Nanna, Na Na Nanna, Hey Hey Hey, Good Riddance


“Wait, what’s that other book next to it?”

“Oh, that old thing? That’s just “Lisa’s Story”, the culmination of the life’s work of Tom Batiuk, the greatest writer of his generation.”

“Tom Batiuk? Oh yeah, we learned about him in ancient history class. He created such iconic characters as Ed Crankshaft, Phil Holt, and Adeela the Architect, right?”

“That’s right, dear! “Lisa’s Story” was the greatest love story ever told, and once you read it, your perception of what a comic strip can be will be forever changed.”

“Really? Because I always thought comic strips were supposed to be funny.”

“HA HA HA! Oh, you silly goose! They CAN be funny, but “Lisa’s Story” transcended mere “jokes”. It represented the pinnacle of the comic strip writer’s craft, and redefined the genre forever.”

“Wow. I should buy a copy.”

“Yes, you should! That’s “Lisa’s Story…The Other Shoe”, by Tom Batiuk, and it’s available wherever books are sold! Hurry though, as supplies are limited!”.

Look at that sad-sack f*cking sorry lot of books. Christ on a cracker, man. And look how he jammed “Strike Four!” in there, all gratuitously and obnoxiously. Ugh, I HATE this “Crankshaft”-ization thing he’s doing. We all should have immediately assumed the ending would center around that stupid cancer book, but he threw us off with that helmet nonsense.

“Famous Nanna Summer”…lol. Famous in the mid-central Ohio valley, maybe, where she’s known as “Jane College”, among other, less flattering things. This is just so awful, and surprisingly disappointing, too. I’ve never really been disappointed in a FW story before, as I always went into them expecting them to be like vacuum cleaners, in that they’d both suck and blow. And they always did, so there was nothing to be disappointed about.

But this is the last one, and watching this slipshod hodgepodge of dumb ideas play out is just demoralizing. Summer, Crankshaft, Lisa’s Story, it’s all too much. It just feels kind of vaguely insulting, and in my opinion validates my theories about how little he respects his readers ( the non-ironic ones). Using the last week of FW to hawk that book again…I shouldn’t be surprised, yet for some reason I am.

Great Moments In FW Arc Recap History

Oct. 21-26, 2007
Act III – Les and daughter at Central Park for Making Strides walk. FW fans react in horror.

The first Act III arc. BatYam’s Lisa future just seemed limitless back then. Lisa ghosts, Lisa journals, Lisa videos, Lisa fun runs, the possibilities were just endless…or so it seemed at the time. But then he wrote himself into a corner re: Les and Cayla, and it was getting more and more difficult to work her into the strip, and she began to appear less and less. And you can see how he started to lose interest, as Lisa was always his favorite character. Then, probably out of desperation, he turned to comic books, the worst vice of them all. The rest is history.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

173 responses to “Nanna, Na Na Nanna, Hey Hey Hey, Good Riddance

  1. The Duck of Death

    It’s obvious who the father of Summer’s kid was — look at that bottle-opener jaw. It can only be one person: Dinkle.

  2. Cheesy-kun

    We called it: Lisa’s Story is there. I’m guessing she was nudged to notice it quickly because, really, there’s The Book and then there’s THE BOOK.

    Nice to see Batiuk still taking victory laps and trying to sell his book. Glad he’s not like those crass people who see comics only in monetary terms. He’s staying pure to the end…

  3. The Duck of Death

    Folks, this right here is the saddest, cringiest Gary Stu-ing you’ll ever see, and it’s coming not from a 7th grader, but from a 75-year-old man.

    This wretched mess could make a stone weep. Whether the tears would be of laughter or pain, I leave for the reader to decide.

    • Cheesy-kun

      Tears of pain. The pain from the dry heaves that don’t seem to end, even though you thought you’d vomited up every solid and liquid left in your poisoned gut.

      The guy has no pride or shame. Can you imagine Breathed or Watterson going out like this, with characters- new ones- discovering a Bloom County or C&H collected volume?

      • Charles J Sperling

        I was thinking more of Oscar Wilde’s comment on Charles Dickens’s *Old Curiosity Shop*:

        “One must have a heart of stone to read the death of little Nell without laughing.”

        Wilde’s plays usually end with a nod to the title; his greatest ends with our hero finally learning the importance of being earnest.

        I don’t think Tom Batiuk ever figured out what that meant.

  4. William Thompson

    A framed picture of Lizard on the back wall! Is that robot on wheels? Are some of them floating in mid-air? Why do Generic Granddaughter’s legs look like the robot’s tentacles? Why don’t the rest of the books have titles on their spines? Sorry, if I don’t think about trivia I’ll think about why everyone has lost interested in Nanna Summer’s world-changing book and wants to know about Dead Lisa.

  5. ComicBookHarriet

    When I read this with my housemate, after I finished laughing so hard I started coughing up a lung, we had an hour long discussion on if this isn’t some kind of self-aware joke. Like, Tom KNOWS his hatedom makes fun of his shilling Lisa’s Story in-strip for fifteen years. Is this full of the kind of weird jokey self-awareness that has YouTubers and Podcasters rolling their eyes at the camera as they ham up pushing their merch? Did he want to feed his pet trolls one last time?

    After all, Batiuk seemed to enjoy the microscopic twitter meltdown over Harley the time janitor. From what I’ve read in his Match to Dreck excerpts, the man relishes any kind of attention, even negative.

    I don’t know. It’s Schrodinger’s cringe. And that’s what’s so great about it.

    • William Thompson

      What’s even funnier is that a whole bunch of years into the future, Batiuk is still using that old-fashioned dot-com address. You’d think he would trust the ziptone code, but that’s just too modern for him.

    • Cheesy-kun

      Schrodinger’s cringe. –> Fantastic term and idea! May I use it?

    • Charles J Sperling

      Boy, there’s no getting away from Oscar Wilde today:

      “There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”

      ― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

      And, no, I am not related to you, Captain Jack Sparrow, worst pirate I’ve ever heard of (but you have heard of me!).

  6. RudimentaryLathe?

    Of course, he has to end this with one last shill for “Lisa’s Story.” That is 100% on brand. But the idea that Les’ descendants wouldn’t have 50 copies of it already, stacked in a shrine with the videotapes, the Oscar and the bird-feeder, does not scan at all.

    • The Duck of Death

      This is the book that completely remade the world in its image, remember, according to Timemop. Sort of like the Torah, the Bible, the Koran, the Communist Manifesto, and Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book rolled into an earth-shaking bolus of mish-mosh, with a heavy larding of the self-pitying hurt feelings and vengeful fantasies of Mein Kampf.

      Yet there are almost no copies extant.

      Yet it hasn’t been banned, apparently. It’s not samizdat. If you can find a copy, you can waltz right into a store and a friendly robot running-track-waterer, repurposed to be a bookstore clerk, will gladly grab it off the shelf and sell it to you.

      Is a puzzlement.

      • Cheesy-kun

        THIS is now one of my all-time favorite things I’ve read on the Internet. Pure gold. Perfect scores of 10 across the board for relevance to topic, historical literacy, vocabulary, and psychological zing. Thank you, Duck.

        Sort of like the Torah, the Bible, the Koran, the Communist Manifesto, and Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book rolled into an earth-shaking bolus of mish-mosh, with a heavy larding of the self-pitying hurt feelings and vengeful fantasies of Mein Kampf.

        • Charles J Sperling

          Mr. Mind, the World’s Wickedest Worm, once wrote a book called *Mind Kampf.* While writing it, he candidly admitted that while he was a genius, he wasn’t very good at spelling.

          Perhaps he could take comfort in this remark from the last President of the United States’s favorite President:

          “It is a damn poor mind that can think of only one way to spell a word.”

          ― Andrew Jackson

  7. Cheesy-kun

    MAXING OF ARC: This comment is a reply to your note about the omamori under which there was no reply button.

    Cool souvenir! Hope you’ve enjoyed it.

    The short answer is you have no duty to burn anything.

    The long answer is that if it looks like one the one below it should not be burned, anyway. Those are essentially charms- for school/test success, traffic safety, getting well, etc. (A lot of people hang the traffic safety ones from their windshields or rear-view mirrors.)

    Things that shouldbe burned at New Year’s are made of wood or paper and year-specific. These typically include images of the zodiac animal for the year (we’re leaving the tiger for the rabbit this weekend) and specific prayers written on rectangular pieces of wood.

    If your omamori is something like these, then it would not be burned but more “devout” people might dispose of it at their local shrine if they felt its purpose had been served. The shrine would burn it in a separate fire (these have plastic and other toxins in them so the shrines discourage people from tossing them into the regular fire.)

    • The Duck of Death

      Cheesy-kun, I’ve been loving your digressions into Shinto. I’ve been learning Japanese in a somewhat desultory way, and your cultural guided tour has been enlightening. It’s also helped me to see where the ideas in Marie Kondo’s popular books came from. What’s interesting is that these Shinto-derived ideas also resonate with a Western audience that’s never been exposed to that religion. People just intuitively imbue certain objects with significance, or even sentience. (Show me the person who can throw away a childhood stuffie or blanket without a thought, and I’ll show you a psychopath.)

      Anyway, when I read your mini-primers, it gives me hope that we could have a lot to talk about here, even without the ebbing tide of Bat-Detritus.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Me too. Shinto, what little I know of it, strikes me as a sensible approach to life and spirituality. I’d love to read anything Cheesy-kun has to say about it.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        Once my mom was faced with an afghan she had made in college. It was in very 70’s colors, (tan, burnt orange, and chocolate brown,) and was seriously showing its age. She said, “I don’t want this anymore. I’m tired of it taking up space. But I don’t want to donate it. Because I remember crocheting and talking to my roommate about planning my wedding.”

        So we marched outside, and we burned it. It went in a flash of polyester and black smoke. And as we walked back to the house my mom laughed.

        I didn’t realize my mom had a touch of Shinto in her staunch Lutheran sensibilities.

      • Cheesy-kun

        Thank you so much for your kind note. Duck of Death. I hope you’re enjoying your Japanese studies. It can be particularly difficult for those of us whose first language is in the Indo-European family.

        Great point about Marie Kondo and for exactly the reasons you give: we do imbue objects with meaning and it’s part of our humanity.

        I’d greatly enjoy talking to you and others about topics not centered around Westview. I’m flattered you mentioned it.

    • Maxine of Arc

      It is indeed the classic charm in a fabric pouch. Many years ago when I practiced kendo, I used to keep one tied inside my armor for luck. This one is one I asked my friend to pick up for me for success at work.

      Many thanks for the reply and helpful information! This is the kind of thing I’m gonna miss.

      • Cheesy-kun

        Maxine, you practiced kendo! What a wonderful surprise to “meet” a fellow kendo-ka here.

        May I ask where you practiced? I practiced for nearly 8 years here before old back and knee injuries flared up.

        I hope you enjoyed success at work, in the meantime.

        Thank you for sharing,

        • Maxine of Arc

          Oh, no kidding! I practiced pretty seriously for a while but it was about 20 years ago now, at Boston Kendo Kyoukai in YOU’LL NEVER GUESS WHERE. But my ex got the dojo in the split, and so it goes. Incredibly difficult but also incredibly good for me in so many ways.

          As for work, well, I’m still there, so I’m going to call it success.

  8. The artwork, especially in panel 2, is execrable. The robot’s ridiculously long arm, the 5 (?) rollers controlling its legs, the weird non-robotic smile. What the hell?

    The Lisa’s Story shit pisses me off. I suspect it was intended to do so.

    ED, I feel like this is a petulant middle finger thrown at his haters, but also, his fan(s). It makes me regret absolutely nothing snarky that I, or anyone else here, has said about Batdick.

  9. Tom Batiuk’s huge opinion of himself and his work is justified by neither.

  10. Banana Jr. 6000

    I’m confused. If Summer’s book re-defined humanity, why do they have to go to some seedy bookstore to get it? How did “mom”, I guess, learn where to acquire what seems to be illegal literature? It is a samizdat type thing?

    Tom Batiuk is always ignoring the interesting story to write the boring one. Down to the very end.

  11. vince

    so are the titles on the book spines going the wrong way or am I just going nuts? Did he not have a reference book to look at? Maybe they have a German publisher (I think book titles go the opposite way there?)

    • William Thompson

      I’ve got some German books, and the titles are reversed like that. But maybe Robolillian put those books on the shelf upside-down.

  12. Andrew

    As a robot fan, that’s a perfectly decent design wasted in this strip, and Byrne isn’t even doing that good of a job with it when its appearance is messed up between panels (the head looks more oblong in the 2nd, but flatter in the 3rd). Admitedly I am a sucker for them to a point. Looking back at the Starbucks Jones guy that Funky jogged with in his exercise hallucinations 2 years ago seems more and more amusing to me than bemusing these days.

    Either way, funny robots sure beat what’s being threatened at us with one final damn product plug of Lisa’s Story and the “timeless”, “””beautiful”””, “”””””touching”””””” story that made waves in comics and got the author nominated for a prize once. I’ve said before that the story is probably in and of itself okay, perhaps even good (not Pulitzer-winning good, just Pulitzer-nominating), touching for showing the emotions that those dying and their family go through, also whatever real-life tips it gives about the breast cancer variant. But the fact that the story arc is still being made to define this strip’s legacy, that Lisa’s ghost literally hanged over things and Les ultimately lost sympathetic traits, and that it’s been turned into a meta thing where the comic collection exists identically in-universe aside from being a written memoir there, it just embodies the definition of overstaying a welcome, makes one utterly sick of hearing about it.

    It’s also been said that Act 3 started off on the wrong foot by intentionally skipping the grieving process Les and Summer had to endure, ostensibly wanting to get to the next stage and a new era without the deeper complexities. Yet in that process we ended up with him trying to have his cake and eat it, showing Les’s “moving on” insist on having ghost Lisa counsel him about his dating life, advise him on turning his story into that book, toe around with the damn love triangle with both Cayla and Susan that had such high points as the New Year’s snog. Combine that with the literal ghost encounter with Lisa’s airport calls while Les chose to believe her ghost was “really” refilling a bird feeder every so often, (to say nothing about everything involving the movie adaptation) and it turned what could’ve been a touching signing out of a character into a pariah that’s never left and become one of the biggest annoyances about the last third of this strip’s runtime.

    So yeah, fantastic ending, we’re back to the biggest focal point of snark.

    • (not Pulitzer-winning good, just Pulitzer-nominating)

      My understanding is that anyone can nominate anything for a Pulitzer (or even a Pilitzer) and it has nothing to do with notability or quality.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        True BC. But it was also one of three finalists announced for Cartooning that year, which was kind of a big deal…


        • Hannibal’s Lectern

          Do we know how many nominees those three “finalists” were chosen from? Heck, my book was one of three “finalists” in an ebook competition, but to this day I don’t know how many books were entered in the “SF” category. Might have been one of three selected from a field of dozens or even hundreds, or might have been one of the three whose publishers coughed up the entry fee.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            The official procedures are published at They say this: “The three finalists in each category are the only entries in the competition that are recognized by the Pulitzer office as nominees.”

            In other words, that they felt the need to establish that sending in your materials doesn’t make you a “nominee.” And it suggests that they get a decent number of submissions. But there are limits to how many items one person can submit.

            I’m sure the number of submissions varies by category, but given the prestige of the newspaper awards, I bet most daily newspapers try.

          • It’s interesting that he refers to himself as a Pulitzer “nominee” rather than a Pulitzer “finalist.” I would think he would care about the difference.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            @BC Technically, he’s not wrong. Finalists are the only ones the Pulitzer board recognizes as nominees, so he may rightly call himself a “nominee.” He just overlooks that anyone who paid the application fee can – in not entirely dishonest ways – call themselves the same thing.

            It’s a writing error he makes all the time; using specific words in ways that aren’t fully correct.

    • I think that Act 3 starting by stressing the fact that Lisa was GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN!!!! set the tone in an unfortunate way, too. Les talking to Summer about her mother and then going off to attend a memorial run would have been fine if a little overly melodramatic (a description that fits most of Act 2, to be honest) if it had just been a distant finale that wrapped the whole story up. Instead, Batiuk made it the launching point for Act 3, and as a result it never escaped the gravity well of maudlin nostalgia.

      To paraphrase a line from a Doctor Who episode, “this storyline was born in self-pity. All it knows how to do is mope.”

      • ComicBookHarriet

        Exactly. What Batiuk needed to do was delay his Act III time skip by about a month, maybe two. After all the pathos of Lisa’s death, the strip required a grieving process, or the shift would be as nasty and jarring as it was leaving Bull’s funeral to be attacked by the Pizza Box Monster.

        Instead Batiuk jumped forward a decade the day after Lisa’s death, with all that pathos and grief baggage still packed up and needing sorted and dealt with it in a timeframe that made no sense.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          A grieving process would have also forced Les to grow the hell up. He didn’t just lose his wife, he lost a major source of family income, and a mother for this daughter. How did Summer get through puberty with only Mr. Hot Dogs and Peas for advice? How the hell is she even a functional human being, with Les imposing all his psychoses on her?

        • Late to the Party

          Speaking of the Pizza Box Monster, as they were shown in the Sunday strip, does that mean that someone not shown could be the Pizza Box Monster, or with all the crazy sci-fi time travel BS, is the Pizza Box Monster actually a monster and not someone in costume?

    • Charles J Sperling

      “What the American public wants in the theater is a tragedy with a happy ending.”

      ― William Dean Howells

      • ComicBookHarriet

        Anonymous Sparrow not so Anon today 😉

        • Anonymous Sparrow


          I set up two email addresses, one with my real name and one as Anonymous Sparrow and hit the former. I will not blame the antiquarian mind waves.

          I have a friend named Barbara who thought my first name was “Robert” for a long time. (I turned my head when someone else called for “Robert,” and she put Juilliard and Becky together and got pinned-up sleeve.) When I email her, I sign off with “FKAR,” which stands for “Formerly Known as Robert.”

  13. The Dreamer

    wait isn’t the other book, Fallen Star, Les Moore’s book on the murder of John Darling? maybe that’s what’s being referred to?

  14. Green Luthor

    “Wait! What’s that book next to it?”
    “Oh, that’s ‘Lisa’s Story’, it’s…”
    “No, the other side! ‘Fifty Shades of Gray’? That title sure sounds bleak like Westview, maybe I should get that instead.”

  15. William Thompson

    Is Batiuk going to give any of these characters names?

  16. ComicBookHarriet

    All this nonsense that is only enjoyable ironically has Epicus fuming.

    And Crankshaft was genuinely funny yesterday.

    And I’m gonna post the strip to forc–I mean encourage! Epicus to take a look.

    • billytheskink

      It just hit me… Bean’s End -> Funky WinkerBean‘s End!!!

      TB has known the strip was ending for years! The signs were in Crankshaft the whole time! The walrus was Paul! Etc. Etc.

      • The Duck of Death

        The name “Bean’s End” has always annoyed me. It’s an awkward portmanteau of LL Bean and Land’s End. The annoying thing is that both of those companies specialize in outdoor clothing; neither sells plants. And the name “Bean’s End” by itself means nothing. If anything, it suggests dead crops.

        The most famous seed company is called “Burpee.” You’d think Puffy could have found some funny way to use that. But hey, look at these catalogues that came in the mail, what if it was “Bean’s End” haha, first thought, best thought, and done.

        With that said, this wasn’t a bad strip. The catalogue is arriving at the right time of year, and it hits on something true — that gardeners, like all hobbyists, usually have desires bigger than their budget. Gardeners especially do tend to get overambitious in the depths of winter.

        • Perfect Tommy

          I’m looking out at the yard and garden right now. It’s totally buried under tons of ice and snow. But someday, it will be warm again and I’m already making plans. Plotting the plot, if you will.
          So yeah, I can relate to Ed on this one.

        • Green Luthor

          It’s a beans to an end.

          (Oh, God, the Crankshaft malaprops are in me! They’re in my brain! AAAAHHHHH!)

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          I like how he’s hiding it as if it were a dirty magazine. It’s a pretty good visual joke.

          • ComicBookHarriet

            It’s amazing how much better comics can be when they don’t have word zeppelins in the way!

            I mean, I can just see Batiuk ruining this strip with pointless word balloons.

            Panel 1: Crankshaft: “Good! I beat Pam, my daughter, to the mailbox. So she won’t see that I got the Bean’s End catalog that I promised I wouldn’t buy anything from this year.”

            Panel 2: Crankshaft: “Now to hide it under my jacket where Pam won’t think to check so I can sneak it into the house without getting caught.

            Panel 3.: Crankshaft: “Now to hide the magazine here under my mattress where I will be able to read it later after everyone has gone to sleep and pick out all the things I’d like to buy that I promised my daughter Pam I wouldn’t this year.”

            But he didn’t. Restraint.

    • Andrew

      It’s indeed entertaining to see one strip petering out with a fantasy idea of the future, meanwhile the sister strip that now carries the burden of the Funkyverse present is taking this opportunity to have their title character struggle with his gardening supply bargains addiction. A man of contrasts, Batiuk is.

      Both strips are set in Centerville right now though, fancy that.

  17. Mela


  18. billytheskink

    I just had to run down to Walmart to buy a toilet bowl wax ring for a plumbing emergency and I saw better things on the shelves there than I’m seeing here.

  19. Jeff M.

    “…that other book next to it…”

    But at that point the famous Nanna book is no longer next to it…the robot took it away…

  20. billthesplut

    Me, at Xmas: “Remember your famous mother?”
    Sister: “Who, Mom?! She’s sitting right there!”
    Me, nodding solemnly: “Let me give the toddler this toy Pokemon I made from a live landmine.”

    My Mom is 89. I once asked her about WWII. “Did you ever pull something out of your Victory Garden, wipe it off, take a big bite of it, then scream in the general direction of Berlin ‘HERE’S ONE CARROT YOU’RE NOT GONNA GET, ADOLPH!!'”
    She smiled and said “Not literally, but every time we ate something from the garden, I felt like that!”

    Point: My Mom’s carrots likely did more good to Humanity’s future than Batuik’s books will.

  21. J.J. O'Malley

    So, there were “burnings,” but bookstores with helpful robotic attendants (no, not Lillian, actual robots) are a thing? Sure. The still-intact VB happens to have a copy of “Lisa’s Story”? Okay, it was a published book, why not? There’s even a copy of “Fallen Star” on the shelf? Why not; I guess it was left over from Les’s customer-free signing. But how did “Strike Four” get there? It only exists on our Earth-Prime, not in the universe of Earth Crankerbean! This is self back-slapping on a scale that would make Barry Horowitz envious, and a heck of a Onanistic salute to send FW out on. Can’t wait for the next three strips.

    Gotta admit, I’m a little surprised Byrne didn’t make the clerkbot look like Rog-2000.

  22. The Dreamer

    Somewhere up there must be Batiuk’s other book, which he thought should have gotten his second Pulitzer nomination:

    ‘My name is Funky…And I’m an alcoholic’

    Yes that’s an actual book (by the same publishers as Lisa’s Story)) but maybe not one TomBat fondly remembers

  23. erdmann

    1) I’m disappointed. I expected the store to be run by Loathsome Lillian’s preserved head in a jar. Maybe it’s stored inside the robot’s chest cavity.
    2) I see the cover of “Westview” features a picture of the park gazebo. That’s a nice touch, I guess.
    3) I finally figured out what it was that really bothered me about the “solar scooter.” No, not the misspelling of Skyler, nor the fact it was patterned after a toy designed by Phil Holt and made from the gun used to kill Jessica’s father, John Darling, who was murdered. It’s the fact that it doesn’t look like a “scooter” at all. Scooters should look fun, playful, maybe even a bit sexy. Batty’s bulbous monstrosity looks less like a Vespa and more like a flying version of The Homer.

  24. Y. Knott

    Dear Marvel and DC editors of 50 years ago who turned down Tom Batiuk for a writing gig:

    Man, did you ever make the right call!

    Yours truly,
    Everyone who has read his subsequent work.

  25. Wow. That’s… really something. The self-congratulation is so thick that you could insulate houses with it.

    • Paul Jones

      It’s accompanied by self-pity. He genuinely seems to believe he’s being bullied. The best way to explain the thought-process is how Batom Comics went bust. Y’see, the last title they came up with was a blatant and obvious attempt to plagiarize a Spider-Man analog and their defense appears to have been that they should have been allowed to do so as they couldn’t come up with an idea that was both original and good. The company they ripped off won so hard, the scoreboard turned to diamond.

  26. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    Here’s my prediction for the final strip. At least some of us can keep our minds out of the gutter!

    • Cheesy-kun

      Well done, Mr Drunkenbeard. Perhaps Dinkle is just outside of the shot in panel
      three, curled up asleep and wearing nothing more than a Rose Bowl Parade tattoo.

  27. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    After reading this dreck I wanna pierce my brain!

  28. Paul Jones

    We knew he’d shill the Big Awful Self-Indulgent Book that he’s still wishing had gotten him the recognition he craves. This is another reason for that someone called vitriol: his idiotic Gary Stu-ing.

    Also, the idea behind the burnings seems to be based on an arts major’s idea of what an IT person would do to obsolete media formats: witlessly destroy them so that they cannot be played back if needed.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      To be fair, that happened a lot in the early days of TV. They “wiped” recordings to reuse the medium, because (a) broadcast-quality recording media was expensive, and (b) it was also bulky, meaning it was hard to find room to store everything. A lot of early TV programs are lost for this reason.

      • Paul Jones

        But we don’t do that any longer…..because valuable data got lost that way. Also, torching a manual? Not on. Not done.

      • The Duck of Death

        Okay. This future is either intended to be dystopian or utopian, but the author’s incompetence prevents us from knowing his intention. In this dys/utopian future, books have been burned in The Burning, although bookstores with clearly marked signs have been missed.

        Why are books being burned, with all the attendant smoke, soot and carbon dioxide production? Does this not contribute to the dread Climate Damage? Why have the books not been pulped to create cardboard, or perhaps carbon for compost/fertilizer?

        [Forehead drops softly to bang gently on desk] Why do I ask? Why do I ask when I know there is no answer?

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          You’ve captured the conundrum so perfectly. Batiuk shows you a bunch of plot points that contradict each other, and then just plows ahead with it all.

          Summer, whose only “famous” trait is being an author, is famous in a world where books are burned! But in that world, you can acquire books by traveling to the “outskirts” only a few miles away! To a bookstore that survived the burnings despite having “village bookstore” on their sign for three generations! And you can be surprised to find a book about Lisa, even though you were looking for a book that was already 90% about Lisa! And you have to go to a bookstore to buy a book even though some kind of computer-less screen-reading technology exists!

          All you can do is laugh at it.

    • “This is another reason for that someone called vitriol”

      Jesus Christ, I wasn’t saying you couldn’t be hostile to Batiuk! I’m plenty hostile to Batiuk! I’m so hostile to Batiuk that I started commenting in a community that is all about being hostile to Batiuk! I was pointing out that I had asked a factual question and instead of getting an answer I was getting people screaming “Batiuk sucks! Batiuk sucks! Batiuk sucks!” at me over and over again. I didn’t object to that because I in any way disagree that Batiuk sucks or because I at all mind hearing that Batiuk sucks, I objected to it because it didn’t actually answer the factual question I had asked!

      Said question, by the way, being an attempt to more fully comprehend the extent of Batiuk’s suckiness. You know, so I could actually be in on the joke? I really didn’t think that would turn out to be so controversial.

  29. Of course this would devolve into a week-long commercial for the bestest best book ever written, one that survived “all the burnings”: Strike Four!

    I’m actually laughing at the possibility that the book is opened on Friday and on Saturday, it’ll be revealed to be nothing but a thought in 2007 Lisa’s mind as she’s on her deathbed in the ICU. Effectively rendering all of Act III (and all of Crankshaft but who cares lol?) to have been nothing more than a long dream contained in the comatose mind of the greatest, most saintly comic strip character to ever exist.


  30. Angusmac

    The robot’s face in panel three is truly frightening. It seems to be thinking, “Yes weak pathetic human pick this book, soon our metal master race will corrupt you beyond all hope, and our complete domination over the meat-sacks will be complete!”

  31. Rusty Shackleford

    Thank goodness, only a few more days of this Batty fellateing strip.

  32. Gerard Plourde

    1. For a Post-apocalyptic and apparently abandoned part of the world, the exterior and interior of Lillian’s bookstore seem remarkably well maintained.

    2. Has Lillian’s consciousness been transferred into the robot? Probably not. That would be a relatively creative twist.

    3. Perhaps the apocalyptic event was confined to Centerville and, similar to the Motel of Mysteries, was triggered by a deluge of junk mail seed catalogues thanks to Crankshaft’s addiction.

  33. Hannibal’s Lectern

    Quite an “unsold remainders” rack in Lilliopsaurus’s store. But what’s “Ball Four,” a reasonably successful book, doing on it?

  34. Hannibal’s Lectern

    In the omitted-due-to-space-constraints fourth panel, the robot is grabbing the copy of “Dead St. Lisa’s Story” from the shelf and muttering, “Damn, another one that escaped The Burning. Where do they keep coming from?”

  35. Annie bee

    The ideas of the last month have been so terrible. But somehow what’s making me pound my head on my desk this week are the terrible representations of humanoid dialogue and behavior.

    When Summergranddaughter asked “Is this what I think it is?” her mom/older sister/girlfriend said “yes, it’s an antiquarian bookstore.” Why in the heck would the taller woman imagine that smaller woman was correcting intuiting it was a bookstore? When it looks like an in-law apartment over a suburban garage? When she literally had not yet seen the sign for the store?

    Why did taller woman have to point out that she had “checked” that they have a copy? When she had literally just said that she had “located” a copy? And…. Since we’re gleefully nitpicking here…. “check” is a word you use when you are pretty sure of finding something somewhere. Like, “I checked, and the drugstore does have mint flavored floss.” Not what you say when you have found something rare or precious.

    Apparently, what with the burnings and all, it’s difficult to find a tree copy of a famous book. But at the same time, it’s easy for taller woman to “check” ahead of time that they have a copy (by phone or email or text or pigeon)… but also at the same time, they have to physically go to the store to pick it up. Maybe the postal system has collapsed, but there’s no gig-based economy of people delivering goods?

    *whomp* *whomp* (head to desk)(pain)(befuddlement).

    • Perfect Tommy

      I like how the WEST-E (Westview Environmental Support Transporter Earth class) bot has just been abandoned at a derelict book store. Huge Logan’s Run vibe here.

  36. Annie bee

    I wrote a much longer rant than I ever have before, and I’m afraid it landed in a spam filter. Can someone check, please?
    I’d hate to have wasted all that time on sharing my thoughts on this waste of time story, Funky Winkerblerg. (Of course SOSF is never a waste of time. The best example of a silk purse made out of a sows ear I know of.)

  37. Professor Fate

    Few quick points
    1) Isn’t anyone going to fix this sign?
    2) So this is a book store on the outskirts of whatever mega city these nameless pair live? Looks pretty good for a deserted building and what the hell is the deal with the robot.
    3) Having Lisa’s story show up was as inevitable as the tides and as depressing as oh any depressing thing one could think of. This this may explain why the art is, well, not very good bordering on awful. I can imagine Bryne got the note from TB saying “and Lisa’s Story is on the shelf!!!!” and he just gave up. “Sure Tom whatever you say.”
    4) This strip is ending with the author of the strip writing fan fiction about the strip. It’s a mobius loop of dumb.
    5) I’m not sure how far into the future this is but modern books are simply not built to last – especially not in a place that one presumes had to deal with fire and flood and loss of heat and the like not to mention things that eat paper and paste. If this is a 100 years in the future or so unless these books were actively preserved chances are the pages have yellowed and are brittle to the point of crumbling to dust at a touch and the covers well be falling off. It’s why older comic books need to be sealed not, handled like they’ve done in the strip, they were never intended to last, hell the oil from you fingers can damage them.
    6) and not Tom this is not Science Fiction – this is pure fantasy and not a good fantasy at least not for the reader.

    • Of course it’s the 136th reprinting of Lisa’s Story, the only book Kent State University can continue to print out and the only possible revenue generator for that storied institution.

    • The Duck of Death

      #1 is a very good point. In this abandoned bookstore, which somehow survived The Burnings, there is a dedicated robot powered up and waiting to serve up books on request. Yet the robot has not either fixed the sign (to show that the bookstore still exists and he is ready to serve up books) nor removed the sign (so that it won’t draw the attention of The Burners who somehow missed it the first time round).

      Once again, as astronomers of old looked into the Milky Way and despaired of ever cataloging the stars in their millions, we gaze at Funky Winkerbean and know that we could never, even if we had a lifetime to do it, catalog the mistakes, idiocies, and self-contradictions of Batiuk’s all-encompassing incompetence.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Fridge logic: the robot can’t repair the sign because it can’t go down the stairs to do it. But that raises the question of how it got into Lillian’s attic in the first place.

        • William Thompson

          The robot was made from a kit, delivered to the garage, carried upstairs one piece at a time and assembled in the bookstore. By the looks of it, the instruction manual was left in the garage.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            Assembled by who, though? Societies that burn books aren’t too tolerant of those who try to distribute them.

  38. sully

    I don’t know what I hate more, Funky Winkerbean, or the fact it’ll be dead and gone in a few days, eliminating the opportunity to inform the world how much I hate it. Either way, damn you Batiuk.

  39. be ware of eve hill

    Today, Batiuk achieved the extremely rare “be ware of eve hill” reaction trifecta:
    1.) Choking while drinking my tea. Does that count as a spit-take?
    2.) Causing me to throw up my hands and exclaim, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!”
    3.) A full two-minute head desk, complete with fist pounding on the desktop.

    Well done, Tom. You got me. Shamelessly using the final days of the strip to hawk Lisa’s Story. I should have seen it coming. At conventions, I bet you pull your little red Radio Flyer wagon filled to the brim with your books to force upon an innocent public.

    By featuring the book several decades into the future, are you trying to imply Lisa’s Story is a timeless masterpiece? That’s some big ego, Tom. /s

    Too bad you wrote yourself into a corner by mentioning “the burning”. You could have had the gals jump into the Skyler Mobile and tootle off to the Centerville Public Library, where they could visit the “Tom Batiuk Wing”.

    Today’s strip makes me want to travel to Le Château Batiuk, ring his doorbell and hit him over the nose with a rolled up newspaper.
    TB: (opens door) Hello?
    Me: No! No! Bad Batty! No!

    • be ware of eve hill

      Speaking of dogs, I used to have a delightful little Westie “MacDuff”, named after Mr. bwoeh’s family clan. While walking MacDuff, I often let him lead the way. I sometimes used the phrase “Lead on MacDuff”. That’s the phrase my Mom often jokingly used when she wanted someone to show her the way.

      The phrase is actually “Lay on MacDuff” from Macbeth. I took Brit Lit in high school.

      I wish I had a dollar for every time a passerby corrected me while walking Mac. You want me to say, “Lay on MacDuff”? Was I supposed to be telling my dog to attack me? Prepare to fight to the death? Fight my little snookums? Not bloody likely.

      Anyhoo, where was I going with this? In the final strip (10/27/2007) of the Great Moments In FW Arc Recap History, Epicus featured today, Les is quoted saying, “Lead on MacDuff”.

      I’d let it go, but Cindy’s and Summer’s asskissery of Les disturbs me. Don’t flatter him. Les, his royal smugness, is wrong. Lord of Language, my hiney.

      • The Duck of Death

        THANK you! This is what I was getting at yesterday.

        I don’t think any more or less of someone if they do, or don’t, know Shakespeare. I don’t think any less of someone if they get a quote wrong. Some of these wrong quotes are virtually idioms in themselves.

        I DO think les(s) of someone who is trying to show off his erudition, chooses to use a quote that could be verified with an 8-second Google search, and gets it wrong, and then is super smug about it.

        I think a LOT less of that person.

        Especially when that person is being paid for the work and famously has an 11-month lead time. He has time to get these things right (names of his own characters, names of his collaborators, spelling of English words, basic grammar, etc). He chooses not to, for reasons I cannot fathom.

        • be ware of eve hill

          Hi, there. I’m looking to commiserate with another person who made the unfortunate decision to subscribe to Comics Kingdom within the past year.

          After the new discussion platform OpenWeb was implemented, I reported a few issues via “Report a Bug” to CK Tech Support.

          I complained about:

          1.) The COMMENT button disappearing from the Favorites page. Instead of navigating to a comic’s discussion in one click, it now takes three. Each comic’s COMMENT button on the Favorites page also indicated how many comments were in the discussion. I now find myself often navigating to empty discussions.

          There is presently a COMMENT button is on each comic’s page. It has the big time function of scrolling down one page (or less) to the start of the comments. /s

          Why isn’t it on the Favorites page, where it was actually useful. A Disqus feature I liked and a subscriber perk down the drain.

          2.) Not a big fan of the need to manually expand replies to read them. I never had to do that with Disqus. What are they saving with this?

          3.) Sorting comments by “Best” (most popular) simply does not work. Sort by upvotes. It’s not rocket surgery. Disqus handled it perfectly.

          This evening marks four weeks since submitting my problem ticket. It is still marked PENDING.

          Why is taking so long for them to address the issues I have reported. The code for the COMMENT button is on each comic’s page. What is the big deal about reimplementing it on the Favorites page under each comic? Wouldn’t it navigate to the same place?

          I believe you said you’re not renewing your annual subscription. I have to agree. My resubscribe-o-meter is at 10% and falling. In case I forget to cancel at the end of June, I have fudged my credit card info.

          Here’s the part I think you might get a kick out of. The CSR appended the following conversation to my problem ticket. Why? I have no idea.

          Comics Kingdom Editorial
          02/Dec/22 5:16 PM
          Hi! Ive sent a bunch of requests to please send technical issues to the technical team, not editorial. We are not the ones who manage these.

          Courtney, CCing you so you can see the kinds of issues that are getting assigned to me. Thank you so much!

          Tea Fougner | Editorial Director, Comics
          King Features, a unit of Hearst
          300 West 57th Street, New York, NY 10019
          212.969.7589 |
          Pronouns: She/Her or They/Them
 | | @KingFeatures

          Tea Fougner a.k.a. Tea Berry-Blue, or Mint Berry Crunch as you like to call her/them, was getting hit with all kinds of technical complaints from readers. I guess it sometimes sucks to be the public face of KFS. 🤣

          • The Duck of Death

            Agree with you one jillion percent. It’s just no fun at all there. They fixed what wasn’t broke. The only thing that was actually broken was the censorbot, which would shadowban your comment for words like “organ” (making it very difficult to comment on the St Spires arc), and then allow Double Sided Scooby Snack to publish extended gay slashfic fantasies about Ayers and Batiuk, just because he hadn’t used the forbidden words.

            Naturally, they didn’t fix that. They did break everything else.

            I also don’t see the point in clicking and clicking and clicking just to find that there’s no discussion on a given comic. I don’t bother any more. And I’m sad to lose the archives of all those fun discussions we had.

            It seems the usability of the internet for posting peaked a little after 2000 and has been going downhill since then. But I’m an oldster who still misses Usenet, so what do I know?

            Anyhoo, no tears for Mintberry Crunch’s inbox. She’s sure not editing anything, nor is she promoting anything via social media or doing anything it seems an “editorial director” should; what on earth does she do? She couldn’t do a worse job of IT than whoever’s in charge over there. Maybe she should pitch in.

          • The Duck of Death

            I just replied to you, bwoeh, complaining about the failing HAL9000 unit they used to have moderating Disqus comments at CK, and how innocent words used to get comments caught in Perma-Moderation, never to see the light of day.

            My comment got auto-modded.


          • Banana Jr. 6000

            I’ve worked in an IT help desk or help desk-adjacent role almost all of my adult life. To put it mildly, complaining about internal ticket handling in a way that customers can see it is unacceptable behavior. I’ve had five major employers in 24 years, and all five of them would have chewed my ass for that.

            To say nothing of Comics Kingdom’s past outages and other long-running problems. Or Tea Fougner’s role as “editor of Funky Winkerbean” when it clearly hasn’t been edited in decades and she has unlimited time to screw around on Twitter.

            Past threads have linked to articles outlining where you can get your favorite newspaper comics without having to use Comics Kingdom. I advise using those instead. Comics Kingdom is incompetent, and there’s no evidence that’s going to change.

          • be ware of eve hill

            @Duck. It appears folks are getting booted off OpenWeb. Booted off for snarking?

            Look at poor @Grozar’s profile (He was listed as one of the names upvoting one of my posts, and I clicked on his name to see his profile). Apparently, he can vote on posts, but can’t make any posts himself.

            His profile reads, Sadly, Zeke the GREAT and COLORFUL dog and I miss posting with all of you. I’ve been banned by a merciless, tyrannical military industrial complex leader. I still read and upvote your comments. Bye.

            That really upsets me. For as long as I can remember, @Grozar was posting on Funky Winkerbean and Crankshaft. So sad.

            If I thought I could get any money back, I’d cancel my subscription immediately.

          • be ware of eve hill

            I’ve noticed Arcamax has many CK titles.

            It’s a crime that I’m paying the same amount for Comics Kingdom and GoComics. It’s not even close.

            GoComics has a lot more titles and the comment links on my favorites page work.

    • sorialpromise

      I can see the headline now: “Coloradan Woman Arrested for Trying to Knock Some Sense into Tom Batiuk!” In much smaller print: “released for lack of evidence.”
      Of course, being a proper grandmother, you could buy each grandkid their own personal autographed copy of “Lisa’s Story.”
      But what the frell do I know?
      Lay on MacDuff!

      • be ware of eve hill

        Coloradan? Somebody made the wrong turn at Albuquerque. 😜

        No court would ever convict me.

        No way. I wouldn’t buy a copy of Lisa’s Story if it meant world peace.

        MacDuff used to sleep on my bed with me. I had to be careful not to “Lay on MacDuff”.

    • Professor Fate

      (and in an Arlo Guthrie voice)
      Imagine if ten people, ten people a day walked up rang his door bell and hit him over the nose saying “No! No. Bad Batty! No!”

      it is to dream I guess.

  40. William Thompson

    So here we are, witnessing the moment when Nameless Granddaughter finds the inspiration to write Ninny Summer’s biography. Yes, it’s Lisa’s Story! The most potent and inspirational text ever penned! Still infesting the world! Able to place its creative spirit in even the emptiest mind of the most vapid of mere girls!

  41. William Thompson

    Fahrenheit 451? A Canticle For Liebowitz? The Foundation series? I think the book we need to talk about here is “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” Remember the scene where McMurphy enters the psych ward and gets in a competition with the alpha inmate for the title of Head Bull Loony? That’s Batiuk, trying to out-crazy all of us. Quantum Leap! Mind-nudging! Algorithms! Flying gunmetal cars! Roboclerks! Overnight social paradigm changes! I guess that if you can’t find a good way to end a strip, you need to find an ending so deranged that future generations of comic-book historians will write journal articles about it.

    • The Duck of Death

      I like your theory, but I doubt that’s really the case.

      First, it’s hard to credit that Puffy would intentionally piss all over his own legacy (such as it is): A strip that was once well-liked, that ran for over 50 years, that was nominated for a Pulitzer. He’s not a man who takes himself lightly. He believes he is making Art for the Ages. That’s why I don’t think he’d tear it all up on purpose.

      I could be wrong. Maybe he’s mad that things somehow haven’t gone his way with the syndicate, and he’s not just taking his ball and going home, he’s puncturing his ball so no one can ever play with it again, so there.

      But even if that were the case, none of this rises to the level of inspired derangement. It’s just the kind of ineptitude that (pace our many fine self-published writers here) can be found in self-published, un-edited, un-proofread works all over Amazon. Just plain incompetent work.

      At best, this will be mentioned with a melancholy shake of the head, in the same breath as the last year of Frank Bolle’s work on Apartment 3-G. Bolle was 91 when he put down his pen. What’s Puff Batty’s excuse?

      • I could be wrong. Maybe he’s mad that things somehow haven’t gone his way with the syndicate, and he’s not just taking his ball and going home, he’s puncturing his ball so no one can ever play with it again, so there.

        Isn’t this exactly what he did with John Darling?

        • The Duck of Death

          Yes, and no.

          Killing John Darling didn’t undo, or make an incoherent mockery of, everything that had come before. It was abrupt, then the strip ended immediately.

          This horsecrap doesn’t in any way make FW unresurrectable. It’s simply a flash-forward (or dream, or peyote vision, or death throes of an oxygen-starved brain, or whatever).

          The “present time” still exists as it was and can, and certainly will, be picked up in Centerville.

          • Green Luthor

            There’s another significant difference: the John Darling ending was to salt the earth, so to speak, because he was in a disagreement with the syndicate over the ownership of the strip. So he figured if he couldn’t have it, he’d leave them with an unusable property. (That the syndicate could get around his ending in countless ways – including just not running his final strips – doesn’t seem to have occurred to him, I think.)

            But the syndicate doesn’t own Funky Winkerbean, Batiuk does. The copyright notice on the strips are for “Batom, Inc.”, with “North America Syndicate, Inc.” listed as the distributor. Other strips on Comics Kingdom are listed as “(c) North American Syndicate, Inc.” alone. Those, the syndicate owns, and can do whatever they want with them. They can’t do anything with Funky, because they don’t own it, just like they don’t own Crankshaft (hence why Batiuk could take it to a different syndicate).

            Basically, if Batiuk is trying to pull a John Darling and make the property unusable, the only person he’s affecting is himself. No one else could do anything with the property without him, even if they wanted to.

      • William Thompson

        Yeah. It’s more likely he believes he’s giving us a dazzling glimpse of what the future could be, if we were all more like his characters . . . his morose, humorless, smug characters. More likely, and more pathetic.

        • Gerard Plourde

          I’m inclined to go with the theory that he (incomprehensibly) thinks he’s doing something creatively cutting edge.

          If ever there was an example of the necessity of an editor to talk a writer through the creative process, this definitely qualifies.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            That’s my theory too. He just said in one of his puff pieces that he’s definitely “putting a bow on Funky Winkerbean” and not “making a train wreck”, when most of us can see the two engines steaming towards each other.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      Well, Les Moore once taught *Moby-Dick* and Randle Patrick McMurphy wore underwear depicting whales…

      In a profile of General William Dean in *Midcentury,* the highest-ranking U.S. P.O.W. in the Korean War, John Dos Passos says that there were no successful escapes from Chinese prison camps during that conflict. Yet McMurphy won a Distinguished Service Cross for leading an escape from one!

      Artistic license?

  42. be ware of eve hill

    Epicus, I love how you’ve been presenting the link to the current day’s FW strip lately. By using the one word “today,” you seem to imply a certain amount of disdain. The word isn’t even capitalized.

    I picture you holding the strip arm’s length away using only your thumb and forefinger. You’re using the thumb and forefinger on your other hand to pinch your nose to avoid the stench.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Thanks, but that is TFH lol. A note: we’ve been getting a shit load of comments this week and the filter gets a little wonky. I’ll approve them as soon as I see them.

    • sorialpromise

      An Ode to Eve Hill
      That glistened brow expecting her riders
      Arriving on Friday, tis my birthday.
      No pranks today upon dear Eve’s husband
      Only joy for son and to her grandkids,
      Unspeakable, and it’s full of glory.
      Through SOSF, our parting is such sweet sorrow
      “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
      You know on earth, and all you need to know.”
      (Keats to the left of me. Stealers Wheel to the right
      Here I am stuck in the middle with you!
      [apologies: no actual urns were hurt in the actual writing process]

      • be ware of eve hill

        Thank you.

        Through SOSF, our parting is such sweet sorrow
        Let’s not write the epitaph yet. Let’s give the hosts a chance to come up with a new discussion platform.

        I’ve heard from my son a couple of times today. They’re on the way and spending the night in Texas. (happy dance)

        • sorialpromise

          Happy dance In Missouri also!
          I was going to post the Ode on Saturday, but I hope you will be too busy to read.
          1. I enjoyed your discussion with Duck of Death over Comics Kingdom. I read about 8 of their dailies. Very unfriendly setup. I won’t read Crankshaft after Saturday.
          2. Batiuk has an ability to amaze us in the worst way possible. I will not miss him.
          3. Lay on MacDuff.

  43. “Like any long-running institution, Funky Winkerbean has its detractors – commentators who snark online, sometimes hilariously, about its mopey tone…” Thanks, Toledo Library!

    • Green Luthor

      “Batiuk still draws each daily strip from his home in Medina.”

      Really, there’s nothing I could add to that.

    • Dood

      That Toledo Library article is one of the most refreshingly honest assessments of Tommy Maudlin’s work that I’ve come across. “Finally ending”? “So Long, Winkerbean,” indeed.

      The Washington Post and New York Times? Just bottom-kissers in the media mold of William B. Williams.

      • Professor Fate

        The national reporters were just taking down what he was saying verbatim to fill column inches I doubt they had even read the strip or gave a damn. `

      • ComicBookHarriet

        Refreshingly honest… yet also woefully inaccurate.

        “some of its recurring settings are based on real establishments in Akron and Strongsville”
        Luigi’s is in Akron, and Ground Zero Comics is in Strongsville, but I’d say most settings are drawn from either Elyria or Medina.

        “Batiuk still draws each daily strip from his home in Medina”
        Batiuk hasn’t drawn the strip in YEARS.

        “Harry Dinkle’s doomed struggle to win a band championship”
        Dinkle won so many band competitions Harley thought he’d won an award.

        But he is right in that the Peanuts influence is STRONG in Act I, and that we are hilarious.

        • be ware of eve hill

          I lived in Strongsville for a few years after college. For the life of me, I couldn’t think of what Strongsville establishment was featured in FW. A comic book store, go figure.

          Thanks for clearing that up.

        • Epicus Doomus

          This is quite interesting, and one of the first “real” FW articles I’ve ever seen. And it arrives three days before the strip ends. Now THAT is Batiukian.

    • Y. Knott

      Eric P — now known to thousands as Toledo’s foremost library-based Funky Winkerbean analyst!

  44. sorialpromise

    Even his supporters identify his mopey tone. Well, that’s high praise for you!

  45. Hitorque

    1. So do electronic books exist in the future or no?? What about Amazon?

    2. Okay if this is Summer’s granddaughter and daughter (or daughter-in-law) then the year is maybe around 2070?? So in other words this historical antique time might not be even 50 years old?!

    3. Since books have clearly been re-legalized since the burnings and purges, then the reprinting of old books must be a booming business, right?? So why the need to go to some underground antique shop to buy an original? And why couldn’t mom have simply gone to the shop and bought the book herself, get it gift-wrapped and just delivered it to her daughter at home, you know, like a normal human being?

    4. So Summer never wrote another book?! She didn’t even follow her father Lester’s example by writing the same basic story again and reselling it under a new title?

  46. Charles

    And of course Summer’s book is entitled “Westview”, taken together with “Lisa’s Story”, we see that Batiuk allots no more than 2 seconds thinking up titles for his in-strip books.

  47. sorialpromise

    1. I realize that TB is advertising his own books, but I notice that he did not put any of Lillian’s books on the shelf. Isn’t this her house?
    2. As for the robot: it looks in the back to have wheels to accommodate stairs and steps.
    3. I hope TB is not paying Byrne professional prices. These characters are so poorly drawn. That jaw is hugely malformed. As for the purple woman: I notice that we are all guessing if it is mom, sister, or girlfriend. I sure can’t tell. Maybe it isn’t even female. But so far, there are no recognizable males. I think that is already a 60 issue graphic novel: Y the Last Man.
    4. The fashion may not be Byrne’s fault. But whoever designed the clothes and jackets sure doesn’t know women. Can’t you just hear them asking: “Does this make me look fat?”

    • Of course John Byrne only did this for a mere paycheck, he was probably micromanaged by Tom to draw them in a specific way (with the jawlines and lack of detail) and John merely played along because no one who actively follows his actual work reads this comic.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        That’s my theory as to why Rob Ro and Thom Zahler made all those stupid Sunday comic book covers. They’re freelance artists, and it’s in their nature to accept incoming work. Batiuk loves to name-drop all these renowned comic book artists he works with, but they just take his money because his checks clear. Nobody’s going to fault them for drawing what the client told them to draw. And it’s obvious the content, writing, and composition are 100% Batiuk. It’s a good gig for them, really.

  48. The Duck of Death

    Last week I ranted about Crankshaft getting everything wrong about gardening. Now it seems to be getting things right. Today, there’s a moderately funny strip in which Crankshaft ogles a centerfold of a telescoping tree pruner, continuing yesterday’s theme of treating the Bean’s End catalogue like forbidden pornography.

    In past arcs, he’s botched the name of pretty much every piece of equipment. This week, he nailed the correct name. Last year, every gardening implement seemed to be used for committing arboricide. This year, a pruner is shown pruning.

    I can’t help but ask again: Is someone ghostwriting Crankshaft? Because I can’t believe that Bats is suddenly interested in getting things right. Maybe gardeners wrote in to correct him, but even then, wouldn’t he just chuckle to himself and say, “It’s called writing”?