Here is today’s strip. You all go ahead and tear into it. Not sure I could do much better than the post title anyways.

Sorry, two days to go on my stint and I’m already running on fumes. Even WordPress knows this, somehow. It’s kind of creepy, to be honest… I’ll press on these next two days, but I’m going to set a spell today and see you in the comments.

Speaking of running on empty (and burying the lede, for that matter), Tom Batiuk dropped some news late yesterday that may or may not be relevant to this story arc, the last several months of speculation in the comments, and the future of this website. Some of you all commented on it yesterday. I have plenty of thoughts on this, as I am sure many of you all do. As with today’s strip, I’ll see you in the comments to discuss.

I’m guessing this will get more ink than the strip…



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

153 responses to “Excre-mint

  1. More than fifty years ago the cast of Funky Winkerbean began their journey on the American comics pages…However, nothing goes on for infinity and so this wonderful odyssey will reach its conclusion on December 31 of this year. Sort of…I still plan to post new original Funky stories at my new website tombatiuk.com from time to time along with my ongoing collaboration with Dangerous Dan Davis on Crankshaft…speaking of Crankshaft, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Funky and friends popping up every now and then in that…strip. Between the blog, the books and the pop-ups in Crankshaft, it’ll be like the Funky gang never left…So the carousel isn’t stopping, just slowing down a little.

    Leave it to Tom Batiuk to “retire” in the most Tom Batiuk way: walking away from his flagship comic after fifty years, but continuing to write, and insert his better-known characters into, its spinoff strip. He’ll continue posting content on his recently refurbished website, and of course has about another eight volumes of The Complete FW left to publish. Nobody around here is about to begrudge TB his semi-leisure, and we wish him all the best with his future pursuits. Between now and the final FW, your friends here at Son of Stuck Funky are planning a proper farewell. Stay tuned and stay Funky!

    • A darkling thought–the December 31st strip and indeed appears to be a proper finale. We say our farewells here and the blog shuts down.

      Jan 1st, Funky Winkerbean appears in the paper. Funky leers at the reader: “Some people will believe anything!”

    • billytheskink

      I feel like there is a lot unsaid in between the lines of that statement. The fact that TB will continue writing Crankshaft and plans to put new FW stories on his website tells me it is likely that the syndicate told him both that they were only still interested in selling one of his strips AND which of the two strips was the one they were interested in continuing to sell (the one that is in more papers… what a shock!). That, and/or Ayers is ready to be done drawing the strip and the syndicate isn’t interested in cutting checks to a new artist.

      I don’t think TB wants to do this at all, but he is willing to go along with the syndicate to keep at least one of strips in the paper. It explains why the end of FW was announced quietly just a few weeks before the final strip even though TB and co. have known about it for probably well over a year and could have ginned some sort of year-long victory lap, he doesn’t want to celebrate something he doesn’t want. It explains strips like this week’s, with the reluctant retirement navel gazing, because that’s how he’s feeling. It explains why TB is promising new FW content on his website, because he’s not really ready to be done with these characters.

      • Epicus Doomus

        I like this theory. There’s been a really peculiar vibe during 2022, and this theory IMO explains it very well. It really does feel like his hand is being forced to one degree or another.

        • Paul Jones

          That would probably explain the reason he’s closing Montoni’s and why Summer is doing what she’s doing. He can’t do what Red Green did and say “People at Possum Lodge are living out their lives but you just won’t see it”, he’s got to lock the door and turn out the light.

          • Jimmy

            Now that show was a real piece of art. Seventeen years later, and I still go back and watch Red Green episodes. I doubt I’ll give FW a second thought when it’s gone.

      • Gerard Plourde

        I agree with this theory. I wonder if he got the word from the syndicate a while ago and negotiated a the time frame.

      • spacemanspiff85

        That really has been the most baffling thing about Funky Winkerbean. It’s one thing for the writing to be bad, or Batiuk to just write self indulgent comics crap that only appeals to him. But what amazed me for so long was that he continued to get paid for and have strips published where he got his own characters names wrong or spent a week with an old guy walking silently around a house, or a character being given the helmet her husband committed suicide in.

  2. William Thompson

    Mopey Pete digs deep into a desk drawer to find–yeah, some old and (unsurprisingly) never-used breath mints. Would you expect anything less from the big spender who gave his fiance an engagement tiger? Of course not, because there’s no way to expect less of him.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I love how passive-aggressively angry Mindy looks in the last panel. Like she can relate to getting a crappy gift from Pete, and then having to watch him strut around smirking at himself. After she just found out the strip was cancelled.

      “Rocky gets a wedding and I get a stuffed tiger? And it wasn’t even Hobbes. Opus the Penguin got Hobbes. That’s how I rate, apparently. I thought I’d at least get to marry the rich dweeb, instead of staring down of the barrel of 35 after I wasted my youth going to every fucking comic book show in 200 miles. God, I hate him so much. To hell with this place anyway. Maybe I still look young enough to get a bit part in Luann.”

    • Jeff M.

      He’s a monster. Monster.

    • Hitorque

      1. Peter Rattabastardo has always been an unfunny pathetic piece of shit manchild yet he’s so lacking in self-awareness and basic human decency that he can’t see two inches past his own overinflated sense of self-worship… In this way he might as well be Lester Moore’s little brother or something…

      1a. It’s funny because Pete, Chester, and this entire AK business venture was founded on the sole premise of jerking off constantly to the legacy of overrated Silver Age writers and when a co-worker who is an honest to God real life Silver Age survivor; a living, breathing piece of comics history says she’s walking away for good, all Peter can do is toss her a tin of stale Altoids and crack a joke that would make a fourth grade kid roll his eyes?

      1b. Peter and Twitter CEO Elon Musk are cut from the same cloth…

      2. So what the hell happens to SOSF after 31 December? I got nowhere to go and Josh is guaranteed to just ban me again if I ever show up over at CC again?

    • spacemanspiff85

      I have a feeling there’s a “Happy birthday, Pete!” tag attached to the box of mints.

  3. Epicus Doomus

    Note to SoSF staffers: take home any personal items and get your shit out of the break room or I’m throwing it all out. Wipe and reformat those hard drives too, pronto. Use your sick days now, and the Christmas party has, of course, been canceled.

    Finding out that Batiuk is continuing “Crankshaft” while killing FW was like finding out your parents really preferred your sibling more. Just way less traumatic, though. If the big, award-chasing, overly-sincere big lug was really retiring retiring, I might have been spurred to cut ol’ Pulitzer (nominee) Boy a break, and maybe even develop a bit of late-term mild affection for all the comedic fodder he’s graciously provided to me over the years. But f*ck “Crankshaft” with a frozen tire iron, man. No way. My crusade is and always has been about FW, and that’s personal. While I hate “Crankshaft”, I don’t hate it enough to hate-read it. And starting now means he wins. I will have to settle for a tie, I suppose. Damn you, Batiuk!

    Anyhow, yeah, in week forty-five of his very last year, BatYam is focused on Ruby, who’s barely a character at all. Shafting his readers right to the bitter end, I see. There will no doubt be much to discuss in the near future, and plenty of nostalgia-wallowing too, so stay Funky while you still can.

  4. William Thompson

    Okay, what does everyone expect of the final, Sideways Sunday installation of FunkyWinkerbean? I think Batiuk will creatively acquire the last scene of the Bob Newhart show. Act One Funky will wake up in bed. “What a weird dream!” he says.
    Next panel, a word balloon rises from the rumpled sheets. “How weird?”
    “I dreamed I graduated high school . . . got a job at Montoni’s . . . took over the place . . . ”
    “You? Run Montoni’s?”
    “Yeah, but I became a drunk . . . recovered . . . hey, I had a son.”
    “You? Seriously?”
    “Yeah. And a Pizza Box Monster, too. The weird thing is, we never got married.”
    Young Les sits up next to him. “Dream on!”

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I had my own idea for a final Funky Winkerbean, which is not too different than that. It borrows from a different TV ending. I’m going to try and PhotoShop it.

      • Y. Knott

        I’m guessing a snowglobe is involved?

        • William Thompson

          Les Moore, failed writer, sits in his basement like Roseanne and types out endless cliches.

        • ComicBookHarriet

          I’m guessing you mean St. Elsewhere, but I’m picturing the end of Krampus instead.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Good thinking, but not what I’m aiming at. I’ll give you a hint, though: it’s the famous ending of a TV episode, not an entire series.

          • Green Luthor

            “Who Shot F.W.?”

          • Y. Knott

            Ah. Now I’m guessing a shower is involved.

          • Charles

            Les Moore’s plane was shot down over Lake Erie. It spun in. There were no survivors.

          • Rusty Shackleford

            The Sooranos?

          • “As God is my witness, I thought Lisa’s Story could fly.”

          • The whole FW gang is eating the final pizza at Montoni’s. Frankie comes in wearing a Members Only jacket. He goes into the men’s room. The next panel is black.

          • Green Luthor

            Hm, Y. Knott mentioned a shower being involved, so… maybe everything since Rocky accidentally saw Funky’s Winkerbean has all been a dream sequence, as the horror of what she witnessed drove her to madness like a character from a Lovecraft story.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            You’re all way off. No more clues.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            Since everyone’s keen to guess what I’m working on, I should clarify one thing: my proposed ending to Funky Winkerbean *is* a lot like the Newhart ending. But something else was the major inspiration. And it *was* the ending of a TV show, but not a TV series. I’ve almost got it Photoshopped up.

          • The Duck of Death

            A nuclear apocalypse leaves Batton the only survivor, clinging to his copy of Flash #123. Amidst the smoldering wreckage of Westview, he settles down happily to read it. Then, in an ironic twist, his eyeballs fall out. “It’s not fair… it’s not fair at all… there was time now!”

          • William Thompson

            “Mr. Moore, this is the Other Place!”

      • J.J. O'Malley

        After years on the run from the law, Funky finally tracks down the One-Armed Killer, and it turns out to be Becky?

        • Anonymous Sparrow

          “Funky Winkerbean looks out the window for the last time and sees only darkness. But in that darkness fate moves its huge hand…”

          • ComicBookHarriet

            Rachel Winkerbean, despondent over the jarring and unexpected closing of Montonis, the business she dedicated her entire working life to, finally snaps and goes on a rampage through town, throwing molotovs out the window of her Batiukmobile, burning priceless landmarks like the Gazebo, Atomik Komix offices, the High School, and finally the Montoni’s building.

            Holly tries to stop her, but Linda Lopez Bushka, finding catharsis in the destruction of the town that has forgotten her husband, holds him back. In the ensuing struggle, they trip over the uneven curb where the wheelchair ramp was cut, and crack their skulls, both dying instantly.

            Funky, enraged by grief, goes to the roof to manually turn off the building’s sprinkler systems to allow the flames to consume the building. Les attempts to stop him, and decades of hidden resentment suddenly boil over. Their limp-wristed old man brawl leaves them too broken and bloody to see how close to the edge they’ve gotten. As the congealed grease from a thousand thousand dripping pizzas finally combusts, they topple from the roof and are swallowed up by the flaming dumpster in the alley.

            Crazy Harry rushes into the building in an attempt to save DSH John. He reaches him but their way out is blocked by the flames. They clutch a mint slabbed copy of Amazing Fantasy 15 between them to shield it as the building collapses with them still inside.

            Wally Winkerbean reaches Rachel just as she is about to toss a lit copy of Lisa’s Story into Les Moore’s broken bedroom window. He is forced to choke her out and she is arrested and hauled away.

            Rachel is charged for arson and manslaughter, her expected sentence is life in prison without parole.

            Wally Winkerbean leaves town to become an Alaskan Coast Guard.

            Donna opens a new comic book store.

            Summer moves into her father’s old house, and becomes the Principal of the High School.

            Cayla decides she wants to see what is West of Westview. She finds California (again) and hooks up with Masone and Cindy in a stable menage a trois.

            Harry Dinklage convinces everyone that no one has a better story than Becky the Broken, and she is elected Mayor of Westview.

      • J.J. O'Malley

        Les leave Westview forever to take off on a global book signing tour, and as the helicopter carrying him (but not Cayla) lifts off from the roof of the now-closed Montoni’s, we see that funky has spelled out the word “GOODBYE” in pizza boxes?

      • J.J. O'Malley

        Convicted of not obeying a “Good Samaritan Law” because they were smirking when Ruby Lith got mugged outside the Atomik Komix offices on her last workday, Mopey Pete, Durwood, Flash Freeman and The Late Phil Holt wind up jailed together in a tiny cell, where they spend their time arguing whether the Jay Garrick, Barry Allen, or Wally West Flash was the fastest.

        • Anonymous Sparrow

          3X2(9YZ)4A to you, says Johnny Chambers.

          By the way, Mr. O’Malley, I was listening to a vintage “Quiet, Please” radio episode yesterday called “Tap the Heat, Bogdan.” In it, one of the principal characters, Magnus O’Dwyer, explains what “cushlamochree” means.

          I suspect that Wyllis Cooper was a Crockett Johnson fan.

          A party’s not a party without cold lamb sandwiches.

          (For starters, adds Tubby Watts.)

        • Sourbelly

          The Pizza Monster flees Westview and goes to Canada, where he/she becomes a lumberjack.

    • Epicus Doomus

      In the title panel, a huge B-52 bomber is flying by. In the second panel, we see two airmen next to a huge bomb helpfully labeled “H-Bomb”. The first crewman says “hey Ned, better check that bomb bay door hinge in case…”. Third panel, the bomb drops as crewman two meekly says “oops”. Cut to panel four, where Funky stops raking and looks up to see where that whistle is coming from. Cut to Summer in panel five, where she stops typing and looks up. Cut to Les, who looks up from Lisa’s picture which he’s been fondling. Last panel, all black.

    • Jeff M.

      As long as it’s not a smash-cut to the “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” Coca-Cola commercial…

  5. You know, Batiuk is going to have trouble putting comic book cover Sundays into Crankshaft.

    Oh, who am I kidding? He’ll keep doing those, there just won’t be the slightest connection to anything in the strip, either before or after.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Yeah, he will ruin that strip too. This is why they forcing him to shutter FW. He alienated so many loyal readers with his nonsense.

      I wonder if he has a year’s worth of strips or if he made the decision last year?

  6. Y. Knott

    I’d really like to muster up something vaguely unsnarky to say about FW riding off into the sunset.

    But of course today’s installment is a perfect illustration of why I can’t. FW is all about unearned sentimentality, dumb not-even-puns, and forced attempts at poignancy.

    I can’t even say it’s pathetic but sweet … because it isn’t sweet.

    However, I am genuinely hoping Tom enjoys a little more time to himself now to read more comic books, which he obviously loves. And then he can blog about them to his heart’s content.

    There, that’s closer to “pathetic but sweet”.

  7. William Thompson

    If Mopey Pete had a red button on his hair-helmet, I’d push it in the desperate hope that it was a Mute button (“Self Destruct” would be too much to hope for.)

  8. Batdick’s post reminds me of the Simpsons Spin-off Showcase: “And don’t be surprised if a few of Crankshaft’s old pals from Funky Winkerbean show up to wish him luck!”

    The difference being, the Simpsons Spin-off Showcase was a parody of terrible writing. Batdick’s work is a celebration of said writing.

    Anyway: Wow!

  9. ComicBookHarriet

    The foreshadowing goes waaaaaay back.

  10. robertodobbs

    When the FW characters “pop in” to Crankshaft, will he be in a wheelchair with that oxygen tube thing up his nose or will he be spry? Because I can’t figure any of this time thing out.

    • Green Luthor

      Batiuk implicitly retconned away both “decrepit Crankshaft” and the time gap; not sure when, exactly, it happened, but it was definitely in effect earlier this year. Cindy and Mason were at the reunion in Funky, then showed up in Crankshaft at the Valentine, even mentioning that they had just been at the reunion. And then in Crankshaft Max and Generic Blonde Woman got hired back at the Channel One TV station because of a ransomware attack, which gave GBW the idea to rerun old “John Darling Before He Was Murdered” shows, which is what inspired Jessica Darling Whose Father John Darling Was Murdered to seek out memorabilia back in Funky. (Which started out as one of the most boring storylines ever – and I know that’s saying a lot – to probably the most demented one Batiuk’s ever done. Which is also saying a lot.)

      • Gerard Plourde

        CBH wrote that she emailed him (I think it was sometime in the spring) about the weird aging of the FW crew and he wrote that he was merging the timelines. Now we know why.

  11. KMD

    All I want for Christmas is a FW character to die a horrible death each day in December. It would be the best Advent calendar ever. Pizza Monster can be crushed in a baler. Dinkle can have a heart attack in the Rose Bowl parade and have marching bans and floats trample over him. Holly can finally perfect the flaming baton trick and get consumed by a fire. Ruby can shoot Mopey Pete for his dumb pun and then get the chair. And Les? Led can be killed when he wanders into the hall during classes and the hall monitor guns him down with his old machine gun. I didn’t forget Funky though TB did a long time ago. As the last pizza ever at Montonis is served, Donna asks Crazy Harry how Funky is. Harry bites into the pizza and says “delicious.” Does Donna throw up in her old arcade helmet or keep eating? Find out in Crankshaft!

  12. sorialpromise

    We are blessed to have 44 more days of Joy and Snark!
    1. All of us enjoy each other. Here is my impression of Anonymous Sparrow: What a collection of the most erudite bloggers on the internet. To quote Giannis Delimitsos, “The definition of the “ideal” philosopher, the sage? The seeker who knows a hundred reasons to be unhappy, but finds a thousand ways to be placid and content. She has the clarity of the scientist, the erudition of the teacher, the goodness of the saint.” A. S. could not have said it better. I hope he tries.
    2. I came for the snarkers. Wow! Are we ever attracted to lousy bait.
    3. I will not miss Mopey Pete.

  13. billytheskink

    My wife’s reaction:

    “Ohhhhh. I’m sad. I am literally sad. I know you like blogging about it… but I (bleep)ing hate that strip.”

    • ComicBookHarriet

      The reaction of my friends.

      “I think it’s fair to say that while at times the comic got you frustrated, and sometimes it was work, the community built around it was a friend that’s been with you for so long, and you’ll be having to say goodbye to it.
      So in a way, I expect you to go through the cycles of grief here”

      Followed by a string of about fifteen hug emoji’s from everyone else.

      • sorialpromise


      • ian'sdrunkenbeard

        I definitely went through the stages of grief several years ago when I left a site after a clash with the moderator.

      • Cheesy-kun

        CBH, I’m still new here and the thought of SoSF closing its saddens me. So, I can only imagine how it feels for you who one of the community founders.

        I do hope it continues in some form.

        In the meantime, thank you.

        • ComicBookHarriet

          I’m not even really a founder. That honor goes to the likes of Epicus Doomus and TF Hackett. Barring BJ6K, I’m actually the most recent addition to the writer roster, having put in my first shift in November 2017. I’d been posting for a couple years before that. That puts me in the middle ‘age’ of posters around here. When I went back to the 2015 Time Pool arc, I could find dozens of names that had also posted in 2022.

          Guys like BillytheSkink have been here almost since the beginning. Go forward just a couple years, and you’ll start seeing Charles, and Sourbelly, oddnoc, and TheDiva. And others.

          Some people have hopped on this bandwagon, made a bunch of noise, and then hopped off. Some people have sat kinda quietly on the sides for more than a decade riding along. Both kinds of people made the journey so much fun.

          • Cheesy-kun

            Thank you for sharing that background information, CBH-sensei. I’d love to read an 8 volume set of SoSF archives! (Published by Snark State UP?)

            Are you interested in contemporary Japanese literature and manga? Kathryn Hammann posts reviews at this site. If you go to her About page you can also link to her blog where she posts her academic articles about manga, etc.


            One of the authors she writes about is Natsuo Kirino (first name, last) (it’s also common to follow the Japanese convention of last name first). My favorite work of Kirino’s is “Out” but I also like “The Goddess Chronicle,” which is a feminist retelling of the “Kojiki,” Japan’s creation myth.

            Begging your pardon if you know Kirino’s work, already.

            Hope you’re having a pleasant Friday.

  14. Green Luthor

    So how long do y’all think it’ll be before Crankshaft and Lilian start writing comic books? Like, six months, maybe?

    (Of course, Max and Generic Blonde Woman now work for Mason, so I guess he and Generic Blonde 68-Year-Old Woman can easily become regulars over there, too. Joy.)

  15. Andrew

    So the pieces fall into place as the destiny of the strip’s end reveals itself. I wonder if he whispered this news to anyone who ran into him at the Akron Comic-Con and we missed out on a big scoop.

    Also, people are saying that it doesn’t really feel natural with the lack of a “victory lap” with the strip? Hasn’t that been what’s been going on over the year, self-indulgence mixed with nostalgia and touching bases? Les won an Oscar in the most contrived way, we time-traveled back to Act 1 one more time, trans representation as squeezed in as an afterthought to a timeline-shattering 50th reunion, there was a funeral, there was racial profiling at the mall, Cory showed up as a total prune to get married, we got a dying Lisa flashback with its own Crazy retcon, there was a “Prince Valiant” tribute that was bungled to look like an insult, we met a crazy fan with John Darling’s autospy photos as the murder weapons showed up to be turned into a toy, Susan of all people was revisited for some reason, and now we’re seeing as Montoni’s closes and the “treasured” Atomic Komic is losing one of their favorite senior staff. 2022 was a send-off anniversary year the only way it could be done today: making you roll your eyes so hard they drill into orbit.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      All of this is true Andrew! Very true. Which is why so many of us got the sense that something was up. But what was really weird and unBatiukian is how he didn’t announce his victory lap ahead of time so a crowd could potentially gather to cheer him through it.

      If you you start your victory lap without telling anyone, people just stare and wonder why you’re running so funny.

    • none

      Correct. There have been several “victory lap” comment responses made here in the time. More examples:

      Dinkle goes to the Rose Bowl as responds to it as if he never did so before, and gets a few more arcs just to give him more time (and only interact with other established characters just to rattle their names off at entry in a roll call).

      Malcom went a decade without a name before being wedged into the Racism Minus Racism arc.

      70 year olds Funky and Les do a football thing without any other context.

      And so on.

    • gleeb

      Well, at least the weird, disconnected tone of the past year is probably not due to Tom Batiuk developing some sort of dementia. I hate the man’s work, but I know nothing of him, and thus nothing against him as a person.

  16. be ware of eve hill

    I read the FW news earlier today and was surprised to discover my eyes welling up with tears (a little). I’ve been reading FW since I was in the 6th grade. Oddly, I’ve been a bit melancholy, too. Bummer.

    In truth, I think my sorrow has more to do about my time on this website coming to an end. Not necessarily about the Funky Winkerbean comic strip announcement itself.

    Speaking of the FW comic strip, I better start reading the FW archive while it’s there. I bet Batiuk will pull it from the Comics Kingdom website the day after the comic strip ends. If people want to read the Funky Winkerbean archive, they’ll have to pony up for his Complete Funky Winkerbean books.

    • Lord Flatulence

      Remember, there’s always archive.org.

    • be ware of eve hill

      I grew up in a suburb of Akron, Ohio. Tom Batiuk was a local guy from Akron, and at one time I had an extra appreciation for Funky Winkerbean because of it. Batiuk was one of us and his comic strip was in all the newspapers. Crankshaft followed and both were among my favorites for decades.

      Flash forward a couple of decades. A major change in direction for the Funky Winkerbean strip greatly soured my opinion of it. Now I bristle whenever I hear or read Tom Batiuk’s name associated with Akron.

      Me: Batiuk? Akron? No way man, his family moved away from Akron when he was little. Yeah, he grew up in the Elyria area. Grafton, I believe. He’s a Medina guy now. They can have him. He’s not an Akron guy anymore. I don’t care what the ‘Notable People’ from Akron Wikipedia page says

      My how opinions can change.

      I wonder what Batiuk’s legacy would be if stayed the course with the gag-a-day Funky Winkerbean. Or if he just handed off or retired the strip when he tired of the high school shenanigans.

      Has any other comic strip creator ever tried to create a gag-a-day strip and a drama strip at the same time?

      • Y. Knott

        Margaret Shulock did Six Chix and Apartment 3-G at the same time. (She also, uncredited, did some ghostwriting for Barney Google & Snuffy Smith.)

        • be ware of eve hill

          IMHO, the only one of the Six Chix who ever had any talent was Rina Piccolo, and she left the strip a half dozen years ago to collaborate with Hilary Price on Rhymes with Orange. I think it’s one of the best comic strips on Comics Kingdom.

          That being said, Margaret Shulock was much better than the current Tuesday and Thursday Chix, God rest her soul.

          Until I subscribed to CK, I never really read soap opera strips. Now I’m attempting to get my money’s worth. I also started reading them because of blogs like Mary Worth & Me! and The Daily Trail.

          • be ware of eve hill

            If there was any doubt, I meant Rhymes with Orange is one of the best comic strips on the Comics Kingdom. Not Six Chix, which both blows and sucks at the same time.

            I read Six Chix for the snark. Often to find out from other readers what the hell is happening in the strip.

            Apparently, depression and poor self-image issues are what passes for female humor there.

          • TimP

            Ann Telnaes was once a creator for Six Chix and she is supremely talented.

      • SC

        Ces does Sally Forth and Judge Parker

        • be ware of eve hill

          That’s true!

          Another thing in common with Batiuk is Ces is often extremely wordy. His word balloons on Sally Forth comic strips can all but obscure Jim Keefe’s artwork some days.

          Also, like Batty, I sometimes wonder about Ces’s mental health. Sally Forth can be pretty damn weird. Can it possibly be a side effect of creating a gag-a-day strip and a drama strip at the same time?

          • Green Luthor

            Eh, as far as I can tell, Ces is fine. He has a weird, geeky sense of humor, and he writes to that. Some of his stories can be rather bizarre, but he also doesn’t claim to be “a quarter inch from reality” while showing Talking Murder Chimps. (I mean, it’s not outside the realm of plausibility that a talking chimp might show up in the strip someday, but it wouldn’t be shooting people, and the other characters would definitely recognize that talking chimps aren’t normal.)

            (Though it also helps that pre-Ces Sally Forth was a rather bland and unmemorable strip. It was… fine, but nothing remarkable. Maybe my sense of humor is more like Ces’ than other peoples’, but I can’t complain about the directions he’s taken the strip.)

    • sorialpromise

      I will definitely miss your sweet, melodious voice. How will I know which is the proper curse word for the day? No more tales of practical jokes between you and Mr. Bwoeh. I will miss hearing about your husband sitting at the table stockpiling his armory. I will miss no longer hearing about the grandkid call at the end of the month. I still wonder if your brothers reconciled and buried your dear father? Most of all, I will miss you. Love and Light!

      • be ware of eve hill

        😭 Aw, big cyber hug, buddy. 🤗

        Perhaps the SOSF hosts will come up with an alternative forum. I’d say that Brooke McEldowney could use a good pulping.

        Quite a few intelligent people post here. Sometimes the conversation goes off on a tangent, and I feel left out. Some of the topics lately have been a little out of my purview. I read comic strips, not books. I read the funnies, not history or philosophy.

        For example, my Mom loaned me the entire Harry Potter series years ago. Next month will mark five years since Mom passed away, and I still haven’t read the books. Seen all eight movies. I’m just not a literary person. When working on my MBA, I was given the option of writing a dissertation. I declined because I wasn’t going to apply my degree towards research or education. I was so relieved.

        If I had a dollar every time I posted a comment here and then noticed a grammatical oversight, I’d be rich. So many times I think to myself, “I wish I worded that differently. Nobody is going to understand what I’m talking about.” English was my worst subject in high school. I received good grades and honors, not because I was naturally smart, but because I worked hard.

        Without a comic strip to eviscerate, I fear I’d end up feeling like a vegetarian at a butchers’ convention.

        Quite a memory you have there. Are you keeping notes on me?

        Mr. bwoeh isn’t stockpiling. He works part-time in a gun shop with a shooting range in the basement. It’s usual for him to fire his reloads the next shift.

        I look forward to this month’s grammie call, but I’d prefer Thanksgiving dinner with them. Being almost 900 miles apart sucks. GRAMMIE WANT TO HUG AND SPOIL GRANDKIDS!

        My brothers are not talking to one another at all. They’re idiots.

        Both Mom and Dad were cremated. Their urns are in my younger brother’s guest room.


        • sorialpromise

          I am like you. I consider myself a reader, and pretty well rounded. But the books and authors discussed here, I feel as if I am getting a PhD in Literature.
          I grew up reading comics. I started with DC and fell in love with Marvel. Favorite character is Incredible Hulk. I love the trio of creators: Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, and Jack Kirby.
          Kirby along with his partner Joe Simon invented romance comics. My favorite comic book villain is Thanos.
          I read nearly 20 comic strips daily. Just started a weird one: Macanudo. Love it. My favorites are Calvin and Hobbes, and Bloom County.
          I am so glad that you explained about Mr. Bwoeh and his stockpile. Until today, I pictured your living room with case after case from floor to ceiling. I did not want to piss off that man.
          You are a joy. I hope we can continue our friendship.
          Gotta go. I pulled myself away from the grandkids to write you. See how important you are!

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Same here, I have been a reader since around 1976. I took a sabbatical in the early 2000’s, and then came back to it as I was suffering from depression and reading the comics, save for this one, provided a nice distraction.

      Like Batty, I like living in NE Ohio, but I disagree with him on the quality of Luigi’s pizza!

      • be ware of eve hill

        Comics have always been able to cheer me up whenever I feel down. I hope your depression issues are a thing of the past.

        My in-laws and my younger brother still live in NE Ohio. Sometimes I feel sad that we left town and deprived ourselves of time with loved ones. Mr. bwoeh was offered a job opportunity he simply couldn’t refuse, so we had to move.

        I always thought Luigi’s was vastly overrated, and the pizza was “just okay.” I always preferred Parasson’s in Stow for dining in and Gionino’s for carry-out. So glad to see both businesses still around 30+ years later.

  17. none

    The curtain falls and the facade fades at last. Good.

    That this the most honorable way that he can portray a dishonorable discharge? Even better.

    If I may make a suggestion for a post-mortem community which nobody has mentioned yet to my knowledge. r/sosf doesn’t exist. Make it invite only and have user flairs match posting names here. Nobody would stumble into it without knowing what it is. Post about whatever.

    • @none I’ll take that under advisement for sure. Like everyone else here, I’m sorting out my feelings. I definitely value this community that’s come together around our shared love/hate of FW and wouldn’t want to see it dispersed. But part of me is extremely relieved about not having to maintain this blog (and really, Epicus does the lion’s share of the actual work. We shall see what happens after 12/31, stay tuned!

  18. Professor Fate

    And in the last strip Les is gunned down by the talking murder chimp.
    Well a man can dream yes?

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      I’ve got the old man’s car
      I’ve got a jazz guitar
      I’ve got a tab at Zanzibar
      Tonight that’s where I’ll be, I’ll be…

      Thank you, Billy Joel.

  19. Lord Flatulence

    The best thing about today’s comic is that nobody is smirking at Mopey Pete’s dumb joke.

  20. However the strip ends, one thing’s for sure: it will be unimaginably dull.

  21. William Thompson

    I’m going to take a quiet satisfaction in the thought that I’ve outlived Funky Winkerbean.

  22. Jeff M.

    I read the news yesterday (oh boy) and was taken aback, mildly, but like others, not surprised. Then I realized – holy s***, he means THIS December 31st. Then I realized – holy s*** I haven’t even started my Christmas shopping!

  23. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    Hidilly-ho, Snarkerinoes! When FW premiered in 1972, I was going to art school and working as a Teamster on a loading dock. Since I read The Cleveland Press every day, I’m sure that I read FW at its inception. Even though I could easily climb the rope up to the gym rafters, I was inept at sports except for running, climbing, and throwing rocks. I could identify with many of the problems of dweeby Les, so I enjoyed the strip on a par with Beetle Baily or B.C. After reading FW daily for the first few years, I missed several years of strips but I read the funnies whenever I could. In 1986 I bought a house and started getting the daily paper again.

    When FW turned preachy, I started to loath the smug citizens of Westview. I secretly hoped that a train carrying Army nerve gas would derail and wipe out the town. I remember sitting on my fat, over-stuffed La-Z-Boy reading FW and muttering to myself when Mrs. drunkenbeard asked what the hell my problem was. “This is so fucking stupid!” I whined, and Mrs. db uttered the classic words, “If you hate it, why do you read it?” I buried my head even deeper in the paper and increased my cursing.

    Sadly, Mrs. db passed on in 2017 (I try to recall the timing of events by measuring them against Mrs. db’s illness and passing), and I had started to snark on Mary Worth & Me before that. I adopted the nom de snark “ian’sdrunkenbeard” in homage to Professor Ian Cameron, the resident pompous blowhard of that strip. I imagined him sitting at home swilling cheap scotch while he plotted revenge on the administration that denied him tenure. Of course the swinish sot would slosh scotch on his abomination of a chin beard, and so idb made sense. It was only after I posted comments that I realized my moniker could also refer to Ian’s wife Toby, whom the snarkers said was in a constant vodka fog.

    I don’t remember when I found SOSF (2015? 16?), but it was as though the heavens had opened. I came for the snark, but I stayed for the esoteric droppings of the SOSF denizens. Nearly every day the comments send me into a deep dive on Grandpa Google. I have discovered so much art, literature, music, and new vocabulary because of you! Hell, many times I have to look up things just so I know what you’re talking about. Thank you!

    Keep it up! I love you, you erudite bastards!

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Great story, thanks for sharing. Many of my family members worked at The Press.

      I thought Funky was always in the morning Plain Dealer, while John Darling was in the afternoon Press. But my memory is foggy.

      • be ware of eve hill

        I don’t know about The Cleveland Press or the Plain Dealer, but the Beacon Journal (nicknamed “the Leaking Urinal” by my dad) placed John Darling on the TV listings page. Because John Darling was a TV host, I guess.

        Speaking of which, I heard the Akron Beacon Journal building is for sale. I always thought it was an iconic-looking building with its digital clock tower. They’ll probably convert it into apartments or condos. Perhaps the building will be torn down to make way for yet another car wash? An Akron area friend says they’re popping up like dandelions.

  24. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    Ah, crap. I’m going to post several links to postimages.com, so I’m sure the torso chute will be even more stopped up.
    I am really convinced it is a quality filter rather than a spam filter.

  25. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    I would like to see the following arcs brought to a conclusion.

  26. Cheesy-kun

    Will people like me who’ve only recently joined the SoSF family be let go first?

    Seriously, I never imagined I’d become a regular commenter anywhere but then I never knew there was a place like this where everyone is so funny, literate, and kind.

  27. Paul Jones

    The irritating thing is that Mopey Pete doesn’t realize just how horrible things are going to be for her going forward but it’s all good because he was a glib nincompoop.

  28. erdmann

    Wow. It’s getting so a guy can’t go away for a week or two of vacation without the world going mad in his absence.
    Honestly, I’m stunned. To paraphrase a certain evil mastermind, “A cosmos without ‘Funky Winkerbean’ to snark at scarcely bears thinking about.”

    As for the final strip, maybe it could end with Les, mortally wounded by his own machine gun (turns out it wasn’t a prop after all), wandering through Montoni’s one final time. He smirks at his reflection in a coffee pot that was left behind, then sinks to the floor dead.
    Guess he got what he deserved.

    • The Duck of Death

      Now that Ruby’s the focus, I say TB should go with it:

      Ruby reveals the true reason for her retirement. “Something tells me it’s about to get pretty… dead around here. Heh, heh. You see, you didn’t take my warning when I told you how I used to clean my paintbrushes in the coffee pots back in the old days. You lot are as sexist as anyone from the Golden Age ever was. Remember when I went to that convention to get my award and was upstaged by, who would have guessed, a man?

      “Have you ever known a Commie who was shy and compliant? Didn’t you wonder why I’ve taken all these insults so graciously? Well, my friends, you’re about to find out I wasn’t the docile little old lady you thought I was. Arsenic — lead — cadmium — cobalt — benzene — acetone — formaldehyde…. you haven’t noticed, have you, that your coffee’s been tasting funny?

      “The bad news is that you’ll all be dead within a month, and I’ll be long gone. The good news is that you’ve all got an express ticket out of Westview. And so do I, only mine is for a flight to a certain country with no extradition treaty. You see, Raúl Castro owes me a favor from the old days. He pulled a few strings. Like they say — I’ll see you in the funny papers.”

      • William Thompson

        “Joke’s on you, lady! We grew up drinking Montoni’s coffee with our pizza! Our kishkas laugh at your toxins! You can’t even kill Flash Freeman, and he’s been dead for years!”

  29. The Duck of Death

    It seems a bit of a contradiction that the guy who endlessly extols himself in essays, who appears to have been permanently waylaid by his Pulitzer nomination, would retire one of the longest-running creator-run strips with such a… fizzle.

    I used to joke that the strip would end with Les dying and Lisa and Masky McDeath escorting him into the afterlife where he could be with her forever. Of course, it was only a joke, because the point of the whole Lisa plot was not really Les being with her — it was Les grieving her.

    The reality is sadder than anything I could have imagined. I had believed TB wouldn’t retire soon, because he totally whiffed the reunion arc. That was the glaringly obvious place to tie everything up, and a chance to do it without the usual clunky exposition, since he would have a chance to introduce characters and tell their life stories to people they hadn’t seen in 50 years.

    “Junebug! Is that you?” “Crazy Harry! I’ll be darned, look at you! What’ve you been up to all these years?” Cue weeks of flashbacks as all the main characters look back on their lives and reflect on where they are today. Plus he could have added backstories of his choice for the characters that disappeared after Act I. (“I’m a woman now.” “Cool!” does not count as a backstory.)

    Think clipshow, but it could have covered the last couple months of the strip and wrapped it up beautifully. Last strip: Sunday strip showing the class as they graduated, and as they are today.

    I really never expected a fizzle this sad. Nothing came of the reunion arc. Nothing came of the inexplicably happy Montoni’s-closing arc. The retiring character is a 3rd-string nobody. It’s sad. Legitimately sad.

    Last night I dreamed about Batiuk and FW, something I’ve never done before. Because I never cared about it before, because the strip means nothing to me — but this community has become part of my life and I’m really gonna miss it.

    • Paul Jones

      The way Batiuk puts it, the carousel isn’t stopping, it’s slowing down. Every so often on his blog, we’ll see a new Winkerbean and they’ll be cameos on the strip he actually appears to care about but that’s about it:

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      Your “‘Cool!’ does not count as a backstory” reminded me of two things.

      First, in Stendhal’s *Charterhouse of Parma,* we have a lengthy analysis of Count Mosca, a brilliant politician, and at the end of this deft dissection, Stendhal basically shrugs and says “but what can you really expect? The man is Italian.”

      Second, in discussing Neil Gaiman’s Foxglove character with a friend, I objected to the author’s use of “the Queen of Acoustic Rock & Roll” for her. I’ve seen the term “acoustic rock & roll” used only once — in a review of an Alpha Band album in *Rolling Stone* — and someone like Gaiman (whose first published book was a biography of Duran Duran) should have called the former Ms. Donna Cavanagh a singer/songwriter or something like “the Sultana of the Soft-Rockers.”

      My friend heard me out and replied, as if it should have squelched any reservations I might have had about the subject:

      “Well, Foxglove is based on Tori Amos.”

      I don’t think that T-Bone Burnett, David Mansfield and Steve Soles would have accepted that as an effective rebuttal.

  30. ComicTrek

    He’s going to kill everybody off BRUTALLY, isn’t he?

  31. Hoo boy. It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I generally start every morning reading y’all’s snark, and it’s a GREAT way to begin the day. And because of that, I was genuinely bummed by the announcement. And not just because of SoSF, but also – like bwoeh – I’ve read this strip since I was little.

    That said, I love this piece of writing: “A special thanks to all of the Funky faithful for coming along for the ride. Boon companions all!”

    Um, SoSF _are_ the Funky faithful. Probably the most faithful. And hopefully not what TB would consider “boon companions.”

    I hope we – by which I mean TFH, ED et al – can figure out a postmortem-FW way to keep us together. I’d miss the daily snark way too much!

    • The Duck of Death

      I hope so too, very much. If there doesn’t appear to be a clear path to it, perhaps our gracious and near-omniscient hosts could ask for brainstorming/suggestions from the peanut gallery. There are some pretty clever folks here.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        I think SoSF can continue in a non-daily format. If Funky Winkerbean characters and themes creep into Crankshaft as aggressively as I think they will, there’ll still be things to talk about. There is also the promise of new FW content on the website. We’ll see if that materializes.

        • Andrew

          Honestly we could use more deep-dives into the past to catch up on noteworthy Act 1+2 bits that both show some legit high points and the progression of the snark-worthy bits that came to prominence in Act 3, as well as summarizing the most snark/depressing-worth moments of the 3rd act to give them some focus in the 15 years worth of unrelenting one-ups.

          If nothing else, we can become the Funky museum that sheds light on the strip’s place in history, something like a wiki but more casual.

  32. Paul Jones

    Now, as much as I like to rip into Lynn Johnston for her glaring defects as a writer, storyteller and artist, she at least told something akin to a story when she wrapped up FBorFW. Granted, it was the story of two losers who let who they were in High School dictate their futures so that John and Elly could get a great deal on an import car, but it was better than shuffling off into boring oblivion.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Agreed, her victory lap was much more coherent and actually somewhat enjoyable as compared to this crap. Batty should have pulled the plug years ago.

      • bad wolf

        I realized recently that not doing anything with Summer (Les’ progeny) was perhaps because he had so much riding on Lisa’s progeny–Darin. So getting to a marriage and grandkids was included… it just wasn’t Summer he wanted to push to the next level.

    • Andrew

      I’m hoping someone takes up the mantle of FBoFW’s fan-created epilogue FOOBAR, the webcomic where it turns out the post-ending reruns/”newruns” are the result of the FBoFW timeline legit being reset to the beginning, with characters retaining their memories and wondering WTF is going on and how to revert it: http://allfoobedup.blogspot.com/2008/11/introducting-foobar-foobed-up-beyond.html

      Honestly I have something of an idea of how something similar could be done with Funky, but I dunno if I have the time, effort or skill to ever pull it off.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        I like it, but I don’t have the time or skill to pull it off. Would be fun to read.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        I had a similar idea: Dysfunctional Winkerbean. Panels with the word balloons removed, and everyone take a crack at filling them in. Not sure if it would work for this strip, though. Also, it was already dysfunctional.

        • William Thompson

          That could end up like the joke about New Yorker cartoons: each one could be captioned “Christ, what an asshole” and have it fit.

  33. saneharry

    Been reading this blog every day for the last few years. I will miss everyone’s comments and grieve over the loss of a daily ritual (Is this what twitter users are feeling right now, with that website in disarray?)

    Everyone who makes this site possible does it out of the goodness of their heart and for the fun of comics snark. It has brought significant joy to my life, as I’m sure it has for many others. The internet used to be made up of home-grown places like these, and I hope more wholesome communities like it pop up in its place.

    Until then, i will treasure the last days of funky winkerbeane.

  34. sorialpromise

    1. If it has not already been mentioned, CBR.com has 2 articles on TB. The second one is a pleasant interview.
    2. When bwoeh offered a summer cookout, we should have jumped at the chance.
    3. I believe Friday is a late day working for said bwoeh. Post as soon as you can. I did see some posts from last night.
    4. I know one person that will immediately get this reference, but it is directed at ComicBookHarriet to whet her desire to get the book:
    “What kind of job gets you in trouble all the time?” Nalia asked.
    ‘Saving the world.” Jape spoke in a most matter-of-fact manner.
    5. Mr. Batiuk can get 7 one week arcs in this time period. The smart money is on a 3 week Les arc, and the final 2 weeks will be Dinkle. (What do I know? I was always hoping the next week would always have a plot and a hilarious climax!)
    6. I am a relative newcomer, but it is an honor to be associated with TF Hackett and Epicus Doomus. I always found the 2 of you responsive to my needs to get timely posted. I respect both of you and consider you both to be the very high end of quality. When reference was made to me in the daily blog, I always walked on Cloud 9!

    When this is over after December 31, anyone that cares to do so can continue to write me at:

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Hey! SP! I need that book report on The Last Protector done in the next month! You hear me!? You’ve got a deadline now!

      • sorialpromise

        I promise. It is the first book I am reading on my list. Did you enjoy my quote from Hannibal’s Lectern? That was just for you. It is easy to get into. He handles action and conversations very well. Again, I accept the deadline. You are blessed.

  35. The Duck of Death

    As for me, I will gladly meet any/many/all of you at the Lisa Bench in Central Park and show you around the town. We won’t go into Ellen’s Stardust Diner unless by special request as it’s a tourist trap, but we can walk by and do a tip of the SoSF html-tip. That’s a serious invitation, btw, for anyone who finds themselves in NYC. (We don’t strictly have to meet at the Lisa Bench, but it would be fitting.) Simply remove the spaces: brooklyn botanic @ gmail.com

  36. bad wolf

    So this does explain the year’s melancholy winding down… but still strange that famous year-ahead schtick of TB’s didn’t lead him to give us a heads up earlier.

    Maybe he has already been on vacation since before covid and that’s why it never really came up?

  37. ComicBookHarriet

    This article confirms that it is Ayers who wanted to throw in the towel first, with Batiuk unwilling/unable to replace him.

    “When Funky artist Chuck Ayers came to Batiuk with news that he wanted to retire, Batiuk saw it as the perfect time to “tie a bow on Funky’s story.”

    “There was never a succession plan for Funky – and there was no way to replace Chuck, so when he wanted to retire, I thought this gives me a chance to take these characters, that have been so good to me, and write a proper ending for them. That doesn’t always happen in comic strips. It’s great to be able to finish their story,” Batiuk said.”


    • billytheskink

      He’s almost convincing on Ayers retirement being the final straw, almost. I still suspect he doesn’t really want to end it and the syndicate decided it doesn’t want to spend any more time or effort on it. I still have not seen any press on the end of FW from King Features or that quotes anyone from them. King used to love putting out press releases when TB was trying to make the news.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Yeah, it doesn’t ring true. Also, Chuck Ayers is not Bill Watterson. He has freely given interviews in the past, and can do so now if he wants. But I wouldn’t be surprised to learn Batiuk insists on controlling the narrative himself. He’s a lot like Les in that regard.

        • Rusty Shackleford

          Yeah I watched the local news today and saw nothing, but I would think he would get some coverage.

          I don’t understand how he was unable to travel before retirement as he was a year ahead with his work.

      • bad wolf

        It’s a legacy strip so the “Luann” solution would have been to have his son (who’s never been involved before) take over writing and chain Ayers to a desk or find some rando to phone in the art.

        CK telling strips to put up or get out? I don’t know–I mean they don’t even seem to do simple editing functions in the first place!

    • Rusty Shackleford

      “Not willing to share how he will wrap up Funky’s storyline, Batiuk did say it is “a cool story. I don’t think people will see what is coming. “It reflects my whole life – my interests and the things I have always wanted to do. Wrapping Funky’s story gave me a chance to do that. I think it’s, cool, I hope my readers will think so too.”

      Well, we will see, but I bet our definition of cool is different than his.

      • The Duck of Death

        In other words, comix. And more comix. And the “bullpen.”

        Hey, you think Les will finally take Cayla to China?

        LOL j/k!!! As if! hahahahaha!!

      • Cabbage Jack

        Batton Thomas gets hired at Atomik Komix. It’s literally the one thing Batty ever really wanted to to.

    • there was no way to replace Chuck

      Means, “no one else wanted the job.”

      • be ware of eve hill

        After he finishes the final strip, I can easily imagine Chuck throwing papers up in the air, sprinting out of the room, and exclaiming, “I’M FREE!!!”

        His swivel chair still rotating in the distance as papers flutter down.

        • Anonymous Sparrow

          I’m seeing Jack Klugman’s Oscar Madison in the 1975 series finale of “The Odd Couple” here, after Felix remarried Gloria.

          It must be because November 13th was only a few days ago, a Friday the 13th which fell on a Sunday. (I Go Pogo!)

    • Green Luthor

      “There was no way to replace Chuck, a man so important to the comic that I once let a strip get printed in newspapers with his name misspelled.”