Tag Archives: janitor

The Great Tomholio

today’s strip

So Harley owned the time travel helmet, then Donna stole it? So her whole main FW gimmick was predicated on theft? And, as TFH pointed out yesterday, “The Eliminator” was supposedly “eleven years old” at the time, thus couldn’t have even been in high school in the first place. But complaining about FW’s lack of continuity now would be like the crew of the “Edmund Fitzgerald” complaining that the ship was too damp. This arc is slowly shaping up to be the worst idea in a lengthy history of them. Any idiot could have thrown together a month’s worth of strips featuring Les and Funky sitting at Montoni’s and saying “hey, remember when…?”, but once again, BatYam just can’t resist the urge to out-clever himself. 

Great Moments In FW Arc Recap History

February 17-23, 2014
Aging weekend anchorwoman Cindy Summers is put out to pasture (AKA Cleveland) by ABC News. Sunday: Holly and Funky worry about Cory.

In 2014, FW featured an arc where national network news anchor Cindy Summers was fired for being too old and disgusting to show on HD TV. No lawsuit, no nothing. Cindy grudgingly accepted her fate and left quietly, then complained to Funky about it. I believe this arc marked her Act III return, and that was how he chose to bring her back, by pointing out how she used to be hot, but wasn’t anymore. And she’s been a vapid, anxiety-ridden airhead ever since. I guess we’ll never find out what happened at Buddyblog, or with the Emmy nomination she snagged. Another FW character forever on the receiving end of Batiuk’s perpetual high school karmic payback.

 

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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.

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In Westview, It’s More Of A Disadvantage Point

Happy Thanksgiving from your pals at SoSF!

today’s strip

I don’t know how many of you watched “Twin Peaks: The Return”, but during the final episode (spoiler alert for five year old show) there is a rather long scene near the end where literally nothing happens. And while tension did indeed build, a quick glance at the clock revealed that there was no freaking way the show would explain everything (or anything) in the amount of running time it had left. And then it really got confusing and weird.

I mention this because after today there are like only forty FW strips to go, and knowing BatYam as I do, it seems incredibly hard to believe he’ll be able to bring whatever this is supposed to be home in that amount of time. The strip is winding down for good, and it’s squarely focused on a character who’s been absent for most of the last ten years, and a guy who isn’t really a character at all. He’s obviously setting up some sort of insane time travel thing here, which only makes me wonder where all this imagination was hiding for the last fifteen freaking years.

Obviously the fear here is that he’s going to somehow reunite Les and Summer with Lisa in some way, shape or form, and the strip will end with the three of them hugging. Cayla will presumably be conveniently retconned away or shipped off to “Crankshaft” or something. We all know he (BatHam) never really cared for Cayla anyway, given how little she factored into the strip after she married Les. In my opinion, the whole strip noticeably slowed down (no, seriously) after that.

Great Moments In SoSF Arc Recap History

June 14-June 20, 2010
Funky checks his dad into a nursing home. Afterwards, he orders a “vodka and orange” at a bar, but changes his mind and leaves.

Which led to his collision with Cell Phone Girl (RIP?) and “the black panel”, the greatest individual panel in Act III history. This is FW we’re talking about, so there was some speculation that Funky had died, but he just went into a coma instead. He then traveled back in time, met his teenage self, and advised himself to buy a copy of “Starbuck Jones #1″…the very same comic book that had saved Montoni’s in a prior arc. Then he recovered and PTSD and blah blah blah who cares, but that was where the Starbuck Jones legend truly began, which spawned a sequence of events that directly led to Ruby Lith retiring just last week. Who’d have thunk it?

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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.

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Snarkocalypse, Soon!

today’s strip

Before I mock Summer and her new, sleek, angular, pointy appearance, a few words on the looming heat death of the Funkyverse. Obviously, without a daily strip, we will not be doing daily posts anymore after December 31. The site will remain alive for the foreseeable future, and we do hope we get new FW material to complain about. It’s not going to shutter right then and right there. But this is Batiuk we’re talking about here, so there’s just no way of knowing how it’ll actually go. He might drop 365 new FW strips on his blog on January 2, or he might do a feeble, one-off comic book cover eight months from now, or anything in-between. There will not be a re-read from the beginning, nor will we switch to “Crankshaft”. The daily strips are the engine that runs the whole thing and without those, it’ll never be the same. I’m not sure how or if sporadic posts will work, but that’s a bridge to cross at some later date.

From here on out, TFH and I will be sharing SoSF hosting duties. We are bandying around some ideas, and we very much want to give our beloved guest authors, both present and past, AT LEAST one more shot before the end, and see what happens after that. We likewise hope our faithful readers will remain entertained and engaged to the end, and we’ll do what we can to make that happen. For TFH and I, it marks the end of a long, long road. While Lord knows it wasn’t “hard work” by any means, it did require a daily commitment, and by “daily” I mean DAILY. FW runs literally every day, without fail, and we have always ensured that our loyal readers had a working link to the stupid strip, as well as a place to clown on it. We never missed a post, ever. We feel we owe it to ourselves and SoSF itself to ride it out to the very end, and savor it while we can. For me, SoSF is part writing exercise, part deranged personal vendetta, but mainly it’s been a labor of love. And I’ll be touching on that a lot more in the coming weeks.

So anyway, yeah, how about this new, aerodynamic, de-shaggified Summer, huh? I’m assuming that he brought her back upon learning that FW would be ending, as he didn’t seem to care too much for the last ten years. And, interestingly enough, I don’t care now! It’s just like Batiuk to be wasting time on Harley the janitor when he has barely six more weeks to go. The strip is jammed full of long-running characters, it’s winding down to the end, and he’s focused on Ruby and Harley.

And now, from the SoSF arc recap archives, a Great Moment In SoSF History:

Dec 27, 2010 – Jan. 2, 2011
Les hosts a New Year’s Eve party. Susan announces that her divorce is final. At the stroke of midnight, Les is smooching Lisa’s Ghost.

Man, that was a real humdinger. Easily one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever seen. Les was furiously making out with himself, while a horrified Cayla and Susan looked on in revulsion. That was Cayla’s second hairdo, her “dreads” look she was sporting for a while. See, back then, Les was still only “seeing” Cayla, and Susan was still lurking around, shamelessly throwing herself at Les at every opportunity. Meanwhile, Les was still madly in love with Ghost Lisa, who was a constant presence back then, despite being dead, which happened in a story arc you may have heard about once or twice. When you look back on that period now, it’s amazing how action-packed it was compared to, say, 2020 or something.

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Harley Holey

“There are gaggles of geese, pods of whales and murders of crows. What term would do justice to the special nature of black holes?…The question was crowdsourced on Twitter recently as part of what NASA has begun calling black hole week…Among the many candidates so far: A crush. A mosh pit. A silence. A speckle. A hive. An enigma. Or a favorite of mine for of its connection to my youth: an Albert Hall of black holes.” –Dennis Overbye, “What Do You Call a Bunch of Black Holes: A Crush? A Scream?”, New York Times, April 22, 2021

Thankfully we’ve survived the week-long shipwreck that is Tom Batiuk’s imaginary Hollywood, to find ourselves in the more familiar confines of Westview High School. Jim shares his dismay over his students not picking up on his referencing a fifty-five year old Beatles lyric. Which would be akin to 1970’s high school kids recognizing an Al Jolson reference. Which, come to think of it, we 1970’s high school kids might’ve picked up on, so maybe Jim’s pupils are deserving of his disdain after all.

Today we learn the name of Westview High’s janitor. Is Harley his first name or last? It Harley matters…

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Odd Job Man

Link To Today’s Strip

How long did these kids have to prepare for this prank? This amount of coordinated music, mouthpiece, and instrument switching could only have taken place if Becky’s absence was expected days in advance, and if this is either the first class period of the day, or the first class period after a lunch.

I want to thank TF Hackett for reminding me of the ‘knowing smirks’ tag in the comments yesterday. I’m going to need it so much to finish off my shift. Today we have an entire peanut gallery of unbearable knowing smirks being exchanged in panel 3. Some may think that these people are smiling mischievously at each other because all their clever pranks are being preempted by a witty old man. But obviously the real reason is that their ultimate prank has yet to be spotted: all of these so called ‘kids’ are obviously middle-aged adults involved in some kind of elaborate LARP.

The janitor in panel 2 is the real star of today’s strip. In all my decades of public schooling, I can’t remember a janitor sweeping the halls in the middle of the day, unless there had been some kind of unfortunate thumbtack crate explosion. But this janitor has staked out the 20 foot stretch of tile outside the band room as his turf. Nearly a year ago, it took him a full five days to carefully and methodically make his way past the classroom.

This strip made of random panels is funnier than any individual strip from that week.

So many fun ways to interpret this! Is he:

A.) A ghost who died in a horrific sign taping accident, forced to haunt this wing of the school, forever sweeping a floor that will never be clean of the stain of his blood?

B.) A man so polluted mentally and emotionally by the Westview climate of somatic decay, greasy pizza, trashy comics, smug nihilism, and puns, that he has become a mindless shell of a man who sweeps automatically and unceasingly, like an organic roomba?

C.) A security guard from the school, in disguise, ordered to tail Dinkle whenever he is on the premises to prevent another lawsuit from parents?

D.) Secretly in love with Dinkle or/and Becky?

Remember that sign-up ends Monday at midnight for Tuesday’s 7:00 pm live online revealing of Tom’s poster for the Ohioana Book Festival.

If you register on Eventbrite, you’ll be entered to win a signed copy of The Complete Funky Winkerbean Volume 10!

See TF Hackett’s comments on yesterday’s post for more details! Link Here for sign up,

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And he just can’t hide it…

Let’s all bid a hopeful farewell to Batton and, especially, Les in today’s strip. Les will sadly and undoubtedly return (please not for a good long while!), but what of Batton? This week’s story arc served to make him even les relevant than he seemed when he first appeared, and that’s saying something.

Not that doing interesting and relevant things is really a requirement to appear in Funky Winkerbean these days, but unless Batton gets cancer or (a year from now) the COVID-19 it is hard to see what else TB has for him to do. He’s appeared at Free Comic Book Day and he’s stood in front of Les’ class. What else is there? Well, if Batton ever does return, it’s a sure bet it will be during one of my stints writing this blog. I’m two for two so far, lucky me.

Now if Tom Batiuk himself is excited about writing this strip, he sure can hide it. He lost control years ago, and he probably likes it…

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Ultima Thulame*

*(Pronounced “Too Lame”)

Link To The Sunday Strip

What’s with the “pronounced Tor” gag there in panel four? Another sly dig at Hollywood? In order for something to be an “inside joke” someone else needs to get it, so I don’t know.

So poor, poor Klabichnik is annoyed and frustrated by his sub-cretinous students…there’s a theme FW rarely touches upon. It might make more of an impact if it wasn’t the punchline of every single FW teacher/student gag, but then again probably not.

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And On The Seventh Day, The Joke Rested.

Link to today’s strip, when it drops.

As usual, Sunday’s strip wasn’t available for preview. Which is just as well since I was getting tired of making lemonade out of absolutely nothing.

I will admit. I had a private, personal, chuckle at yesterday’s strip. Not because it was good AT ALL. But because I was a percussionist in high school. And at the time there were waaaay too many percussionists at our school. During marching season we had enough drums and cymbals and pit instruments to go around, but once concert season rolled in there would only be three or four musicians needed for every song. So the rest of the percussion section was left sitting on the floor in the back of the band room chatting quietly, texting on our primitive stupid phones, doing homework for other classes, or flat out taking a nap.

Our director, while very good in almost every other way, just let us decide who got what part, and the few who were passionate about percussion would by mutual agreement take the difficult stuff like timpani or bells every time. It got to the point where the scrubs were drawing straws and playing rock paper scissors to see who didn’t have to get up and count rests for half a song to ring a triangle or smack a wood block. The rest of us would just rather lay around doing algebra homework.

So yeah. If anyone wasn’t going to sprout into a mighty musical oak tree, it was CBH on her tiptoes trying to play one of the four chime notes in the entire 20 minute medley of music from Lord of the Rings, and missing.

Beckoning Chasm takes over on Monday, and I’m looking forward to it! I’m sure his deep thoughts and penetrating insights will entice us to dig ever deeper into this bland yet somehow fascinating universe built from the existential dread of a white bread Ohio septuagenarian scraping for meaning as he nears the end of his career and life.

Stay Funky Everyone!

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