Frankie Fake-out

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Preliminary research by people who took college level chemistry classes showed that individuals who voted for the 2022 Funky Awards were happier, more energetic, and more attractive to their preferred romantic partners than the control group. (Disclaimer: This statement should not be taken as any kind of indication that the person and/or persons who took college level chemistry classes remember what was taught in those classes or even, indeed, that they passed the class at all.)

An ominous shadow of threatening portent hovered over baby Summer Moore’s stay in the NICU.

Even more ominous than Les’ inhuman puppet mouth in panel 2.

The story seemed to be headed toward a topical fable about sharing too much online, especially when you’ve just had a violent drunken interaction with a potential stalker.

Print? Website? Wallpaper? What are these strange future words? I’m just a lowly law student that recently passed the bar exam.
Even that teddy bear is threatening.
Now, Darin, I’m gonna give you the number of a guy named Tom. His website really needs your help…
Grainy black and white print-offs of a picture they already OWN!
Could it be?
Watching from the window?
Is it our man, Frankie?
Bummer.

Naw, it’s just Lisa’s stupid parents. Over the long history of Funky Winkerbean criticism, I’ve seen a few Mandela Effects pop up in regards to continuity and lore. One oft repeated is that Lisa’s parents didn’t attempt a reconciliation with her until she was on her death bed. Mr. Crawford did give a dying Lisa a big weepy apology for the way he’d treated her when she got teen pregnant, but they’d been back in her life for years at that point. Like all grandparents in the Funkyverse they provided a convenient baby dumping place when kids were going to get in the way of the adults doing whatever they wanted.

Look! Another cursed FW closeup! I’m spoiling you this week!

This isn’t the last time Frankie was used as a threat, only for the reader to get bait and switched. Back in June 2020, Epicus was foaming at the mouth in excitement when this strip dropped.

We should have known, it was too good to be true.

YES! That Sleazebag Frankie is back and not a f*cking moment too soon. Finish the job, Frankie, let’s WASTE these m*therf*ckers!

Epicus Doomus, June 1st, 2020

So what’s all this then? That Sleazebag Jerk Frankie is going to break in to stately Moore Manor? Seriously? I can’t wait to find out how stupid this is going to get. It’s also nice to have a genuine protagonist in FW again. 

Epicus Doomus, June 2nd, 2020
Jarod Posey was introduced in 2013, btw. So he also has an unconventional relationship with time and aging.

By this point, even Epicus was losing hope in seeing his gallant hero again.

That is the derfiest looking running pose I’ve ever seen.

Charles called it yesterday, that’s definitely Mason, not (sigh) Frankie. He’s killing a week with a pointless fake-out designed to get us Frankie fans all riled up over nothing. What a dick move.

Epicus Doomus, June 4, 2020.
Boooooooooooo. You suck!
Sometimes, it’s just nice to go back to the comments of an old arc, and look for forgotten gems like this.

Poor Epicus, that week in June, he went through all the stages of grief in just a few days.

Denial.

Coming tomorrow: after breaking into Moore Manor, Frankie steals Les’ piece of the One True Park Bench from its sacred vestibule, then films himself using it to pick his teeth while moaning Lisa’s name over and over. 

June 2nd

Anger.

Typical Batom, you finally learn what the story will be about and it’s so incomprehensibly dumb you never could have imagined it yourself. Like I always say (and frequently forget), even the stupidest fan theories are way, way too well thought-out and complicated for FW.

June 4th

Bargaining.

In a way I suppose the Frankie dream does make a bit of (unintentional) sense. Les is worried about Hollywood violating the purity of his cancer book just like Frankie violated Lisa back in (sigh) high school. And in that context “Lust For Lisa” becomes even creepier.

June 4th

Depression.

There was a time when I started to think that maybe (at least for the most part) he was finally putting Lisa and the cancer book behind him somewhat. But it was just a lull, like when you have a few mild winters in a row then it snows forty inches in December.

June 5th

Acceptance.

I never really know what the hell that nut’s gonna do next but this really was a peculiar arc by FW standards. First he invokes the strip’s number one villain, then he mentions WHS’ most troubled-ever student, then he caps it with a revelation so stupid that he himself can’t avoid pointing it out. AND not only does this arc contain a very rare Sunday wrap-up, CAYLA delivers the punch line!

It’s a weird confluence of events, like seeing a leprechaun riding by on a unicorn during an eclipse, only a lot more boring and far, far more forgettable.

June 7th, 2020

Epicus, tomorrow, I promise you we’ll go back in time and we’ll see Frankie again.

BUT ONLY IF YOU KNUCKLEHEADS VOTE!!!!

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41 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

41 responses to “Frankie Fake-out

  1. Not to brag, but I managed to avoid Chemistry throughout my scholastic career. I feel like I should be ranked higher than those who were bamboozled into taking such classes.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      I actually really liked Chemistry in high school. Made it all the way to Chem 2, though anything that didn’t have farming pertinence has mostly slipped away.

      Oh, those halcyon days of youth, when you knew the average atomic weight of potassium off the top of your head…

      • be ware of eve hill

        I liked high school and middle school chemistry too.

        It was always funny the way my high school chemistry teacher’s eyes bugged out whenever he discussed molecules.

  2. Green Luthor

    Has anyone ever used the phrase “j-peg it to someone”? (Yeah, I know, when you ask that question about Batiuk dialogue, the answer is usually a resounding “no”.)

    • billytheskink

      That line was also written by a guy who kept drawing computer mice with the cord at the bottom well over a decade after mice had become a familiar sight to any American under the age 65 (which TB, of course, was then).

      Yes, the mouse was so named in large part because Douglas Engelbart’s prototype of the device had the cord coming out of the south end opposite the button, like a mouse’s tail. And sure, some early computer mice were corded from the bottom like the one’s TB drew (the last time I saw such a mouse was in 1997, at the old Computer Museum in Boston, the mouse in question was an incredibly uncomfortable pointy thing that was molded to look like an artistic depiction of a real mouse, hence the cord coming out of the bottom… it was plugged into an Apple IIgs). But you aren’t going to convince me that Mr. J-PEG It To Someone knew any of that.

  3. Epicus Doomus

    Deep down, I knew it was just too good to be true. It’s been mentioned many times before how FW rarely features any genuine conflict at all, ever. Frankie is the only real villain FW had ever had, and teasing his possible return like that was a typically shitty Batiukian thing to do. And to have it actually be about Les was the dogshit icing on the crap cake. Take a walk through your neighborhood dog park right after the snow melts and bam, you’ve experienced Les Moore. That whole “Lisa’s Story-The Movie” arc was just so unbearably squirmy.

    I never really understood why a guy who had no problem with inflicting untold cruelties upon his characters shied away from conflict so much. Frankie was the only FW character who was there to just plain stir up trouble, and while it always inevitably petered out and died on the vine in some bafflingly boring way, at least you got a few panels of something for a change.

  4. billthesplut

    OK, I voted when this started. Am I supposed to keep voting? This is a serious question; I’m newer here than Les’ last brain cell, but so are trilobites.

    And if there could be another worst panel candidate, how about fake Jack Kirby saying “I faked my death!” Followed by no one asking “WTF WHY, YOU LOONIE?!” just mild, bemused smiles. We saw him in HEAVEN with LISA, so did she fake her death too?

    • ComicBookHarriet

      You may continue voting. Feel free to 1000 Mules it up in here. So, for example, if you had a hard time picking between two Les faces you can vote twice for the one you hate more, and then once for the one you only hate with every cell in your body.

      • The Duck of Death

        Oh hell! I had no idea we could vote repeatedly! To think how I agonized over some of my choices, unable to decide which was the more loathesome panel/strip/arc. Now I can vote for dang nigh all of ’em!

  5. Paul Jones

    What bothered me about Frankie is that he never quite understood how unwelcome he was. Never did he get that people just didn’t wanna deal with him because he never saw what he was doing to aggravate people.

    • Green Luthor

      Hm, I kinda think it was the opposite, actually. Frankie DID realize he was aggravating and unwelcome. In fact, he RELISHED it. He loved making things difficult for other people, and the angrier they got, the more entertainment he got out of it.

      Frankie was an Internet troll, only without the Internet. And if the people he was trolling were inherently annoying and smug all the time, such that even the most patient people alive would want to troll the **** out of them.

  6. Banana Jr. 6000

    “If he ever shows up here again, I’ll make sure it’s the last time!” Les, I would love to see you try.

    • The Duck of Death

      Macho, physically threatening Les is one of the most pathetic and irritating Leses of all.

      Same goes for Funky. I’m thinking of the panel in which he confronts the ICE agents in Montoni’s and he thinks they’re there to take Adeela away. Oh, how I wished then for a sudden grease fire.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        The main characters act tough like they know the writing will protect them from any repercussions. It would have been a great twist to see somebody get in Les or Funky’s face during one of their more obnoxious outings, just to see how they’d react to it. A genuine if temporary antagonist, like the minor character Thibault in Peanuts. But the Funkyverse just doesn’t work that way.

  7. The Duck of Death

    Belatedly, re: yesterday’s Dan Davis “stolen” artwork… I was reading last night about Wally Wood, indisputably one of the greats of comic art. His dictum was: “Never draw what you can swipe. Never swipe what you can trace. Never trace what you can photocopy. Never photocopy what you can clip out and paste down.”

    Of course, there’s nothing in there about stealing another artist’s work, but if you’re drawing the same characters for the same strip, I don’t think it should be considered stealing.

    • The Duck of Death

      Oh, and — good lord, CBH, how DO you find and notice these things? In another life, you would be an art expert. I picture you at the Met Cloisters museum, studying the thread patterns on a tapestry and remembering that 26 years ago you’d seen similar knotting patterns on a 15th-century tapestry in an abbey in Burgundy, thus finally solving the mystery of where the Cloisters tapestry had originated.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      I completely agree re: art ‘stealing’ when it comes to a single artist reusing their own art work/panels and tracing stock photos. But it feels so weird for an artist to be copying the linework of another, tweaking it slightly, and then signing his own name. It’s not the reused artwork on a legacy strip that bothers me in the slightest, it’s the way that Davis name is attached. I feel like there should be THREE by-lines there.

      Makes me realize that Dan Davis may be the ‘artist’ for Garfield in the same way that I was the ‘artist’ for those 50th Anniversary strips I did, or TFH or BJ6K or Ian’s parodies. We’re just rearranging and tweaking art and completely changing the context.

      The reason I knew that the Crankshaft art was likely copied is that I’ve noticed subtle differences between the ways Ayers and Davis draw. Davis pulls nicer looking references from Ayers, not his sloppiest stuff. So Ayers copies have finer lines and better proportions.

      Ayers was a fast draftsman, which is why I think his quality really suffered in his age. He draws lots of rounded fat, circular shapes: noses, hats, heads, slumped backs, but the lines themselves feel very confident. Everything that isn’t a straight line is a full, plump arc.

      When Davis is drawing a Crankshaft character from scratch a hint of Garfield tends to leak through. The lines are thick and black even where the detail should be finer, and everything is limper, shakier, flatter. And his ability/desire to draw buildings and structures falls off a f**king cliff.

      Take a look at this strip, it’s obvious that baby Mitch was drawn by a completely different artist. I don’t have time to track down every reference. But I did find the Ayers Santa.

      And here’s a strip where panel one and three seem to be pretty much pure Ayers, and panel two shows a lot of Davis influence.

      • The Duck of Death

        Your powers of observation are really astounding. I mean it. And your memory!

        I guess it’s because I’ve spent many years doing work for hire that the idea of reusing work doesn’t really bother me. I freely used others’ work when it was expedient, and they used mine. It was all in the service of the clients (who knew, and very much supported this expediency). Admittedly, my work didn’t have my name signed to it, but even though Davis and Ayers sign their names, it’s still work for hire. Batiuk is still their client, and he still exercises creative control. In those circumstances, it strikes me as normal that the artists would do whatever is expedient. If Davis reuses Batiuk’s property — Ayers’ art — in the service of Batiuk’s property — FW or Crankshaft — then that doesn’t strike me as a problem.

        I do admit that I don’t have any insider info about the comics field, or how this type of thing is viewed by comic artists. If I had to guess, I’d guess that it’s not uncommon to reuse layouts when you take over the art on a legacy strip. But as I said, I’m not an insider and I don’t know how this would be viewed.

        In any case, hell, look at the example the boss man sets. Using Marvel/DC characters, layouts, covers with no credit to anyone, not even a tip of the ol’ Funky felt-tip. And not redrawn, either — just pasted in! Tom, this is not what Wally Wood meant when he said “never trace when you can photocopy.”

        • ComicBookHarriet

          What bothers me about it is that when I’m critiquing art I always want to ascribe the quality or the fault to the proper source, and by completely removing ‘Ayers’ and signing the art ‘Davis’. That means Davis is now listed as the sole ‘source’. So, before my Davis revelation, I may have said something like. ‘Boy Davis really nailed Cranky’s facial expression in that last panel, superb work.”

          But Davis didn’t nail the expression, Davis just chose and tweaked the best Ayers expression from his catalogue of sources. So Davis deserves artistic credit, yes, but not sole credit.

          I’m always using paint to make stupid parodies for my friend who does a primo nice looking web-comic. Sometimes I get downright artistic with cutting, pasting, and redrawing facial expressions. But I would feel so wrong to erase her name from the art and solely put in my own.

      • Um, Jim Davis is the Garfield guy. Unless Dan helps him or something.

      • be ware of eve hill

        “Originality is just undetected plagiarism.” – Voltaire, 1756

  8. The Duck of Death

    I think the reason we all loved Frankie is that Frankie was us.

    Ready to dig deep, splashing around in the muck beneath the façade of a happy suburban town? Check! Eager to expose the incongrous past of supposedly saintly people? You got it! Hating everything about these sickly-sweet people and their self-satisfied lives? Yes, yes, and yes.

    Over the top as he was, he was so easy to identify with.

    The motivation Batiuk gave him was incredibly stupid, though. Why would he want anything to do with his kid? And if he did, the way to do it for a dot-com millionaire would be to hire a lawyer to do the digging.

    The character could have been so much better if Batiuk had chosen either:

    — Frankie is a narcissistic psycho. The way these types work is usually to insinuate themselves into people’s lives by flattering and appearing harmless. Then they start turning people against each other while still pretending to be innocent. (The “All About Eve” gambit.) That’s an absolute dramatic gold mine, and true to life.

    OR

    — Frankie doesn’t want to see Derwood. He doesn’t want Lisa back. He’s just a rage-fueled alcoholic loser who wants to fuck shit up, because he can. And he’s got a sleazy lawyer who will fight dirty to open up those sealed records.

    But conflict is scary to Batty, so we get maybe a few panels’ worth, and then Chekhov’s gun is put back on the mantel, never to be fired or even mentioned again.

  9. Jpeg it to someone? Wow. I suppose if I have someone work on a spreadsheet for me I can ask them to Excel it to me when they’re finished.

  10. William Epps

    First, Les acting ‘tough’ is laughable.
    Second, in the print where we ‘think’ it’s Frankie inside the apartment but it’s only Saint Lisa’s folks is wrong.
    The hand holding back the curtain has on a yellow sleeve. Once inside, neither parent is wearing anything close to that color. Is Batham really that non-caring about anything?

  11. The Duck of Death

    Can anyone identify that “disk” or whatever it is that Darwin’s holding in the first panels of the post? I’m old enough to remember when computer programs were stored on cassettes, and yet I’ve never seen anything remotely like this object.

    • Green Luthor

      I think it’s supposed to be a digital camera, maybe? (Albeit one drawn by someone only vaguely familiar with the concept of cameras?)

    • It looks like a miniature tombstone. After someone drew a rough sketch and wrote ’18″‘ on it.

      • Green Luthor

        Got the reference!

      • vince

        I’m pretty sure it’s supposed to be a Kodak DC220, for whatever that’s worth

        • Green Luthor

          Oh, okay, I can see that. Good catch!

          • vince

            I have to admit I didn’t know that off the top of my head, I initially assumed that since he said “disk” it was going to be one of the sony models that took floppy disks. None of those are tombstone shaped though.

            It definitely looks like the Kodak DC220 even though those store to compact flash which I don’t think anyone would refer to as a disk, though if someone’s going to “J-PEG” me I guess I shouldn’t be surprised they don’t have a firm grasp on digitial storage format types.

            I did know people back in dot-com days who did have only a loose grasp on technology like Darin here, though I have to assume Batiuk wasn’t going for that but actually thought he was writing a knowledgeable tech-nerd.

        • The Duck of Death

          I don’t really see a close resemblance; the DC220 didn’t have an oblong tombstone shape. Still, who knows? Maybe Batiuk saw one and drew it from memory.

  12. The Duck of Death

    I had a thought about Frankie. We know he was on the football team at Big Walnut Tech and he was kind of a Big Man on Campus because of that. Lisa was overawed at the mere thought of being part of his crowd.

    So why doesn’t he seem to have any friends or even acquaintances in the whole of NE Ohio? The only people that take any notice of him are his antagonists. I wasn’t reading FW back then. Is there any clue? Was he the quarterback that took Big Walnut Tech through its worst losing streak in history? Was he expelled in disgrace and his name expunged from the record books?

    It just seems that, since the sun rises and sets on sports and comix in this burg, Frankie should be well remembered, wouldn’t you think?

  13. I’m just gonna j-peg this comment here on the world wide j-peg.

  14. Gabby

    When I took chemistry in high school my lab partner had taken it the year before, but broke his arm, and couldn’t finish the required experiments. But, he had all of the correct formulas that the teacher put on the blackboard at the end of each lesson. So, I never actually did any of the experiments—we just submitted those correct formulas.

    Btw, was it ever explained—pre retcon why star qb Frankie went after Lisa? Wouldn’t he have been rutting with the Big Walnut Tech analog of Cindeee and her minions?

  15. be ware of eve hill

    Test test test

  16. be ware of eve hill

    Test test test

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