In my insulin shock following a dangerous cookie binge, I let another very important milestone pass by yesterday.
April 9th, 2010 was the date of our glorious leader TFHackett’s first post on the brand new Son of Stuck Funky, successor site to the defunct blog Stuck Funky.
So here’s to THIRTEEN YEARS of SOSF!
And boy, what an ironic first post.
How many times has this place, in one form or another, seemed close to over? Cardboard boxes out, getting ready to pack it in. The original Stuck Funky blogger disappeared, Batiuk sicced his lawyers on the site, TFH burned out carrying the torch solo, guest authors moved on, the strip got boring.
Only for the community to stubbornly refuse to die. Individual posters may have come and gone, but someone always wanted to keep the conversation going. Funkyverse commentary would rebrand, move, morph, adapt, evolve, because people weren’t done talking.
Maybe in a few years, we’ll look back on this post-Winkerbean retrospective period as a little blip of a coda. “Wasn’t it weird for those six months that the crazy girl who only started commenting in 2015 went on an insane multi-post rants on side characters for weeks and weeks? Hope the treatment they got for her finally kicked in.” Maybe some will even say we should have drawn a line under it when the strip ended. Maybe not? Maybe in a few years this place will have morphed again and will be just as snarky, thoughtful, hilarious, and obsessive as ever. We can only enjoy the moment for what it is now. No one knows the future.
But what I do know is that this place thrives on flexibility, on the ability to shift gears from serious analysis to satire to shitposting. And its survival is dependent on a very loose definition of what is ‘on topic’. For a blog cannot persist on snark alone. So thanks to TFHackett and Epicus Doomus for being flexible enough to let this place morph again. I hope they enjoy me running around with their torch while they take a much deserved break.
Cheers to 13 years, guys! And to everyone who has put in time over those 13 years to keep the flame alive. We can’t go on forever, but we ain’t dead quite yet!
Speaking of not quite dead, lets check back in with DCH John, just about to exit the Montoni’s bathroom to propose to Becky Blackburn.
Thanks for doing this research. The timeline raises interesting questions.
Becky’s accident and Wally’s enlistment in the Army occurred in 1998.
Wally’s first MIA episode occurred during the post 9/11 action in Afghanistan which began in October of 2001. The birthday party arc ran in April of 2003.
Was TomBa’s plan always to have Becky and DSH end up together?
Did 9/11 give him an idea of how to get Wally temporarily out of the picture to bring them together as star-crossed lovers, separated by Wally’s return and Becky’s marriage to him and then to be reunited when Wally went missing a second time?Gerard Plourde, March 30, 2023
Yup Gerard, you were right to question the timeline here. So lets take a look.
June 7, 1998- Wally and Becky’s accident.
July 13-18, 1998- It is revealed Becky has lost her arm. Wally is unable to face her.
November 4, 1998- Wally leaves for boot camp.
December 15, 1998- Becky is hired at Montoni’s
March 1999- Becky and HAH John have their first date.
January 2001- Les Moore calls Wally to attend Funky’s alcoholism intervention.
September 11, 2001
January 7, 2002 Wally shows up at Montoni’s right before shipping out overseas.
While visiting that week, he reconnects with his old classmate Sadie Summers.
February 2002, Wally’s chopper is shot down by a stinger in Afghanistan.
June 3, 2002- Old high school classmate Monroe brings a letter Wally wrote him to Sadie and Becky. In the letter Wally indicates he wants to reconnect with Becky when he returns.
March 2003- Becky and John start dating.
May 2003- Wally Winkerbean is back from the dead, for the first time.
June 2003, after a month long recap of his escape, Wally Winkerbean is back in Westview.
So, given this breakdown, what can we say about the timeline?
When DCH John and Becky were reconnecting in 2003, that was just bait. I’d put everything from Wally shipping out to this moment as being planned to this end. The helicopter crash, the MIA, the letter, the poor introduced hypotenuse. It was always going to end with poor sad John flashing the back of his ears to TFH, while he watches Wally and Becky smooch. Because Batiuk in Act II was high on melancholic irony. So even something as happy as someone coming back from the dead had to have a cloud lining to the silver brick.
The further you get from this little two year nexus, the harder it is to say what was planned out way in advance. When HAH John and Becky had that first date, was that just supposed to be a gag, or was it setting the stage for all this?
And what was the plan prior to 9/11? Maybe Batiuk always meant for Wally to come back in uniform to sweep Becky of her feet, even if there weren’t any major military operations he could milk for topical references.
And what also isn’t clear is if, at this point, Batiuk means Wally has won. Was he already planning a second deployment, another bout of MIA KIA Cuckolding? Maybe we’ll get into more of that later. I’d love to know your theories.
See y’all in the comments!
49 responses to “The Empty Tomb”
ARGH, Byrne! Why did you do the wavy panel border thing to signify a mid-strip change in location?! Why? You’re the comic book legend, you don’t have to adhere to TB’s complete misunderstanding of comics language.
And the real star of Money Plane was Matthew Lawrences fake mustache… though I did like how Denise Richards got a top billing for appearing in the film about as often as Sadie Summers appeared in Act III.
For me the real star of Money Plane was Kelsey Grammer just gnawing hunks of the scenery, but in a charmingly lazy way. I hadn’t seen a performance so laid back yet unhinged since Eddie Redmayne in Jupiter Ascending.
Grammer has a lot of fun with a role that looks like it was designed around him being under house arrest (or rather, that they paid him enough for one day of shooting, at his house). The alligator line from the trailer got the most play, but his best line and line reading was probably the bit about turning Edge’s brains into a Jackson Pollock while his cronies held a blank canvas behind Edge’s head.
A hearty congratulations to our own TF Hackett. It has been an amazing 13 years of dedication on your part. I have been helped many times to get my remarks posted through your kindness. You are held in deep respect.
CBH, I loved the picture of Picasso. Great use of mixed media. Of all the praises I could give the great man is this: he was a dachshund lover.
I love being on SOSF.
Thanks Harriet! I’m actually quite pleased by how SoSF has metamorphized since December (thanks to you). As I’ve said before, we didn’t really have a plan for how to end it or what would come after, but it all ended up just kind of working out a lot better than I expected it to at the time.
I miss the daily FW strips, though. When you look back on all those zany, daffy old FW strips and story arcs, you realize that FW was a unique pop-culture artifact unlike anything else, ever. FW was like a huge black hole, composed of extremely dense ennui, contrived pathos, wry observations and intense boredom, and it just kind of sucked you into its baffling vortex, to a point where you just had to see what would happen next, even though you always knew that nothing would.
I really miss the mild excitement of seeing what next week’s story arc would be, and pitying the poor guest author who’d be stuck with it. Even when it was myself. I wish he’d bring it back. Act IV, where everyone is in their late 80s. Hell, it was kind of already heading in that direction anyhow, so WTF.
While I really miss having new strips to cover, I am glad that we are now able to go back and cover strips and story arcs that predate this site and the original Stuck Funky. Things hit terminal velocity as this sit hit its stride, but TB’s work was spiraling downward for years before.
All of us here exhaustively chronicled the banal insanity of Act III, and I’m so very glad we did it. Had we not, who would believe us? No one is going to go buy the late era Complete Funky Winkerbean volumes to learn about this strip, they’ll just (grandpa) Google it and find a bunch of fawning newspaper articles about Lisa and “substantial ideas” and take it at face value.
But they might also stumble upon SOSF too, and ask themselves why a bunch of internet strangers bothered to gather every single day to whack around the latest FW strip (and then continued to gather regularly for months or years after it ended to continue to discuss the strip)… Ask why a snark site is the ONLY place where the strip is regularly mentioned, where its memories are shared in any significant way…
Scratch a Funky Winkerbean hater, you’ll find an ex-fan. I certainly was one.
The below exchange between AnonymousSparrow and Sorialpromise is SOSF at its best.
Even though there are no more new Funky Winkerbeanstrips, there’s enough history and commentary to still fuel discussion and tangent. It’s obvious they both know their literature and history, and speak of it passionately. Our regular crew is full of people just like them; ones who take the discussion down fascinating roads, with a fun, educational, and welcoming tone. I’ve learned so much from so many of you, that I can’t even properly credit you all.
Anyone who reads this community should feel free to comment as much or as little as they want to. The signal-to-noise ratio here is high, and has remained so in 2023. I don’t think there’s any question this blog will continue to exist, and be better than it’s always been.
Those are very kind words. Mostly, I hang onto the coat tails of Anonymous Sparrow.
As a newcomer, I’m mystified as to why Crankshaft ISN’T being covered here by rotating commenters on a daily basis. (Other than perhaps after years of covering FW, the regulars are burnt out — except clearly, they’re still posting, so that wouldn’t seem to be it.)
From the standpoint of keeping the blog fresh, CBH’s epic deep dives are fun … but even CBH seems to be giving herself six months before she either runs out of energy or archive material. And I’m sure none of us want to burn CBH out!
Crankshaft‘s there. It appears everyday. Sometimes it even has a joke. Other times, it’s becoming Act IV of FW.
I think the regulars here could put together some snappy daily comments on it. Can’t speak for anyone else, but I’d be here for it.
I think it’s a combination of:
– Crankshaft not being worthy of comment every day
– lack of an easy hack to see future strips
– general fatigue about the whole thing. I’ve only been here a short time, but I can get why some people are burnt out from it all.
I’m fine with the direction the blog has taken in 2023, and I want to contribute some new material when I can. And when Crankshaft deserves mockery, like over that Negative Man drawing nonsense.
Speaking of that, you get my email? 😉
“Crankshaft” is a tool of the devil himself, the manifestation of all that is evil and wrong in the world. At least that’s why I don’t read it.
I’m FAR happier with covering old FW strips than I am with the idea of covering “Crankshaft”. I’m enjoying the old strips, and the opportunity to remember just how zapped-out and wild Act II really was. And as you said above, it’s literally the only place in the universe where FW is still being discussed. That should count for something, I suppose.
I sort of see that, kind of, a little bit? Except that in my experience, the new strips being discussed were almost always a jumping off point to discuss old strips, and to make surprising connections. AND a spot that still allowed newcomers (like me) to comment on the new stuff, while being introduced to the wacked-out older stuff along the way. (And to see some of the charming very early stuff, too.)
To me — and I stress that this is simply my perspective — the fun of the blog was talking about the old and the new … because those of us only familiar with new could still participate in a meaningful way.
ONLY talking about the old stuff seems more insular, and isn’t as involving to me. I mean, I can chime in with “Yeah, I guess that WAS weird.” But I wasn’t there for it when it originally happened, and so I don’t have much more meaningful to add.
Does that make sense?
Please be aware that I’m not demanding or insisting that this blog change. It should work for the community, and if it works for everyone as-is, I’m fine with that! Seriously.
But to me, right now, it’s like a Flash commentary board that ONLY will discuss vintage 1960s issues of The Flash. Even though there are current iterations of that property that could be discussed, in funny and enlightening ways — AND that could lead to conversations about (amongst other things) the 1960s comic book.
It feels to me that after patting himself on the back for ‘real time progress’ (cough-cough-Gasoline Alley-cough) he’s screwed up the timeline enough and he’s settling into a routine on Crankshaft of fixed time–everyone’s at an age that gives him wiggle room to keep them around indefinitely. Everyone’s set at the age they’ll be going forward and live in an increasingly uncomfortable eternal present.
It’s possible he could hand the whole thing off to someone, or keep running it with work-for-hire artists in the way so many legacy strips are run. Are we sure his son didn’t want to get involved like Karen over at Luann? How about signing checks that are mailed to him by the syndicate? Do we think he could do that?
In that first strip, I know that’s Funky, but… if you told me that was Lisa, I’d totally believe you.
“You want to bet on a guy f***ing his own timeline? Funky Plane.”
Happy belated anniversary, one and all! Although personal matters have reduced me to lurker status the past couple weeks, I am proud to say I’ve been a small part of this community these last few years.
Latest proof that I read too much (as if more are needed):
The second story in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s *Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes* series was “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box.” It deals with two ears sent in a cardboard box to a Miss S. Cushing in Croydon.
It’s a gruesome tale (and also a tale of adultery, which probably made for even more squeamishness), and when the *Memoirs* came out in book form in 1894, the publishers omitted it. It wouldn’t see print in hardcover until *His Last Bow* in 1917, twenty-three years later.
A key detail in the story — in which Holmes essentially reads Watson’s mind, as Dupin read his friend’s in Edgar Allan Poe’s “Murders in the Rue Morgue” — was transposed to “The Resident Patient” (another *Memoirs* exploit). It’s a lovely bit of writing, but the context is lost, since while Watson may honor Henry Ward Beecher (brother of Mrs. Stowe, who wrote *Uncle Tom’s Cabin*) for his endeavors during the Civil War, the fact that Beecher was also involved in a sex scandal doesn’t reverberate with Dr. Percy Trevelyan’s case as it does with Susan Cushing’s.
Pardon the pontificating, but April 9th was not only this year’s Easter, but the anniversary of the surrender of Lee to Grant at Appomattox.
Sparrow, you remind me of a story of a trip my brother and I took. Both of us are history nuts. We left for a Saturday day trip to Lexington Missouri. It is outside of Kansas City, and along the Missouri River. We drove into town, and it is lined with storefront Confederate flags. My brother is much more the Civil War expert, but neither of us could figure out the occasion for the flags. Missouri was a border state. This northern part of the state particularly so. Clay county had passed a law known as Order #11. It was basically a law to legally commit terrorism against civilian Southern sympathizers. Jesse James stepdad was accosted at home, tortured, then hung but not killed. To this day, calling supporters of the South traitors could cause severe physical injury.
There was a battle of Lexington in 1861. Southern General Sterling Price, (I believe he was named after John Wayne’s cat🤪) attacked northern positions at the Anderson house. To get close, the Confederates rolled huge hemp bales up to the northern positions. My brother and I were visiting the house and battlefield.
So at the site, we asked about the flags. Without knowing it, we were visiting on April 9! They were showing their Southern pride. If my brother and I were history nuts, the emphasis must be on the word “nuts”.
On the way to Hilton Head South Carolina, a friend drove on a back road or two between interstates. She shared a photograph of a billboard they encountered shortly after exiting the main highway in South Carolina. I found an image of the billboard online.
Such hatred passed down through the generations. It’s been almost 160 years, people!
Eve, I had a beautiful comment, but I decided I would cross an SOSF line.
See, TFH. You are self training us. (Well, me at least. Better men than you and I have tried and failed to moderate BWOEH!)
In the first volume of his Lyndon Johnson biography, *The Path to Power,* Robert Caro has a long sketch of Sam Rayburn. According to a good friend, “in a long lifetime, Sam Rayburn will never forgive Appomattox.”
At the surrender of Johnston at Durham Station, Sherman gave terms of surrender more lenient than Grant had given seventeen days earlier. (This caused him to be nicknamed “the Handmaiden of the South.”) When the federal government learned of this, they issued orders that Sherman could offer no more than Grant had.
Johnston and Sherman became friends after the War, and Johnston was an honorary pallbearer at Sherman’s funeral in 1891. It was an inclement (could “climate damage” have begun before the comic-book made it personal for Batton Thomas?) day, and Johnston was urged not to be bareheaded for the funeral. He insisted on it, though, claiming that were the circumstances reversed, Sherman would have shown him the same courtesy.
Johnston caught a cold and it developed into pneumonia, and a month later, he died.
It’s not in the movie, but in Margaret Mitchell’s *Gone with the Wind,* Rhett Butler speaks quite kindly of Johnston’s strategy.
As you well know, but for the chance to edjamacate BWOEH, there were 2 Confederate generals named Johnston. Both were well respected, but one may have been our country’s greatest general. That was Albert Sydney Johnston. He die at Shiloh in 1862. Feared and respected by both sides. He dies charging the enemy. He gets shot in the knee. The bullet clips an artery, and he bleeds to death. He had sent his own surgeons ahead to treat his own soldiers. He was replaced by Robert E. Lee, who was no slouch.
In your honor, I will listen to “I’m a Good Ol’ Rebel” and “Marching through Georgia.”
(P. S. If you have the time, listen to “Bonnie Blue Flag” and “We’re Out to Sink the Bismarck.” Tell me if they are not the same melody?)
We know General Barnard Bee because he gave General Thomas J. Jackson the nickname of “Stonewall.”
I know Albert Sidney Johnston because he called upon Jefferson Davis one day and Davis recognized that he was waiting by his footsteps.
If I remember Ken Burns’s documentary on the Civil War correctly, Shiloh left such an impression on its combatants that afterwards they would say things like “I was more scared than I was at Shiloh.”
For my friend Anonymous Sparrow
1. “The number of soldiers who died between 1861 and 1865, generally estimated at 620,000, is approximately equal to the total of American fatalities in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, and the Korean War, combined.” From: Death and Dying Civil War Era National Cemeteries.
2. Stonewall Jackson’s accidental death by his own men, may be the number 1 reason the South lost the War. If Lee had Jackson and Longstreet at Gettysburg, it would have been disastrous for the Union Army and the northern cause.
3. A National Treasure, the poet, General William Haines Lytle, Union officer killed at Chickamauga:
Segments from Anthony and Cleopatra
And for thee, star-eyed Egyptian —
Glorious sorceress of the Nile!
Light the path to Stygian horrors
With the splendors of thy smile;
Give the Caesar crowns and arches,
Let his brow the laurel twine,
I can scorn the senate’s triumphs,
Triumphing in love like thine.
I am dying, Egypt, dying;
Hark! the insulting foeman’s cry;
They are coming; quick, my falchion!
Let me front them ere I die.
Ah, no more amid the battle
Shall my heart exulting swell;
Isis and Osiris guard thee, —
Cleopatra, Rome, farewell!
How fitting that I learned of General Lytle in National Poetry Month! Thank you, SP, and thank you for doing it just after I finished Jon Stallworthy’s biography of another soldier who wrote poetry, Wilfred Owen.
Believe it or not, my first awareness of Stonewall Jackson came in a Childcraft volume, which told stories of famous people, withholding their names until after you’d come to the end. (Marie was Marie Curie! The Captain was Robert Falcon Scott! Mohandas was Mahatma Gandhi! Al was Thomas Alva Edison!) The Jackson story told of young Tom, who was a scrupulously honest lad, and who had an agreement with a gentleman about turning over fish. The contract between them was that the gentleman would get whatever fish he caught of a certain length or over, but the gentleman was a generous man, and would buy even a smaller fish for the same price.
One afternoon Tom caught a whopper of a fish and was eager to turn it over to the man for the stipulated price, feeling that it was only fair, and that there were too many times when he’d come out better on the deal. This would square things, he felt, and it’s what happened…despite many people stopping Tom along the way to try to buy the fish at an even better price. If I remember correctly, the man tried to pay more, and Tom wouldn’t let him.
Because a deal was a deal.
Jackson’s last words (“let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees”) gave Ernest Hemingway a title (*Across the River and into the Trees*); and his amputation gave Robert E. Lee cause to lament that “he has lost his left arm, and I have lost my right.”
Had he been at Gettysburg, General Longstreet probably wouldn’t have been upset with J.E.B. Stuart for being late…and Lee might have been pleased with the wagons he brought.
Mea culpa: the general to whom Richard Taylor surrendered was named Edward Richard Sprague Canby.
My hat is always off for you, rain or shine. Two Jackson stories.
1. The Confederate Army is inside a town in between battles. One of his colonels invites Jackson to his room for a drink of liquor. Jackson is a known non drinker. Jackson does go to the colonel’s room.
The Colonel: Sir you honor me. I know it is not your custom, but would you honor me and have one toast?
Jackson: I will have one. (They drink.)
Jackson: Colonel, do you know why I do not drink?
The Colonel: No sir, I do not.
Jackson sets his glass down, and says, “Because I would like it too well.”
2. Jackson wins a battle. Then orders the men to bury the dead. Finishing that, he orders the men to pick up severed arms, legs, body parts, and dispose of properly. Finally, he has them remove bloody residue and trash.
One of his subordinates asks, “Why go to such trouble?” General Jackson answers, “So the men do not have to fight tomorrow over yesterday’s terrors.”
It is not politically correct to admire the Southerners. I do not care. I will not argue with those who disagree with me. It was a divisive time just as today is a divisive time. I do not hate. I admire the South and her tremendous Americans. I admire people on the left today, whether it be Maher, Gore, Rogan, AOC, or Bill Clinton.
I accept the South just as Lincoln did:
“With malice towards none, with charity for all with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right let us strive on to finish the work we are in to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan.”
Finally on a lighter note: watch “the Tall Target” getting Lincoln past an assassination before his 1961 inauguration. Notable in the beginning. It inspired George Lucas and his opening scrawl on Star Wars IV. Then for an after Civil Wars film, I recommend “ the Long Riders.” It stars all real life brothers. But Belle Starr steals the movie. “At least, I’m not a cheap one!”
While we think of the day the Civil War ended as April 9th, there were other generals who surrendered later, most notably Joseph E. Johnston to William T. Sherman on April 26th, and Richard Taylor to Edwin Caby on May 4th.
I wonder whether certain people down South put out flags for those days as well.
I have never heard of those other days being remembered. Does Juneteenth connect with those other days?
I don’t think so. It has to do with the date of emancipation being announced/enforced in Texas, but a lot of it is tough to nail down.
That was the closest that I could come.
I think a lot of these strips are strong. Like the one where John is approaching Becky from behind to propose, as she’s beaming with joy to learn Wally is alive. That’s so brutal, it’s almost hilarious. Poor guy; even I have to feel bad for him. It’s an excellent execution of the “cosmically bad timing” rom-com trope.
This points to something that was great about John Byrne’s art style: people can actually have emotions. Look how emphatic people are in the Byrne drawings, compared to the others. Everyone in the Batiuk/Ayers drawings looks like they’re on an Ambien bender, even when the subject matter is just as heavy. “Oh, I’m just saying goodbye to all my friends before I leave for Afghanistan. I joined the Army because of my crushing remorse for crippling the love of my life, and also destroying her world-class music career. Yawn.”
That last strip where John is putting the ring away could have also been powerful. But Batiuk/Ayers refused to even show John’s face. I honestly can’t bash the writing here; it’s solid, at least until Becky marries John in total defiance of the storyline. But in a rare case where the writing wasn’t cowardly, the art was.
Happy belated 13th anniversary, Son of Stuck Funky!
I feel bad for the folks who stopped visiting the SoSF website because they assumed the blog ended with the comic strip. Au contraire mon ami!
CBH, many thanks for remembering “our” anniversary! And thanks to everyone reading, commenting, and commiserating.
Thank you for having me.
I would like to hear the story of “Batiuk sicced his lawyers on the site” one of these days.
It was before my time here, but the Daily Cartoonist did an article on it.
As far as I understand the reasoning was that we were reprinting every day’s new strip in full, rather than linking to it on one of the sites that paid to carry it. They changed to a linking system here, and ever since the format has changed, we haven’t gotten any pushback, even with all the strips I repost for commentary purposes.
Batiuk loves stupid love stories like this. John might like Becky but did he love her enough to put himself in harm’s way to make up for crippling her? I think not. He’s not first husband material.
John Howard isn’t husband material for someone who really, really needs a green card. And contrary to your unflattering comparison to Mike Patterson, you have to give Wally credit for trying, something few males in the Funkyverse will ever do. And for acknowledging he that his own behavior might be part of the problem, something even fewer males in the Funkyverse will ever do. (Les Moore, please pick up Line 1.)
Also, it’s damned hard to say this but damned if Wally doesn’t end up making Mike Patterson look good. When he stood around like a shivering pillar of shit and got in the way of the people rescuing Deanna, he at least went to the hospital to try to explain himself.
First things first: Wonderful post, hilarious art, and trenchant analysis that arguably gives more thought to the Wally-Becky-HAH John triangle than Batiuk did. Or at least more coherent thought.
And HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! I’m so glad this place is still kickin’. For that, all praise to TFH, Epicus, and especially the indefatigable CBH. Long may they reign!
Now, on to the much more trivial matter of today’s Crankshaft.
Cranky goes out to take a walk/collect garbage. He is mad at all the garbage he finds. Jff remarks to Pmm:
“Your dad manages to get exercise and exorcised at the same time.”
What?? This is a real head-scratcher. Is Ed demon-possessed? If so, how does picking up garbage around the neighborhood expel the demons?
After much thought, I think maybe TB is yet again showing off his “erudition” and getting everything wrong. One of the more obscure meanings of the word exercise is “to cause anxiety, alarm, or indignation in.” Do you think he meant that?
[Duck throws up hands in universal “I give up” gesture]
At this point Wally almost sounds like a victim of circumstance; he went from being an average kid with a lucky hero moment to a guilt-ridden mess as part of a lukewarm prestige story about drunk driving, him joining the army and the outcome of that was partially formulated as a topical post-9/11 story arc, he returned home to his love life being turned into a triangle, and after that, not only did he do another guilt-ridden return to the Middle East where he nearly dies to a landmine, he finds himself in ANOTHER dramatic MIA story triggered by a nonsensical accident that ends in his home life destroyed because Batiuk wanted to do the Castaway ending and let the comic nerd have a family he barely interacts with.
This John recap is arguably equally a John/Becky/Wally recap at this point, as clearly all three characters were intertwined hard as their romance stories were knotted together. And in the long scheme of things its bizarre as John’s role with the latter two is ultimately just a plot device for dramatic irony and unpleasant surprises towards the other couple. His evolution is minimal as he does a personal makeover and is able to sacrifice geek collectibles, and ostensibly he matures with relationship and fatherhood, but he still barely keeps his comic shop profitable and ends up being a “noble arts proprietor” who will lecture high schoolers for a week about how “‘comics’ aren’t inherently funny, gashdangit!” as the author avatar. We never even see a resolution to his mother problems, either.
Assuming I remember to comment throughout the recap, I’m probably going to dwell on this more as we reach the climax of Wally’s “O’Brien must suffer” syndrome. Quarter-inch realism aside, so much went on there that it’s still hard to stomach, and despite everything, John is only just there enjoying the fruit of his “labors”, no reflections at what his relationship win cost another, and ultimately becoming a gateway to the bigger Creator’s-Pet hijacking that hit Act 3 in the later years.
[i]Cindy in panel 3…is just awful.[/i]
I’m more intrigued by the production person in the same panel. Either he’s an action figure come to life, trying to find his way in a world he never made, or Cindy is about 18 feet tall.
Thanks to TFH for creating this site and for curators TFH and ED for allowing it to continue past FW’s expiration date.
While there’s no way of knowing how long the muse will continue to favor the contributors here, especially our current cruise director, CBH, the sheer magnitude of fifty years’ worth of FW strips provides a wealth of material for analysis.
For example, the unclear family connection of Funky and Wally is almost as puzzling as the location of Dr. Watson’s wound. (Conan Doyle was known to switch it between Watson’s arm and leg.) While no definitive answer is possible, Funky’s apparent lack of siblings (unless, like Richie Cunningham in Happy Days, Funky has an unaccounted for older brother), would substantiate the cousin option.
Thanks for providing a space where we can explore these tantalizing rabbit holes.
And special thanks to CBH for giving me a cameo appearance in her excellent post.
Watson’s wandering wound is in the shoulder in *A Study in Scarlet* and in his leg in *The Sign of the Four.* After that, Doyle probably decided that vagueness was best, because when the doctor mentions that he pays for his love of racing with “half his wound pension” in the final story, “The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place,” the location of the wound goes unmentioned.
As Lewis Carroll’s Alice would say, “he was wounded somewhere, that’s for certain.”
Let’s not go into how many wives Watson had, or why the Mrs. Watson in “The Man with the Twisted Lip” asks Kate Whitney whether she’d rather she (Mrs. W.) sent “James to bed” when elsewhere it’s “John H. Watson, M.D.”
“Let’s not go into how many wives Watson had, or why the Mrs. Watson in ‘The Man with the Twisted Lip’ asks Kate Whitney whether she’d rather she (Mrs. W.) sent ‘James to bed’ when elsewhere it’s ‘John H. Watson, M.D.’”
Members of the Sherlock Holmes Society or its American counterpart, The Baker Street Irregulars, will assert that Mrs. Watson is using the English version of his Scots Gaelic middle name, Hamish.
I’m familiar with that claim, and I mostly accept it…but there are some who feel that the “H.” stood for “Henry,” and that Watson’s name was a tribute to the future Cardinal, John Henry Newman.
In my to-read pile is Newman’s novel *Loss and Gain,* and if I like it, I may change my mind.
Mea culpa again: not “Sprague Canby,” but “Sprigg Canby.”