Hot Off the Presses!

I guess this is the best Crankshaft strip.

(According to Bill the Splut)

You better not start expecting these every post. I’m supposed to be finding a Funky/life BALANCE here.

Now. Back to Frankie!

On October 15, 2016, Frankie swore vengeance on Darin and The Starbuck Jones Movie.

So what does Batiuk do next? He completely changes arcs for three weeks so Bull Bushka can be diagnosed with a degenerative brain disease, retire early, and then trip and drop Jack Stropp’s ashes at the one yard line. It was an any percent world record speed run of a depressing prestige trauma arc.

After that bit of wacky quarter inch from real life hijinks, we’re back to Hollywood. And Frankie looms threatening in the dark, scraping and scraping for the sweet Hollywood dirt that will tank the Starbuck Jones movie and punish his bio son.

Like an evil Pac Man, ready to gobble some ghosts.

Except. No.

Inspired remix by BeckoningChasm.

Before, it’s established that Frankie was dead set on muckracking to sabotage the movie. And his motivation was taking Darin down a few pegs.

Now, Frankie might as well be Shady Paparazzi Mook #7. His prior history, his relationship with Darin, are irrelevant. Frankie and Lenny have been turning in tame gossip. And then shouty Fred Flinstone gives them a completely adequate and believable motivation to dig harder.

Darin is gone. Poof. He doesn’t show up again for the remainder of the arc. He makes no attempt to warn the higher ups in the production that the food truck vendors are also looking for the inside scoop to sell. And we get no conversation with Pete or an internal monologue to explain why. I can fanwank a couple reasons. Like Darin being so embarrassed of who and what his bio-dad is, that he doesn’t want to have to explain the connection to anyone. But such a thing needs to be TOLD.

Frankie’s dastardly scheme this time?

Take a bunch of cell phone pictures of Masone giving Marianne a ride home and fake like he’s cheating on Cindy.

Another bit of BeckoningChasm goodness.
Courtesy of Hannibal’s Lectern.
You’d think the security guard would notice this…
Today the part of Mrs. Winters will be played by Apple Ann.
Today the part of Mrs. Winters will be played by Holly Winkerbean.

And there, with one last hatchet-mouthed smirk, is the final panel of Frankie Pierce.

Yup. This plotline, which eventually goes back into black and white for Marianne Winter’s fateful trip to the Hollywood sign, just never follows up with Frankie. He gets away with it. And it’s up to people like Masone, who don’t even know Frankie is to blame, to deal with the fallout of his actions.

Is this lazy writing? Is this an artistic choice?

Batiuk is definitely the kind of guy who would consciously and deliberately write an asshole receiving no outward karmic backlash. He understands that it is realistic. That it happens every day in real life. And that sometimes the healthiest thing is to ignore it and be unassailable in your own self-confidence.

But Batiuk almost always takes it too far. Again and again his characters don’t just accept the things they cannot change. They accept anything.

I can think of token exceptions, mostly anything involving sticking it to Roberta Blackburn. And even Owen stands up to Alex’s bullies.

But these few instances don’t make up for the pervasive sense that Batiuk is more comfortable with his characters passively suffering injustice with the self-righteous assurance that they’ve been wronged.

Darin doesn’t go to anyone about Frankie being on set. Mason makes no public statement in defense of Marianne once DMZ’s juicy bit of gossip hits. Instead, the wagons are circled and no attempt is made to fight back or reach out beyond the in-group circle.

It is the insular thinking of someone used to dividing the world into people and strawmen.

Join us in a few days, as I truly wrap up our month long Frankie journey.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

89 responses to “Hot Off the Presses!

  1. sorialpromise

    Congratulations to Gerard for a great Philadelphia Eagles team. KC was so afraid of the Eagles offense, the Chiefs wouldn’t even score a TD to give the Eagles more time to score a TD and a 2 point conversion. What a game!🏅🎖️
    I did hear Travis Kelce say the Chiefs won this game for BE WARE OF EVE HILL.

    • Gerard Plourde

      Sadly, football is played in two halves. Hopefully, our head coach (who is only in his second year) and our quarterback (who is in his third year, second as the starter) can learn to pace themselves and to adjust their strategy and be back next year.

      And we can take some solace in the fact Andy Reid learned to be a head coach by leading the Eagles for thirteen seasons before going to KC.

    • ian'sdrunkenbeard

      I was mildly pleased with the outcome, and it was a very entertaining game. It was a shame that everything turned on that holding call at the end of the game. Until then there had been few penalties. As idb always says, “They could call holding on every play!”

      • sorialpromise

        You are right, Ian. Every play. Personally, I wish the refs would only call blatant infractions. Just let the players play.

        • be ware of eve hill

          I have a lot to say about the game and the “controversial” call, but this really isn’t the proper forum.

          I’ll limit myself to one point. After the game was over, my niece called to congratulate me on the Chiefs’ win. Her home is in the Cincinnati area, and she is a Bengals fan. She pointed out, in last year’s Super Bowl, with less than two minutes to play and the Bengals leading 20 – 16, there was also a game-changing holding call against the Bengals. The penalty gave the Rams a fresh set of downs which, in turn, became the game-winning touchdown. She wants to know why there was no outcry back then like this year.

          • sorialpromise

            My only response can be today:

            Happy Valentines Day to everyone at SOSF!♥️💖❤️🫂🌺💐🌹
            You all are loved!

  2. Man, those Frankie remix bits were so easy…and so much more satisfying than the weakest weak tea Batiuk pooped out.

    Batiuk hates conflict, he hates drama, he hates Funky, and his whole plan for the strip was just “a bunch of unlikeable crods stand around and are awarded by the universe.”

    Those box sets are really going to set the world on fire, now that the source strip is dead.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Yeah, I doubt there are many band directors that followed FW. Back when I was in high school the strip was funny and most of my friends read it. Dinkle was a humorous expression of marching band life.

      But nowadays, Dinkle is just another cranky old man pining for the good old days, butting in where he isn’t needed, and with no filter to his words.

      Yeah, young band directors can totally relate to that. I can totally see them lining up to read about breast cancer, head trauma, and Muslims working in a pizza shop.

      Why chat with the virtuoso musicians that are there when can talk to the old guy selling cartoon books.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        I joked that the only way Batiuk could get into the OMEA convention is to rent a vendor booth. But that’s exactly what he did.

        Between this and last year’s Rose Parade fiasco, he really overestimates his importance to the band directing world. I wonder how many educators under age 60 have even heard of Dinkle, beyond those now-ancient band room posters. Attendees who encounter Batiuk, and learn who he is, must feel like they’ve met the photographer of “hang in there” cat.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        Meant that as a reply to another post, doh!

  3. Epicus Doomus

    It’s all kind of a blur now, but I sort of remember how suddenly disappearing or being completely marginalized was Boy Lisa’s thing for a while. He’d be prominently featured during the beginning, like during the date rape and the Film Food arcs, then he’d just sort of quietly fade into the background. I recall him getting a lot of those half-assed, garbage dump mini-arcs too, where he’d get a few lines of dialog on a Monday or a Tuesday before he gave way to someone else.

    The Film Food one was really odd, though, as it was like his initial encounter with Frankie never happened. Many times over the course of Act III it appeared that BatYam just kind of forgot what the story was supposed to be, and wandered off on some dumb tangent he found more interesting instead. Which says a real, real lot about Boy Lisa as a character. Until Batton came along, Boy Lisa was the blandest character in the strip. Becky was real close, but at least she had the missing arm, which was one more defining characteristic than Boy Lisa ever had.

    Quick, name a Boy Lisa character trait. Go. See what I mean? If I had said Les, you’d have thought “smug, bearded, wry”. If I had said Lisa, you’d have thought “beatific, saintly”. If I had said Rachel, you’d have thought “pizza-scented, changes hair color a lot”. If I had said Cliff, you’d have thought “old, somewhat reclusive”.

    But Boy Lisa? What comes to mind? His art? Come on now, you didn’t think that. His glasses? His genes? Nope. You thought of nothing, which is my entire point re: Boy Lisa. His Act III character arc was like watching paint dry in the dark. And then he gets his big moment, his chance to avenge his sainted birth mother, and it just dies on the vine…TWICE. BatHam just refused to give him his big day in the sun.

    • billytheskink

      If you are asking for one word that comes to mind when Durwood is mentioned, that’s easy.


      That’s no joke about their relationship or whatever, it’s just a fact. Durwood spent most of Act III following Pete around. He got work in Hollywood and at Atomik Komix because Pete was hired first and had a pedigree as an accomplished and successful comic book writer. Heck, he and Jess were only able to move out of the Taj-Moore-Hal because Pete was moving out!

      Perhaps the only remotely interesting thing about Act III Durwood was how he rhymed with both bio-step-dad (I guess) Les and bio-dad Frankie. I guess that’s largely because TB has such limited range with characters, but still, it kind of worked here since he was basically both of these characters’ kid (doubly so after Frd’s stroke). All three were coattail riders who proved incapable of letting Lisa go and petulant when things did not go their way. All three were miserable fathers who were constantly happy to foist their only child on others or just straight up ignore their kid. It’s poetry. Putrid, unreadable poetry.

      • Epicus Doomus

        Yes, I have to concur. Following Pete around is indeed Boy Lisa’s one real character trait, the one thing you immediately associate with him. It kind of reminds me of the Cody/Owen relationship. Back in the day, I kind of thought of Pete as being Darin’s sidekick, much like how Owen was briefly Cody’s scuzzy sidekick, but in both cases it flipped, and before you knew it Boy Lisa was Pete’s caddy, and Cody was playing second fiddle to Owen, which happened right around when Owen started wearing the hat. It’s interesting, the similarities.

        As humiliating as it must have been for him, being Pete’s sidekick really paid off for Boy Lisa. He was working as a pizza app designer when Pete convinced him to go out to Hollywood and suckle on that big fat studio teat via that ludicrous “storyboarder” gig, and he rode Pete’s coattails right into his Atomik Komix job too.

        Something tells me that being Owen’s sidekick didn’t work out quite as well for Cody, unless Owen got him a job at the vape shop. I can’t help but wonder whatever happened to those guys.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      The only thing Darin has going for him when compared to other main Funkyverse males is he lacks the hangdog neuroticism of a Pete or Les. He’s been pessimistic, but everyone has. He’s a Funky flavored character, not a Les flavored one.

      Darin is Tom’s son Brian BTW, which probably explains why the worst thing that happens to him is his aged adoptive father having a stroke. He bounces from unearned moderate success to unearned moderate success.

      I don’t hate Darin, I don’t like him that much either. It would be like having strong feelings on margarine, or potatoes.

      As someone with a long term heterosexual life partner, I do like seeing how Pete and Darin’s friendship withstood the test of time. They actually feel like best friends who care about each other, tease each other, and enjoy each other’s company. As opposed to Les and Funky.

      Pete is a weasely little creep though.

    • Charles

      Quick, name a Boy Lisa character trait

      His ridiculous, inconsistent nose.

      Also, his complete willingness to french his wife in public, while simultaneously seeming to forget that they had a child at all.

      That second one was more of a Darin and Jessica trait, really.

      And it’s a testament to all the absurd, terrible things Batiuk had his characters do that we didn’t really focus too much on how crazy and appalling it was for a young mother to just up and leave her 3 year-old in the care of relatives halfway across the country for over a year. And when she’d come visit, her husband wouldn’t bring the kid to the airport when he was picking her up. In fact, we never got to see her reunite with her child. She’d arrive in Ohio and if Batiuk even bothered we’d see the two of them together in a strip nine days later or so.

  4. sorialpromise

    I will never understand Batiuk’s writing. He sets up Frankie to be this jerk with Darrin. Then drops that storyline. Why include Frankie? Any anonymous sleezy journalist would do. Waste of a decent plot.

    • Gerard Plourde

      “ I will never understand Batiuk’s writing.”

      There are times that I seriously wonder whether Batiuk understands his writing.

      • sorialpromise


      • Banana Jr. 6000

        There’s a memorable bit in How To Win Friends And Influence People, at least the version I read. Dale Carnegie mentions this course where people were taught how to gesture. You stand with your arms at 30-degree angle, turn your hips slightly but not too much, and then move your arm with a flourish. He describes this classroom full of men, all standing around with their arms and hips at angles, trying to gesture exactly the way they were being taught. Carnegie thought this was ridiculous.

        Tom Batiuk’s writing is exactly like that. He’s trying to match some formed idea of how to do something “correctly,” that has no basis in reality or even makes any sense. It is not only unnatural, it never occurs to him to be natural. It never occurs to him that’s he’s supposed to be conveying thoughts and ideas. He’s always trying to match some pre-conceived notion of how to write the writery-est writing anyone ever wrote.

  5. Y. Knott

    He so…desperately…wants to be taken seriously. And he has absolutely no talent for telling even the simplest of stories.

    And no IDEA that he has no talent.

    His imagination is so limited he can’t possibly even start to conceive of how talentless he is, even if his narcissism would allow him to think such thoughts in the first place. And — except for brief flashes of ultimately go-nowhere lunacy like Frankie and Zanzibar — he has no compensating qualities (or lack of qualities) that would allow him to inadvertently amuse a la Ed Wood.

    Looking deeply into his oeuvre, Harriet, is staring into the face of the abyss of madness.

    Okay, yes, fine — a bland, slow-to-congeal sort of singularly undramatic madness. But madness nonetheless.

    I’m glad you’re only staring into it twice a week!


    Today in BattyBlog news: More pictures of book-signing tables, with no-one there! This, of course, is consistent with Batiuk’s storytelling policy of always cutting to the least interesting part of whatever’s going on.

    • Professor Fate

      I took a look at the Blog- and yes the pictures were of an empty book signing table. Not even the Author. With copies of various volumes of the Complete FW laying about. Aside from being very weird. I rather think that at $45 bucks a pop I don’t see him selling many books there.
      Really the more I think about it the odder it gets.

  6. Paul Jones

    It’s what drives Crankshaft. Crankshaft is a miserable old coot mad at the world because he has to deal with the consequences of having been too lazy and selfish to bother learning how to read until he was in his sixties and people just stand there and take his bullshit.

  7. Green Luthor

    Oh, hey, Alex says the bullying doesn’t bother her, because “it reminds me that I’m not like them”. I think Batiuk’s really proud of that phrase or something. (Or he thinks the Pulitzer people will read it and decide it’s so profound that he deserves an award. Preferably Berke Breathed’s, hand-delivered to Batiuk’s home so it can be displayed on his mantle.)

    • billytheskink

      Well I’m sure TB figures if that phrase is good enough to solve racism (through inaction) then it is good enough to solve bullying (through inaction).

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Yeah, that’s the common thread, isn’t it? Whatever happens to you in life, just do nothing and passively accept it. No matter how mean, cruel, humiliating, unjust, petty, or easily countered it is. Suffer in silence over nothing, and be sure to show everyone how much you’ve suffered. Remember, your suffering is so much more noble and important than anyone else’s.

        • ComicBookHarriet

          It’s also cheap.

          “I’m not like them.” is a way to dehumanize an antagonist. The thing is IRL those tater-tot throwing bullies are other humans not howling puppets.

          People react to assholes this way. Sure. By shutting down the part of them that should understand that there is a human mind at work deciding to do these things, and human emotions and human thoughts experiencing acting them out.

          But writers shouldn’t do this. You don’t have to agree, or sympathize, (in fact you’ll be better off if you take a stand,) but you do have to understand.

          If you want to be a good writer, you need to study assholes. You need to climb inside and find out what it truly feels like to be full of shit, and to understand why you would spew that nastiness everywhere.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            And as we often saw in Funky Winkerbean, most of the “not like them” people weren’t all that noble themselves. Few residents of Westview were above looking down their noses at people when they got the chance.

            The perfect example is Thatsnot Hewmore in the clothing store, who was suspected of shoplifting after he gave the store employee good reason to suspect him. Which was ignored in the ensuring discussion. Cayla mentioned it, but it she didn’t… you know… take a stand.

            Imagine what Boondocks could have done with that setup.

          • Charles

            I used to think that Batiuk didn’t have Roberta be more explicit with her objections during The Gay Prom story because he was timid. He didn’t want to attract the attention that being explicit in that case would bring him. He didn’t want a discussion or an examination. He just wanted plaudits.

            But yeah, thinking of how he portrays other “villains”, most readily Frankie, it makes me wonder if instead he just really has no idea about people and how they function. He always has Frankie involved in some scheme, and he always has Frankie seem to acknowledge or even revel in its sleaziness. He doesn’t imagine a motive for Frankie, even a selfish one. It’s just to be sleazy and awful. (Granted, I suppose we could look at the profit motive, but in the actual sequences, that motive was so far removed from Frankie’s behavior and actions that it became merely a pretext at best) He never imagines how Frankie would justify his behavior to himself. Batiuk simply doesn’t realize that people always rationalize their behavior, even when it’s unambiguously terrible. No one thinks they’re the bad guy.

            Slides in with two points I remember making here before. Batiuk seems to think that people are simply defective and immutable. There’s no way to change Roberta’s mind about the Gay Prom, or change the minds of people who she had been swaying with their protests. All you could do was tell her to shut up and have the rules agree with you.

            And second, that Batiuk may be a solipsist. (I said he was solipsistic about his main characters, but I’m beginning to wonder with this extended examination) Other people don’t exist as fully realized human beings. They’re just here to act on Batiuk and be acted on by him in return. In that case, there’s no point in him examining the motivations of people who disagree with him, because they don’t exist. They’re just there so Batiuk can better express his own self in contrast to them.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            It’s not just villains. Even secondary “good” characters have no desires of their own, and only exist to enable the stories of his many Mary Sue characters. And Tom Batiuk has no clue of this. He writes in his blog about Lisa like she’s the most complex, tragic character ever conceived, when her only purpose was to die so Les can mope around and be handed writing awards.

        • Paul Jones

          If he wanted a better title than Funky Winkerbean, he could have used “For Better Or For Learned Helplessness.”

  8. Gerard Plourde

    And in today’s Crankshaft, the epic snowstorm inexplicably continues with a plug for the ice festival, an actual upcoming event in Batiuk’s hometown. A look a the coming events calendar for Medina will probably disclose the focus of other upcoming story arcs.

    • The Duck of Death

      And oddly, when the snow could barely be measured with a ruler, they were warning people off the roads, and yet now, with the un-drifted snow literally waist deep, they’re urging people to come and see the festival.

      This appears to be a trend in Bizarro Ohio. “Bizarro forecaster encourage driving when big blizzard! But tell people stay home because too dangerous when a few drifting flakes!”

      • Rusty Shackleford

        What’s funnier is that we have had a very mild winter. It’s been hitting 50 degrees for several days. Climate damage I guess.

        What’s important here is that Batty got his work done early and can go back to reading comic books.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      It just never stops, does it? Batiuk is worse than Adam Sandler with the product placement.

    • Bill the Splut

      When was Sunday’s CS set? That marlin was melted yesterday, and there was just an inch of snow on the ground. He couldn’t have run that one next Sunday?

      And thanks CBH for the strip! For anyone wondering, Cranky ran Les over. Like Keesterman’s many mailboxes or Frankie’s felonies, there will be no repercussions.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        In three days, Crankshaft went from “the weather channel is always wrong about blizzards” to bus exhaust melting the blizzard to there actually being a blizzard.

        You be you, Tom Batiuk.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        Thanks Bill!

        When I saw your comment, I was like…”I know just the old Cranky strips I can splice together to make that.”

  9. Banana Jr. 6000

    “All Coach Stropp wanted was for me to scatter his ashes in the end zone.” So pick them up and scatter them in the end zone, you complete moron. You’re just going to leave a pile of human remains on the one-yard line? On November 6, the middle of football season?

    Batiuk really missed a trick with this one. The star running back should have slipped on Coach Stropp’s ashes, failed to score the winning touchdown, and shattered his ankle at the same time. Stropp and Bushka still losing games for Westview, after they’re long removed from the team. Then the whole town would have a reason to piss on Bull’s grave like they did.

    • billytheskink

      TB missed a lot on that story arc, in particular the fact that Bull waited 5 and a half years to scatter Stropp’s ashes!

      • ComicBookHarriet

        I think that Stropp asked Bull to wait until after Bull had retired. So his urn of ashes could sit in the corner of the locker room and watch all the underaged boys dressing and undressing for a few years.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Yeah, that’s creepy on a lot of levels.

          These people are so much more concerned about the feelings of dead people than living people. Including themselves. They won’t lift a finger for you when you’re alive, but once you’re a jar of ashes they’ll schedule their daily routine around you.

          WTF happened in Tom Batiuk’s life that gave him such bizarre attitudes about death? From what I can glean from his own writing, he had a normal, healthy, two-parent childhood. Was he the kind of kid who was constantly having funerals for his goldfish?

          He reminds me of Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, whose father was killed in World War II, and got a lifetime supply of daddy issues. (There’s a comparison you don’t often see: Funky Winkerbean and Pink Floyd.)

        • billytheskink

          When explained… it’s somehow worse.

          Hey, can we retroactively change the title of the strip that? It’s perfect!

      • ian'sdrunkenbeard

        I made this one in 2017 and the line about the Browns always rings true.
        Perhaps someday it will be safe to tell the story of Tony “The Torch” Montoni, and how he rose from running numbers to becoming a made man and a lieutenant in the Licavoli family.

  10. Bill the Splut

    Wait, THIS was the reason the Oscar-winning, Oscar-donating actress wanted to kill herself? This is not “dirt.” This is “DMZ says she left a bad tip at Outback and didn’t even finish her Bloomin’ Onion!” level crap. She’s “OMG why did I become famous!! This is a fate worse than death!”
    Of course, “My high school teacher dated another lady girl! Well, time to end it all” is even stupider, but still.
    And yet Bats in the Attic has a wife and son. He seems like he never met another human after being raised feral by star-nosed moles.
    What does “DMZ” stand for? I always thought that it was “DeMilitarized Zone,” so are they based on the Korean border? Is it for “Deez My nutZ”?

    • It’s probably based on TMZ, which I think is a gossip site. But you know, changing one initial is the height of hilarity.

      • Bill the Splut

        Change letters? “FLEABAY!?!? AH-hahaha! Tom, you’re getting the Nobel for that!”

        Tombo, we got it. You crave the awards. But I would say “suicide” is way out of your lane. Like the “KILL FEE!” and “Silent movies existed in 1940!” and…apparently, I guess now it’s even “How snow works”…you should stop assuming you know EVERYTHING about subjects you know NOTHING about.
        Susan’s ideation, okay maybe. Like Mr Cobain, she must’ve had stuff we didn’t know going on that you never told us about, because female backstory, UGH!!
        But Hollywood star Marianne or Ginger, I don’t know, getting her picture in the paper and wanting to kill herself? Yes, I am very intimately aware of “the pebble that causes the avalanche” thing, but TomTom…here’s your new daily affirmation. Look in the mirror and chant:
        “I’m a jerk who knows nothing about anything.”
        Because you don’t.
        (FYI, chimps don’t talk, you dimbulb)

      • Hannibal's Lectern

        In yet another example of Batty’s “I think I’ll parody a thing I know nothing about” (see “Bean’s End,” a concatenation of two clothing stores that Batty has somehow turned into a garden supply outfit), the “DMZ” he shows is a generic Hollywood gossip site, while “TMZ” itself is more improv comedy riffing on the whole idea of “celebrities.” The show does relate gossip (though Harvey “I’m a Lawyer!” Levin has never been successfully sued for being factually inaccurate), but quickly returns to the “newsroom,” where the “reporters” crack jokes about the whole business of people who are famous for little more than being famous. In other words, it takes the idea of an “Entertainment Tonight” type gossip show and does something creative and interesting with it.

        No wonder Batty doesn’t understand it.

  11. be ware of eve hill

    Has there ever been a more passive-aggressive villain than “Evil” Frankie? I’m going to get back at my “bio-son” Darin by sabotaging his friends’ movie.

    How does that directly affect Darin, anyway?
    Darin: Geez, guys. I’m sorry your movie has received free publicity with this minor scandal.

    Does Frankie get back at his girlfriends by leaving the toilet seat up? Oooo, evil.

    The whole story arc is overblown.
    1). They didn’t even know Frankie took the photo.
    2.) The “scandalous photo” was Marianne giving Masone a peck on the cheek. Somehow that makes Marianne some kind of tart?
    3.) Marianne reacts with thoughts of suicide because she believes her career is over. Somebody call “Over Reactors Anonymous.”

    Frankie, while working in the Film Food truck, should have cut Marianne’s sandwich the wrong way. That might have successfully sabotaged the movie.
    Marianne: I want my sandwich sliced diagonally, not horizontally. I can’t work like this.
    Marianne drives off. Climbs Hollywood sign.

    • Bill the Splut

      Does anyone else wonder how Bats acted when he found out that the Pulitzer didn’t go to him, but went to “Sewage Treatment Weekly” magazine? I imagine him doing that “Dagwood break dances in screaming anger” thing.
      (Note: That magazine is real, my job got that by mistake for months; it was hilarious)

      • be ware of eve hill

        My younger brother might have enjoyed “Sewage Treatment Weekly” magazine. His first co-operative education assignment in college was to the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District.

        His little daughter used to tell everyone he worked at the “poop factory”. 😂


        I imagine TB reacted to the “Pulitzer snub” the same way as Alex in the comic strip above.

        Toys in the Batiuk: It doesn’t bother me. It reminds me I’m not like them. (dismissive sniff)

        • Hannibal's Lectern

          Speaking of whom… they have an amusing Twitter feed.

          Example, from when the House was stuck trying to pick a Speaker:

        • Bill the Splut

          (Tom’s dismissive sniff)
          (runs into bedroom, slams door, stuff smashing, screaming “IT WAS MEANT TO BE MEEEE!!”)

          Maybe the title wasn’t that exactly, but omg did we love getting it. We’d pass it around and talk about raw sewage. One of their regular advertisers was…Trojan.
          Sorry if I just ruined your sex life forever!

    • Bill the Splut

      The year 1346: “A tart? Mayhap she be a strumpet? Mr Shaft, run over Mr Moore 19 times with your beckoning bus.”
      LES: “AAAHHHH!” *squish* 19 times.
      The Lord Mayor: “The LES! It cannot be killed by a mere bus!” (all run in abject fear)
      Les, rises, flexes: “Wow, I’ll be sore upon the morn! COME, my plague rats! Our time is–NOW”
      Lisa: “Whoa, cool!” (dies)

      • ComicBookHarriet

        Ha haaa…

        Yeah, you’re not getting that one. No way on earth I can find THOSE references. Even if I photoshop a million Prince Valliants!

        • Bill the Splut

          Crimeny, you don’t have to do anything I make weird comments on! Yesterday morning was an amazing way to greet the day, and I need no more! Thank you so much! I admit it took me a sec to get the first 2 panels–“Oh, she’s doing a Sunday strip!”
          I actually didn’t expect anything from anyone, although even a diphthong like me could do those dumb memes I talked about once (DON’T DO THEM, anybody, because I can see Happy Cat saying “I can haz PULITZER?” in my head and it makes me smile)
          Although Lisa getting bit by a plague rat, saying “COOL!” and instantly falling over dead…is kinda funny? Les dying is funnier of course, but “Lisa dies, again, in a new way” should be explored. Maybe shot by pygmy poison people in the Bandar tongue.

  12. be ware of eve hill

    Whenever I see Frankie’s “Hatchet Face”, I always think of this from MAD magazine’s “A MAD Look at Tarzan.”

    Man! That looks like it really smarts!

    • Bill the Splut

      News no one can use:
      When I turn on the hallway light to the bathroom and not the inside one, the shadow cast by my paper towel rack looks exactly like last panel Frankie, except super angry. This page is doin’ things to my head, man!
      I’ve tried seeing if I can make the toilet paper roll to look like Smirkin’ Les, but it hasn’t so far.
      At least no more than I look at a Les strip and think “Yeah, toilet paper”.

    • The Duck of Death

      I always think of the way South Park depicts Canadians. Their heads are split at the mouth. Northeastern Ohio is suspiciously close to Canada, now that I think of it…

      • be ware of eve hill

        I was wondering if I had the Photoshop skills to create a South Park Canadian version of Frankie, but I suddenly remembered this guy.

        Scott the (Giant) Dick

        Frankie the Dick

  13. I’d almost forgotten Batominc’s losing battle with the English language. Then I re-see “I use the word ‘think’ advisedly”.

    “Loosely,” Tom. It’s “loosely.” You can’t really call it writing when your diction fails so.

  14. be ware of eve hill

    I’ve been meaning to post these. I don’t know if you folks read the sad news. Chris Browne died.

    An unfortunate coincidence that Chris died the same day as when the celebration for the 50th Anniversary of Hägar the Horrible started.

    Note: I’m pretty sure the photos at the top of the Daily Cartoonist article are not Chris, but his brother, Chance. Chance draws Hi and Lois.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Thank you for letting us know, bwoeh.

      I only read Hagar when it’s featured on the Curmudgeon. But from what I’ve seen it’s serviceable at worst, and at best has weird non-sequitur humor that is my personal jam.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        Also, anything with Lucky Eddie dating a mermaid.

      • Bill the Splut

        Gourd, but I hate the “stare at the reader in the last panel” thing. YES, it’s the last panel, we get that this is the punchline, because it’s the last panel.
        This is done by the only comic I read thinking “It’s been a century, surely Blondie will have an actual joke soon,” and it’s just this weird-haired guy with tapeworms who wears a tuxedo with a shirt with one gigantic, dinner-plate sized button on it to work like WE ALL DO, and puts up with his boss beating the shit out of him every day, but yeah, sorry that the only way you could say “punchline!” was him staring blankly at me. It just ruins the strip’s verisimilitude.

        • For the most part I don’t mind the Fourth Wall Stare. The exception is, of course, Batiuk. His characters always look out with a pained expression, which is Tom Batiuk saying “Yeah, I know, I’m way too good for this gag-a-day stuff. Wait’ll you see my serious side, you’ll gasp at my depths.”

          • Bill the Splut

            I’d forgotten Bats did that until that recent Roland/Rolando retrospective. Dagwood just looks baffled; FW characters look like they’re about to puke.

    • Will

      Hi and Lois bears the signature of Eric Reaves now, and has for a while. Has Chance retired?

      • ComicBookHarriet

        Eric Reaves has been on Hi and Lois since 2009. He describes himself as a professional ‘ghost cartoonist’. He also taught at my sister’s college. Weird world.

      • be ware of eve hill

        Chance Browne could be retired from cartooning. He is 74. I never read an announcement he was leaving Hi and Lois. Perhaps he slowly let Eric Reaves take over and has drifted out of the picture. I can’t find anything online.

        The Lambiek Comiclopedia page for Chance doesn’t mention retirement. Chance’s own webpage says nothing about retirement. He’s painting and playing guitar, so there’s obviously nothing wrong with his hands.

        Not everyone can last as long as 75-year-old Tom “The Iron Man” Batiuk, I suppose. 😂

        One cannot go by the Comics Kingdom “About” info because that info is seemingly updated once a decade. I wonder if Mort Walker’s boys, Brian and Greg, are still working on Hi and Lois in any capacity?

        Occasionally, a person with the profile name “Hiram Flagston” would enter the Comics Kingdom Disqus discussion for Hi and Lois. “Hiram Flagston” acted as if they were one of the comic strip’s creators. They addressed comments both complimentary and snarky. They could get a little salty with the snarkers. I always wondered if it was one of the creators, or just somebody pretending to be.

        TL;DR: Sorry, I don’t know.

  15. Hannibal's Lectern

    Wow! One of my parody strips was selected by the great CBH! This absolutely makes my day!

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Thanks Hannibal’s!

      When I do Act III dives, it’s fun to find and pull up some old artistic treasures the comments produced.

      Especially when, like your strip, it highlights a point I wanted to make anyway. Why should I write something when someone else has already said it better WITH PICTURES.

  16. Hitorque

    Now Krankenschaaften’s got the flamethrower out again since nobody had the common sense to take it away from him last time…

    • Gerard Plourde

      Not sure what TomBa is going for here (which isn’t a surprise). The flamethrower would naturally melt the sculptures along with the snow. Does he want Ed to be that clueless?

      • Bill the Splut

        Why does the fire department respond to his calls? I’m pretty sure they’d have arrested him now for arson. Or thrown him in a home, for his and the whole town’s safety. It’s CANON that he was on the beach on D-Day, why would anybody put up with this century-old loonie tune running around with a flamethrower?
        Look. There’s “this makes no sense!” and “but it’s a comedy strip!” And then there’s “this makes negative sense.” I read these things and wonder if the Laws of Physics have changed since I started. “Oh, E=MChickieNuggs now? Sure.”

    • be ware of eve hill

      Even the weather snarks Tom Batiuk. My brother says the weather today in Northeast Ohio was in the upper sixties and sunny.

      • Epicus Doomus

        Same in New Jersey. It’s thus far been a very, unusually warm winter. Two brief cold snaps, and no snow yet.

        • be ware of eve hill

          The bomb cyclone that clobbered the Midwest in January hit my brother’s home with a foot of snow and temperatures well below zero. He’s too far south for Lake-Effect snow.

          Here in this part of New Mexico, we average an annual snowfall accumulation of less than 10 inches.

          All I care about is snow in the Rockies. We’re renting a cabin in Red River over President’s Day weekend. Over the past two days, Taos County has received more than a foot! YaY!