Chugging Along

Short update!

Thanks everyone for the feedback on the Frankie retrospective. I saw a couple great suggestions for future topics, such as Lisa, Lisa’s Story, Darin, Wally or Kevin Brown. Those are all topics I’ve considered and certainly intend to do provided the interest is still there. Especially now that I know beloved commenters want to see it.

But back before I knew that Frankie was going to be an epic saga of infinite length, I had pulled research for a handful of other things I thought about covering during the Funky Awards voting. These are the topics about which I’ve already started to form ideas, make connections, draw conclusions.

So lets do this like a choose your own adventure novel!

Vote Here for Next Destination.

In other news. My mother has finally nagged my dad into a guilt trip down to see the grandkids, leaving poor widdle Comic Book Harriet in charge of the care of 350 head of hungry cattle for the weekend. So next deep dive WILL NOT be starting on Sunday night/Monday. Instead expect something short, sweet, and stupid. And maybe cows. Or hilarious selfies of tiny people driving huge tractors.

Love to All! Thanks for keeping it Funky and Cranky in the comments!



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

42 responses to “Chugging Along

  1. Ray

    If we don’t get a tractor selfie the weekend will be be for naught!

    Good luck minding the farm…sounds like a daunting task.

  2. Green Luthor

    It’s not going to affect my vote, but… who are “Small Bear” and “Jim Mateer”? I honestly have no recollection of these characters.

    • billytheskink

      Jim Mateer was TB’s high school art teacher, and a professional artist in his own right. TB depicted him as a local artist a few times in the strip, notably a late Act II arc where he grumpily painted Italian landscapes on the walls of Montoni’s (including the newly acquired space that once was the Jade Dragon restaurant). The real life Mateer passed away in 2011, but his website is still up and still contains some of his FW appearances.

      Small Bear, I believe, was a slender blue stuffed animal that Summer had as a kid, which she gifted to newborn Skyler Fairgood.

      • Green Luthor

        Ah, okay, I remember that Jim Mateer story, I just don’t think I ever even knew the guy’s name. Thanks!

        • erdmann

          Is it just my imagination, or did Crazy Harry end up looking a lot like Mateer?
          Also, were the murals still on the walls of Montoni’s in later years? I honestly don’t remember.
          And if they were still there, how long do you think they lasted once the restaurant closed and the space was converted into a Methadone clinic?

          • ComicBookHarriet

            There was never an arc or anything to paint them over, and they show up sporadically in act III

            Even when they were being painted, they almost never were depicted. Because, lets be real, you cannot draw detailed murals on the backgrond walls of Montoni’s every time the place appears and expect the art that matters, the characters, to remain clear. Especially for the weekday black and white in newsprint.

          • erdmann

            I suspected as much. Unlike TV or film, you really can’t set the action of a comic in front of Frederic Remington’s “Guernica.”
            And isn’t it telling that one of the few strips that do feature the murals focus on Led blathering on about Lisa?

          • erdmann

            Led? That’s supposed to be Les. Maybe spell check was thinking of “lead” and how he weighed down the strip whenever he appeared.

  3. sorialpromise

    Let’s see: 350 cattle…February…I’m guessing there will be some calving happening on your weekend.
    I got to help my wife deliver an Angus calf back in February 1977. It was fun. It was messy. It was my honor. (The cow never required my help ever again.) Get along, little dogies. Whoopie Ti Yi Yo!
    Although, CBH, your cattle could be more dairy than beef, so, don’t buy the cow if you can get the milk for free! (As told to me by our famous rancher and cow puncher, Be Ware of Eve Hill.)

    • ComicBookHarriet

      LOL! I hope not. But your suggestion certainly sparked some nightmares.

      My dad is a pretty perceptive guy and he’s realized over the years that February and March are 1.) Cold 2.) Muddy 3.) Wet 4.) Miserable. So our spring calving season doesn’t start until the very end of March.

      There’s a few stupid reasons some people calve in February. Nutjobs with fancy show cattle want their calves to be the absolute oldest they can be for a given year, like the Little League player who is 12 years, 11 months and 29 days old.

      Other guys just want all that business over with before they even start thinking about spring time field work. Other guys want to handle those baby calves a ton, tagging, vaccinating, castrating whatever, so they calve in barns. But that’s just asking for disease outbreaks if you don’t keep it stupid clean.

      Calving on dry green grass….with a warm breeze….in September. That’s the ticket!

    • be ware of eve hill

      Me? A famous rancher? Riding horses?

      (Puts on a cardigan sweater with the patches on the elbows and lights pipe) Ah, yes. Reminds me of a time. Oxford ’49. We were facing Cambridge in the rowing competition…

      Seriously, I don’t thing I’ve ridden a horse since I was eleven. My family went camping at Cook Forest State Park in Pennsylvania. One of our activities was horseback riding. I had a white horse named ‘Ranger’. Ranger sometimes had a mind of his own and often ignored my attempts to control him. One time, Ranger ventured off the path and into the woods. Our guide had to retrieve us out of the dense forest. The highlight of the trip was that the resort ran out of horses and my little brother had to ride a donkey. It was a funny sight. With its slower gait, the donkey frequently drifted to the back of the line and fell behind. Then the donkey would come trotting back up to the front. 😂
      *sigh* Good times.

      An acquaintance at work has a few horses and has invited me to come over to her place and ride. I’m always afraid a horse will kick me into the next county. There are several businesses offering horseback riding where I live.

      True story. I don’t drink milk or eat red meat. I like them, but they don’t like me. Have trouble digesting both. 😭🤬

      • sorialpromise

        A person has to know her limitations!
        The beauty of Be Ware of Eve Hill, besides the obvious, is that I can throw out any topic, and Eve will tell a great story.
        You are an ace-high yarn turner, I am just a wobblin-jawed varmint. Yee Haw!

  4. billytheskink

    Good luck with the cattle, CBH. And yeah, that weatherman looks like he stepped out of a “come see the softer side of Sears” circular dating back to the Reagan administration.

  5. One cat >> 350 head of hungry cattle.

    Sorry, it’s the world we live in now.

  6. Gerard Plourde

    Being a lifelong city dweller, the thought of you single-handedly minding a herd of 350 cattle raises the concept of “pet sitting” to a nearly unimaginable level. Any short post you can manage for Sunday night/Monday will be appreciated.

    Regarding the poll for the next deep dive I voted for John/DSH. TomBa’s use of him to disrupt Wally and Becky’s marriage struck me as gratuitous and mean (not to mention the fact that it makes Harley Time Mop’s explanation that the ten-year time discrepancy was a Westview-only phenomenon impossible).

    And the Saturday wrap-up of Crankshaft’s shenanigans with the ice sculptures is equally annoying in its stupidity and implausibility. It makes me wonder if he hates his home town’s real-life counterpart.

    • Green Luthor

      In fairness, pretty much EVERYTHING made Timemop’s explanation for the time gap impossible if one put even a moment’s thought into the whole thing. (Which, again in fairness, just means it’s a Batiuk story; those rarely stand up to even minimal scrutiny.)

      But it was a very elegant solution.


    Hoping for mild weather to make the cattle-tending just a bit more pleasant for you. And am I the only one who was disappointed to not see Green Pitcher among the deep dive candidates?

    • ComicBookHarriet

      If the interest keeps up, I could do an entire series on objects. Band Box, Green Pitcher, Small Bear, Dinkle’s Mug.

      • Mela

        Considering how obsessed TB is with objects, I have no doubt you could. If the closing of Montoni’s hadn’t been treated as such an afterthought, maybe we would have found out what happened to the Band Box.

        Good luck with the cattle! I’m thankful for the people who know how to farm-I wouldn’t last five minutes in a barn.

    • be ware of eve hill

      Funny you should mention the green pitcher. I couldn’t remember Jim Mateer and performed a SoSF search on his name. There was a blog that mentioned Jim Mateer. In the discussion, a commenter lamented that in all the panels of the restaurant’s interior, the green pitcher was nowhere to be seen.

      I was kicking myself for not nominating the green pitcher. I was going to mention that today, but you beat me to it. 👍

  8. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    It’s a tough choice, but I am partial to redheads.

  9. Epicus Doomus

    Not a lot of cattle here in New Jersey, but we do have cows. There are a few dairy farms not too far from here, with lots of cows meandering about. No, seriously, actual cows, hanging out in New Jersey, doing cow stuff. It’s a land of contrasts.

    I had to vote for Owen and Company. Owen is one of Act III’s most forgotten characters. For a while there in the mid 10s (it’ll never not be weird to write that), Owen was a major player, who got lots of face time and whole arcs (mostly) to himself. Who can forget the one where Wedgeman stole Alex’s Metamucil, or when Owen freaked out about the vendos, or when he first began wearing that stupid hat? Or the mascot thing, arguably Owen’s finest hour.

    On second thought, I take my vote back. But seriously, folks, when you look back on his entire body of work, Owen was way more entertaining than someone like Batton or Marianne Winters ever was. Relatively speaking, and in context, obviously, lest anyone think I’m actually suggesting that Owen was “good” in any way. Poison ivy on your genitals is “better than” third degree burns, but it doesn’t make it “good” by any measure.

  10. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    Here’s how this city boy pictures Harriet.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Well now I’m really regretting promising you guys a selfie, if you’re imagining me lassoing cattle from atop a majestic steed.

      Instead you’ll be getting a squashed, stout, filthy muddy woman, in oversized filthy muddy clothes, in a filthy muddy tractor feeding filthy muddy cattle because February.

  11. Bill the Splut

    Today’s Crank:
    Honestly, what the FUCK?
    I…honestly don’t know what to say.
    HA HA teachers are burying a corpse because… there’s never ever been a school shooting!
    Yeah, I live an hour’s drive from Sandy Hook. Sure, it’s been 10 years since 20 1st graders were slaughtered by a guy with a gun that has no purpose but to kill as many as it can within seconds, but it was done in 5 minutes! Yeah, you’re right, I should get over it.
    It’s called Hell.

    • Paul Jones

      That’s the problem with Batiuk: he doesn’t live a quarter of an inch away from reality. The only school shooting that registers is the Kent State thing years ago.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        And that should have been enough to convince him that this was in poor taste.

        The underlying idea could have worked (like the “Goodbye Zoomers” strip from the last year of FW), but the execution is godawful for several reasons.

        1. It’s all too scho0l shooting-adjacent, as was said.

        2. The words “some teachers”. So… what’s happening here? A handful of adults independently decided to have a mock funeral? And the school allowed this to happen on school grounds? For this to be funny, it has to be an official decision everyone was behind, like Goodbye Zoomers was.

        3. Why is this happening now, in the middle of a snowstorm in February? Following from #2, the time for a school system to is announce a new policy is at the beginning of the school year, like September. The snow, the snowman, Crankhole’s presence, and the last two weeks being about Ed’s flamethrower are all huge distractions from the joke. When you’re telling a joke, you don’t tell six other unrelated things at the same time. Batiuk forgot this at some point.

        4. Where are the mourners? If the joke is “no more snow days” and there’s a mock ceremony to commemorate it, why are there no mourners? In a perfect world (or, a nation where mass shootings weren’t a weekly occurrence), that would have set up the joke perfectly. People are sad for no discernible reason, somebody asks why, and gets the explanation.

        On a side note, the teachers and students should both be having an emotional reaction to this.

        5. Again, how does the weather work in this world? Barely six weeks ago, the whole cast was literally risking death to go to Dinkle’s Jazz Messiah. The last two weeks was mocking The Weather Channel by name for predicting a massive blizzard; they turned out to be right, and people just went out in it anyway. Now they’re braving a snowstorm for a ceremony that could be done at any time, and doesn’t make sense to do in winter anyway because of #3.

        6. Again, why is the Funkyverse so fascinated with death and funerals?

        7. Why is the body too big to seal the casket? Why is there no casket lid? Why is it being carried to the burial site open like that? Why are they burying a snowman that’s just going to melt in the spring and make a mess? If you’re going to do a mock funeral, that joke is that you treat whatever you’re “burying” with all the gravitas a beloved human would get. It doesn’t work when you’re snickering the whole time.

        8. Tom Batiuk spoke of releasing post-2022 Funky Winkerbean content on his website. Why wasn’t this concept used for that purpose? To the extent this joke works at all, it only works in FW, where many of the cast are high school teachers. This is a major disappointment to anyone who wanted to see anything positive after FW ended, be it new FW material or a properly-focused CS.

        • be ware of eve hill

          I remember in college, a student religious group ‘Campus Crusade’ toured the campus with a Grim Reaper and a real coffin. Their message was, “If you were to die today?” (would you go to heaven?).

          That was forty years ago. Sure is a different world today.

          Watching the news. Yet another mass shooting. Memphis Tennessee. 😥

          • Bill the Splut

            From the GC comments, referring to a less angry and foul-mouthed post I did about this strip:
            “Looks like somebody complained about [Bill the Splut’s] comment and that GC agreed with the complaint. His comment and the entire thread that proceeded from it have now disappeared.
            “So now all latecomers can wonder what we’re talking about.”
            My original comment was replied to almost immediately. It was basically the faux-pology “I’m sorry you felt the need to be offended” and, not a paraphrase, “What a sad world it would be if a fantasy strip like this couldn’t make jokes.”
            It came so soon–like not just minutes after I wrote it, but minutes after the strip was posted. (I know you guys had the 1030PM CK post, for some weird reason GC updates at 110AM EST) It was so smarmy that I wondered “Is this written by Batshit himself?” He may not come here–too much criticism for his ego to handle–but I’d bet he reads GC’s comments. And somebody had enough sway to get me gone.
            I’ll never know what was said next. My 2nd comment was (after pointing out that Batuik says the strip is not “fantasy,” but a “quarter inch away from reality”)
            “What state do you live in? I’ll bet I could Google a mass shooting near you easily. Would you laugh at that?”

            Look. A decade later Sandy Hook is still a sore subject in CT. And no, some things you don’t joke about. It’s been 22 years, go into an NYC bar and make some cracks about 9/11. It’s been 80 years, make a Holocaust joke. As here, it was pointed out there that Bats is still upset about Kent State in 1970. And he should be.
            Some things aren’t funny. Some people are so stupid they make these jokes without thinking. Some people are so upset by the millions of deaths from Covid that they complain that their Silver Age Flash compilations are late.

          • be ware of eve hill

            @Bill the Splut

            I’ve had comments deleted from GoComics three times. Twice when castigating the behavior of the creator of the strip. The other time I saw a comment left by someone with a navy blue “Moderator” tag after their name. I replied to their comment by saying, “A moderator? I thought the profanity filter might have put all of you out of a job.” Needless to say, that comment didn’t last too long. No sense of humor at all, that bunch.😁

            I’d be surprised if it was Batiuk who responded to you. He has the social media presence of a turnip. He still hasn’t updated his Twitter account since December 5th. Batiuk lives in his ivory tower writing his little blog, completely oblivious to whether or anyone reads it or not. Besides, I doubt Batiuk stays up that late. I’ll bet it was a moderator.

            Nice to see they finally built the Sandy Hook Memorial.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Yep, that’s our Batty, tone deaf as ever.

      There have been rumblings about eliminating snow days and just doing in home learning. Of course the teachers unions are adamantly opposed to this. They like their bonus paid time off.

      And yeah, Batty and his boomer alums continue to mourn 4 dead in Ohio as they actively support the war in Ukraine.

      • Hannibal's Lectern

        Actually, (to alter Jackson Browne), the union DOES mind. Snow days are not days off; at least in my district they are just appended at the end of the school year. So you get a day off with (by definition) terrible weather in the middle of winter, and pay for it by having to work a pleasant summer day in June. Not to mention mucking up vacation plans and having to cram that much more because those AP exam schedules don’t take snow days.

    • Gerard Plourde

      In addition to the questionable decision making in choosing to stage a funeral at a school, I see other, less emotionally charged questions.

      He seems to think that going remote is identical to a regular school day. For high school teachers who have free periods or study hall duty, wouldn’t being home suddenly free time up for other things?

      Also, given the difference in what’s being taught and the maturity of primary school students, are school closures eliminated for them?

      • ComicBookHarriet

        We do have a short list of rules that includes no politics and no personal attacks on real people (Les and Dinkle are fair game), and that includes personal attacks on Batiuk, Ayers, Tea Berry etc.

        Take this as a gentle reminder with much love. We do certainly want to call out strips that are tone deaf or insensitive, or point out hypocritical posturing by the artists/writers.

        But we have a diverse spectrum of viewpoints here. We exist on a foundation of mutual respect, not universal agreement. And we want to offer a safe and friendly place for people to come together and call fictional characters assholes and imagine them being hit by rocks.

  12. Paul Jones

    The single most wrong-headed arc that isn’t about how Frankie is somehow a threat to Lisa’s Story because he’s part of it would have to be the Wally story. Nothing about that made the least bit of sense.

  13. be ware of eve hill

    CBH, thanks for including Kevin Brown, but as I said, I was kidding. 😁

    You made Roberta Blackburn a nominee. It would be hard to have a retrospective on her without mentioning Kevin Brown. 😉

    • be ware of eve hill

      Good luck with the cattle, CBH. That many head of cattle all by yourself? 😲

      I have trouble controlling one dog. Rusty is a Great Dane/Shepard mix and likes taking me for a walk drag.