LESS THAN 10 DAYS LEFT TO VOTE FOR THE 2022 FUNKY AWARDS!!!
As far as I can tell, you guys have been doing a perfectly adequate job of stuffing the ballot box with your own opinions! But we must think beyond the narrow confines of our own idyllic community. 2022 was the LAST YEAR of Funky Winkerbean. This vote may very well be the last time anyone on the internet has a chance to fill out a GoogleDoc Poll on which drawing of a 50 year old comic book character they most would like to see punched in the face. Unless Wanders updates his Worthy Awards next year with a most slapable Wilbur Weston. Which he probably should.
So get out the vote! Share The Funky Awards on your socials, your FaceSpaces, and MyBooks, and InstaToks. Chirp about it on Tweeter. You never know who might find it interesting.
When Act III launched, John Byrne provided ‘model sheets’ for a Meet the Cast page on Batiuk’s Funky Winkerbean website. The page was taken down in 2013, but TFH has preserved it here. We’ve gotten years and years of enjoyment laughing over such unforgettable characters as ‘Carrie’ and ‘Eddie’.
Included in the cast was this Mr. Fantastic looking chap.
When Batiuk skipped ahead in time following Lisa’s death, I’m guessing he had a general trajectory in mind for where the strip would go for the next several years. Story by story characters reached the endpoint he had imagined back in 2007, and then he mostly stuck them in pointless holding patterns to await the end while he played around in comic book Hollywoodland. The only exception might be Bull’s CTE arc.
Point here being, I think that Frankie showing up again was something Batiuk had been planning for years. Les would write his tear jerking memoir, which would eventually get optioned for a movie. Darin and Jess would get pregnant. And then Frankie would come back in the picture.
In a 2013 interview with CBR, Batiuk tried to make it sound like the whole story just kinda happened to him, rather than it being a conscious decision to write it. Which he always does and it’s always so dumb, and I don’t even think I believe him. He’s subconsciously enamored with the narrative of serendipitous spontaneous storytelling. As if it’s quirkier, or a sign of more natural talent, or gives the story a certain je ne sais quoi. When, you know, you get a lot better results by sitting and thinking critically about the assets at your disposal, the point you’re wanting to make, and the structure of the narrative to tell it.
I’ve got a storyline coming up and it’s sort of a Lisa story. It’s interesting. A couple of summers ago I felt compelled to go back to Elyria and take some pictures around my old apartment and the alley across the street from us. I don’t know why but I took all those pictures and I ended up writing a story where Frankie — he’s been mentioned a couple times and has actually appeared in the strip very briefly, the guy who got Lisa pregnant — returns. In the return of that story we deepen the teen pregnancy story and say that it was a little more than just youthful indiscretion on Lisa’s part. There was some coercion involved and it’s like a coda to “Lisa’s Story.” This character was always hanging there. Whatever happened to him he comes back into their lives, disrupts them completely and then everything gets resolved, so in a way I guess that does involve Lisa. We find a journal of hers and we’re reading her journal so she kind of speaks to us from the grave.
How does Frankie’s biggest and most important arc start? Well, following Fred Fairgood’s stroke, his estranged daughter, Kerry, shows up, and Darin and Kerry get talking about birth fathers.
This is just a little teaser, a bit of foreshadowing. The next two months are pretty basic FW tripe, OMEA, school, and comic book filler. Then, in April, Les gets the news that Cable Movie Entertainment has picked up the option on Lisa’s Story and wants him to write the first draft of the script.
In the meantime, Jess and Darin have just announced that they are expecting a baby
And Jess announces her intention to, once again, work on a documentary she will never actually finish.
Into all this drives Frankie Pierce, with a firecracker of a plan that will light the strip up.
This arc ran for two whole months. This is what Epicus had to say at the conclusion of the arc.
So it comes to this: the huge Frankie Date Rape Mega Retcon arc dies a limp, soggy death. Frankie stomps away sneeringly, defeated by Saint Lisa’s magical powers and unimpeachable veracity, while his sidekick/accomplice/henchman/back-up White Lenny off-handedly offers Jessica a possible paying gig. Which she of course sarcastically mocks in the Westviewian way these obnoxious people have. What a debacle this turned out to be. Good riddance to bad garbage, I say re: Frankie…the last thing that town needs is more sneering. Such a disappointment.
So, where does this one rank with Act III’s most epic disasters? I have it a close third, right behind Funky’s car crash/time travel arc and Les’ book-tour-launch, still the gold standard in annoyingly long, ponderous irritating mega-arcs. Although they all kind of suck equally when you really stop to think about it.Epicus Doomus, June 28, 2013.
How naïve we all were at the time, scoffing at this multi-tiered story, a convergence of plotlines complete with several characters actually having conflicting deeper motivations. I wasn’t yet commenting on SOSF when this hit, but I was following FW via Curmudgeon. It seemed awful. Now it seems like Dostoyevsky. (I mean. It is still awful.)
But there’s a lot in the set up here that later plots lack.
Jess’ obsession with her own lost father.
Darin’s adoptive father ailing.
Darin facing fatherhood himself.
Cayla pushing Les to work on the movie script.
Summer’s transition to adulthood.
The incestuous nature of the Funkyverse itself.
How deep you want this dive to be? Because I’m only now starting to realize how much I could say about good old Frankie.