Stuck Inside of Westview with the Helmet Blues Again

If you’re going to write a time travel story, you either totally ignore all the possible, unintentional ramifications of transtemporal travel, or you make the story about those ramifications. Either way, doing so requires a fair amount of narrative skill. That is, at least make it entertaining enough so that hidebound literalists and beady-eyed nitpickers don’t feel compelled to tear it apart. Gosh, this arc is infuriating. Given his seemingly supernatural gifts, surely there was some way that Hedley could have gotten back the dreary magic helmet. He’s had over 40 years to do it! But noooooo, he was content to leave it in Donna’s possession, and now it’s disappeared (and how does he even know this?). As a result, he’s “stranded” in space and time, and, nothing against janitors, but it’s probably a pretty mundane existence for someone capable of time travel and mind control. But hey, at least the music’s good!



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

123 responses to “Stuck Inside of Westview with the Helmet Blues Again

  1. You guys! Tom Batiuk is on Twitter!

    • Epicus Doomus

      So now BatHam is officially a “tot”? I’d ask “why now?”, but this is actually perfectly in character for him.

      • Y. Knott

        “Why now”? Simple. The new syndicate is demanding Tom have more of a web presence.

        Look for Tom to explore posting a MySpace profile any day now!

        • I’m proud to say that Batdick’s presence on Twitter won’t affect me in any way. That said, the posts he’s created seem desperate and kind of pathetic. I feel kind of bad for the old lug.

          • ComicBookHarriet

            His first tweet’s first retweet? Son of Stuck Funky.

            That being said. If anyone tries to bully him on Twitter, I say we dogpile to the rescue. He’s OUR clown. We understand his flaws better than any ‘mudgeon-come-lately that can’t tell the difference between Jessica and Hannah at a glance.

            No one is allowed to be cruel to him. That’s our job.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            Sourbelly, I’m with you. I can’t imagine getting involved with Batiuk on Twitter either. The only thing he wants to hear is how great he is, and will ignore everything else.

            I hope being on Twitter gives him a window into how widely disliked Funky Winkerbean really is. We’re far from the only people who think it’s a smug, pointless wasteland of cheap drama and comic book covers.

        • Rusty Shackleford

          You are probably right. I wonder what he will think when the only account retweeting his posts is the SoSF account!

          Either way, his account will get hacked in a few days.

        • gleeb

          What, no Orkut?

      • Cabbage Jack

        He might be the worst person ever at twitter. It’s just his blog, copy pasted at 280 characters a pop.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      He wants to get on Twitter NOW?

    • Andrew

      Seeing now that the SoSF twitter is following his account. Wonder if that’ll stick, depending on how he feels about the site and it’s handle. Even if you don’t say anything towards his way it could end in a block.

    • billytheskink

      He’s used that drawing of him at his art table before, of course, but each time I’m struck by the image of his smirking face looking up from what appears to be the strip of Les talking to an unconscious Lisa in her home hospice bed immediately before Masky McDeath arrives to take her away. *shudder*

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Yeah, I noticed that too. Just a friendly little self-caricature of the cartoonist hard at work, and THAT was the strip he chose to depict himself working on? I’d almost rather it was the strip where Lisa died. At least that one’s iconic, as Funky Winkerbean goes.

      • Maxine of Arc

        Aw, I thought it was cute until you pointed that out. Now it’s disturbing.

      • batgirl

        Does he always use that strip? His left hand as drawn doesn’t seem to match with the edge of the strip so I thought maybe he swapped them around – though that might be beyond his Photoshop skills (it’s beyond mine, so no shade being thrown).
        But it is the arc he’s proudest of, so not surprising if it’s always that one.

        For me, every time I see that sketch I want to snap “Stop slouching! You’ll ruin your back!”

    • He describes himself as “award-winning.” I thought he was always the bridesmaid.

    • Y. Knott

      The first negative Twitter response is up! Someone identifying themselves as NightAuditor8 has written “Thank the gods your “comic strip” is about to end. You are a terrible storyteller and the “artwork” is cheap and shoddy.”

      All true, of course, but I believe that any of us here could have said it with more class and wit.

  2. sorialpromise

    1. Does TB realize people can respond on twitter?
    2. Does TB realize he won’t be able to accept only positive comments?
    ( I am not on Twitter. Perhaps I am wrong. )
    3. If polite negative comments can be posted, he might get his ears pinned back.
    4. Man! Am I glad I am not on twitter.

    • KMD

      So the janitor was listening to the same music that Funky and the whole class of 1972 was listening to. Bull was such a Dylan fan that they quoted old Bob at his funeral. Since TB is so stuck on old comics, let us turn our attention to another fan who actually broke into the industry. Roy Thomas was one of the kings of continuity. He even bent over backwards to make continuity work in comics like All=Star Squadron. TB can’t be bothered, one of the many reasons the world has shrugged off Funky’s pending demise.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        Batty had to throw in those boomer music references. ( Nothing against VanMorrison).

      • sorialpromise

        Roy Thomas could write extended stories over multiple issues, various artists and make you want to reread the stories. He succeeded Stan Lee as editor, (a hard act to follow!) and in so many ways excelled. Check out his Skrull-Kree War.

  3. William Thompson

    Bozo. You could hear Bob Dylan and Van Morrison in your time, too, thanks to a variety of sound-recording and playback techniques. And if that’s your criteria for a good era, you’re not worth knowing. Go out and listen to Lavern Baker, for a start.

    • RudimentaryLathe?

      Bob Dylan I understand but Van Morrison?!!??!!?

      • sorialpromise

        Sorry RL?,
        Van Morrison is so special to me. “Brown Eyed Girl” “Moon Dance” “Into the Mystic” “Someone like You” “Carrickfergus”. Of course, it helps that a very special friend gave me a CD of his music for Christmas. We met at a late night restaurant and talked over 2 hours about him and life. I want “Into the Mystic” played at my funeral.
        So of corse, your opinion is valid, but to me, he is greatness.

        • RudimentaryLathe?

          My comment may have been a little harsh; I didn’t mean to demean anyone who likes VM; I just personally can’t stand him. Music is certainly subjective, and we all have different experiences that inform our tastes. Hopefully there’s no hard feelings SP

          • sorialpromise

            Oh absolutely no hard feelings. As I said your opinion is totally valid. Van Morrison only means so much to me because of my friend.
            I fully respect you, and always look forward to your posts.

          • Rusty Shackleford

            Batty only mentions them because he wants to fit in. He probably never saw them in concert nor has any of their albums. Just gotta burnish his boomer credentials.

            As for me, I’ll pass on Dylan.

      • William Thompson

        There’s a highly talented Irish musician by that name–but do you suppose Batso meant Jim Morrison? There would at least be a good joke in that choice. “Jim Morrison is the greatest mystery of your epoch! How did the Lizard King manage to disguise his reptilian subjects as human beings? That knowledge would explain so much about mid-twenty-first century society and–uh, never mind!”

        • Anonymous Sparrow

          Van’s always had a Jim problem.

          In the late 1960s, the J. Geils Band was performing “Gloria” at a concert when they noticed that Van Morrison was in the audience. They called on him to join them on stage, and when he did, the audience booed him.

          “Come on, people,” said Peter Wolf, “don’t you know who this is? This is the man who wrote the song!”

          They continued to boo.

          Because, as Greil Marcus noted, at that time, when you said “Morrison,” you meant “Jim,” and the Doors were apparently hard at work on a version of “Gloria” which would be hailed as a masterpiece when it was released.

          His performance of “Caravan” in “The Last Waltz” is one of the film’s highlights.

          Excuse me while I listen to Marianne Faithfull’s version of “Madame George”…

          • The Duck of Death

            Van and Jim actually jammed together once at the Whiskey-a-Go-Go in LA, after they had played a show where they were both on the bill. This was before Jim’s sad decline, but there’s a bootleg of this show, and it’s, uh, not good. Jim is utterly wasted and keeps yelling, “F*ck her in the ass! Take your little baby and f*ck her in the ass!”

            Sad to think what could have been, because I think they were both brilliant in their prime.

          • Anonymous Sparrow

            Your Grease:

            Thank you for that! I had no idea that such a meeting had occurred. Mr. Mojo Risin and the Belfast Cowboy on the same stage…very extremely cool.

            By the way, I’ve heard the Doors’s version of “Gloria,” and it’s very good, but as their covers go, I’d rank it below “Back Door Man,” “The Alabama Song” and “Crawling King Snake.”

            Curiously, “Crawling King Snake” is a John Lee Hooker song, and Hooker sings with Morrison on “Gloria” on *Too Long in Exile.*

          • Anonymous Sparrow

            Your Grease:

            I responded to your comment too quickly, not catching the fact that the jam between the two Morrisons was actually not a treat for the ages.

            For that, mea culpa.

            It’s sad when the pairing of great talents doesn’t always come off: there’s one Edward G. Robinson and James Cagney movie (“The Smart Money”) and it’s not a classic…and 1960’s “Fugitive Kind” has a stellar cast, but it’s not great Tennessee Williams.

            On a comic-book note, when the Elongated Man appeared as a backup feature to Batman in *Detective Comics,* the editors thought that once a year, the two features should join forces in a book-length adventure.

            So they did in 1964 and again in 1965, but never afterwards. (Though E-Man did meet Zatanna in 1966 and the Atom in 1967.) Apparently, the editors must have realized that the Caped Crusader and the Stretchable Sleuth didn’t really go well together, with the former a dedicated crimefighter and the latter a man content to follow his twitching nose and solve mysteries.

            I re-read *Fahrenheit 451″ recently and learned that one of my favorite movie critics, Stanley Kauffmann, had a hand in bringing Ray Bradbury’s novel to publication. For that reason, I’ll leave you with his opinion on “The Last Picture Show” (though I don’t share it: like the characters in*Lisey’s Story,* it’s one of my favorite movies):

            “So many good things are in it that I wish I liked it more.”

  4. Epicus Doomus

    So when you get right down to it, this Harley guy is no more than an incompetent boob who failed to look after his time travel helmet properly. That’s what I’m getting out of this.

    • Cheesy-kun

      Excatly, right. A lame premise for the device that’s going to tie up 50 years of your strip…

      It could have been the premise for the entire strip- Funky Winkerbean meets Mork & Mindy- but if the guy is a putz, it kind of makes the whole of Westview look pretty ridiculous.

      And you don’t need any new characters or comic book ideas to do that!

    • billytheskink

      Yep, he’s pretty much Blendin Blandin with slightly more hair and a complete lack of the comic timing that comes with being created by Alex Hirsch and voiced by Justin Roiland.

    • hitorque

      I’m thinking that Hardly was such a colossal fuck-up in his own time that his bosses decided to send him on some absolutely meaningless “forever mission” (i.e., counting all the grains of sand in the Gobi Desert) just to keep him out of the way and a place he can’t do any harm… Because let’s be honest here — Hardly can completely destroy the compartmentalized time-space continuum of Cancer County, Ohio and the rest of the world wouldn’t be affected, and he clearly believes the future of humanity hangs in the balance of completing his “mission”…

  5. Summer is now locked into some time…thing now, because she interviewed a janitor? I feel like I’m missing the core concept and everything surrounding it at this point.

    • Y. Knott

      Ah. Let me help. The core concept is “Tom Batiuk has a month of strips left to churn out, and any stupid, boring old crap will do.”

      I hope that clears things up!

    • William Thompson

      Summer should want to know why Harley was watching Lisa, a boring cipher who birthed a boring daughter in a boring town. Except we already know the answer would have something to do with Creepy Les and his books. This time-travel story isn’t going to show any of the inventiveness of Ward Moore’s “Bring the Jubilee” or H. Beam Piper’s “Remember the Alamo.” (“I’m here to study the life and background of Thatsnot Hewmore. Historians have never understood how a dreary sinkhole like Westview could have produced such a dynamic, world-saving leader.”)

  6. Cheesy-kun

    The guy who views snarking as scribblings on the bathroom wall of an insane asylum is now on Twitter?

    Will be posting himself or do they have some young intern assigned this thankless task?

    As for today’s strip…just put this strip out of its misery already. The helmet and Donna wearing it were funny way back when and worth remembering. Now he’s turned the one into an object of derision and the other into an object controlled by a man.

    Acts II and III seem to be about destroying what was good about Act I without building anything new that was fun or beautiful.

    Good riddance, FW.

    • The guy who views snarking as scribblings on the bathroom wall of an insane asylum is now on Twitter? Will be posting himself or do they have some young intern assigned this thankless task?

      I get the feeling that Batiuk will definitely not be the one managing the Twitter feed. Interestingly, while perusing the Battyblog just today, I noticed a number of posts with the byline “Elyse Ohryn.”

      Googling the name turned up a LinkedIn profile of a young woman whose job title is Senior Art Director at an agency in Akron. She’s wearing cosplay garb (I hope) in her profile pic. Maybe she helps Batty out with the web stuff?

      • Cheesy-kun

        Oh, man, thanks, TFH! Maybe the woman walking in the woods at that agency’s website is looking for Harley’s helmet.

        What a hoot! The story about TB on twitter is so much more fun than any story TB has actually written this year.

        You, and everyone else here, seem to do more research about FW than Batiuk ever did for his own creation.

        Anyway, good for Elyse. At least she’s getting paid. If she’s paid to write like Batiuk, then she should demand renumeration based on word count.

      • sorialpromise

        It’s too bad. From her profile, this “Elyse Ohryn” seems like a nice young woman who has experience with rescue animals. I do not envy her for her new job.

      • none

        “As a creative”

        Three words into her profile and I already want to punch my screen. Control+F4. Christ.

        CREATOR. The word you want to use is CREATOR. A CREATOR is a noun. CREATIVE is an adjective. You fucking know this. For fuck’s sake.

        • Rusty Shackleford

          Yep, I hate this newspeak where words and phrases are butchered in order to make the writer sound important and hip.

          If she is working on his website, she needs to learn how to code a website properly.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            The one I can’t stand is “what’s your ask?” It uses a verb as a noun, when we already have a noun and a verb expression for that concept: “What’s your question?” Or “What are you asking?” I guess corporate America decided those were too direct, and needed another layer of softening.

          • Rusty Shackleford


            I hear that every day at work. The ask is….

            Sometimes I wish I were deaf.

        • The Duck of Death

          I gotta speak up for Elyse here. In advertising, there is indeed such a thing as a “creative.” Broadly, art directors and copywriters are “creatives.” It’s a common, industry-wide term. If an art director put on her profile that she was a “creator,” potential employers would be puzzled and put off.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            There still should be a noun that “creative” modifies, though. It’s too vague without additional details.

          • The Duck of Death

            I won’t defend the gracefulness of the term, but it is the standard term used for people on the creative side of advertising.

            Sample uses:

            “The client wants the creatives at the launch meeting.”

            “You’re interviewing at Omnicom? I know a few creatives there.”

            “I’m in advertising.” “Oh, really? Account or creative?”

        • William Thompson

          Creatives gather around the vendos and talk about climate damage, then go home and fantasize that Big Comic Book is persecuting them and the rest of Crew Creative.

      • Gerard Plourde


        Interesting catch! That seems to coincide with the move to the new eponymous web site.

        This makes me wonder whether my theory about mental decline might have legs. Was the agency in Akron hired to take over management of the FW/Crankshaft property? Is the agency behind his sudden appearance on Twitter? Is Crankshaft going to be ghost-written? Does this also explain the change in syndicate?

        More questions than answers, but it does foster a lot of speculation (at least for me).

      • bad wolf

        Good catch! Having a young person do your social media is probably for the best–older folks doing it tend to overshare or get befuddled or just ragequit. At least if it’s a local it’s probably not someone forced on him by the syndicate and it won’t lead to his feed looking like a certain T Berry account i could mention.

      • hitorque

        She’ll do… Is she single??

    • Y. Knott

      “…or do they have some young intern assigned this thankless task?”

      I have to think that even Kent State would draw the line at assigning a student to an internship at Batom, Inc.

      “I mean, sure, okay, we’re Kent State — but dammit, we have some standards. Just because we graduated Batiuk doesn’t mean we have to perpetuate the cycle of uselessness and misery….”

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Oh, I disagree. Working on Funky Winkerbean is probably the greatest opportunity Kent State has to offer.

  7. I can’t comment on the strip, it’s paradoxically gotten so dumb, so weird and so boring at the same time. BUT I would be interested in seeing BatLick’s reaction on Twitter:

    TB: Hey, I got retweeted! Holy Toledo, ALL my tweets were retweeted! Wonder who…oh. Those assholes again. Debbie, get my attorney on the phone. **drums fingers together**Time for another cease-and-desist. They’re gonna feel the wrath. Right. Up. Until. December 31st.”

  8. Tom Batiuk really wants his readers to hate him even more. There’s no other excuse for this kind of crap.

    Well, Tom, mission accomplished.

  9. Andrew

    So this would all but confirm that the helmet is the only time travel device he has (if not a spacial one); if that’s the case, I struggle to imagine how he could do his mental influence trick on that one comic book guy to make the cover that made Donna think that she thinks she made the helmet herself. Comics take a heck of a lot of time to make, I struggle to imagine even with long-distance psychic powers he could pull off all that trickery for what amounts to doing his own retcon instead of the obvious objective of “retrieving your goddamn mechanism for returning to your home time”. Really we would be saved a lot of trouble if we go the “all just a dream” outcome again.

    With other thoughts, Bautik’s choosing a heck of a time to sign up to twitter, between his own and the website’s shenanigans. I doubt if there’s enough snarkers to actually cause him any trouble, but we’ll see how smoothly things go for him.

    • erdmann

      Maybe it’s not a dream but hallucinations brought about by the “inspiration” of Montoni’s pizza. Seems that last pie Funky served Less and Summer was made with magic mushrooms, weed, Guatemalan insanity peppers and a liberal helping of LSD.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Not to mention that dumb helmet is apparently his ONLY mechanism for doing anything. Does he have no way of getting a replacement helmet, deactivating it, calling for help, or anything? Ordinary soldiers have procedures for destroying sensitive information or devices, so the enemy doesn’t get hold of them. This guy’s supposed to be a Time Lord! He gets stranded and blows his mission because Beavis needed TP for his bunghole?

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      Rhett Butler joined the Confederate Army seven months before Appomattox.

  10. 100%, CBH. We can complain about our own families and their idiotic “plots” but no one else better.

    • Epicus Doomus

      I tend to agree. I mean, I don’t especially want to see a ton of people either late to the gag or who don’t get it at all suddenly pounding on the guy. We’ve never tried to troll him or actively tried to get his attention, and it’s never been about “attacking” him outside of the context of the strip he writes. Just my opinion, but starting with Twitter, now, seems like a really ill-advised idea. And, like with so many other moments during his illustrious comic strip career, someone really ought to have stepped in and said “no, I don’t think so”.

      • sorialpromise

        All I can say is, between SOSF and the commenters on CK, who can be especially cruel, Twitter might want to invest in some extra blocking buttons. It is going to get a workout.

  11. Anne

    TB on Twitter? His sequential, boring, totally self absorbed Tweets are the work of someone who looked at Twitter for 15 seconds and decided, Hey, I’m a writer, I’m going to write Twitter pieces like a champ! So, nothing out of the ordinary, I guess.

    • Anne

      Replying to myself here… on second thought, I think the blandness of his tweets might suggest something else. Perhaps the new syndicate requested TB have a Twitter presence. TB wants nothing to do with Twitter. He reaches out to someone he’s met in the advertising world and she is engaged to handle his tweets. Her assignment would be to tweet genuine Batiuk content, but nothing daring that she might have to run by him for approval. I think he may never have looked at Twitter, and intends not to.
      CBH, I’m with you one hundred percent on keeping jackals and jackasses from tearing TB apart. I hope he’s just not important enough for anyone to get excited about tearing him down.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        You’re right. Until we know the purpose of this Twitter account, there’s not much to speculate on. It’ll probably be just a straightforward, managed social media account to make announcements about his comic stripes, and give readers a way to connect. Not everyone can be @MarkHamill.

  12. Green Luthor

    Wait… so when was Donna supposed to have stolen the helmet? The Eerie issue that Batiuk copied the Eliminator helmet from was cover dated from 1974 (I think it was #57 from June 1974 specifically?), so the helmet theft couldn’t have been before then. But Batiuk is now saying the Act I graduation was in 1972, which would mean Crazy Harry was ~20 when that issue came out. And Crazy Harry first met The Eliminator when she was 11 and he was 16. (Not even going into the discrepancies of the Defender game coming out in 1981.)

    Guys, I’m starting to think Batiuk might not have a strong grasp of how his continuity is structured. (I know, I know, that’s crazy talk, but there’s a few subtle details that might not be consistent.)

    • Epicus Doomus

      And if he knew where the helmet was (Crazy and Donna’s attic for decades) why didn’t get just go get it? Why didn’t he retrieve it when Crazy started dicking around with it? Or when it was outside all night, sitting on top of the trash? His plan was to wait around for forty years and see what happened? Only in FW do people have decades and decades to fritter away.

      • Y. Knott

        Only in FW do people have decades and decades to fritter away.

        Well, look at Tom Batiuk’s real life. “Write what you know”, as they say….

      • I am admittedly somewhat reminded of Moffat-era Doctor Who, where the Doctor’s Plan A always seemed to be “I’ll just give up on traveling the universe and spend eternity guarding this humdrum backwater! Because that’s absolutely consistent with my previous characterisation!”

  13. billytheskink

    Of course, this also happened in a time period where Harley could read Funky Winkerbean… which, I mean, that’s not even a wash.

  14. be ware of eve hill


    Typical 2020s Funky Winkerbean. Blah-blah-blah talk-talk-talk. Please get to the damn point already. Batiuk has nowhere to go and all day to do it. This story arc is like the Chinese water torture.

    Batiuk, you foolish, garrulous old man. Don’t you realize time is running out on FW? Tick-tock tick-tock?

    I’m sorry, but this title can’t end soon enough.

    • be ware of eve hill

      At this rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if December 31 arrives in the middle of the final story arc. Possibly “Cont’d” will be seen in the lower right corner of the final Winkerbean panel.

      Sometimes it feels like Batiuk is purposely stalling. Does he foolishly think one of the syndicates will grant him extra time?
      Batiuk: Funky Winkerbean can’t end here. The final story isn’t done yet. There’s more in the pipeline.
      Kings Features: We’ve been over this, Tom. December 31st was our last day for Funky Winkerbean.
      Andrews McMeel Universal No Funky Winkerbean. Just Crankshaft, as stipulated in our contract.

      Or, in a childish act of spite towards Kings Features, will Batiuk finish this incredibly verbose tale on Would @Gleeb read it on

      • The Duck of Death

        I agree that this plotline reads to normal people like an F-U, or at the very least churlish foot-dragging. But I have a horrible suspicion that Batiuk isn’t doing it for that reason — he’s doing it because he thinks it’s brilliant.

        I don’t know whether to hope I’m wrong or hope I’m right.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          I’ve given up trying to figure out whether Tom Batiuk is trolling the readers, sabotaging the strip, or doing what he thinks is great work. It’s hard to tell the difference anyway. And ultimately, it doesn’t matter.

          This is turning into a wonderful, awful train wreck. I’m just here for the carnage. I’ll let the NTSB figure out what caused the derailment.

        • be ware of eve hill

          Are you calling me normal? Thank you!

      • bad wolf

        The last strip is a replay of the Masky McDeath scene except it’s Battom asking the syndicate “Isn’t there more time?”

      • gleeb

        I could be induced to read a recap here, or to follow a link to just the comic itself, but I will not read Tom Batiuk’s weblog.

        • be ware of eve hill

          I have to admit I have difficulty reading Batiuk’s blogs. Definitely more of a toil than a pleasure. Batiuk’s writing fails to keep my attention. I’ll read a few sentences, and my mind will drift (i.e., dinner plans, work issues, looking out the window). I’ll start reading again, only to discover my mind wandering again.

          Can somebody make a decent living writing books for insomniacs?

  15. The Dreamer

    Maybe FW ends with Les back on his psychiatrist’s couch, where act 3 began with him reliving Act 2’s aftermath for the doctor So it turns out Les fell asleep on the doctor’s couch and dreamt all if Act 3. ‘It was awful Doc, I suddenly saw the next twenty years of my life. All my friends got old and broken down, except for Cindy who stayed young and married a movie star. Bull died. Some cool things happened Summer won a state championship in basketball My book about Lisa was made into a movie and won an Oscar I got married again to the school Secretary. But most of it was awful’

    The psychiatrIst fades out and the Ghost of St.Lisa appears ‘Les it wasn’t a dream, it was real! you have been given a rare wish! The chance to see how your life turned out after your wife died and be able to go back and live it again and make changes. It was my wish in the Hereafter for you to be made to realize how much better your life will be if you *stop* mouthing for me! Merry Christmas Les!’

    The Ghost of St Lisa disappears and the doctor is back saying the session is over Les walks out of the office and over to Montonis where the younger versions Funky, Crazy Harry are hanging out Les tears up and hugs Bull. ‘Its been ten years guys but I.want to live again’ Cindy walks in with Holly and Summer A bell.rings on the Montonis Christmas tree ‘Daddy, our teacher says that every time a bell rings, an angel gets their wings’

    Les hugs Summer and smiles ‘Thats right Summer!’ He winks at the ringing bell ‘Atta girl Lisa!!!’

  16. Paul Jones

    This proves another point Klostermann raised: time travel is a desire of the depressed and lazy. Batiuk doesn’t like the world he lives in but he won’t bother changing anything about himself so he hopes to jaunt through time so life will be better for him.

  17. Angusmac

    Another feature of any time travel story is that the person going back in time has a purpose. Like to stop some horrible event in the future. Harley’s purpose is to… get to see Dylan perform live? If Tom wrote for Dr. Who every episode would just be people standing around talking about gradual decline of comics.

  18. The Duck of Death

    Isn’t it interesting that Harley has the most bland, and yet critic-approved, Boomer music taste?

    He couldn’t like the Monkees and the Beach Boys, no. Batiuk wouldn’t think that’s “cool” enough. He can’t love the Doors and Hendrix — that’s a little too intense and challenging.

    He can’t be a fan of Glenn Gould and Yo-Yo Ma. He can’t rock out to Bo Diddley and Jerry Lee Lewis. He can’t adore Elvis Costello and XTC. He can’t enjoy Kraftwerk and Can, or the Ramones and the Damned, or the Smiths, or Radiohead, or Taylor Swift or The Weeknd or anyone else.

    Because even an incompetent time-traveling janitor has to be a Gary Stu. Puffy just can’t imagine that anyone, anywhere, from any time period, might somehow be a little different from Tom Batiuk of Medina, Ohio.

    And this is why he can’t write women. Or children. Or people of other races. And this is why he and his indistinguishable characters won’t be missed. This place will, but his work won’t.

    • billytheskink

      At least this single strip isn’t the mutli-week Crankshaft story arc where Jeff recounted to his villainously uninterested children about the time he skipped some important college test or something so he could have the transcendental experience of seeing the Lovin’ Spoonful in concert… or maybe it was just to reverently buy a new Lovin’ Spoonful record. Either way, it was insufferable.

      • Anonymous Sparrow

        1352 guitar pickers in Nashville might find it enjoyable.

        By the way, in one of Carl Hiaasen’s “Skink” novels, *Sick Puppy,* we have a character named Palmer Stoat who gets rock lyrics wrong. No Dylan or Van Morrison mondegreens, but he does think Jim Morrison’s old band sang “Come on, baby, light my candle.”

        • The Duck of Death

          Maybe Mr Stoat was confused — the year after “Light My Fire,” Otis Redding had a hit with “Hard to Handle”:

          Pretty little thing, let me light your candle
          ‘Cause mama, I’m sure hard to handle, now, yes I am

          • Anonymous Sparrow

            Weirdly, I was listening to a 1960s compilation set the day before which contained Otis Redding’s “Hard to Handle.”

            It’s a good song, but I don’t think it’ll ever be one of the first tunes I associate with the King to Carla Thomas’s Queen.

            A glance through the list of other song lyrics Stoat gets wrong shows no R & B or soul, so I don’t think he was thinking of Redding.

            When the Doors were on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” they were told not to sing “girl, we couldn’t get much higher” in “Light My Fire,” as it would be taken as a drug reference. The band demurred, but couldn’t carry the day.

            “What should we sing instead?” someone asked.

            So long as they didn’t sing the offending line, they could sing anything else, including “bite my wire.”

            Like Bo Diddley refusing to sing “Sixteen Tons,” the Doors stuck with “girl, we couldn’t get much higher.”

    • hitorque

      Exactly… Of all the names he could have dropped, Hardly decided to go with a couple of really weak ones…

    • erdmann

      In the “Doctor Who” episode “Cold War” the Doctor and Clara land in 1983 and meet a Russian (played by the late David Warner) whose greatest concern about the future is whether Ultra Vox will break up. Not Duran Duran or the Police. Ultra Vox.
      And in “Love and Monsters,” a group of people who have had brief encounters with the Time Lord gather to discuss him and sing Electric Light Orchestra songs.

      • Perfect Tommy

        I’m sure Tom/Janitor Guy never heard of Midge Ure.
        I envision Tommy Boy sitting on his couch drinking hot cocoa as he roots for his favorite “The Voice” contestant/poseur/wannabe. What a joke.

  19. The Duck of Death

    Re: Twitter — it’s so ill-advised, for all the reasons already pointed out. Twitter is not a place for the thin-skinned, or for those who take themselves very seriously. Hurt feelings and self-righteousness are chum in the water for trolls. It’s gonna end in tears.

  20. William Epps

    I have a sneaking suspicion that TB, is setting this up to end much like The Newhart show did. Funky will wake up and the entire comic strip will have been a ‘dream’ or a figment of his imagination.

  21. Call this Farewell and Adieu, though I’m not stopping coming here until 12/31 at the earliest!

  22. hitorque

    More of the same…

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

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

    2. WHERE OR WHEN did Hardly come from? And pray tell WHAT is the future like?

    3. WHY has he stayed as a Westview janitor 20 years after St. Lisa died? Are there other kids he’s been ordered to watch?

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

    5. 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??!

    5a. I don’t care how comfortable of safe he thought the helmet was in Donna’s hands, 40 fucking years is way too long to let a stranger hold on to your only ticket home… And how the hell did he even know the helmet is gone? Does he have a tracker on it or something??

    6. WHY didn’t he have a plan to pull an oh-so-cliché “Biff Tannen” and cash in on sports gambling or the stock market with his knowledge of the future? He could at least live a hell of a lot more comfortably than he is now…

    7. He’s awfully stoic about living the rest of his life in 2022… Or is he immortal or something? And regardless, there’s absolutely ZERO fucking reason for him to keep working as a janitor…

    7a. Oh wait lemme guess — He’s stayed in Westview all this time because he can’t leave behind that famous Montoni’s Pizza, right?

    8. Dylan and Morrison?! So not only is the distant future really really stupid, it ain’t got no *SOUL*…

  23. Jimmy

    Twitter is just another platform where I won’t care about TB or his creations.

    The only reason I ever read FW at all was because I stumbled across this blog when the Foobiverse snark ended.

  24. Doghouse Reilly (Minneapolis)

    So, Mr. B is hopping on the Twitter bandwagon? Maybe he can start selling Funky Winkerbean NFTs. I hear they hot also.

    • billytheskink

      If anyone can put the “non-fun” in non-fungible token, it’s Tom Batiuk.

    • J.J. O'Malley

      First he’s going to put all his lovable characters out on that hot new toy craze, pogs, thus inspiring a second “Simpsons” shout-out. “Remember Funky Winkerbean? He’s back, in pog form!”