A Stroke of Luck

Obligatory link to Funky Awards Voting.

Link to post of nominees

Link to post of BEST STRIP nominees.

Is this, like, commentary or something?

This Sunday strip is, I guess, supposed to be ironic. Jessica still doesn’t know the kind of man her father really was. Although Jess had been talking about her John Darling documentary for years at this point.

In April 2011 the part of Jessica Fairgood was played by a Sunday School puppet.

By 2013 we’ve only seen evidence of one interview. Which was conducted on a 1986 Panasonic Omnimovie VHS Camcorder.

Do you remember when Darin and Jess lived at the Taj Moore Hall? Harriet Farms Remembers.

So I guess at this point Jess hasn’t interviewed any of Darling’s numerous coworkers, who had nothing at all nice to say about him.

We talk a lot about the Lisa tapes, and forget the Candy tapes.

But John Darling, despite being an absolute asshole whom everyone hated, still isn’t in the same villain category as Frankie Pierce. Because John Darling, I guess, genuinely loved his bubbly and cute toddler daughter. And she was lucky enough that he died before she could disappoint him.

Good job finally remembering that you could just watch old home videos if you wanted a memory of your dad.

Which means that Jessica doesn’t have to repudiate her bio-dad the same way Darin needs to rebuff Frankie. Yay?

Following his meeting with Frankie at Montoni’s, Darin calls a council of his remaining parental figures.

Darin’s so stressed he’s turning into Wally.

As obnoxious as it is dragging Les into the storyline, this grouping does make sense. Les is Lisa’s widower and the author of the book about her that is currently at the center of attention. Without that STUPID BOOK a reality show wouldn’t have come up. Cayla is Les’ wife and primary emotional support. Fred and Ann are Darin’s parents, and Frankie has threatened to drag Darin’s name through the mud for refusing to reconnect on camera, which would probably include casting his adoptive parents in a negative light as well. These are the people that need to be informed.

But that isn’t the only reason Darin had this meeting. He was hoping to brainstorm solutions.

It’s a brain drizzle.
Pam Murdoch! My creepy doppelganger from another town! How could I forget her?
How could we forget this Hysterical Landmark?
Good ol, 425 West Ave, Elyria OH.

And…if the alley where Frankie parked the van was across the street…

Is that the place?

So I’ve got good news for the Funky Winkerbean Ohio Tours! I know the exact spot where Lisa and Frankie weren’t anything but in the back of his van! Book your trip to this historic site! (I know I will)

We didn’t realize this for the years and years that Fred and Les were working in the same building every day, and Les was talking to everyone about his fiancée, then wife, then family.
Remember? You met them at our wedding?

Tomorrow! A Cranky crossover event in the far distant past of 2013!

And also in the real, agonizing, present of 2023!

Will Davis attempt to draw Funky characters himself for once? Or will I be able to pick out the Ayers line art again?

Play it again, Davis.

Tune in tomorrow to find out!!

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60 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

60 responses to “A Stroke of Luck

  1. The Duck of Death

    CBH, how the Sam Hill (pardon my French) do you remember these exact snippets of art? I’ve said it before, but the world lost a great forensic detective when you decided to stay down on the farm.

    I’ve never been clear on what exactly the “hook” of this purported reality show was gonna be, especially if Dullin’ didn’t cooperate. Am I missing the obvious, or is Puffy?

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      It’s about Lisa. That’s the only hook you need in the Funkyverse, apparently.

      Lisa is basically Jesus, in terms of how the western world relates to her story. No snark, no hyperbole, I mean that as literally as possible. Even if you’re not Christian, you know Jesus’ life story. You can appreciate its importance, cinematic scope, and the need for sensitivity. That’s how much deference this storytelling world gave to Dead Lisa.

      • The Duck of Death

        I get that the Batiukiverse is starving for Lisa-related content. But even a show about Jesus on the Jesus Channel has to have some hook. (“What you don’t know about Pontius Pilate will change how you think about the Crucifixion!”) Even the dullest homily from the worst preacher will have some central point — how Jesus taught us humility, or the importance of giving to the poor, or something the audience is supposed to take away from it.

        If Frankie had an actual idea for this show, I missed it. Was it just “I had sex with the ugliest duckling in the school, dumped her, and years later the child that resulted wanted nothing to do with me”? Seems rather tame and expected. It’d be right up there with nail-biters like “I let my unemployment run out, didn’t look for a job, and now I can’t pay my rent” and “I drove drunk several times and now my license is suspended.”

        Maybe there’s an audience for it if it runs on the Predictable Consequences Network, or the Everyday F*ckups Channel.

        • William Thompson

          It’s utterly irrelevant to everything so it would fit in perfectly on the History Channel.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          I was mentally accounting for that. Funky Winkerbean has never had a point about anything, at least not after 1992, so I never thought it had to have a point about Lisa either. Just like comic books only need a cover, the mere idea that Lisa exists is enough to compel these people.

          • The Duck of Death

            Well, now you put it that way: It’s pointless, meaningless drivel that says nothing but somehow is vaguely about Lisa. Perfectly on brand.

    • be ware of eve hill

      CBH’s ability to detect patterns allow her to write a blog that connects matters of a substandard comic strip to matters of immense consequence.

      What she writes about will spark others to build on it to create a science of behavioral-patterned algorithms that will one day allow us to recognize humanity as our nation!

      That’s what Harley told me.

      • sorialpromise

        BE WARE OF EVE HILL
        This is brilliant, erudite, concise, spectacular, and verbatim. (I ran out of words.) I am basking in your collected wisdom. You are terrific.

  2. Epicus Doomus

    Well done again, CBH. These are some of Act III’s most awful strips and arcs, and that Jessica rendering in the April 2011 strip just might be the single worst drawing in all of Act III history. I mean wow, that’s just hideous. You used to see hatchet faces like that all the time back then. For a while there, Summer was exclusively hatchet faced, just about all the time.

  3. none

    Every entry is incredible for so many reasons.

    K2S0 and Robbie The Abandoned Bookkeeper do not look anything alike, by the way; not that anyone here directly implied it beyond the tenuous reach Puffy is trying to make among them. But it is just a latest example of how poorly the quality of the content is, but it’s only realized upon closer inspection.

  4. Green Luthor

    “Is there any way we can stop this Frankie from producing his reality TV show?”
    “Hmm… maybe we could hold up our arms and do the ‘quarter-inch pinch’ thing?”
    “That’s just crazy enough to work!”

    Also, in case anyone didn’t realize it, it should be pointed out that Jessica Darling Whose Father John Darling Was Murdered is, in fact, the daughter of John Darling Who Was Murdered, AND that John Darling Who Was Murdered was, in fact, murdered. In case Batiuk’s seamless exposition was too subtle.

    (Also also, if you ever watch all those formulaic procedurals like Law & Order or NCIS, they can always run a picture of someone through “facial recognition software” and get a definitive hit within minutes. I think that must be based on CBH’s ability to look at these comics and always be able to find where the art was taken from. It’s almost scary.)

    (Yes, I watch terribly formulaic TV procedurals. I read Funky Winkerbean, obviously, I have no taste in entertainment.)

    • The Duck of Death

      John Darling was murdered? The TV Guy who was Jessica Darling’s father? First I’ve heard of it. Then again, it was probably one of those blink-and-you-missed-it arcs, like Lisa’s cancer.

      • billthesplut

        Was John Darling Murdered Man anything like Butter Brinkle the Silent Movie Star from 1940, who was a silent movie comedian involved in a murder and a silent movie star in World War Fuckin’ Two? Something about a talking hey, hey we’re the monkeys?
        Wasn’t there a strip in that interminable incoherency where someone–Documentary Girl, I think, talking to Plastic Surgery Cindy, and it literally had the name “Butter Brinkle” in it 3 times in what was supposed to be ONE SENTENCE?

        Amazing how a guy who thinks all his readers are the guy from “Memento” also still can’t remember his own continuity.

        • none

          I still bristle at the one day in that arc where his pseudonym for William Randolph Hearst was two different names in two panels within the same single Sunday strip.

  5. billytheskink

    I like how this story arc is the ONE time Jess remembers that she is related to the Murdochs, which of course corresponds exactly with TB conveniently forgetting that Les and Fred were co-workers for decades. This strip was such a perfectly-connected disaster…

    My favorite thing about Jess’ unfinished documentary about her father is that it was basically a light rehash of the 1997 Act II story arc where Les interviews a bunch of John Darling cast members for his stupid book and discovers that every single one of them except the actual killer all but wishes they had pulled the trigger themselves.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Any character who worked with John Darling and spent five minutes with Les Moore would immediately want to kill the latter instead.

      John Darling got a bum rap. Maybe he was selfish, elitist and condescending. But that’s a lot less offensive to me than people who take glee in a coworker’s death.

      Also, have you ever met a TV news anchor? They’re all elitist and condescending. Their job practically requires it. Nobody who’s ever worked on a TV news production crew would bat an eye at John Darling. I’ve worked with worse.

      The Funkyverse is packed with people who became far worse versions of John Darling than John Darling was himself. Every other person in Westview has a book deal, movie, tv show, news job, or comic book, and thinks they’re a much bigger star than they really are. And they’re held up as heroes, who the audience is supposed to be rooting for.

      Hell, John Darling was one of the more reasonable media figures in the Funkyverse.

    • Green Luthor

      Actually, Jessica Darling Whose Father John Darling Was Murdered did finish her documentary. It was never released because she never intended to release it; she made it entirely for herself, to get to know her father (John Darling Who Was Murdered) better. (Why did she do it as a documentary instead of simply meeting with the people who knew him? It’s called writing, that’s why!)

      • billytheskink

        I’m not sure Jess’ intent to not distribute the documentary was clear or decided from the beginning, as her own husband is asking about distribution when she was ostensibly finished making it. Frankly, even its final state is unclear as Jess was both filming and acquiring footage for use in her documentary pretty much up to the day that she is depicted as saying she would not be distributing it.

        Her definition of “making it” may not be intended to mean it is complete/distributable. Time-wise it sure doesn’t work, though I know none of us would put it past TB to intend that Jess had edited and completed the film to a distributable level off-panel over the course of two strips… Frankly, I just wasted a bunch of keystrokes because you are right, that is probably what he intended.

        • William Thompson

          This is Batiukville. All Jessica needs to make the video complete is to get a good cover for the DVD. I’d guess it involves showing John Darling in tights and a cape.

        • billthesplut

          Warning: righteous anger.

          If someone said to me–ROMANTICALLY–“Cancer gave your father back to you! COLD, and in a BOX! Like LEAN CUISINE!” next, they’d be praying they had cancer. Because they’d live a little longer, and it’d hurt less.

          WTF is Wrong with Batshit. Has he actually had a human relationship?

          • billthesplut

            Umm…I just got that this could be taken as a joke about domestic violence. It’s not. Some things just aren’t funny. Like cancer, abuse, and The Lockhorns.

  6. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    Well done, CBH! It amazes me when you match the actual location to the illustration. That’s some good research.
    Welcome back! It felt kind if like this when you were gone…

    • hitorque

      Should have been my favorite walking through the door, the Old English Sheepdog… Had one when I was little — Used to pretend that we were Belle and Sebastian… Fun times!

      (and yes, I know now that in reality Belle’s breed was a Grand Pyrenees)

    • Maxine of Arc

      I can’t decide which insignificant detail of this panel I love more, the dog’s dopey expression or the bowl of grass on the table.

  7. Paul Jones

    The irritating thing is that Batiuk thought that he was being subtle when he got all high and mighty about how tabloid TV isn’t a new thing.

  8. Cheesy-kun Shiba

    Amazing stuff, Godmother. Batiuk should be grateful to you for the work you out into these deep dives. I mean that sincerely. You’ve got all of us looking back at his work with genuine curiosity. And who else does he know who would care enough to find the real world locations of his settings. Really first rate stuff and an act of kindness to us but also to TB himself.

    How’s your precious niece? I’m sure I speak for us all when I say I hope she is well and warm.

    • The Duck of Death

      Truly, CBH, you are the archivist that TB does NOT deserve.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        Aw, garwsh. Thanks you beautiful peeps.

        Honestly, and this goes to everyone else who said something nice about the stuff today too, I am VERY GLAD that people are enjoying the Post-Strip Post-Mortem material. I wondered if there would be an audience for it, or if everyone would be Funkied out. But naw, there’s a group gathered next to the stage to watch the roadie plunk out a peppy cover of Jackson Browne’s ‘Stay.’

        And my niece is JUST PRECIOUS. She fell asleep on my chest and I just melted into a big gooey mess of DAWWWWWW. And my toddler nephew is an absolute clown. And my older step-nephew stole my phone to catch Pokemon.

  9. Rusty Shackleford

    So many pointless details to an already boring story, typical Batty nonsense.

    Ah well, Batty isn’t the only one who gets confused. Check out today’s Mary Worth and see if you pick out the big blunder.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Iris? Estelle? Pish…what’s the difference? They both dated Wilbur Weston.

    • The Duck of Death

      Other than a vet who has two pets on the table at once, a cat and a dog?

      • William Thompson

        Well, that one’s vaguely plausible–the cat and dog live together, so the cat has had plenty of time to cow the dog into submission.

        The real blunder is in the first panel, where the cat says “Thank you.” And what is the dog talking about? I don’t see that parasite Wilburp anywhere.

  10. The Duck of Death

    FWIW, it appeared for a little while that Vintage FW and Vintage FW Sundays would continue at Comics Kingdom.

    The dailies are frozen on Jan 11, the Sundays on Jan 8. And the archives are expunged. They’re gone, it just took a while for the syndicate to get around to pulling the plug.

  11. Perfect Tommy

    Can’t talk………..I’m on my way to “Sound Advice”. I hear they have a NOS Sony Discman! Gotta go!

    • The Duck of Death

      You mean Funky sold his, the last remaining Sony Discman on earth after he broke one of the two last ones? {EYEROLL}

  12. The Duck of Death

    More loathesome, cheap wish-fulfillment in Crankshaft.

    Lillian has found another ultra-rare, ultra-valuable comic in her attic. She tells DSH John that she “shortchanged” him because this should have been part of the collection.

    In fact, he bought the specific collection that she showed him. She didn’t yoink this comic out after selling it. It was never part of the collection he bid on in the first place. He should now bid on this new comic. But ditzy “Who, me? Befuddled little old lady me?” Lillian is Batty’s new favorite fount of mint Golden Age comix, despite the improbability of newsprint surviving 70 years in an uninsulated attic.

    I’m starting to miss Dinkle. It’s that annoying.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Only two weeks into the year, and Crankshaft is doing a Funky Winkerbean staple arc about rare, valuable Silver Age comic books.

      I’m waiting for the first appearance of the word “Lisa” in Crankshaft. The sooner that happens, the more I’ll think CS is destined to morph into FW Act IV.

      When Batiuk moved to a new syndicate, the first seven words in his contract should have been “No more Lisa” and “No more comic books.” Since CS has some genuine readership, the syndicate has an incentive to stop Batiuk turning it into another masturbatory screed. And that’s how you’d do it. Tell him he needs to drop this shit right now, or he’ll torpedo the strip like he did his last one.

      • billytheskink

        Not that I’m rooting for it to happen… but boy would it be morbidly fascinating to watch Crankshaft devolve the way FW did in late Act III.

        • I suspect that Crankshaft, like Funky before him, will become more and more ephemeral in his own strip.

          • ComicBookHarriet

            Now that I’ve had the epiphany that Davis is mostly cobbling together Crankshaft from previous Ayers strips at this point, I wonder how ambitious Crankshaft can even be?

            The most reference art, and thus combination of ease and flexibility, is in plots that recycle old settings.

            The Cranky Train is glued to the rails. Rotating around the Cranky seasons of melting gutter ice, raking leaves, selling books, chimney fires, bowling league, golf, and bus barn shenanigans.

  13. sully

    Now that the merger of Winkerbean and Yankshaft is complete (Skunkhead John and Lillianne in the same strip today… Shudder), couldn’t this site just carry on? The same bunch of detestable losers live on!

    • The Duck of Death

      I concur. Most of us predict that, with time, Crankshaft will become CINO (Crankshaft in Name Only). Why make people like CBH’s mom chuckle, why bring a few moments of levity to their day, when you could preach about comix and Dead St Lisa?

      • be ware of eve hill

        I wonder when Lillian will be joining the Atomik Komix staff? She fits the age demographic.

        Chester: Everyone, I’d like to introduce Lillian McKenzie. She’s going to be the writer of our new mystery title.
        Mopey Pete and Darin: The Lillian McKenzie?! Author of ‘Murder in the Bookstore’? We are not worthy! (synchronized groveling)

  14. hitorque

    Krankenschaaften: Of course… Some random comic book she’s been lugging around in her purse is a mint condition #1 worth a zillion dollars and she’ll let John have it for the original newsstand value of 10 cents because of course she is…

    • The Duck of Death

      Yes, of course she is. This is the genius that threw away an original Tiffany pendant lamp, worth about $500,000.

      • The Duck of Death

        I should add that I wasn’t reading during the arc where she threw away the lamp. It was explained to me by some kind folks here when I wondered about her bidding on “her” lamp at the Montoni’s auction. Apparently it is canonically an authentic Tiffany.

        What makes this interesting is that it reinforces the idea that in the Funkshaftiverse, only comic books are valuable, or collectible. They are the only way to store wealth.

        No real estate. No stocks or bonds. No entrepreneurial, successful businesses. No other collectibles, like photographs, vintage cars, paintings, antique Lionel trains, stamps, rare orchids, autographs and manuscripts, 18th century maps, 19th century first editions, midcentury modern furniture, rare Judaica, military antiques, etc etc etc.

        None of those things have value. Not even a Tiffany pendant. Only comic books.

        Forgive me if I’ve written this story before. A relative is a retired NYC cop. He works security at a pawn shop in Queens frequented almost exclusively by undocumented Jamaican/West Indian immigrants.

        He told me that gold jewelry was a form of systematic “bank account” for these people, since they didn’t have actual bank accounts. When they need cash, they pawn the jewelry. When they have cash, they get it out of hock. The jewelry was effectively their savings account.

        The Funkshaftiverse is much the same. The value stored in comics is effectively the bank for the characters. When they have money, they buy comics (make a deposit). When they need money, they sell comics (make a withdrawal).

        It makes sense for the West Indian immigrants, who have no experience with or access to bank accounts. But for native-born Ohioans….? I’m at a loss.

        • hitorque

          What happened if the pawn shop sold their jewelry once they got some cash? Did they just buy someone else’s?

          And FWIW, I’ve always been very surprised that an American heartland like Ahia wouldn’t be going batshit insane over baseball cards.

          • Green Luthor

            Pawnbrokers don’t work like regular buyers/sellers of merchandise. Technically, in general, instead of buying the merchandise, they’re giving a loan and holding the merchandise as collateral. The borrower gets a contracted amount of time to repay the loan (plus whatever fees/interest/whatever the broker charges), at which point the collateral is returned to them. If they don’t pay it back in the allotted time, ownership of the property transfers to the pawnbroker (as with collateral for any loan). (Though defaulting on a pawnbroker loan doesn’t get reported to credit agencies, since the collateral is considered payment of the loan.)

            (But the sellers do also have the option to just sell the merchandise outright, without contracting with the broker, in which case it’s obviously not a loan at all, but that wouldn’t seem to be what’s happening in the situation mentioned.)

            So as long as it’s still within the contracted period, the pawnbroker can’t sell the merchandise, as it’s technically not their property at that point, they’re just holding it against the loan. “Pawning” isn’t technically “selling”, and getting it “out of hock” isn’t “buying back”.

  15. Ray

    I’d like to book my spot on the Funky Winkerbean Ohio Tour.

  16. be ware of eve hill

    Just voted in The Funky Winkerbean Awards 2022 again. Every time I review ‘The Backpfeifengesicht Award for Most Punchable Les Moore’ section, the same thought occurs to me.

    Looking at his reflection in the mirror:
    Les: I have such a punchable face, I have to stop myself from punching it.

    • The Duck of Death

      The one I’m struggling with by far the most is the “Most Throttleable Batton Thomas” or whatever the category name is. No matter which one “wins,” they’re all 100% certified gold medal, blue ribbon, first-place winners for most atrocious and hateable Batton Thomas appearance.

      • be ware of eve hill

        So true.

        Les, I want to see punched in the face or punted in the crotch. Batton Thomas, I want to see torched with a flamethrower.

      • be ware of eve hill

        Batton Thomas, somebody please destroy this creature.

        Have you seen my reply to your tag question?

        • The Duck of Death

          Have you seen my reply to your tag question?

          I have now! A thousand thanks for showing me how to do quotes!

  17. Ah! So the strips you included here show the origin of calling Pam “Pmm” in the CK comments. And always referring to John Darling as “John Darling who was murdered”. Glad to see the origins!

  18. billthesplut

    Oh, just maybe change the site’s name to “Grandson of Stuck Cranky” or something. You know Old Lady Wrinklebean is going to sell the comic and bail out Montoni’s. It’s going to be FW with nothing changed, except for the random crushed mailbox.

  19. I’ll never forget the first time I saw the ruins of the Sutro Baths in San Francisco and realized that they were used in the greatest movie of all time (Harold & Maude). I actually gasped in joy, and those who know me well will tell you, Oddnoc does not gasp in joy in public.

    If, on my infrequent visits to Ohio, I ran across a real-life venue that had appeared as a Very Special Place in Funky Winkerbean, I wouldn’t even notice.

    Just sayin’.

    • billthesplut

      AYERS, rubbing his temples: “No, Tom, I’m not drawing that meaningful 1978 Port-A-Potty you liked in Elyria.”

  20. The Duck of Death

    First: CH, that is the most amazing de-teck-a-tive work I’ve seen. And it explains DSH John’s totally incongruous hand gesture yesterday. Although, as I said, I don’t blame Davis for using existing assets as often as possible. But they do need to fit the scene, which that hand gesture does not.

    AND… speaking of Crankshaft, today DSH John offers to sell Black Raven #1 for Lillian and split the proceeds 50/50. That’s not how commissions for valuable collectibles work, as much as dealers would like them to. It’s kind of unscrupulous for DSH John to take that large a commission.

    On the other hand, Lillian was gonna just give him the comic (apparently), and I guess you could argue that a fair commission is whatever the owner and dealer agree on. (I would argue that this only applies if the owner isn’t extremely naive; otherwise the dealer is taking unfair advantage. Fortunately, I don’t care if one loathesome character screws over another loathesome character. Have at it, DSH John. Get that payday.)

    DSH John tells Lillian that Black Raven #1 could be worth “thousands” and she doesn’t seem especially interested. Has she taken a vow of poverty, or is the Village Booksmith doing so well that a few thousand isn’t even worth cashing the check for?

  21. Andrew

    Fell out of phase with the blog after the ending. but just gotta say CBH that you’re doing a very dang good job with this Frankie recap. really good showcase of one of the most interesting characters in this uninteresting slog.

    Also that panel of Funky and Crazy from that tracing comparison riles me up as someone who appreciates the computer/Holtron’s presence as a character. “Imagined” my ***, these guys never want to admit anything in their life was fantastic. I’d expect better from Crazy Harry.