Wack Friday

As far as Summer knows, the helmet that Maddie sketched for her has no special powers, aside from concealing Donna’s feminine gender from the boys. So how in the hell is she able to surmise that it’s really a “temporal phase shifter“? Maddie doesn’t know this, and Donna, who as a kid actually wore the thing, thinks that its phase-shifting abilities were just a figment of her fumes-addled imagination.

Great Moments In SoSF Arc Recap History

Mar. 23-Mar. 31, 2010
In the big game, the Lady ‘Goats go up against Our Lady of the Cedars, and get their asses kicked for a change.

From back when Summer was actually a main character in the strip; the “sporto” that her father never was in his high school days. The Lady Scapegoats are seeded vs. Our Lady of the Cedars, who are to Westview’s girls’ basketball squad what Big Walnut Tech is to the football team. The girls are intimidated even before the game starts, and even the duo of former rivals Keisha and Summer are not enough to propel the Westview team to victory. This arc is notable for a couple of reasons: it’s one of the rare occasions when our protagonists do not succeed. It also contains one of my all time favorite Act III FW panels: the dejected Westview team seeing their reflection in the winners’ trophy.

Not sure why the OLC girls are still in uniform while Summer’s team has already changed into their street clothes. Nor why the winners are showing off a huge trophy when this is supposed to be a first round game.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

64 responses to “Wack Friday

  1. William Thompson

    A cat took it, Harley. And you’ll never get it back, because you know how cats are with anything that fishy!

    • William Thompson

      Uh . . . unless it was le Chat Bleu who took it, and will deliver it to Les. Because, seriously, that marvelous cat loves to torment Les, and tricking him into messing with the past sounds perfect.

  2. Epicus Doomus

    This is exactly what snarker erdmann said would happen. With predictions like that, we might have given you a job here at SoSF, erdmann, but, well, you know.

    Summer doesn’t appear to be particularly amazed or astonished by this series of events. Or maybe BatYam is really just that bad of a writer. You’d think she just cracked the case of the missing blackboard erasers, and hadn’t just stumbled upon a time-traveling janitor who used to spy on her dead mother. Sigh.

  3. Cheesy-kun

    Thank you, TFH, for working on our behalf on Thanksgiving. I hope you enjoyed plenty of fine food and time with loved ones during the day.

  4. Green Luthor

    But… Donna said she made the helmet herself? Is she also a time traveler? (Is that how she played Defender in 1980?) Or did she just somehow accidentally create a “temporal phase shifter” without realizing it? (Or has Batiuk already forgotten that he said Donna made the helmet? I’m gonna assume it’s that last one.)

    • Cheesy-kun

      Thanks for pointing that out, Green Luthor. You’re surely right: Tom “It’s called writing!” Batiuk forgot his own narrative. Again.

      • That seems to be a particularly unique talent of his–the inability to remember what he has already written, and the inability to research same.

        I wonder if he has a big metal filing cabinet that has a single slot to insert papers, and he lost the key for it decades ago. He can put writings into it, but can never take them out again. Despite the fact that the key is right on top of the cabinet.

        • Green Luthor

          Honestly, it’s even more confounding than that. He can remember some truly obscure bits of minutiae that he’s established, while simultaneously forgetting important context for them. Like… back in May, he did a story in Crankshaft about one of Ed’s many backyard grill explosions being detected as space debris in orbit. He even referenced the exact date of the original “joke”, from almost four years earlier. But the May story involved the incredulous identification of it as a grill, whereas the one from four years earlier… also involved the incredulous identification of it as a grill. So he either remembered (or looked up) that exact strip but forgot what else happened, or he just didn’t care. (And given how many “Ed launches a grill into space” strips he’s done, it’s not like he even had to reference a specific one; he could have just done it as a generic “space grill” based on the recurring “joke”, and it wouldn’t make a difference. But by specifying a specific instance, and then contradicting that instance, it just highlights how slapdash his “it’s called writing” is.)

          It’s like he’s wholeheartedly dedicated to doing a half-assed job. It’s almost impressive. (Almost.)

  5. Cheesy-kun

    So, no final Thanksgiving arc. This week could have been a great way to set up the transition into whatever’s next but, nope. We get this clumsy, knock-off time-machine, er, “temporal phase shifter.” Sigh.

    And, as always, it has the feel of a story being made up the same day it’s sent off to the syndicate.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      And yet. We all know. It was potentially written a year ago. Though I would also believe that this late stage stuff was more recent due to the ending of the strip.

      But still, it had to be written, and then sent to Ayers to scribble out.

      • Epicus Doomus

        I’ve been wondering about this too. When did he start writing with the end in mind? When he did the “Eliminator” arc? That was right around Cory’s wedding, when Summer magically returned, too.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        I’m thinking he found out he was getting booted back in September of this year. And I think he hastily threw this together.

        • Gerard Plourde

          I think that timeline makes sense. I think he may have gotten word from Chuck Ayers earlier, couldn’t find a replacement artist and the syndicate cutoff happened around September.

  6. Andrew

    In the immortal worlds of Patrick Warburton as Kronk: “Oh yeah, it’s all coming together.” Or at least how Bautik’s picturing it, for as usual there may be some holes to pick in the logic. Aside from the previously-stated creation known of the Eliminator helmet, dunno why Summer thought to make a connection to it when she mentions she’s just “playing along” to begin within, plus the only link to it is Crazy “hallucinating” time travel from wearing it, which we have to assume Summer was told about since that wasn’t shown. Plus young Donna was grade school age, so that raises further questions on how she would’ve swiped it off the high school janitor in this case.

    Honestly I’m still not convinced there won’t be a “psych, I’m messing with you!” fakeout, but this continuation of events is interesting to be sure. We were shifted rather suddenly from “observant old hat janitor” to “more-than-meets-the-eye watchful janitor” by way of that massive dump of text last week (which harkens back to the discussions had last week about FW’s habit of slipping into the infamous industry-broad problem of making a comic nothing but word balloons) so as hilariously bonkers it is to see things go out with this old hat style of wackiness, it almost feels too good to be true, even if the wonkiness we’re falling into it with seems to hint at the conclusion being “legit” via rush job or something.

  7. William Thompson

    Is Batiuk really on his way to an ending where Les and Lisa are reunited? Or where Les goes back in time and changes history by having Lisa’s cancer properly diagnosed and treated? Which leads to a happy world hellscape where Montoni’s stays open, Ruby Lith stays on the job and Summer never morphed into a boy? This is Tom freakin’ Batiuk we’re talking about! It’s far more likely that Les will try to save Lisa, fail miserably, and write a book about how horrible it was to watch it all as a time-traveler.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I think Batiuk not bringing back Lisa, after he’s set up all the absurd conditions necessary to do so, would be worse.

      Can’t you just see Les in the final Sunday strip, smirking smugly as he announces his acceptance of Lisa’s death, at least 15 years after she actually died. Can’t you just see Batiuk congratulating himself as he runs the bases, for resisting the temptation to give his strip a happy ending?

  8. I’m lost. This janitor announced yesterday that he traveled to the present via a temporal phase shifter. Today, he’s desperate to find out where that temporal phase shifter is now. But, didn’t he just appear in the present with said temporal phase shifter? Or was he around the whole time? Most importantly, who cares?

    I just…what the natural fuck is going on here? Batdick broke bad on Marvel yesterday (which is righteous, for sure). I have a feeling that in the last five weeks Batdick is going to spew an assload of unhinged bitterness toward his perceived enemies. Hope I’m wrong.

  9. billytheskink

    I inferred that Maddie sketching the helmet for Summer a few weeks back meant that she was supposed to have become an artist of some sort since high school.

    Yeah, I was pretty far off the mark there, it appears.

  10. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    I honestly thought that yesterday’s posted strip was a parody, so I checked at CK and was surprised when it was real.
    Mrs. db loved to watch “Twin Peaks” and was trying to figure out who killed Laura Palmer. I watched it over the top of a book or crossword. Like FW, TP was open to supernatural and unworldly events. Ghosts? Evil doppelgangers? Time travel? You didn’t know which crazy direction the plot would go next, so a guess was always pure conjecture. Don’t even bother trying to solve it.
    My hat is off to Tom Batiuk. He left a lot of hints but I never thought he would go the time traveler route.

    When Ayers draws Pill Hole, he looks as exactly like my late FIL. Even his stature and expressions look as if CA drew them from life. My FIL worked at Goodrich for over 30 years and bowled in a league. Maybe CA bowled for the Beacon Journal and they met there. That is pure speculation on my part, but I couldn’t draw a better cartoon likeness of my FIL, and I’m an art school dropout!

    To be fair, I never saw my FIL drink Thunderbird.

    • Epicus Doomus

      That was in 2017, but it seems like a freaking lifetime ago. Phil had something of an actual personality back before he died, but being resurrected turned him all bland and wry like everyone else. And back then, some of the characters were still distinguishable from one another, kind of.

    • be ware of eve hill

      Your FIL worked at Goodrich for more than 30 years?

      Man, that brings back a lot of memories. My childhood neighborhood was saturated with rubber company employees. That’s the way it was when Akron was ‘The Rubber Capital of the World.’

      My Dad was a chemical engineer and systems analyst at General Tire for 36 years.

      Our backyard neighbor was also a General Tire executive. His next-store neighbor worked at Goodyear. After 15 years, that family moved, and the house was sold to a young man who worked at General Tire.

      On our street, the neighbor to the right was a night watchman at Firestone. On the left, three houses down, the father was an engineer at General Tire.

      Most of these families had kids about my age.

  11. Andrew: Plus young Donna was grade school age, so that raises further questions on how she would’ve swiped it off the high school janitor in this case.

    Excellent point, and we have receipts!

    • Epicus Doomus

      This once again raises the age-old FW question: is BatYam’s blithe disregard for continuity and the history of the strip rooted in something other than ineptitude, or is legitimately the best he’s capable of? Ending his fifty year FW run with a story centering around that stupid helmet is just baffling. Is this his idea of a big “FU” or does he really think this is good?

      • Rusty Shackleford

        That’s a thinker. One the one hand there’s his overestimation of his own intelligence and his overall disdain for his readers. On the other hand, he has been childish with the syndicates before with his salt the earth killing of John Darling.

        So I say there is a 50-50 chance this is a deliberate FU, or just plain old incompetence.

        Well played Batty. I actually wish this strip were ending at the end of this month.

    • Andrew

      Receipts only go so far in this strip of course. We had it in writing that the gang graduated in 1988, with the 2008 reunion affirming it, yet come last August….

  12. be ware of eve hill

    Wow!!! I think it’s a new record. The How Do You Feel About This Comic? poll on yesterday’s Funky Winkerbean strip hit 81 ‘Angry’ votes. That’s almost four times the usual for FW.

    I guess the readers didn’t appreciate a weekday sideways strip on Thanksgiving, featuring Summer and an avalanche of dialog.

    Tom Batiuk, giving his readers “the business” for more than fifty years.

    Boo, TB. Boo.

    • be ware of eve hill

      If 81 ‘Angry’votes is a new record, TB can add “Record-Breaking Comic Strip Creator” to his cv.

      Way to go, Tom. I’m proud of ya.

    • Mela

      We might need a separate emoji about a month from now for “THAT’S how you ended it?” but that remains to be seen.

      • be ware of eve hill

        We had more choices with Disqus:


        I remember several snarkers joking about wanting a ‘WTF’ choice.

        I usually voted ‘Sad’ or ‘Angry’ on Funky Winkerbean. The negative votes usually outnumbered the positive ones by a 2:1 margin.

  13. The Dreamer

    why is Summer now being drawn looking like a guy? She now looks decidedly unfeminine Is she transitioning?

  14. erdmann

    Based on Maddie’s drawing of the Eliminator helmet, I’m guessing she’s not the front runner to replace Ruby over at Atomik Komix.

  15. ComicTrek

    Tom Batiuk’s tendency to introduce something interesting and finally get the ball rolling – and then drop it like it’s NOTHING – will definitely remain one of the most memorable attributes of Act III.

  16. Paul Jones

    The irritating thing is not that he doesn’t care enough not to be the captain of the USS Makeshitup. The irritating thing is that when people omplain about being given the middle finger, he whines about being bullied.

  17. Baeraad

    Aww, this is just sad – I started reading through the archives of the last two years or so a while back, and I was starting to look forward to getting caught up so I could start commenting myself… and just when I get close, it turns out that it will all be over in a month. Shucks. :/

    But, I feel I should at least post to thank you all for the entertainment you’ve provided during my archive binge. It was always fun reading your reactions to the latest insane-yet-simultaneously-boring offering from Batiuk. 🙂

  18. KMD

    Posterity will never tell,
    A greater tale than this.
    She has a helm to time travel,
    Oh, what a surge of bills.
    But there won’t be a fun noel
    And no dead mom to kiss.
    Cause Lisa is burning in hell
    And on her grave, we’ll piss.

    • KMD

      And of course, bliss turns into bills….

      • Professor Fate

        Perhaps the end of this is where Les prevents Summer from going back in time because is she savesLisa he no longer Bert’s to be a famous author.
        Ah who am I kidding TB would never be that honest.

  19. Jimmy

    I have no idea what’s going on here.

  20. Summer is visually turning into Les and I can’t figure out why… I could guess, but as TB was quick to remind us, endings have to be earned.

  21. Hitorque

    I’m not singling out FW because a whole lot of comic strips do this to pad a storyline, but I absolutely HATE when conversations go in completely half-assed nonsensical directions…

    You’d think that the first questions out of Summer’s mouth after yesterday’s strip would be:

    1. WHO sent you back in time to monitor my mom as a teenager, and WHY?

    1a. Were your orders just to WATCH my mom, or were there times that you had to directly intervene and change her destiny??

    2. WHERE OR WHEN do you come from?

    3. WHY have you stayed as a Westview janitor 20 years after my mom died? Are there other kids you’ve been ordered to watch?

    4. How the hell did Donna own the helmet for decades and never activated the time travel function?

    5. How the hell did Donna obtain the helmet in the first place and why did she lie her ass off about building it herself?

    I know Batiuk well enough to confidently say that those questions above will NEVER be addressed and instead we’re about to go on a wild goose chase for a Maguffin that I promise you either some kid is playing with in his backyard, or it’s magically found it’s way to the Komixxx Korner memorabilia shelf…

    • Paul Jones

      He lacks the chops to do anything more than a week-long arc but here he is, pretending he can do something extended.

    • Mela

      How about “You’re a TIME TRAVELER?” You’d think she’d react with some sort of incredulity or excitement. But no, time travel and shifting are all the norm in good ole Westview.

  22. sorialpromise

    1. I believe we are entering the part of the story where TB begins to shift the narrative to something WTF. He does this a lot, but here is one example. CH goes back in past to warn Lisa and gets distracted by an 18-year-old comic resting in a spinner rack. What we think should happen with Harley, will not come close to what actually happens.
    2. What a story if Harley’s purpose was to make certain Lisa dies from cancer?
    3. Who did Harley have to upset to get this assignment? Pick any level of hell. No one trades places with Harley.

    • Mela

      Lisa has to die from cancer to save Summer or Westview from death/annihilation? That actually fits because that proves Lisa is the center of the Westview universe.

  23. bad wolf

    Keisha joining Westview girl’s b-ball team and becoming useless reminds me of when you have a boss fight in a video game and they subsequently join you–but their strength is like 10% of what you fought them at.

  24. robertodobbs

    I’m lost…. I do like the “St. Elsewhere/Newhart” type ending theories suggested here. Is this just going to end up being some creative writing assignment that Funky did for his composition class and we never left 1972?