I Burn for You!

Beckoning Chasm sent me another Timemop cover he found! This issue was the first appearance of one of TimeMop the Nudger’s greatest foes, Belligerent Android That Trashes Other uNiverses! Who knew TimeMop had so many terrifying and thrilling adventures? I know more are out there to be discovered! Let me know if you guys find any! (*WINK*)

(This is so frikken beautiful I can’t even.)

It is March 1999, and HAH John has been making side-eye at Lefty Becky. And Lefty Becky has, inexplicably, been seen glancing back. HAH John does some preliminary research before he makes his move.

She’s wearing something right, John? Right? JOHN?

Okay. Now it’s time to address the elephant in the room. And I’m not just talking about HAH John.

John Howard, in his early Act II form, follows the stock character of the unhygienic, overweight, socially inept nerd who has trouble pursing women. It’s a cliche as old as pocket protectors. Is he a geek because only socially inept physically unattractive people become nerds? Or does liking Batman cause some kind of horrible physical degradation? The trope doesn’t say. And I hate this trope as it is usually presented, because it mixes real honest observations with absolute lies, and repeats it over and over again with little variation. Like a Taylor Swift song.

Do nerds like this exist? Oh sweet Primus, YES! My go-to joke before I head to a Transformers convention is that, as a girl, the odds are good and the goods are odd. I’ve seen the bad hygiene, the oblivious cosplayers in sharpied spandex, the smug narcissists, the people mumbling and stammering through asking retired voice actors that haven’t worked professionally in 30 years how to get into the business. I’ve seen people obviously struggling with under-treated spectrum disorders, personality disorders, and people who just plain have isolated themselves into a state of permanent cringe. And I see a much higher percentage of those people at a Transformers conventions than anywhere else.

But they’re a percentage. They’re always outnumbered by the people who are well groomed and socially competent. People who have an easy enough time making friends and even finding love. And this is at Transformer conventions, something very niche with a narrow band of interest. I’ve been to gen-cons too, and there the percentage of the socially inept is dwarfed by relative normies.

The other thing that ticks me off about this trope: I’ve seen SO many weird GIRLS. At a Transformers convention one time I watched a girl in ill fitting cosplay who had cornered one of the two main Transformers comic writers at the time. She was standing way too close and was manically explaining to him why she thought two robots in one of the latest issues of one of the comics were in love, though they weren’t her OTP.

I cut in to explain to her that she was talking to the wrong writer, it was the other guy who had written this issue, and she just said, “I mean, they’re kind of the same. He works for IDW.” And she kept gushing. I wanted to crawl into a hole and die, because I was standing next to this girl, both of us on the side of the table that labeled us, ‘fans.’ I made eye contact with the poor writer, trying to telepathically communicate with him that I was not like this. I wasn’t going to rant at him about shipping. I just wanted him to sign the issue he’d written where Herbert and Lou Hoover fight Jetfire.

American Literature at its finest.

All this to say, it bothers me when the Comic Book Guy trope implies that ‘All nerds/geeks are too cringe for love.” and “All cringy nerds/geeks are guys.”

Big Bang Theory or Simpsons may throw out a plot or two with the COOL comic book guy, or the cute nerdy girl, but always in the context of, “Wow! I didn’t know people like that existed!”

Nerd Girl Rant over. I have chased the elephant out of the room!

Funky does the kind thing and warns Becky she might get asked out. As someone who has been on the receiving end of warnings such as this, it is a kind gesture, usually appreciated, even if I eventually did give the weirdo a first date.

To be fair, if she had good taste she wouldn’t have been a Montoni’s regular in high school.

Oh! Hey! Look another giant elephant has come riding into the room! What do you have to say about this story, Mister Giant Elephant?

A very good question! Thank you! We know Becky graduated from high school in 1998. So she is about nineteen, maybe twenty. Funky himself turned twenty-six in March of 1998. But what can we say about HAH John? He’s had his store since 1994, but even early in Act II time and pacing got all comic strippy wonky, For example, a young Darin shows up at Les and Lisa’s 1996 wedding looking younger than 10, which fits the Funky Crew graduation date of 1988 and Darin being born Lisa’s senior year.

Who was that masked child?

But then Darin shows up as a freshman less than two years later. In 1998.

Sara Roberts? Wat? Help me out here, BTS?

So what I’m trying to say is that taking the fact John had a comic book store in 1994, and was probably well over 20 then, to extrapolate that by 1999 he would be over 30 is probably a deduction too far. But he is definitely could be five to seven years older than Lefty. Just on the border of squicky when the persons dating in are in their 20’s.

But no one brings up an age gap. The focus of Funky’s concern and Crazy’s amazement whether Becky can find John good company. Funky tries to give HAH John some good advice.

BTW, I looked, there are a lot of old theatres named ‘The Strand.’ But Ohio doesn’t have an incorporated town called Ridgeview.

HAH John apparently didn’t listen to the movie theatre advice. Instead he decides his best way to impress Becky is with his frugality…

His innovation…

His honest charm…

And his clever schemes to game the system…

We have an interesting character moment for Becky, when she leaves the tip for the waitress that John neglects. I plan to dig into her psyche a little deeper later, but for now we get her empathy, perceptiveness, and sense of justice.

Wordless panels are nice. Shame we didn’t get more of them in Act III.

And to top off the entire romantic evening, John tops off his gas tank. Of course it’s on Becky’s dime, at a full-service station where he won’t even have to pump it himself.

A true gentleman allows the woman to contribute.

To Becky’s credit, even she isn’t pliable and easy going enough to be pressured into a second date with this scrub. She kindly asserts herself and seems ready to shut the door on the whole business.

If you want to see less of each other…you better get a new job, Becky.

HAH John, suprisingly, seems to take the rejection well, and something about Becky’s face tells me that whatever ‘sweetness’ she saw in John before is being manifested in this strip. She’s shut the door on a relationship with him, but is peering through the crack to watch him walk away.

Big George Costanza energy.

What do we make of this first date? What conclusions can we draw about HAH John?

Well, we know that he’s a mooch, and sponge, and a minor conman (if the hair in the pizza was planted). But there are mutually exclusive ways to interpret this. Either he knows this behavior is inappropriate but he hopes to persuade Becky to go along with it, or he doesn’t think it’s that outrageous. And even if he knows this behavior is inappropriate, there is a potential version of HAH John so money constrained that he has no other options.

Until we get to that gas station. That one line, ‘Fill ‘er up!’ puts him in the camp of either oblivious or completely mercenary. I’d be interested to know what you guys think is more likely.

I am going to praise how John and Becky’s first date was written to be a gradual escalation of penny pinching desperation. It goes from HAH John taking the cheap route of 50 cent movies and expired the coupons, to the con to get a free meal, and finally profiting off the date with a full tank of gas.

I like Becky’s rejection, and I like John’s response to it. If the stupid All Comic Book Guys trope hadn’t been rubbed in my face earlier, I would rate it a bit higher. But not every elephant in the room gets the full bag of peanuts. (I have no idea what this means.)

Our next post will see John forge the most important relationship of his life, when he truly connects with the one person in this cast who could really understand him.

Until then, sleep tight.

Oh! In farm news. We had our first calf of the spring, just a couple weeks early. (Thanks a lot for jinxing us SP XD).




Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

90 responses to “I Burn for You!

  1. Epicus Doomus

    It’s kind of strange looking back on Act II and seeing how the characters, you know, did stuff and had thoughts related to things that were really happening and so forth. He was still trying to write back then and even though it was awful, you can at least sort of respect the effort involved, at the very least. It stands in stark contrast to Act III, especially from around 2012 on, when he just gave up entirely and had the characters aimlessly meandering around, sometimes literally.

    All that time, energy, and effort spent on two characters who barely factored into Act III at all. I guess John was somewhat noteworthy, at times, what with the increased emphasis on comic books and all, but Becky really got the stinky end of the Act III stick. Aside from those moronic marching band arcs (where she usually played second fiddle behind Dinkle), her only real Act III story arc of note was that whole thing with her overbearing mother, which was never even resolved.

  2. Lord Flatulence

    Does that sign on the window at Montoni’s say PIZZA backwards or ASS19?

  3. csroberto2854

    I think Sara was the original name for Ally (Pete’s older sister) in which Batiuk forgot it and changed it to “Ally”

  4. be ware of eve hill

    How much older is DSH than Becky?

    I remember the first time Batton Thomas visited the Komix Korner. There they were, DSH and Batton in the same panel. If the black carpet remnant was removed from DSH’s head, all that would be left would be the gray hair. Short gray hair and glasses? They could almost be twins.

    Could DSH be a similar age to Batton Thomas? 😱

  5. be ware of eve hill

    I hit enter again too soon.

    Congratulations on the little one. It is so Cute! Look at that widdle face.

  6. sorialpromise

    From CBH:
    “Oh! In farm news. We had our first calf of the spring, just a couple weeks early. (Thanks a lot for jinxing us SP XD).

    SO CUTE!”

    I may not know many things, dear, but I do know cattle love birthing at inconvenient times. But any curse involved, quickly becomes a blessing once Momma gets baby on its feet.
    I know all of SOSF will be confused, but CBH was saying Momma and baby calf are cute. Not yours truly. (Sorry, bwoeh!)
    One last thing, CBH. We’re you at KC CON in 2013? I stood next to a young woman wearing a black head cap, blue jacket, wearing a Star Trek shirt giving 2 Vulcan salutes.
    If it is you, let me know.

    • be ware of eve hill

      There’s a new calf on CBH’s farm. She doesn’t need your bull. 😆

      • sorialpromise

        Careful, Evester. If there is that much manure, it has to be covering a pony!

        • ComicBookHarriet


        • be ware of eve hill

          It appears some of your emojis were “blanks”. That’s what happens when you use the shotgun approach. 😝

          • sorialpromise

            In honor of my 48th anniversary tomorrow, I can attest that none of my emojis were firing blanks. The were full of love and devotion to you and Mal.
            (P. S. I find your interest in an anniversary gift very touching. Rubies and Emeralds never go out of style, especially large ones.)

          • be ware of eve hill

            Dearest SP,

            Conga-rats on your 48th wedding anniversary!

            You can’t fool me, though. There’s no jewel associated with the 48th wedding anniversary. You should have given the gift of rubies to your sweet wife on your 40th anniversary. Emeralds for the 55th wedding anniversary.

            What we do have is a freezer chest full of hot dogs and peas that we purchased for a big SoSF party last year. C’mon down! YUM!

            Sadly, Guillermo’s Pizza has gone out of business. I know, shocking.

          • sorialpromise

            1. I am so tempted to grab the missus and head to N. M. I love hot dogs.
            2. Mrs. S. P. tells me that I never have to buy her presents. She says she has me. That is enough.
            She feasts on my love.
            (Let’s see if you both can keep your suppers down after reading that!)
            Seriously, we are waiting til Friday to celebrate. Then we are going to the Rock, Mineral, and Gem Show. Then to a fine Italian restaurant called Cascone’s. We are both kinda rock hounds, and enjoy Italian cuisine.

          • ComicBookHarriet

            I second the Happy Anniversary!

            You better get your wife something nice, like salad dressing!

          • sorialpromise

            That made me roar in laughter.

  7. Green Luthor

    John is 5 years older than Becky. The cast pictures for the start of Act III show the ages of many characters; Skunky was 38 and Lefty was 33. (Which means as of the Lost Finale, they were 60 and 55, respectively. Yeah, Skunky was 60 friggin’ years old and rocking the Dead Skunk Head look.)

    (Hm, let’s see… Skunky first appeared in 1995, three years into Act II. Under the revised timeline, Act II started in 1976, so his first appearances – where the Komix Korner was treated as having been there already – would seem to have taken place in 1979*. But 1980 Crazy Harry had no idea of even the concept of a comic book store. Though he was also a high school student eight years after graduating, so whatever.) (Crazy Harry’s Bogus Journey just completely trampled any sense of continuity Batiuk thought might have established is all I’m saying. But we all knew that already. It is kinda fun to point out all the ways one storyline so egregiously messed up the tenuous continuity Batiuk had both before and after CHBJ, though.)

    *(Act II ran from 1992 to 2007, so about 15 years, and appears to have covered about 14 years of time, so we can generally assume things progressed in more or less real time, just later shifted back some 24 years… just because.) (It does lead to fun anachronisms like Les solving the murder of John Darling Who Was Murdered possibly before he was actually murdered. And “President” Clinton visited Montoni’s sometime before 1990, despite not yet being President during that time. The Elegant Timemop must have had to work overtime to fix this mess…)

    (I should really stop trying to make sense out of the revised timeline, that way lies madness.)

    • ComicBookHarriet

      D’oh! Thanks for reminding me those exist, GL! I am now having an existential crisis due to being older than Lefty was at the beginning of Act III.

    • be ware of eve hill

      Rachel was 36 years old at the start of ACT III? And she looks as pretty as she does at the end of ACT III? You go, girl! I wish I knew some of your anti-aging secrets.

      Seeing that Rachel was 36 made me wonder about Wally, but he’s nowhere to be found on the cast picture page. Then it hit me. Wally was not only MIA from the cast pictures, he was literally MIA in the Funky Winkerbean strip.

      • Green Luthor

        Yeah, I think Batiuk wanted us to think Wally had been killed in Afghanistan during the time skip or something, just like the characters did. (Thankfully, the real story we got was just so much stupider.)

        Wally’s age is easy enough to figure out, though. He should be about the same age as Becky, since they graduated together. So he would also have been about 33 at the start of Act III, and 55 at the end.

        Wait. Wait, hold up. “Donna at 46”? “DONNA AT 46”? Dammit, Tom, the main Act I cast (Les, Funky, Crazy Harry, Cindy, etc.) were 46 at the start of Act III. Donna was canonically five years younger than Crazy Harry (she was The Eliminator at 11, even if she stole the helmet from the high school janitor, and Harry was 16 when they first faced off). She should have been 41, not 46.

        I am far more annoyed by this than I should be.

        • be ware of eve hill

          Yeah, Wally was a P.O.W. during the entire time skip. Poor guy. The cast thought Wally was KIA but I don’t believe that was how Batiuk left it with the readers.

          I remember a strip where Batiuk featured Wally getting killed in an explosion. It was revealed the next day that it was only in a video game. The readers were not amused by the tasteless fake out. People were calling for Batiuk’s job. Good times. Good times.

        • be ware of eve hill

          I wonder if the ages on the cast page were canon or just the artist’s best guess.

          I’ve been told the artist of the cast page was John Bryne.

          • Green Luthor

            While I can’t say for certain, based on the art style, I’m, like 99% that Byrne did, indeed, do those cast pages. (It doesn’t look like Batiuk’s art, nor Ayers’, and obviously Byrne has done work for Batiuk both before and after that, so… it’s almost definitely either Byrne or someone trying to draw like him.)

            As for whether they’re canon or guesses… I think the ages we can confirm match up (Summer is said to be 15, and there was an early Act III strip where Les also says Summer is 15, for example), and it would seem kind of odd for the ages to be included if Byrne (or whoever) was guessing. (And there’s some characters who don’t have listed ages, which would also seem an odd oversight if Byrne were guessing; why not guess at all the ages?) (And even if the precise numbers were wrong, at least the general patterns seem right; Funky, Les, Cindy, Crazy Harry, Bull… they’re all the same age, as they should be. The only age that’s obviously wrong that I’ve seen is Donna’s, in that she can’t be the same age as Crazy Harry.)

            I would think Batiuk would have provided a list of characters and their ages (and other descriptors) for reference, but… well, I really don’t know how Batiuk’s mind works sometimes. (And I wish I didn’t know as much as I do about how Byrne’s mind works…)

  8. Bill the Splut

    Man, HAH DSH was creepy back then. But he had an actual personality, as unpleasant as it was, and as we’re repeatedly told, he was stinky.
    Everyone in Act III is either “Tom Avatar” or “Hot Women We Incels DESERVE. Or fat and old, eff them bitches.”

    Today: Every CS fan goes “Oh thank god, the weirdos are gone, here’s our non-joke. A…NOKE, one might say!”
    I predict this goes on for a week, then the Funkvasion begins anew.

  9. It’s interesting that, as others have noted, John had an actual personality with actual characters traits. He was cheap and desperate. Seems to me he ought to hold Chester Chiseler in higher regard, since they’re both cut from the same cloth.

    In act three, of course, his personality completely disappeared. Like everyone else, he was just “guy who loves comic books.”

    • Rusty Shackleford

      The contrast between acts 2 and 3 is surprising to me and almost tempts me to read act 2. As Epicus mentioned above, he was still trying to write stories then, but totally gave up in act 3.

      • To use a metaphor, I think Batiuk thought Act II was him racing his Formula One around the track, faster and faster, finally ending with his “best time yet”–Lisa.

        After that, he parked his car but kept the motor running, revving the engine from time to time to remind the world that he hasn’t received his awards yet.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        Act II is an interesting read. On the one hand, like you noticed, real stories are happening that affect the characters emotionally. He sows the seeds for future things, and builds them gradually, like Funky’s alcoholism, or the breakdown of Funky and Cindy’s marriage.

        On the other hand, Les is at PEAK Gary Stu. Just an insufferable, preachy, saintly bobble head that makes me want to gag constantly.

  10. Rusty Shackleford

    Ridgeville is short for North Ridgeville which is near Elyria. Batty loves to drop things like this into his strip, it makes things less comprehensible and adds words to the balloons.

    I usually check here for old theaters: http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/united-states/ohio/elyria

    There are some neat entries and I found some old theaters from my childhood.

  11. Paul Jones

    This was back when we could make jokes about his breaking out his formal Batman T-shirt in the knowledge that it reflected his dodgy personality. It was also when we could ask “Can’t he be both things?” when the choice between being stupid and being a miser was offered.

  12. Banana Jr. 6000

    John Howard isn’t the worst man in the Funkyverse, but I think he is the most instantly repulsive to women.

    Les Moore is a full-on psychopath, but he does a convincing act of being a sensitive, arty, wounded little gazelle. He really has the skills of a Ted Bundy-type serial killer; he only has to be charming until he has you in the car. Even Pete can pull off the “boyish charm” thing for a minute or two, until you realize he’s an actual boy. You’d want to get away from John Howard instantly.

    And I didn’t even know cheapness was major part of his personality. Asking your date to pay for gas is pretty much a date-ender, barring unusual circumstances. It also raises major questions about you when you’re also calling yourself a store owner. Doesn’t Komix Korner have any petty cash?

    I can live with the “comic book guy” stereotype (or any stereotype) if it’s done well, which John was in act II. What I can’t live with is this fat miserable slob getting the girl without doing anything, or changing anything about himself.

    And Becky seems like the woman who would LEAST tolerate a man like John. She was motivated and skilled enough to get into a top art school, suffered a major injury, and shifted to a career that requires a lot of effort and commitment. And she has to put up with the condescending Dinkle. On top of all that, she doesn’t need a lazy, low-effort, non-contributing husband whose juvenile hobby must be constantly indulged.

    • Green Luthor

      Not changing anything about himself? Skunky got an entirely new hairdo! One that, y’know, probably looks a lot worse than the “greasy ponytail” look, especially in the later years when he was approaching 60, but still.

      I mean, what ELSE could he change? His personality? Any other part of his appearance? His Batman T-shirt? Clearly, he can’t change his Batman T-shirt. What more do you want from him?

      (A competent writer could probably do something with this. Like, Becky acts chipper, but she has some deep-down self-esteem problems, thinking “who could ever love a one-armed freak failure like me” or something. And along comes Pre-Skunky, who may be a rude, gross, miserly manchild, but, hey… he’s willing to go out with her! But then Wally comes back, and even though Becky could easily resent him for ruining her life, he’s also willing to be with her, and he’s not a rude, gross, miserly manchild, so… bonus. Really explore the depths of Becky’s trauma and show how it affects her and her interactions with everyone around her.)

      (But, as I said, a competent writer could do something with this. Batiuk… is not one of those.)

  13. William Epps

    IMHO, John is a tool at best. The gas thing is totally unacceptable. “I’m sitting on my wallet?” seriously. Yeah, that’s not miserly or frugal, that’s straight up being a dick face.

  14. bad wolf

    Wait a sec, “Chien” was a nickname? Was she even Asian?

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      “Chien” means “dog” in French. And because the French language has gender, it means “male dog.”

      • bad wolf

        Hmm. I guess I thought it sounded like a Vietnamese name but I was also confused by the Goth look. Grandpa Wiki has it as a Chinese surname in the older spelling system :

        As a latecomer virtually all the Act II stuff is new to me but Chien seemed one of the more interesting characters from what i picked up later.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          That’s probably what Batiuk was aiming for, but its French meaning is hard not to notice if you’ve ever studied the language. I’m sure obnoxious, teasing high schoolers would make the connection. They’re good at that.

          And Chien was about as goth as Taylor Swift.

        • Bill the Splut

          Chien was the only FW character I actually liked. Then again, I used to manage record stores in the 90s, and there was always some teenage girl like her working there. Quirky, not nuts. And we had plenty of those, too.

          • ComicBookHarriet

            Chien is one of the characters on the shortlist of potential deep dives. Late Chien, say 04 etc is interesting, early Chien is kind of insufferable to me. But insufferable in a way unique in the Funkyverse.

            Interesting to compare her to Alex, who served much the same role in the Cody, Owen, Alex era, but was a lot more chipper about it.

  15. Gerard Plourde

    I had forgotten how totally repulsive DSH was. I can’t imagine what kind of mental gymnastics TomBa went through to stick Becky with him (which appears to have been his plan for some time, making Wally’s fate even more tragic.)

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I can’t imagine what kind of mental gymnastics TomBa went through to stick Becky with him

      “John needs a wife. I’ll give him Becky!”

      Yes, this did appear to take a long time, but I bet that’s all the thought that went into it. They’re probably the most incompatible couple in the Funkyverse, and that’s really saying something.

      • Epicus Doomus

        Just like with Cayla later, Batiuk had to find something for Becky to do, lest he be accused of using her as a cheap, one-off gimmick character. Hooking her up with John was the result. A lose-lose situation if there ever was one.

        • Gerard Plourde

          Yes, this makes sense using his twisted logic that DSH, being a comic book store proprietor, no matter how antisocial he was, would be a desirable partner.

          What I also find totally unpalatable is the treatment he subjected Wally to in order to give DSH his fairy tale ending, including Wally’s totally off the wall recall for a second tour of duty that resulted in an unbelievable ten-year captivity and a misidentification of human remains in the age of DNA testing.

    • Bill the Splut

      Stinky Ugly Comics Schlub always gets hot trophy girl!
      HAH just too stinky to not get blonde one!

  16. I didn’t even realize John and Becky got married, he was that much of a non-entity in Act III.

    • billytheskink

      After TB seemingly got tired of writing for his first generation of Act III high schoolers (other than Summer) in and around 2011, DSH and Lefty were pretty much never depicted as a couple for the remainder of Act III. I think there are more strips of them together in the first date story strips that CBH posted here than there were in the entire final decade of the strip.

  17. Gerard Plourde

    The marriage happened during the ten-year time jump, during the time Wally had been captured by Iraqi insurgents and mistakenly declared dead. The capture was alluded to in a headline during Les’s New York sojourn to litter Central Park with Lisa’s ashes.

    I can hardly find words to describe how much this whole Wally episode galls me. It posits a level of unconcern and incompetence on the part of the US military that is not credible and downright insulting. Additionally, TomBa’s treatment of Wally’s return also strains credulity. He’s treated as being totally erased from his children’s lives.

    Sorry for the rant.

  18. be ware of eve hill

    Beckoning Chasm, I love your new Timemop cover. It sure is the stuff of nightmares. It’s a battle where I hope there are no winners survivors.

    I’m afraid I don’t understand some elements of the cover. I was hoping to return later this evening to find some answers in the comments. Oh, well, seems everyone but me is in on the joke.

    Why is B.A.T.T.O.N. a giant head? Is it a comic book reference?

    • It is, it’s a reference to Marvel’s MODOK (as I recall, it’s Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing). The goal was to reproduce a mid-1970’s Marvel cover.

      • Green Luthor

        A visual reference: https://www.marvel-world.com/contents/encyclopedie/biographies/m/modok/modok_0.jpg

        (MODOK also recently made his debut in the MCU in Quantumania, though there was also a short-lived animated series with Patton Oswalt providing the voice. From what I understand, it wasn’t good.) (He also was one of the villains in the mid-90s Iron Man cartoon, where they once disguised him by putting him in a baby carriage… somehow. But I know that show wasn’t good, either.) (That has nothing to do with anything, other than providing the opportunity to include this picture:)

        (You’re welcome.)

        • be ware of eve hill

          Thanks for the visual reference, but MODOK is still not ringing any bells for me.

          I like Patton Oswalt, but voicing a supervillain? That doesn’t seem to be good casting to me. I believe the last time I heard Patton perform a voice-only role was for an imaginary flying purple unicorn.

          • Green Luthor

            The MODOK show was supposed to be more of a family sitcom type of show, just with a (failed) supervillain, so… for what they were doing, Oswalt may not have been a terrible choice, although I really haven’t heard good things about the show and so didn’t make any effort to actually watch it.

            (The New Warriors show – with Milyana Vayntrub as Squirrel Girl – would have also had MODOK, but there he would have been played by Keith David. Alas, the show didn’t go to series.)

            (Also, it’s probably not that surprising you don’t recognize MODOK; he was never all that popular a villain, and I think a lot of creators probably thought he was just too goofy-looking to use him that often. He primarily was a Captain American foe, but again, he really only showed up sporadically. Probably easy to miss if you weren’t reading consistently, I’d wager.)

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            Patton Oswalt voiced the unnamed antagonist in the “gray goo” episode of Futurama, where he fought millions of microscopic copies of Bender. It’s a hard episode to watch, because the main cast were abusive jerks to his character in that episode. Maybe the show was going for a Seinfeld thing, but it didn’t work. The episode is from 2011 and you can already say it didn’t age well.

      • be ware of eve hill

        Thanks! Sorry to be so comic book challenged.

        Ironically, I used to read some of my brothers’ comic books back in the 1970s. I guess I never encountered MODOK.

        • Rusty Shackleford

          Same here, but some of these posts are very interesting and makes me want to learn more.

          To the comic book shop!

        • I used him 1) because he’s physically distinct from the typical superhero/supervillain and 2) I already had the Giant Angry Batton Head (GABAH) that I previously posted and it just needed to be altered a bit. So yeah, laziness played a part.

          • Green Luthor

            It works, though. B.A.T.T.O.N. has a big head, which is usually metaphorically used to refer to someone with a huge ego. And… well, you can figure out the rest.

          • be ware of eve hill

            Lazy? That’s not lazy.

            There were five pictures I wished I could photoshop about the spinner rack strip in Crankshaft last Saturday. I don’t have Photoshop, but I do have an open-source graphics editor program installed on my desktop at home. Barely fired it up over the weekend. Cropped a couple panels and downloaded a cartoon shotgun, but that was as far as I got. All inspiration, no follow through. That’s lazy.

            You got one of them done and it was great.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Batiuk is also MODOK: MOron Devoted Only to Komix.

  19. Bill the Splut

    Crankies Rejoice! Another strip with the main character, and an identifiable joke!
    OTOH, is this Mindy/Mandy/Monday Monday again? What relationship does she have with RotNose? (Sorry, these strips vanish from my memory instantly after reading)
    The question is: is Tom realizing turning CS into FW is a bad idea, or is the Syndicate breathing down his neck? “WE KILLED YOUR LAST STRIP!! You want us to keep doing that?!” Neckless giant man walks in:”Hey, Mr Batshit, youse car is on fire. Seems to happen to youse a lot.”

    Also, I get it, Mopey and Popey, but why not just call him what he looks like?
    Ever seen a picture of a blobfish?
    Oh, tell me that doesn’t look like that dingdong Pete.

    • Green Luthor

      An identifiable joke, and one that’s actually amusing. Will wonders never cease?

      (Also, Generic Blonde Woman is Mindy, Crankshaft’s granddaughter. The one who inexplicably is dating/engaged to Mopey.)

      • Bill the Splut

        Okay. I thought she was no more than 25 years old max, and Cranky is at least 100 (they didn’t land 10 year olds on D-Day). Given how young people married in those days, I’d think if he was her grandfather she’d be in her 40s.
        But in FW, you either turn into a fat grey blob, or you never age. Like Cindy, but that can be explained by surgery, or you’re Les and His Trophies. And that can be explained by egotism.

  20. Lord Flatulence

    I just noticed all of Comics Kingdom’s Funky archives are still there.

    • bad wolf

      Does anyone have a subscription that could tell us how far they go back? I am surprised they are still on CK.

      I was honestly thinking they’d move over to Gocomics which tends to have archives freely available–you can read every Luann or FBOFW ever there last i checked.

      • be ware of eve hill

        The oldest strip in the CK FW archive is from October 5, 1998. The same date range in the archive that existed before the strip ended.

        I kind of knew the archives for Crankshaft, Funky Winkerbean, Vintage Funky Winkerbean and Mother Goose and Grimm were still somewhere because the last comic of each title was still appearing on my favorites page.

        As far as I know, there’s no way to get to these strips from the Comics Kingdom GUI.

      • be ware of eve hill

        I never really expected the Funky Winkerbean archive to be on GoComics, but it sure would be nice if the comic strip archive for Crankshaft made it over. There are currently only 33 comics before 2023 in the GoComics Crankshaft archive. There are three comics from 2009 and thirty from 2012 (no Sundays). No updates to the archive since early January. That’s weird. I wonder if there is some kind of licensing issue.

        FYI, the CK Crankshaft archive goes back to December 30, 2002.

        If you start reading through the CK FW archive, does the screen that says you’ve exceeded the maximum allowable number of free comic strips ever pop up?

        • If you type in comicskingdom.com/funky-winkerbean, you can get to the FW page. There’s an “Archive” tab there, but clicking on it just nags for a subscription and I don’t want one.

          I doubt the FW archives will show up at GoComics just because the rights to publish might still belong to CK.

          • The Duck of Death

            Hot dawg! Finally, I’m getting a shred of value from my wretched CK subscription!

            Thanks, LF et al, for the news I can use!

        • EntrancedCat

          For the “…exceeded the maximum allowable number of free comic strips….” nag try this hack: click on the arrow to the left to go back to the immediately previous strip. Then on that strip click on the right hand arrow to go forward. That usually works.
          Another hack that often works is to click on the COMICS button at the top to see list of other offerings; then click your browser’s back feature. There is another hack which I found to get around this limitation but it’s a bit more complicated and I don’t recall it right this very minute.

    • ComicBookHarriet


      Guys, keep this on the DL, I’m hoping CK and Batiuk don’t notice.

      • bad wolf

        Yes, that was another concern for me as well, that if i grab a CK sub they’ll pull the archive the next day

        If anyone has a way to download 20 years of comics off the website lmk… likewise on the DL

        • be ware of eve hill

          Comics Kingdom is offering 100 days free. You could read all the FW you want during that time. If the CK gets rid of the FW archive, you can allegedly cancel at any anytime.

          A friendly heads up: You have to register a credit card. CK performs a $1.00 test transaction on your credit card to ensure it’s valid. After your trial period is over, your card will be automatically be charged.

          • The Duck of Death

            FWIW, whenever I get a trial subscription for anything, I immediately put a reminder into my calendar, dated 2 or 3 days before the trial ends, to cancel it. If I fall in love with the service, I just ignore the reminder and let the subscription happen.

          • be ware of eve hill

            Duck, I wouldn’t exactly say I fell in love with Comics Kingdom. It was kind of like a date to see how compatible we were. I decided to see where the relationship went.

            At this point, I think it’s time we should start seeing other people. 😂

  21. The Duck of Death

    Re HAHDSH John (I pronounce that acronym in my head to rhyme with “radish”): He may have been a socially inept schnorrer, but by gum he had a personality. Almost like a real human. Most of us have flaws that annoy our friends, and most of us have friends with annoying flaws, but that’s life.

    IRL, not every pot has a lid, but if we assume that HAH John didn’t reek, and posit that his house wasn’t what’s commonly called a “neckbeard nest,” he’d probably find someone eventually. I’ll stand up for the old version of him; at least he had distinct character traits and hadn’t yet morphed into the Borg of All Men’s Lives Revolve Around Comix.

    As I recall, in the last year or so of FW, he gave away some valuable figurine or something to Skycap. It would have been interesting to see how the Scrooge-like evolution of miserly HAH John to generous DSH John took place, but I guess Puff Batty just no longer gave a damn.

    • Gerard Plourde

      Given TomBa’s reverence for all things comics related, I’m actually surprised that DSH was initially obnoxious. I wonder if he was based on an actual store proprietor who TomBa had a run in with.

  22. Paul Jones

    I guess the really odd part comes towards the end when Chester turns from sitcom antagonist for being what John used to be to ally for being what John became.

    • The Duck of Death

      I believe that Chester was a sort of aspirational author insert all along. TB has written repeatedly about the rare comic books he feels slipped through his fingers way back when, which he’s sure would bring him a fortune if he had them today. He’s even had his characters fixate on the same thing.

      Me, if I could go back in time and give myself financial advice, it might be along the lines of “buy Bitcoin in 2011” or perhaps some brilliant stock or real estate tips powered by hindsight. But, as I’ve said before, comix are the only repository of monetary value in the Funkyverse. And Chester is a master at recognizing that value, so he can’t really be a villain. He knows comix are what really makes the world tick, so he pours his money into a vanity company staffed with silver-age (golden-age?) heroes.

      • He was never much of a villain. DSH cautioned Holly about him when she was collecting SJ comics, but rather than being a smart operator he folded instantly when presented with one of Pete’s old sketches.

        • Andrew

          I think his most “villainous” trait is the running gag where every time there’s a comic auction it would end with him buying every single issue incognito and gloating about it, while the rest of the cast ironically muse that “we made a lot of people happy with these sales, I hope they all enjoy the comics!”