The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Funkyverse


Um, why is Summer out hitchhiking in a blizzard? Summer began her walk in the morning, ostensibly to “clear her head”. Are we to believe she’s been wandering around in the snow all day? I mean, it’s certainly not impossible or anything, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t pretty f*cking weird. As is hitching a ride to church. I don’t know exactly what he’s trying to do here, but bringing these stories together by having Summer just happen to be standing there on the side of the road is really, really lazy writing, even by Batiuk’s extremely loose standards.

I’ve never endorsed violence (here at SoSF, that is) and I’m not going to start now. But “coinkydink” is a “word” that should never be uttered, let alone spelled out, and quite frankly, I think it merits a beating. I didn’t even know WHAT it said at first…”coin ky dink?”. Then I figured it out, and it made me irrationally angry. And I still am right now.

Great Moments In FW Arc Recap History

The Entire Month of June, 2013

Jessica apologizes to Darin for forcing him to go through with the Frankie meeting. Jessica’s father, John Darling, who was murdered when Jessica was a baby, makes an appearance in a Sunday flashback. Darin and Jess summon the Moores and the senior Fairgoods to alert them to Frankie’s plot. Nobody in the room has a clue how to thwart Frankie until feeble Fred murmurs “Pm nd Jff”…their former neighbors and the daughter and son-in-law of Ed Crankshaft.

Frankie attempts to interview Funky, Bull, and Crazy Harry to get some dirt on Lisa, but they all deny remembering her. Summer and Cayla arrive home from school. “Jff” Murdoch visits Westview to share his recollection of witnessing teenage Frankie and Lisa in a domestic dispute one night thirty years ago in “Lover’s Lane”. This recollection leads to the discovery of young Lisa’s journal, which details her abuse and impregnation at the hands of Frankie. Jessica videotapes Summer reading aloud from her late mother’s journal, and Darin threatens to post the whole sordid thing on YouTube if Frankie goes ahead with the reality show. Defeated at last, Frankie and Lenny pack up and leave town.

“The entire month of June”…LOL. This was one of my personal favorite Act III arcs. I always had high hopes for Frankie whenever he’d come slithering back on to the scene, but he ended up being sort of a wuss, with no follow-through at all. I remember hoping that Frankie would befriend Boy Lisa and steal all his money or something, but he never really “did” much of anything. And I hoped he’d somehow ruin the Starbuck Jones movie, but again, he delivered nothing. FW was always crying out for a true villain, someone who genuinely hated these jerks and carried a grudge, but Frankie was as close as we ever really got.

At least Boy Lisa got a fun “origin story” anecdote out of it. A keg party, a parked van, a sleazebag from a few towns over…what’s not to love? Man, that BatYam is one sick f*ck sometimes, I’ll tell you what.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

134 responses to “The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Funkyverse

  1. The Duck of Death

    “It is winter in Westview,” said Mr. Winkerbean, “and has been for ever so long…. always winter, but never Christmas.”

  2. William Thompson

    Summer has been out in a blizzard all day? Hasn’t her father noticed? Has he done anything? What kind of a man . . . yeah, like I have to ask.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Yeah, I mean it’s dark already, which means she was standing on that diving board for hours, at a minimum. And now she’s climbing into a van full of dementia patients being driven by a guy who, until very recently, required an oxygen tank to live. Surely there’s some sort of KSU counselor she can speak with, or get a referral, or something, as this is one troubled kid.

  3. William Thompson

    Oh, yeah–a Bedsore Manors resident is driving the nursing home’s van. Which does not happen without criminal negligence on the home’s part.

    • be ware of eve hill

      They’re all old enough to be the parents of the strip’s sixty-plus main characters. Yet there they are, loading up the van without any help or supervision from the nursing-home staff. Will one of them drive the van, or are we going to see a bored staffer behind the wheel?
      William Thompson
      December 18, 2022, at 11:02 pm

      Nice prediction, William. Are they sneaking off without notifying the Bedside Manor? Where did they get the keys to the van?

      There’s a definite case for criminal negligence, not to mention the liability issues. I’m no law expert, but I can reasonably assume an accident involving a company vehicle driven by a resident to be a significant legal problem for the retirement home. The families could sue the retirement home, most likely out of existence. Deservedly so.

      Ayers typically draws vehicles smaller than they should be, but doesn’t that van seem awfully small for five people and all their instruments?

      No other Bedside Manor residents would like to see the concert? Sorry, band members only. Have fun doing… whatever.

      The retirement villages where my parents lived always had a bus or two that they used to drive residents on group trips to the grocery store or facility organized excursions. You could easily fit twenty residents on those buses.
      Entertainment Director: We’re planning a trip for a Lake Erie cruise on the Goodtime III. The signup sheet is with the receptionist. Please let her know if you would like to attend. The trip will be limited to five residents.

      • be ware of eve hill

        My bad.

        I should have checked the ‘2017: The Bedside Manorisms in Memphis’ story arc page. They traveled to Memphis on a bus, not a van, to cut their CD.

        In my defense, I’d like to point out it’s an incredibly puny bus. Not much bigger than the van featured in today’s strip.

        • William Thompson

          The van and bus are both the right size for clowns.

        • Hitorque

          And of course they had to drive all the way to Memphis just to record at the historic Sun Records studio because I guess the Cleveland metro area doesn’t have any recording studi — OH WAIT, CLEVELAND HAS AN OBSCENE NUMBER OF HIGH END PROFESSIONAL RECORDING STUDIOS, LITERALLY DOZENS!

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        I can reasonably assume an accident involving a company vehicle driven by a resident to be a significant legal problem for the retirement home. The families could sue the retirement home, most likely out of existence. Deservedly so.

        Especially when they find out the trip was to perform unsanctioned labor, for a man with a 50-year history of making children and senior citizens work past 1 a.m. in dangerous conditions.

  4. Green Luthor

    Well, we made it two whole days without Girl Les.

    I don’t know if her going to St. Spire’s in Centerville has anything to do with her book on Westview, but… why is she going to Centerville when she’s trying to write a book about Westview? (Okay, yeah, I’m sure Batiuk will explain it tomorrow. I’m also sure it probably won’t make any sense whatsoever.) (And maybe it won’t have anything to do with her book, but trying to introduce yet another thing for Girl Les to be doing this late in the game would seem… ill-advised. But it’s called writing, I guess.)

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Was she just going to walk to Centerville? In a snowstorm? You don’t go wandering around town to “clear your head” at 8 AM when you’ve got a ticket to a show in another town that same night! Or at least you get back home in time to change clothes. What’s tomorrow’s strip? “I’m writing what book? Who’s Harley?”

  5. Epicus Doomus

    “While hitchhiking in a blizzard, Summer is picked up by a van full of dementia patients from a nearby nursing home”. This is objectively what is happening here. It’s almost surreal.

    • William Thompson

      Tomorrow, Rod Serling starts to explain, then shakes his head. “This is how Fate punishes me for producing ‘The Night Gallery.'”

      • Y. Knott

        Ah, but Serling didn’t produce Night Gallery — that was the issue. He signed onto the show naively assuming that his track record would give him creative oversight.

        It didn’t. They basically wanted him as a host, and as an occasional writer. But even though the show was officially billed as “Rod Serling’s Night Gallery”, the producers didn’t want him producing it. Serling was frustrated, but contractually there was little he could do.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Well when you put it THAT way….

  6. Y. Knott

    Can you spot the blue snowflake?

    Today’s Funky Winkerbean comes with a chance to win an exciting prize — but only if you can spot the blue snowflake! Good luck!

    (The exciting prize? You’ll have actually gotten a tiny but measurable modicum of entertainment out of a Funky Winkerbean strip. Amaze your friends!)

  7. The Dreamer

    So Summer, after her big existentialist realization, suddenly now wants to go to church? Does she want to go to confession to seek.absolution on Christmas eve for her blasphemous thoughts she had in the diving board

    • The Duck of Death

      Did someone mention Existentialism?

      “In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible Summer.”
      — Albert Camus

      — Albert Camus, as the driver of the car he was riding in drove it into a tree

      Surely there is a lesson for us here.

      • Anonymous Sparrow

        Was Camus referencing Harvey Kurtzman’s Joe Arrgh on that fateful day in 1960?

        Who says someone who helped create the Theatre of the Absurd couldn’t also know what it’s like to live in a world Calculated to Drive You MAD?

    • Smirks 'R Us

      well in fairness to Summer she is being “nudged” there. Kind of like Kevin Costner to that corn field in Iowa. Well, except that was good and this sucks, but otherwise exactly the same.

      Any bets on whether Harley will be at the church?

    • RudimentaryLathe?

      Is anyone in this strip a churchgoer? I’m genuinely asking because there’s a lot of arcs I’ve missed; I can’t remember any of these characters setting foot in a church aside from the “Dinkle as choir director” stuff, which mostly just serves the theme of “Dinkle is more important than Jesus.” The last few weddings didn’t even take place in a church. It’s weird that he’s trying to make this significant now.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        I interpret it as church being culturally important, while religion itself isn’t. They’re not uber-Christians, but they see value in regular church attendance. I live in a progressive neighborhood and we have a lot of churches that cater to congregations of that type.

        But you raise a good point. Religion seems to serve no real purpose in anyone’s lives in the Funkyverse. I don’t think religion ever came up once in all the Lisa moping. Not even in the context of a deceased person “being in a better place”, like we often say to comfort ourselves even if we’re not very devout.

        And the supposedly Muslim characters show no sign of it either, other than the hijab. Which is probably the only thing Tom Batiuk knows about Islam. I think Adeela would find working in Montoni’s problematic, given the volume of pork byproducts she’d have to handle. Of course, there are different interpretations of what is and isn’t haram (forbidden).

        • The Duck of Death

          That’s always really bugged me — that Adeela was basically a suburban Ohioan, just with an added hijab. I think Batty’s point was “Muslims — nothing to be afraid of! They’re just like us Midwestern Episcopalians!”

          But hijab-wearing Muslims are not just like suburban Ohioans. They come from a different culture. They have a different religion. They observe different customs. Some things Midwesterners love, they might consider taboo; some things they love, Midwesterners might consider taboo.

          A better message would have been: “Here’s Adeela, an observant Muslim woman who is from a totally different world. She doesn’t really fit in with us and our customs. She does some things differently. BUT — all men are brothers under the skin. We can still respect and care for one another no matter what our differences are. We can learn a lot from each other’s cultures, too, if we all keep an open mind.”

          But obviously that would require things Batty never could have pulled off, like: Showing some of the ways Adeela’s beliefs and customs are different from the gang’s. Possibly showing some conflict, say, as she balks at Wally’s dog in the restaurant, or at having to handle pork. Maybe even hearing a shockingly different perspective on the wars in the Middle East. Learning to accept that we are NOT all the same, but you don’t have to agree with someone to respect them as a fellow human being.

          No, easier to say: We respect Adeela because she’s Just Like Us!™️ No conflict, no muss, no fuss, pop a potato into a Hijab, collect your back-pats, badabing.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        In Act II, Funky was avowedly agnostic during one of Batiuk’s only forays into discussing religion.

        Holly apparently was a churchgoer all along, and when Cory enlisted Funky started going, though this was never examined in detail.

        Linda Lopez Bushka apparently wanted a church wedding, which is why they weren’t married in Montoni’s. The Funkyverse gods punished them for their hubris by giving them food poisoning.

        Donna and Crazy Harry were also married in a church that resembles St. Spires.

        • Green Luthor

          At least the “Wedding Chapel of Love” can claim another victim couple.

          I’m guessing Funky’s reference to “those of us who are about to become bachelors again” is referencing his impending divorce from Cindy, but I’m gonna pretend he’s directing it at Les. “Ha ha, your wife’s gonna die, loser.”

  8. erdmann

    “That’s right. Hop right in, baby girl. Let ol’ Morty give you the ride of your life… Uhhh, you are a chick, right?”

  9. Mela

    She’s hitchhiking?? Seriously, she can’t walk home and get her car? Or Les’? Or Cayla’s??

    • William Thompson

      She doesn’t have a cellphone?

      • Andrew

        To quote the famous Diablo Immortal reveal, “Do you guys not have phones?”

      • Cheesy-kun

        Does anyone in the Battic? Have we ever seen anyone look up information on their phones?

        In Batiuk’s day, a decider ring was all the communication tech anyone needed.

        • Cheesy-kun

          * decOder ring


          • William Thompson

            Tom Batiuk is–The Decider! Star of Atomik Komix’s new line about the world’s greatest comic-creating superhero! Watch him sit at his work board! See him reach for his sidekick Special Sharpie! Thrill as he activates his decider ring’s powers and decides which plot points to twist and ignore this time! Coming soon to a spinner rack near you.

        • Y. Knott

          In fact, there was a cellphone prominently depicted just yesterday. It’s how the musical band knew the storm band was about to bandy its way over.

          • Cheesy-kun

            Fair enough. Thanks for the reminder. (And the verb- bandy!)

            But, does anyone in this strip ever use phones the way the rest of humanity has been the past 20 years? You’d think Mr. “Eloquent SF Solution” would’ve overcome his “in-my-day-ness” enough to make some kind of story around it. Or not. Usually not…

          • ComicBookHarriet

            Phones are like any other technology in this story.

            They only exist to be the butt of jokes.

          • The Duck of Death

            Yes, the band should band together, don their wedding bands, put hair bands in their hair, get in the band bus, tune the radio to the FM band, and drive to beat the band.

          • There was also Durwood’s pizza app that saved Montoni’s

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            There was also Durwood’s pizza app that saved Montoni’s

            I’ve actually built apps. Batiuk’s “everything except writing and making comic books is easy work for Twitter Tots” attitude pissed me off so much in that arc. Especially having that useless bozo Durwood do it, when he doesn’t know his CSS from his SCP.

          • But who needs CSS or SCP when you’ve got an MBA?

  10. The Duck of Death

    Please, Tom, all will be forgiven if they get lost in the blizzard and do a Donner Party.

    • Cheesy-kun

      Short-listed for “Best Possible Ending.”

      Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony at St Spire’s. It’ll be broadcast on Channel 1 and everyone from Centerville to Westview will be talking about Les slapping the MC, Funky, for making a joke about his wife.

      • Green Luthor

        “Keep my dead wife’s name out yo’ mouth.”
        “Can I make jokes about Cayla?”

        • sully

          Oh, Fresh Prince said ‘out yo’ mouth’?
          I always though he said, ‘out yo’ mowff’.
          Thanks for clearing that up.

    • Perfect Tommy

      Blah! Not Summer again! She’s all tough and stringy!
      Don’t we have any leftover Mort?

  11. Banana Jr. 6000

    At least Boy Lisa got a fun “origin story” anecdote out of it.

    Considering that his real origin story is date rape, I don’t blame him for latching into whatever else he can.

    • Epicus Doomus

      I’ve always had a special hatred for Boy Lisa’s pathetic backstory. The original Act II “Lisa is Boy Lisa’s mother” story was as ham-fisted and hackneyed as it gets, just a shameless display of gratuitous melodrama that had no real reason to exist, other than to temporarily satiate BatYam’s insane Lisa yearnings.

      Then came the 2013 retcon job, where Lisa finally got her revenge on Frankie by sabotaging his lucrative reality TV show deal with her secret hidden diary that exposed all the sordid, unseemly details of Boy Lisa’s ill-fated conception. So at least she got that settled.

      Over the course of Act III, Boy Lisa learned that he was the result of a sexual assault, and that his adoptive parents’ marriage was all a sham. And when you look at it that way, it’s all just kind of sick and unnecessary. I mean, what’d Boy Lisa ever do to him?

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        It really was awful. In addition to all the pointless melodrama, the story itself made no sense. Frankie was going to make a salacious tell-all TV show about some dumpy nobody from Nowhere, Ohio? Who’s a lawyer now and can sue him back into a ball of dirt? When he had no prior TV credits of any kind? And why? (PRO TIP: People who get away with sex crimes usually want to keep it hidden.)

        The story would actually make more sense now, because Dead Lisa is such a worldwide phenomenon. The world’s most tragic couple has been crammed down the world’s throat, and there would be demand for an inside story about how smarmy and self-absorbed they are. Summer’s boring interviews of Westview people would be a lot more entertaining. The book would practically write itself.

        • William Thompson

          How did Les react to the date-rape revelation? Was it something he had known about all along, or had Lisa kept it secret from him? I can’t imagine him not having something to say, unless his reaction was “How can I best exploit this?”

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            I don’t even remember him having much of one. Keep in mind, the sexual assault happened to Lisa, not himself.

      • Charles

        The thing I enjoyed, upon reflection, about that arc was how much padding it had.

        So we had Fred suggest that Pam and Jeff had some information that would be relevant to this situation. This led to Anne telling everyone the story about what Pam and Jeff had witnessed. Then Jeff shows up and tells the exact same story that Anne had just told. That prompts Cayla of all people to remember seeing a journal that Lisa had written. Summer reads the journal and it largely tells the same story Anne and Jeff had told.

        He explained the point in one strip but stretched out that explanation to three weeks’ worth of strips.

  12. The Dreamer

    Sumner is crammed into the van next yo Morty Winkerbean, who snughles with her, gropes and makes a pass at har ‘Uh Mr Winkerbean…’ Summer stammers aftee getting kissed ‘Call me Morty!’ ‘um…Mr Winkerbean…I’m gay. ‘oh no! I didn’t realize!’ ‘Its okay…’

    • The Duck of Death

      But these 8-arms-to-grope-you types would never take “I’m gay” for an answer. They’re the type who would say, “That’s because you’ve never had a REAL man like ol’ Mort Winkerbean to show you the glories of heterosexual sex!”

    • J.J. O'Malley

      “Mr. Winkerbean, I’m gay.” “Yes, me too. You know, lighthearted, fancy-free. Mothers, lock up your daughters. Morty is on the town!”

  13. billytheskink

    This whole thing could have prevented if only these folks were down by where I grew up. “Prison area, do not pick up hitchhikers” said the signs…

  14. Cheesy-kun

    As dumb as this is, we predicted it yesterday.

    It’s actually hard to anticipate the next step in illogical, irrational processes so a tip of the Funky “Thinking” Cap to us.

    What is Summer going to do at St. Spire’s?

    A) Perform a Linus? Give a long monologue on the meaning of the day (which will certainly not be anything related to Christianity. Churches are for senior citizen choir- and band concerts, after all.)

    B) Bump into Phil the weather-geezer only to discover he’s part of the Timemop Academy.

    C) Announce she’s moving to Centerville and promote her book which will be available at

    To our hosts, and the many commenters who have shared your rich knowledge and good humor- thank you!

    • Cheesy-kun

      PS trying to say thanks often these last days. It’s been a lot of fun hanging out here

      • Good having you aboard, Cheesy-kun, and have no fear, we’re going to keep this thing going in some form after Funky ends! Stay tuned.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        I’m glad you’re here too, cheesy-kun. The end of FW has brought some great new commenters out of the woodwork. And its always nice to meet a fellow food item. 🙂

    • be ware of eve hill

      Good call. How do you folks accurately predict Funky Winkerbean strips? I can’t remember the last time I predicted something that turned out correct. Most likely zero for my last fifty prognostications.

      I figure A), like mother, like daughter. Summer will hijack the microphone, much like Lisa did years ago at the cancer research congressional hearing (or whatever the frell it was). Bonus points if she barges in and face pushes the person out of the way.

      • William Thompson

        When I get it right, it’s usually a coincidence.

        I have two predictions for what comes next. Les is at the church. He spots Summer, hugs her and emotes all over her. She’s been missing all day! The police couldn’t find her! He came here to pray for her! Didn’t she stop to think of how worried her father would be?

        The other prediction is that Les shows up, sees the crucified Jesus and snarls “This cross isn’t big enough for the both of us!”

        Both of these predictions will be wrong because there’s no way Les can set foot on consecrated ground.

        • ComicBookHarriet

          Bold of all of you to assume anything will happen at all.

          • William Thompson

            We live for the thrill of failure. It’s the ultimate Funkyverse experience.

          • Epicus Doomus

            I will be flabbergasted if anything actually happens. I mean ANYTHING. I know how this guy operates, and I really feel that he’s headed nowhere, very, very slowly.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            Ordinarily, the last two weeks of a 50-year comic strip being short on story and long on nostalgia would be fine. But he invested so much time in that stupid “Summer is the world’s greatest writer” story, and then just dropped it cold. First with the “all just a dream crap” that he never bothered to clarify, and now with Summer’s deep journey stopping so she can go to the Dinkle concert.

        • Y. Knott

          My only prediction: The Funkyverse isn’t only duller than you imagine, it is duller than you can imagine.

      • Green Luthor

        If you want to improve your predictions, try huffing paint thinner. At the very least, you might start finding the humor in these strips.

      • sorialpromise

        (or whatever the frell it was)

        See, Eve. This is why I read you. You know how to turn a phrase. It is so adaptable:
        “You spent how much frell!”
        “The frell you say!”
        “I don’t give 2 frells for your opinion.”
        “Three frells walk into a bar…”

        • be ware of eve hill

          “Frell” is a term used in the Australian-American science fiction TV show, Farscape. We’ve been watching the show lately. Love it.

          Frell is a combination of “f*ck” and “hell”.

  15. Andrew

    Oh for Pete’s sake, in what would would a mid-twenties woman in the town where she grew up need to hitchhike to get to a nearby city’s lame band performance? Is she *that* desperate to talk with Dinkle? Did she decide this now as she was on the diving board, and couldn’t wait a few minutes running back home to get a more formal ride?

    Frankie’s reality show plot was certainly an entertaining story for the wrong reasons. I don’t remember it that well, but it amusing to think of what exactly that man could do to make for an entertaining TV show. And of course Les had one of his most-Les moments, wanting to lead the charge to protect Lisa’s legacy yet too geekily squeamish to personally read his wife’s schoolyear diary, forcing that responsibility on Summer.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Yeah really. Les organized the whole town into a plan to protect Lisa’s honor (as if it were under any real threat), and then wouldn’t do the one thing people asked of him. He passive-aggressively made Summer read her own mother’s rape journal. Somebody should have punched him in the face.

      Also: what kind of author is too squeamish to read his subject’s diary? How did he manage to write three books about this person if he wouldn’t even read the available source material about her? How did he manage to write the most touching compelling, tragic love story of our time with no ability to even confront the story’s harshest elements?

      • Green Luthor

        “Somebody should have punched him in the face.” An apt description of every appearance by Les in Act III (probably earlier, too, but Act III was a whole new level).

        Les Moore: defining backpfeifengesich since 2007.

  16. It’s pronounced “Cowinkydink” per Ned Flanders. Once again, 1/4″ from reality. 1 light year from funny.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      Batton Lash used “The Coinkydinks” as a story title in a *Supernatural Law* story featuring his much-loved (and much-missed) Counselors of the Macabre, Wolff and Byrd.

      Like “normalcy” not being a word Warren Harding coined, it has a heritage, even if you should stick with “coincidence.”

      Right, Mr. Goldfinger?

      Correct, Anonymous Sparrow, for as the Chicago saying I quoted to Mr. Bond has it, once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, the third time it’s enemy action.

  17. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    Ah, crap. There’s a clog in the torso chute! Leroy! Get your ass in gear!

  18. ComicTrek

    Uh-oh. Seems like they’re headed for Nobottom Road along the way!

  19. The Dreamer

    Obviously this is leading to midnight mass at St. Spires Where at the stroke of midnight on Christmas eve, as Dinkle conducts the choir singing Hallelujah The double doors in the back of the church open and in comes the Ghost of St. Lisa! Is Summer the only one who sees her? Why is she here?! The dramatic final week of Funky Winkerbean begins!

  20. Paul Jones

    It’s all very simple and very stupid. These people are heading off to become minor characters in “Crankshaft” because the time whatever is about to be absorbed. They stay the ages they are. Everyone else reverts to what they were when Lisa died.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      Cue the Byrds’s cover of “I Come and Stand at Every Door”:

      I come and stand at every door
      But no one hears my silent tread
      I knock and yet remain unseen
      For I am dead, for I am dead

      I’m only seven although I died
      In Hiroshima long ago
      I’m seven now as I was then
      When children die they do not grow

      My hair was scorched by swirling flame
      My eyes grew dim, my eyes grew blind
      Death came and turned my bones to dust
      And that was scattered by the wind

      I need no fruit, I need no rice
      I need no sweets nor even bread
      I ask for nothing for myself
      For I am dead, for I am dead

      All that I ask is that for peace
      You fight today, you fight today
      So that the children of this world
      May live and grow and laugh and play

      The cellphone comments here remind me of my recent experience reading Lois Duncan’s *Locked in Time.* (Where you won’t grow any older and you’ll resent it.) It was a revised edition which meant that there are computers and cellphones, and the latter meant that someone in peril could call for help. Thus, Duncan had to find out the phones could be rendered useless.

      How simple it was on the original “Star Trek”: superior races who could override the transporter…or dimwitted races who took the communicators and prevent contact with the Enterprise. No wonder Judi Dench’s M. missed the Cold War!

  21. Hitorque

    Oh and don’t think for a second that Summer is religious or trying to celebrate the holidays or is just giving thanks for the tidal wave of blessings she’s had in her life or some shit like that 😒… Hardy McFly is probably nudging her brain to attend the concert tonight, because it’s at St. Spires that Summer finally unleashes her X-MEN superpower for “pattern recognition” or some such bullshit…

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      That whole “nudging” nonsense undermines everything that has ever happened in Funky Winkerbean. Any event can be ascribed to psychic manipulation from someone with unclear motives, who also has been shown to be incompetent.

      • The Duck of Death

        So Les never voluntarily bravely rescued assorted damsels in distress. Nor did he take care of Lisa of his own volition. Or come up with his books on his own.

        He was “nudged” to do everything worthwhile that he ever did.

        That actually makes total sense, based on the solipsistic, selfish, cowardly, pouty, grudge-holding, resentful Les that Puffy’s shown us over the years.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          It makes too much sense. Les was always doing things he didn’t want to do. Even though had no problems rudely declining other things he didn’t want to do, like his job.

  22. Miskatonic Sophomore

    “Climb aboard!” How? Where is she going to sit? Yesterday it didn’t look like there was enough room in the dementia band’s clown car for them, let alone them *and* their instruments.

    Incidentally, it seems more pointless than usual to harp on a cartooning issue in these, the dying days of FW, but…you know, I might as well. It’s less risky to my sanity than trying to engage with whatever the hell Batiuk is doing with his “story.”

  23. The Duck of Death

    Angry, resentful local weatherman named Phil…

    Van driving into the teeth of a huge snowstorm…

    Inexplicable time travel…

    Endless repetition…

    All we need is a groundhog, and we’ll have the Groundhog Day redux à la Batiuk that absolutely no one asked for!

    • Y. Knott

      It would be totally Batiukian to try to re-tell Groundhog Day, but forget the groundhog. And also the day.

      • The Duck of Death

        And forget that it’s a story about a lost soul who finally puts in the work to redeem himself. In other words, there’s a character arc, and it makes sense. “Character arc” and “makes sense” are things Puffy doesn’t do. Not any more, anyway.

        BTW, I thought of Groundhog Day when I read the Custodian’s explanations. Harold Ramis rejected early drafts of the script that explained why Phil was stuck in a time loop. The movie leaves it totally unexplained. Instead of making it worse, it improves the movie a thousandfold. It becomes a blank slate for people to project on. Is it about love or about reincarnation? Buddhism? Salvation through good works? Learning compassion through suffering? Depends on the viewer.

  24. sully

    Renowned coxman Mortimer lures Summer to the back of the van, with promises of hot chocolate and a toke, and is only slightly taken aback, but not deterred, when he discovers a young lad under those layers.

  25. Perfect Tommy

    I’m getting angry at this comic.
    I’m starting to really lose my mind.
    So get me to the church!
    Get me to the church!
    Get me to the church on time!

    Apologies to Loewe and Lerner.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      Further apologies:

      With a little bit of luck
      With a little bit of luck
      When Tom Batiuk throws a prestige arc
      You might just be able to jump the shark!

      Alfred Doolittle is willing to tell you, waiting to tell you and wanting to tell you how.

      Stanley Holloway, who created the Doolittle role in *MyFair Lady* on stage and recreated it on screen, would want you to know this story listed in the IMDb:

      Appeared with Rex Harrison in the stage production of “My Fair Lady”. Harrison had a reputation for being very abrupt with his fans. One night after a performance of the show, Holloway and Harrison left by the stage door. It was late, cold and pouring rain and there was an old woman standing alone outside the door. When she saw Harrison, she asked him for his autograph. He told her to “Sod off”, and she was so enraged at this that she rolled up her program and hit Harrison with it. Holloway congratulated him on not only making theater history, but, for the first time in world history, “the fan has hit the shit”.

  26. Maxine of Arc

    It seems increasingly likely, I think we can agree, that the entire FW crew will for some reason end up at this local band concert in the middle of a snowstorm, where they will “seamlessly” cross over into Crankshaft, all time difference having been forgotten or erased by Marty McFly. Strangely, I don’t hate it? Not nearly as much as the waste of time that was Summer staring at buildings that don’t mean anything.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      It’s a perfectly serviceable ending. It just clashes with all the nonsense about the time-traveling janitor and Summer writing the world’s greatest book.

      • Maxine of Arc

        Oh, absolutely. It’s like he almost tried to do something truly over the top and then backed off it instead of committing, which we’ve seen him do so many, many times before.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      And Tom Bosley will talk about the two wonderful children they have, while minds will dimly think of Chuck Cunningham and Bobby Martin of “All My Children,” who went up to polish his skis and was never seen again…

  27. A lot of “DO IT, YOU COWARD” energy in the comments today.

  28. Batiuk is the worst writer I’ve read. Heck, even the “And then John was a zombie” guy had some action in his work.

  29. Perhaps this van is like the stagecoach in “The Mortal Remains” (final chapter of The Ballad of Buster Scruggs anthology). All the passengers in the van have died, and the van is transporting their souls to the afterlife at St Spires (similarly Dinkle and the elderly choir have also passed). Summer recently succumbed to hypothermia at the pool, which explains why she suddenly appeared as a hitchhiker. Other characters will die of other causes and make their way to St Spires by other means of transport.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      Unfair to Lucille Fletcher, whose script for “The Hitchhiker” is a gem of both radio and television, regardless of whether the driver is male (Orson Welles on radio) or female (Inger Stevens on television)

      Fletcher is also the author of “Sorry, Wrong Number,” which works better on radio than on film (notwithstanding stellar work from Barbara Stanwyck, Burt Lancaster and William Conrad).

  30. Banana Jr. 6000

    The latest Funky Winkerbean wankpiece at has some unbelievable comments:

    I started this character, the band director, which I thought was just for me: Harry L. Dinkle, the world’s greatest band director. Turns out there’s a lot of guys like that out there.

    HE DIDN’T KNOW???!!! Tom Batiuk doesn’t know why this character worked? He worked because band directors are abusive, over-demanding egomaniac dictators, exactly like Dinkle is. The character satirized the profession, and brilliantly I might add. High school kids “loved” Dinkle for the same reason cubicle workers loved the Pointy-Haired Boss. My lord, is he really this clueless?

    I also liked this part:

    Basically, (the strip ending is) because “Funky” doesn’t have a succession plan. The strip is either going to end in a train wreck, or it’s going to be scripted properly and with a little bow tie.

    It’s pretty clear what choice he went with.

    • The Duck of Death

      F’ crikey’s sake, again with this puffery?

      [Lisa] showed up again, opened the door and took me to a new place.

      I wouldn’t mind it if only his characters seemed to have any realism or consistency. But to change/retcon/re-retcon them on the slightest whim while also insisting they’re some kind of muses that visit you — it’s gag-inducing.

      • Maxine of Arc

        And again, why? WHY LISA? Did she have a single character trait at that point, besides “terrifyingly clingy girlfriend?” Did she ever develop a character trait? What does TB think is so damn special about her? This isn’t even sarcasm, I genuinely want to know!

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Just like every other interview, every single question is designed to let Tom ramble about the horseshit he always talks rambles about: Lisa, Montoni’s, Luigi’s, the name of the strip, aging his characters, the turns to drama, the Rose Parade, Dinkle, more childhood stories nobody cares about, and of course comic books.

          Someday, I’d like to see Tom Batiuk be interviewed by someone other than himself.

    • The Duck of Death

      More from the interview:Very early on, in the first couple of years, I had thrown out the idea of doing a strip of a girl who was pregnant. They turned it down, and I’m glad they did because it needed more work. They were absolutely right, but they wanted me to do something that was a little bit above a gag-a-day strip. They wanted me to dig into slightly deeper things…

      Really, Tom? Really? Because I heard the whole world was teeming with hidebound literalists all arrayed against you as you struggled to be the first comic artist to deal with serious themes in your work.

    • The Duck of Death

      Sorry to spam here, but I have lots of thoughts on this. It’s interesting that he sees a false dichotomy: Either a train wreck, or ended with “a little bow tie.”

      I’ve been reading vintage Thimble Theater (aka Popeye) on CK. About a year and a half ago, they reached the end of the run of Elzie Segar, the creator, who practically died at his drafting table, and quite young. The strip was taken over by his assistant, Bob Sagendorf, and the transition was so smooth it was almost unnoticeable. The creativity, manic feel, and visual style remained intact. In fact. the last months of Segar’s tenure sagged noticeably, because he was dying of liver disease and leukemia. The strip actually improved again with Sagendorf at the helm.

      So there are options. Any of us here could script a pretty good few months starting right where we are now. Any reasonably capable cartoonist could do better than Ayers is doing at the moment.

      Maybe he doesn’t want to be outshone by a replacement. Or maybe nobody is interested in picking up the mantle of a moribund strip.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      As ye may put lipstick on a pig, selah, selah, so may ye put a little bow tie on a trainwreck, especially when the Seven Friends of Narnia are on hand.

      • The Duck of Death

        Interestingly, the Chronicles of Narnia actually end with a train wreck. The protagonists find themselves with Aslan. They have a vague memory that the train they had been riding on had gone round a curve too fast. They had all died in a train wreck and would never have to leave Narnia again.

        If only this story could have as happy an ending. Not the part where the protagonists go to paradise — the part where they die in a train wreck.

        • Anonymous Sparrow

          Susan, who was no longer a Friend of Narnia. wasn’t in the wreck.

          I always like to think that she was adopted by distant relatives of the Scrubbs, the Robertses, and that she changed her name by deed poll to Margaret Hilda, and, in time, met a young man named Denis Thatcher and married him. Eventually, she went into politics.

          You know the rest.

  31. Hitorque

    1. Sacrilege…

    2. Why the hell can’t they put on a show for their own nursing home? I mean, besides the fact that they’re happy for any reason to get out of the Manor and have some fun away from the watchful eyes of Nurse Ratchet? I might understand if all these seniors were active members at St. Soires… St. Spores… St. Elsespares or something, but a quick offering to the Google gods tells me that there are a plethora of *professional* jazz trios, quartets, quintets, sextets, octets, etc. available for booking in the greater Cleveland metro area… I dunno, wouldn’t St. Spiro want to call in the big boys and girls for a Christmas event instead of a bunch of rank amateurs with only rudimentary training?

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      2. Nobody in the Funkyverse ever performs for their friends, for the enjoyment of it, for good causes, to spread joy at the holidays, to improve their ability, or for any reason other than mainstream media validation.

      This bunch of horn-blowing old farts went to Memphis to record a commercial CD. Summer took off school to write an amateur town history, and Les immediately mentioned his publishing agent. Lillian McKenzie got a book contract, interviews, and awards. The Atomik Komix crew has never lifted a finger for anything that wasn’t a comic book cover, and never expressed interest in any art that wasn’t one. I need hardly belabor Les Moore’s motivations in life. And how many awards have all these people competed for?

      If you have talent, you’re nothing until you have an agent, a professional contract, and at least one award nomination.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        Way back in the beginning of the Bedside Manorisms, they performed a Christmas Concert to an audience of one, and it was played both for laughs and for some sweetness.