(Winker)Bean’s End

December 27, 2022 at 10:48 pm
Of course, he has to end this with one last shill for “Lisa’s Story.” That is 100% on brand.

The last Funky Winkerbean comic.

Back at their futuristic pad, Summer’s daughter (whose name we are destined never to know) admonishes her “sweetie” that it’s bedtime. Again, how old is this kid, that she needs to be told it’s time for bed? I’m thinking about ComicBookHarriet’s comment the other day about how “John Byrne, famously, struggled with drawing children.” Something else Byrne struggles with today is making Summer’s daughter appear feminine. Look at that man-face in panel 2. Jhayzus. Has Byrne inscribed some secret, hidden text in those weird, script-y eyebrows?

“It’s time to retire,” all right. In panel 3, the lighting has gone from warm tones to cool blues; no doubt because the House of the Future knows too that it is bedtime, and adjusts the lights to soothe. Lisa of the Future glances back at The Book, as she walks with her mom, who in her white robe resembles a man-faced angel, one arm around the child’s shoulder, and the other pointing to the tombatiuk.com/books URL in the margin. “The books will still be there tomorrow,” she intones, paraphrasing what St. Lisa told her Sparky when he fretted endlessly about turning Lisa’s Story into a movie.

Something else that will still be t/here tomorrow is this blog, though it won’t be updated every day. I’ve had a month and a half to prepare for Funky Winkerbean‘s finale, but I never imagined I’d feel anything besides relief that it’s coming to an end. It’s been incredibly gratifying to read in the comments how much it’s meant to many of you to have this forum; I’m happy to have been a part of bringing it to you. My most heartfelt thanks once again to all of you, to Epicus and the team. Please do continue to come back here and find out what’s happening. Act IV starts now…



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

302 responses to “(Winker)Bean’s End

  1. sorialpromise

    On hearing Mr. Batiuk published his last strip
    1. “My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.” Gerald Ford
    2. “Oh, it was meant to be. It just wasn’t meant to last.” Kate McGahan
    3. “And tonight we held each other, one last time, like a dance to a slow song on an empty floor,
    underneath a single disco ball in front of no one at all.” Phil Volatile
    4. “Friends applaud. The comedy is finished.” Ludwig van Beethoven
    5. “Go on, get out – last words are for fools who have not yet said enough!” Karl Marx
    6. “Shoot straight, you bastards!” Harry ( Breaker) Morant
    7. “So long, and thanks for all the fish!” Douglas Adams
    A hearty farewell, and deep respect for T.F. Hackett, Epicus Doomus, the ComicBookHarriet,
    BillytheSkink, SpacemanSpiff85, Banana Jr. 6000, and BeckoningChasm.
    I am so proud to be associated with:
    Be Ware of Eve Hill, the Queen of the Aisle, the Princess of Tales, Our Winter Duchess who is well-meant,
    but absolutely no discontent
    Anonymous Sparrow so erudite
    The Duck of Death-who has been on fire lately!
    Cheesy-kun Shiba
    Y. Knott
    Gerard Plourde
    Hannibal’s Lectern
    J.J. O’Malley
    Rusty Shackleford
    There are so many others that I am grateful for. Every one of you have blessed my life with humor, wit,
    insight, literature, film, and music.
    Thank you and God bless us everyone!

    • Cheesy-Kun Shiba

      Thank you, sorialpromise. It’s an honor to make your roll call! Hope to “see” you on the side (of FW)!

    • Any one of those seven quotations would have made an excellent post title! I couldn’t be happier to have SorialPromise as part of this thing of ours. God bless.

    • You were among the best of us, please, and proudly, take your place with us. And thank you.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Thanks SP! ❤ see you in Act IV!

      • Cheesy-Kun Shiba

        ComicBookHarriet!! You named me, for which I’ll be forever in your debt.

      • sorialpromise

        I came late to the SOSF party. Yet I was blessed to rapidly enter into a CBH arc. That cemented my attendance. Research. Snark. Legendary pictures of you as slave girl Leia. Wow! I was not leaving this crowd!

        “Only one thing [OR NOTHING] in the world could’ve dragged me away from the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window.” Apologies to “Christmas Story”
        You are loved, ComicBookHarriet. 🔻🔺

        • Ray

          Wait, what?!

          “ Legendary pictures of you as slave girl Leia”

          I was hooked by the research, snark, and personal anecdotes.

    • spacemanspiff85

      Thank you, I feel special being on that list. 🙂

      • sorialpromise

        You are definitely special, my friend!

      • spacemanspiff85, you’ve been a solid, reliable contributor who marveled and mused along with the rest of us at the fresh hell that was every day’s new Funky Winkerbean strip. Thank you for stepping up when we invited you to the roster. You had me at the Calvin and Hobbes inspired handle. Thank you.

    • billytheskink

      Thank you so very much for the kind words, SorialPromise.

    • J.J. O'Malley

      Cushlamachree, I made the list! Cheers back at you, sorialpromise, and to all the other fine folk who made this site the Westview equivalent of the Algonquin Round Table.

      “Something else Byrne struggles with today is making Summer’s daughter appear feminine”, TFH? I think he’s just following in the FW tradition of making the Moore women sometimes resemble Moore men. Thanks, though, for shepherding us through our final moments in the Land of Bad Pizza, Cancer, Band Candy, and Silver Age Flash Comics.

      Now, when can we start up a new community where we all meet every Wednesday night at 10:30 and snark on the weekly installment of “Gearhead Gertie.” If I’m reading that strip correctly, I think she’s some kind of NASCAR fan.

      • sorialpromise

        You were always a highlight of the day! I also enjoyed seeing your comments on Comics Kingdom.

        “the Westview equivalent of the Algonquin Round Table.” You describe this site so well!

    • Gerard Plourde

      Thank you, SorialPromise, for counting me worthy of inclusion among your cast of commenters.

    • Y. Knott

      Genuinely surprised to see my name here on this list. There are so many great commenters here, who have more knowledge about the strip, and have had more insightful things to say about it than I possibly ever could!

      It’s been a treat to be part of this, and I’m looking forward to whatever “Act IV” of this site turns out to be.

      It looks like it’s NOT time to retire, because SoSF will still be here tomorrow!

      • sorialpromise

        You shouldn’t be surprised. You always hit at TB’s few strengths and logically described his many errors in a constructive way. You were always capable of seeing the humorous side.

    • The Duck of Death

      Right back atcha, sp!

      • sorialpromise

        I don’t think anyone felt Batiuk’s deadline stronger than you. When I read you, I sensed you were hoping to see some effort for closure made by Batiuk. Of course, there was none. To me, that was the worst. Then add in the lazy writing and the lazy artwork. FW is a master class on how not to spend a career.

    • RudimentaryLathe?

      Thank you SP! And thanks for the quote TFH!
      I love this place ❤️

    • Hannibal's Lectern

      I am honored to be included in SP’s “SoSF Rogues’ Gallery.” I shall try to not let this go to my head.

      On clicking the link this morning, knowing I was about to read the last “Funky” strip, and being about 98% certain he’d go out on the Dead St. Lisa book…

      “Let’s do it.” — Gary Gilmore’s final words before his execution)
      “You’ll feel better when it’s over.” — My dentist, before drilling
      “It’s for your own good.” — My dad, just before administering punishment

      • sorialpromise

        You say it best! “Let’s do it!” I enjoy you as a writer.

        • Hannibal's Lectern

          Home Depot uses an almost identical slogan: “Let’s do this.” I wonder if they started with the slogan “Let’s do it,” and then somebody remembered Gary Gilmore…

          But the Home Depot slogan will work as well, as long as “this” refers to organizing the Great Burning that finally destroys all copies of “Dead St. Lisa’s Story.”

    • Mela

      I am honored to make your list! Thank you to EVERYONE who has made this site possible. I have enjoyed snarking with every one of you, and I can’t wait to see what 2023 has in store for this site. Thanks also to T Batiuk and C Ayers for bringing us all together in such a bizarre but wonderful way. Happy New Year to all!

      • sorialpromise

        I was so glad you joined our call in. You were always interesting, knowledgeable, and pleasant to read.

  2. It just dawned on me that tonight (Friday) is my New Year’s Eve. Welcome snarkers!

    • Cheesy-Kun Shiba

      Happy NY’s Eve, TFH, and thank you, again.

      So long (until next week?) and thanks for all the fish!

    • KMD

      For decades, this strip was full of laughs and insights about navigating through high school. For far too long, the strip offered toxic nostalgia, Lisa’s endless story, TB patting himself on the back, bad puns, ghastly smirks, and bad comic books. Instead of ending with Funky or Dinkle or Crazy Harry….or even God help us Les, TB ended with Summer, a bad time travel dream and now this wasted week. TB highlighted and showcased the disease that killed a once popular comic strip.

      Despite its lengthy tenure, Funky was a AA strip at best and never quite got a cup of coffee or even a sniff of the majors.

      I haven’t been here long but this blog has been a highlight of my 2022. Thank you all. Happy new year and onto 2023 and Act IV.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Happy New Years Eve, TFH! I don’t know what in my random posts back in 2017 caused you to reach out to me, but I will be eternally grateful that you did.

      Seriously. I can’t thank you enough. Both for starting and running this place, and for giving me a chance to share the stage.

      • I don’t know what in my random posts back in 2017 caused you to reach out to me, but I will be eternally grateful that you did.

        Comic Book Harriet
        October 23, 2017 at 2:32 pm
        I think it’s only fair, since we rag on him so much, to actually point out when a strip works.

        Tom Hackett
        Mon, Oct 23, 2017, 2:43 PM
        to [Comic Book Harriet]

        Hi Comic Book Harriet,

        I just wanted to say thanks for reading and contributing to SoSF and in particular, sticking up for TB 🙂

        I enjoy reading your comments. Let me know if you have a blog and also if you’d ever like to do a guest author stint for a week or two. Believe it or not the roster’s already penciled in through the end of 2017, but I’m happy to extend an invite. Thanks again and stay Funky!

        • ComicBookHarriet’s contributions here at SoSF over the last five–FIVE–years served to ratchet up the content quality around here immeasurably. She has served as co-Senior Archivist (along with billytheskink) when it comes to dragging out those Act I and II strips that provide context and background for what’s become a scrambled strip universe. CBH has graced SoSF with the breadth and width of her cultural knowledge as well as her great good humor.

          • ComicBookHarriet

            I’m not crying. You’re crying.

            Stupid nits, getting in my beady eyes, making them water…

          • Epicus Doomus

            Agreed. At first, I thought “oh wow, she didn’t have to go THAT far to impress us!”, then I realized it wasn’t that at all. Some people just have a gift is all. Harriet fit right in, from day one, and delivered some of the most impressive SoSF posts of all time. Some of them were downright monumental. And she isn’t even finished yet!

    • spacemanspiff85

      Happy New Year’s! I want to copy CBH (ha, I wish I could copy the amount of detail and effort that was always in her posts) and thank you for letting me be part of this. As a longtime fan of comics, blogs, and comic blogs, being asked to be a guest author here is always going to very cool to me.

      • Epicus Doomus

        Every one of our guest authors was a unanimous choice. TFH usually suggested someone, I would agree, we’d ask around, and it always worked out perfectly. Can’t thank you all enough.

    • billytheskink

      TFHackett, I’m sure I and so many others have thanked you many many times for getting this site started and keeping the flame of the original Stuck Funky alive, but…

      Thank you. Again. Again and again.

      I’m sure none of us could have predicted back when you put SOSF together in 2010 that it would greatly surpass the original Stuck Funky in both lifespan and in depth and quality of commentary and discussion (with no disrespect to the original Stuck Funky, a great site with a lot of good discussion). So so many folks have made this amazing journey happen, but of course none of it happens without you, TFH.

      Thank you. Again and again. And again.

  3. Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The artist cannot hear the writer guy;
    Things fall apart; Centerville cannot hold
    The assholes now loosed upon the world.
    The dull-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of coherence is drowned;
    The best lack all subscriptions while the worst
    Are sure they’re getting that award this time.

    Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the Blessed Lisa is at hand.
    The Blessed Lisa! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Atomik Komix
    Troubles my sight: somewhere in halls of the high school
    A shape with Bull body and the head of Summer,
    A gaze blank and uh witless as the Hulk,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Reel shadows of the internet critic jerks.
    The darkness drops again; but now I know
    That fifty calenders of boring sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a nomination,
    And what smug Les, his hour come round at last,
    Smirks towards Centerville to be born?

    • We recognize Guest Author Emeritus beckoningchasm as a key contributor whose critiques of Batiuk’s works have been withering yet never uncalled for. Cheers, BC!

    • Mr. A

      And here I thought I was going to be original by repurposing a classic poem… 😝

      I met a traveller from an antique land
      Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs, stonework,
      Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
      Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose smirk,
      And lidded eyes, that promise puns at hand,
      Tell that its artist well those passions read
      Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
      The blogs that mocked them and the heart that fed:
      And on the pedestal these words appear:
      “My name is Battymandias, writing king:
      Look on my Lisa’s Story, and despair!”
      Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
      Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
      The lone and level sands stretch far away.

      • I believe it was Mr. A who schooled me in the ways of using base-16 decoding/encoding to get access to upcoming strips, without which SoSF’s team would never be able to compose posts ahead of time and publish daily and on time. Thanks!

        • Epicus Doomus

          Seconded. I guess it’s OK to admit it now, but for most of SoSF’s run, we had access to those upcoming strips, which enabled everyone to write the daily posts in batches, which made the entire thing possible. I remember having to wait until 10:30PM to see the next day’s strip, which complicated things, so having that advance access was invaluable, and possibly the most important tool in our snarking arsenal.

          And thanks to everyone who had that access for not breaking kayfabe and pretending you didn’t already know what would happen. Oh, it was tempting sometimes, but we always kept it real close to the vest, as they say.

          • The temptation for spoilers were so great…despite the fact that the “spoilers” were so, um, stupid…still, it was great to be a part of the Batiuk League.

          • And thanks to everyone who had that access for not breaking kayfabe and pretending you didn’t already know what would happen. Oh, it was tempting sometimes, but we always kept it real close to the vest, as they say.

          • Epicus Doomus

            There were a few accidental spoilers, when I or someone else would do a future post and forget to (eeep) do the date first, and suddenly Thursday’s post would go live on Monday for a few hours. But that was back before we drew hundreds of comments, so most of the time, no one noticed. And if they did, they were awfully polite about it.

        • Mr. A

          You’re welcome! Captain Gladys Stoatpamphlet chipped in as well.

      • sorialpromise

        Perfect adaptation!

      • Percy Byshe Sherry! “Oh, yes please!”

    • The Duck of Death

      Where is the high school? Where the staff?
      Where is the seller of pizza?
      Where are the stools at the counter?
      Where are the delivery cars?
      Alas for the green pitcher!
      Alas for the band box!
      Alas for the coffee of the mailman!
      How that time has passed away,
      Dark under the helm of night,
      As if it had never been!

      Here Funky is fleeting,
      Here snark is fleeting,
      Here Tom is fleeting,
      Here Chuck is fleeting.
      All the foundation of Westview
      Will become empty!

    • The Duck of Death

      “Things fall apart; Centerville cannot hold” — 😍

  4. William Thompson

    That’s one sinister face in the second panel. “It’s time to retire,” she tells the Nexus-5 who replaced her flesh-and-blood daughter. “Perhaps you will dream of electric sheep.”

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I found a better use for that second panel:

      • Outstanding! Alternately:

        • Epicus Doomus

          The black panel, the greatest individual Act III panel of them all. Man, that led to some great parody strips. I remember another one where Les and Funky were talking about Cory in Afghanistan, and the last panel was just the two of them sitting there stupidly, and it was just impossible to resist the urge to parody it. Fun times.

          • I looked for but couldn’t find archives from Dean’s Comic Booth, a great old comic snark blog featuring a bonanza of remixed strips. They featured a printable, cut-out black panel “on a stick” that you could use on an day’s FW.

            Here’s a remixed strip I found from Dean’s:

    • spacemanspiff85

      That face really looks like it belongs on DC’s New God Oberon, or maybe Marvel’s Pip the Troll. Or crop out the hair and put an eyepatch on it and you’ve got Nick Fury. I’m shocked there’s not a cigar sticking out of the mouth.

      • Epicus Doomus

        It’s just brutal. It’s totally removed from Funkyverse reality, it resembles nothing that came before.

        • spacemanspiff85

          I think either Ayers quit or Batiuk is just such a comics nerd he wanted Byrne to do the last week of his strip, which either way seems terrible and kind of sad to me. It’s also strange that this is the note and image the strip goes out on, since I’m sure Batiuk has had more attention on this week than he’s had in years. I’m sure lapsed readers would probably be thinking there was another time jump, or that was supposed to be Les or maybe Funky himself

        • William Thompson

          I have to disagree. There’s always been something off about the way Batiuk treated the children of his first-generation characters. And other kids, once he was into Act II. Lisa devoting her last months to making endless tapes for Summer, rather than spending her time and energy with her daughter. The time-jump that skipped ahead to Summer’s early teens. The way Les and Kabibble’s students were always shown as dolts. Skyler spent more time with his grandparents than with his parents (and along with his mother, vanished during that cross-country move). I think Byrne saw something unpleasant in that attitude, and it emerged in that picture.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        Took another stab in photoshop on this one. probably took a little too much implied age off the mom, and over softened the expression. But still. More pleasant to look at.

        • William Thompson

          It’s still scary. I think part of it is that she’s talking to her daughter as though she’s still a child, and not–what, sixteen? Seventeen?

      • Spiff has inspired me! Who else wants this on a t-shirt?

    • Hey William Thompson, let me tip the Funky chapeau your way. Your comments have just been rich. Thank you for all the laughs, keep snarking with us!

    • Sherry Chiger

      I figured it was supposed to be an unflattering depiction of whichever King Features editor shuttered the FW strip. And like all the others, I will miss you guys [sniffle].

    • Maybe Daughter of St. Lisa abuses Granddaughter of St. Lisa.

      • William Thompson

        That would be my guess. A normal mother would have given her child a gift-wrapped book. This one made a dramatic production of it. Plus, it’s a book about a mother with major problems. It’s just plain weird.

    • Bad wolf

      I was thinking it was perhaps our old friend T Berry, former “editor” (???) at CK:


  5. Epicus Doomus

    I realize that given the overall tone of SoSF, we would have hated ANY ending he dreamed up. And while that’s probably true, at least to a degree, I did believe he’d at least try to tug at the ol’ heartstrings a little bit, and wax nostalgic about the major players in his enormous cast of poorly-rendered characters. But he decided to do this instead. His final strip just firmly cements what we’ve all known for the last fifteen years, that Batiuk blew his “artistic” load with “Lisa’s Story” and, for the most part, stopped giving a shit after “LS” failed to become a global phenomenon and red-hot property.

    You could see the bitterness there, too. Those arcs where doing publicity for his book sent Les into a tailspin of humiliation, doubt and pissiness, the constant arcs about the “evils of Hollywood”, and the recent one where the “LS” movie bombed (due to studio ineptitude) and was later embraced by “the public”, they all reflected both his pride in his greatest achievement, and his disappointment with the aftermath. He just couldn’t let it go, and he never really tried anything truly “ambitious” again.

    And he ends his fifty-year run by once again reminding his readers that “LS” is a thing and you really should check it out if you haven’t already done so. To me, it’s just kind of sad and more than a little pitiful. The whole thing is a huge bummer if you ask me. It makes Act III seem even more pointless than it did before, which shouldn’t even be possible. For a guy who spent fifty years painstakingly avoiding even a hint of risk, he sure has a lot of balls. I hope he someday looks back on this farewell arc with embarrassment, but he never will.

    Thanks so much for all the plaudits and well-wishes! It’s been a pleasure serving you. Running a mean-spirited-yet-oddly civilized online community was honestly kind of easier than you might think it’d have been. No political arguments, no personal attacks, just FW snark, served hot, cold and sometimes lukewarm. It really was a lot of fun. Hope everyone has a very Happy New Year, and see you during award season!

    • “…a mean-spirited-yet-oddly civilized online community…”

      That sums up this place nicely, ED. I can’t to find out what happens here tomorrow.

    • Andrew

      if I ever read Lisa’s Story, I hope it’s from a beat up copy that was found buried in the pile at a local thrift store or Facebook Marketplace listing for ten bucks. Bonus points if I somehow find the whole trilogy boxset in that state, with Batiuk’s autograph.

    • Y. Knott

      I realize that given the overall tone of SoSF, we would have hated ANY ending he dreamed up….

      I saw instances where, on those rare, RARE occasions where Batiuk did something that made us laugh or got us thinking, we acknowledged it. Maybe grudgingly sometimes, or with a large side order of “even a blind squirrel occasionally finds an acorn.” But when it happened, we noted it.

      If Batiuk had actually somehow come through and not completely tanked the ending, I think there would have been some genuine appreciation. And why not? It’s been demonstrated here that FW had some fun moments and good writing. Maybe that was a long time ago … but we still respect those moments.

      But of course, Batiuk utterly, completely and irrevocably blew it. Not just with a bad ending, but with a three-decade qualitative decline that went from misguided to regrettable to unreadable to Jeez-now-we-have-to-seriously-discuss-possible-dementia.

      In some ways, this was the inevitably ‘perfect’ way to cap off the slow-motion thirty-car pile up this strip turned into.

      Fortunately, this strip and the thirty years that preceded it will be completely forgotten by pretty much everyone by the second week of January.

      • The Duck of Death

        I truly hoped he’d pull it off, pull the plane out of the tailspin at the last minute and fly off into a golden sunset, wings gleaming.

        But you should know I’m a sucker for redemption stories. He made a mess of everything he’d worked for, but then haven’t we all occasionally done that?

        I would have legit been amazed and overjoyed if he’d stuck the landing beautifully. I knew it wasn’t gonna happen, but I wasn’t rooting for him to fail. I didn’t have to. I knew he was gonna go after failure, hammer & tongs, all by himself.

      • Green Luthor

        Honestly, if Sunday had been the final strip, as pointless as that penultimate week was, I would at least say he went out on a nice note. Sure, Batiuk offered absolutely no reason for all these people to be risking their lives in a blizzard to attend a concert that was probably terrible, but at least that final scene of all those characters was a fitting end.

        So, of course, he had to give us the epilogue that no one wanted, with a character only ever mentioned once just a few weeks earlier, showing a supposedly utopian future that came across as decidedly dystopian instead.

        • RudimentaryLathe?

          I agree. The Christmas Day panel would have been a perfectly nice send-off. But Batiuk’s ego had to get that last dig in. It’s really been something to watch him self-sabotage over and over.

    • spacemanspiff85

      I don’t know, I would’ve been pretty happy if the final strip was Funky’s car smoking in a ditch on the side of the road, with the cell phone girl who caused him to wreck trying to call 911 but realizing her battery was dead. And that everything since the initial wreck was all in Funky’s head, including when he woke up from travelling back in time.

      • billytheskink

        The concept has been done to death, of course, but this ending actually works pretty well given the way TB wrote the strip after Funky’s wreck… Morton’s incredible recovery, Cory’s personality transplant, the critical and commercial success of Lisa’s Story as a media property, success for the Westview HS girl’s basketball and football teams, Dinkle regaining his hearing, the Dick Tracy crossover, Cindy and Masone, and the sudden ubiquity of Starbuck Jones.

        All of this happened after Funky’s car wreck and coma, in fact Funky sold Starbuck Jones #1 and visited his ailing and nearly mute father in the weeks just before his wreck. Everything fits for an “it was all in Funky’s swelling brain” ending.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      No, it’s definitely not Vladek Spiegelman saying that there are no more stories for Richieu, whom brother Art never came to know.

      Hurry on early, hurry on home, pay what you can in graft, Vladek Spiegelman’s throttling Ed Crankshaft…

  6. James David Walley

    “The books will still be there tomorrow”…and the day after that, and the week after that, and the month after that, and the year after that…because no one is ever going to buy them, BatHack!

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      The rain it raineth every day, sang Feste the Clown at the end of *Twelfth Night,* the only Shakespeare play to have an alternate title.

      (It’s *What You Will.*)

      • Melissa Jones

        “Henry VIII” also has an alternative title: “All Is True.” Of course, you could argue that “Henry VIII” isn’t a “pure” Shakespeare play because he collaborated with John Fletcher on it.

        Some critics speculate that “Twelfth Night” had a sequel which is now lost.

  7. Doghouse Reilly (Minneapolis)

    Smile, Margo, and move on.

    • The Duck of Death

      A fitting epitaph, Doghouse Reilly. I can’t think of any other strip that has fallen apart piece by piece like this, a jalopy that’s shed its chassis and left a trail of so many bolts and strips of rubber that you simply can’t believe it could move another inch, but here it comes, smoking and sputtering over the finish line.

  8. William Thompson

    I can’t help but feel that there will be a Sunday FW. It will repeat the crowd scene in the church, but everyone will be wearing Groucho glasses and singing “How we fooled ya! Howwefooledya! Howwefooledya!”

    Funky Winkerbean: the Misadventure Continues.

    • billytheskink

      Oh how I wish TB were that clever. Of course, if he were, this site never would have endured.

      Ending FW is both the best and the worst thing TB could do. It’s a heckuva thing.

  9. bayoustu

    So… we’re not gonna find out Mopey Pete’s real last name?! Stay Funky, everybody!

  10. John Darling ended with more dignity than this. What a hilariously awful ending to an underwhelming career.

  11. Green Luthor

    A lot to say here, but I want to get one important thing out of the way first. We should all take a moment for the late Dan Ronan, who brought Funky snark to a whole other level.

    If you haven’t ever seen that, watch it. One of the funniest takedowns on Funky Winkerbean ever written. Mr. Ronan, wherever you are, we stand in line.

    • Epicus Doomus

      It really is amazing. He HAD to be a regular FW reader, it’s too note-perfect. Thanks for posting this one more time.

    • Mr. A

      “The strip went on like that for about ten years” is my favorite line, because it could apply to so many comic strips…

      • Y. Knott

        Every line lands — it’s an amazing piece of writing and performance.

        But the biggest laugh for me is: “The girl!”

    • billytheskink

      I was going to say that he did his homework, but I don’t think that’s the right way to put it. Ronan was clearly one of us in every way, he didn’t need to do homework… he KNEW.

      It’s a funny routine even for folks who don’t really know FW. But for us who KNOW, it is so much more.

      Rest in peace Dan Ronan, and thank you.

      • Epicus Doomus

        He HAD to know. It is just so incredibly, painfully accurate in a way that’s difficult to explain if you aren’t familiar with the Batiukiverse. He got the sincerity exactly right. And it’s SUCH a niche thing, that only a handful of people would really, truly get. Man, I would have just loved to chat with that guy.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      A classic, I laugh every time I watch it!

  12. Lord Flatulence

    Be seeing you!

  13. Cheesy-Kun Shiba

    A predictable, predicted, and predictably bad ending. P

    These two look like they’re at a Brady girls slumber party. I don’t always enjoy dystopian visions of the future but I doubt it looks like a 1960s TV set.

    How can any one else take his work seriously when he doesn’t? He’s reduced his entire opus to a single story at the expense of bringing closure or transition to his characters. Has he thanked anyone on his blog or is he using that for product placement, too?

    Thank you again moderators and commenters. I’ll be checking in daily to get a feel for the new routine.

    It’s New Year’s Eve day in Shiba-ville so I’ll say Best wishes to you all for a happy and healthy 2023. I’m glad I could “meet” you all.

  14. Mr. A

    I’d like to offer a toast to you, TF, and to the entire SoSF crew, both posters and regular commenters. I wasn’t a regular here for very long, in the grand scheme of things. But this really has been—and, hopefully, will continue to be—a great community, and I enjoyed being part of it.

    And I’d also like to offer a toast to Batiuk and Ayers. They’ve brought us many years of entertainment (albeit not the kind they intended), and it would be churlish not to wish them well.

    • Cheesy-Kun Shiba

      Here! Here! A toast to you, too, Mr. A and we’ll put: We must thank Batiuk and Ayers and wish them only the best.

      • spacemanspiff85

        I totally agree! Although I do think it’s odd that not only is the final week of the strip with a guest artist, but there’s no mention of Ayers at all. I would’ve hoped Baituk would’ve at least given a “tip of the Funky felt tip” to the guy who actually drew his strip for so long, or maybe had these future people walk past the Ayers Museum of Art or something.

    • Epicus Doomus

      I agree. It was never about TB as a person, and we always tried to emphasize that. It was strictly about the work. He’s always seemed like a good egg, which only serves to make his body of work seem even stranger to me. But yes, I wish the guy well, and it was never about trying to make him miserable. And if he resented us making fun of his work, he should have tried harder.

      • The Duck of Death

        I agree that I have absolutely no animus whatsoever for Tom Batiuk the human being and I wish only the best for him and his family. Without his work, we wouldn’t be here, and my life would certainly be the poorer for it.

        However, I’ve never been so sure he’s a good egg, which I know is the official editorial position of SoSF. But I’m not staff or a host here, and I feel comfortable saying: I think the jury is out on whether he’s a good egg/nice guy/mensch.

        However, my stance is that, in general, I wish my fellow human beings the best. We all have our share of hard struggles and we should stick up for one another whenever we can, just on principle. So I wish you and your loved ones a wonderful 2023, Mr Batiuk.

    • saneharry

      Thank you to the Sosf team, and to Batiuk and Ayers. Seeing this strip get worse and worse has been the highlight of my day. I have nothing but gratitude for the people who made that possible.

  15. Green Luthor

    “Something else Byrne struggles with today is making Summer’s daughter appear feminine.”

    Honestly, at least it’s true to the last two months of the strip, where Summer looked more like Zachary Quinto as Spock.

    (Certainly, though, this was not Byrne’s finest hour, and that second panel… yee-ikes. Maybe it’s that he’s not used to drawing for the size of a comic strip, but Batiuk’s strawman villains didn’t look that sinister.)

  16. Ray

    So that’s it eh? Not with a bang, but a whimper.

    Ever since the announced end, I’ve not been able to bring myself to read the comments daily…just seemed to make it more permanent and apparently missed a great gathering(hope there’s a redo). I’ve read each strip, and marveled at its lack of providing closure. Thanks to each and every host for what you’ve done, it’s been great to see it though your eyes.

    I don’t know what else to add here, so I’ll close with a song from a definite Northeast Ohio treasure, the one and only Michael Stanley. Hope everyone enjoys.

    • Thanks Ray. So much good music came out of Ohio. I remember these guys from MTV.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      “Not with a bang, but a whimper” comes from T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Hollow Men.”

      Several years earlier, he published *The Waste Land,* which began as *He Do the Police in Different Voices.* (The title comes from Charles Dickens’s *Our Mutual Friend.* A street boy named Sloppy “is a beautiful reader of a newspaper” and when he read toi old Betty Higden, “he do the police in different voices.”)

      The voices here are all the same, suggesting that Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot weren’t fighting hard enough in the captain’s tower.

      I blame the calypso singers and the fishermen of Desolation Row.

  17. Andrew

    Leaving us with nightmares as we close out, Byrne? It’s almost like he’s rubbing it in for us as the final strip spends its energy showing of an actual book with subluminal advertising.

    One last time of benefit of the doubt, I see what the strip is trying to say: the story may end, but the chronicle never goes away. But by going about the presentation in this way, it just comes off as transparent self-plugging, and just puts further emphasis on a family that has become the least-favorite of everyone with a bone to pick with this comic. Let this future get invaded by aliens pronto (or a robot uprising, one of the two.)

    As we bow out from our regular snarking service, I propose a toast. A toast to Funky Winkerbean – the character. Named by high school committee, he was brought into this world as a hapless everyman; not the most unpopular, but not the coolest kid in town. Girls wouldn’t believe his name was real, the school computer would think he doesn’t exist just because of deleting records (the Jocasta Nu method), those I Chong books were a colossal waste of money, and he was so normal that he became overshadowed by his supporting cast from almost day 1.

    When the world moved forward, Funky became a drifter, but found solace, an income, and love by returning to his hometown and joining the Montoni’s family. He made a pleasant life for himself, marrying the former-high-school-favorite-turned-reporter, and even found time for his younger cousin Wally as he began walking the same path of fortunes as him. But as his world escalated into soap opera drama, his coping method of getting into the bottle led to him spiraling into addiction, driving away his wife with a tipsy affair, and finding himself at New Year’s Eve, like we are now, at a rock bottom. But he found a way out in a Very Special Episode of his own, made new friends, and eventually found himself back on top, even as his best friend started to overshadow him via cancer-striken wife.

    Indeed, even when the third act came and his body let himself go, Funky could find solace in becoming Montoni’s management, becoming an entrepreneur even featured on magazine covers. Yet here life took its greatest assault on him, the timeline twisting itself so he went from mid-40s to over 60 in a mere 14 years, his son becoming a delinquent who vandalized his school and stole relay fund money, people not caring for his pizza anymore and putting the restaurant on the line, his father getting Alzheimer’s and contributing to the worst birthday of his life, and a dummy on a cell phone crashing him back into his childhood, among other things. True, some of those things were his fault (intentionally cutting corners on ingredients, thinking he stood a chance as a Ohioan chain in the middle of the Big Apple), but as we all know the Funkyverse always has the bigger hand against his characters, so I say he fought well against the heavens.

    Funky Winkerbean had complaints about growing old and cheesy philosophical thoughts about one’s place in the universe, and hijacked his AA meetings to mope about COVID, but in the grand scheme of things he handled his lot in life better than most. He paid little attention to the contrivances following his best friend’s post-Lisa life even after it stole his limelight, even getting a dig in at his dumb love triangle (even if he felt the needless need to apologize later). To his credit, when fate decided that a pizza restaurant with delivery options that could warm the cold, hateful hearts of ICE agents somehow wouldn’t make it through the COVID economy, he remarkably took things in its stride, smirking the way his universe demands a smirk to look on the bright side.of life, enjoying that his time happened even if it was over. There’s something to admire in that, facing such a contrived end with such dignity. Maybe he got lucky too if he somehow found time to get snow tires on his delivery cars, and Montoni’s will live alongside its IRL counterpart Luigi’s for a bit longer.

    And if nothing else, at least he didn’t suffer the ignobility the Funkyverse bestowed upon cousin Wally. Him and Buddy truly got screwed.

    To Funky Winkerbean, the young, hapless boy that weathered the storm that forced him into a crotchety old man, and the namesake that got screwed over in favor of a dummy in glasses. May him and Holtron seek vengeance in the next strip.

    • billytheskink

      In a strip full of characters who loathed their jobs and seemed to shirk every chance they got, Funky seemed to actually like his job and he dang sure actually did it.

      He was a pretty miserable fellow otherwise, but being the one trace of work ethic in a strip that generally rewarded its pets for existing while they complained about the tasks that come with success made Funky one of the few things in Act III I could appreciate.

      Any port in a storm and all that…

      • William Thompson

        I like to imagine Funky at those AA meetings. After he gets done talking, he sits there and listens as other people talk about their problems. Then he comes up with some good advice.

  18. ComicTrek

    Yes, and nightmares await you tonight! But for us — it’s over.

    Ladies and gentlemen, it’s been an honor. ❤️

  19. billytheskink

    Hundreds of haiku
    Devoted to this dumb strip
    Can I write one more?

    Oh yeah, sure I can
    But does this strip deserve it

  20. Such a pathetic ending. One last attempt at hawking Lisa’s Story.

    So what’s next for us? Stuck Cranky?

    • Epicus Doomus

      We do have a SPECTACULAR EVENT planned in the near future, but after that? We’ll see what happens. But no “Crankshaft”. Not gonna happen.

      • That Akron Beacon Journal article sez Batiuk “also hopes to post new stories on tombatiuk.com from time to time” but I ain’t holding my breath for any new digital content from Tom. All he’s used the web for has been to regurgitate everything he’s done in the last fifty years.

  21. The Duck of Death

    Let me just interject here to wish everyone a happy, lucky, prosperous, healthy, and happily/sadly Funky-free ’23!

  22. The Duck of Death

    You know, literally any of us here could have come up with 10 pretty decent endings for this strip. Hell, most of us could have come up with 20 easy.

    You know what would have worked? Doing nothing. Just ending on a nice, ordinary day in Westview. Les teaches class; Funky serves pizza. The sonofabitch didn’t even have to write an ending if he didn’t want to.

    But in some dark way, it’s funny — by devoting the last week of his strip to some unknown, weird Future Randos and a robot, and spending the whole 6 days relentlessly shilling, shilling, shilling his book, he’s actually making it FAR less likely that readers will want to buy anything he’s written.

    • Perfect Tommy

      I figured he would end it at a Montoni’s NYE gathering with Funky raising a glass (NA of course) to everyone. But no.
      The endless shilling takes precedence above all.

  23. erdmann

    “It’s a magical world, ol’ buddy… Let’s go to Books-a-Million and buy ‘Lisa’s Story.’”
    He really did it. He did exactly what we thought he’d do: turned his final arc into an extended ad. All the potential ways he could have gone, all the stories he could’ve told and he chose… this. Hardly surprising, but sad all the same.
    Still, as Marcie reassured Peppermint Patty, we did have fun, so as we trudge from muddy, rain-soaked field, let’s shake hands and say “Good game.”

  24. billytheskink

    Breaking in the new sketchpad I got for Christmas by trying to make time travelers more boring than TB did. Not sure I succeeded…

  25. You’ve all been wonderful. This is one of the greatest internet communities I have ever been priveledged (sp) to encounter, and I am so glad I could contribute. Every single one of you has been wonderful and insightful, and I have learned so much here, and have been honored to know that I’ve helped others seek out media they would not otherwise have seen.

    That was the original promise of the internet, and I am so happy, that at least in this corner, that promise has been kept.

  26. The Dreamer

    This is the end….beautiful world…
    the end

    Although I still think FW should have ended at the end of Act II with Lisa’s death and immediate aftermath

    The 9not thing that made Act 3 bearable was this site. Thanks guys! I think we came up with better endings too! 🙂

  27. saneharry

    What can be said about this, the final strip of the long running Funky Winkerbean? What is there to say? What is there? Is there a point? Is there anything worth caring about? Does anyone, besides us, even follow this strip closely enough to know what Lisa’s Story is? Does anyone even read this?

    I love what Pete Gallagher has done with Heathcliff. He knows nobody’s paying attention to the newspaper, and he can get away with anything. Tom Batiuk can get away with anything too (as evidenced by these final strips) but he must think someone’s still reading.

    These last strips are… Awkward. Even by the strip’s own standards. Jarring, frustrating to read, totally joyless.

    I will miss laughing along with you all.

    • billytheskink

      The joylessness of so much of this strip, especially in Act III, always really struck me. TB would indulge in all sorts of insipid wish fulfillment and drift off into tangent after tangent related to his narrow band of personal interests… but his characters never seemed to enjoy any of it, and by extension it appeared that TB himself didn’t enjoy any of it.

      It was the biggest thing about this whole endeavor that really puzzled me, TB seemed to merely tolerate the things he claimed to love when they got inserted in the strip. No one appeared to take joy in anything in Act III FW, something that is far grimmer than the death and pestilence the strip built a reputation around.

      • Epicus Doomus

        That always really struck me, too, the way he just never took his foot off the throats of these characters and let them just plain WIN at something. There was always a catch. And everything, even being a comic book writer/artist, was a chore, something to be endured. It’s that weird bitterness I referenced above.

        • Y. Knott

          Yes. You’ve got to assume that Batiuk never got what he actually wanted in his life — but he couldn’t bring himself to leave what he DID get. Because he knew he wasn’t quite bright or talented or hard-working or deserving enough to get what he REALLY wanted. So he had to settle for this.

          But he was so close to what he really wanted. So close. He could hire real comic book artists to draw his little ideas. He could talk about the comic book ideas he had. He could even work in a medium kinda sorta right next to being almost adjacent to the medium he desperately wanted to be part of.

          He could press his nose right up to the glass. He could see it all so clearly. But he was forever — and would forever be — denied entry.

          Fifty straight years of that would warp anyone.

  28. ComicBookHarriet

    Farewell now here, ye leaves of trees,
    band music in the midnight breeze!
    Farewell now football field’s marred grass
    that sees the changing seasons pass;
    ye seniors painting over stone,
    gym ropes that empty hang alone!
    Farewell now hallways pale and plain!
    Farewell now marching in the rain
    And smiles and bobs and golden hair;
    women frumpy and women fair
    that still shall defer to each guy
    on the wide earth, though Lisa die—
    though Morton die not, and yet keep,
    keep creeping on the girls that sleep
    in Manor, and Choir they sing and choke
    on ever wafting cigarette smoke.

    Farewell Montoni’s and Westview High,
    for ever blest, since we did try,
    for as long as strip did run,
    to make our snark and have our fun.
    We hail you, Funky Winkerbean,
    What a pleasure it has been.
    Though all to ruin fell the strip,
    logic dissolved and artwork slipped
    a ruin almost no one sees,
    yet were its making good, for these—
    the posts, the jokes, the laughs– For me—
    that this blog for a time should be!’

    • Mr. A

      The laughs go ever on and on
      Out from the blog where they began.
      Now far ahead the laughs have gone,
      Let others follow them who can!
      Let them a snarking new begin,
      But we at last with weary feet
      Will turn towards the lighted inn,
      Our evening-rest and sleep to meet.

      CBH, if I’m allowed to have a favorite poster, you were mine. Thanks for all the history lessons.

  29. spacemanspiff85

    “Aw, mom! I want to stay up and read more of Tom Batiuk’s-I mean, Batton Thomas’s-I mean, Les Moore’s wonderful comic strips-I mean, Great American Novel about my great-grandmother wasting away and dying of cancer!” is a weird thing for a girl young enough that her mom has to tell her it’s bedtime to say, but it’s not at all out of place for this strip.

    • Epicus Doomus

      “But, I just got to the part where great-grandma found a lump in her breast! Is she gonna be OK? She’s gonna be OK…right?”. Sometimes Batiuk is just so genuinely disturbing, without even trying to be.

      • Anonymous Sparrow

        You remind me of Joey reading *Little Women* on “Friends.”

        Rachel says it’s okay to put the book in the freezer.

  30. What can you say about a 50-year-old strip that died? That it was beautiful and brilliant? That it loved Barry Allen and The Phantom Empire? Names that are puns? And was a pretty good hangout. Sad, in the end, to see the end.

  31. The Duck of Death

    I was so focused on the terrifying, villainous visage in P2 that I barely noticed the… face? Is that a face? … fleshy protuberance with eye-like markings in P1.

    We know that Byrne does this stuff for a paycheck, and I don’t blame any artist for hustling for a buck, not at all. But Jesus, man, have some pride in your work.

    • spacemanspiff85

      I’ve always wondered why some of the guest artists Batiuk has managed to get actually go through with it and want to be associated with such a crappy product. I’m not sure if it’s some kind of industry solidarity, or if Batiuk is able to pay them very, very well, or what.
      While we’re on the subject, I would’ve loved seeing Frank Miller take over for a bit. I’m not a huge fan of his later stuff at all, and not as much a fan of his earlier work as I used to be, but seeing a Sin City version of Westview would’ve been amazing.

  32. Hell, I’d much rather just link to DFC #500 again instead of dignifying today’s strip with my hot take:


    And I wish to address my hopefully-not-final comment to the Pride of Akron, one Mr. Thomas Martin Batiuk (because I know he’s reading):

    My name is Scott and I’m from Virginia Beach, Virginia and I first started reading FW in the Virginian-Pilot as a kid in the early 1980s, stopped in the mid-90s and rediscovered it through this site around 2011… Mr. Batiuk, it has been a long and winding road… We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve cussed in anger, we’ve made jokes both extremely crude and witty, we’ve dropped hyper-obscure pop culture references to each other, we’ve psychoanalyzed your artistic motivations, we’ve filled in a whole lot of blank spots in your storylines and we’ve had to dive deep in the Funkyverse archives far more than we care to remember…

    But let’s not mince words here — Deep down we know you secretly appreciate us because we’ve been undoubtedly your most dedicated and consistent readers for at least the better part of a decade… Even your own family probably can’t boast about never missing a day of the Funkyverse! And on the flip side, for all the hate and bile we’ve dished out, deep down we appreciated your tireless work because it has brought and kept our priceless little community together and although I know all things must end at some point, I don’t necessarily have to like it…

    So on behalf of SOSF, thank you Mr. Batiuk and enjoy your well-deserved rest!

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Beautiful stuff, Hitorque.

      I join you in thanking Tom Batiuk and Chuck Ayers for ALL their work on the Funkyverse. Old and current, good and bad. I only wish them the best.

      I sincerely believe that net good came from Funky Winkerbean existing. From the high school teachers, students, directors and coaches who saw themselves in the genuinely good parts of Act I, to the guileless people genuinely taken in and touched by the Act II drama, to the crowds of internet snarkers here and elsewhere online who got so much ironic enjoyment nitpicking and riffing on Acts II and III.

      • Hitorque

        And I’m not even going anywhere for now… This week has been so hectic I haven’t even had the chance to fully read any of the threads for the last two weeks. Next week I’ll have time to go though them all and respond where appropriate…

  33. Perfect Tommy

    Makes me want to add Funky Winkerbean to Jim Carrol’s “People Who Died”. Could be an entire verse. Best of to the Son Of crew and all you faithful snarkers. Thanks for having me around.
    No, YOU’RE crying!

    • Epicus Doomus

      Bushka caught CTE fifty-four years old
      Drove through the guardrail on Highway Nine
      Lisa in her thirties when she pulled the plug
      Bad case of cancer not caught in time
      Coach Stropp of dementia eighty-five years old
      He looked like ninety-five when he died
      He was a friend of mine

      Talkin bout FW characters who died, died
      Talkin bout FW characters who died, died
      Talkin bout FW characters who died, died
      Talkin bout FW characters who died, died
      They were all FW characters, then they died

      Mary Sue Sweetwater couldn’t resist late snacking
      Died of obesity in Upper Westview
      Butter Brickle silent actor, bullet in the head
      Becky lost her left arm before her and Wally wed
      They were two more FW characters who died
      Two more characters that died.

  34. billthesplut

    I should’ve posted this during the “Funky sightings irl” thread, which turned out to be about a Simpson’s one-off joke about a giant bloated gasbag that wasn’t Tom’s ego.
    I forget what Rifftrax Live event it was, but Kevin said “This movie is as depressing as Funky Winkerbean!”
    It got the biggest laugh, and also the least laughs. If you got it, it was hilarious, but most people didn’t. I looked at the friend I was with, and he was baffled and annoyed.
    That is FW’s true legacy. As a joke that most people didn’t get, and will never remember.

  35. Gabby

    IF this last strip had a better lead-in over the last couple of weeks it might have been a nice end. Ergo, Lisa Jr/Jr/Jr? wonders something about something about her great grandmother/grandmother and her mother takes her to find an object of remembrance. Then this final panel and there is both closure and a promise that the world goes on.

    What I liked about the end of the Big Bang Theory is they all get into their regular positions and life goes on—it’s just that we viewers won’t see how it unfolds.

    No Tom, it’s not just about writing. It’s about STORYTELLING!

    Happy New Year all, and, again, thank you for the joy of the last several years

  36. Epicus Doomus

    Make sure you all check in on April 1, as I’m sure we’ll have some huge news about the looming Funky Winkerbean Act IV reboot in the works. Man, those April Fools posts were just gold when they worked. For me, that was probably my most fun SoSF moment. Also when I realized that the chimp did it.

    • none

      *write post*
      *look at date*
      *realize that it’s the post for the next day*
      *swear at screen*

      It got me every damned year. You’ve earned this bow.

  37. Epicus Doomus

    And, one more time, I have to send a shoutout to original Stuck Funky, DavidO, and HeyIt’sDave, for their substantial contributions to SoSF over the years. Wherever you guys are, thanks for everything!

  38. billthesplut

    The people who wrote the endings to Seinfeld, Lost, and Game of Thrones are saying “DANG! Why didn’t we think of using Tor Johnson saying ‘TIME FOR GO TO BED’?!”

    • Y. Knott

      “We will just have to content ourselves with our giant residual payments, and our work being remembered and rewatched for years and years by millions of people!”

      • billthesplut

        Two things that Bats will never have to worry about. FW will be a deleted Wikipedia footnote within a year.

        • Unfortunately, chances are Funky Winkerbean would likely fail an Article For Deletion request on Wikipedia because those goddam puff pieces over the years fall along the lines of their significant coverage guidelines.

          That doesn’t mean the article cannot be rehabilitated to meet a neutral viewpoint. I would work on it but the level of apathy I have towards the comic strip and Tom himself is demotivating enough.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            Read the TVTropes pages about Funky Winkerbean. They are not flattering. They describe the strip as it really is, not what Tom Batiuk thinks it is.

    • Those finales were the closing scenes of “Citizen Kane” compared to the last two months of this strip!

  39. Cheesy-Jim Shiba

    Dear Moderators,

    You have known each other a long time and have created your own special connections and communication style among yourselves.

    Yet, you welcomed us commenters as full-fledged members- no trial period, no initiation rights, and no codes of conduct.

    That’s why I spent more time here than I’d have ever predicted. I felt welcome immediately.

    Please pardon me for not saying this sooner.

    • The Duck of Death

      Nice ‘n’ Cheesy Does It, that’s exactly it. This community was — not was! IS — a unique combination of comfy and fraternal plus open and welcoming. That’s terribly hard to achieve. I know, because I’ve been on the internet for nearly 30 years and seen thousands of communities, been part of hundreds. I’ve drifted away from every single one, except this one.

      I love the inclusiveness of SoSF. I love that the mods aren’t cliqueish. They don’t take sides. They don’t haze newcomers. Anyone with something to contribute has been made welcome. Embraced, even.

      Best. Mods. Ever.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      It was so refreshing to find a comments section that didn’t need a code of conduct. Everyone here can be agreeable, even when we don’t agree on something.

  40. Paul Jones

    And thus, we end not with a bang but with a “buy my (ineptly promoted” book” because he’s fixated on the fact that despite his using a publisher no one would think of and doing next to nothing to actually tell people his book exists, Batiuk wonders why it sits on the shelves. He could have wrapped the strip up properly years ago if it didn’t vex him so that his object of love is unloved because he doesn’t realize or wish to admit that he’s a lot of the reason why people don’t know about it. Lynn Johnston at least said something about what her critics called the Settlepocalypse. He said nothing about the ineptly executed death arc.

  41. ComicTrek

    Though I must say, at least we knew this strip would end with every main character dead.

  42. none

    The nightmare ends.

    From a child to now, I’ve always cared more about comic strips than actual comics. If you would have asked me what my favorite comics were when I was 10 years old, I would have said Peanuts and Calvin & Hobbes, and not anything from Marvel or DC. My wife is a freelance artist, and I’ve written a document that spans more than 800,000 words. I place high value and standards upon my work and the work of others. While I wouldn’t deem myself a deep aficionado of the entire comic strip medium at large, I do know that I hold high respect for the strips that are more than 50 years old and particularly between the World Wars.

    I wouldn’t have paid any particular attention to this strip if it was bland and banal like that of say, Tiger or Nancy or Sam & Silo. I also wouldn’t have paid any particular attention if I wasn’t a high school band student in the Midwest and had Dinkle’s Maw looming somewhere in the background of some rooms that I attended in the 90s.

    What has always pushed my emotion into an ever deepening ire is the pure hypocrisy around his entire creation and the global response it received. He writes about pain and suffering in a manner which suggests that he has never actually endured real pain or suffering. He presents the strip’s running history as a strength when the strip’s running history and eventually the entire character roster had the consistency of water. He was allowed to have this platform all this time, and he had some kind of public support with media relations pieces about his work and some kind of public support, but the justification for the praise never aligned with the actual content of the strip. Tom Batiuk’s description of Funky Winkerbean in no way correlates to what Funky Winkerbean actually is. The praise that the media pieces foster upon the strip similarly have no realistic congruence to the work.

    And here – just basically here – is the only place where there is anyone on the entire Internet that acknowledges this fact. Comment sections elsewhere can blankly toss out insults and nothing else, and that’s easy enough to handwave away like so much of Tom’s strawmen that he knocks down. It all misses the point. This entire time, anywhere but here, it felt like I was the lone lunatic looking from the outside into an asylum where everyone else was crazy when it came to how this strip was perceived.

    The comments here generally actually do “punch up”, which I think is what has helped shape it to where it is now.

    I am not as generous to his early work or to his personality as others are here. Believe it or not, I kept my hands away from the keyboard many times (one particular example was during the Phil Holt Resurrection). To see a man rewarded for a lifetime of work at the exceedingly low quality which he made it, given what his work is, given what I know the comic medium is capable of, given what artists like my wife and I are capable of, makes me more intensely angry than polite English can allow. It is enough to make me never want to write anything about it because it is an anger deep enough to be psychologically harmful, and it’s not healthy or productive for me to even give voice to it.

    But it’s only here where I can even say such things like this that anyone else would even understand why in the hell I would even have that kind of response in the first place.

    Thank you all. 2023 will be better for all of us, because at least Funky Winkerbean is done.

    • The Duck of Death

      Huzzah, None!

      [Citizen Kane clapping gif goes here]

      I hope you’ll stick around in whatever iteration follows. I always liked your well-considered and well-crafted comments.

    • The Duck of Death

      I like your phrase: “Dinkle’s Maw.”

      You know how those big pepper mills are called “Rubirosas,” after the legendary, er, endowment of playboy Porfirio Rubirosa?

      I think that henceforth all bottle-openers of the type below should be called “Dinkle’s Maws,” perhaps just “Dinkles” for short.

    • William Thompson

      Thank you for all you said.

      I’ve never been able to feel generous about Batiuk’s failings. It’s one thing to find humor in horrible experiences, but Batiuk often turned them into inept, feeble jokes.

  43. Tom from Finland

    Sen pituinen se.
    Great thanks to everybody!
    Happy New Year!

    Summer’s last walk reminded me of this music piece by Kent (not named after the city in Ohio) which, I think, fits the occasion

    • The Duck of Death

      Except that, unlike Summer’s dull walk, this video was color-saturated and beautiful to look at, things happened, and most of all, it evokes curiosity and emotion.

      Summer’s walk may have been dull, but it could have been beautiful. Tony Millionaire springs to mind as a great, currently working comic artist who absolutely excels at capturing architecture. He lavishes so much love on buildings, houses, ships, and interiors.

      As it was, it was dreary, depressing, and ugly. That would have been okay if it was meant as such, but I think it was meant to evoke nostalgia. Typical Batty — not only did he not achieve what he was going for, he was so wide of the mark that I can’t even guess what he was trying to do.

      • Tom from Finland

        I myself sometimes felt that, for short instants, I kind of saw what Batiuk was trying to convey with the story arcs.
        Like Summer’s walk or the Prince valiant ending or the gathering at the church.
        But then the feeling immediately disappeared into the crappy execution of the whole storyline.
        It was like the floater things in you eye that you see on the edge of your vision, but which disappear as soon as you try to focus on them.

        • Mela

          I’ve also had occasional moments of “I think I know what he’s going for here, but he just didn’t say it very well.” The “Lisa, it’s OK for you to go” storyline is a prime example.

          As others have stated many times, he starts with a story, brings up plot points which are never explained, and then veers off in a direction to get to his ending with little regard as how characters might react, which might have made them a little more relatable. What about the BURNINGS???

  44. Smirks’R Us




  45. I was pretty hesitant about checking in today, knowing it was the last FW and the end of an era. I’m not even going to waste time commenting on today’s dumber-than-dumb strip, just dropped in to say thank you to all of you for making my morning a little brighter the last few years. I got into this by parodying a local politician (I gave him a fake Twitter account) and when I tweeted that he thought FW was the greatest comic strip ever (I couldn’t think of a worse insult), I got retweeted by SOSF and, seven years later, here we are. I had no idea that such a niche group could be so brilliantly snarky while never being cruel, and bring so much laughter to a world that needs it (and a comic strip that needs it). Thanks to all of you; I can’t wait to see you all an Act IV! Happy New Year!

    • Y. Knott

      “…when I tweeted that he thought FW was the greatest comic strip ever …”

      You, my friend, play hardball!

  46. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    Happy New Year, everyone!

    If you see a nattily dressed chimp at the bar, buy him a drink.

  47. The Duck of Death

    I was an avid newspaper comic reader growing up in the 60s and 70s, and even into the late 80s. My parents subscribed to the NY Post and the NY Daily News, and to New York Newsday when that existed. I read all the comics, every day. My father was also a comics fan and had plenty of anthologies of great strips from the 20s through the 40s. I studied those too. I absolutely devoured Mad and its cousin Cracked, and even its poor third cousin Crazy.

    In all this, I never even heard of Funky Winkerbean until Marge Simpson saw that balloon. And I never saw a strip till I started reading the Comics Curmudgeon.

    But I now know that, especially in Act I, the strip had many unironic fans. I understand that the situations, though they were foreign to me, resonated for a lot of people. They recognized these characters. Then in Act II, people saw their favorite characters grow up and followed their trials and triumphs. Plenty of people came along for the ride and unironically cared about Les and Lisa and Funky and Cindy.

    Batiuk was privileged to be the creator and caretaker of characters that people cared about. And look what he did. Look how he put his whole universe in a blender until it was just a newsprint slurry, poured it onto a table, let it dry, sent it to the syndicate, and then bragged about his storytelling.

    And now he wants the few unironic fans, whom he’s fucked over again and again and again, to buy his book.

    Good luck with that one, buddy. Hope you have a decent IRA, because something tells me the royalty checks aren’t gonna be blockbusters.

  48. Rusty Shackleford

    I knew the ending would be bad, but wow this is a total waste of space. I guess it ended with more of Batty stroking his ego and pushing his crappy Lisa’s Story nonsense.

    The syndicate should have just pulled the plug and kicked him out that same day.

    I’m going to miss drinking my morning coffee and laughing with you guys. A happy and healthy 2023 to all of you!

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Funky Winkerbean would have a much better legacy if it ended when Lisa died. It would have gone out strong, with two distinct eras that were both worth remembering. Now it will go down with zombie strips like Apartment 3-G that should have been retired much earlier, except even more self-indulgent.

  49. The Duck of Death

    Nothing on Puffy’s Twitter feed since Dec 6. Nothing about the last arc, or the last strips. Nothing but the book introduction excerpts he posted for a couple days. If he wasn’t gonna use Twitter for even the most auspicious events, what was the point of getting an account?

    I once said I pictured Batty’s house as full of half-demolished areas with opened boxes of fixtures from Home Depot strewn across the floor. He strikes me as a guy who’d decide to replace a faucet, then take the sink apart to do it, then lose interest and leave the bathroom in a half-disassembled state with the opened faucet box on the floor and assorted washers and gaskets strewn on the dusty tile.

    He likes to start things with enthusiasm and arrogance, but doesn’t like the hard, boring work of following through. He just wants the back pats. He doesn’t care what the end product is as long as he gets those back pats.

    All the talk of Nukie made me think of a totally Batiukesque curio, Malakapalakadoo, Skip Two. You can feel the ambition of the filmmakers as they started out, and you can also feel that ambition dwindling to nothing as they realized how much hard work even primitive stop-motion animation requires.

    So the characters shed their articulated arms and legs by inexplicably “turning themselves to beanbags,” which coincidentally are a lot easier to animate. …I just can’t do it justice. Watch it yourself and see the alternate reality where Batty was an acidhead animation major at Kent State.

    • Hannibal's Lectern

      Hmm… I watched “Malakapalakadoo, Skip Two” to the end and must disagree with your assessment. It actually becomes seriously ambitious near the end, when the characters unload a package from a truck and it explodes into a “Gumbasia” style string of free-form transmogrifications. I’m at a total loss for why the kids “turned themselves into beanbags” at the start, as there are multiple characters with properly animated arms and legs inside Malakapalakadoo. Perhaps the weirdest thing is when the King–excuse me, the Kind–transforms himself into an animated clay beanbag (as opposed to the kids, who are real cloth-and-beans beanbags). There’s no lack of ambition here, and even a modest amount of realized ambition. Not very Batiukian at all in my view.

      Apparently this thing was made as some sort of “educational children’s programming,” to be shown in classrooms. I found a listing for the production company, “Crocus Productions,” on the British Film Institute website. Apparently they made two other films. Alas, no further details. And for reasons unknown to me, entering “Malakapalakadoo” into the search box broke Google.

      • The Duck of Death

        There is a potential simple explanation for this mystery: They may have animated the end first and run out of ambition, time, or budget when they got to the point where the main characters had the great brainstorm of turning themselves to beanbags.

        Interestingly, by Act III, Batty had turned almost all his characters into beanbags. Or potato sacks, if you prefer. But that distinctive blobby, droopy shape of body and face was certainly there.

        • Hannibal's Lectern

          Yeah, I can believe that. In a burst of creative excitement, they spent several days on that orgiastic transformation scene, only to realize they’d produced all of thirty seconds’ worth of film for a ten-minute movie. “Uh, yeah, now what? We’ve got to get this done by the end of the semester…” And from that came the idea of beanbags…

          Meanwhile, for those who have not seen it, Art Clokey’s “Gumbasia,” the short film that may have started the entire clay animation movement… and which Playboy once described as one of the top ten erotic films of all time (?)…

          • The Duck of Death

            I can see “Gumbasia” being to clay animation what the Velvet Underground was for punk rock — making real art without technical polish, telling your audience: Hey, if we can do this, you can too.

            Clokey really knew how to work camera angles and movement to get a lot out of essentially static lumps of clay. I can’t imagine how horny you’d have to be to think it’s erotic, though. Those wacky Playboy folks, I’ll tell ya.

            I can’t help thinking that color-correcting back to the original intent would improve both “Malakapalakadoo” and “Gumbasia” immeasurably. Eventually people will probably be able to color-correct with a click of a button. Just select the “faded 1970s film strip/Film Board of Canada” setting, get a cup of coffee, come back, it’s done.

  50. Count of Tower Grove

    That’s The Last Leaf!

  51. louder

    I’m one of those who, by chance, found this blog, and since then, it has been a continual source of fun and information. Thank you so much for the great times, and I look forward to see what the future here holds in store.

  52. robertodobbs

    Why couldn’t this have ended by re-focusing on the main character in a touching (but non-maudlin) way. Funky looking through mementoes tied to older times? Something tying the 70’s to today? Last panel coould have been him with a half-smile looking in a mirror at the image of his teenaged self while his wife peeks in with a cup of coffee? Anything like that? Instead we get this visage of a cross between Sam Donaldson and Roddy McDowall? And, as others have noticed, “a crummy commercial?” Happy New Year to everyone here and thanks to everyone for many great years here.

    • Count of Tower Grove

      “Instead we get this visage of a cross between Sam Donaldson and Roddy McDowall”
      Now that you mentioned it, I see it!

  53. The Duck of Death

    Thinkin’ bout Cliff Anger’s
    Grinnin’ chimp with gun
    Ayers’ hands are shaking
    As he ends his run
    Summer started walking
    Time came to a stop
    Batty’s hit the bottom
    What an awful flop

    I just wanna thank you
    folettin’ me
    post my snark

    I just wanna thank you
    folettin’ me
    post my snark

  54. Jennifer

    Another lurker chiming in after years of reading and upvoting the hilarious comments. I am usually days behind trying to catch up, but have read and loved every post and all of the authors. Thank you for all of the laughs and great conversations! I am excited for what you all have in store!

  55. Professor Fate

    Well that’s it. One last flog of Lisa’s story- with an added touch of a hideous close up in the second panel. I especially like the special touch of adding the /books to the web address.
    Thank you all for your wisdom and humor and computer skills (remixes and links) you have brightened many of my days again thanks.
    I do feel some regret that we’ll never see Zanzibar the Talking Murder Chimp again.
    I have a special fondness for comic strips (as a kid I would buy the early mass market paperback reprints of Peanuts and read them until the bindings broke and the pages fell out.) so finding this site was a godsend. It allowed me to vent (albeit in a rather pompous manner) about this strip
    What sent me off more than anything was first the absolute misery wallow that was Lisa’s Story along with it’s absurd well the doctor mixed up the x-rays but what are you gonna do? But what really got me was the time jump – it was I feel a fundamentally dishonest act so that he would not have to address the aftermath of Lisa’s death and its’ effects – it showed TB’s primary weakness as a storyteller his inability to handle the uncomfortable emotions that his storylines required. He’d always would bail on storylines – the gay couple going to prom is an almost perfect example – we never got their names and the story ended up being some gibberish about regulations.
    And as elsewhere noted there was always a huge gap between the strip that TB described and the stirp we were reading.
    Anyway thank you all for caring about as ephemeral an art form as a comic strip.

    • The Duck of Death

      I guess I should vent now or forever hold my peace.

      I was so appalled at the Lisa cancer arc, and even more appalled that it was acclaimed by the press and even the Pulitzer committee.

      It painted oncologists/radiologists as lazy, stupid, incompetent and uncaring.

      And worse, it portrayed giving up on life as brave. Think of all the people reading that arc while they, or a loved one, were fighting cancer. And what message did Tom send? “Your medical team doesn’t care and life isn’t really worth fighting for. Might as well give up.”

      Absolutely disgusting and totally irresponsible, almost like an arc tacitly encouraging suicide. And he skipped the worst consequence: The life-changing realization dawning on Summer over the months that Mommy was really not coming back. That the one person she needed the most abandoned her, and the other person she needs the most is too busy crying and grieving to console her.

      Garbage. Craven, cowardly, shallow, smug 100% 24K crapola. And worse, he was praised. And even worse, the praise went to his head and ruined whatever ability he ever had.

      • Come tomorrow, it’ll all be forgotten. The “victory lap” only exists in Tom’s head and his head alone like Tommy Westphall shaking the St. Elsewhere snow globe.

        The mere fact that Funky Winkerbean is devoid of unironic readers (I maintain they simply do not exist) speaks to how forgettable it is. Who would want to buy a book devoted to someone dying of cancer in the least realistic way written by someone who 1) clearly has never experienced losing a loved one in that manner and 2) can’t stop shilling the storyline in the least artful of ways?

        No one, that’s who.

        It’s a simple case of ego overtaking a man who couldn’t progress past gag-a-day jokes and resented that his only readership mocked it all. Outside of those puff pieces (written by overworked, underpaid journalists who need the paycheck more than ever), his ending of FW has gone entirely unnoticed. Even here in Ohio.

        Smile, Margo, and move on.

      • Professor Fate

        Well said, well said. There was an essential cowardice at the core of Lisa’s story in it’s refusal to directly face the emotional fallout of a parent/wife dying of cancer. Of course if he did that, Les would have had to emerged a different human being than the one he was at the start. But instead we got a Les obsessed with Lisa’s death to the point that in the time travel story Les did not say ANYTHING to the young Lisa about he getting cancer. And this is the woman he was supposed to love. His prissy antics while the movies were being made were always about HIM and his loss not Lisa herself.
        In my experience you never really get over losing someone, over time you just seem to get used to it and you gradually move on but you need time and honestly facing your emotions.
        Bah. Enough.
        I will miss the talking murder chimp –
        not much else

        • The Duck of Death

          And he even sidestepped any conflicts with the Cayla romance.

          — No conflicted feelings from Les about another wife “replacing” Lisa or never being able to live up to his memories of her

          — No annoyance from Cayla about living in what was basically a shrine to Lisa

          — No “not my real mom” from Summer; nothing but beaming acceptance

          — No “I want to stay in our old house and Les isn’t my real dad and Summer’s not my sister” from Keisha

          — No conflict ever about race. I wouldn’t expect either family to be racist, but people of different races may see the world differently/have different customs or cultures. Never saw a hint of how that would work out. I guess everyone accepted that they were basically Les in a female body of some random color, and that was how it was gonna be

          — No fear of falling in love from Les, because the one woman he ever loved was taken away from him and he’s afraid to have his heart broken that way again

          In other words, no normal human responses or conflicts. No real challenges to work through.

          And as a result, boring, fake characters in a boring, fake story.

          (And +1 for “prissy antics,” which perfectly describes Les’ c*nty attitude when Hollywood prostrated itself at his door.)

  56. Hannibal's Lectern

    Sigh. Two comics I have been reading for years ended in 2022. One of them (“Skin Horse,” a web comic about “black ops social services”) I will miss for the comic itself, which brought its story to a planned conclusion after fifteen years in July. The other… I will not terribly much miss the comic, but I will miss the community of snarkitude it inspires.

    By the way, Tom could take a lesson from Shaenon Garrity and Jefferey Wells: in fifteen years, the strip had 43 “chapters,” or story arcs. That’s an average of 18 weeks, or 108 strips (the Sunday strips were not part of the ongoing story), per story arc. So much for the “three week limit.”

  57. RudimentaryLathe?

    So long, farewell, good night and good riddance to you, Mr. B.

  58. billytheskink

    I’m actually pretty curious to open up tomorrow’s newspaper (in PDF form) and see what comic is replacing Funky‘s Sunday spot. Same with Monday’s paper and the weekday slot (which has been directly below Crankshaft for over a decade now). No announcements have been printed thus far, which has usually been the procedure when the comics page has shrunk or when comic strips get replaced.

  59. The Duck of Death

    Now that I’ve “OH!”-ed myself out…

    I can get to picking nits.

    “Retire” for “go to bed” has been archaic for quite some time already. It’s not incorrect, but it’s impossible to imagine it being used non-archly by anyone except a 99-year-old.

    People under 99 take “retire” to mean “stop working a job.” I get that he’s going for the double meaning here — so clever, SO DAMN CLEVER I’m gonna have to “oh!” myself out again, excuse me….

    … SO damn clever, except it’s no longer a double meaning. Readers under 50, if there are any, will have no idea what he’s talking about. Why is this young(?) girl retiring? What was her job?

    Fortunately, no one, of any age, cares any more to parse his nonsensical dialogue. Not now that they realize it was just “a crummy commercial” after all.

    • Hannibal's Lectern

      I remember “time to retire” being used in Fisk tire ads.


      (I do not know for sure that this link will work, but if not… the Fisk tire company used to run print and sign ads showing a small child in pajamas, holding a candle and a Fisk tire, with the slogan “Time to Re-Tire”)

      • The Duck of Death

        The Fisk ads were the first thing I thought of. “Too obscure,” I thought, but I had not counted on Hannibal’s Lectern.

        That’s how you use a double-meaning without turning it into gibberish. It helps that the ads originated in the teens or 20s, I think, when “retire” had a normal meaning of “go to bed.”

        Wonder what other archaisms they use unironically in the year 2100. “The bee’s knees”? “23 Skidoo”? “Groovy, man, outasite”?

        • Hannibal's Lectern

          Nobody counts on Hannibal’s Lectern… (OK, that line doesn’t work as well as it does with the Spanish Inquisition)

          I remember K-Mart (remember them?) selling Fisk tires, with the “time to re-tire” slogan, well into the 1960s and possibly even the early 1970s. By that time, I don’t think “retire” as “go to bed” was still in common use, but people still pulled it out when they wanted to deliberately sound archaic… or to make a joke along the lines of “I want you to think I finally quit this horrible job, but I’m really just going to bed.”

        • William Thompson

          “Wally saw the elephant.” (American Civil War, meaning that a soldier has seen combat)

          “Whiz-bang.” (WW I; from the sound of incoming German artillery. Somehow it came to mean a great, sudden impressive happening.)

          “A happening.” (A Sixties term for an event where, usually, nothing happened.)

  60. Jimmy

    I’ll miss this blog, but the source material…

  61. Hannibal's Lectern

    “The books will still be there tomorrow….”

    Yeah, I’ve got some things around my house that are like that. I throw them out, watch the garbage man empty the dumpster into the truck, hear the satisfying crunch as the packer compresses the trash into a solid wad, follow the truck to the landfill and watch as it’s unloaded and its contents buried under twenty more layers of garbage interleaved with dirt, finally covered with impermeable clay, soil and sod to create a recreational hill called “Mount Trashmore”…

    And then, when I get home, the cursed thing’s laying on the sofa. I feel for ya, girl. Some pieces of garbage just never go away, not unless you burn them with fire.

  62. bigd1992

    Lisa’s Story is that one piece of crap that refuses to flush no matter how many times you push the handle.

  63. Kudos to TB for ending the strip the way he wanted (not necessarily when he wanted or the way I like). Like Sinatra, he did it his way. I wished he’d closed it out on the main characters, rather than hawking his books, but it was his comic and characters to do with as he pleased. I’d posted earlier in the month about how much I appreciated the community that has been built here, but I post now to thank the Maestro, TF Hackett. When the site Stuck Funky went down, Mr. Hackett stepped in and rescued a community that didn’t know what it had or what it could be. But Mr. Hackett knew. And he built a community on this site … and a family. For that I am eternally grateful. I wish all who visit this site a Happy New Year. And for Mr. Hackett, I stand in line!

  64. Miskatonic Sophomore

    The face in panel two reminds me of someone, and I can’t quite figure out who. Though the match is not really that good, my brain keeps coming back to Dick Cavett.

    • Epicus Doomus

      LOL and even this non-ironic fan is like “WTF?”.

    • The Duck of Death

      “I’ve followed this for so long that I just feel connected to it”

      This sums it up. This is where he gets his fans. And yes, even this uncritical fan basically says WTF, and admits tacitly that it’s not that good any more.

      You might say, “Surely this fan cannot be happy with Lisa’s descendents buying books from a ‘Robbie.’ Surely this can’t bring back happy nostalgic memories.”

      I’m sure it doesn’t, but there are a lot of people who simply don’t put any thought into things like this. It just washes over them and doesn’t really leave much behind. When it’s there, they say, “Oh yeah, that strip from my childhood.” When it’s insane, they say, “Huh. Weird,” and skip over it. C’est la vie.

  65. Perfect Tommy

    Aw, it’s just a comic strip. If you’re so smart, why don’t you make your own?

    HaHaHaHaHaHa!!!!!! Just kidding! It’s been mostly terrible.

  66. You know what would be genuinely funny? If, starting January 1st, Comics Kingdom just kept running today’s strip, because no one gave enough of a damn to check on it.

  67. The Duck of Death

    For someone who’s real, REAL eager to flog those books at any cost, isn’t it odd that Puffy refuses to use social media?

    His homepage, tombatiuk.com, is hopelessly unusable. The “update,” as updates nowadays tend to do, borked the navigability. The search box is dark grey on black. The blog entries are served up randomly and there’s no way to move forwards or backwards from the one you’re on. Etc.

    And there are logos for Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter at the top of the homepage. He has a Twitter account, but none of the logos link to anything. And his Twitter account had a burst of cut-and-paste entries in early Dec and has since lain fallow.

    He has 29 followers. 29. (And I’d bet a mint, slabbed copy of Flash #123 that at least 20 of those are SoSF’ers. And at least two are employees of Andrews McMeel. And one is confirmed to be Kent State Press.)

    For someone who’s just on fire to promote himself, how do you explain this? Here’s how I explain it, based only on a guess: I don’t think he really wants to engage with the public. They can be meanies and he doesn’t like hearing mean things from meanies.

    You’d think he’d relish the opportunity to blow his own horn, run sketches or strips or whatever’s in his archives, and dig into the backstories he loves so much. He can block people who annoy him, a la Scott Adams, and bloviate to his heart’s content. Yet all is silent on the social media front. Interesting, no?

  68. Banana Jr. 6000

    Hey WilliamThompson, I’m still finishing up my Photoshop job of your great story ending from here. I couldn’t finish before they year ended, but here’s what I’ve got so far:

  69. Suicide Squirrel

    Howdy. I couldn’t let the last day of Funky Winkerbean pass without posting a comment. Some of you may remember me from the comment section here or on the Funky Winkerbean page in the Comics Kingdom.

    Firstly, I would like to mention how much I admire all of you who had the dedication to read Funky Winkybean every day. Especially those of you who took time to write something in the discussions, whether it be snark or a personal anecdote.

    I’m not sure what happened to me, but last June, after four years of snarking on Funky Winkerbean, something broke. It wasn’t fun anymore. Why was I dedicating more time and effort to the comic strip than its creator? Why should I help him profit when he’s turning out schlock? In the final years, did Batyuk spend more than an hour daily on Funky Winkerbean? Arguable. I stopped reading Funky Winkerbean, cold turkey.

    Like many of you, I started reading Funky Winkerbean when I was young. Like Batiuk, I grew up in the vicinity of Akron and attended Kent State University (AA Data Processing, 1982). The course catalog from my Freshman year was interspersed with Funky Winkerbean comic strips. I thought it was interesting that the author of a comic strip in the newspaper was a local guy who attended the same university as me. Even before that discovery, Funky Winkerbean was one of my favorite strips.

    Actually, notable people attending Kent State isn’t that rare.

    Michael Keaton? Really?

    I’d be curious to know Batiuk’s thought process when he decided to shift gears and made Funky Winkerbean a drama strip. Funky Winkerbean tackles adult problems in a sensitive adult manner, blah blah blah. The comic strip was a gag-a-day strip for twenty years. Why should readers suddenly take Batiuk seriously after that? Funky Winkerbean was no longer a favorite of mine, but the stories still had something of interest.

    Then came Act III. I’ve been told that Batiuk spent much of this period without an editor. It shows. Batiuk imposes on the readers his overly nostalgic fantasy world that only he comprehends or cares about. His comic strips are filled with sentences in his private made-up language. At this point, the strip resembles the work of a schizophrenic, and readers are left wondering about the author’s mental acuity. Only the lack of editorial supervision could this much self-indulgent wankery have been tolerated.

    With the “retirement” of Funky Winkerbean and the departure of Crankshaft, I’m curious to see how long the Funky Winkerbean archives remain in the Comics Kingdom. I suspect on January 1st, or soon after, Batiuk will pull up stakes and completely abandon the Comics Kingdom. The absence of Batiuk’s titles will feel like staring at the bare section of pavement where an accident occurred. Only no artificial flowers, balloons or teddy bears will be left to mark the scene.

    Tom Batiuk: “If you want to read the Funky Winkerbean archive, you will have to pay for the privilege by buying my books. tombatiuk dot com slash books!”

    I really hope he doesn’t act that way. He’s 75 years old and hardly destitute. Once, while visiting a friend who resides in Medina, I took the opportunity to drive past Batiuk’s house. The house is huge, but the property it’s on is so vast you can barely see it from the road.

    TL;DR When I laid down my arms against the awfulness of Funky Winkerbean, I’m glad someone continued to give Batiuk the verbal pulping he so richly deserved. I salute you.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Well, thank you, SS. It’s good to see you back here for the ending.

      • The Duck of Death

        I concur. A familiar and much-missed name from CK too.

        • Suicide Squirrel

          Thanks. If I knew Funky would be done by the end of 2022 I might have tried to stick it out.

          I haven’t commented in the CK Funky discussion since last April. Perhaps I’ll drop off a line or two for old times sake.

    • William Thompson

      Good to see you again!

      • Suicide Squirrel

        Thanks, William.

        I’ll always appreciate the advice you gave me concerning my father. The dietary advice you gave me for him was most helpful. The home could only provide so much.

    • The Duck of Death

      Oh, I can’t see mister Social Justice giving jack shit away for free. I will happily eat my words with a side of hot dogs and peas if I’m wrong.

      Meantime, you can borrow some titles from the invaluable archive.org.


    • be ware of eve hill

      Nice to see you witnessing the end of Funky Winkerbean.

      I don’t know if you’ll ever read this, but it was you who removed the scales from my eyes and made me realize how ghastly of a comic strip Funky Winkerbean was. It was you who introduced me to the world of FW snark. Snarking on Funky Winkerbean, and sometimes Crankshaft, for the last four years has been a lot of fun (especially when we did it together). Thank you.

      Luv ya. 🤟😘

  70. Rusty Shackleford

    I was totally expecting Robbie the robot to have cancer and end up a crumpled mass next to the high school track.

    Ah well…

  71. WheresFather

    Thanks everyone for all the fun and laughs! I’ve been a daily reader and very occasional poster. Life imitates “art”: my cataract surgery synced up with Funky’s, and I’m actually retiring from my job next week.

    I read Funky on paper in the Philadelphia Inquirer– they dumped the Sunday comic years ago but saw the daily through to the end. I’m interested (shudder) to see if Cranky takes its place. I emailed the editor and suggested “Crabgrass” by Tauhid Bondia– it’s a fun strip. I’m guessing they’ll keep the current lineup and widen all the margins a bit.

    My main disappointment with FW (of many) is that our Author never had the nerve, or ability, to take one of his comic book characters out for spin– a real story with more than just punny names and weird cover art. It could even have been a “dream” so his precious timeline would have been undisturbed.

  72. Suicide Squirrel

    John Byrne? Really?

    I guess Chuck Ayers read Batiuk’s script for the final week and checked out early.

    On a side note, I read a dozen comic books or more a month during the 1970s to the early 1980s. John Byrne was one of my favorites. He drew the Uncanny X-Men, The Fantastic Four and Captain America. I recently found out what a jerk he can be.

    Another one of my favorites from back in those days was Dave Sim, creator of Cerebus the Aardvark. Whoo-boy. I sure can pick ’em.

    If anyone knows anything controversial about Jim Starlin, please keep it to yourself.

    • Epicus Doomus

      I do know that Byrne took over the art during early Act III when Batiuk hurt his leg. Why he couldn’t draw with a hurt leg is a different question for a different day. The consensus seems to be that Byrne’s faces are an odd fit within a FW context. I tend to agree.

      • I imagine the hurt leg gave Batiuk a lot of pain, and it’s difficult to do any kind of detailed tasks when you’re in pain, so I give him a pass on that one.

        • Epicus Doomus

          Or perhaps he was drawing it with his feet all along. We just don’t know. But seriously, I didn’t mean to make light of his very real injury, it was more about making light of Byrne’s weird faces.

      • Suicide Squirrel

        I remember those. Byrne has a distinctive, recognizable style. It’s curious how he didn’t receive any credit for those comic strips. Only Batiuk’s name appeared in the margin. Whether Byrne didn’t receive, or didn’t want any credit is the question.

        I’m here to bury Batiuk not salute him. Batiuk had an accident? Are you sure that it was only his leg that was hurt? No concussions, lack of oxygen or anything like that? Afflictions like that might explain the latter part of Act III.

        • The Duck of Death

          We joke — I think — but seemingly minor injuries or operations, especially if they involve anesthesia — can cause brain injuries. I hope that isn’t the cause of the drop-off in quality, but enough of us have noticed the weirdness and incoherence that we just can’t dismiss some kind of dementia or neurological impairment. Or we could be wrong and it could just be I-don’t-need-an-editor cussedness. We’ll probably never know for sure.

          • Suicide Squirrel

            Yeah, I joked. Really in poor taste coming from someone whose father passed away from complications of Alzheimer’s.

            Sorry about that.

    • Green Luthor

      For whatever it’s worth, I don’t recall ever hearing anything bad about Starlin, so hopefully that’s safe. (Heck, he even said he liked how the MCU portrayed Thanos, and if anyone had grounds to hate that…)

      (I just hope you were never a fan of DC writer Gerard Jones, because… yeah, even Dave Sim looks better in comparison…)

      • Suicide Squirrel

        Marvel Two-in-One Annual (1976) #2 is my favorite comic book of all time. My copy is a far cry from Mint.

        ‘Spider-Man and Thing find themselves on board Thanos’s ship and besieged by his legions. Meanwhile, Adam Warlock reunites with Gamora and Pip the Troll within the Soul Gem.’

        I really like the work Starlin did on some of the early Marvel Graphic novels. Each panel looks like a painting.

  73. The Duck of Death

    A gem from Twitter:

    How uncannily savvy of this individual to realize all the posters here are men (or lesbians?). And it’s cruel, but fair to say we no longer have a harmless outlet for our negative energy. BRB, gonna kick the cat, poison some pigeons, and beat my wife because Funky Winkerbean is ending. This is a natural consequence, obviously.

  74. bunnydoe

    You all don’t know me, although if you do it is probably under the name BunnyHugger, since that’s how my (very occasional) comments appear on GoComics and Comics Kingdom, or under my real name. I learned about this blog from my husband, Joseph Nebus, who has already left his concluding remarks somewhere above. I found it belatedly and only occasionally remembered to return, though whenever I did visit I was delighted all over again. I have a fairly long relationship with Funky Winkerbean, though, which I’ll share a few reminiscences about.

    My earliest encounter with Funky Winkerbean was a slight and incidental one. I was an avid reader of comic strips as a kid, but I was also only familiar with the ones that ran in the papers my parents subscribed to, namely The Ann Arbor News and The Detroit Free Press. Since Funky appeared in neither, it didn’t exist for me. Except… I was in band, and in the middle school band room, there were instructional posters about keeping your instruments clean, featuring Harry L. Dinkle. This character meant nothing to me outside these posters, so they were something of an enigma. Am I supposed to know who this is? I think I believed he was just a character created for band room educational posters, and given that Funky didn’t appear in the local papers, I was probably not the only kid with that misconception.

    Flash forward to about 1998. In those days I was an avid Usenet reader, one of the longtime regulars in several groups but especially my online home of the time, alt.devilbunnies. Sadly, though, alt.devilbunnies was already beginning to suffer a long, slow decline in quality and participation, and most of my other groups had already gone downhill before it. I was talking about this with an Internet friend (one Joseph Nebus) and he recommended I join rec.arts.comics.strips, where he was a regular. I did so and quickly discovered that one of the favorite topics of conversation there was Funky Winkerbean. I recall a lot of ragging on the allegedly glacial pace of the stories, with people referring back to a sequence in which someone supposedly took a week to run up a flight of stairs. (I believe this was probably the fire arc, which was just before my time so I know it only by reputation.) I had never read Funky (though by this time I was dimly aware of it), but I felt left out of so many threads on r.a.c.s that I added it to my online comics page. That started my regular reading of Funky which continued ever since.

    What’s quite recent to me, though, is actually going back and reading some of the early strips. And to my surprise, I find that it is quite funny, probably better than average for its cohort. Surely, it’s crudely drawn, with a level of artistry that reminds me of college newspaper comics pages. But the gags are well timed and the cartoonish whimsy is fun. If I look past some really jarring sexism and bad writing of female characters, it succeeds in its modest goal of being a wacky high-school humor strip.

    Even during Act II, I think the strip still had some genuine entertainment value as a melodrama. I don’t think it completely fell apart until Act III. Until then, I was still able to appreciate some aspects of it on a nonironic level.

    In the end, I am left feeling sad. I’m sad because Batiuk took the achievement of writing a daily comic strip for 50 years – and I do think this is an achievement deserving of respect – and squandered it with such a self-parodying and anticlimactic finale. I’m sad, too, because the bad melodrama and the transformation into “Funky Cancercancer” (as they always called it on r.a.c.s) have overshadowed, and probably always will overshadow, the half-decent strip that it was in Act I. It’s a real shame.

    Thanks for giving me the opportunity to meander in my memories and share my thoughts. Happy New Year!

  75. Suicide Squirrel

    Pretty much as I assumed, all three of Batiuk’s titles have been removed from the Comics Kingdom.

    I was replying to a comment in the CK FW discussion a few minutes ago. The comic disappeared after I tried to refresh the page. My comment exists but the comic is gone.

    I’ve seen the blame game between comic creators and Kings Features before. The comic archive disappears. The comic creator will say they had no choice and King Features removed the archives. King Features customer support will say the archives were removed at the comics creator’s request.

    • I was wondering what would happen come January 1. I actually peeped next week’s worth of Crankshaft strips (spoiler: no Funky characters appear).

  76. FrogPis

    Fluk crayon