It’s great to be back here for one last time (maybe, unless Batiuk is just tricking everyone). I really, really do not understand the point of this arc, unless it’s Batiuk kind of giving a middle finger to his critics and trying to say that actually he did have a plan all along, and every insignificant thing was part of the beautiful tapestry that led to Summer. But even just a really casual reading makes things super baffling, since:
- Harley did nothing to prevent the bombing, which I’m pretty sure injured and killed people other than Lisa.
- If Lisa hadn’t been at the post office, I guess Harley wouldn’t have given a crap.
- Harley had to somehow alter dozens of people’s minds in order to get them to help after a tragedy.
- Could he not have “nudged the mind” of the bomber to prevent the bombing?
I’m also curious how he “made sure” the physician was in charge of Summer’s care. Did he have a second job as a hospital director, or did he bribe someone? Did he kill Westview’s previous lousy neonatal physician, ensure the top neonatal physician (in the entire world, I guess) lost his job in such disgrace that he had no choice but to come to Westview? And if he cared so much to get involved in Moore family health care, could he not have done something to help Lisa? I’m seriously waiting for the strip where he reveals he intentionally messed up Lisa’s paperwork and nudged her mind so she’d die in order for Summer to write her book.
Great Moments in FW Arc Recap History
I totally forgot this classic part of one of the lamer bombing related storylines in fiction:
Les was going to go to the post office instead of Lisa, but she forced him to get back to work, because she existed to make him happy. And apparently she didn’t have anything to do that day, nothing as important as whatever stories Les was writing.
I just love Les’s expression in the second panel. I’m not entirely sure if I prefer CBJ’s ponytail or skunk hair, but they’re both awful.
The “USA!” panel is definitely in my top five favorite FW panels. (Especially know that you know that somewhere, the high school janitor is smiling to himself and thinking “Yes, all is proceeding according to the grand design”.)
And here we have a strip where Bull appears to be a decent and selfless guy, which he did for most of Act II, but know we know it was actually Harley who nudged his mind, I guess, which takes away from Bull’s character and is totally in line with how he’s been treated in this strip for all of Act III.
Oh, and in strips like this, where a medical professional is mocking someone who is literally helping save lives for being fat.
I’ll just end with this strip, because it’s extra funny now. Your fate was not in your own hands, actually, it was in the hands of the janitor who probably stared at you and Lisa an awful awful lot.
The rest of the arc recap is totally worth reading. It’s one of the weirder arcs Batiuk has done. Even so, after reading it again now, I was struck by how much better Act II was compared to the last five to ten years of this strip. It definitely had a lot of flaws, but things happened. If Batiuk did this kind of story now, it would’ve just been a week of Les and Tony listening to the radio and then back to an Atomik Komix arc.
153 responses to “You Dropped a Bomb on Lisa”
USA! USA! I LOVE that one! Just totally batshit insane.
So why WOULDN’T the band and football team donate blood? Why WOULDN’T the top neonatal physician be in charge? Would the band and football team have just sat back and let Lisa die? Would the hospital just let baby Summer die? Why? He’s not even trying to be clever, or plausible. It’s pure hackery, really, really desperate hackery.
This has all the hallmarks of being written by someone who’s being forced to suddenly wrap up a long, rambling improvised story that they’ve completely lost track of — and have NO IDEA how to end.
Even worse, Batiuk thinks he’s pulling it off.
I think I remember about Philip K. Dick consulting the I Ching or something when he felt his stories starting going off track or running out of steam to give them new direction. Maybe FW has been written all along with a similar method?
You think there’s a method in Batiuk’s madness?
I Ching, please! Batiuk has one BETTER.
Why did the police and/or fire department allow Les to get into the area? They would have restrained him for a lot of good reasons: The scene itself is dangerous. An untrained civilian would get in the way of rescue workers. If he found an injured victim he could make the injuries worse. It’s also a crime scene and his actions could damage evidence. If there’s a second bomb he could become another casualty (okay, that’s a bonus if it’s Les, but then the responders have to waste time and effort on him).
Les was just THAT convincing, it seems…
Man, I just love how outrageously overwrought this arc was. They really don’t make them like this anymore. Prime Batiuk, always trying to top himself.
And Les, the phys-ed failure, ran several blocks and wasn’t out of breath when he arrived. Maybe he was driven by the fear of what happened to those stories Lisa had taken to the post office.
I can’t reply to William Thompson’s comment directly for some reason, but that’s an interesting point. Les always treasured HIS creations more than anything else.
“The top neonatal physician?” How many neonatal physicians did they have at that hospital? If there really was more than one, can you imagine what it was like to be known as “Westview’s second-best?”
Harley had to “nudge” the hospital into providing baby Summer with the best care, but what would have happened if he didn’t? Would they have just tossed Summer in a basket and stuck her under a heat lamp or something? It’s just totally bizarre.
“Westview’s second-best?” I like to imagine that this describes Batiuk, i.e. he’s the second-best cartoonist in Westview.
Since the Silver Age Surfing Janitor has appeared on the scene, it is plausible that there’s another Westview with a competent, humble Batiuk who writes from the perspective of a human being and not, as as been rightly suggested by some of you, an AI, android, or alien.
Seen here, the confident thoughts of the top neonatal physician Harley could nudge!
C’mon — this “doctor” is just Harley in a lab coat and glasses!
A double-team deep dive: CBH serves up her archival magic and Y Knott shows us the hook to the story- Harley is actually many characters we simple non-Batiukian minds overlooked the first time.
Yep, a janitor who moonlights as a neonatologist is Westview’s top doc for preemies. Checks out. Hell, look at the quality of their oncologists.
DoD: Let’s pause to appreciate the irony that Lisa, an office worker, was done in by a clerical error.
“I had the football team and the band donate blood…” how would that even help? They have to be the right blood type. And Lisa wouldn’t need 50 donors’ worth of blood in any case.
The way it was written was Lisa had some super rare blood type and they weren’t sure if they had enough (I guess they didn’t keep inventory back then or something). It kind of comes off like they just needed as much blood as possible because they just kept pumping more and more into Lisa hoping some of it worked or something.
I’m picturing a huge siphon hose, and a drum of rare blood, with Dinkle and Bull taking turns working the pump. “C’mon, dammit! Live Lisa! LIVE!”.
Meanwhile, Les is off to the side and thinking about how nice and caring everyone is being to him since Lisa got injured, and imagining what it would be like if she didn’t recover . . . maybe he could even write a book about that . . . they’d have to give him all the awards if that happen . . .
“I can give her blood QUICKER MYSELF!”… (slices open wrists)
Okay Epicus, on a day with 100+ comments, that might be the COD.
Proof that Lisa was a succubus.
Lisa, a demon with the power to seduce any and all men? And the only ones she nailed were Frankie and Les? She sucked at it!
Well so does this strip, so there!
Which means that Karl Landsteiner deserves the credit, because he discovered the ABO blood groups in 1900-01.
When asked for comment, Dr. Landsteiner said that no thanks were necessary, because he had won the 1930 Nobel Prize for Medicine for his work.
“It’s also called the Nobel Prize for Physiology,” he added, “and if that sounds like Pulitzer, that’s not my fault.”
The recent mentions of *Dracula* here remind me of the transfusions supplied to Lucy Westenra in Bram Stoker’s novel. That appeared in 1897, so Van Helsing was very lucky that the donors all had compatible blood!
Have a kitten, Renfield, and keep it away from helmets…
Dr. Landsteiner also said “I’m not even sure what made me think of it; it was like some kind of ‘nudge’ led me to it. Weird.”
Good point. And is there some community somewhere that does not rally to donate blood (and other things) in the aftermath of tragic events? The Westview band and football team must have hearts of stone if they could not have come up with the thought to donate blood.
That’s Batiuk: Banal and bombastic. What’s next- Space Janitor Jesus (thank you, Andrew!) is going to tell Summer about how he nudged her mom to breast feed her and her dad to make sure she brushed her teeth?
He also nudged Les’s mind so he’d heat up hot dogs and peas and take her to Montoni’s until Les married Cayla and she could cook for them.
Any dad can make sure you brush your teeth.
A real dad makes sure you floss.
Batiuk’s latest retcon: Lisa was a vampire.
“Listen to them! The Dinkles…the children of the night…what music they make…”
(Especially on football fields which are meant for band practice.)
It’s like Christof in the sky talking to Truman, except without a great movie surrounding him.
A wizard did it. Harley is the wizard! He can do everything everywhere everytime. So stop asking questions and just enjoy the self indulgence of Batdick!
Or, don’t. And give up a couple of weeks early.
If Batiuk was determined to end his literary career (because be real, nobody is going to remember Crankshaft) in an absolutely batshit way, I would’ve preferred if he just had Lisa not be dead. He could’ve had her show up to Les and say she was an actual literal angel, or from the future, or a drawing from Kid Les’s favorite issue of The Flash that he brought to life through the power of his love or something. He could’ve kept the same elements and had her tell Les she was always watching and guiding him, and then they could be together again.
Instead he made a janitor that I didn’t even know existed literally the most important character in this entire strip, and Summer (who I honestly thought Batiuk forgot existed, that’s how little she’s mattered in the last decade) the second most important.
Only if Lucy Lawless says it in person and then sings “Total Eclipse of the Heart” afterwards, Sourbelly.
Your four points are all bullseyes, Spacemanspiff85. Well thought and well put. Thank you, and thanks also for the deep dive.
So, the deification of Lisa and her progeny is really where this is going. The happiness, health, and lives of others are just eggs that had to be broken to make the glorious omelette that is the new timeline that begins with Year Zero in the Era of Moore.
Surely there’s another way to do a greatest-hits run-up to the final that does not involve turning your artistic creation into a murderous cult figure.
Does Batiuk lack the ability to feel empathy or humility? What a self-important and destructive way to summarize the fifty years of your fictional community.
I liked FW back in the 70s and 80s. Now it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
Re: the deification of Lisa, it would not surprise me at all if the final panel of this entire strip is a Silver Age comic inspired flashforward to Westview in the year 3,000, where it looks just like the bottle city of Kandor, and there’s a gigantic statue of Lisa in the center of the town with people bowing down to it and reading passages from “Summer’s Song” or whatever the book is going to be called.
“I liked FW back in the 70s and 80s. Now it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.” I feel like this should be the blurb online comics sites use to describe FW, instead of the drivel about it being thought-provoking and sensitive. 😛
Thank you, Spaceman Spiff! That’s high praise coming from a member of the SoSF brain trust. (No sarc intended, I mean that. Thank you.)
And, man, oh, man, your vision of where this is all going would be hilarious if it weren’t so plausible.
A giant statue in the center of Westview far in the future, honoring a long dead character?
It’s been done.
Although this was genuinely funny, and made its point succinctly!
“Tony” was short for “Anthony,” not for “Antonio”?
It reminds me of the “Dragnet” episode in which we meet a French-born clown whose name is “William Smith.” As he planned to become a citizen, a new name was in order: as his real name is “Guillaume,” he turned it into “William,” and for his surname, he chose a good, solid American name, which was “Smith.”
He asks Joe Friday if it wasn’t a good choice. Friday replies:
“I had a partner named Smith once. It’s a fine name.”
For what it’s worth, Friday’s first partner was Sergeant Ben Romero. Officer Frank Smith came a while later.
Play that music, Walter Schumann.
Remember when Batty could tell a story that made you chuckle?
You mean unironically?
CBH the magic archivist gifts us again. While I think it’s too long for a Sunday strip, that’s a decent gag. In middle- and high school I had to raise money for band and for hockey, I always kind of enjoyed TB’s riffs on teens as milder versions of Alex Baldwin in Glengarry Glenn Ross.
In any case, I wouldn’t be surprised if future Westview has a statue of the Moore family (Lisa, not Cayla, of course.)
But which Moore will wear swaddling clothes in the manger? Les or Summer?
This was the timeline that was aborted by space jesus Harley’s arrival in the past. The original Harley would be enough of a regular customer to ensure Montonis had enough business to become a country-wide empire.
Do not confuse Les Moore with Ward Moore, whose two 1950s stories, “Lot” and “Lot’s Daughter,” helped shape “Panic in the Year Zero” a few years later.
Harley, use your nudging ability to find a dentist for Mr. Jimmon!
1. It sure is obvious that TB has no editor. If he had one, would he let TB sit on this for almost a year?
2. All of you bring objections to the strip far better than I could.
3. I enjoy all of you very much, but I have to admit that I read SOSF every day to read bwoeh and her take on the strip. I have missed her lately. I am sure she is very busy. Personally, she and I have much in common. Her and her husband lived a stone’s throw from where my wife worked. We probably passed each other in the grocery store and not even known it. There were clues: when I passed certain people in the store the grass seemed greener, the sky looked bluer, the sun became brighter, and the air blew fresher. Then last of all, beauty alarms sounded throughout the building. 🚨 ⏰ ‼️
After December 31, I will miss you, Eve.
3. Oh, wow… thanks. 😊 (blush) Garsh!
I’m going to punch Mr. bwoeh in the shoulder and ask him why he doesn’t write prose like that about me.
Nobody else seems to be having trouble snarking on the current FW story. Not sure why, but as far as I’m concerned, Batiuk has finally developed snark-proof strips. Perhaps it’s because I’m not as sci-fi savvy as most of the readers here. Perhaps I’m baffled into inaction by the story’s awfulness.
Even if I fail to come up with snark of my own, I plan to witness FW’s final days here on SOSF. I may, from time to time, post thoughts and observations about Funky Winkerbean unrelated to the current strip. I had those Monty strips on the back burner because they were Funky Winkerbean-related. Today, it struck me. What if, like in the Monty strip, Harley had been “helping” the wrong person? 🤦♀️
Sometimes the commute to my first job out of college required taking the bus because I couldn’t afford a car yet. Harley reminds me of the guy who showed up at the bus stop just after the last bus to Parma departed.
I have been busier at work lately, backfilling some of the duties of my recently-fired boss. He was fired for prioritizing his golf game over his job.
Just don’t tell this to Mrs. sp. I wrote this to you on her birthday.
Mrs. sp will hear nothing from me. 🔐㊙
I showed your post to Mr bwoeh.* He said something about wanting to meet you. Something about your spleen.
*(this is a lie)
I’ve also had trouble snarking on the current story. It’s a perfect storm of everything that sucked about Act III, only more so. We’ve long wondered how the strip would end. If anyone had suggested “Summer writes the most important book in human history and is guided by a time-traveling janitor”, we would have all thought it was a good joke. But it’s real. And it’s magnificent. It’s the finale Funky Winkerbean deserves.
Honestly, at a time when I should be providing my finest and wittiest insight to this great crew of commenters…. I’m just left staring in slack-jawed astonishment.
I’m also having trouble coming up with anything to say, which must cheer Batiuk. But it’s not because the story is magnificent, thoughtful and perfect, it’s because it’s a kind of terrible I’m having trouble recognizing.
Yes, he’s doubled down on The Unsnarkables™️. I thought it couldn’t get worse, but I was foolishly optimistic.
Funky Winkerbean. Not ending in a bang or a whimper, but in a huge cluster f*ck. Bravo, Batty. Bravo.
I really appreciate the Great Moments in FW Arc Recap History section of the blog. It’s not just a walk down memory lane. It gives the bloggers and the commenters something additional to write about. Especially on the days when the strip doesn’t offer much,
We probably passed each other in the grocery store and not even known it. There were clues: when I passed certain people in the store the grass seemed greener, the sky looked bluer, the sun became brighter, and the air blew fresher. Then last of all, beauty alarms sounded throughout the building. 🚨 ⏰ ‼️
Or I could have been that nasty woman who cut you off entering the store or gave you the finger in traffic. 😊🤦♀️
When we lived in that neighborhood, Mr. bwoeh didn’t do much of the grocery shopping. Back in the 1990s, if you witnessed a five-year-old boy trailing after his mother, yelling at the top of his lungs. Calling her stingy because she wouldn’t buy him a particular cereal with the special toy surprise inside. He was a few steps behind a harried-looking woman trying to pretend the kid wasn’t hers. That was my son Donny and me.
Were you ever in a store where Mrs. sp was trying on clothes? Where you stood waiting outside with the other men? Do you remember a large gentleman who was much too macho to hold his wife’s purse and had it on the floor between his feet? A guy with a hard-to-place accent who could strike up a conversation with anyone? That would have been Mal, a.k.a. Mr. bwoeh.
Sometimes I regret leaving KC, but I had hit a glass ceiling where I was working. It’s gutting when you repeatedly get passed over for a managerial position when even your co-workers know you deserve it. The last straw was getting passed over by a guy who was ten years younger, with less experience and no advanced degree. I realized it was time to move on. Even though it was out of state, I took the first job offer that met my criteria. Also, as a big fan of classic Hollywood, I couldn’t wait to see the sights.
We had a great 25-year run in KC. We made friends who will always find a place in our hearts. I remain in contact with many of them.
I’m a little down today. Today is the fifth anniversary of Mom’s passing. She asked for so little, but gave so very much. Miss her.
Hope you had fun at the chat. It’s still going on, isn’t it?
The chat was a strict hour. Quite a few surprises matching faces to avatars. I kept hoping for an appearance by bwoeh. But nobody with the face of Garbo showed up.
In your Mom’s honor:
A backbone of love
A giver, not an asker.
Raised her daughter
And her 2 boys
A soulmate to her husband
Love and respect to Eve and Mal
From Chris and LaDonna
Jerk. You made me cry. A lovely poem. Thank you. I should print the poem and attach it to her portrait.
Was there was a good turnout for the chat? Hope so. I didn’t want to detract if it was the first time the hosts and guest bloggers ever met face to face. I’ve only been contributing since the middle of last year.
Sorry to disappoint, but I spent much of the evening looking at old family photos. I also regret not spending more time with Mom and Dad. As an adopted godchild, I sometimes felt like an imposition. I never lived with them again after graduating from high school. It’s hard to believe I only lived with them for fifteen years. Seemed so much longer. Good times. They were good people. (crying again)
1. I have not been a contributor for very long either on SOSF. In fact, in one of my earliest posts, I complimented people that I enjoyed reading. I listed you among the others. You had to correct me because I assumed you were also a guest host. Your comments are always spot one and enjoyable. Passionate and cursive. (Very cursive. I learn the best cuss words from you.🤣)
But I think the reason I enjoy your comments so much is because you have lived a full life, and you do not hesitate to share that life with us your fellow stuck funkies.
2. Regarding the phone call. It was great. I think they will do it again. Good mix of hosts, guest hosts, and contributors. The real Iansdrunkenbeard has the best beard ever. And our mascot, ComicBookHarriat was there looking all of 18, but slightly older. Hopefully you can make the next one. I will be the cute guy at the bottom of the screen.
Does Batiuk lack the ability to feel empathy or humility?
All signs point to ‘yes’.
So many, many things in this strip have made me think that it was written by an android or alien whose entire experience with humanity was observing it from a distance. Vendos, solo car dates, Bull’s funeral being all about Les being bullied, the character of Les himself . . .
I have often wondered if spacemanspiff85 and billytheskink were the same person using 2 names. The most damning evidence that I am correct: You never see them guest hosting at the same time. It is eerie how I can notice subtle clues like that.
All signs point to ‘yes’. —> I got the reference! (Or maybe Space Janitor Wizard nudged me to get it?)
Again, it seems like a symptom of untreated autism. Batiuk severely lacks empathy and humility, but it feels more like he doesn’t know he should have them. I don’t think he’s malicious or manipulative about it. I also think he does a lot of masking. He’s not friendly, but he knows how to act friendly.
He has no theory of mind: he can’t imagine anyone’s point of view but his own, or what his self-insertion characters want. This shows up all the time in Funky Winkerbean.
He can’t imagine that Cayla would ever have her own desires in marriage, and would expect Les to move on from his deceased ex-wife at some point.
He can’t imagine anyone would call Les out when he’s being a childish jerk.
He can’t imagine Hollywood would have its own priorities for Lisa’s Story, and wouldn’t kowtow to Les’ every petty whim. And after he pulled the “kill fee” stunt, he never would have gotten a second chance, no matter what celebrity was pushing it.
He can’t imagine that the closure of Montoni’s would be traumatic for Funky, Holly, and the characters who work there.
He can’t imagine that a child wouldn’t want a toy made from the gun that killed his own grandfather.
He can’t imagine that Atomik Komix would have some security standards, and wouldn’t let randos walk in the front door to use their gym equipment or hire them for side jobs.
He can’t imagine that Chester would someday want to stop losing money on AK, no matter how much he loves the comic books they make.
He can’t imagine that Dinkle would be the most hated person in town, and a lawsuit magnet for any employer. Ditto for Ed Crankshaft. (Even if we allow for some of their behavior being comic exaggeration.)
He can’t imagine that AA meetings and financial seminars wouldn’t tolerate Funky using them as open mic nights for his lame, abusive comedy act.
I could go on and on.
All his characters are essentially chess pieces, who can only move in prescribed directions. Unlike chess, though, the pieces here can change, but only so that extremely contrived “stories” can take place. Dinkle (non-deaf) and Mort (non-dementia) are examples.
This whole arc is basically him admitting that.
Oh, wow! On my phone I somehow overlooked the fat joke about Bull. Batiuk, you’re a classless jerk!
And an ignoramus: Losing two pints of blood would have the same bad effect on Bull on someone at their ideal body weight.
I have never enjoyed Funky Winkerbean, but even I.
think it deserves a better fate than this.
CROCK deserved a better ending!
The nicest thing anyone currently reading Funky Winkerbean has said about Funky Winkerbean in weeks.
At the risk of referencing a political hot topic, if it isn’t too late for Son of Stuck Funky merch, I suggest making stickers of Harley pointing and going “I Did That!”
Manipulating Girl Lisa’s birth is whatever, I vaguely recall that was a big deal with her being born with complications maybe, I dunno, but nice to see him remember the post office bombing, and how Bautikian of this arc to make the selflessness of donating blood be the product of magic time-traveling janitor. Not even trying with the “just a gentle nudge to a guilty conscious” thing, just outright claiming responsibility that Bull and Dinkle only had this moment due someone else’s will and not their own good grade and comical feud (not to mention that the blood drive was supposedly for the benefit of all the victims of the bombing, and not just for one single woman who needs temporal assistance to ensure survival)
Also on that note, some thoughts about that ol’ bombing I’ve never dropped elsewhere:
-Let’s start with the fact that the explosion caused by the bombing was way too powerful for what’s seen being prepared by the bomber in that arc (AKA the handheld dynamite bundle). This explosion looks to be illustrated with something comparable to the force of the Oklahoma bombing (which obviously must’ve inspired Mr. Bautik for a “timely” story), shattering windows in a large radius and demolishing a large chunk of the building. There had to have been more bombs or a really powerful explosive to do that kind of damage in town.
-Why a post office? Assuming the bomber was lured by radical 90s talk show radio into doing this, as the strip heavily implied, how did destroying a mail center send any real messages related to such ramblings compared to government buildings or newspaper offices or something? Is that just the closest thing some lonely Westview madman could think of?
-I won’t dwell too heavily on the bomber “never” being found as a point of fact, investigations can be complex and sometimes it’s surprisingly easy for tracks to be covered, especially in the mid 90s, going for that angle says a lot about how this strip handled such a big topic like destructive terrorism that continues to be relevant. A small Ohio town gets wacked by a big bomb out of the blue, they never figure out who could or would do it, and everyone just moves on accepting this with the only lasting effects being the near death and recovery of one woman who ended up dying of cancer anyways. Over and done, big whoop, next story arc. What a fucking load.
Perhaps the Post Office was a nod to the Easter Rising of 1916, and the stand at the G.P.O. in Dublin?
“A terrible beauty is born.” — William Butler Yeats, “Easter 1916”
Sorry to go off on a tangent, but the current Winkerbean story arc holds no interest for me whatsoever. That’s zero percent interest compounded daily.
About 20 years ago, the comic strip Monty had a parody of ‘The Matrix’ called the “Comix.” The “Comix” was a two-dimensional realm… a cartoon world… an artificial reality created to entertain the masses. Morbee S (Morpheus) wanted to recruit Monty because he was different and realized the “Comix” wasn’t what it appeared to be.
What does this have to do with Funky Winkerbean, you ask?
Wouldn’t it be funny if for decades Harley observed and “nudged” events for the wrong person?
Harley’s Boss: (panicking) Harley! You fool! The chosen one is Maddie Klinghorn!
Here is the first strip of the story arc for anyone who would like to read the entire Monty COMIX parody.
The character based on Trinity says, “If we hurry, we may be able to get Funky before band practice.”
To the best of my recollection, I don’t remember Funky ever being in the band. Jim Meddick, the creator of Monty, must have thought of Funky Winkerbean as “the comic strip with that high school band director.”
Wow, there really must have been some malicious deity trying to ruin the Moores’ lives, like, CONSTANTLY, given how much “nudging” Timemop apparently had to do. (Wait, we already knew there was; its name is “Tom Batiuk”.)
Can’t wait until we find out that Timemop also nudged Crazy Harry into coming up with the idea for the Video Tapes, and he and Dead Saint Lisa into deciding they would let Les think it was his own idea. (He didn’t need to nudge Les into accepting the credit for it, though, that’s just his default instinct anyway.) Why not, it’s not like that retcon wasn’t stupid and pointless anyway, and stupid and pointless retcons are the entire point of this story, so why not a stupid and pointless retcon of an already stupid and pointless retcon.
Is it December 31 yet?
I have a Christmas decoration that is a chalkboard used to count down “Days Until Christmas.”
I covered the “Christmas” part with masking tape and wrote the “The End of Funky Winkerbean” on it. Each day after reading Funky Winkerbean I subtract a day.
I need photos of this! This is amazing!
Huh, not sure why this showed up as a reply instead of its own comment. Ah, well.
I think this sequence could almost be redeemed if Summer had a sense of creeping horror in response to all of this as she comes to realize that none of the people in her community are actual independent persons. So many of the encounters she had with friends and with friends of her parents were not in fact genuine interactions, but manipulations by this Time Lord in service of his own objective. Was Bull actually being kind to her, or was it Harley “pushing” Bull to be kind? Was Crazy actually being generous, or was it Harley “pushing” him? As Harley keeps retconning every positive interactions, Summer realizes that over her whole life, she’s been surrounded by ciphers who’ve been manipulated. And all the stories she heard about her parents’ romance, all of them were being manipulated behind the scenes by this same Time Lord, again, not for their benefit, but for his. How much of her life is really hers? How many of her friends are actually friends? How much free will and character has Harley robbed from four generations of Westview residents? For instance, did she get into basketball because she genuinely enjoyed it, or was it because she was pushed into thinking she liked it by this supernatural being with the power to manipulate minds? Did Harley kill Lisa because the suffering that Summer went through in the aftermath of her death essential in later writing her book?
And that’s when she realizes that she can’t write this book. She has to assert what little free will and independent character she has left to stop this creature from achieving what he destroyed all their independent lives in service of.
And then they kill each other. And no one can possibly understand what provoked this encounter. But then, they suddenly start feeling strange, as if everyone had instantly had a series of epiphanies about their lives and feelings.
And everyone realizes that they hate Les, and he’s forced to leave town and abandon everything he ever had.
Now that’s some top notch Rod Serling/Stephen King thinking right there. Love it!
I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the 12/31 strip’s final panel is indeed Summer tossing her notebook into the trash. Not for the logical reasons you stated, but as the final middle finger to Batiuk’s readers and critics who didn’t give him the accolades he wanted. Humanity just doesn’t deserve his, er Summer’s, genius.
“We’re all puppets, Laurie. I’m just a puppet who can see the strings,” says Dr. Manhattan.
Watchmaker, watchmaker, make me a watch…
I read it as “the guy who confused Funky and Monty doesn’t really know who Funky is either.”
Nor Dilbert. 😂
* sigh *
Close the goddamn string, eve. Are you trying to italicize the entire neighborhood?
Mind. Blown. Thanks for that, BWOEH. I don’t recall Funky ever being in band, either, but that oversight makes the reference all the better as even his peers cannot be bothered to know Batiuk’s work in any detail.
That is great! I never saw that strip before. Thanks for giving me something interesting to read.
I’m done with FW, it is ending like a stinky fart that lingers a bit too long.
I wonder why he didn’t nudge Summer into choosing a major. Again, he was apparently really bad at his job.
If Bathack notices that problem, he’ll have Hardly reveal that Summer needed to become an expert in several academic fields before she would be ready to create her genius work. He nudged all sorts of faculty and staff members at KSU to help her stay in college. (And he won’t be asked “Why didn’t you do a bit more nudging so she could go to a better college?”)
I laughed out loud more than a few times reading that Monty arc. Thanks for sharing.
Mightygodking, a blogger reading J.K. Rowling’s *Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows* wondered why Neville Longbottom wasn’t the hero of those books.
He couldn’t find (or retcon) some small, seemingly insignificant Les/Lisa thing and do a “butterfly effect”-type story with it, he had to drag out the greatest hits instead. But if you’re going to do a greatest hits arc, why not just do one, and drop the whole Harley/time travel conceit entirely? These are really, really desperate reaches that make no sense at all. If he had Harley “nudge” Les into dropping his cafeteria tray on Lisa or something, it’d at least be believable, but this nonsense is just absurd.
Harley is going to reveal that he ‘nudged’ Lisa’s cancer to spread because she needed to go ahead and die Because Lisa is really an angel sent to give birth to Summer and look after Summer until she was old enough. Lisa needed to return to Heaven to begin her next mission
Summer turns out to not be Les’s daughter Summer is *The Chosen One* Her real father is……well you get the idea. Summer won the State championship in basketball, and now must finish this book because she is Westview’s Saviour
Harley had the power to influence Dinkle and THIS is what he used it for?
Bull’s not wincing at the thought of having a needle shoved into his arm… he’s reacting to Harley telling this tale in a very appropriate way.
I would actually love this storyline if this entire strip ends with Les finding out that a guy from the future knew that Lisa would die horribly and then came back to his past not to prevent it, but to ensure it happened.
Les would thank Harley for giving him the opportunity to create the Dead St. Lisa franchise. Harley would smile and say “It was the least I could do for you, great-great-great-grandfather! If it hadn’t been for my meddling, you would have died an anonymous high school teacher!”
That is more chilling than the unfortunate implications of the constantly remade, “A Star is Born.”
What an absolute mess this whole arc is! I don’t follow Crankshaft, but this car crash of an ending strengthens my suspicion that that strip will be ghost-written in the not too distant future (to quote MST3K).
What other events did Harley “nudge” along?
“Mr. Davidson, did you make Wally drink and drive, causing Becky to lose her arm because her musical skill would’ve eclipsed Summer’s greatness?”
“And did you cause Plant Man Pete to murder Jessica’s father, John Darling, who was murdered, so Les could write “Fallen Star” as practice for “Lisa’s Story,” which, in turn, would lead to Summer’s book?”
“That’s what they say.”
“Mr. Davidson, did you force the Fairgoods into a loveless sham of a marriage so they could raise Summer’s half-brother, Duh-rin?”
“And did you convince Khan/Kahn to move back to Afghanistan, make Bull’s dad tell Crankshaft he wasn’t on the pitching roster and trick Funky into opening a doomed Montoni’s in New York City because he you were ‘just so freakin’ bored?'”
“I sure did that thing.”
“And, Mr. Davidson, did you use your ability to mentally nudge others to make Lillian destroy her sister’s one chance at love?”
“Non! Mon Dieu! She did that all on her own. That bitch is diabolique… Evil!”
Exactly! What physical laws and moral
code govern the practice of nudging?
Who knows and who cares! Not Batiuk, obviously.
So Harley is also a professional Cardinal Richelieu impersonator? I’m impressed!
It’s a fair cop.
The bargain-bucket Second Foundationer would take credit for making sure that Funky was a crappy busineedman or that Harry and Bull were hypercompetitive jerks, wouldn’t he? It’s as if he thinks everyone is as passive and stupid ad Les is.
This is getting worse and worse.
I dread the day when Harley will reveal that he nudged Les to nudge Lisa and he was also nudging himself for good measure.
Les nudges himself every night to pictures of Dead St Lisa.
This arc is a one big clusternudge!
I know the ham-fisted end to The ‘bean is disturbing, but reflect: at least it’s not Dinkle and Phil Holt.
My guess is he’s gonna keep Dinkle mostly out of this mess because he’s gonna use him in Crankshaft.
But I do think it’s odd that this final, deranged, let-it-all-hang-out arc is focused on something other than comix, Puffy’s true love and the focal point of so many of the recent arcs.
Maybe he’s saving the final cherry on top of this crap sundae: that Girl Les’ world-changing book is actually a COMIC book. (As shown in a sideways panel, of course.)
The horror….the horror….
But the 31st is a Saturday.
Can we just cut to the chase and say what he didn’t nudge?
Why is he nudging people to save Lisa instead of nudging the bomber not to bomb the Post Office?
Corollary: He must’ve either nudged Frankie to rape Lisa or sat there watching passively while it happened. Ditto every other awful event in Westview.
As the saying goes, and it’s never been more apt: Christ, what an asshole.
Sorry, I know I’m a new name(unfortunately, or maybe fortunately since the other option was read more FW as Batty goes more senile), but I have to reply to you saying that Herdly Turdly here must’ve nudged Frankie in that case because if Lisa didn’t get pregnant then Les wouldn’t have had the opportunity to be nice to her and convince her that he’s, somehow, her true love.
New names are always welcome, even this late in the game!
Welcome, and yes, and also he must’ve nudged Lisa into going out with Frankie, and nudged that particular spermatozoon into that ovum, and nudged Lisa into not getting an abortion, and, and, and, and.
That’s a really good point. The more you think about this story, the more horrible it becomes. All these years we were supposed to be emotionally invested in Lisa, and now we learn she was just a cosmic punching bag all along.
“Oh yeah, she just needed to exist and marry Les so Summer could be born and write her book.” Wow. That is DARK. And it’s a great way for Funky Winkerbean to give the middle finger to any fans it might have left. John Darling had a more dignified end.
This on top of all the ways Lisa was already a cosmic punching bag: teenage rape victim, post office bombing witness, having to die horribly from cancer, and be exploited by her jackoff husband. Now we find out it’s not just Les that found her more valuable dead than alive; the whole universe did.
Unlike Batiuk, I just had a thought. Since Harley seems to visit a lot of pain and death on people just so Summer can write a book that will change society, what if…that book were some kind of blueprint for a society built on evil?
What if Harley is a villain?
Maybe Harley is from the mirror universe?
“You’re a man of honor in no universe, Mr. Davidson.”
Just a reminder that the SoSF Online Google Chat is set for tonight at 8PM ET! Request an invite by emailing sonofstuckfunky[at]gmail.com. If you’ve received an invite, kindly RSVP. Talk to ya later!
I hope it goes well. My stage fright is just too great to attend, but all attendees have my best wishes for a successful event.
We still love you BC! If you want you can cover up your camera and just sit in silence listening, trying to wordlessly nudge our brains.
If that sounds too creepy, I understand!
My work schedule conflicts but I hope you all have fun! 🙂
Confession time: I’m among the group of people who have never found Funky Winkerbean intentionally funny. Nor Crankshaft, for that matter.
Even in the early years, something always seemed off about it, like pudding that’s skinned over. Long ago, when I was in college, a fellow student one Sunday morning was looking over the local paper and unironically exclaimed, “Ooh, I gotta see what’s going on with Funky Winkerbean!” I never thought the same of that person again.
For me, the “USA! USA!” post office bombing panel perfectly summarizes Funky Winkerbean’s entire sorry-ass run: Completely, unintentionally, laugh-out-loud funny.
The unintentional humor of the strip — and the highlighting of it by of all of you — is why I come here nearly every day. And that run has been glorious. Thanks to all of you.
The Act 1 stuff was at least *relatable* if not always laugh out loud funny… Nerds, dumb jock bullies, stuck-up popular preppie girls, test-taking anxiety, wannabe stoners/beach bums, too much homework, being uncool, stealing a rival school’s mascot, indifferent teachers, hall monitors, vandalism, not getting a date for the big dance, not getting invited to some kickass cool kids party, adherence to nonsensical Catch-22 school policies, Fascist little Napoleon band directors, door-to-door fundraising, a football team that’s always got their asses whupped every Friday night, etc… Granted some of these topics have aged better than others since the mid-1980s.
All through grade school and high school I’d see a bunch of yellowed or badly xeroxed FW strips on my classroom bulletin boards, all over the principal’s office, strips would be appropriated for school newsletters, and so on (I remember the Dinkle strips, fundraising strips and forgot-to-study or flunking-the-test strips being the most used ones)… In fact, that was my original introduction to the strip and I started reading it in my local paper (Virginian-Pilot/Ledger Star) from there…
Act I really captured the feel of high school. The characters were broad stereotypes, but they rang true. We all knew a Les in our real teenage lives. We knew a Cindy, we knew a Barry Balderman, we knew a Lavinia, we knew a Funky, we knew a Crazy Harry. We all had some jerkwad teacher like Dinkle, the same ineffectual guidance counselors and principals that Westview had, and went through the same absurd bureaucracy and rules that high school imposes on you. Funky Winkerbean was never genius, but it was solid.
It’s a shame the author got too caught up in award-chasing, and abandoned what he was good at.
I will admit that there was at least one FW strip that I actually found hilarious, and for the reason Batiuk intended.
Funky and Les were eating at the local non-trademark-infringing McDonald’s clone when Les accidentally leaves his retainer on the tray when he dumps it into the garbage. When he realizes his mistake later, they go back, but the garbage has already been taken out to the Dumpster. So now Les has to dig through that to find his retainer.
“Don’t tell anyone I threw away my retainer, it would be too embarrassing” he tells Funky. The last panel is the Dumpster, with Les’ legs sticking out, and Funky telling a random passerby “He forgot to finish his fries.”
Maybe not the best joke in the world, but it made me laugh unironically.
That is indeed funny! Evidently, at one time in the dim, distant past, Batiuk was actually occasionally competent at what he did.
“I think this sequence could almost be redeemed if Summer had a sense of creeping horror in response to all of this as she comes to realize that none of the people in her community are actual independent persons.”
Charles has just encapsulated the essence of TomBa’s writing style. He has no concept of how character creation works. Instead of developing characters with personalities that would shape their responses to situations, TomBa has consistently created situations with his predetermined outcomes and shoehorned his characters’ responses to fit his plan.
This is why I believe Harley Davidson to be his ultimate author avitar,
So…. Harley was running a breeding program to produce Summer?
He’s a member of the Bene Les-serit, formed in the wake of the Batiukian Jihad. Westview was particularly fertile ground for the order given the natives’ early and fanatical adherence to the Pizza-plea-a Propehticus.
I got that reference!!
That’s kind of what were left to infer, isn’t it? Harley only cares about getting Les and Lisa to breed. Nothing at all about Summer’s own life is of any importance. Least of all her complete lack of any skills.
People have joked that Lisa had to die so Summer could write this book, but the story doesn’t even bother with that much of an explanation.
1. I’ve been trying to tell y’all: GOD COMPLEX!!
1a. Yeah, tell us more about how you’re able to effortlessly do anything you want in this world except get your goddamn helmet back…
1b. Okay McFly, we get it… Just skip to the part where you Jedi mind-controlled Lester to tell St. Lisa to give up trying to live and where you Jedi mind-controlled him into writing his book and where you Jedi mind-controlled everyone else into buying it and turning it into a movie but then you forgot to Jedi mind-control everyone into going to see it so you Jedi mind-controlled the Oscar committee to give the Best Actress Award to Marianne Winters… But we all know Marianne Winters hand-delivering her Oscar to Lester was 100% genuine and her idea, because ladies can’t resist Lester…
1c. Have none of you considered that some Future Descendant of Batuik came back in time and Jedi mind-controlled him into writing this final storyline and is currently Jedi mind-controlling us to hate-read it? None of y’all are ready to discuss how deep this conspiracy rabbit hole really goes…
2. Are y’all still going to do that Zoom meeting thing tonight, and at what time Eastern?
8 PM Eastern, see tfhackett’s post above.
hitorque, an invite has been sent to the email you used to comment, hope you can join us!
Thanks, I’m working late tonight and have to make a stop on the way home, but I’m really going to try to be there!
It was fun to see you there! Hope you had a good time!
What would be the difference whether or not Bummer’s case was taken by the “top neonatal physician” of the one neonatal physician serving the Centerville-Westview metroplex? (Sadly, he was also the bottom neonatal physician, but I digress.)
The Magic Janitor could have just touched the mind of any old physician and told him exactly what to do, with his omniputty… omnibus…ssss….zzzzzzzzzz 😴💤
The “top neonatal physician” in Worstview’s mega-hospital is a world-class expert in dropping newborns on their heads. You wouldn’t want to leave that job to some second-rater!
And if Westview has such a great hospital, why did Funky go to Texas for a check-up? Why not stay at home and irritate the local medical community?
That arc chafed my behind beyond all reason. First, what was wrong with Funky, or what did he think was wrong, that made him go all the way to Texas? The most famous hospital in Texas is the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Without being told what exactly his rationale was, we’re left to assume that he had to go to Texas because he needed world-class cancer care he couldn’t get in the Midwest somehow.
But wait! The Cleveland Clinic, one of the country’s top hospitals, is practically at his doorstep! Why would he want to go to Texas, with all their yee-hawing and pickup-drivin’ and gun-totin’ and other things that I’m sure Batiuk disapproves of?
Finally, what about Precious Mother Gaia and the Climate Damage that’s ravishing her daily?
In fact, why are Westviewians constantly jetting all over the place to have conversations that should have taken place over the phone or via Zoom? When it’s time to board that 787, all these saintly, righteous saviors of Earth can’t wait to run up that gangplank with their suitcases full of party clothes.
Like others, I’m struggling with just how full goose gonzo this story has become. If this were MST3K, it would be our version of Manos: Hands of Fate.
Good ol’ Hal P. Warren, the fertilizer salesman from El Paso. He deserves a better legacy than he got.
Yes, Manos is an abomination, but that was never the point. It was to win a bet with his Hollywood buddy that any shmoe could make a movie, if they had the necessary equipment. And he was right! He did it! It’s not a good movie or even a competent one, but it is a movie.
Today, YouTube is full of ordinary people who make great content with impressive production values. I wonder how much less advanced YouTube would be if Manos had never got made. Or if we would have mainstream directors like Robert Rodriguez, who embraced the do-it-yourself approach to movies, and made worthwhile things under the same limitations.
It was a bold, pioneering thing to do, and I wish Warren got more credit for it.
As a connoisseur of under-the-radar genre, I agree.
I guess the point I was trying to make was that movie in particular came the closest to breaking the Satellite of Love crew’s spirits. Much like this Funky warp-core containment breech. Stay strong people!
Oh, I agree. Didn’t mean to hijack your point. And you’re right, this finale has really been a test for us all. It’s been like fighting the final boss in a video game. And I have a funny feeling we haven’t seen the worst of it yet.
A big thank you to everyone who participated in tonight’s first ever online chat! Despite the technical issues, it was great putting faces with names and chatting about this thing of ours. I mentioned this during the chat but wasn’t able to get it on camera: my own autographed copy (via Fleabay) of a signed copy of one of Batty’s books. Wish I knew the story behind the weird inscription!
Sorry to have been unable to join this evening. Hope that you’ll have another.
Missed it by one “stay”! Well close enough. Nice seeing you and the guest hosts as well, thanks for setting it up!