Justice For All!

Yeah, you know how I said I was waiting on an official legal opinion from an official lawyer?

I lied, I was waiting for the latest issue of Moppu no Jikan to arrive!

Straight from Akihabara!

The closing arguments having stumbled to their nonsensical conclusion, the jury retires to deliberate. In Castillo v. Texas they came back with a guilty verdict, will that be the case here in the Funkyverse?

That tired old lady gives the most unenthusiastic ‘not guilty’. you just know she’s thinking, “You’re not guilty of a crime you pincushioned-headed pervert, but I find you repulsive nonetheless.”

Since the media is in the defense’s back pocket, Cindy fawns all over Lisa and John for ABC News. And DCH John makes an ass of himself on national TV. Roberta apparently didn’t even have her husband with her. Oh no! Roberta must leave the courtroom alone, to show that NO ONE is on her side. And since no one is on her side, you know that her case had no merit. Which is exactly the way the real world works.

Everyone here LOVES tentacle rape porn AND the man who sells it!

I did send this arc to my normie friends, and one had the greatest reaction to this strip.


And yeah, DSH stands there, on the steps of the courthouse, surrounded by friends most of whom are also customers, people who FOUGHT for him, and has the audacity to BITCH. What’s left of your life? LOOK AROUND YOU. Saying that is an insult to every person IN your life. If I were Donna Klinghorn, I’d drop that goofy grin, drop that hand from John’s shoulder, turn around, and walk away to find some new friends.

If winning isn’t enough to get DCH John out of the trademark Funkyverse ‘Nordic’ mindset. What will it take? A pizza party and parade!?!


Becky even brought the HIGH SCHOOL BAND?! I’d love to see the permission strip for that one. “Can your son or daughter show up in taxpayer funded uniform to a filthy alleyway to perform in the event that our local comic shop owner is cleared of an obscenities charge on the porn he is definitely selling?”

Even if it was completely volunteer pep band…Becky’s job should be in jeopardy.

But the Westview Nepotism Mafia isn’t done yet! Funky has been grifting from his customers so that he can hand his buddy’s wife a big ol jar of cash to pay for the job she did for the renter in his basement.

Follow. The. Pizza.

And, as if all of this ISN’T enough…

Comics for ALL AGES!!!

What a thoughtful gift! Because DCH John’s store was really missing a spinner rack.


Okay, so maybe this spinner rack is for John’s bedroom. In that case Comics For All Ages is gonna be pretty quickly filled up with crumpled issues of Wonder Woman where, in every panel, her left arm has been sharpied out.

So hawt

I guess this party means Komix Korner is going to be fine. The customer base is galvanized, the community is behind him. And Mooch Meyers is a Decepticon!

Wonder what Mooch thought of Pat Lee tanking Dreamwave that year?

With that, the hentai trials are over. DCH John is a mopey, passive victim the whole time, while all the good people rally around him to save the man who won’t even try to save himself. Batiuk got to stand on his personal soapbox and write his preachy fanfiction AU where Texas v Castillo went his way. Despite my ragging on it, it wasn’t the most implausible Funkyverse story, benefiting from it’s ripped-from-the-headlines origins.

Until we get to this ending. The entire community, men, women, children, restaurants, schools, coming together to support John.

Maybe, if DCH John has his name dragged through the mud for stocking Watchmen or 300 or again and for the last time Berserk. But that’s not what we’re told. Any of the facts we’re given are completely inline with Komix Korner selling Demon Beast Invasion. Part of the local coverage of the case would have included the content of what he sold. And everyone would read that and know exactly the material contained therein. You think locals weren’t discussing, ‘So what was the book actually about?’ over coffee at the local McArnolds?

I come from a pretty small town. When I was in middle school, the hubbub was that we were finally getting a new video rental place. Family Video was moving in. And the Family Video one town over had a porn section.

I remember the newspaper articles, the town meetings broadcast on local public access, the petitions and yard signs. At issue wasn’t Family Video’s right to rent out porn. At issue was many in the community protesting they didn’t WANT Family Video to rent porn. That they saw naming a video rental ‘Family Video’ then having a dark room in the back for porn as an oxymoron. They organized to inform the new store owners that if they put in their adult section, many in the community would boycott.

Family Video opened in my town without an adult section, not because they didn’t have a right, but because they understood it wasn’t what most of their potential customers wanted.

AND IT WAS A ROUSING SUCCESS. (I mean, it actually survived a bit longer than the median, but yeah, it’s dead now)

Komix Korner? If that store was in my town, I would be boycotting. Does that make me a prude? Maybe. If Komix Korner was like many comics shops, pandering to mostly adults, I probably wouldn’t get up in arms.

But Komix Korner isn’t portrayed that way. We see kids in there all the time. DCH John is proud that his shop is a place where kids can come and hang out, play video games, cards, and read comics. Comics aren’t only for kids, but kids should have a safe place to hang out without tentacles looming over them.

YMMV. Let me know in the comments!


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

110 responses to “Justice For All!

  1. Lord Flatulence

    Everyone, of all ages, knows what Pac-Man is.

    • billytheskink

      And this strip takes place in the back yard of Akron’s own Buckner and Garcia no less!

      • The Duck of Death

        I bought the 12″ of Pac-Man Fever when it came out. I’m not sure whether I’m proud or ashamed of that, but it’s a fact I’ll probably never have an opportunity to trot out again.

        And I still own it.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          I knew Wreck-it Ralph was going to be on point when I saw they hired Buckner & Garcia to do a song about the game. (Actually just Buckner, since Garcia had died, but he kept the full group name to honor his buddy.) The line about eminent domain got a legit chuckle out of me.

          • billytheskink

            “Not just a superintendent
            He’s a super super guy”

            That was my favorite bit. It was a clever idea from Disney to hire Buckner and a great gesture from Buckner to keep the group name. And it resulted in a killer faux-novelty song to boot.

            I was sad that the song was practically an Easter egg in the film, stuck in the scrolling credits after Owl City’s drippy headlining song covered the animated credits. But hey, a good reason to let the DVD play out.

        • Lord Flatulence

          Display it with pride!

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I just bought this for my home.

    • Hannibal’s Lectern

      The first video game to break out of the “teenage boys” stereotype, supposedly because it was non-violent and based on eating. What more could you ask?

      I have particularly good memories of the two-player Ms. Pac-Man that was built into a tabletop at the bar. You could drink while the other person was playing, and set your beer on top when it was your turn.

  2. csroberto2854

    If I was in DCH John’s place, I would be happy that I was found not guilty, instead of being mopey about it

  3. billytheskink

    “In a way, Roberta Blackburn got just what she wanted… my business is ruined.”

    Sorry, DSH, try again. Roberta never said this to you or to anyone else. It never appeared in a thought bubble above her head. Absolutely none of this business appeared to be personal with her in any way, she was either genuinely offended by the books or saw pressing charges as a way to bolster her standing and re-election campaign for city council (there’s two things we do see evidence of). Now, she surely didn’t care if Komix Korner survived the trial, but that’s different than actively wanting the place to go out of business.

    Of course, despite all of that last paragraph being true, TB pretty clearly intends for us to agree with DSH here. Meaning, he intended for us to understand Roberta’s crusade as a personal vendetta from the writing he presented to us. Yeah, sounds about right.

    • Paul Jones

      She wanted his business to be selling safe, bland, boring things that children can outgrow. Batomic Comic Obsessive can never outgrow anything….as is evidenced by his getting his bowels in an uproar because a new writer changes the idiotic reason that Flash runs at Ridiculous Speed. I can only imagine how pissed he is that someone gave him a motivation deeper than the super-shallow one he started out with.

    • I think Batiuk regards comic books as an unalloyed good. There is literally no flaw to be found anywhere in them. So if someone criticizes them, the problem is with that person; it’s simply not possible that there’s an issue (ha) with comic books that needs to be addressed.

      So naturally, if Roberta causes problems for comic book fans, it’s not because hentai should be kept from impressionable children.
      It’s because she’s an evil person who enjoys destroying anyone whose opinion differs from hers. Kind of like a certain cartoonist I could name.

      • Maxine of Arc

        He doesn’t understand that comics are a medium, and like any medium, people use them to express a HUGE range of things. Slice of life, action-adventure, sci-fi, porn, whatever, and any possible combination and shading. To Batiuk, “comics” means Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen. Which would be fine, if he didn’t insist on writing about it as though he understands it.

        • ComicBookHarriet

          Batiuk had Lisa argue that comics are a medium and not a genre to the Jury in her closing statement. So he’s aware, on an intellectual level.

          What he isn’t aware of is that comics being a medium means that comics can be obscene, reprehensible, or just plain bad. Like BC said, he sees them as an unalloyed good that must be defended no matter what they are.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        There’s an cartoon where Spongebob doesn’t understand why Squidward doesn’t like Krabby Patties, because they’re an “absolute good.” This is all played for laughs (the episode is more at Squidward’s closed-mindedness than Spongebob’s). But it’s a little scary how delusional Spongebob can be sometimes.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Character motivations in the Funkyverse are always what Tom Batiuk wants them to be, even when that makes no sense. Like Roberta leaving the courtroom alone, even though she had a lawyer and a husband. I guess they just passive-aggressively left their client and spouse there to be humiliated, or something, because they were so appalled at her stance. Even though husband’s only purpose is to apparently record everything Roberta does.

      • The Duck of Death

        Not only would the plaintiff typically walk out of the courtroom with their team, but they would be interviewed on the courthouse steps as well. TB missed an opportunity to have Roberta Blackburn twist up her face in the typical manner of Funkiverse villains, and blurt out something along the lines of, “I’ll get you, my pretty! And your little comics shop, too!”

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          True, but this also bumps into the problem of this being a criminal case and not a civil one. The jury said “not guilty”, which implies it was criminal. Which means there is no plaintiff. So maybe the prosecutor not supporting her was inadvertently right? (Doesn’t explain the husband not being there, though.)

          • The Duck of Death

            Excellent point. In that case, this is presumably DSH v Ohio. So she’s just a witness for the state. Maybe she would be leaving the courtroom alone.

            But let’s face it, any level of analysis applied to this is the equivalent of applying a coat of paint on the sand on the beach. There’s nothing there to even support analysis.

      • Green Luthor

        Minor correction, although all it does is cause the story to make even less sense: Roberta didn’t have her own lawyer, because it was a criminal prosecution and thus being tried by a district attorney. (She would have her own lawyer in a civil suit, but this clearly couldn’t be that; Skunky was arrested and indicted for a crime, and the jury returned a “not guilty” verdict instead of finding for the defendant.)

        This, of course, raises the question of why Roberta was sitting at the prosecution’s table at all, since she had no active part in the case at all except as a witness. (Even if she were the victim – and John was arrested for selling to the undercover officer, not Roberta, so she wouldn’t be the victim in the case – she still wouldn’t be sitting with the prosecutor.)

        The only reason Roberta would have for sitting at the prosecutor’s table would be if she’s also an attorney and working for the DA’s office, but then she wouldn’t have been called to the witness stand.

        So she wouldn’t be leaving the courthouse with her attorney, since she wouldn’t have had one at all. Why Mr. Blackburn wasn’t there is an entirely different question, so I’ll just assume he noped on out of there when he realized how idiotic the whole storyline was.

        (Did Batiuk know how ridiculously wrong the whole thing was from a legal perspective? I don’t know, but I know he could have easily found out. Comics writer/attorney Bob Ingersoll started writing for the now-defunct Comics Buyers Guide in 1984, doing a column called “The Law Is a Ass” detailing legal inaccuracies in comics (and sometimes TV shows or movies). Ingersoll had long offered to freely consult with other comics writers specifically to help them NOT make these kinds of mistakes. And Ingersoll lives in Cuyahoga County, and was still working at the Cleveland public defender’s office at the time this story ran, and he got that column at CBG on the recommendation of his personal friend (and fellow columnist) Tony Isabella. The same Tony Isabella who’s a friend and neighbor to Tom Batiuk, and who’s even made appearances in Funky Winkerbean. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say Batiuk could have talked with Ingersoll – there’s certainly a non-zero probability they’ve met – and made sure things were even remotely accurate. But, y’know. It’s called writing.)

        • Gerard Plourde

          I think that the other major problem Batiuk would have encountered if he consulted with Ingersoll is the likelihood that Ingersoll would have told him that DSH had no viable defense against the charges.

          • ComicBookHarriet

            There would be just as much a viable defense as there was for Texas v Castillo, which was a case most thought could go either way.

            1.) Argue the comics aren’t legally obscene.
            2.) Argue the seller didn’t know the content.

            Both were attempted in Texas v. Castillo.

        • Charles

          It’s Batiuk’s hubris, which shows up everywhere else in his writing. He felt he already knew everything to write this story, so why should he have to consult someone about it? He’d just be told things he already knew.

          I think Roberta played a bigger role in this than she would have because Batiuk desperately wanted a villain in this, and the nebulous “The Law” was no sufficient. He wanted a catty, stupid bitch to be driving the opposing side so he went with Roberta.

  4. Andrew

    Few days back I came away from Harry soapboxing about comics saving him as the central motive of the story’s true feelings, but it was premature of me to forget the second half that included Batiuk hammering against the Comic Age Ghetto (in a way that falls apart when people like us read too hard into the story’s IRL inspiration, of course). In a way you could see Batiuk trying to have his cake and eat it too, saying that comic stores are supposedly essential to introducing kids to the superhero genre (in 2005 the DCAU had finished its run with Justice League Unlimited the previous year, Spider Man was 2 movies deep) while also saying that it’s not *just* for kids and that adults are more than permissible (Batman Begins was also about to drop that year, so…).

    Those two combined can be read as trying to have your cake and eat it too in a story that’s based on case over hentai-tier graphic novels being kosher, but the ending on show this morning does admittedly tie it all together, for better or worse. See, comic shops are so essential to all ages, that the entire town should come together to support them for the good entertainment they bring to all! It’s basically just as important as your local library, community center, independent-ish pizzaria or bookshop with a wandering cat, it’s everyone’s favorite hangout! It’s not about obscenity, it’s about *community*, gash-dang it!

    But yeah, John got his fairytale feel-good ending to an unjust lawsuit story. Good for him, the strange deity watching down from above truly has his back with everything (all the way down to get-out-free-cards for his rent problems). Now all he needs is a lovely wife and children…

    (Funny sidenote, during my own tenure as a Kent State student, there was actually a pop culture shop downtown called Off the Wagon that dealt in comic sales alongside various other knick-knacks and gaming intrigues. I frequented it a fair bit and even relied on it for catching up on Doctor Who comic runs. In the time since I graduated though, it seems interest in comics died down enough that they focused everything on board/tabletop gaming niches. Go figure.)

    • Maxine of Arc

      (I’m pretty sure my local shop, though it is very large and has a vast selection of comix for sale, mainly sustains itself through Magic: the Gathering and Funko Pop sales.)

    • KMD

      Spot on. TB always wants fairytale endings with comic books. Look at his pathetic and death defying effort to reunite Jack Kirby and Stan Lee.

  5. Paul Jones

    It never can occur to John that what she actually wanted was to have the place only sell kiddie comics that are light and fluffy and child-safe. That’s because the big mope with the mommy issues is not only a gloomy ass who hates himself, he’s also as dumb as a sack of hammers.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      What the hell DID John actually want? He didn’t have any passion about why he sold what he did, or even much of an opinion about it.

      • Paul Jones

        We get another look in at Batiuk’s twisted mind when we see the passive lump. It’s not enough to be angry at Mommy because she won’t play along, we must also show that she’s a bad person for wanting him to get off his ass and take an active interest in life. Watching the motivation-free good guys beat up the motivation free bad guys keeps him mired in his beloved world of apathetic stupor.

  6. Bill the Splut

    Not even Tommy would end this story with…
    But he did.
    Words fail me. Nothing is left to say, except maybe “THE KILL FEE!! I’m 75 and have no idea how life works!”

    • Rusty Shackleford

      And in today’s Crankshaft he demonstrates this yet again. He calls newspapers the original social media, but I disagree because there was very little back and forth. Sure you could send a letter to the editor and maybe get it published in a week or so, but there was no active feedback.

      Some will argue that nowadays it is too easy to post things and hence it degenerates into a big mess ( this site proves otherwise), but still there are platforms that are extremely local like NextDoor and they are much better because they are active 24×7 and things get reported instantly. With newspapers, everything was controlled from the top down, and I think Batty preferred it that way as it limited criticism. A letter to the editor would get published criticizing his strip and then the newspaper would give Batty the last word. But now, we critics can post something whenever we want—save for GoComics who will delete some posts.

      Batty has become a stubborn old fool who can’t learn anything new, because he thinks he already has all the right answers, and so he is left behind pining for the good old days as the world moves on to bigger and usually better things. I know seniors who read the news on Kindles, and iPhones and they love it.

      Sorry Batty, the world moves on with or without your consent. Sometimes I wish things could stay the same but I realize I have no control over it.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        No, Skip, the Centerville Sentinel is still owned by Mordor Financial. You just started a new paper with the same name, as if they need ed another reason to sue you. You couldn’t even start a COMPETING paper? You just went to New York, threw a tantrum, and then declared yourself the owner of someone else’s property. What’s the value of that anyway, when you erased the newspaper’s archives?

        I also love the false dilemma of Skip trying to convince them to use the newspaper instead of social media, as if you can’t do both. And what is he even asking them to do? Buy an ad? Okay, but his little speech is of no relevance to that. Also, Skip’s there to write a story about the theater, so has complete control over they’re in the paper or not.

        There’s also a relevant comment at GoComics:”Trying to turn away free local media exposure maybe shows us how these two ran the theater into the ground once before. Especially since those idiots both worked for a TV station!

        • billytheskink

          Yeah, TB always frames the Valentine’s struggles as consequences of economic challenges brought on by corporate fat cats or as the result of the local Philistines not being hep enough to go out for a night of Silent Generation nostalgia to watch the classics at the old single screen theater… but he is always showing Max and Hannah and even poor Ralph Meckler before them being actively bad at running it. Here’s a 2017 strip where Crazy and Donna show up early for a showing of Casablanca and have to pretty much BEG Max to take their money.

          Also, kudos to JJ O’Malley for referring to Skip as “Skip Bittman” over in the Crankshaft comments section. Oh, if only the real Skip Bittman could pop in on Crankshaft

        • The Duck of Death

          I’m still scratching my head about Skip Abitbrother’s assertion that local = social. It’s just incomprehensible.

          A local paper that spews opinions at you while you sit passively reading, to which you can only respond with snail mail that they’re extremely unlikely to acknowledge = social?

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            It’s like Batiuk has no idea what social media even does. Or what a newspaper even does.

        • Y. Knott

          “No, Skip, the Centerville Sentinel is still owned by Mordor Financial. You just started a new paper with the same name…”

          Isn’t ‘Batiuk forgot’ a more likely explanation for what’s going on here?

          Actually, isn’t ‘Batiuk forgot’ always a more likely explanation for whatever idiocy he’s plugging, if it totally contradicts a previous idiocy?

    • “And then John was a zombie.”

  7. Gerard Plourde


    Thanks for putting this together. I had completely forgotten the “It’s A Wonderful Life” ending that DSH got.

    Why come to think of it, it’s just like Frank Capra’s ending where the townspeople of Pottersville celebrate Mr. Potter’s theft of the Building and Loan’s mo – WAIT A MINUTE!

    The finale of this arc raises an uncomfortable series of questions:

    Batiuk appeared to have intentionally left vague the type of material DSH was selling. Why?

    It’s possible that he was (and may continue to be) unaware of the explicit nature of hentai. But if that is the case we’d also have to believe that he’s unaware of the explicit nature of “Adult Material”(pornography) to have no reservations about hentai being displayed and sold so openly at the Komix Korner. (Although he tried to have that fact negated by having Harry testify that adult material was sequestered, something that the artwork directly contradicted.)

    I can’t buy that he has that level of nieveté. This is a writer who has alluded to Les and Lisa’s sex life (“the playground is open”) and had Max and Hannah referencing their sexual encounters in the Valentine theater. (What would former owner Ralph Meckler have thought?)

    To be clear, I’m not opposed to adult access to adult material, but I am confused and troubled by the attitude the DSH trial arc appears to want us to support.

    • The Duck of Death

      More to the point, if he sets out to write an arc revolving around hentai, it’s his responsibility to find out what that is and what makes it controversial.

      How to find this out?

      How about reading the arguments in Castillo v Texas? How about going to the local comix shop, which I presume he visits daily, and asking the proprietor about it for research purposes? How about Google?

      I’ve said this before but since this is a FW site, I figure repeating myself is right on topic. I spend more time and effort researching comments I make here than he does researching his well-paid, syndicated strip with a year of lead time.

      Freakin’ shameless.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        It really is an embarrassment how little effort, or anything other than self-indulgence, goes into these Funkyverse stories. This level of effort wouldn’t be acceptable for a sixth-grade creative writing class, much less something that appears in millions of newspapers a day. I almost feel like we give it too much credit by analyzing it so rigorously. It’s so lazy it defies rigor.

        • Gerard Plourde

          What’s really odd and disturbing about this is that, unless I’m mistaken, wasn’t 2005 a period of time when Batiuk actually had an editor?

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            Batiuk’s last acknowledged editor Jay Kennedy didn’t die until 2007, so yes.

      • none

        That’s a chief factor behind why I try to refrain from posting in general, at least when it comes to voicing complaints which aren’t highly limited in scope.

        Negativity is everywhere, anger is simple to find and embrace, and no matter what happens, TB has earned a paycheck for all of this.

  8. Paul Jones

    I wonder what new unrealistic plotline is in the offing. I also wonder if this is why we get a huge build up to a non-event that we do not see. What we get is a description that makes it look like a colossal and idiotic bore delivered by joyless old men. It could be that the severe negative response got back to Batiuk so he thought the problem was showing the event and not the being morose, passive slobs who can’t feel joy.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Just think what Batty could do if he would stop writing about himself? There is so much easy comedy out there that he could use. Social media missteps, Karen meltdowns, post Covid laziness, the jokes write themselves.

      Look what South Park did recently when Cartman tried to open a hot dog stand but everyone wanted to work from home, when he told them no, they said it was a toxic workplace. That could have been The Valentine if Batty had a sense of humor. He could have Hannah start an OnlyFans, well ok, maybe not that but you get my point.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        I thought the strip club was a great potential avenue for stories. They’re generally a sign of high local unemployment, community decline, and attract unsavory elements. But its only purpose was to not show The Phantom Empire so the town could clamor for it to come back, even though they never went to it before. And to fail offpanel, for being a Non-Tom Batiuk-Approved Activity. And to reward another incompetent do-nothing member of the Westview Mafia.

        • The Duck of Death

          Ah, but we have run into a Batiuk Binary.


          A strip club, reeking of stale beer and bodily fluids, where sunken-eyed, crack-addicted teen runaways gyrate listlessly for crumpled dollar bills thrown on stage by scummy sexual predators


          A repertory cinema, in which the repertory consists of Radio Ranch and The Phantom Empire. Forever.

          Wait! you might say. What about a performing arts venue? It could put on musicals and plays and improv and other shows created by locals! There’s at least one jazz band at the local old folks’ home that could use a nice theater. Maybe even put on the Jazz Messiah at Christmas! Surely there are dance recitals, local pickers-‘n’-grinners, even town meetings that could use a local theater. And you’d still have the screen that could be pulled down for movies when there’s nothing else booked. Theme nights — Star Trek or Star Wars movies with awards for best costumes? Cult 50s Sci-Fi double features?

          How about a soup-to-nuts Masonne Jarre retrospective? With live surprise appearance by Mr Jarre himself!

          Sorry, I got carried away. Where was I? Oh, yes. Strip club OR Radio Ranch for all eternity. Your choice, Centerville.

          • Maxine of Arc

            Teeny nitpick: Radio Ranch is Phantom Empire, cut into a feature. Which only means the Valentine gets to show it twice as often. (It’s bad. It’s really, really, objectively bad.)

          • The Duck of Death

            Oh, I was aware of that. The Valentine will offer both Radio Ranch (the edited Phantom Empire) and the full Phantom Empire — on alternating weeks.

            I’ve often wondered whether TB likes these as a sort of kitschy nostalgia trip, the way many of us might enjoy Plan Nine, or whether he thinks they have serious cinematic merit. Based on all he’s written and the reverent tone he uses, I have to say it’s the latter. Insane, but true.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            Oh, Tom Batiuk thinks Phantom Empire is the greatest thing ever made. “It’s hard to overestimate the impact that The Phantom Empire has had on my developing brain.”

          • Anonymous Sparrow

            Why, such a venue might be able to stage *Spamalot* or even

            (be still. Susan Smith)


            The new fleet of cars from Montoni’s couldn’t get there fast enough!

            (Though they were on time for Claude Barlow’s *Jazz Messiah,* weren’t they?)

          • Paul Jones

            As I keep saying, comics actually have rotted his mind. The need to defend his beloved mindless pabulum has blinded him to any number of stories because seeing the middle ground means that the mother who clearly hated him because she didn’t agree with his being a mopey sad-sack living in a cloud cuckoo land was right.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            That’s the irony of it. The man’s every action proves that his addiction to comic books *did* hold him back in life, despite finding mainstream success as an comic strip artist. He never got any better as an artist, and in many ways got worse.

        • Rusty Shackleford

          Well maybe with you BJ as the writer.

          • Bill the Splut

            Where did Thomas discover Phantom Empire?
            I found out from the PBS series Matinee at the Bijou. It tried to replicate the 1930s movie experience, with a cartoon, a newsreel, a B movie. Sadly, they didn’t clear the copyrights–oh yeah, it predated the VCR era, coming out in 1980, so forget ever seeing it now.

            Okay, I get it, the FW timeline makes no sense. Crankshaft was in WWII, so he’s over a hundred. But silent movies were a thing at the start of WWII, it’s canon with Brinkle, so maybe WWII happened in 1970? So Crank’s like…still super old? I give up. And that guy’s named Funky? Look–I’m named Bill, and my sisters are named Susan, Patricia, and Judy, so we had old person names at BIRTH. I grew up with Captain Kangaroo and when “eating library paste” was a thing kids DID. For FOOD. NO ONE was named FUNKY. (or Scrappy Doo, don’t get me started)

            Now, it’s the latest summer for Summer. How many summers? She does not know. Her daughter–granddaughter? How many generations have passed for the Les Moore family, and the Writing of The Book?
            “Let me…see the sun one last time,” creaks Les Lazarus Long, “once more…before the Burnings?”
            Summer’s daughter, now a thousand times summers over, knows that his eyes see nothing. Dutifully, she helps the old man, and faces him to a warm spot in the sky. She whispers “IT’S THE UNDERSEA KINGDOM, FOR YOU AND FOR MEEEE!” as was done on MST3K centuries before.
            Old Man Tom cackles, “The robots wore COWBOY HATS!”

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            Where did Thomas discover Phantom Empire?

            He tells the story in great length on his blog. It’s as boring and overwordy as you’d think. An edited version:

            Every Friday afternoon, my elementary school in Akron would show old movie serials as a reward. On one rainy Friday afternoon, we were treated to the first chapter of a serial that was unlike anything I’d ever experienced before. It was The Phantom Empire, starring Gene Autry, the Singing Cowboy, a serial so unique that it almost defies description.

            Hidden deep beneath the earth is the lost civilization of Murania, ruled by the ruthless Queen Tika. When Gene Autry stumbles across the hidden city, the Muranians are determined to silence him and destroy his ranch to protect their secret world. The Queen’s masked army of thunder riders hunts down the singing cowboy and brings him to their subterranean city. Autry’s daring and the Queen’s bloodlust escalates to a final confrontation which threatens the entire populace of Murania with total war.

            Cowboys, thunder riders dressed in quasi medieval armor shooting futuristic weapons, robots with flamethrowers— The Phantom Empire viewed genre boundaries as mere inconveniences rather than limits. And here’s the kicker: Scattered throughout the story, the singing cowboy would periodically have to have to show up at Radio Ranch to sing on his radio broadcast or the evil bankers were going to foreclose on his ranch. It was this dose of realism (defined by me at the time as anything that wasn’t fun) juxtaposed with the over-the-top fantasy elements that really caught my attention.

            I became fascinated with the idea of taking what was considered to be a low art form and creating something of substance within those confines, of trying to take what others considered junk and turning it into something more. That thought continued to inform my cartooning choices for the next fifty years. It’s hard to overestimate the impact that The Phantom Empire has had on my developing brain.

          • The Duck of Death

            Realism = anything that’s not “fun.” Welp, that sums it up nicely.

            What jumps out at me is the idea that newspaper comics were considered “junk” and a “low art form.” I honestly don’t think that’s true. I think countless works like “Pogo” or “Krazy Kat” or, hell, going back almost to the beginning, “Little Nemo,” were considered valid art when they were running and certainly their reputation has only improved over time.

            Another straw man: “Everyone said newspaper comics were garbage and only for kids! I, and I alone, brought forth *LISA* to usher in a new dawn of blahdiddy blah blah!”

          • I seem to remember that comics were considered a big selling point for newspapers. “Chuckle with Dennis the Menace every day in the Fartknocker Gazzette!” “The Buttmuch Sentinel carries all your favorites!” etc.

          • Paul Jones

            As I have said once or twice, the idea of something Batiuk is into being loved, popular and respected would be anathema. How is he supposed to be a misunderstood and mistreated martyr who has no choice but to retreat from a world where he’s bullied if he’s none of those things?

          • The Duck of Death

            … and on masochistically rereading Batty’s bloviations, they make even less sense. What is the “low art form”? Obviously newspaper comics (many of which were not “low”), but is he saying film was not considered a legitimate art form by the time of Radio Ranch? I’m gobsmacked.

            And what the ever-lovin’ f$%k is this obsession with “low” vs “high” art, anyway? I picture TB settling down to watch the Three Tenors fundraising marathon on PBS and, as they belt out “New York, New York,” patting himself on the back because he’s such a culture vulture, enjoying intellectually challenging opera on PBS.

            Seriously, it’s incredibly tiresome and self-congratulatory. Ironically, it’s the most middlebrow thing in the world to obsess over “low” vs “high” art. Who the hell cares? You like what you like, you create what you’re moved to create, the world thinks what it thinks, your work reaches who it reaches, and that’s that.

            I suspect TB is driven more to impress than to create. He should have been a mediocre conceptual artist. Then he could have thrown a bouquet of dead daisies onto a cake shaped and frosted to look like a red “MAGA” cap, and had a two-month-long installation consisting of watching the cake rot, and all of the New York art world could have gathered round to discuss and review the highly meaningful implications of this important piece of high art, which would then promptly be forgotten by all of the 182 people who saw it. But instead he chose an art form that ordinary people enjoy, and now he hates himself for it.

            I’ve got no sympathy for the pompous ass who thinks deep down that he’s better than his audience.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            And who ever said Phantom Empire was lowbrow? It was big-budget mainstream entertainment for its day, with a bankable star in Gene Autry. It’s just hard to classify for anything other than its age, because it reflected a mainstream America that has long since ceased existing. Most modern 10-year-olds are not so skilled at horsemanship.

            And Batiuk is so impressed with it for teaching him the most basic storytelling tropes, like having a deadline. He correctly identifies “having to show up at Radio Ranch to sing on his radio broadcast or the evil bankers were going to foreclose on his ranch” as a mechanism that creates tension… which immediately undermines by calling it unwanted realism.

            He also never uses it his own work. Funkyverse stories just drone on forever with nothing to drive them. Nor does he recognize these techniques in other works, like the “we have to stop the wedding before she says I do” trope in every romcom ever made.

            Like his precious comic books, Phantom Empire is another bit of childhood media he failed to learn anything from, but still consumes constantly at age 76.

  9. Banana Jr. 6000

    “Montoni’s has been accepting donations to play your legal fees!” Which all go straight into Lisa’s pocket. Funny how that works. This whole town is too dim to realize the Moore family have just been grifting them for decades. They’ll volunteer to hand money to those two.

    • Lord Flatulence

      Yeah, you’d think St, Lisa would represent DSH pro-bono, since he’s her friend, rather than a cash-grab.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Or that somebody like the ACLU would have gone to bat for him. The real-life case had the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (a thing that exists, apparently) in Castillo’s corner. You’d think Batiuk would want to promote such an organization by giving it a role in his story. But then Lisa wouldn’t be the hero, and he can’t have that.

  10. Green Luthor

    So Crazy told Becky that Skunky sold his spinner rack, huh? Guess Becky didn’t think to ask WHY he sold it? (I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say Becky just assumed he sold it to pay for his legal fees, not realizing he had sold it well before that was a concern. Still, that would’ve made for an… interesting conversation. And we certainly couldn’t have THAT.)

    Montoni’s had been taking up a collection for Skunky’s legal fees for “months”? And no one thought to mention it to him until this very moment? Did he at no point talk to Lisa about how he was going to pay for her services? If he got convicted, were they going to tell him that his legal fees were covered, or just quietly give the money to Les (because, let’s face it, the money isn’t going to Lisa, everything goes to Les) and let Skunky assume he still had a massive debt to pay in addition to a criminal record?

    Sure wouldn’t want to be whatever schmuck sent Roberta towards Skunky’s store in the first place. Bet that schmuck is feeling pretty guilty right about now. (Nah, I’m sure they dismissed their own role out of hand (ha!). I mean, sure, they did set the whole thing in motion, but that wasn’t their intent, and certainly no one would ever feel any sense of guilt about accidentally doing something harmful.)

    Wait… when did Skunky get a new Pac-Man machine? This is still the party for his “reopening”. He was JUST told about the money being raised for his legal fees. He thought he was going to have to close his business, but he bought a new arcade cabinet machine? With what money? (That would be like a pizza parlor closing, then buying brand-new snow tires for its delivery cars. Moronic.)

  11. hitorque

    Krankenschaaften: So I presume the same idiots (whose names I cannot remember) who ran the Valentine Theatre into bankruptcy by showing the name unpopular niche movie on a loop 24/7/365 are going to be showing a completely different unpopular niche movie on a loop 24/7/365??

    Krankenschaaften 2: Given their penchant for getting it on inside the movie theater, there’s no way this girl doesn’t have a fairly popular OnlyFans account by now… Why not just shill for the Valentine during one of her livestreams??

    Krankenschaaften 3: Who is this guy, Amy Chozick? Dude, you run a *newspaper* not a bulletin board in the town square… Go out and find some real news and quit shamelessly whoring The Centerville Tattler out for PR opportunities!

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      1. No, they’re going to show the same unpopular niche movie on a loop 24/7/365. I give it until Saturday before Phantom Empire re-appears in the strip. That has to be the payoff of all this.

      2. This was one implementation of my “strip club as a potential avenue for stories” idea. Imagine the newly-unemployed Hannah (or Max, or Mindy, or Cindy, or whoever the fuck this is) having to work there for lack of other options. It’s a difficult choice that happens in life, especially in failing small towns, and would have been interesting to explore.

      But the Westview Mafia (love that term, BTW) handed her husband both their TV station jobs back. And then they just quit again when Mason handed them their theater back. Mafia would be a step;

      3. Real news vs. whoring itself as PR? Like Skip knows the difference. He thought his petulant drive to New York was worthy of a story. Lord knows what else was even in the paper for three days if he was the only person making it. The whole thing must have been like a shitty, self-indulgent blog.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        The Mafia would be a step up; at least they demand loyalty, and occasional service. This is more like Judge Parker.

  12. Epicus Doomus

    So the whole town was DELIGHTED over John being cleared of his smut-peddling charges, because FREEDOM. And evil Roberta Blackburn, that meddlesome old bag, was vanquished once more. And the marching band came out, and there was pizza, and comic book stuff, and John was all like “sigh, nothing ever goes my way”.

    Classic, classic Funky Winkerbean right there. Plus, you had the added bonus of Lisa still being alive (and front and center, of course, as Lisa knew everything), and still dropping those impossibly quick-witted (but good-natured) quips in there whenever she saw an opening. Man, those sure were the days all right. Too bad he, you know, killed off his favorite character and slowly lost all interest and all that there. Oh well.

  13. Epicus Doomus

    Sorry about that spam filter, it’s been really pissy lately. It held one of billytheskink’s comments, and he’s been posting here since Owen wore short pants.

  14. sorialpromise

    1. The last few days, I have been really touched by Bill the Splut and his posts.
    2. The Duck of Death had it right that she puts more effort into her posts than TB does. TDOD, it is because you try.
    3. I am going to admit that I do not get “Barney Google and Snuffy Smith.” I don’t get the fascination that Comic Curmudgeon has for the strip. The fault lies with me, not with the cartoonist, Mr. John R Rose. BUT at least the author treats his strip with pride, creativity, humor, and love. Tom Batiuk lacks all 4 of those qualities.
    4. He did superb with ACT 1. No argument, gag a day worked for him. As we have seen from CBH, ACT2 TB could sustain interest in long arcs, and occasional humor. He made you care about the characters and story. But he exceeded his grasp.
    Drama was beyond him. As that began to dawn on him, he lost interest and the creative spark. He kept plugging on, but failure after failure. He couldn’t quit. I do not know the reason why.
    5. CBH, if I may make a suggestion? Could you do some posts on this theatre, the Valentine? Why did it have at least 4 different owners? Why did the knotheads decide “the Phantom Empire” 24/7 would be a successful business model? (Modal?)
    6. Why isn’t Skip in jail for corporate vandalism? Didn’t he destroy the archives? Wasn’t he fired by Corporate? How is he surviving as a one man newspaper?
    Well, as Be Ware of Eve Hill would say, “SP, shut the hell up!” So I bid you all, Good Night!
    Love and Light!

    • be ware of eve hill


      Thank you for sharing, SP.

      • sorialpromise

        Today, you are a woman of few words.

        • Bill the Splut

          I’m kinda sure when sorial said “Bill the Splut,” they meant billytheskink. I’m just the annoying new guy!

          • sorialpromise

            No. I meant what I said, and I said what I meant. I said what I said 100%. You shared some of your difficulties about spending 2 months in the hospital. That touched me.
            You are a good writer. I find you very readable.

          • be ware of eve hill

            We didn’t see you for a while. I thought you might have left. Sorry to read about the broken bones.

            We’re glad you’re back. SP and I need someone goofier than us in the comments. 😁

          • sorialpromise

            Be Ware of Eve Hill
            What kind of world do we live in, that could produce goofier people than us?
            Between the 2 of us we got it covered. You have the market all to yourself of odd people found in Walmart, while I have cornered the clever, witty, erudite, lovable, jaunty man-about-town types that people gush over. ♥️💖❤️🫂🌺💐🌹 🐝
            (It’s a living!)

          • be ware of eve hill

            Sorial Promise,

            …while I have cornered the clever, witty, erudite, lovable, jaunty man-about-town types that people gush over.


            Holy delusions of grandeur, Batman!

          • sorialpromise

            My dear Be Ware of Eve Hill
            1. Even you will agree that 107 people can’t all be wrong.
            2. On a more realistic note: you have been smacking grand slams with all of your comments the last 3 days. To quote the Duck of Death:
            I stand in line!
            3. CBH, I drove on a detour from Kearney to Smithville Missouri. It took me right by a farm with multiple babies. All were Angus, but right in the middle of the herd was a momma and baby with a light brown hide. I am guessing a dairy cow and calf.
            4. Then I had to contact a company that handled accounts for Liberty Hospital. They owed me a refund. (BWOEH, when you are clever and witty you get refunds! As they say in written Chippewa: Aspire to emulate.) The woman I spoke with worked out of her home in Iowa. She said your name sounded familiar.

  15. Paul Jones

    The problem going forward with “Who is this man named Crnakshaft and why is the strip named after him if he’s a fifth-tier character?” is that we’re asked love another means by which Batiuk can wile away his life and get away from having to think or feel or do anything: watching Raygun Gothic serials.

  16. Gerard Plourde

    Over at Crankshaft, it appears that Mason Jarre and his spouse, Cindy Summers Winkerbean Jarre, are about to make an appearance. Buckle up, everybody, for the temporal anomaly of the ageless Cindy.

    And as a beedy-eyed nit picker, I can’t help but remark that knowledge of Mason’s ownership of the Valentine isn’t dependent on anything related to what I take to be Batiuk’s belief that in a small town everybody knows everybody else’s business. The deeds recording estate transactions are public records. Mason’s name would most likely appear on the deed either as the outright owner or, if the Valentine is owned by a corporate entity, as the corporate officer signing on the entity’s behalf.

    And while we’re on the subject of the sale of the Valentine, how is it that Crankshaft would be escorting Mason, Cindy, and Lois Flagston through a property he didn’t own? Or is it possible that in Batiuk’s head canon, Ed runs the adult entertainment in the Westview/Centerville metro area?

    • The Duck of Death

      Imagine that Brad Pitt or Keanu Reeves came to Medina, Ohio fairly regularly, eating in the local pizzeria and hanging out with the local yokels, even running in the local fundraising marathon. Imagine that a real estate agent gave Brad or Keanu a tour of the one local theater, accompanied by its former(?) local owners, and the deal to buy it was made.

      It would be all over town within 10 minutes. People would “casually” be driving by the theater to catch a glimpse.

      This is a one-horse town. When the world’s biggest action star buys a theater, it’s exciting and newsworthy. Hell, it would be newsworthy if Brad Pitt bought an old vaudeville/movie/strip club theater in Hollywood.

      Good old Skip, jumping right on the scoop only 8 or 9 months after it happened. That’s your crack local news reporter right there.

      • Green Luthor

        For that matter, Mason and Cindy were already in Westview for her class reunion, and some of her classmates certainly were making a big deal about a movie star being there. One would think the local reporter would have been covering Mason’s presence in the area already, even before they went over to Centerville. (Unless we’re dealing with more Timemop Temporal Distortion Effects, but then we have to figure out how no one ever noticed a ten-year gap between towns, and I’m not gonna do that.)

        (But then, this is also a reality in which an actress can win an Oscar, announce she’s going to give it to some loser in some podunk town, and then show up in said podunk town at the house of said loser without a single reporter there to cover the event. For all Batiuk glamorizes the small-town newspaper, I don’t think he knows how they work at all.) (Big surprise there, I’m sure.)

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Also, we saw in yesterday’s strip that the word “Valentine” is back up on the marquee. That should have been a raging clue.

        Maybe it never actually came down. “Valentine’s” would be a fitting name for a strip club. The strip club owners were so lazy they didn’t remove any of the movie theater fixtures, so why change the sign? I can’t decide who’s lazier: the strip club owners, or Max and Min who are on month 8 of “renovating” something that was never changed from what it was. I think Skip himself is worst of all, for just now discovering all this and acting like he’s some kind of crack investigative reporter.

        No wonder the place failed. Can you imagine going to a 1970s movie theater, sitting in those hinged, foam-padded, cigarette-smelling chairs to watch strippers? Do the dancers have to elbow their way down the aisle past the other patrons to give you a lap dance? Wouldn’t be the best experience.

        • Green Luthor

          I think this particular Generic Blonde Woman is Hannah, not Mindy. Mindy is Max’s sister, not his wife, even if hooking up with her own brother might be preferable to dating Mopey Pete.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            You’re probably right, but I honestly can’t be bothered to keep them straight. Mindy, Cindy, Windy, Xindy, what difference does it make anyway.

            As for the incest: the population of the Funkyverse is so insular, homogenous, and riddled with genetic defects that they’re probably all inbred anyway, even without knowing it. Or they’re all defective clones.

        • J.J. O'Malley

          I always had the feeling that, in Batiuk’s mind, the repurposed Valentine wasn’t so much a “bitty tar” with tables and chairs, a longbar, and stages for dancers to perform on as it was a classic burlesque house, with patrons in rows of seats and the ecdysiasts (thanks, H.L. Mencken) peeling off their garments on a large stage (the Valentine may well be one of those old vaudeville/stage theaters that simply had a screen added for movie showings). TB’s knowledge of gentleman’s clubs could well be from “Gypsy” or “The Night They Raided Minsky’s” as opposed to the more interactive “lap dance” versions.

          Not that I have any firsthand knowledge of such places, of course.

    • Green Luthor

      Mason and Cindy went to the Valentine, and Ed happened to be the random passerby they asked about it. Mason then called Lois (her number was on a sign as the realtor). When Lois came by to show them around, Ed (apparently having nothing better to do than to hang around with two people he never met before) decided to tag along on their walkthrough of the theater, and no one said anything because… reasons. (Seriously, it was apparently just accepted as a given that the rando on the street would be allowed to go in with a prospective buyer.) (I mean, it was mostly so that Lois would have someone to make comments to while Mason and Cindy were talking, but there was literally zero in-story justification for Ed’s presence after he told them about the strip club closing.)

    • be ware of eve hill

      You’d think putting Masone Jarre’s name up on the marquee would be a huge selling point. Why keep it a secret?

      If Masone is the big movie star Batiuk makes him out to be, wouldn’t the populace be excited about going to a movie theater owned by a big movie star?

      Has anybody ever been to a Planet Hollywood restaurant? What is their major selling point? Sure as hell isn’t the food. Hang some movie props in the lobby. Have Masone present for the grand opening.

      Centerville social media would be ablaze:
      Person #1: Does anybody have any updates about the ‘Mason Jarre’s Valentine’?
      Person #2: I drove past it today. There were a couple of people working inside.
      Person #3: When is it going to open? It’s taking forever. I’m tired of waiting.
      Person #4: Does anybody know if they’re hiring?

      Heck, they might even be able to show first-run movies.

      The small city where I grew up is all gaga about when the new Aldi® is going to open. It’s a feckin’ grocery store, for crying out loud. Can you imagine how’d they’d react if a movie star was opening a movie theater?

      • be ware of eve hill

        But this is Batiuk we’re talking about. I’m sure Masone will want to keep it simple. Renovate the Valentine to resemble a movie theater from the 1930s. 😴

        How quaint.

      • batgirl

        The Valentine story makes a weird counterpoint to the trial story. Everyone comes out to support John when he’s acquitted (or whatever it was), marching band and all.
        But the Valentine fails and reopens and fails and reopens and there’s a big nothing about it. Why does one of TB’s obsessions (comic books) get community support, and another (movie serials – okay, Radio Ranch specifically) get none? Is it for Pathos? Obviously the trial outcome is a great big wish fulfilment arc – does TB not have the energy to write wish fulfilment arcs any more? Or is it enough for him to have Mason Jarre in ecstasy as justification/validation, and screw the rest of the community?

  17. Hitorque

    RE: Pac-Man…

    1. It’s funny because the smug smartass brat kid talking about “old tech” is now old enough to watch teenage YouTubers laughing at the “primitive” Nintendo 64 and PlayStation 1 that he grew up playing…

    1a. It’s also funny because the Transformers shirt he is wearing is almost as old as the original Pac-Man.

    1b. Even most gamer kids can appreciate the lineage and history and influence some of these past games had on their successors. Besides, *truly* iconic games reach across generations and never go out of style (SEE: Super Mario Bros, Doom, Half-Life, etc.)

    2. It’s funny because once upon a time foosball was the unquestioned king of “how bored kids spend their time” and there used to be national tour, big-money professional foosball invitational tournaments for hundreds of thousands in prize money and Pac-Man singlehandedly killed it… So this kid would do well to read up on some history.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Pac-Man has also come back in modernized forms many times over the years. There’s been a 99-person online battle royale a la Tetris 99; a “world’s biggest” (and also multi-player) oversized arcade machine; and a Google Maps easter egg where you can play your own neighborhood as a Pac-Man maze. The mechanics are simple, but still fun, and the modern features just add to that. It’s a video game archetype at this point. Anyone who’s ever inserted a coin knows what it is.

      If Batiuk wanted to have today’s kids be mystified by an old video game, Defender would have been perfect. Especially since it was central to the Eliminator plot Batiuk loves so much. There are YouTube videos of young people struggling with its control scheme. The Arcade1Up Defender machine has a “simplified controls” setting where you just use the joystick, not the reverse and thrust buttons, to move the spaceship. Sacrelige if you ask me, but I get it. I’m all for making things more accessible, but learning how to fly the ship was the challenge. And I struggle to imagine why today’s youth couldn’t master it, given how complex 3D games or even Minecraft are to control.

      • none

        Defender would have made more sense than Pac-Man, but that would have required TB to have the single slightest idea about how the game plays. We have no evidence for this, and I think it only seems fair to assume that his knowledge of it is as deep as it is in anything which isn’t silver age Flash comics.

        Meanwhile, my anecdotal evidence about kids being mystified by old games is basically anything prior to the current gen, going by my two nieces. I lent them a Gamecube and several titles including old arcade compilations (Midway Arcade Treasures 1 and 2, for example), and more recent games like Zelda OOT Master Quest. We sat and played some stuff like Rampage and that was good for 10 minutes, but that’s about it. Two months later they gave it back. No interest. There’s a few games that they do like, such as Minecraft and Roblox and some Nintendo stuff like Pokemon whatever. Anything beyond that is as good as useless to them.

        Enjoy your purchase, Banana! I would get a Robotron 2084 machine for an old game to get but that’s just me.

  18. Hitorque

    More Krankenschaaften… I refuse to believe that Young Hipster Idiot Guy and Young Hipster Idiot Wife are so stupid that they literally learned nothing from their first fuck-up…

    1. Yeah, because it’s not like Ed totally wasn’t going around town running his mouth…

    2. Yeah, because it’s not like someone else in small town Ohio wouldn’t recognize a Hollywood global megastar driving around downtown in his $400,000 Porsche…

    3. Yeah, because it’s not like Masone Freaking Jarre and especially Cindye Sommerse-Winkerbeane-Jarre would want to keep this ego-stroking vanity project a secret… God forbid the general public learn about a celebrity-owned movie theater because they might actually buy tickets and then the Valentine might turn a profit and we can’t have that!

    • Green Luthor

      I can at least believe Ed not telling everyone about Mason buying the Valentine, simply because there was no indication that Ed even knew who Mason was. (I know I’m not always up on current pop culture, so there are probably plenty of “famous” people I wouldn’t recognize, and I’d prefer to believe I’m not more out of touch than Ed Crankshaft…)

      • Hitorque

        I prefer to believe Ed just casually told folks “Some rich weirdo named Masone Jarre is buying the Valentine!” without knowing who he was…

        And to be fair Ed would just have to tell it to one or two people for the story to spread like wildfire…

  19. Hitorque

    I have no idea what that Japanese comic is supposed to be about

  20. Will

    CBH, thank you for walking through this whole trial for us. I’m wildly ignorant of Act II Funky, and had no idea that the rot had started so far back. Unfortunately, I am also probably on some kind of watch list because I searched two terms used (being utterly ignorant on the nastier kinds of manga/anime), and got warning screens from Bing chastising me.

  21. be ware of eve hill

    Well, sh*t, Marge, the viewpoint from reading these strips is vastly different when viewed along with beady-eyed nitpickers and hidebound literalists. I enjoyed the story so much better. The
    ‘casual reader’, without a skeptical mind, doesn’t know what they are missing.

    If you had asked me two months ago what one of the best Act II story arcs was, I would have said the John Howard obscenity trial.
    You folks have punched holes in that belief, and Comic Book Harriet has driven her tractor over it. 💭🚜

    Until now, I believed that the most problematic aspect of the story arc was Kevin Brown’s involvement. Gerard Plourde notes that the ending, resembling “It’s A Wonderful Life,” is hard to stomach. The inclusion of the high school band was absurd. Why wasn’t the mayor present to award DCH John the key to the city? Today is John Howard Day! YaY!

    Like the owners of Keith’s Comic in the Castillo v. Texas trial, did DCH John remove the offensive material from his store? Doubt it.
    DCH John: (getting caught up in the celebration) Thank you, everyone, for your support. Please stop by the Komix Korner Saturday. It’s free tentacle porn day! Bring your wives! Bring your children!

    Lawyer Lisa sure didn’t have any scruples. I wouldn’t defend tentacle porn even if it meant world peace. Too bad this trial didn’t end up like another one of Lisa’s trials. Didn’t the defendent end up on death row? DCH John should have gotten the chair!⚡🪑

    We seem to have a number of legal minds here, or at least folks who have a decent grasp of the law. I’m not one of you. While reading some of the comments, I felt like a vegetarian at a butcher’s convention. Comic Book Harriet’s cattle reports only bolstered that feeling.

    SorialPromise: I’ll have one tender on the hoof!

  22. Hitorque

    Krankenschaaften: “Soft Opening?!” Yep , I knew that Idiot Bro and Idiot Wife wouldn’t think it important to tell the world that an A-list global celebrity just dumped an assload of money to save Centerville’s second most-cherished civic institution (After the local comics bookseller, of course). I refuse to believe that a Hollywood megastar like Masone Freakinge Jarre doesn’t employ a personal publicist whose job it would be to get the news out… In fact I’ll just assume everyone in L.A. knew about this months ago and the people of Centerville are just really behind the loop…

    Krankenschaaften 2: Does it piss anyone else off that these small town yokels call him “Masone” instead of “Mr. Jarre”?? I mean y’all are not friends with him… Hell, you’re not even business partners on equal footing so why the first-name familiarity?