So Harley owned the time travel helmet, then Donna stole it? So her whole main FW gimmick was predicated on theft? And, as TFH pointed out yesterday, “The Eliminator” was supposedly “eleven years old” at the time, thus couldn’t have even been in high school in the first place. But complaining about FW’s lack of continuity now would be like the crew of the “Edmund Fitzgerald” complaining that the ship was too damp. This arc is slowly shaping up to be the worst idea in a lengthy history of them. Any idiot could have thrown together a month’s worth of strips featuring Les and Funky sitting at Montoni’s and saying “hey, remember when…?”, but once again, BatYam just can’t resist the urge to out-clever himself.
Great Moments In FW Arc Recap History
February 17-23, 2014
Aging weekend anchorwoman Cindy Summers is put out to pasture (AKA Cleveland) by ABC News. Sunday: Holly and Funky worry about Cory.
In 2014, FW featured an arc where national network news anchor Cindy Summers was fired for being too old and disgusting to show on HD TV. No lawsuit, no nothing. Cindy grudgingly accepted her fate and left quietly, then complained to Funky about it. I believe this arc marked her Act III return, and that was how he chose to bring her back, by pointing out how she used to be hot, but wasn’t anymore. And she’s been a vapid, anxiety-ridden airhead ever since. I guess we’ll never find out what happened at Buddyblog, or with the Emmy nomination she snagged. Another FW character forever on the receiving end of Batiuk’s perpetual high school karmic payback.
86 responses to “The Great Tomholio”
A rookie mistake? Yeah, like the Time Lords choosing an agent who was only qualification was “He’s as bright as the guy who created this strip.”
How? Just HOW does he do it?
They said it was impossible, but they must’ve been beady-eyed nitpickers or hidebound literalists. He’s created a paradox that rivals an irresistible force meeting an immovable object:
A plot that actually gets more dull as it gets more outré! More boring as it becomes more outlandish! More mind-numbing as it becomes ever more far-fetched!
Seems the stuff of science fiction, but it’s happening here, now, today, in our lifetimes!
And he’s so good at it, too. It’s almost as if…he’s done it before, many, many times!
That darned time-helmet! He found it, took a jump to the right and a step to the left, and has been doing the Time Loop ever since,
I prefer “take a right at the light, keep going straight until night, and then, boy, you’re on your own.”
What is…the song with the funky break?
Do pelvic thrusts really drive you insane?
Maybe he HAS. Maybe….Tom was the Time Travelling Janitor ALL ALONG. And this is his fourth or fifth time around.
Maybe…maybe that is what he meant by THIS:
It isn’t a wish… It’s a threat!
Tom is a eunuch in a harem. He’s aware it’s done; his life revolves around it being done; in fact, he watches it being done every day — but he is entirely lacking the ability to do it himself.
It’s not that I’m lazy, Bob, it’s that I just don’t care.
“whose only qualification was.” I’m beginning to think (with considerable evidence) that one of my high school English teachers was a disguised, time-travelling Les Moore.
I thought this was a fitting strip, as it was written by a guy who has somehow built a career out of making “rookie mistakes”.
What was Harley’s rookie mistake? Not knowing that someone told a grade school girl to somehow break into the high school and get a roll of toilet paper from the high school’s custodian room? That’s nonsensical on all of the levels I can think of. As for the disruption of the timeline, I sure hope we find out HOW it disrupted anything. But I don’t have high hopes. This is just going to get weirder. And maybe sadder.
Ohh, I don’t know Harley, what could you do?
1. Arrest her for stealing?
2. Stop being afraid that everyone will think that she stole a time-traveling helmet?
3. Catch her. Tell her you will charge her for trespassing in the high school. Trade back your helmet for her toilet paper. (Why was the helmet left in the custodial closet? I will let Bwoeh answer that question.)
At least, we know where the helmet is currently. It is safely upon ComicBookHarriet’s avatar.
(Do you spell “time-traveling” with one “L” like your fellow sophisticate, or do you use 2?
Inquiring minds want to know.
Travelling is British English; traveling is U. S. English.
I don’t often comment, but this daily reader would like to thank the “regulars” for all the fun times.
Thank you for the comment, mrvy.
Thank you England for the tie in World Cup Football. ⚽️🥅
I subscribe to the New Yorker, which uses British spelling for “travelling,” American spelling for “color,” and French spelling for “élite.”
Tom could take a lesson from those guys.
I’m pretty sure he has learned at least one lesson from The New Yorker: there’s the old bit about how the cartoons in The New Yorker can be improved by replacing the caption with “Christ, what an asshole”. And just about every strip Batiuk produces could be improved by replacing the final word balloon that way as well. (Try it! It’s fun!)
(Why was the helmet left in the custodial closet? I will let Bwoeh answer that question.)
Chronic stupidity. Final answer.
Hey, remember when we thought Donna was going to find the helmet when Crazy Harry just left it sitting on the ground (because… reasons?), even despite saying earlier in that story that she made the helmet herself? And yet somehow Batiuk found a way to make an even WORSE story! Bravo, Tom. (Guess it’ll turn out she lied about making the helmet, even though she even cited the magazine cover that inspired it. If Batiuk even remembers her claiming to make it herself. It’s not like that story was only a few months ago.)
Even beyond the blatant disregard for his own continuity, there’s just so much that doesn’t make a lick of sense. Why the hell would he just leave the helmet sitting out in plain sight like that? It’s your time machine! Hide that thing, moron! And then he couldn’t get it back? Did he ever think to say “hey, kid, did you steal the helmet from the custodian’s room”?
Of course, we’re either going to not get any answers, or we will and they’ll be unbelievably idiotic, I’m sure.
Man, I’m gonna miss this utter trainwreck of inanity and stupidity when it’s gone.
With this story very much encouraging us to skip back a mere 8 months ago to wonder why so many contradictions are piling up, I can’t help but wonder if the possible behind-the-scenes shakeups that us snarkers have been wondering could be the true reason behind the strip’s imminent end occurred not long after Harry’s Crazy Adventure was on the books. Faced with the imminent end and wanting to tie things up in a “neat”/””clever”” bow while also giving the Westview cast a lifeline to Crankshaft cameos, Bautik decided then to go all-out to rewrite the timeline to cater to such needs, altering the gang’s graduating year for a “fitting” meta date, removing the time skip from Crankshaft’s setting, and here deciding to take the thread of the Eliminator helmet and run wild for one last massive bit of timey-wimey wackiness.
Granted, as my other comment mentions, there could be some premeditation with that story when it gave date of 1980 for the Act 1 setting, which aligned with neither the old Class of 1988 or Class of 1972 dates, as another point of “meta-ness” with the fact the high school Act lasted 20 years instead of the in-universe 4, but given the massive snarls going on with Donna’s age and her helmet’s origin, might be easier to assume last-minute retconning for the sake of the more “important” final stories.
Would it kill Batty to go back and read his old strips?
So Donna, who was first shown wearing the Magic Helmet ™ as a 10-12 year old, stole the Magic Helmet™ in high school, and why and how exactly does the Magic Helmet™ exist at all?
Donna stole it when she was a high school student, went back in time and gave it to her younger self so she’d have more time to use it. If that makes any sense at all it means I got it wrong.
So he just let a random 12-year-old have his time traveling helmet, because getting it back would have “disrupted the timeline too much”? I think not getting it back would disrupted the timeline more than anything.
This wouldn’t even pass muster in those stupid The Flash stories Batiuk admires so much.
Redesign gripes aside, that’s a beautiful headshot of Summer right there, perfect reaction material. She looks so done, almost like it was an actress knowing that her show is jumping a whale of a shark and is just resigned to play through her part and collect her paycheck. I wonder if she’s moping over the fact her character should somehow be LeBron James’s rival as a professional in the NBA or something by this point.
Worth comparing that shot of young Donna in today’s strip to how she appeared over the spring with the last time travel thing (specifically the 4/21/22 strip). Very strong implication that both Bautik and Ayers have totally forgotten the details beyond the fact the Eliminator helmet reappeared at all, or at least that’s how it reads. Which is funny when that strip had the year 1980 specifically being dropped as the setting, conflicting with both the original Class of 1988 date of graduation the Gang had post-Act 1, and the Class of 1972 date given during the reunion story. Funny to imagine a whole “master plan” to the notion of “fuck it, no more time skip, it’s retconned”.
As for the classic throwback, Cindy’s firing is definitely something to laugh at with how the character was treated over the rest of the decade, her her consistently looking the best of the surviving Act 1 ladies, as the reunion story lampshaded. Couldn’t really follow through with her looking her age after all, she had to still look good alongside Mason Jarr the Movie Star (Jar, Jar, Jar, Jar!)
And it’s detached from reality as there are plenty of older women (and men) on network news.
Yes. If I also had a magic time travelling helmet, I’d assuredly use it to exist in a time where I’d need to hide my own external gender characteristics. And I’d do that in order to play a video game that will come to exist in a few years in the future from where I originate.
I guess when he moves this crap to his website, Batiuk is going to make it the Les and Lisa show, and she never really died. The only way I’ll be OK with it is if he features a strip of Summer watching herself vanish from the picture and disappearing.
No Tom it’s a quarter inch from reality, not a quarter light year.
The mind reels at how stupid this is going to get before it’s over.
And we legit are going to see Ghost Lisa re-animated, aren’t we?
Les will use the time-helmet to visit pre-cancer Lisa. He’ll barely tell her how to save herself. Most of his talk will revolve around his love for her, how he suffered from her loss, how he could never find a replacement who pleased him as much as she did, how he had to write a string of books about how he, Les Moore, the sufferingest snowflake of them all, learned to cope with her death.
Then he’ll leave. “Kill me now, dear, sweet, gentle cancer,” Lisa will say. Then she’ll come to a realization. “Limpdick Les didn’t mention our daughter! What a rotten failure of a father! I’d better write a journal or something for her, to give her the guidance he won’t provide.”
And thus will have been born the plague of the Dead Lisa Tapes. Count on Les Moore to make predestination worse.
With all of these recent contradictions, I have renewed hope that Les’s hall monitor machine gun will become more than a cardboard cutout again.
Even better if it is used in the final month. Crossed fingers.🤞
Clarification: I didn’t mean to imply that the machine gun be fired in a school setting. That would be tone-deaf, stupid, and insensitive. The punishment for that should be catapulting the offender into the sun. Sorry for the confusion. My editor has been sacked.
Hopefully, Les has the machine stored away in his attic.
Les: Hey, gang! Look what I found! Remember this?!
* BRRRRRT *
Les: Oops. Sorry about that. Hey, Summer, wake up! This is no time to sleep. You have a book to write. Funky?
Harry? Man, you guys will do anything to get out of helping me clean out the attic. Guys?
Present-day Les Moore jumps back to the First Act era, determined to give his younger self advice on how to stop being a total, consummate asshole. The time helmet places him in a hallway of Westview High School. He doesn’t have a hall pass, so he is at once machine-gunned to death by his younger, deranged self.
And the school song played on, when everyone else would rather hear
Ball of confusion
That’s what the world is today
Hey hey, hey hey…
The moderators of the blog hired to
continue the comments after the other
people had been sacked, wish it to
be known that they have just been
The comments have been completed
in an entirely different style at great
expense and at the last minute.
1. So Donna lied her ass off when she said she constructed the helmet herself?
1a. So Batiuk lied his ass off when he showed us Donna being “inspired” by that bullshit comic book cover and actually making the helmet herself?!
2. If the goddamned helmet was that important, why didn’t this dumbassed janitor find a secure place to put it? I mean yeah he spent all his waking hours at Westview High, but presumably Harland HAD A FUCKIN’ HOME TO GO TO AFTER HIS FUCKIN’ SHIFT, AM I NOT CORRECT??!
2a. Motherfuck a “timeline disruption” and get your helmet back!! Steal it from her, buy it from her, sic the police on her, murder her, beat her 1-on-1 at Defender, see that a ‘tragic accident’ befalls her, I don’t give a shit…
2b. So what’s Harland’s endgame here? Did he have no way of contacting the people of his own time and tell them he was stuck? Was he planning to just keep cleaning up the graffiti, bubblegum, vomit and urine for another 30 years and hope Donna would bequeath the helmet back to him after she died of natural causes?!
But there was a strip called *Hunter,* even if Baldo Smudge, the Raja of Ruling Panel Borders, exists only in “Success Story.”
I still haven’t mastered links, but this should set you on the right direction to reading it:
https://johnglenntaylor.blogspot.com/search?q=hunter Is this the correct site, AS?
How I am choosing to interpret this.
Batiuk realized that his most dedicated fanbase, the people getting the absolute most enjoyment out of his strip, were his snarky hate readers.
As a final gift to us, he conceived of a plotline so gloriously terrible and obtuse, that in our final months commenting we would have no lack of nits to pick, jokes to make, and rants to type.
You know, Blendin Blandin did a better job of protecting the timeline and preventing temporal anomalies than Mr. Sawdust-Sweeper here.
Does someone win a pig in this story? I can go for that.
Cushlamochree, Mr. O’Malley, if not for your “Mr. Sawdust-Sweeper” in this blog, I wouldn’t have learned the name of the janitor who sweeps up on the “Peabody’s Improbable History” segments!
It’s Old Bill.
Muchibus thankibus, and Genghis Ex-Khan says hello.
I see many comics, including Crankshaft, are honoring what would have been Charles Schulz’s 100th birthday.
FW had a big anniversary this year and nobody cared, save for us snarkers!
And TB never honors anyone, unless it’s one of his precious comic books. And then he does that for an entire week.
The 50th anniversary of Funky was so unimportant that Batiuk himself didn’t bother to commemorate the event in his own comics. When the guy who can’t seem to praise his own work enough can’t be bothered to acknowledge his own milestone, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that no one else wanted to, either…
I suspect Tom Batiuk is not well-liked by other cartoonists.
I read more about the 40th anniversary of Marvin and that comic strip is 90% about the main character’s bodily fluids, i.e. poop jokes.
Hm, and Tom Armstrong created Marvin while also working as the artist on everyone’s favorite comic strip about a talk show host who ends up getting murdered, John Darling.
Kinda makes you wonder what Batiuk thought about however much attention was paid to Marvin’s 40th in comparison to Funky’s 50th…
“Charlie Brown snowflakes”? He might as well not have bothered.
The paradox is that it gets stupider as it goes forward in time. In the past, Donna putting a helmet together from a picture she saw in a magazine to stimy jerkass boys made sense. In the present day, watching this makes you wonder what’s in those ferkakte band candies that we see someone hawking.
Young Donna stole the helmet to change the timeline so she could look like Holly. And now she does.
To which Oscar Wilde would say:
“There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.”
While Mr. Spock would say:
Stonn, she is yours. After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true.
And Jason Blood grows more like the demon Etrigan over the centuries, while Etrigan too grows more like Etrigan.
Per the recent rhyming oath comments of a few days ago, I should offer the means by which Jason Blood becomes Etrigan:
Yarva Demonicus Etrigan.
Change, change the form of man.
Free the prince forever damned.
Free the might from fleshy mire.
Boil the blood in heart of fire.
Gone, gone the form of man,
Rise the demon Etrigan!
And how Etrigan restores Jason:
“Gone, gone, O Etrigan! / Resume once more the form of man!”
We asked for this… every time we said Tom should stop writing ABOUT sci-fi komix and actually SHOW us what’s in the pages of “Starsuck Jones” and “Wayback Wendy.”
Well, here we are: Tom’s idea of what a time-travel(l)ing comic should look like. Once again we learn that we should be careful what we wish for, lest we get it.
Les Moore receives the time helmet from Summer. “How does it work?” he asks.
“It reads your mind, da-da. Think of the place and time you desire the most, and there you are,” she dorksplains, thinking that Les will go back in time to save her mother’s life.
Les puts on the helmet, closes his beady eyes and thinks of his deepest desire. And here he is–many years in the future. Westview is a shattered mass of melted stone and rubble. “Where is everybody?” he wonders.
“You mean people, or humans?” A giant cockroach in a piss-yellow shirt steps into view. “Your species exterminated itself.
Something to do with climate damage, probably caused by all those bombs you used. What brings you here, you four-limbed throwback?”
“I wanted to find my wife, Lisa . . . ”
“No.” The roach’s feelers twitch. “I sense your thoughts. You wanted . . . fame. Recognition. Adoration.”
“I deserve it!” Les says. “Every man, woman and child on earth, the whole human race, should recognize my greatness! They should read my books!”
The roach chuckles. “Ah, that can happen! When you think about it, if you can manage that effort, you are now the whole human race.”
Les beams. Why, so he is! Even better, there is no one who can criticize him! “Well, now! You must have read my books! Let me hear you praise them!”
“On purpose?” The roach chuckles. “Come, come! You want praise from human beings! Once you have that praise, the time-helmet will realize it has completed its mission and will take you home. Now let me show you what you need.”
The roach leads Les to a large pile of shattered bricks, topped by a broke, twisted sign. “Here is Mount Ini’s Azzip, where the Oven of Doom preserves copies of your books. Put in there for kindling, or so our leading archeologists suspect, but still quite readable. To fulfil your wish, human, and return to your era, all you need do is read what you wrote and praise it. So have a nice day!”
Les reaches into the old pizza oven and pulls out a copy of Lisa’s Story. He reads the first paragraph. A cold dread squeezes his heart as he drops the book. He wrote this–this–is there a word vile enough? “Okay,” he says. “This–this is the best book in this world! There’s nothing better in this era! Honest!”
The helmet isn’t fooled. Eventually Les forces himself to read the second paragraph. He stops, and there isn’t enough time in the world to force himself to read any more.
What you describe is normal for any self-aware author. I have never been able to read anything I’ve written, from my one novel through those fills-the-space-between-ads pieces for the project management website and the articles for the software engineering magazines, all the way to the comments I write here and on other boards, without seeing at least one sentence or paragraph that I think is utter crap and wish I could replace. Often a lot more than one sentence or paragraph!
But the notion of Les (or Tom) crossing that boundary and realizing he has written crap… that seems to cross the line; it’s not science fiction any longer, it’s fantasy.
Great story, though. I’d pay five bucks if Chuck and Rob would illustrate it!
Hey, I got that reference to the great Cornholeio!
That actually makes a weird kind of sense. It also fits in with the theory that the wrap-up of FW was not planned long in advance and he had to come up with something other than what he had in the pipeline.
This was intended to link to CBH’s comment above.
There’s also the fact that Crankshaft gets to participate in the Schulz tribute while he plods on with this idiocy. It tells me that we’re in for a really mess reprise of how he ended John Darling. A shot to the face because a man who looked like he was The Potted Plant in a season of Masked Singer didn’t know what he was saying is, strangely enough, less nonsensical than THIS torching things and running away.
But it was a thin compliment to Schulz in Crankshaft, in fact maybe it was a jab.
Either way, I absolutely refuse to believe that Mary Worth ever read a Peanut’s strip.
I don’t know why you think Mary Worth wouldn’t find anything to like in Peanuts.
So that’s the origin of her platitudes. But still Mary doesn’t charge for her services. She instead foists stale bakery on her victims.
I fell in love with “Peanuts” at a very young age. Schulz was on the Today Show, and drew Snoopy in seconds on a poster board. So quick! But what really cinched the love, were 2 arcs:
1. Lucy at war with Linus’s blanket. Lucy charges. The blanket charges with the mouth of a blanket-shaped lion. A brawl ensued.
2. Lucy decided Snoopy needs to be put in his place, and proceeds to punch him. But before she can, Snoopy kisses her on the nose. Lucy believes she has been contaminated.
3. I will throw in a bonus. The mother of my aunt passes away. We are at the funeral, and afterwards, 5 kids and my Dad are waiting in the car for my Mom at nighttime. Dad turns on WHB Radio and “Snoopy and the Red Baron” starts to play. All of us including my Dad are singing the words.
Good times. Good times.
For whatever reason, Snoopy and the Red Baron was the song our local roller rink used for the “shoot the duck” skate. They would randomly blow a whistle and everyone was supposed to crouch while skating. Now every time I hear Snoopy and the Red Baron, my tailbone hurts.
I’d have to say my favorite Peanuts arc of all time was when Schroeder asked Charlie Brown how much would a dog like Snoopy cost. Charlie Brown responded that dogs like Snoopy were a dime-a-dozen.
“Ol’ Dime-A-Dozen” was not pleased.
The Great Pumpkin is always ready with a new battle plan!
It was more a tribute to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He spent more time on their logo than he did on Charles Schulz.
He’s going to go “All You Zombies” here isn’t he?
Turns out, every character is the same person.
And they’re all Tom Batiuk.
Well, many of us have said he should go fuck himself; this way he can pull it off.
Literally done in David Gerrold’s sf book, The Man Who Folded Himself, back in the 70s.
Okay–Donna wore the helmet out in public, in Montoni’s (that’s where the video game was, right? I seem to remember someone finding it in Montoni’s basement). Not very wise if you’re wearing stolen property.
The janitor went to Montoni’s every day, to the point where they put his picture on the wall.
Why wouldn’t he go up to Donna while she’s wearing the helmet and say, “I believe you have something of mine”?
Batiuk keeps finding ways to make dumber stories.
Panel 3 Summer is one of the most carelessly rendered Summers in the history of carelessly rendered Summers…she’s now holding the notebook up almost like a shield. And for her nose to be visible from that rear angle, it’d have to be huge, like…
I can never bring myself to criticize Chuck Ayers. Putting in any effort at all on this strip — and trying to even haphazardly render all of its 367 continuing characters — is FAR more than it deserves.
Plus, apparently Chuck was the one who finally forced the issue of actually bringing this whole utterly stupidboringawfulbraindead mess to a conclusion. Chuck Ayers, I salute you!
Summer has become a Funkyverse Pinocchio. It’s to prepare us for the moment when New Summer declares “I’m a real boy!”
I remember relentlessly goofing on how poorly Summer was drawn YEARS ago, and it’s only gone downhill from there. She doesn’t even change expressions now.
I’m kind of hoping that this will lead to a Grand Finale where the Funkiverse ends in an “Umbrella Academy” style time-paradox-universe-cataclysm, but since we know that the characters will still be showing up in Crankshaft, I guess that’s not the case.
He SAYS we “might” see some FW characters showing up in Crankshaft, but then again, Tom says a lot of things. Crankshaft has a cast of millions, just like FW does, so I have my doubts that you’ll see a lot of, say, Crazy Harry or Boy Lisa popping up too often. I wouldn’t rule out something like Dinkle hawking band candy, though.
What could he do? How about report her to school management?
Principal Nate would be shocked. “A student entered the grounds of her own free will? The rule book says nothing about that!”
Got the reference!
For those who are interested, here’s a link to 95 strips that worked in a tribute to Charles Schulz today:
It’s expected that the number of tributes to the life and work of Tom Batiuk will come in a tad lower….
Tom Batiuk did receive 101 ‘Angry’ votes in yesterday’s Comics Kingdom How Do You Feel About This Comic? poll.
Even on his worst day, Charles Schultz would never have come close to matching that. Nobody pisses off their readers like TB.
Who da man? You da man! Take a bow, Tom.
As bad as Disqus was for a comments platform, OpenWeb seems even touchier. Maybe the algorithm needs time to balance out. I also reckon they will disable the “How Do You Feel About This Comic?” feature, at least for certain strips.
The ‘Angry’ counter was only 90 when I posted my comment. I used yesterday’s count because it was higher.
Yeah, that feature has a major bug. I just noticed the number of people who reacted is only 39, but the number of ‘Angry’ votes is 112. I just added three more ‘Angry’ votes by myself. Oops. There goes 116. Then 117.
Somebody stop me!
118. That’s 7 ‘Angry’ votes by me.
Thanks Y. Knott, for the link! I didn’t check out all 95 tributes but the ones I did were very fitting and heartfelt. Though he didn’t tip the Funky Felt Tip, Batiuk at least gave Sparky a nod (much less overtly than he did in FW in January of 2010). It was also surprising to see some tributes from strips I’d thought had closed up shop long ago: Doonesbury? FBOFW?