If nothing else, at least today we are rewarded with this howler of a punchline. Give me a friggin’ break.
The comments over the course of the last few weeks have been magnificent, and there’s not a whole lot I can add here. It is indeed disappointing that, whatever the circumstances behind Batiuk retiring his flagship, he chose to go out this way. Instead of even trying to put a neat bow on things, he pulls out this dreary, mysterious “Custodian” to explain how he “gently nudged” events over four decades, to ensure that Summer writes a book that, it turns out, she would have written anyway.
Put this in your book, Summer:
121 responses to “Summer’s Time Done Come and Gone, My Oh My”
To be quoted in a FW parody strip is the highest honor one can bestow upon a person. So thanks, TFH. “Crankshaft” is not and never will be an option, at least for me. No f*cking way.
“Grandma’s Still In College…The Summer Moore Story, by Autumn Lisa Moore”. So will Summer be just like her dad, autographing the same book for decades and decades on end? In 2073, will Westviewian kids revel in the pop-culture relics of the 2030s, or will they stick with the 1940s and 1950s like they do now? Who the (chortle) lucky fella who finally reeled in ol’ Summer, anyhow? Or was it some sort of in-vitro procedure, with no man involved at all, except tangentially? Westview isn’t exactly teeming with single men, you know, unless you hang out at that shabby strip mall where Owen and Cody work.
I, for one, would enjoy hearing about what the future has in store for a whole huge slew of characters other than the perpetually annoying Summer. We haven’t heard from Buddy in ages, no one knows if Cliff is still alive, Jarod Posey is still an enigma, yet here we are, wasting precious FW time on a character no one likes and no one cares about. It really is way more awful than I was expecting it to be.
One day. I’m gonna do another archive deep dive….really get my fingernails dirty digging through the alluvial deposits that have washed over years of Funkyverse lore and just put up a MASSIVE bunch of strips for ED to read…
But at the end… I’ll let him know…they were ALL CRANKSHAFT. THE WHOLE TIME… I just edited Funky or Mort’s faces onto him!
She was raised by a megalomaniac who spent more time with his dead wife than with her. Still, thanks to basketball and a positive-minded stepsister, at the age of 18 Summer seemed to have found her way out of Cancerview and a path to happiness that did not travel through the Forest of Perpetual Lisa Grief.
So, naturally, Batiuk had to end the franchise by bringing her back there to grow old and probably die of cancer when she’s the same age her mom was when her soul was taken to a better place. A place where she can watch a loved one write books about her and command everyone’s never-ending sympathy.
The ideal way to end FW would be to show pleasant scenes from Summer’s life, and in the last panel have her tell someone “Westview is a good place to be from.”
I agree, William. It would have been a bit off, as Batiuk stopped portraying any father-daughter relationship and he never showed how the community always looked out for young Summer. But, it would have been more realistic and humane than the Timecop portraying all the tragedies as bumps on the road to St Lisa Saving Time.
Loving where you’re from, but not choosing to make your life there, is a fine thing. I love my hometown and am grateful to my family and community for making me who I am today but I don’t think I’ll ever live there again.
There is no such thing as precious FW time.
Hm, I think either the link is going to last Sunday’s strip, or Batiuk is being so repetitive I can’t tell the difference between that strip and the new one. (I honestly can say either option is plausible.)
Someone’s paying attention! Fixed!
Is the punchline “Your granddaughter will write biography”? Okay, will she write it on the wall of the asylum bathroom?
Summer figured it out all on her own? Granted, staying awake for over two weeks is a major accomplishment, but somehow listening to Hardly doesn’t seem to mean she figured it out on her own.
In Batiukville that’s how women figure things out on their own- by patiently listening to a man explain it.
What sets her apart from the other Westview women is that she got it all on the first take and did not need breaks to go shopping (her step-mom). It remains to be seen if she’ll need weekly guidance from Timemop the way Becky dies from Dinkle.
I meant to type “does” but “Becky dies from Dinkle” makes sense, doesn’t it.
Thanks for the nudge, Hardly.
What if….what if Becky’s been dead for years? What if Dinkle is just imagining Becky, Lisa Style, so he has someone to talk to?
No way. Dinkle would bore a ghost to death.
I thought Summer was somehow trapped in that janitor’s closet. But the door is open. Did Harley “nudge” it open with his omnipotent mind, now that he’s (very understandably) sick of talking to her? If so, he’s the real MVP of this wretched arc.
The door’s been open pretty much the entire time, I think; we’ve even seen people walking past. (While Timemop was talking about how he had to stay hidden. Clearly he’s one of the top agents of The Custodians.)
Though the door has also been shown to be behind Girl Les, to her left, to her right… I think Timemop must have a turntable or something in that closet that’s turning them around, because the position of the door relative to the characters is very inconsistent. (Or Ayers just doesn’t give a rat’s ass anymore, and who could blame him?)
“The Cube” V: When Cleaning Supplies Get Mixed.
What exactly did Girl Les “figure out on her own”? I mean, she read… we don’t know what, but it somehow led her to Timemop, but… she didn’t really know what his deal was? She didn’t even realize he was actually a time traveler (she said that he came from “somewhere”, and he corrected her to “somewhen”), and seemed somewhat doubtful even when he told her…
Batiuk’s using one of those AI story generators to spew out random lines of dialogue at this point, isn’t he?
Right, she essentially just showed up and he started spilling the beans without Summer asking any questions. Around here we call that the “Cindy making a documentary” method, don’t we?
“Are you Harley Davidson?”
“Ya got me. I was sent to your planet to steer your entire life toward taking a year off from college to write a book, which you’re doing right now.”
I mean, that’s kind of what’s going on here, isn’t it?
Yes, except for the “interesting” part.
Is…is he trying to equate Summer with Harper Lee?
Even if he isn’t this is so unpleasant on so many levels. “Oh you only have one creative work in you but don’t worry; your family’s solipsistic dysfunction will continue for generations.”
I’m hoping that Summer will die giving birth to her son, Leslie Moore II, who was conceived through parthenogenesis. His daughter’s biography will be a book only in the Biblical sense, and after the chapter on Summer’s life it will describe how the future shall belong to the Moorelocks. There shall be a mathematical proof that they needed to devour the rest of the human race.
By the way, Harper Lee published two books in her lifetime. The second was “Go Set A Watchman,” which came out long after “To Kill A Mockingbird.” A famous, influential writer who only published one book? That would be Adolf Hitler. (He wrote a second book, but it was only published after he killed himself. Some writers will do anything to avoid criticism.)
Hitler has so much in common with Summer. He came from a scenic small town. His mother died of breast cancer. He spent much of his young adulthood drifting aimlessly. Then he wrote a book that changed the world.
History does not record his visit to “der Hausmeister,” pencil and notebook in hand, but of course it happened. The Custodians control everything that — what? They could’ve stopped Hitler and prevented the war, but instead they focused on making sure Les shagged Lisa?
Hitler was also known to employ the cease-and-desist from time to time…
Also, the rare Godwin’s law sighting here at SOSF!
I mentioned him obliquely in the same context a week or so ago, but without naming names, so as not to invoke Godwin’s law.
I should add: Hitler was distraught with grief after his mother died of breast cancer. Summer…? Did she outsource all her grief to the Les Moore Industrial Grief Complex (“Defining ourselves with grief since 2007!”) Or is this just evidence that even you-know-who was more recognizably human than this supposed savior of humanity?
Les Moore Industrial Grief Complex (“Defining ourselves with grief since 2007!”) –> Oh, man, that would look great on a t-shirt or hoodie.
Of course, ‘Go Set a Watchman’ was really just the first draft of ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ written before her famous piece.
I’ve always heard rumors that Harper Lee wasn’t in a state to really consent to ‘Go Set A Watchman” being released, and it was controversial that it was published.
More like Margaret Mitchell. Should she ever visit Atlanta, Summer had best look both ways before crossing the street.
More like John Kennedy Toole. Summer will escape her overbearing father by sloughing off this mortal coil. But Les, unable to let her go, will drag her manuscript around demanding publishers recognize her posthumous genius.
Once published, he’ll use the proceeds to clone her so his line will never die out.
Truly, A Confederacy of Dunces.
Harley had a chance to redeem himself here, but he blew the layup and told Summer that discovering him didn’t ruin her book. Dude, just say “yes” and we can pretend like this whole thing never happened! Summer might even be able to get back to Kent for the spring semester.
had a chance to redeem himself here, but he blew the layup —> Like Batiuk with this final arc. Open court, but he tried to Harlem Globetrotter a trick play with the same result a man his age would get with an actual b-ball.
Summer having this “”valuable”” knowledge of the future won’t affect the outcome of the book, Harlan Timetrotter? Really, no neutralizer mop? Not that time travel knowledge can’t ultimately be inneffective in regards to destiny (see Vincent and the Doctor, one of the higher-tier Dr. Who episodes for something along those lines), but that’s a big gamble, especially with telling an author just starting out that their project is going to be monumentally consequential. The last Bill & Ted movie got that message across quite strongly!
Still, knowing Summer’s behavior through all of this and the general actions of most non-Crazy people considering unnatural things these days, it’s a good coin-flip that she’ll just dismiss Harley as a lunatic, ask the principal to check him into a nursing home, and go about her day while reconsidering picking her basketball scholarship back up or something.
had a chance to redeem himself here, but he blew the layup —> Like Batiuk with this final arc. Open court, but he tried to Harlem Globetrotter a trick play with the same result a man his age would get with an actual b-ball.
Andrew, apologies! Right after my comment posted I saw your Harlan Timetrotter comment. It’s brilliant (you’ve got a gift for these monikers) and I did not mean to copy you with my Harlem Globetrotter remark.
Anyway, a tip of the Funky high-top to you.
Thank you, SoSF team for your posts every day. They reflect a lot of hard work and thoughtful analyses of not only FW but the the themes that bring us together. Reading SoSF has become one of my daily highlights.
As some of you know, I only started commenting a month or so ago, and I am sad that this community might have to disband. You all truly are well read and respectful.
I have been commenting a lot less frequently than I did before the Big News out of deference to the superior minds who appear daily. The posts and comments add up to such a gold mine of Funky history and literary references. They take time to read, but that time is rewarded with humor and insights.
At the end of the day, though, I feel anything I write would be akin to standing in an actual gold mine and proclaiming, “Look! It’s shiny!” (This feeling is fine, too. Excellence deserves to be recognized and does not need hangers-on or pretenders who merely copy.)
That said, I’ll risk boring you all with a sideways reference.
Batiuk’s ham-headed idea that Westview was in some kind of time bubble brought to mind a China Mieville novel, The City & The City. The novel is a police procedural that takes place in two cities that exist simultaneously in the same place at the same time, due to a localized quirk in space-time.
The cities are actually from different countries but they are not divided neatly down the middle such as Berlin until 1989. Residents of both places share streets and even buildings but must avoid eye contact, much less communication with each other, at the risk of severe punishment.
The story works because it remains true to the logic of its premise.
There was never any way that the premise of different timelines for Centerville and Westview could work. It seems like one of the most unnecessary forced-errors in comics history and the fact that Batiuk wants to “explain” it now is less sensible than trying to square a circle.
Add to that the amoral core at heart of Timemop’s mission and it makes life in Mieville’s cities feel reasonable by comparison. Or, to put it another way (Warning: language.)
That book sounds interesting. I’ll look it up next time I make a trip to the library 🙂
Hope you enjoy it, Rudimentary.
I’ve just downloaded the audio edition of Mieville’s Embassytown for my commute. It touches upon themes that interest me: cross-cultural(special) communication. colonization, language.
I was getting so worried you’d been a hop-on, hop-off! No need to lurk.
Here! I made you an AI generated present!
Aw, cheez loueez, CBH. That’s really sweet. Thank you. What? No, that’s not a tear, I’ve just got a piece of cheese in my eye. Seriously, thank you.
May your descendants write books about you!
I mean…I hope they write books about me for all my many grand accomplishments, and not for like an Angela’s Ashes or The Glass Castle reasons.
You guys and your science fiction and other literary references. Talking about feeling out of place. The only thing I read in print is the town newspaper.
Sometimes with you folks, I feel like a vegetarian at a butcher’s convention.
I feel like a vegetarian at a butcher’s convention. —-> 🍶 😏A sake toast and a smirk to your always great humor! 😏🍶
Eve, my family and I here in Japan subscribe to a print paper, too.
I am typing this comment on my iPhone but my wife and I – and now our sons- think the newspaper is best read in dead-tree form. I love watching our boys (16 and 8) poring over the paper.
But, as noted, we’re in Japan so no comics page.
Some of my favorite memories of reading the comics in the newspaper involve my son. As an adolescent, he would wrap his arms around my neck and rest his chin on my shoulder as we read the comics together. He’s my boy! My boy, D! All grown now! Now living 850+ miles away.😢
Treasure the moments with your boys.
We sadly no longer subscribe to a city print newspaper. It has gotten way too pricey. I was referring to the small town newspaper that gets delivered to our driveway once a week for free. It’s usually 75% ads but does well informing us about local events and high school sports.
Mrs and Mr Hill raised a wonderful sons if he was showing such physical affection as an adolescent!
He’s far away but every time he lifts the spirits of someone near it goes back to his mom and dad.
Our youngest is adopted and has only been with us for 18 months, though he’s been part of our lives since he was four. He’s given the oldest the gift of a brother who looks up to him. In return our oldest has learned to care for a younger child and chooses to spend time with him daily.
When I was a kid we got a daily paper plus the weekly paper of our small town. It was a nice way to stay current with local events and the school system.
I share Batiuk’s sadness over the demise of local newspapers, though I don’t share his reductive view that it’s all the fault of Far Away Greedy Suits.
The writing system is too complex for kids to completely read a paper before 8th or 9th grade so we subscribe to a weekly paper aimed at elemtsry-aged kids, in addition to our daily fishwrap.
Unfortunately, I missed yesterday’s discussion, started by @sorialpromise, about the film classic Casablanca. To use a Batiuk phrase, classic cinema is “in my wheelhouse.”
Better late than never, here are some of my favorite quotes:
Rick Blaine is soooo cool:
Captain Renault: What in heaven’s name brought you to Casablanca?
Rick: My health. I came to Casablanca for the waters.
Captain Renault: The waters? What waters? We’re in the desert.
Rick: I was misinformed.
Yvonne: Where were you last night?
Rick: That’s so long ago, I don’t remember.
Yvonne: Will I see you tonight?
Rick: I never make plans that far ahead.
Ugarte: You despise me, don’t you?
Rick: If I gave you any thought, I probably would.
Claude Rains (Captain Renault) is bloody brilliant in this film:
Captain Renault: Major Strasser has been shot… round up the usual suspects.
After Señor Ugarte is found dead.
Captain Renault: I am making out the report now. We haven’t quite decided yet whether he committed suicide or died trying to escape.
Rick and Renault discussing Victor Laszlo’s chances of escaping Casablanca.
Captain Renault: This is the end of the chase.
Rick: Twenty thousand francs says it isn’t.
Captain Renault: Is that a serious offer?
Rick: I just paid out twenty. I’d like to get it back.
Captain Renault: Make it ten. I’m only a poor, corrupt official.
…and of course the infamous…
Rick: How can you close me up? On what grounds?
Captain Renault: I’m shocked! Shocked to find that gambling is going on in here.
(a croupier hands Captain Renault a wad of money)
Croupier: Your winnings, sir.
(hushed voice) Oh, thank you very much.
(loudly) Everybody out at once!
This. This right here is what makes SoSF so fun. Come to enjoy the funhouse mirror that is Final Fantasy Funky. Stay for the Casablanca references.
Fun Casablanca facts: There were only three American actors in the film: Bogart, Dooley Wilson, and Joy Page, who played the young married woman Rick helps to win at roulette. There were numerous actual refugees from the Nazi Germany in the cast, including Peter Lorre, S.Z. Sakall, Conrad Veidt, Paul Henried, and Curt Bois (who played the pickpocket).
I love the bartender, Sasha:
“Set them up, Sasha.”
Sasha: “I love you, but Rick pays me.”
Then this classic:
“Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine”
Eve, you can be SOSF’s anti-Lisa. We can call you, “ Our dear live Saint Eve.
Sadly, I’m a couple of days behind on SOSF.
We put up the exterior Christmas decorations this weekend and of course Mr. bwoeh has to go all out. He’s really just a big kid.
Double duty at work is messing up my sleep patterns and daily routine. I come home from work mentally exhausted and take a nap. I wake up about 8PM-ish, then can’t get to sleep at my usual time. My year-end PTO can’t come soon enough.
I enjoy my wife’s decorating. We have a Christmas tree, lights, snow globes, if it can light up, she puts it out. She used to decorate all the time, but the kids got older and moved out. So she did not even put up a tree for 2 years. Well now we are babysitting the 2 grandkids and she is now back in the right frame of mind. So we have lights everywhere.
By the way, I posted about that movie for you. I know sometimes you feel left out with all
the sci-fi, so Casablanca and Christmas Story are for you!
Special mention of why the Germans sang “Wacht am Rhein.” The original plan was to have them sing “Horst Wessel Lied,” but when the movie played in neutral nations, that would have meant paying royalties to the Third Reich. “Wacht am Rhein” was recognizably German and in the public domain (composed in the 1840s), so it wouldn’t end up funding the Axis. (Oddly enough it was written as a response to a French threat to seize the Germanic states on the west side of the Rhine.)
Never knew that, glad I do now and another reason the people here are so great. Thanks, Duck!
Not sure how my reply to Duck ended up here, but was replying now to say basically the same thing to you, William. I majored in German, have lived there, but never knew this. Thank you!
The weird thing about the ten year time jump is that it deprived TomBa of a gold mine of plot opportunities that presented themselves in the wake of Lisa’s death. I don’t know why he made that choice. It’s like he somehow felt tethered to Westview high school and needed an excuse to develop another crop of students (that he then summarily discarded).
Simple. He’s either afraid of (“The Chickensh*t Theory”) or incapable of (“The Autism Theory”) probing the raw and agonizing emotions that a death like Lisa’s would bring about in real life.
I recall one strip where Les collapses on his knees in the rain while scattering Lisa’s ashes in by the Lisa Bench in Lisa Memorial Park, in the Borough of Lisa, in New Lisa City, New Lisa State. It was over the top, verging on bathetic, and yet it is the closest Batiuk ever came to touching the sheer helpless violence of deep grief.
He never even touched on how Summer felt growing up without a mother, wondering if she was carrying the same defective gene and would suffer the same early death, barely able to grieve herself because Les’ grief sucked all the air out of the room and even at her early age she knew she was responsible for soothing him, taking care of him. He could’ve gotten years’ worth of rich material out of that situation.
But he wrote a check his talent couldn’t cash. He purposely put his characters in situations he simply couldn’t or wouldn’t explore. He thought it was enough to just create the tragic circumstances, effectively telling us, “So Lisa died and everyone was sad.” He barely gave us enough meat for an elevator pitch, let alone 15 years of strips.
I think the real reason you touched on later in your post Ducky. Les’ grief sucked all the air out of the room.
Lisa’s Story, while effective, was also a big ol’ downer. Did we really want to see 10 years of Mopey Les grieving? Would his audience and syndicate have put up with it?
It may have been rich material, but it also would have been too much and too heavy to show all of without losing his audience.
The big problem with the time skip is that Batiuk still ended up writing Les grieving over Lisa in much the way he would have if Batiuk hadn’t done it, but since in strip time TEN YEARS were supposed to have gone by it made him seem obsessed.
Time Skip wasn’t the worst idea, really. Batiuk has never been great about sustaining interest in writing about small kids. Darin and Pete were played out as teens. And the first few years of Act III, were of a similar quality to late Act II.
The problem was Batiuk hadn’t thought through what Act III would be after Les got remarried, Wally came home and got married, and Summer graduated.
So it petered off into comic book fantasy land as he lost interest in developing the lives of his old crew. With killing Bull as a last, terrible, insulting nod to ‘the old way’
Of course no one would want to see a decade of Les and Summer grieving — yet, as you say, that’s kind of how it ended up.
If you’re gonna make your strip about early, tragic death, widowhood, orphanhood, then you’re committed to dealing with the fallout or being revealed as a coward.
People who’ve lost their young spouse and raised a child alone don’t grieve for 10 years, though. They get on with it. Some days are good, some are terrible, and the lows get fewer and shallower over time. But certain events will be triggers: School events where everyone else has a mother but Summer. Holidays where we’re bombarded with images of ideal families. As long as Batty put that stake in the ground about the grieving widower and young child, he should have followed up on it, touching other stories, of course, but always checking back in on Summer and Les’ progress.
But Summer never seems to have grieved, Les never stopped grieving, and he just skipped on ahead to other tragedies he was also incapable of following up on.
Summer writes only one book and she deserves a biography? This suggests Summer becomes famous for something else and not the book. But the book must open the door to her new career Which is why it must be written. Maybe Summer’s book makes her start the career that makes her famous. She decides to write a comic strip about life in Westview, based on her book, with half brother Darrin as her artist. She decides not to name the strip ‘Westview’ because it sounds boring She announces the name on the last day of the year at the Montonis closing party She is going to call it ‘Funky Winkerbean’ after her favorite ‘Uncle’ with the funny name But her dad will be the star, and it will show how he met her mother and survived high school and life She uses the pen name ‘Tom Batiuk’ Yes Harley is there to make sure the world ultimately gets ‘Funky Winkerbean’…
Summer writes only one book and she deserves a biography? —> In the Batiuk Republic of Writers, yes. Most definitely yes.
This suggests Summer becomes famous for something else and not the book. —> Well, there’ll be the film (and subsequent Oscar, which she’ll give her to dad, of course) and annual Harley Davidson motorcycle rally to raise money for helmets for custodians trapped in our point in time, and the speaking tours where a whole new generation will proclaim, “I got the reference” when she cites something her dad wrote or a Lisa tape b/c those’ll be regular viewing on TV and streaming services.
Summer is the offspring of Lisa, which makes her royalty in this world. And, she wrote a book about Westview, which is basically another book about Lisa. And today we learn that the family business of writing books about the apotheosis of Lisa extends to at least four generations.
It’s practically a personality cult. The Kim dynasty would tell the Moores they need to dial it back a little.
Like I said, I could do deep dives for quite a while after Batiuk wraps this up. Maybe not every day, but every month or so. I’ve basically become like those ancient sponge collectors who could stay under for like 20 minutes. Just give me a topic, TFH.
You could come to Japan, CBH, and help revive the tradition of pearl diving! The area in this video is just a couple of miles from where my wife grew up.
Not only pearls, but all around Japan women have dived for sea urchin and sea weed.
I’ve never done either but I can imagine ways that FW archive dives are more treacherous than sea diving – to mind if not body.
Thanks for the “pearls” hiding among the seaweed that you always find for us!
While I would love a trip to Japan, actual deep diving sound beyond my abilities. Whatever my skills in archive diving, my skills in real swimming run more along the lines of, ‘would be able to tread water long enough to be rescued/eaten by sharks.’
What Harley didn’t say was that the bio will written by Summer’s daughter during a kindergarten class, using the same one sheet as all the other kids:
Facts About My Mommy:
Mommy’s height: 8 feet tall
Her favorite food: anything that isn’t hot dog and peas
Her favorite drink: lots of wine
Her favorite color: gray, gray gray
Things Mommy likes to do: go to college, watch movies with Aunt Keisha, put flowers on Grandpa Les and Nana Lisa’s graves
My favorite activity to do with Mommy: whatever the janitor man tells us
Well, she does look like she’s eager to embrace oldness and likely death as long as a book comes out of it, so she *must* have the soul of an author!/s
I have a humble suggestion…to keep the website going, let’s start from the beginning. Let’s start with Act I and give credit where credit is due and snark where snark is due.
That’s a fifty year commitment. If I’m still snarking (or even reading) fifty years from now, something’s gone either horribly wrong or horribly right. Plus the access to the strips, copyright laws and such. We have some ideas in the pipeline (and a few fanatical guest hosts who just simply can’t stop, no need to name anyone), but switching to “Crankshaft” and starting from the beginning have been ruled out.
So what I’m getting from this is that an eleven-year “John Darling” retrospective is still on the table? (Shudders)
There’s less interest in that than there was in JD itself when it ran, which shouldn’t even be mathematically possible. Besides, JD was mostly topical pop-culture based, so we’d forever be trying to explain who Howard Cosell, Paul Williams and Charo were to younger readers.
I suspect a JD retrospective would consist of every strip being described with “Christ, what an asshole. I hope someone shoots this guy.”
Tom, there’s still time to go out with a (literal) bang — if you have Les Moore shot and killed as the FW finale, it may well be hailed as The Greatest Comic Strip Ending Of All Time.
The news that this site is sticking around is great news. The wealth of talent and knowledge that all of our hosts have exhibited is a favorable portent. I definitely will be sticking around.
But what if Batty turns Crankshaft into FW 2.0, would you be interested then?
“fanatical guest hosts who just simply can’t stop”?
Whatever could you mean? What a strange thing to say…I’ll ignore it.
BTW, have you checked your email? I have another round of research findings for you to review.
In fact Harley, as he’s drawn, looks like 75 year old Tom Batiuk does now Who can ‘nudge’ all these characters and events over the years but TomBat himself! Summer has met the man himself who has been undercover as a janitor at Westview High all these years
You know, now that you mention it, having the “nudger” be Batton Thomas would have made a hell of a lot more sense than using Harley, but he had that “custodian” gag burning a hole in his pocket.
Yes! Exactly right, E.D.! Great point.
Good grief, not only do SoSFers whip up better story lines than Batty, they know how to add at least a little bit of sense to the worst actual story lines.
The irksome thing is that we have twenty more days before whatever the end of this is. We don’t even get a lousy Sunday strip to put a real pin on things. Just a build-up to her writing her book, us not seeing the book get published and whoever is left standing commenting on what a success it was.
“……………….and that’s what the future holds for you Summer!”
Um, that’s great Janitor guy, but I just came here looking for some toilet paper.
“Just look around you, Summer. You’re surrounded by toilet paper. You’re printed on toilet paper. You are made of toilet paper. You—and I—and everyone in the Funkyverse—are one with a cosmos of toilet paper.”
Look on the bright side.
This arc demotes Les Moore from “man around whom the entire Funkyverse revolves” to simply “man who continues the line that eventually leads to the Chosen One.” Kind of like Isaac in the Bible, whose sole mission seems to be to bridge the generation between Abraham and Jacob (oh, yeah, and to almost be murdered by his dad and to be deceived by his son; great life that guy had). Even better, it seems to do the same thing to the Blessed Dead St. Lisa. To paraphrase John 3:30 (it is Sunday morning after all; time for your Sunday School lesson), they all must become less so that Summer may become greater.
What a Batiukian way to end the Funky Saga! Of course, if he were half the “storyteller” he thinks he is, he’d spend the next two weeks on Les—first letting him brag about his importance and his awards, then having him learn Summer’s role as the Chosen One, then having to come to grips with his relative lack of importance. Bet he wouldn’t handle it as gracefully as John the Baptist.
Addendum: along those lines, the only way this could have been sweeter would be if instead of Summer it was Duh-ren who’s the Chosen One… which means Les would matter not at all; the Chosen One would be descended from Blessed Dead St. Lisa and Frankie, and raised by the Fairgoods. Oh, what a sweet cuckolding that would be!
I think you’re on to something with that. This arc makes the importance of Les and Lisa even more gigantic than it already was, because they birthed the person whose book redefined what it means to be human. And with today’s assertion, we learn that the lineage will continue, and that future Moores will be re-writing Lisa’s Story at least into the fourth generation. What a world.
But wouldn’t we all love to see Les end up the same way as John the Baptist?
and fireworks! Summer will write no more books! Harley didn’t mention whether the book will actually be published. That would be a Bottockian soul crushing conclusion.
So, it was not TB who was responsible for the events of the last 50 years in Westview. It was the time traveler, Harley whose sole job was to get Summer Moore to write the greatest novel of western civilization, who manipulated the events of Funky Winkerbean.
This, of course, begs the question: if Summer really was predestined to write this great novel, why did she need a time traveler’s help to do so. If outside help was required, then she wasn’t predestined – she was appointed. If she was really predestined, then she didn’t need help from FUTURE beings.
That said, this is probably my last post on the comic ‘Funky Winkerbean.’ I want to thank all of the hosts of this site for providing me with joy over the years. I’m an old man and I’ve learned so much about so many things (comic related and otherwise) from all the great hosts and commentors who have shared their knowledge on so many subjects.
I called it ‘snark’, but it was always constructive criticism. I felt we were bonded together because of an appreciation of what the comic, ‘Funky Winkerbean’ COULD BE as opposed to what it had become. It’s not a secret that I was not a fan of the way Tom Batiuk brutalized, maimed and mistreated his characters, but they were HIS to do with as he pleased. I could respect that, but I’m glad this site existed and called him on it more often than not.
On January 1, 2023, I’m not sure that I’ll miss reading ‘Funky Winkerbean’ at all, but I’ll definitely miss the knowledge input I gained daily from the great hosts and commentators on this site. Until Valhalla, so long and thanks for all the fish.
Well I won’t miss FW at all, this strip died before Lisa did and it’s time to bury the corpse. I will miss reading this blog.
What will I do? Well, I applied to be the quote picker for Mary Worth.
Bill, thanks so much for all your kind words and insightful commentary over the years!
Time travelers will erect statues in Summerteeth’s honor! Actually, due to the quirks of the time/space continuum, they already have. On Easter Island. See P3 for a typical pose.
And does this mean that Summkopf’s real father is Flesh Floppyhead?
Summer is going to be the next Margaret Mitchell?
Can’t she be the next Margaret Hamilton instead? Then we could throw a bucket of water on her and prevent her writing career.
(I know, I know–Margaret Hamilton was a cool person and enjoyed doing her wicked-witch act for strangers.)
I can’t help but think this is TomBat’s final revenge: writing an arc so unbelievably bad that it almost saps our will to to even snark on it.
I’m starting to wonder if this is all an intentional F.U. to the world. Really, FW spent 3 of its last 6 weeks sitting in a janitor’s closet rewriting its own history, so it could tell yet another book publishing story. And what was the one thing it felt the need to clarify? Summer being straight.
But has he in fact clarified that Summer is straight? He said she has a child, but no mention of a husband or a man in her life. Plenty of gay women, and men, have children, even their own biological children.
I just went back to look at this whole arc to check whether he’d mentioned any men, and while doing that I noticed that the plot has moved not a single iota since Dec 1, when Harley Working informed us that he’d come back in time to make sure Summer writes her book.
Everything since then has just muddied the water. The more he tries to explain, the more he leaves unexplained, and the more contradictions he creates. Why and how does he not understand that?
The big question is: Now that Harley has delivered a 3-hour harangue to Summer about her future and changed her forever, how does he know that the book will in fact get written (since he’s changed the timeline)?
“But he’ll use one of those Men in Black flashy-things to erase her memory!” you say — if he erases her memory, then what would have been the point of this monologue in the first place?
See my comment below. Harley’s statement pretty loudly implies Summer’s heteronormativity. It has a “have I mentioned I’m straight” feel to it: it came up out of nowhere when it isn’t the tiniest bit relevant to the story. It’s like Batiuk is announcing his gay prom couple didn’t include Summer, as if Les and Lisa need to be protected from such an insinuation.
I’m convinced this god-awful craptastic conversation is Batiuk’s goodbye gift to SOSH knowing we’d jump all over it like hungry sharks on chum…
There’s no other possible explanation.
No spoilers, but this thing is about to take the stupidest possible turn you can imagine. Absolutely dumbfounding in the most literal possible way.
And I really hope he does, too… I want Batiuk to go full “The Producers” on this one.
And not just dumb, mind you, but staggeringly boring too. He’s going to wrap up FW the same way he wrote it for all those years…stupidly.
It’s funny because McFly still hasn’t provided (and Summer still hasn’t requested) some hardcore irrefutable proof that he’s really from the distant future… It’s still 100% plausible that he’s just making this bullshit up as he goes along…
I can’t quite put my finger on why, but this revelation about Summer is really off-putting when you consider the faceless gay prom arc.
Because if there were any gay kids in the Funkyverse, Summer was as good a candidate as any. She’s almost a stereotype: athlete, doesn’t try to look or act traditionally feminine, little interest in dating, has lived with her “best friend” for over a decade.
But of all the things that needed to be wrapped up in the final weeks of Funky Winkerbean, Tom Batiuk chose to make sure we all know Summer is straight. (Yes, there are ways gay people can have children, but that’s a lot to infer from what Harley said.)
After a gay prom story that was so gutless it never bothered identifying who the couple were, Batiuk goes out of his way to clarify that it’s not *Les and Lisa*’s child who’s gay. No no no no no, their family line must continue. (Even though Lisa already has a grandchild, in the form of Darren’s child Skyler.) It reminds me of a certain class of “progressive” parents who are fine with gay people, but don’t want their own child being one. It’s as if Batiuk doesn’t want you to think this about Summer. For some reason.
Has he explicitly said that Summer will have a boyfriend or husband? It’s possible I missed something amidst the ocean of gibberish. Just having kids doesn’t mean you’re straight.
Or are you suggesting (quite possibly accurately) that in TB’s mind only straight people have kids?
I’m just not seeing the affirmation of Summerteeth being straight here, but again, it’s so hard to keep track of this mess that I may have missed a bunch of hints/statements. Maybe it’s a cultural thing, but I know so many lesbian couples with children that “Summer will have grandchildren” doesn’t, in my mind, imply anything about heteronormativity.
But to reply to your other point…. In total agreement that Batiuk is fine with characters being gay or trans, as long as they’re not, you know, important characters who do anything or will ever be seen again after one or two panels. I agree that he simply doesn’t have the guts or the desire to say openly, “Les and Lisa’s precious seed is gay, full stop,” because that’s where his kumbaya progressivism comes to a screeching halt. I just don’t agree that he’s making it explicit that she’s straight; he could have had Harley mention a husband but didn’t. (Although the husband wouldn’t be Les and Lisa’s precious seed, so he wouldn’t matter.)
However, as I mentioned, maybe in his cloistered baby-boomer mind, gay=childless, so he figures all he has to say is that Summer had a kid and that’s that.
Maybe I’m the one with the cloistered mind, because that’s exactly what it sounds like to me. If he’s not making it explicit that she’s straight, then why he did he bring it up at all? It’s irrelevant to the story.
I know that’s a bad hill for me to take a stand on, since the Funkyverse runs on Tom Batiuk’s bizarre notions of what’s important to a story. I guess I’m still trying to analyze it like a real story, where things are done for a reason.
I guess it’s a way of confirming that Harley really is a time traveler? Since getting her sexuality wrong would be a dead giveaway?
Well, I can’t — and pray that I never can — understand what’s going on in Puffy’s mind. But my interpretation continues to be that Lisa’s story has evolved into a quasi-Christian allegory/mythology of a martyr who has to die to bring redemption to humanity.
It thus follows that Summer is playing the part of an apostle/Saint Peter, as she writes the Holy Book that changes the world and is revered as the founder of The True Way of Lisa.
Seriously, that’s the only way I can interpret all this mishegas.
I don’t think Batty’s making any statement on Summer’s sexuality one way or another. Sexuality and love are for human beings, and Summer is a cipher, a mere vessel to spread the Gospel of Westview and bear the bloodline of Saint Lisa forth into the golden future dawning for mankind.
(Responding to your post at the end of this chain.) What about a virgin birth? That way Les/Batiuk could avoid the question of Summer’s sexuality and stick to his Chosen One crap. Although I hope he’d name the baby Damien.
And he hasn’t developed the Summer character AT ALL for the last ten years. She’s still “a college kid”, and that’s it. He could have easily devoted a week to Les meeting Summer’s new boyfriend, or dropped in a few lines of dialog about how well Summer was doing at her new law office job, but he never did. And now his readers are supposed to care about her far off, distant future. What inspired her to write a book? What inspired her to write a book about Westview? Who knows?
The Gay prom arc was an especially egregious example of how Batiuk, to again borrow the Teddy Roosevelt quote about William Howard Taft “Means well feebly”. Not naming the couple, then focusing the story on the Principal and then that weird Gay arm Coda to end it (we never did find out who that was) shows his lack of conviction and commitment to these sort of stories.
Summer did date a few guys early in Act III, ALMOST KISSED A BOY!
and seemed happy when Corey Winkerbean asked her to a dance.
She also looked pretty star eyed and dreamy at Masone Jarre when he was staying over at their house.
Of course, none of this is to say she wasn’t just figuring things out, or maybe is a switch hitter.
But what can be funnier than Creepy Les telling people to “act normally?”
BTW, because not enough people have said it.
Excellent parody strip TFH! Bold of you to imagine yourself as Harley there, but you missed a trick by not redesigning Summer into Epicus!
You know, I say half in jest and half in seriousness: You could do a Crankshaft blog without reading the nasty thing at all. Just name the arcs and call them out:
1. Crankshaft crashes into Keesterman’s mailbox
2. Crankshaft and other altekackers at Dale Evans kibitzing
3. Boy, Lena’s coffee/cooking/baking sure sucks, amirite?
4. The gang goes bowling
5. Mothers get in shape to chase Crankshaft’s school bus
6. Lillian is an acclaimed author, sports a disingenuous “Who, me? Little old humble, befuddled me?” expression on her pan
7. Lillian at The Village Booksmith
7a. … with the Shining Twins
8. Crankshaft’s gardening mishaps
8a. … abetted by overspending at Bean’s End
9. Crankshaft and Jfff watch the game together
and of course,
10. Crankshaft blows up his barbecue grill.
Looks like a week of 8 with a chance of 8a. See you in the comments.
Regular programming could be suspended if the Westview gang shows up, of course.
Crankshaft is a lot like Garfield in that respect. It operates on a cycle of about 15 jokes. But each joke is at least generally inoffensive. (barring the odd ‘too old to rape’ nightmare) And Davis is usually pretty good with the artwork.
Take today’s strip. Crankshaft, who has been napping in his Santa chair all week, decides he wants to get more comfortable. So he pulls the pillow he’s been using to bolster his Santa gut out and puts it behind his head. Structured joke. Shown not told. Clean art. It’s fine.
I currently don’t hate about 50% of Crankshaft. But I wonder what will start happening to it when the Funkyverse starts leaking in more and more.
I agree, Crankshaft at its best is middle-of-the-road, classic midcentury-style inoffensive structured humor. It’s fine when it’s fine. And Davis is (IMO) far more consistent and skilled with the art. It seems to have been written by a totally different person.
In all seriousness: Does anyone else wonder if TB has a ghostwriter for at least some of Crankshaft’s gags? It’s hard to believe that the person currently writing FW could muster even one or two mildly functional gags a week.
See, I don’t think he’ll really ever do that. You might see, for example, a “Crankshaft” arc featuring Dinkle hawking band turkeys, or maybe an arc taking place at the “Lisa’s Legacy Cancer Fun Run”, but that’s all it’ll ever amount to. Never underestimate Batiuk’s laziness or dearth of ideas. My guess would be that now that he’s free from having to fill fifty-two weeks worth of FW strips, CS will get somewhat wilder, and feature more prestige-type arcs that it has before.
“more prestige-type arcs” = “ruined”
You’ve got the makings of a drinking game there!
So now Harley will nudge Summer to go over to the nursing home to interview Westview’s senior citizens for her book. Unfortunately one of them is Funky’s dad Morton Winkerbean. Who in of Act 3’s stranger storylines, has become a raging sex addict
So you see where this goes Morton makes a pass at Summer. ‘Mr Sinkerbean!!!’ ‘Call me Morty!’
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