Author Archives: TFHackett

The Nudge-stodian

Summer’s gone from “playing along” to listening in rapt attention as Harley the Custodian talks about his mission to ensure that she writes her important book. Meanwhile, your genial host has gone from bemused to befuddled to borderline enraged at how Batiuk has seen fit to wind down his once beloved franchise. It’s exhausting even to read, let alone to try and write something funny about. The upside is that it’s inspired some genius snark from you readers; even compelling the lurkers to chime in. Starting Monday, Epicus and I will step aside and allow our stellar bullpen of guest authors to take a couple more swings, then we’ll see how things shake out over the next, final few weeks. Don’t forget that Tuesday at 8PM EST, I’m attempting to conduct a 1-hour online event via Google Chat. Email sonofstuckfunky[at]gmail.com for an invite.

46 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

Protective Custodian

Green Luthor
November 29, 2022 at 10:52 pm
“Custodian” in the case of the group he’s describing would mean something akin to “caretaker”; i.e., they’re responsible to keeping anything from happening to the timeline.

But “custodian” can also refer to someone who performs janitorial duties (itself a form of caretaker). Which is the job he’s doing at Westview High.

So the high school custodian is ALSO a custodian of the timeline! Hilarious!

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

So now this arc is really starting to go somewhere! He’s been sent from the future for the “crucial job” of making sure Summer writes her book about her podunk Ohio hometown! Time travel tales often involve a character going back in time to alter events to produce more favorable outcomes. But in whatever “somewhen” Harley’s from, Summer’s book has been written; it exists. So why is it necessary for him to travel back through time to ensure that something that’s happened, happens?

99 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

Stuck Inside of Westview with the Helmet Blues Again

If you’re going to write a time travel story, you either totally ignore all the possible, unintentional ramifications of transtemporal travel, or you make the story about those ramifications. Either way, doing so requires a fair amount of narrative skill. That is, at least make it entertaining enough so that hidebound literalists and beady-eyed nitpickers don’t feel compelled to tear it apart. Gosh, this arc is infuriating. Given his seemingly supernatural gifts, surely there was some way that Hedley could have gotten back the dreary magic helmet. He’s had over 40 years to do it! But noooooo, he was content to leave it in Donna’s possession, and now it’s disappeared (and how does he even know this?). As a result, he’s “stranded” in space and time, and, nothing against janitors, but it’s probably a pretty mundane existence for someone capable of time travel and mind control. But hey, at least the music’s good!

123 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

Disrupting the Timeline

Green Luthor
November 24, 2022 at 10:44 pm
But…Donna said she made the helmet herself? Is she also a time traveler? (Is that how she played Defender in 1980?) Or did she just somehow accidentally create a “temporal phase shifter” without realizing it?

Hitorque
November 26, 2022 at 12:16 am
1. So Donna lied her ass off when she said she constructed the helmet herself?

1a. So Batiuk lied his ass off when he showed us Donna being “inspired” by that bullshit comic book cover and actually making the helmet herself?!?

So not only is Harley a time traveler; today we learn that he’s a toucher of minds. If he has that ability, couldn’t he just influence Donna’s mind to return the helmet? Why do that when he can just inspire a fantasy illustrator to put it on the cover of Eerie #57 for her to find? The end of Funky’s 50-year run would be the perfect opportunity for Tom Batiuk to tie up at least a few of his myriad loose plot ends, and even revisit a few of the people and places who have played a role in this strip’s history. Instead, we’re given a week (or, likely, more) of these two mopes sitting in the janitor’s closet, discussing this hokey time travel retcon.

The Duck of Death
November 23, 2022 at 10:35 pm Edit
Kudos to Tom Batiuk for ensuring that none of his readers will be sorry when his strip ends, or miss it when it’s gone.

I’m with ya, DoD.

Great Moments In SoSF Arc Recap History: March 12-19, 2017
Funky wanders around an abandoned house in the woods.

While jogging with Les, the Funkman notices a derelict house on a hill, and he returns later, by himself, to explore. This week long, standalone arc accomplished nothing in the way of plot or character development. But it exemplifies a couple hallmarks of post-Act I Funky Winkerbean: glacial pacing and the futility of human existence. The strips from Monday to Friday are almost completely void of verbiage: Funky pulls his car over, treks up the hill, and wanders through the abandoned house. Read the entire arc here.

 

 

 

110 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

Wack Friday

As far as Summer knows, the helmet that Maddie sketched for her has no special powers, aside from concealing Donna’s feminine gender from the boys. So how in the hell is she able to surmise that it’s really a “temporal phase shifter“? Maddie doesn’t know this, and Donna, who as a kid actually wore the thing, thinks that its phase-shifting abilities were just a figment of her fumes-addled imagination.

Great Moments In SoSF Arc Recap History

Mar. 23-Mar. 31, 2010
In the big game, the Lady ‘Goats go up against Our Lady of the Cedars, and get their asses kicked for a change.

From back when Summer was actually a main character in the strip; the “sporto” that her father never was in his high school days. The Lady Scapegoats are seeded vs. Our Lady of the Cedars, who are to Westview’s girls’ basketball squad what Big Walnut Tech is to the football team. The girls are intimidated even before the game starts, and even the duo of former rivals Keisha and Summer are not enough to propel the Westview team to victory. This arc is notable for a couple of reasons: it’s one of the rare occasions when our protagonists do not succeed. It also contains one of my all time favorite Act III FW panels: the dejected Westview team seeing their reflection in the winners’ trophy.

Not sure why the OLC girls are still in uniform while Summer’s team has already changed into their street clothes. Nor why the winners are showing off a huge trophy when this is supposed to be a first round game.

64 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

We Harley Knew Ye


For all his inconsistency and carelessness with continuity and canon: when Batiuk introduces a character from FW‘s distant past, it turns out that they were in fact part of the Act I cast. Though I read Funky Winkerbean back in the day (I was in marching band, how could I have not?), I was sure that Harley “the janitor” Davidson was a recent addition. So a big tip o’ the SoSF cap to ComicBookHarriet for pointing out that he’s been around since at least ’79. Four decades later, Lego-headed Summer has arrived at the custodian’s office. Sounds like she’s discovered yet another sordid detail from Teen Lisa’s journal…


Interesting times when it comes to comics on the web! Yes, Crankshaft will continue into the new year, but Batiuk is jumping ship from Comics Kingdom/King Features Syndicate to GoComics/Andrews McMeel Syndication. Maybe that’s why Batiuk’s “editor” @teaberryblue hasn’t bothered to comment on Batty’s semiretirement (plus she/they are expecting a baby in December). Speaking of GoComics, looks like they’ve sorted the problems that knocked the site offline for the last couple of days. In other news, Comics Kingdom is “moving its commenting platform to OpenWeb” from Disqus; in the process discarding years’ worth of reader comments and hailing this as an upgrade.

73 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

Diary of a Dead Housewife

Hey readers! As the Batiuk Retirement Watch continues, your friends here at SoSF are putting our heads together to figure out what happens to this blog after the 31st of December…look for updates soon. –TFH

A couple years ago, my older sister showed me something interesting that she’d found among our late mother’s personal belongings: a number of pocket size “junior diaries,” one for each year, spanning a number of years from the early days of her marriage to my father through my own childhood years. While we were a little curious about what these little books might contain, my sis and I both agreed that we just wouldn’t feel comfortable reading through them. Though I did ask my sis if I could keep the one from my birth year.

Nobody connected to St. Lisa seems to have any such qualms about perusing her most private writing. Summer’s already read through Lisa’s account of being raped and impregnated by Frankie (and was even prepared to blackmail him by reading it on YouTube). When Les was struggling to write the Lisa’s Story screenplay, Cayla helpfully fetched Lisa’s journal from the bookshelf. Though she’s been dead for fifteen years, no FW character has dispensed more wisdom, between her journal (presumably journals; that same book probably wouldn’t contain entries from high school through her cancer battle unless she wrote really, really small) and her hours upon hours of video messages.

128 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

Credibility Gap

It’s been a long time since I laughed out loud at Funky Winkerbean, but Les’ question in today’s strip cracked. Me. Up. It’s been ten whole years since Les and Cayla dropped off Summer and Keisha at Kent State. Even for someone doing “graduate work,” ten years is a stretch. Is she still on a basketball scholarship? I don’t recall even seeing her in a Kent State uniform. So has Les been paying her tuition? I doubt Summer is contributing anything, as the only job we’ve seen her doing is wrapping gifts at the mall two years ago (when the girls were “wrapping up [their] college careers,” according to Cayla).

For someone who’s always bragged about progressing his characters in “real time,” storyteller Tom Batiuk has always taken liberties with the timeline. In this, FW’s Jubilee Year, he’s finally given up trying, casting off any semblance of temporal continuity; most notably by aging his core characters by at least five years to have their fiftieth high school reunion coincide with the strip’s own fiftieth anniversary (pay no attention to Crazy Harry’s time travel arc from last spring which suggested the gang were still in high school in 1980).

You win, Tom Batiuk. This is the last time I’m going to bitch about your nonsensical time constructs, and the last post I’ll have to write for a while, as tomorrow, Banana Jr. 6000 starts a 2 week shift, and I just know he’s rarin’ to go!

56 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

Schlemiels on the Bus

So does he feel even a slight bit of relief to find out that this apparent potential bridge jumper is merely a stranded motorist? Nope,  Crankshaft is pissed. This is what he gets for being a nice guy. For someone who’s having the “worst day of her life”, Susan’s demeanor has brightened until she’s as chipper as Crank is cranky.

35 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

Life’s a Gas

J.J. O’Malley
October 20, 2022 at 12:49 am
Is tomorrow’s strip going to feature Ms. Smith saying to her would-be Clarence the Angel (Second Class), “Oh! You thought I was going to jump? No, I just stopped here because I have a flat tire!”?

Close enough, O’Malley, close enough. A flat tire can happen to anyone, though; a driver of today’s cars would have to be pretty damn hapless to run out of gas. Guess Susan’s still so distraught over having to say farewell to Les (and to her teaching job) to see the “low fuel” light through her tears.

This “Susancide” arc that wraps up tomorrow has been particularly pointless. Batiuk brings back from an eleven year absence a long running, albeit secondary, character who starred in one of his early prestige arcs. But we catch up with her here mere hours after we saw her last. Where is she now?

And where was Ed Crankshaft then? Susan split the scene in July 2011. Less than a year later, Les and Summer were training for their Kilimanjaro klimb when they spotted their old bus driver:

“How do you know that decrepit old man in the wheelchair is Crankshaft, Mr. All-Smart?” Because in ’09, Batiuk & Ayers gave us a week where Crankshaft becomes unstuck in time, flashing forward and back through his life.

Come to think of it, inserting Ed Crankshaft into this flashback gives Ayers an excuse to draw the character the he drew for thirty years: the classic Ed Crankshaft that everyone knows. Not Mindy’s feeble “Gramps,” or that Hector Salamanca lookalike that Rick Burchett turned him into. Even Batiuk himself never drew Crankshaft very well. Dan Davis draws the strip these days, and does a creditable job currently, but only Chuck Ayers could render Cranky’s contemptuous scowl in panel 3!

 

37 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky