Protective Custodian

Green Luthor
November 29, 2022 at 10:52 pm
“Custodian” in the case of the group he’s describing would mean something akin to “caretaker”; i.e., they’re responsible to keeping anything from happening to the timeline.

But “custodian” can also refer to someone who performs janitorial duties (itself a form of caretaker). Which is the job he’s doing at Westview High.

So the high school custodian is ALSO a custodian of the timeline! Hilarious!

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

So now this arc is really starting to go somewhere! He’s been sent from the future for the “crucial job” of making sure Summer writes her book about her podunk Ohio hometown! Time travel tales often involve a character going back in time to alter events to produce more favorable outcomes. But in whatever “somewhen” Harley’s from, Summer’s book has been written; it exists. So why is it necessary for him to travel back through time to ensure that something that’s happened, happens?



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

99 responses to “Protective Custodian

  1. Veiltender

    I was visiting SoSF, as I often do, and my ten year old son was reading it over my shoulder. He asked me, “What is that?” I said, “It’s a website dedicated to Funky Winkerbean.” He had a good laugh about the name (in spite of Tom’s best efforts, it is apparently still good for a laugh), and then asked, “What is that?” I said, “It’s a comic strip. Kind of like Calvin and Hobbes, if Calvin and Hobbes weren’t funny or good.” (He had been reading Calvin and Hobbes collections he found in the library). He was still curious, and so I showed him today’s strip. He looked at it for a few seconds (it could have been a beat panel), and then said, “That isn’t funny.” Out of the mouths of babes, friends and neighbors.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Although you have to bear in mind that a ten-year-old is sixty or seventy years younger than Batiuk’s target demographic, so a lot of the material will fly under his head. I started reading FW when I was maybe eleven, twelve or so, and I turned out semi-OK, so there’s no harm in it, I suppose. But it was a different time, man, the comic strips we were reading were nothing like the stuff out there on the streets today. You’d spread a few weeks worth of FW out on an album cover and you’d find a dozen jokes in there, but the strips they have nowadays don’t even HAVE jokes.

      • Veiltender

        That is true. He actually asked me why I still read it. I said, “Mostly because of the community here at SoSF. We are united in our appreciation of its sheer bizarre commitment to mediocrity.”

      • Rusty Shackleford

        My mother taught my sister and I how to read using the comics page and so I have been with Batty from the start. Back then the strip could appeal to a wide audience. Nowadays it barely appeals to old white guys who are obsessed with silver age comic books.

        I only read FW because of this site.

    • Cheesy-kun

      Hi Veiltender, Is your son enjoying C&H? I still go back and re-read the book collections every couple of years. What other comics does he like? Have you and he seen Wallace the Brave (at GoComics, I believe.) IMHO, it has the same whimsical charm as C&H but with a larger cast.

      • Veiltender

        He really likes it. In terms of comic strips, my kids are big fans of Calvin and Hobbes and Peanuts. I’ll have to show them Wallace the Brave. Independent of comic strips, they read a lot of graphic novel type books–there has been a real proliferation of all-ages and kid-focused sequential storytelling since I was a kid. My eight year old daughter was reading The Baby-Sitters’ Club, but it was the comic book adaptation rather than the original books. It’s pretty fun to see the variety of options my children have.

    • The Dreamer

      Bill Watterson, who wrote and drew Calvin and Hobbes, is also like Batiuk from NE Ohio (Chagrin Falls, not far from Akron) The one panel Sunday strips Batiuk and Ayers do, with one big drawing and a small inset drawing (often using a comic book cover) with the punch line in a smaller inset box, is blatantly taken from Calvin and Hobbes So I think Batiuk is a big admirer of Watterson

      However unlike Batiuk, Watterson ended his strip when he had used all his ideas. He did not let his characters, like the Funky gang, become grotesque old parodies of themselves It is why Calvin and Hobbas will remain two of the comics world’s most beloved characters long after the Funky gang are forgotten about

    • Rusty Shackleford

      WHAT? Comics don’t have to be funny according to Batty. Your son should be expected to laugh at anything in this strip…except maybe the crappy writing.

  2. Epicus Doomus

    He decided to do a story based around that “custodian” gag, but then the challenge was to somehow weave a time travel plot around that gag. But work is hard, so he went with this instead. Like TFH said above, if Harley knows the book was indeed successfully written, then why is he there? Why jeopardize that timeline if there was no need to? And I don’t even READ comic books, mind you.

    Also note how he’s slowly and subtly shifting the focus away from the helmet now, and he’s doing that for the same reason he always does…he’s got nothing. I’m sure we’ll see the helmet again, but it’s not going to be a big part of the story from here on out, mark my words.

    • Cheesy-kun

      Maybe someone in the future has hid the book in the helmet…

    • if Harley knows the book was indeed successfully written …

      Isaac Asimov once, while writing about his short story “Nightfall” — only his seventh(?) published story yet acclaimed for decades at the best science-fiction short story — said that had some time traveller come to him the night before he started and said, “Isaac, you are about to compose the greatest science-fiction story ever written”, he could never have put a single word to paper as he would have been too terrified of meeting that goal. It would have ruined him as a writer for all time.

      Just sayin’.

    • William Thompson

      Eventually the focus will stagger over to Batiuk’s favorite avatar, Creepy Les, and cast him in the best possible light. Although I’m not sure they make lightbulbs that dim.

  3. The Duck of Death

    Welp, as usual, this is turning out to be more excruciatingly boring and stupid than our worst, most outlandish predictions.

    In other news, what the hell is going on with TomBa’s twitter feed? He (or his intern) seems to be just pasting in some kind of boilerplate press releases. On the bright side, the only comment posted so far is essentially “Your comic is bad and you should feel bad.”

    My guess is his 17 unironic fans are actual Pluggers, completely unable to work the internets without their grandchildren’s help, and uncertain about what exactly a “twitter” is.

    • Cheesy-kun

      “Your comic is bad and you should feel bad” made me laugh out loud. Did you post that, Duck? You’ve been “roasting” FW and TB lately. (I’ll show myself to the door…)

      • The Duck of Death

        No, I resisted the temptation to reply to the tweets. I can’t rightly explain why; if I had to put it into words, it’s because it feels, somehow… like mocking the mentally/emotionally handicapped.

        On the other hand, I question whether he is even doing his own posting, let alone reading comments. But the idea of going onto his turf and mocking him feels ugly to me, so I won’t do it.

        However…. I wouldn’t criticize someone who did. I mean, he’s put himself out there in an interactive public forum with a multi-part bloviating bolus of puffery. He’s a big boy, old enough to know what he’s getting into.

        (I was only paraphrasing the comment, borrowing the immortal words of Dr John Zoidberg.)

        • bad wolf

          It feels like an intern doing some corporately mandated PR. But more to the point, trolling him would feel like going to one of his appearances and giving him a hard time in front of the crowd. Even i, a fairly mean person, am not that confrontational.

          • Maxine of Arc

            There’s talking amongst the community here (and as a side note learning about things like church cats and farming) and then there’s going out and being mean just to be mean. I’d like to think we’re not the type of folks who would do that. Batiuk is a misguided but probably perfectly nice old man, and his strip is bad, but telling him that won’t accomplish anything except directly hurting someone’s feelings, and I’m not into that.

          • The Duck of Death

            Agree with everything you said, except that we have no way of knowing that he’s really “nice.” Based on the saga of the end of the John Darling strip, and the very abrupt way FW is ending, with no mention of the 50th and a total lack of farewell valedictions from King Features, I’d say he has probably been pretty difficult for them to deal with. I’m guessing the time came when they realized the juice was not worth the squeeze.

            Add to that his prickliness and defensiveness at most any criticism, and his tiresome score-settling in the strip (including revisiting ego injuries from over a half-century ago).

            Top it all off with the constant cruelty he visits on his characters, and I’d say that — although we as strangers can’t really know — the evidence doesn’t point to an especially “nice” guy. (I’m sure he’s nice enough to his fans and well-wishers, though. Most people are.)

          • Maxine of Arc

            Hey, I said “probably.”

        • Cheesy-kun

          Sorry I was obtuse, Duck. I was chuckling at the pithy expression of a sentiment I sometimes feel but would not express publicly. I knew you did not and would not tweet such a thing. You are right that ad hominem attacks, and any comment designed to make TB feel bad, would be wrong.

          In any case, I do not have a Twitter account and only look at 2-3 ones semi-regularly. As noted here, TB’s is sounding more like bland branding than anything creative.

          • Professor Fate

            Very true this – for all one knows he could be a wonderful human being – although I personally doubt that given his thin skin about critics and his threatening to sue this site and his flat out lying to reporters and how the syndicate has dumped him without a backwards glance, but still who he is as a person is not germane to the discussion – a lot of great works of art have been created by rotten human beings – so he could well be the nicest person anybody ever met.
            The strip still sucks

  4. billytheskink

    Why is Summer having a surprised eye explosion? She’s in the middle of an interview… the fact that she is writing a book is NOT a secret.

    • Cheesy-kun

      Not “a” book, bts. The Most Important Book in the History of the Universe” (after the one her dad wrote, of course.)

    • Epicus Doomus

      Yeah, now that you mention it, WTF is that all about? It’s the first time she’s shown any emotion whatsoever, and when she finally does, it makes no sense at all.

      • Cheesy-kun

        Perhaps she’s surprised to realize that her decision to quit grad school and write a book may not have been the result of free will but of the Custodian touching her. Mind. Touching her mind. (Man, Batiuk just gives us this low-hanging fruit. He could not think of a better expression?)

        • Green Luthor

          “He could not think of a better expression?” I think we all know he could not.

        • Y. Knott

          Once again, Chuck Ayers gets a lot into a single expression:

          “Wait, I’m actually going to write this book? I mean, c’mon — even I thought it was an incredibly stupid idea for a book. Jesus, I just needed something to keep Dad off my back about sloughing off year 10 of grad school … y’know, something that would allow me to goof off for a year, and then it would all turn out to be a pointless waste of time anyway. Except that Dear Ol’ Dad would be too dumbly self-absorbed to notice. Too busy converting Mom’s tapes to laserdisc, then kinescope. Then back to videotape again. But besides even all of that, even I know that even if “The Crushingly Mundane History of Nothingburger, Ohio” were a good idea for a book — which it isn’t — I’d be nobody’s choice to write anything, having never demonstrated even the slightest aptitude for communicating anything of interest to anyone ever.”

          Masterful job, Mr. Ayers!

      • William Thompson

        All I can guess now is that Batiuk is trying to explain away all the continuity errors and contradictions he’s created with his sloppy writing. It’s going to turn out that the Custodians are matched by a force of good guy time travelers, and their struggle over Westview had created all sorts of temporal fractures. Like the underground Kingdom of Murania appearing from an alternate universe during the enormous firestorm that suddenly didn’t devastate southern California. And it will turn out that Summer is an agent of the anti-Custodian force, recruited at Kent State and kept there as a student to hide her endless time-traveling adventures. Her writing is a cover story for her orders to shoot Ruby Lith, a Custodian who exposed Summer’s secret life when she created Wayback Wendy.

        I hope I’m right for once. I’d love to see somebody shoot Ruby Lith. Or boil her in oil, or feed her to piranhas. I’m not fussy about the details

        • The Duck of Death

          The human brain, it is said, is a sense-making organ.

          It is also said that the quickest way to drive yourself insane is trying to make sense out of nonsense.

          I love your thesis, especially the part about Ruby Lith and the piranhas. I smile just thinking about it. But I don’t think it’ll happen, simply because it makes sense. And also, we have overwhelming evidence that Puffy simply doesn’t care about continuity errors. I have the vague impression that he’s even somewhat proud of them. Perhaps he thinks of them as a way to flex his authorial privilege to control his entire universe.

          To put it another way, it’s called writing.

          • William Thompson

            I think it’s called “What happens when an excitable six-year-old makes up a story.” The kid takes the bedtime story Mommy read out last night, throws in things from Star Wars, from Animaniacs, from something Daddy said about his job, and tosses in his GI Joe doll because every story needs a hero. And you’re relieved when the kid is told it’s bedtime now.

          • The Duck of Death

            I’ve noted this before — the similarity to a story told by a kindergartener who loves to hear stories, and is ambitious to tell them, but doesn’t quite understand how it’s done.

            “And den, and den Spongebob putted da Krabby Patty in Elsa’s mouth, an, an, she ate it and den (giggling) she throwed up because Pikachu did a peepee in it and (voice getting higher) Mr Krabs was really mad!”

            It sounds great to the kid as he’s telling it; he’s not concerned with how it sounds to his audience. And it’s a necessary phase of development. It’s just that it shouldn’t last for 70 more years.

          • The Duck of Death

            I just took a shower, so I inevitably had Shower Thoughts.

            The fractured-Kindergartener style wasn’t always there. Of course it wasn’t part of the gag-a-day years. In fact, even then Puffy would do arcs of a sort, and they made sense in context.

            The story of Funky and Cindy’s marriage, and especially Funky’s drinking and hitting bottom, and subsequent AA attendance, with sponsor and all — that made perfect sense. (And IMHO if he ever did anything that deserved a Pulitzer nod, that was it, not the glurgy and unrealistic Dying and Dead St Lisa arc.)

            It’s only been in the last decade or so that the wheels have come off and rolled in all directions.

            Kids, here’s a lesson. Don’t greedily lap up the tiniest crumbs of praise and build them into ego-puffing adoration in your mind, while ignoring the rising tide of criticism. If you’re gonna accept the praise, accept and at least consider the criticism.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Wait I thought it was an oral history.

      • William Thompson

        An “oral history” is a book that’s based on interviews. There are transcripts of people who lived through some event, coupled with sidebars and commentaries that supply context. Batiuk clearly thinks “oral history” means “how many words does it take to inflate the Hindenburg?”

  5. Green Luthor

    This guy has been the janitor at Worstview for over 50 years, and it was in service of making sure Summer’s crap book gets finished? Why in the name of Zanzibar would he go back to a time well before her parents were even dating? Or was part of his mission to make sure they get together and spawn Summer? (Which… ew?) (Also, where was he after they graduated? Was he just doing his “mental nudging” from a distance the entire time or what?) (And if that’s the case, why even be visible to them at all? Wouldn’t having no contact with them be the safer choice?)

    Batiuk’s really gonna cram as much stupidity into this last month as he possibly can. This is gonna be a bigger car wreck than Wally taking driving lessons from Bull.

    • And where was he when Summer was off at Kent State? Or was there a second Custodian there to take over the job?

      • William Thompson

        One of the Twilight Zone revivals did a story like that. A young woman in a college dorm finds that her personal items vanish at random. It turns out she’s being watched by future historians because she has a destiny as a world leader and they want to know more about her early life (they were probably grad students desperate for thesis material.)

    • The Duck of Death

      That’s a great expression that deserves to live on after Funky dissolves: “a bigger car wreck than Wally taking driving lessons from Bull.”

      “But,” you say, “who will remember Wally and Bull?” No one. Who remembers the Bob in “Bob’s your uncle”? Who remembers the Jack Robinson in “quicker than you can say Jack Robinson”? Who remembers the Mike in “for the love of Mike,” or the Pete in “for Pete’s sake”?

      Wally and Bull are funny names anyhow. I, for one, will use this phrase at every opportunity.

  6. Cheesy-kun

    A Boy Named Sue (with apologies to the Man in Black.) Who is this young man talking to the janitor?

    TFH you are asking perfectly logical questions but it’s obvious that, if it was ever even alive and well in Act III, logic has died a sloppy death these past few weeks.

    At this point Starbuck Jones could pop into the scene with Jeff and his decoder ring and I’d shrug.

    Why, oh, why, couldn’t Batiuk have just ended this thing with simple dignity? Funky and Holly sell Montoni’s and buy an RV. Les and Cayla retire and start spending more time with their daughters. Les uses some of the money from his Hollywood checks to gift Crazy Harry a new collection of his favorite vinyl albums. Dinkle admits that at 98 he’s too old to keep getting in his successor’s way at the high school.

    But, no. We get this ad libbed, ad hoc mess.

    Meanwhile, last time I checked Crankshaft, the boys in the bus driver’s lounge were making fun of Lena’s baking. That woman is never anything but generous and kind yet she’s always the object of derision for her baking and bowling.

    I don’t plan to spend much time in Centerville after the 31st but…. I WILL MISS YOU, SoSFers!!!!!!

    • RudimentaryLathe?

      Funky and Holly buying an RV and exploring tourist America is an interesting premise that could have some fun storylines.
      Batiuk would drink bleach before he’d even consider writing that.

      • Anonymous Sparrow

        With Albert Brooks as Funky and Julie Hagerty as Holly!

        A spiritual sequel to “Lost in America”!

      • Cheesy-kun

        You’re right, but he’d be missing the chance to have Funky drag Holly to comic cons nationwide. So much hilarity as Holly complains about the RV filling up with figurines and plastic-wrapped comics.

        She’d see the light, eventually, and become a fan herself.

        Everyone in this strip in touched in the head. I mean, mind. Once they discover the glory of Silver Age comics and Dead St. Lisa, their minds are worthy of being touched.

  7. “You have violated Robot’s Rules of Order and will be asked to leave the future immediately! I’ll just stay here and watch you, til Deputy Dan arrives!”

  8. I still don’t quite get why Harley is the “custodian” of anything. My fault, I guess.

    Today, Harley’s use of “it” confuses me:

    “It seemed like good karma.”
    “It helped me to do my more crucial job.”

    Apparently, “it” refers to the fact that he’s called a custodian. Huh?

    So he is here to make sure that Summer writes her little blog post about The History of Westview, OH. Which is endangered by the fact that… Harley lost track of some freaking helmet?

    • Epicus Doomus

      What’s really disheartening here is that this “custodian”, who comes from a place with time travel technology, had to spend forty years as a janitor to accomplish his goal. You’d figure that such an advanced civilization would have come up with something a little easier. The guy can travel through time and space, sure, but look at him. He’s a totally beaten, defeated husk of a custodian. And for what, to help Summer? The kid’s almost thirty and she’s been in college for ten years, what’s he been waiting for?

      • William Thompson

        You make Hardly sound like a typical resident of Westview . . . oh, hell. Literally. The Apocalypse is about to start. Rains of fire, plagues, horrid monsters, another Dead Lisa book. People die, people go to Heaven, people go to Hell, and when it’s over earth is a dead, desolate mess–except for Westview. Neither God nor Satan wanted them, and they’re left to repopulate the earth. Summer’s history of Westview becomes the Genesis chapter of the Next Testament (“In the beginning was Les, and smirkness was upon the face of the earth . . .”)

      • Perfect Tommy

        Maybe he’s like the Yellow Card Man and the strain of keeping all the timelines coherent has driven him insane.
        Or it’s a poorly written story that will never make sense.
        Yeah, it’s probably the second one.

  9. RudimentaryLathe?

    OK, this is going where I suspected it was going: Summer’s stupid “oral history” of Westview is slated to be the Greatest Book Ever; she is (out of nowhere) a literary genius meant to surpass the likes of Shakespeare, Twain, and Camus.
    He only has 4 more weeks to tie a bow on this. Buckle up, it’s gonna be a shitshow 🙃

    • She’ll go from scribbling notes on a notepad to Nobel Prize for Literature in 4 weeks.

      • Anonymous Sparrow

        Will she follow the example of Marianne Winters and give her Nobel medal to Les?

        If so, then we have two seasons represented in the life of Mr. Leslie Moore.

        Spring forward and Fall back, what say you?

  10. Andrew

    Oh for Lisa’s sake… I’m sure there’s some “marvelous” reason the history of this dead-end northeast Ohio town must be treasured by the sacred timeline or whatever, but with every gripe this “junior author Summer” arc has brought over the swerving of a character’s development (from career aspirations down to her makeover, all changed off-screen without any real warning) to the book focusing more on what amounts to nostalgia treading of the strip’s history as opposed to what intrigue you could have over how dead-end northeast Ohio towns are founded (Scapegoat origins, maybe?), suddenly making the project THIS important?

    It’s a retread of how turning Lisa’s Story into an in-universe book results into a smash success and Oscar-winning “done right” movie just reeks of giving oneself imaginary trophies and robs the relatability of the story’s world. Sure, if you’ve written them through many hardships they deserve some fortunes if they’ve had it rough, but you can only go so far with self-complimenting before it becomes too ridiculous.

    Really starting the final month of a strip with a party popper bang, aren’t we?

    • Andrew

      Also another point in relation to this, let’s just consider how this strip’s original two main characters have been dealt different card hands in their 50-year-illustrated lives, since, title character Funky and perpetual hate sink Les is a notable contrast of good/bad karma balance:

      The Funk started as an everyman loser and remained stable, grew up and stumbled into alcoholism that ruined his first marriage and practically left him at rock bottom, but recovered well, remarried, and clung to the steady work of the town’s most popular pizza joint up to owner and manager. His reward for that was aging disgracefully, stretching the business thin with bad management that cost him all the franchises, his son becoming a delinquent that was sent to military school to go straight, getting in a car accident that time traveled him into an extra 10(?)-year lifeline for his business, all of which ends in failure as he fails to make pizza delivery work in a pandemic and has to close the cornerstone hangout that warmed the hearts of even ICE-cold deportation agents, presumably to enjoy a quiet retirement.

      Meanwhile, Les starts as a the nerd loser and is even less fortunate in his youthful endeavors, but gains a “real” streak of “poetic” misfortune when his true love ends up being the tragedy magnet that is dead Saint Lisa. Acting as moral support for her date-rape baby, among other things, moves him to “defiantly” give a killjoy valedictorian speech at graduation, leading to a struggling-writer and steady teaching/pizza-making career (including solving the murder of the spinoff that nobody cares about, in-and-out-of-universe) while continuing romance with Lisa, from comedic cross-Europe misadventure to near-death from random Rush-Limbaug-fueled postal bombings, then marriage, then she survives cancer and has a kid, only for cancer to return for good and widower-ing him. For this misfortune he ages gracefully and maintains a goatee, attracts romance from two other women (one of whom was a former student who nearly killed herself in jealousy over his wife, but he “personally” saved the life of) yet massively drags his feet on because he takes 10 years to move on, eventually marries, gets a fufilling adventure of climbing some mountain in Africa, and nurtures a daughter who becomes a star athlete and wins her school the championship. But of course that pales to when he finally writes the story of his treasured love and loss of his first wife, which moves the nation as a bestseller, gets multiple movie bids before the made one becomes a sleeper hit with star actors, one of which wins an Oscar but leaves the trophy with him in thanks for sharing a beautiful story with the world. Oh, and also his daughter is inspired to follow in his footsteps as an author, whose own book will be so influential that time travelers come to ensure the timeline stays on track and ensures that it is successfully written.

      Suffice it to say, a very telling balance of karma that went on in this strip.

      • Anonymous Sparrow

        A poem from William Butler Yeats (Henry Gibson is sadly unavailable):

        WHY should not old men be mad?
        Some have known a likely lad
        That had a sound fly-fisher’s wrist
        Turn to a drunken journalist;
        A girl that knew all Dante once
        Live to bear children to a dunce;
        A Helen of social welfare dream,
        Climb on a wagonette to scream.
        Some think it a matter of course that chance
        Should starve good men and bad advance,
        That if their neighbours figured plain,
        As though upon a lighted screen,
        No single story would they find
        Of an unbroken happy mind,
        A finish worthy of the start.
        Young men know nothing of this sort,
        Observant old men know it well;
        And when they know what old books tell
        And that no better can be had,
        Know why an old man should be mad.

  11. sorialpromise

    So we know how TB will spend the next 31 days. The phrase “Kill me now!” keeps entering my mind. Drivel. Complete, utter drivel.
    Mr. Batiuk is so unworthy of SOSF. I would be interested why TF Hackett decided to succeed Stuck Funky. SOSF will be missed. FW will be quickly forgotten.

  12. William Thompson

    “Did my father put you up to this–” Summer hesitates. “No, that’s impossible. He doesn’t have a sense of humor. What’s to keep me from writing my book? Sure, I’ll need another twenty years to finish my degree in creative writing, but still–”

    “It’s the Time Patrol!” Gnarly says. “The arch-enemy and nemesis of we Custodians! They’re out to stop you!”

    “Why? What reason do they have to stop me?”

    “So they can say they stopped you! Which is why we have to help you succeed! The budgets of our two competing departments depend on this epic struggle! Just do me one favor.” Hardly speaks in a confiding tone. “Can you finish the book before the end of this century? So I can retire and collect my pension?”

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      The ones to watch out for, though, are the Time Police, especially when Forsythe Pendleton (Jughead to you) Jones is with them!

  13. Banana Jr. 6000

    In a perverse way, this actually raises the stakes. Batiuk has written himself into a situation where Summer’s book now has to be worthy of the phrase “nexus event in the time streams” and be big enough to attract the attention of multi-dimensional travelers. We know it won’t, but he has to try, doesnt’t he?

  14. The Duck of Death

    Hey, waiiiiit a minute.

    Who is currently writing a history of Westview? It’s not Summer.

    It’s Tom Effin Batiuk.

    What if all this idiocy is just him inventing some deus ex machina to explain why he’s been forced by Great, Unseen Forces to create his world-changing magnum opus — and then to finish it?

    It’s possible he’s not even aware of this consciously, but Summer the Westview chronicler: It’s him.

    • Green Luthor

      Tom Batiuk making a character a wish-fulfillment self-insert?

      Nah, he’d never do something like that. (By the way, what’s Batton Thomas Creator Of The Comic Strip Three O’Clock High up to right now?)

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      That was my reaction – that Summer’s “book about Westview” is a stand-in for his own real-life work, like Lisa’s Story is a stand-in for real-life compilation book. It’s equal parts ego stroking and cross-promotion.

  15. Lord Flatulence

    I think the word he’s looking for is irony, not karma, as in, “It seemed like good irony.”

  16. So, I guess the next part will be a vague, incoherent explanation for how Summer’s book is critically important to the moral development of the human species, in a way that self-congratulatorily hints that the same applies to the 50-year-long FW saga.

    I am perversely looking forward to it.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      “Give me Jim Kirk’s *Let Me Help* every time,” said Sister Edith “Slum Angel” Keeler.

  17. Angusmac

    Last panel of FW ever
    “You’re insane! I’ m getting my Dad to fire you!”
    “Les Moore lied to you. Summer, I am your Father.”

  18. Paul Jones

    This means that her tedious collection of anecdotes about the boring, meaningless lives of a second-tier high school clique that went on to live lives of superlative dullness is the only record people have of Westview. If it were up to me, I’d want to make sure that it wasn’t written so future generations would be spared whatever nonsense she writes or having to know about how Les is the actual victim of Lisa’s death.

    • Gerard Plourde

      I think I know where this is going. Like Jean Shepherd’s Ralphie decoding the secret message from the Little Orphan Annie Club in “In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash”, this arc is going to turn out to be “a crummy commercial”. The book that Summer is writing is the history of Westview aka “The Complete Funky Winkerbean.”

    • William Thompson

      No, it means that her tedious collection of anecdotes will all involve Her Father Les Moore Who Was Denied Adoration. In the year 2525 people will want to know what the mere mortals in his life thought of their savior. It’s been a matter of some urgency among theologians, because the faithful are starting to notice contradictions between the Books of St. Lisa and the sketchy historical records.

  19. ComicTrek

    But HE ALREADY KNOWS THAT SHE’S WRITING A BOOK. Isn’t that the reason why she’s there? To interview him for it? I know this is supposed to be leading up to a plot twist or something, but this really makes it seem like the guy’s either insane or messing with her.

  20. Tom from Finland

    I feel that Batiuk is channeling his insecurities to this arc: ”You must write the history of Westview, otherwise no one will remember it after I retire”
    And still he is wasting time explaining the setup instead of telling the history, while time is running out.
    He reminds of me writing stories in elementary school. I had great story ideas but never realized that one lesson is too little time to finish so complicated story. Then I noticed 5 minutes before the time run out that I’m still explaining the backstory and had to rush the ending so that it became: ”then they fought the bad guys and won. The End.”

  21. hitorque

    Please Batiuk just wrap this mess up in the neatest bow you can — Here’s how:

    Hardy McFly is a direct descendant of Summer and he came back in time to not only make her finish the book, but to include some kind of coded message in the text to not be so fucking stupid and careless with his magic time helmet so future Hardy McFly could read it in his own time and *NOT* get stuck when he came back to the year of 1980…

    And just like that we’re done!

  22. hitorque

    Just one month to go and now that the end is in sight I’m getting all nervous and jittery like Dennis Hopper…


  23. neveralwaysdisappointed

    Bill and Ted did it better.

    • hitorque

      Marty McFly did it better…

      Phillip Frye and Hubert Farnsworth did it better…

      Life on Mars did it better…

      Justice League Unlimited did it better…

      Teen Titans GO! did it better…

      Aqua Teen Hunger Force did it better…

      Star Trek TOS did it better…

      Star Trek TNG did it better…

      Avengers Endgame did it better…

      Hell, even fuckin’ Uncle Rico did it better!

  24. Maxine of Arc

    Where’s George Carlin when we really need him?

  25. The Duck of Death

    I keep hoping Batty will have some fun with this time travel concept. There are so many entertaining ways it could go.

    Futurama always handled time travel brilliantly, and satisfyingly. But if you don’t have a writing room staffed with mathematicians and physicists, you can still get silly and nonsensical without sacrificing your world’s timeline. Just before the clip shown below, Brian and Stewie have gone back in time and are peering at the action in the first Family Guy episode, which the audience can see looks and sounds quite different from the later episodes. It’s fun to lampshade that kind of stuff. But there I go again, using that foreign word, “fun.”

  26. Jimmy

    I don’t think I can stick around for a month of this.

  27. Professor Fate

    And we see the Author’s long term dadaist anti-narrative experiment come to an end.
    Also maybe late to the party on this but add ‘karma’ to the list of words the author doesn’t understand