It Takes A Nation Of Humanity To Hold Us Back


“Recognize humanity as our nation”??? Yeah, sure Tom, and maybe we can recognize ennui as our state, and boredom as our municipality. So to recap what we thus far know: apparently, Summer’s ability to detect patterns will cause a major paradigm shift that allows humanity to become our nation, and it involves Donna’s old Eliminator helmet somehow. It’s all really coming together now. I was all confused before, but yeah, this totally clears things up.

Panel one Summer looks exactly like Act II Les, minus the nerd glasses. And that fishhook smirk in panel two seems to indicate a human emotion that as of right now I am totally unfamiliar with. Skeptical bemusement? Wry acknowledgement? Polite confusion? Beats me. And while I know that hands are always notoriously difficult to draw properly, drawing a hand holding a pen must be even harder, as this week has established with iron-clad evidence.

Great Moments In FW Arc Recap History

March 17-23, 2014
Funky visits the nursing home to discover that his Dad has taken up smoking.

This one marked the moment when Morton’s Alzheimer’s, which had been nearly totally debilitating just a few years before, began to miraculously vanish. I can’t explain the medical science behind it, but apparently the cigarettes somehow transformed Morton from a helpless drool-cup into a quick-witted, razor-sharp old coot who soon became the coolest resident at Bedside Manor. It did wonders for his virility too. And it’s probably one of the more under-the-radar courageous things BatHam did during Act III, as you don’t see a lot of people promoting cigarettes as a health aid anymore. Quite a gutsy stance.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

132 responses to “It Takes A Nation Of Humanity To Hold Us Back

  1. William Thompson

    Any doubts that Summer is the child of Les may be laid to rest: she has his huge ego. Just look at her smile as Harley feeds her that twelve-course banquet of bullshit!

  2. ComicBookHarriet

    Hey, Tom.

    If you’re going to rip something off, why would it be THIS?

    • Andrew

      It’s perfect! Not that authors dreaming of their work sparking change in the world is an unusual thing, but M Night Shyamalan and Tom Bautik really channel into it when they play their own characters (granted Summer isn’t Baton Thomas, but considering she’s the daughter of the comic’s usual author avatar, could be a bloodline thing) and express their own desire of self importance.

      Also both have a history with twists of varying quality.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        Authors dreaming of sparking change? Normal creative ego.

        Authors writing a story where a supernatural being with knowledge of the future tells an author avatar that the work they create is DESTINED to CHANGE THE ENTIRE WORLD, so much so that the supernatural being’s entire mission is to help the author avatar so as to create their masterpiece?

        That takes a special kind of ego. A Batiukian, Shyalmalanesqe, ego.

        • I will say this: Shyamalan has made some entertaining movies. He’s made some terrible ones as well, but when he was good, he was very good.

          Batiuk? Not so much.

          • RudimentaryLathe?

            Unbreakable is one of my favorite movies, and it shares one similarity with FW: the importance placed on superhero comics. The difference is, Mr. Glass is obsessed with comics as True Art™ because 1. They gave him comfort as a physically disabled child and 2. He believes (rightly as it turns out) that superpowered humans exist and the comics give him clues to uncover them. In FW, superhero comics are True Art™ because the author sock-puppet manchildren say they are.

    • William Thompson

      Batyak us also ripping off Isaac Asimov. He’s saying that Summer’s book will inspire the creation of psychohistory. No doubt the inventor will be named Crazy Hari Seldom.

      • Cheesy-kun

        Andrew, CBH, WT,

        Brilliant! A trio of algorithms! Snarker three-part harmony!

        You have beautiful minds. I’m on a train but could not stop chuckling at each of these.

        “Crazy Hari Seldon” – Batiuk, if you’re reading this please have the decency to admit that’s clever and worth repeating.

      • J.J. O'Malley

        So will Summer’s first three books be “Funkdation,” “Funkdation and Empire,” and “Second Funkdation”? Also, I vote for Mopey Pete as the Mule.

  3. I swear…Tom Batiuk has been giving the same interview for the last 15 years. “‘Funky Winkerbean’ and his creator Tom Batiuk grow up together (via Cinncinnati Public Radio)

    • Andrew

      ‘At 75, Batiuk said he made the decision to end “Funky Winkerbean,” because there was no succession plan in place for it.’

      Mark one on the scoreboard, folks, we called it!

      ‘The final storyline for the Winkerbean strip already is running, with a look back through the eyes of the Westview janitor, Harley Davidson, a minor character in the strip almost since its inception, who Batiuk now has brought into the foreground as a witness to the strip’s history.’

      Real meaty perspective on history then so far. Granted, maybe that’s what’s coming, and Girl Lisa’s just going to sit here for the rest of the month getting the “lower decks” perspective of the last 50 years. We could’ve gotten that started sooner if we hadn’t had to do 2 weeks of sudden time travel and “your book will change the world!” nonsense, by golly.

      • Andrew

        Actually fair warning, I was getting these quotes from Bautik’s interview during his appearance at Kent State on Wednesday. Didn’t notice the actual link TFHackett dropped, assumed it was the same since it just went up on the Twitter feed:

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Batiuk said he made the decision to end “Funky Winkerbean,” because there was no succession plan in place for it.

        What a dishonest thing to say. There’s no succession plan in place because Batiuk never wanted one. He never wanted anyone but himself doing the strip, and had legal fights with his syndicate over it.

        Harley Davidson, a minor character in the strip almost since its inception, who Batiuk now has brought into the foreground as a witness to the strip’s history.

        But that’s not what’s happening in the strip, is it? Harley Davidson is sitting his chair talking about space helmets and time continuums and how this 30-year-old Kent State undergrad is now going to write a bible for the new age of humanity. He’s not witnessing the strip’s history, he’s dictating its epilogue.

        This is what happens when you let someone write their own interview questions. I have never once heard anyone ask Tom Batiuk a question that sounds like Batiuk didn’t write it himself.

      • William Thompson

        When you think about it, a palace coup is a succession plan of sorts.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      He talks about The Phantom Empire every interview?

      I’m always surprised by his voice. He sounds like an eager boy of fifteen just getting over a cold.

      • Well, the Phantom Empire stuff was a bit of a departure. But the “road to Damascus moment,” the “weight of substantial ideas,” come up a lot in his interviews.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Batiuk’s interviews are more stage-managed than a North Korean military parade.

  4. This is Tom Batiuk praising himself and his abilities to…well, in his mind “tell compelling stories that are universal.” In the real world, he’s praising his ability to be completely obtuse, incomprehensible and yet irrelevant at the same time.

    He’s “retiring” at the right time. I think his ego is about to explode.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Poor guy. That Pulitzer nomination really messed him up badly.

      • Cheesy-kun

        Hi Rusty, Do you comment over at Uni-Watch? Saw your name under the Gaylord Perry story. It’s a small world (wide web). Great minds think alike!

        Nice to see you in two places.

        • Rusty Shackleford

          No, I do not, but I’m going to check it out. My handle is pretty common due to all of The King of the Hill fans out there.

  5. Green Luthor

    Her “ability to detect patterns”? Has that EVER been established before? (Before she somehow noticed Custodian Time Lord in all the stories she’s been hearing, that is. Since we didn’t actually get to see any of the pieces that led her here, we can’t really judge if it was an impressive bit of sleuthing or a complete asspull. Which makes it seem like the asspull.)

    This whole thing reads like Harley and/or Tom are just stringing together random words. (I mean, if it turns out that’s intentional, and Batiuk is going to walk all this back as intentionally goofing with us, it would almost (almost) be forgivable, but I highly doubt that’s going to be the case.)

    • RudimentaryLathe?

      Yeah this 11th hour Summer-as-the-Great-Auteur thing is creepy. It’s like he has to make EVERYBODY an author avatar.

      • billytheskink

        It really came out of nowhere, didn’t it? Before this one, I’m not sure Summer has been central to a multi-week story arc since she was in high school. Maybe once?

        Morton Winkerbean, among others, has been given more ink!

        • Epicus Doomus

          Summer popped up in 2013’s Frankie Date Rape Mega Arc, but she only had a minor role in that one, near the end. I know she occasionally popped up as a background character in a few forgettable Les arcs too, but nothing of consequence. For the first five years of Act III she was a major character, inescapable. Then, nothing. It’s all been quite strange.

          Did you ever notice how that despite mythologizing high school at every opportunity, BatHam rarely mentions college? Has any college-age character ever played any kind of significant role in the strip? No, Wally doesn’t count. He did do a brief Les college retcon a while back, where Les was an angsty, nihilistic artist with a cool girlfriend, but it was barely a week or two. And he has briefly touched on Bull’s college football days. But otherwise, he always just kind of glosses over it. Cory’s stint in the army got was more play than Summer being in college ever did.

          It’s extremely strange having her back, too. She’s just to sleek and aerodynamic now, he removed all the grit. And Summer was ALL grit. Without the grit, there’s no “there” there.

          • Y’all are forgetting that scintillating arc where she and Keister wrapped Christmas gifts at the mall. It was Pilitzer-worthy stuff.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            You mean when Les passive-aggressived Summer into reading her own mother’s rape journal, because he was too fragile to do it? One of the most vile things he’s ever done.

    • Green Luthor

      Wait, I think I might see where Batiuk might be coming from here. Girl Les’ pattern-detection ability is what made her good at basketball; she was able to see the patterns in the other players’ movements and predict where they’d be, so she was able to out-maneuver them. It’s just stupid enough to work! (Well… for Batiuk to think it works. It doesn’t, but that’s never stopped him before.)

      (I truly would not be surprised in the least if that shows up in the comic.)

      • billytheskink

        I would be surprised if it does, it makes too much sense and is too interesting for this strip. Plus, I would be half-surprised if TB even remembers that Summer was a basketball player at one point.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      That’s Batty for you. When he wanted to butt kiss women’s sports Summer was suddenly a star athlete, now that he needs a writer, she’s no longer a dumb sporto but instead magically becomes a Pulitzer nominated writer who will change the world.

  6. Y. Knott

    Good lord … building on what must be an utterly atrocious reading experience, but finding patterns in it that sparks others to build on it? Guys, Batiuk’s metaphorically describing his own strip, and Son Of Stuck Funky! You think were snarking? Ha! We’re building science-based algorithms, in the form of scathing putdowns and witty ripostes! Soon, all mankind will be united by our work!

    We don’t snark for ourselves — we snark for the nation of humanity!

    • Cheesy-kun

      we snark for the nation of humanity!—> According to the pattern I’m seeing, you have created an algorithm that makes people laugh. Great work, YK, and thank you.

      • Y. Knott

        You’re too kind, Cheesy-kun!

        No, wait — according to the algorithm generated by the patterns inherent in the supposedly ‘random’ appearances of various “Son Of Stuck Funky” headers, you’re exactly kind enough.

        Hot diggety! The algorithm’s working!

    • ComicBookHarriet

      To paraphrase the US Navy, “We have snarked so much for so long with so little that we can now do practically anything with nothing.”

  7. Cheesy-kun

    Is Dead St. Lisa’s daughter a STEM major? People in STEM fields are excellent at seeing patterns. As usual, a Moore’s brilliance is assumed but never shown.

    Anyway, folks in STEM fields are also good at making algorithms and not weak metaphors that happen to use the word algorithm.

    Batiuk imagined a “Custodian temporal dimensions” and gave us Forest Gump from the Future. Life is like a box of algorithms.

    • William Thompson

      It could be that Batiuk will say that Summer’s prolonged education enhanced her pattern-spotting skills, and that she was able to stay in college so long because Hardly There mind-touched her to stay in school, and mind-touched assorted bureaucrats to keep her enrolled, and mind-touched Les to ignore her life–no, wait, that part came naturally to him.

  8. RudimentaryLathe?

    I don’t even know what to do with this dialogue. “Recognize humanity as our nation”?? Did Batiuk see Josh Kiszka’s Masterclass parody and think it was real?

    • ComicBookHarriet

      I’m going to risk location doxxing myself here, since I love you all so much, but I live in a town half taken over in the 70’s by the Transcendental Meditation movement. Even now the last aging vestiges, flush with money from a cabal of deep pocketed adherents, are constantly embarking on grandiose sounding, but materially underwhelming, projects.

      Like a Tower of Invincibility, and a Capital of the Global Country of World Peace.

      • Cheesy-kun

        So what you’re saying, CBH, is that you’re actually Summer. I’m not surprised, given your preternatural knowledge of the Funkiverse and your pattern-finding abilities therein.😜

        • Anonymous Sparrow

          *Funky Winkerbean* is the Reluctant in Thomas Heggen’s *Mister Roberts.*

          It (or is a comic strip “she,” as a ship is?) journeys from Tedium to Apathy, with an occasional side trip to Monotony.

          Once in a very long while, it may make it to Ennui.

          Mind the palm tree.

        • ComicBookHarriet

          Don’t be silly! I wouldn’t be caught dead in a turtleneck.

          Obviously I am actually Wally Jr.

      • ian'sdrunkenbeard

        I hope the Tower of Invincibility is as good for your city as the Corn Palace is for Mitchell, South Dakota.

      • Perfect Tommy

        Are you able to levitate or cloak yourself in invisibility?
        Because that would be pretty sweet.

        • Perfect Tommy

          And I think “Yogi Flying” would make an excellent band name.

        • ComicBookHarriet

          Unfortunately not. As I am a descendent of the ‘townies’. My bestie is a child of two ‘roos’ though. All hours of meditation seemed to do for them was make them completely unable to clean their own home, and give them atrocious fashion sense.

  9. The panel 2 Word Blimp is impressive and inspiring, to be sure. More algorithms! That’s what we need to create a Humanity Nation! And Summer Moore’s prose shall spawn its nascence!

    But also notice that Harley’s nose now has Crankshaft’s signature blackheads. This…this is the moment of transition, from the Funkyverse to the Crankyverse! Hail Summer’s Algorithm and stuff!

  10. sorialpromise

    Her ability to detect patterns:
    1. Offscreen, someone tells her, “That Harley, he is a time traveler.”
    Her ability to swallow that malarkey, sets her up to believe:
    2. ”Behavior” “Algorithms” “Humanity as our nation”. Just think, one uncrossed ‘t’ or one undotted ‘i’ and we could have had dolphins as our nation, but considering TB’s creativity, we would have been stuck with sea cucumbers as our nation.
    3. We missed out on panel 3. Summer thinks to herself, “They like me. They really do like me.”

  11. William Thompson

    What “matters of immense consequence” have figured into this strip? The Starsux Jones and Dead Lisa franchises? Dinkle’s Belgian candy-selling award? Les’s book-signing tours? The Rose Parade? Wally’s PTSD and experiences with military bungling?

    Or does this refer to things we haven’t seen in Westview, like overt racism, homophobia, Islamophobia and sexism? Maybe Batiuk wants to retcon his inability to handle sensitive topics into a virtue. Yeah, right. One terrific way to not see those problems is to have the relevant characters stay out of sight. Makes them go right away.

    • Andrew

      Ah yes, the important statements applicable to real world issues:
      -Go through with giving birth to a date-rate baby and have them get adopted by a seemingly-happy couple but secretly the wife resents everything.
      -Throw out the arranged Valedictorian speech to antagonize your year by ranting about popularity cliques being unimportant in the “real world”
      -Tune out and ignore radial radio show hosts before they blow up your local post office with cartoon dynamite.
      -Take it upon yourself to drive attempted-suicide-by-overdose victims to the hospital instead of waiting for medical professionals (though given medical bills can include ambulances, maybe)
      -Remember to write down exactly what airport entry gate your estranged spouse is at, les you have a fatal mixup and nearly drink yourself to death (also drink responsibly)
      -Check for cancer potential ASAP and regularly, and even if you think you’re alright the hospital could bungle up your files and you may just have to accept it and die, but you’ll become a pariah by the entertainment industry so it’s all good.
      -War is hell, but if you are a soldier and resigning, handle your paperwork perfectly in case you’re declared AWOL and forced back, captured by the enemy and thought to be dead, and if you eventually return home your now-remarried spouse will just send you to your own fate with an old memento from school.
      -Don’t use cellphones in the driver’s seat, you could get into an accident that sends you or the other guy back in time.
      -Respect gay rights, remember there ain’t no rule in the school handbook about bigotry, but if you’re not a named character you’re not as important as the named straight characters fighting on your behalf.
      -Comic books say a lot about society.
      -We all got to fight climate damage, and do so by raising awareness and encouraging the world with anti-climate damage superheroes from indie comic books.
      -Support your local businesses, everyone knows pizza places that do delivery had to close up and are only just returning and barely getting by after the pandemic.
      -If you find a murder weapon that somehow got out of police custody, make a moral stance and reforge it into a toy for a child so it can never kill again.
      -And finally, take account of and remember the stories of you and your friends, and the wholesome world of the small town you come from. Chronicling them could greatly benefit the future of humanity and spark the creation of time travel.

      • I tell ya, if Funky Winkerbean and this blog weren’t approaching the end, Epicus and I would be recruiting Andrew for our next guest author. Great insight!

        • Andrew

          Aw shucks. I appreciate the compliment, but admittedly I dunno if I’d be capable of handling such an obligation. So many things to do in the day and all that.

          I do want to do more with Funky things related to writing, got a nugget or two of an idea brewing, but no guarantees that anything will come of it in a timely manner. Don’t quite think I got the setup and proceedings for it yet.

        • be ware of eve hill

          Prodigious knowledge of Funky Winkerbean history, too.

      • Green Luthor

        -If you think the store clerk is racially profiling you, move stuff around so they have a reason to think you’re stealing.
        -If your car breaks down, make sure to tell anyone who stops that you’re not suicidal, so they don’t waste time trying to talk you out of it.
        -You can easily find 18-year-old comics on spinner racks. Especially the extremely valuable ones.
        -You can totally fake your death by just having your lawyer give your possessions away. No one will bother to check, especially if you’re well-known.
        -If you’re a major comic strip creator, and the receptionist throws out an unsolicited submission, go ahead and steal it and then give the original art back.

        And, of course:
        -If you’re a somewhat-known comic strip creator, be sure to denigrate other creators whom you admire by having your characters take credit for their real-world work.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        Also, don’t forget to collect your kill fee!

  12. Andrew

    Is there nothing so Funky as seeing Girl Lisa, hearing as the senile janitor says her “pattern” recognition writings that literally anyone familiar with metaphors or murder mystery writers since fucking Murder She Wrote will somehow be groundbreaking that the world will be forever changed and time agents charged with ensuring her future, that she gives off the signature Act 3 “amused” smirk?

    Remember folks, we missed out on a final Pizza Monster story for THIS.

    I’m suddenly reminded of how people criticize BBC’s Sherlock series that starred Benedict Cumberbatch for being written in such ways that makes it seem like “smart people written by dumb people”. Also Doctor Who, but at least that one had entertaining aliens shaped like trash bins.

    • Hitorque

      Sherlock was awesome for the first couple seasons at least… Everything after he “died”, not so much.

  13. erdmann

    I’ve been sick for two days, but I’ve never been nauseous until now.
    Geez Louise, Harley. You forgot to mention reversing the polarity of the neutron flow.

  14. Smirks’R Us

    verbal diarrhea

    • Rusty Shackleford

      All so Batty can plagiarize Asimov in the hopes that it makes this strip look deep and meaningful.

      The syndicate needs to replace this strip with a drawing of a puppy dog pulling the power cord of a TV out of the socket and the words “Technical Difficulties “.

  15. billytheskink

    Summer’s book about Westview will allow mankind to “recognize humanity”? Not buying that at all.

    I’ve been reading about Westview for decades now and cannot recall the last time I saw something recognizably human.

  16. be ware of eve hill

    Here’s a classic Neurotica comic strip (to me, anyway). I’ve been thinking about it every time I read Funky

    This story arc has easily enabled me to check off all twelve faces of boredom. Collected ’em all! I’m thinking of using #10 as my new avatar.

    Funky Winkerbean has gotten so tiresome and dull that I can hardly follow along anymore. It’s incredibly arduous to read and takes more than one run-through to comprehend. It’s a black hole where not even coherent thought can escape.

    The other day, I found myself dozing with my head resting on my left shoulder. No prizes for guessing what was on my computer screen.

  17. erdmann

    I’ve read a lot of local histories. Some of them were well written, informative and entertaining. None of them contained anything that would alter the course of human events, regardless of the author’s pattern detecting abilities.

    • Perfect Tommy

      I’m reading a history of my town right now. It’s neat to read the familiar names and see the old pictures. But the interest level would drop the further you were from the town. Nobody a hundred miles away is going to care about that old hotel that burned down. I see no unifying concepts. It’s really chafes me when someone continues to vastly overestimate their talents and abilities.

  18. Lord Flatulence

    Good old trapezoid head.

  19. The Dreamer

    Summer’s book must be written to recognize humanity as our nation? Oh geez, her book must be the forthcoming The Complete Funky Winkerbean Volume 12 TomBat is using the fact that a lot of older readers will come back for the last month of FW to promote his book He’s giving his book publisher a 30 day commercial! What a terrible way to end FW!

  20. be ware of eve hill

    This new version of Summer reminds me of someone, and it has been nagging me all week. I finally realized who.

    Separated at birth?

    It’s Man with the Yellow Hat from the Curious George movies and TV series. He’s George’s chimp father (parent) and guardian, and he treats George like his own child.

    The resemblance is uncanny. To complete the image, I think Summer needs a pointy yellow hat and her own primate for a companion. How about ‘Murderous Zanzibar’?

    • Cheesy-kun

      Oh, ho! BWoEH has earned Pattern-Recognizer of the Day. We’ll be in touch to get a Polaroid of you to put on the wall
      at Montoni’s or, if it’s already closed, the Dale Evans over in Centerville.

      Fantastic connection! I’ll never see the Man in the Yellow Hat the same way, again (which, I guess, is kind of sad, but a brilliant and true connection, nonetheless.)

    • Charles

      I was thinking Yogi Bear’s Ranger Smith, but that was more last week’s nose.

      • be ware of eve hill

        Curious. If Summer Moore was Ranger Smith, who would be her Yogi and Boo-Boo?

        All the Funky Winkerbean characters are so milquetoast, it’s hard to come up with a couple names.

        Owen and Cody?
        Owen: Hey Cody, let’s go get us a pic-a-nic basket!
        Cody: I don’t think that’s a good idea, Owen. Ranger Moore was quite upset with us the last time. She threatened to chop off our…

  21. Cheesy-kun

    The only hard evidence we have of Westview’s Next Oscar Receiver’s pattern-recognition suggest she’s really bad at it.

    Back at Montoni’s she was furiously scribbling notes while people told her stuff she would have already known. She could not finish college.

    Was it b/c she played b-ball? I played hockey so I learned to appreciate the superior pattern-seeing skills of the best athletes (a group which did not include me!) but, again, that was never shown. Or even talked about.

    And why can’t Janitor Jupiter write the book himself? Isn’t he the one with the god-view of time and space?

    Maybe Summer will see the pattern that shows Lisa is alive and well and living by choice in Bloom County. Happily married to Steve Dallas who has no time for pretentious snots from Westview. I’d read that strip.

  22. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    It’s Mort!

  23. Ah. So Summer’s book will convince all the strawmen and designated antagonists to abandon their own personalities and submerge themselves into the Funky monomind. Once everyone obsesses about comics and pizza and nothing else, the world will truly be as one, without race or gender, without borders or creeds – because everything will reshaped in the image of a white boomer nerd-boy. That’s about the size of it, isn’t it?

    Would you believe, I’d actually consider Batiuk a guilty pleasure if he could just be honest about his megalomania? If he’d just drop the oh-so-humble pretense and go, “the world should have nothing but ME in it! ME, ME, ME, MEEEEE!!!” I’d downright consider him a breath of fresh air in a pretentious, moralising age. But no, he just insists on pretending that him wanting to get rid of everything that doesn’t make him, personally, feel good is for everyone else’s benefit and they’re just too stupid to let him do them that favour. Feh.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      Archibald Beechcroft remade the world in his own image in a “Twilight Zone” episode called “The Mind and the Matter.”

      He didn’t like the results.

  24. Paul Jones

    Oh, Sweet Mamma-jamma! “Thinking like idiots from one-stopliht towns like Cancerview will save Mankind from the corrupted thinking of big cities where Batiuk can’t thrive.”

    I hate being right about things being rock God-damn stupid.

    • The Duck of Death

      Oh yes, book writers from quaint small towns are definitely wonderful salt-of-the-earth saviors of humanity. Quaint small towns like Braunau am Inn, Austria.

      • Anonymous Sparrow

        Sherlock Holmes warned about the dangers of the countryside in “The Adventure of the Copper Beeches.”

        Eugene O’Neill made it clear in *Anna Christie* that more harm came to the titular heroine in the heartland than would have occurred in the big city.

        And *Peyton Place* author Grace Metalious said:

        “Wonderful—that’s it, George. Peyton Place. Peyton Place, New Hampshire. Peyton Place, New England. Peyton Place, USA. Truly a composite of all small towns where ugliness rears its head, and where the people try to hide all the skeletons in their closets.”

  25. The Duck of Death

    How appropriate that Puff Batty winds up his charming small-town strip with a month-long cameo from Norman Bates.

    Gotta give it to Chuck, too; he nailed the likeness. Needs a bit less smirking and a bit more brooding, though.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      When staying at the Bates Motel, be sure to use the special stationery, so all your friends can be envious!

  26. The Duck of Death

    Isn’t it a knee-slapper that the writer of the absolutely most nonsensical, disjointed, incoherent comic strip currently running would pat himself on the back for being so capable of pattern recognition that he will literally usher in a golden age of humanity? Somehow?

    Batiuk may be one of those tiresome people who conflates intelligence (a synonym for pattern recognition) with morality. They have virtually nothing to do with one another. Even if Summer Zeeve were the most brilliant pattern-recognizer in the world, she could use those brains to unleash pandemics or weapons and enslave all of humanity under the jackboot of an oppressive regime. But she’s from a small town! So everything is okay!

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      intelligence (a synonym for pattern recognition)

      Yeah really. If Summer could recognize patterns, she would have finished up her undergrad eight years ago. Or disowned her father 15 years ago.

  27. The Duck of Death

    A while back, I learned a new term from one of the brilliant commenters here: “Informed attribute.” It refers to a quality in a character that is described, but never shown. It’s also (IMO) the mark of a shitty writer.

    Batiuk LOVES informed attributes. He even uses them for his precious comix — that’s why we never see Flesh Floppyhead’s scripts or Hadmy Phil’s incredibly Kirby-like splash pages.

    It’s intolerably bad writing, and gets worse the more outlandish the attribute is.

    Now here he is claiming Summer Zeeve’s writing will literally save humanity, and we don’t get to see even one sentence of it.

    Worse: His self satisfaction radiates off every panel. The worse his writing is, the more he’s proud of it.

    • Paul Jones

      At least all we got from Lynn Johnston was being asked to validate the horrible way she treated her first husband. We weren’t asked to listen to saloon drunk ravings about how people from large cities have Lost Their Way because they have better things to do than care about eating crappy pizza, reading silly comic books that present women as either threats or hindrances and watching a terrible high school football them.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        Yeah, I mean I don’t think he was an angel, but damn, living with her wasn’t easy. And she was still so bitter after the divorce..she kind of fell apart at the end.

        That said, Batty is worse.

    • “Informed Attribute” is from the great and powerful Jabootu.

  28. The Duck of Death

    Sorry to spam, but I’m awake here on the East Coast, I’m drinking my coffee, and I have Thoughts.

    Hey, Puff Batty: EVERY decent story about a small town, or a big city, or a spaceship, has universal elements.

    Have you never heard of Joseph Campbell? Have you never heard of archetypes?

    The reason any story about anybody anywhere resonates is because we “recognize” the characters as universal. That’s why science fiction and ancient myths can still move us.

    Ironically, Puffy, your work is an exception to this rule, because the characters are so inconsistent, and because you, the author, don’t recognize the traits you give them.

    Funky is a sort of perpetually whiny Eeyore character who can’t recognize his own good fortune. That’s a perfectly good and recognizable character, except that 1) You don’t recognize that he’s whining, because you the author are grinding your own axes and 2) When it suits you — like when the business he’s built for his whole life goes bankrupt — he’s happy-go-lucky. And there you go: You’ve made the character not-human and not-recognizable.

    Les is a sour, solipsistic egomaniac who’s made a career out of grief. Again, a perfectly good character, but since you think he’s a hero, the cognitive dissonance destroys any universality he has.

    TL;DR: Universality, my ass. Batty, you stink.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Batiuk can’t even make “matters of ordinary small-town households” relevant to real small-town households. His world is so customized to his own bizarre preferences that Funky Winkerbean doesn’t even match any patterns at the most basic, literal level of approximating real human behavior.

      Nobody ever says “gosh, I hate it when my Silver Age comic book omnibus gets delayed because of climate damage! Think I’ll go to the comic book publisher and use their Cosmic Treadmill so I have someone to complain to about it!”

    • Rusty Shackleford

      You touched on the key issue: Batty doesn’t let his characters breathe and live on their own, he always has to cram in his own (usually poorly thought out) views and this makes all of his characters unnatural and frankly unlikeable.

  29. Hitorque

    1. I fuckin’ knew it… Summer writing some dull book about her unremarkable crap-assed lily-white hometown was never going to be enough for Batiuk; he just HAD to bestow her with some X-Men/Jedi Knight superpowers… Some oddly specific and 95% useless superpowers might I add which is ironically the most authentic Comic Book-y Batiuk has ever done…

    2. WHAT IN FUCK’S NAME IS “PATTERN RECOGNITION?” You know who was really good at pattern recognition? Russell Crowe in “A Beautiful Mind”…

    THINK MCFLY, THINK!! Why in the world would you casually just tell someone their destiny? Evidently Hardy McFly never got to see “Avengers Endgame” either in his future or in our time because if he did, the “IF I TELL YOU WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN, IT’S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN…” -line from Cumberbatch might ring some bells in his empty head!

    • Paul Jones

      The Chicomm government bans stories about time travel because people might think that maybe Chiang Kai-shek would have been a better bargain. They should ban them because we get something stooooooooooooooooooopid like this.

    • Andrew

      This is why I’m half positive this story will end or swerve on Harley using mind tricks to make Summer forget the whole time-travel discussion as to “protect the time stream”, this making the whole revelation pointless beyond being sone attempt at Act 1 wackiness “callback”

      • William Thompson

        Unfortunately the readers will remember it all, so (in theory) we’ll understand what is going on when Les takes the time helmet and vanishes. Maybe the strip will end as Summer writes her book’s final chapter. “So what became of my father, who was the crucial element in the creation of our Midwest Utopia? We have, dear reader, only wild rumors. Some believe he went into the past, where he created an alternate time line in which Lisa didn’t die and made him happy. Others hold that he wanders the world like a gentile tzaddik, a secret force for good in these darkening times of ours, My own humble belief, which I offer for whatever worth it possesses, is that he vanished into a happy future, where one and all worship both him and the fruits of his genius.”

        The actual end will be different except for one thing: it will be just as long-winded.

  30. Professor Fate

    This is the plot of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure isn’t it?
    Seriously. This is the film he rips off to end the strip with?

  31. ComicBookHarriet

    Any of y’all here in the comments know what a Discord server is?

    Just wondering…

    • The Duck of Death

      I do, though I really struggle to navigate on Discord. The whole thing seems unnatural to me. However, if there were a compelling reason for me to learn….

    • none

      It’s modern day IRC – so much so that as compared to message boards, all content therein is ephemeral, which leads to a lot of statements being repeated and doesn’t lend itself to content which can be researched and archived.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      I do, but I don’t care for that format. Never got into IRC much either…I’m a techie by day for my job, but off the clock I’m low tech…almost as low as Batty.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        So what I’m hearing is an old school mailing list for our Xeroxed fanzines?

        • The Duck of Death

          Yes, provided they consist of typewritten pages cut up and pasted down and illuminated with bits of collage and hand-drawn scrawls. I like my fanzines old-school.

          But seriously, there must be other ways to keep the convo going. Maybe even another blog, if someone had the time/interest/guts for it. Someone suggested a private Subreddit… I’m sure there are Web-minded folks around who have good ideas…

          • William Thompson

            Keep the conversation going? Easy! Just include some Scotch tape to stick the letters to the wall.

  32. Hey all! I’m trying to organize an online, live 1-hour chat via Google Chat for next Tuesday night at 8PM EST. No real agenda aside from a chance to meet ‘n’ greet. Guest authors should already have gotten an invite. Anyone else who’s interested in attending, please email for an invite: sonofstuckfunky[at]

  33. Gerard Ploured


    I have to salute you for being able to helm us through this disaster.

    TomBa’s statement that he had no succession plan really does confirm that he couldn’t convince anyone to take over for Ayers.

    • Gerard Plourde

      It’s getting so tedious that I’m even misspelling my name.

      What does he have planned (using that term very loosely) to carry on to the 31st? More of these talking heads seems inescapable.

  34. Banana Jr. 6000

    Today’s strip really makes me angry. Not just because it’s more arrogant Mary Sue self-praise from a feature that’s already drowning in it. But because it purports that Westview – the most dysfunctional community, full of the most selfish, detestable, emotionally stunted people I can imagine – is some of kind of model for how to improve humanity.

    I find this notion incredibly offensive. Is this really what Mr. Batiuk thinks the human race is supposed to aspire to? To be more like him? To be an arrogant, emotionally stunted, 75-year-old man sitting around a dead Ohio suburb reading comic books? Can you imagine a world full of such people? I’d rather see an asteroid smash into the Earth.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      To be fair, Medina Ohio is a nice place to live.

      But yeah, I’m hating Batty more than ever lately.

  35. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    Thank you. Praise from CBH is high praise indeed.
    While looking through my parody strips, I see that common themes for my “jokes” involve crude sexual innuendo and swear words, drug or alcohol abuse, and punchlines stolen from The Simpsons, Kubrick films…In other words, they’re kind of like talking to me.
    My favorites are the ones that are more absurd, like the jive-talking Bedside Mannerisms and Mort looking at the ceiling, but those are a lot harder to write.
    I still have one parody strip stuck in the torso chute today, but it’s a lame ripoff of Rain Man.

    • ian'sdrunkenbeard

      Oops! This was to meant to be a reply to CBH.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I also love how you re-envisioned the boring old white people as 1950s jazz hep cats. “I hope Iris rolled a tea stick” is one of my favorite lines ever.

      • ian'sdrunkenbeard

        Thanks. That was one of my favorites. They were actually talking about Iris bringing some medical marijuana, so it was I just improved the dialogue.