wrong?