2022 Funky Awards coming soon!
You remember when this was just supposed to be a little Frankie retrospective? A fun little character study to thank Epicus for his years of hard work on this blog? Sorry about that. We all have to grieve/celebrate the ending of Funky Winkerbean in our own way. So, on to Day 9 of FRANKIE WEEK!
The last couple days, Frankie has faded into the background while the Westview Avengers assembled.
What was our hero Frankie getting up to during the two weeks it took Cayla to remember Lisa had a high school journal?
Well, first he and Lenny attempt to interview the locals about Lisa.
Then, the partners take a idyllic stroll down lover’s lane.
So they’re in a holding pattern. Meanwhile at the Taj Moore Hall…
I like to think that Cayla has already read the journal cover-to-cover and is just playing coy. Because my detailed and constantly growing CauCayla headcanon includes her Sapphic infatuation with dead St. Lisa. When she kisses Les, she is kissing the lips that Lisa loved.
Back in November, TFH wrote a very thoughtful post about finding his mother’s journals, which he decided not to read. It sparked a trademark ‘thoughtful discussion’ in the comments section about the appropriateness or morality of reading someone’s diary after their passing.
Les seems reluctant here. But as TFH pointed out in his post, he would later cave due to peer pressure from Cayla and read Lisa’s journals. This gives him the insight into Lisa’s mind he needs to write the script adaptation for a book he’s already written. (wha?)
Les’ refusal here serves one function. It means that sweet little Summer Moore is the one to read the journal.
And we are treated to an ENTIRE WEEK of shaky cursive hovering over panel after panel of Summer’s reading face.
In nine days of diary reading we get ONE DAY with two flashback panels. Why wasn’t the whole thing in flashback panels? We got more flashback panels when Jff was telling his tale.
Oh, we also get a SIDEWAY’S COMIC COVER!!!!! But this one is just a straight up reprint of Girls’ Romances #13 by Alex Toth. Batiuk dutifully credits the line artist whose work he stole. (HINT DAVIS HINT)
So what was Lisa’s Story, for real? Well here it is, straight from the mophead herself.
I desperately want to be accepted here at my new school so I couldn’t believe it today when one of the football players, a guy named Frankie, asked me out at lunch. I finally feel like all of the pieces in my life are starting to fit together.
Frankie picked me up in his van tonight. All of the seats are covered with leopard skins. Sorry, but leopard skin only works on leopards.
After the game tonight Frankie took me to a party at the home of one of his friends. Everyone there was drinking, so I did too. On the way home, Frankie pulled into an alley called Lover’s Lane and parked the van. That evening with Frankie was a bad combination of high expectations and low self-esteem. I realized I wasn’t in love or even in like with Frankie…just a little intoxicated and in the back of Frankie’s van. I looked him in the eye to let him know how I felt… I don’t know if it was the the beer or the fear…but I blinked.
I’m going to tell Frankie it’s over tonight…but I’m more than a little frightened about what he’ll do because he’s hit me before. I can’t believe that eyes I once thought were gentle could flash with so much anger.
My life is drenched in irony…I wanted so badly to fit in…and soon I won’t be able to fit into any of my old clothes… If writing is like praying… then let this be my prayer that this baby I’m carrying never gets to meet his real father.
So here we have another Mandela effect that had cropped up in Funkylore. If my reading comprehension hasn’t failed me, the night the Murdochs chased Frankie off and drove Lisa home was NOT the night Darin was conceived, but instead a night following when she attempted to break up with him. She gave in to him the first night but regretted it, and knew that he would continue to expect sex if she didn’t break it off.
Because, according to Lisa, it only happened once.
Even in the original Batiuk has to let us know that it was ONE time, and it was LOUSY, and she was giving in to PEER PRESSURE! She didn’t even ENJOY it.
Is it important to know that just one time is enough to get pregnant? Yeah. Does it fit the bitterly ironic humor of Act I? Yes. Is it believable that the inexperienced sex between nervous teenagers in the back of van would be unsatisfying? Duh. But it also allows Lisa to preserve as must chastity as possible.
(By the end of Act II Batiuk had Jess and Darin’s high school canoodling be sweet, consensual, and consequence free. Because he wants to pretend like he’s not old fashioned by showing people getting all premarital up in this business. But every couple that engages in a little free milk INVARIABLY goes on to buy the cow. Batiuk may fake otherwise but is a staunch monogamist at his core. Which would be fine if he just owned up to it, instead of lying to himself.)
Bigger question: Was this date rape?
Batiuk is being deliberately obtuse here by mixing Lisa’s fear with lack of either consent or protest. He’s stuck the story in that grey area that makes Lisa as much of a victim as possible without making Frankie a deliberate rapist. He’s physically violent, but we don’t know how far he was willing to go.
If you put a gun to my Indiana Jones poster, and demanded I weigh in, I would say I don’t think this was something you could label rape. But I don’t really have to have a firm opinion one way or another. Because this wasn’t a potential crime, this was a cheap plot point dreamed up by an author who couldn’t get over the death he’d written for his muse.
I’ve posted this before. I’m posting it again. Deal with it.
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.Tom Batiuk, interview with CBR news, 2013. Bolding added later for emphasis.
Boy, this is a real downer huh? Here’s something to lighten your mood!
BTW, if you choose to discuss and comment on the sensitive subject matter brought up today, please remember site rules. (Don’t worry Cheesy-Kun, the tangent exception to the on-topic rule is a mile wide at this point.)
Thoughtful, Respectful, Snarky. It’s the SOSF version of ‘Live, Laugh, Love’