Pencil droppers, eh?!

Wait, is today’s strip taking place on the exact same day that Ruby drew Sunday’s Scorch cover?! Ruby drew a whole cover in a matter of hours?! Maybe that’s not at all surprising for a real life comic cover artist at a real life comic book company, but at Atomik Komix it sure is. These folks make “Turtle Thompson” look like AJ Foyt.

I mean, Batton is still there treadmilling and everyone is wearing the exact same things they were wearing in last week’s strips, give or take some colorist’s liberty… ok, scratch that, Mindy is wearing a skirt in today’s strip and clearly has on pants in last Saturday’s strip. Different day, I guess. In either scenario, though, we’re left to note how ridiculous it is that Batton spends so much time in the Atomik Komix bullpen. He, ostensibly, has a job drawing a comic strip, but we’ve never seen him do it. Heck, we’ve never even seen the strip-within-a-strip… and it’s not like Funky Winkerbean is above that kind of thing. He likes comic books and frequents Komix Korner from time-to-time (SUCH a unique trait in the Batiukverse, I know), but he doesn’t appear to be a regular there like he is here at the Atomik Komix bullpen. He likes or feels obligated to jog. And that’s it. That is everything we know about the guy. I don’t necessarily care to know more, but if TB insists on having his author avatar hang around places where it makes no obvious sense for him to hang around then Batton needs some purpose and motivation.

Oh yeah, also… Ruby is old, water is wet, and Chester now wears the look of someone clinically depressed.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

98 responses to “Pencil droppers, eh?!

  1. Heck, we’ve never even seen the strip-within-a-strip… and it’s not like Funky Winkerbean is above that kind of thing.

    Wha-a-a-at? Are you reading the same comic strip I am? Aside from covers, Batiuk has shown absolutely nothing of the Atomik Komix books, Batton’s strip, Starbuck Jones comics, the Starbuck Jones movie, the Asinine Mr. Sponge…none of Batiuk’s fantasy works have seen so much as a frame or a panel.

    And I’m not being indecisive!

    • billytheskink

      I meant to go fish out a link to Darin and Pete’s Sophomoric Sightings school paper comic strip, as that was what I was intending to reference with that line, but I wound up forgetting to actually do that. My apologies.

    • Green Luthor

      If I’m remembering correctly (and I’ll admit I may not be), when Boy Lisa and Mopey were in high school, they did a comic strip in the school newspaper, and Batiuk would show some of those strips from time to time. (Whether or not they were any good… c’mon, we all know the answer to that one…)

      • ComicBookHarriet

        Ah, yes, Sophmoric Sightings.

        Who can forget in 1999, when Darin and Pete decided to celebrate The Phantom Menace by referencing actual Funky Winkerbean strips from the 80’s.

        Or even better, that weird week back in 2018 where they imagine they’re still drawing the stupid strip.

        • Cheesy-kun

          “We can do better jokes than these” has to be one of the biggest lies to ever fall out of Batiuk’s pencil. Except it seems that “we” was actually readers.

          CBH, are you a beta tester for a chip that allows you to instantly access data just by imagining or remembering it? How do you find these things, much less so quickly. In any case, thanks.

          • ComicBookHarriet

            Most of this is because I’ve done so many FW archive deep dives over the years. I’ve even got a folder on my computer of various strips I’ve pulled and know that I’ll likely need to reference again.

            BTS can have just as quick a draw as me, as our epic trivia battle a few weeks ago proved.

  2. William Thompson

    Ruby, everyone can see your problem: the “Battery Low” light is flashing on your hat. Recharge, lady! Stick your fingers in a wall socket and suck in those volts!

  3. The Dreamer

    Maybe Mindy has introduced Ruby to his grandfather Crankshaft And now Ruby has accepted Crankshaft’s marriage proposal So she’s quitting to move over to Crankshaft as part of the consolidation of the Funkyverse into the strip that TomBat obviously prefers now

  4. bayoustu

    5 bucks says that in 2 weeks Ruby’s arthritis goes the way of Dinkle’s deafness…

    • Cheesy-kun

      I will NOT take that bet. Is it called “arthritis” in Batuiksville? I figured it would be called something like “artist elbow.”

      • Anonymous Sparrow

        Charlie Brown briefly suffered from “Little Leaguer’s Elbow,” which stunned Lucy Van Pelt.

        Thank you so much for your kindness over the ravens’s unkindness. For what it’s worth, a group of sparrows is a “host.”

        • Cheesy-kun

          Thank you very much, Anonymous Sparrow. Another cool fact to share with my son. Sparrows are beloved birds in Japan. If they nest in public spaces, authorities place traffic cones and signs directing pedestrian traffic to avoid the spot so as not to disturb the burds.

          May you and your host have a pleasant week!

    • J.J. O'Malley

      Okay, folks, place your bets for what’s wrong with Ms. Lith. “Crippling Arthritis” is currently at 10-1, but “ALS” is coming up fast at 20-1, and Westview favorite “Cancer” is the popular 3-1 pick.

      • Anonymous Sparrow

        Roberta Flack just received an ALS diagnosis. Would you like to change your odds?

        It’ll always be “Lou Gehrig’s Disease” to me.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        My bet is that the story never reveals anything that’s wrong with her. Batiuk just wants her out of the strip, probably so he can install himsel– err, “Batton Thomas” in her place.

  5. I, too wound up focusing a good percentage of my rage today on Batton lurking pointlessly on the treadmill. His presence there simply makes no goddamned motherfucking sense! GO. A. WAY!

    • Every business I’ve ever worked at would frown at someone coming in off the street and using office equipment. “Hey, Dullard old buddy, mind if I mimeo off a few copies of my ‘Flash of Two Worlds’ fanzine? Thanks!”

      But we’re entirely in Batiuk’s fantasy realm, where everything works the way it is supposed to work, damn it, and the “quarter inch from reality” is long past the horizon.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Every business I’ve ever worked at issues security badges to its employees. So people *can’t* just walk in off the street and use their equipment, or hang around and waste the staff’s time.

        Which Atomik Komix really should have. Comic book art is ridiculously valuable in this world, and they’ve got it lying around everywhere. People could also break in to steal their unpublished work, and leak it. This was even a subplot in the Starbuck Jones movie wankfest.

  6. Also, why are the Bullpen denizens shocked by, or even interested in, the fact that Ruby’s melting heap of flesh is retiring?

    • Green Luthor

      If she hadn’t said anything and just stopped coming into the office, they probably wouldn’t even notice for at least three weeks. (And that’s being generous.)

    • William Thompson

      They’re afraid they’ll have to take over her duties as “Feminine Touch Applicator.” That would scare anyone, even Batton Thomas.

      • Cheesy-kun

        “Feminine touch applicator” is another one that should be marketed.

        Is there an SoSF gift shop with t-shirts, mugs, and calendars depicting phrases like this and modified strips? I wish there were…

    • Maxine of Arc

      I thought she WAS retired, and they lured her back with, I dunno, free coffee or something. Why is this a shock?

      • William Thompson

        It’s a shock because a woman decided something on her own. Don’t worry, the menfolk will change her mind for her.

  7. Cheesy-kun

    billytheskink you continue to make lemonade out of lemons. Despite the dreck you’ve been given, the wit and insight just fall out of your keyboard and into our devices… Seriously, great work, as always. Thank you.

    Another lame joke built around the regular Batuikian theme of “we’re all going going to die slowly and painfully.” My mom’s 88 and talks about death sometimes but always in terms of gratitude for the blessings she’s had throughout her life. Does anyone in Westview ever express gratitude for anything other than Les?

    A Ruby-Crankshaft hook up could be a hoot. They could switch caps as a token of their affection for each other. She could organize a bus driver’s union (that would demand higher wages and better health insurance, but settle for new bowling shirts and better lane times).

    • Rusty Shackleford

      “ I don’t necessarily care to know more” summed it up nicely. It’s how I feel about all of Batty’s characters.

  8. Y. Knott

    “Are you serious, Ruby? You really want to retire? Retire from what, exactly? I mean, I wildly overpay everyone I employ, and I expect virtually nothing from them! I just want to hang around an actual comic book bullpen! They’re totally real, right? This is where everyone wants to be … <> Wait. It’s because of the creepy guy who keeps coming in here and using the treadmill, isn’t it. Because I can have him killed. Just say the word…”

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      Patrick Campbell, third Baron of Glenavy, could relate:

      “For a long time now I’ve been writing a column for one newspaper or another, fifty-two weeks in the year. (Once I asked Charles Eade, the late editor of the *Sunday Dispatch,* if I could have a holiday. ‘A holiday,’ Charles said, ‘from what?’).”

      The book in which you’ll find that is called *35 Years on the Job.*

      My other book of the moment is Edith Wharton’s last completed novel “The Gods Arrive.* Does anyone know whether Les has ever taught Wharton?

  9. be ware of eve hill

    Are you guys sure we’ve never seen a ‘Three O’Clock High’ strip within Funky Winkerbean? I could swear I’ve seen a black & white ‘Three O’Clock High’ panel. Two characters were in waist-deep water, cleaning trash out of the Cuyahoga River.

    If I’m wrong, I’ll just have to live with the fact that Funky Winkerbean has infiltrated my dreams.

    Wish me luck trying to sleep tonight. 😨😨😨

    Can’t sleep. Batiuk will get me.
    Can’t sleep. Batiuk will get me.
    Can’t sleep. Batiuk will get me

    • I think what you’re referring to is a very early Tom Batiuk cartoon called “Rappin’ Around.” If memory serves, the two cleaners are excited to find an “Ecology” button.

      • be ware of eve hill

        Thanks. That could very well be.

        After I posted my comment, it occurred to me that I may have been thinking of a very early Act I Funky Winkerbean strip. If memory serves, the girl highly resembled Livinia.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      That was a weird one. Batiuk inserted one of his real life early ‘Rapping Around’ proto Funky Winkerbean strips back in May, saying that Batton had printed it when he was first starting out. But it wasn’t retitled.

      • Cheesy-kun

        Thanks for finding that.

        Way to spoil a decent idea (the strip in panel one) with self-pitying b.s. Has Batiuk ever thought he was changing the world with his comics? How exactly?

        Meanwhile, look at these old turds. They live comfortable lives and are able to keep doing something they love well past the typical retirement age. If the world has really gone to hell in a handcart why aren’t they (why isn’t Batiuk) using this time of life to contribute to solutions directly?

      • be ware of eve hill

        That’s the culprit, detective! That’s the vile creature that assaulted my memory. I’ve been Winkerbeaned. Thanks, CBH.

        Does Batton Thomas live in the Atomik Komix custodial closet?

        • sorialpromise

          Ghostbusters only got slimed.
          Eve got Winkerbeaned!

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            Well, Peter Venkman did say “I feel so funky” after that incident. Maybe they’re more alike than we imagined.

          • be ware of eve hill

            The prescription for a winkerbeaning is to read more SOSF posts.

            Many folks would like to see Batiuk retire. Not me. He’s so funny when he’s clueless. Don’t stop, TB!

          • sorialpromise

            I guess, once you have been Winkerbeaned, you are Winkerbeaned for life. Somewhere there is a monkey sitting on Eve. The addiction is strong with this one.

          • be ware of eve hill

            Good to see you back, Mr. sp. I wasn’t sure you would be back so soon after witnessing the downvote beating you took last Friday/Saturday.

            Also, there was the incident of the mysterious Ukrainian package delivery. No longer off the grid, JAY-CsV? Or are you posting from the comfy confines of Fort Leavenworth? Or did you turn in Mrs. sp in exchange for immunity?

          • sorialpromise

            1. Crap! Damn! Eve, where were you when I was negotiating my sentence? I could have turned in Mrs. SP for immunity? Good info 5 days ago.
            2. My post’s really were a dumpster fire weren’t they? I think they received more downvotes than SOSF receives in 2 weeks. I wear it as a badge of honor. That is a sure way to know I am read. And in reference to those posts, better read than red!
            3. These are busy days. There have been 2 birthday parties for the granddaughter. Her Dad and I took her to the KCZOO. The little boy could not come. He decided to play the terrible 3’s at school. Oh, he wanted Pop to rescue him. No can do. Then we are going out Thursday night with my pastor and his wife. Then Friday night, my little girl turns 44. She’s my oldest. We got both grandkids Friday and Saturday night. They go to church with us for the first time on Sunday. Finally we have a get together with some of our closest friends on Sunday afternoon. Whew!!!
            4. Very excited! Next week I will publish my 10th book on Amazon. “ An Easy to Read Old Testament: 5 Books of Moses through Joshua. Did I mention I am excited!
            5. You and Mr. Bwoeh are loved and respected! But of course, you knew that.

          • be ware of eve hill

            2. There’s a page on this website listing rules of conduct. One is NO politics. Perhaps that’s why you received the downvotes.

            3. I’m so jealous. I wish I could see my grandkids as often as you see yours. My son’s family currently lives in Louisiana. He’s my only child, 34 years old and not-so-little. They have plans to spend Christmas with us. Can’t wait.

            4. Congratulations! More books that will easily outsell Batiuk’s.

            5. 🤟

          • sorialpromise

            You are always so kind.

          • sorialpromise

            You and Mr. Bwoeh can do with this as you wish:

      • Anonymous Sparrow

        Charles Dickens has a bone to pick with you, Batton Thomas.
        (The depiction of Dotheboys Hall in *Nicholas Nickleby* did a lot to reform that sort of school. Likewise, the portrayal of Mrs. Gamp in *Martin Chuzzlewit* made the midwife somewhat soberer, for which Mrs. ‘Arris was probably not grateful, assuming she existed, that is.)

        Harriet Beecher Stowe and Upton Sinclair turned up earlier in SOSF.

        Salman Rushdie, by the way, has an interesting meditation on who has the best tunes in *The Satanic Verses.*

        That’s not to say that Tom Lehrer didn’t have a point in “The Folk Song Army” about what three chords and the truth could do, but some artists do genuinely wish to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

    • Cheesy-kun

      Well, thanks bwoeh. Now I’m going to have nightmares of “Nightmare in Westview” with Batuik hunting us. Sharpened pencils will extend from the fingertips of his glove and he’ll be seeking revenge for all the burns he’s suffered here.

      • be ware of eve hill

        A glove with Funky felt-tips? Drawing glasses, mustaches, and goatees upon our slumbering faces?

        At least Freddy Krueger has a sense of humor.

        • Cheesy-kun

          LOL! “Funky felt-tips” + “At least FK has a sense of humor.” = Double brilliant, wish I’d thought of them.

  10. ComicBookHarriet

    Yes. My favorite office floor plan. You can put your desk wherever you want, as long as you are uncomfortably close to at least one other person.

    • Cheesy-kun


    • Tom from Finland

      Last week Flash’s desk was next to the threadmill.
      They are redecorating at such pace that I assume they have installed wheels under the desks.
      That of course makes it also easy to push Ruby and Generic Blonde #2 to the storage closet whenever their presence is not required.

  11. Gerard Plourde

    Proving that geography isn’t his strong suit, in today’s “Match to Flame” installment TomBa prepares to confess to a “crime” he committed when visiting the former home of the Chicago Sun-Times while it was being torn down to be replaced by the Trump hotel building. Because the Sun-Times was the first paper to print Funky Winkerbean he states “Along the way [to attending the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic] I would always make a pilgrimage over to the Sun-Times building on the banks of the Wabash River to pause and reflect for a moment.”

    The Wabash River? It appears his KSU Press imprints aren’t overseen by an editor either.

    • Jeff M

      It’s Wabash AVENUE for crying out loud! I will give everyone three guesses as to the name of the river that trisects Chicago. It’s hard to remember, obviously. (It rhymes with “Chicago.”)

  12. be ware of eve hill

    Oh, for crying out loud! Batton Thomas is still there?! What a freakin’ haunt! Go home!

    Please substitute the name “Batton” for the word “ball” in the video below.

  13. Y. Knott

    It’s a Son Of Stuck Funky writing contest!

    By the authority vested in me by absolutely no-one whatsoever, I (totally expropriating the Son Of Stuck Funky name, to which I have absolutely no rights whatsoever) present an exciting writing contest!

    Match To Flame #188 is up, telling a Tom Batiuk-centric story — the conclusion of which is left hanging.

    Your challenge: Finish the story! What was that plan? The creativity shown by this group of wonderful people should result in some Pulitzer-adjacent material, don’tcha think?

    The prize: Everlasting bragging rights! (At least on the SoSF website!)

    Post your entries here!

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Will this finally be what gets gleeb to read Tom’s blog?

    • billytheskink

      I dunno about the plan, but this was the result.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        “Though I had never been counted among the celebrated Adonises of the athletic elites in the hallowed halls of my secondary education, I had still cultivated a Hephestian strength, crippled though it may have been, from decades and decades of warm summer days tussling with my fellow amateur linebackers in the leaves and dying grass, scoring touchdowns along the treelines of the Kent State commons, where so much blood and anger had been poured out in the tumultuous days of the Vietnam War, when the horror our nation thoughtlessly inflicted thousands of miles away across a glittering sea followed us home like Frankenstein’s monster, an unholy creation of our own hubris come to throttle youth and beauty in our own back yard.
        I nimbly leapt upon the barricade, and my grasping fingers took hold of the fence while my heart was pounding in my chest, and my legs were charged like lanky booster rockets ready to shoot me up and over the barrier that kept me from collecting a small remembrance of the hallowed brick and mortar of the initiatory temple of my youthful calling, when a twinge in my shoulder, the aching war wound of those aforementioned Kent State football victories, cried out, sobbing, screaming my age and the decay of my body that would no longer serve to take me over the top; the pain of an old wound, the nostalgia, of days gone by.”

        • Cheesy-kun

          Holy Montoni’s! Tom Batiuk, you know it’s wrong to steal another commenter’s identity, don’t you?

          CBH: I bow to your power to catch what falls out of TB’s pencil and out-Batiuk Batiuk. How much for a signed print of that masterpiece? (I assure you my collecting motives are pure.)

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          You really capture Batiuk’s talent for run-on sentences, cliched but ill-fitting metaphors, and never telling you what the hell is going on.

        • Y. Knott

          Special Judges Citation: The Les Moore Award for Outstanding Achievement in “It’s Called Writing” goes to Comic Book Harriet!

          • ComicBookHarriet

            Honored! Deeply, deeply honored.

            It was terrifying to write this, because Batiuk is like a dark extreme of my own writing style at times.

            It’s like Frodo staring at Gollum, and knowing if he gives in this could be him.

            The Ring in this simile is coordinating conjunctions.

      • Y. Knott

        Special Judges Citation: The Comic Book Harriet Award for best use of an existing strip to illustrate a point goes to Billy The Skink!

      • I’m pretty sure that should be “Stop, thieves!!” in panel one, but it’s actually funny the way it is.

    • sorialpromise

      It’s a Son Of Stuck Funky writing contest!
      I had the plan. I had the motivation. Now for the energy. One try. Two tries. Three tries. The vault was beyond me. I even tore my pants leg. What could I do?
      I got down on my hands and knees. I reached through the fence as far as a could, and grasped a piece of the holy of holies. A tiny piece of concrete slag. I pulled my arm back, and ripped a hole in my sweater. Feeling triumphant, but sure I was going to get caught and end up at Cook County jail, I took off in a sprint. I slipped on a loose broken board. I scraped my hands stopping my fall. Then the horror! I dropped the prize. I looked down. All the gravel looked the same. I swore under my breath. If I ever retell this story, it will be athletic. It will be dynamic. It will be glorious.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      “I knew what I had to do next. I went straight to the comic book store and bought The Flash #322 from June 1983, which was inked by Dennis Jensen. I always liked Jensen’s inking; it brought a nice three-dimensional feel to it. I always imagined he was my fourth-grade classmate in Akron, who was also named Dennis Jenson, but he spelled it differently. That was the book where Loretta Nordan, the second Saber-Tooth, died (next Sunday I’m going to watch the Grey Cup, where the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are playing for their third straight championship).”

      • Y. Knott

        Special Judges Citation: The Atomik Komix Award (presented by the Canadian Football League) for the most accurate written depiction of CTE and/or apparent comic-book related dementia goes to Banana Jr. 6000!

  14. Cheesy-kun

    “And a plan began to form. I called Bill Clinton. He used his connections in the Machine to get Mayor Lightfoot to declare an amnesty on the destruction, in exchange for a Luigi’s x-large with everything. Not only did I get my brick, but both the President and the Mayor signed it for me.”

    Beautiful idea, Y. Knott, but can’t believe I actually read one of TB’s entries. Are you a plant, tricking us into reading his blog? Anyway, the idea that fell out of my keyboard was to stay true to Batiuk’s unique of detailed banality mixed with pretentiousness.

    • Y. Knott

      Special Judges Citation: The Lisa’s Story Prize for outstanding achievement in the field of pretentious banality goes to Cheesy-kun!

      • Cheesy-kun

        Thank you. Thank you all. I am honored to share the stage with the incredible writers at SoSF.

        My mother and I used to take drives along Wabash Ave. She’d point at the Sun-Times building and tell me about how she always dreamed of having some small part of it as a keepsake. Such as a brick. That dream became mine and I owe its fulfillment all to one person.

        Tomorrow I’m taking the first flight from Tokyo to Westview and I’m giving my award to Les Moore.

  15. Jeff M

    Anyone else have the feeling today that the real TB avatar isn’t Batton Thomas but Ruby Lith? (And I mean, intentionally so. Even people in the throes of deep dementia or mental illness can have surprising moments of true insight.)

  16. Paul Jones

    Great. She has arthritis cancer which means that someone else gets to live out the stupid, editor-hating fantasy of being totally boring. We;re back to more garbage with the Lord Of The Late, aren’t we?

  17. Perfect Tommy

    “Just aren’t just”? No Major Tom, it’s not called writing.
    It’s called gibberish.

  18. Banana Jr. 6000

    And she just announces this on the shop floor in the middle of the working day, where everybody can hear? H.R. does not work that way.

    • billytheskink

      They could rename this whole strip ___ Does Not Work That Way. It could then become a spiritual successor to They’ll Do It Every Time.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Speaking of things that don’t work that way: is dropping things really a sign of decrepitude in people who use their hands for a living? I thought it was arthritis pain, the loss of dexterity, and the mental ravages of age that sent you to the glue factory.

  19. Epicus Doomus

    Ha ha! Ruby is old and decrepit! Oh, the hilarity! It’s always a treat when Ruby makes an appearance!

  20. Banana Jr. 6000

    On a side note, I love the Twitter suggestion that Annabeth Gish should be in any Funky Winkerbean movie. She’s perfect to play Lisa. And she’s exactly the kind of star this project would attract: someone whose name you remember, but you can’t remember anything you ever saw them in. Also starring Greg Kinnear as Funky.

  21. Professor Fate

    A suggestion. Is it possible that Crankshaft has become some kind of energy vampire and has absorbed some of Rudy’s life essence? It would explain both her far more aged appearance and Crankshaft’s restored vigor. It’s almost as insane as the Talking Murder Chimp but it would at least explain both.

  22. Majicou

    What do I think of this strip?
    Er… Splunge!

    (Not really, it’s lousy.)

  23. Jeff M.

    The saddest thing about that whole Sun-Times building story is visible from the photo – it was a decades-old eyesore when it was being torn down, and the only building along the Chicago River that raised no fuss when it was demolished. When Donald Trump bought the property and made plans for its demolition, the Chicago Magazine headline was actually “Ode to an Eyesore.” (The genuinely poignant part is that it was built to house the newly-merged Chicago Sun-Times (morning) and Chicago Daily News (evening), and you can still see the space on the top where it used to say “Chicago Daily News.”