Tag Archives: Marianne

Thou Shalt Not Make Unto Thee Any Smug Bearded Image

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“Galoot”??? Les Moore is not a “galoot”. Bull was a galoot, Buck was a galoot, even Funky could be a galoot. But Les is a somewhat effete bearded dick with ears and there’s nothing even remotely galootish about him. And Cayla is like what, forty-five or so? Why would she be using slang that fell out of fashion thirty years before she was born? Sigh.

So Les, courtesy of his great artistic gifts and his wife’s untimely death, saved a life and not just any life, mind you, but a FAMOUS PERSON’S life, which is worth like five or six regular lives, at least. This is so mawkish it’s hard to believe an adult wrote it, and it’s so self-reverential it could have only sprung from the pen of one man. Then, on top of everything else, he actually has Les’ current, still-living wife grant him permission to hug other women, as long as Lisa is somehow involved, which is just too distressing and too disturbing for words. Les isn’t merely the most detestable character in the entire history of fiction, he’s a deeply twisted psychological disaster area too, trapped as he is in a bizarre relationship amalgam with Lisa, Calya and the stupid book of his.

It’s all too much, which is what we all say after a few days of Dick Facey’s irritating shenanigans. As far as “Lisa’s Story” stories go, this one was a real corker all right. Women getting breast cancer, women starring in movies about women getting breast cancer, women who secretly lusted after Les in high school, women thanking Les Moore for saving their lives, other women looking on approvingly, this one really had it all. It’s a wild wish-fulfillment fantasy and an obnoxious victory lap all in one.

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Please Re-Leese Me

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Marianne Winters, the sexy young Hollywood starlet with the small-town morals and a heart of gold, was stricken with breast cancer. But, because she just happened to be starring in a movie about a young woman (with small-town morals and a heart of gold) who was stricken with breast cancer, she understood the importance of early detection and successfully detected the breast cancer she’d been stricken with. What luck!

And, even more fortunately for Marianne, hundreds of thousands of people got sick and died from a horrible virus that pretty much shut the entire country, including Hollywood, down. And even MORE fortunately, a gigantic wildfire roared through the Hollywood area, leaving untold destruction and billions of dollars worth of damage in its wake, thus enabling Marianne to set aside the time to seek the very best medical attention for herself.

So it all really worked out well for her and, even more importantly, it all worked out for the deeply-conflicted Delicate Genius too. Because you see, Les was very deeply conflicted about sharing his innermost pain (that he painstakingly documented in a best-selling book then talked about non-stop for over a decade) with the world, at least until he discovered that his personal courage, fortitude and tremendous artistic gifts were responsible for literally saving Marianne’s life. So like with Marianne, the pandemic and the conflagration, the whole wife dying of cancer and sending him into a twenty-four-year-long cycle of depression and misery thing all worked out great for him in the end. Heartwarming, ain’t it?

BatYam could probably save all kinds of time if he just nailed Les and that f*cking book of his to a big cross, then had the various other characters pass by and genuflect before him, but there probably wouldn’t be as many opportunities for dumb puns and stupid wordplay that way. The fact that he spent years on this story only to have it end up here just boggles the mind. We all should have seen it coming, too, but once again Batty somehow managed to surprise and bore us all at the same time, which is quite a trick when you think about it.

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Some Like It Lumpy

Link To Today’s Atrocity

Wow. Major Act II flashbacks, man. I didn’t think he’d go THERE with this story, but once again I vastly underestimated his shamelessness. He could have chosen to go with some nice breast cancer awareness platitudes and how “Lisa’s Story” was ultimately helping people and so forth. But, with his usual sledgehammer-like subtlety, he decided to go ahead and GIVE MARIANNE CANCER instead. So now she really is just like Lisa, except hotter and, you know, alive and everything.

Even after all these years and all the tedium, this is still one weird-ass f*cking comic strip, I’ll tell you what. This is just ghastly and the fact that BatYam doesn’t know this makes it even more twisted and strange. It doesn’t insult your intelligence, it shoots your intelligence in the back, rummages through its pockets and leaves it for dead. Ham-fisted, heavy-handed, this one is as tone-deaf and ridiculous as it gets. Once again BatYarn goes in a direction no one else would have even considered.

Has any comic strip ever used the word “lump” more than FW has? “Maybe For Better Or For Worse” did, but most of that strip’s tragedies weren’t cancer related, so I dunno. If it’s “Crankshaft” I definitely don’t want to know.

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What’s Behind Door #5?

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What the f*ck is she talking about? Does she mean the movie itself, the book being translated into Spanish, the news that the movie won’t be shown anywhere, or what? For the time being I will assume she means how he “feels” about “Lisa’s Story” itself, because “Delicate Genius is deeply conflicted about sharing personal details of his life” is more or less the entire point of the “LS” arc, but given Batiuk’s uniquely non-linear “storytelling” style, who the hell really knows. She could be talking about the crab puffs or the ketamine she slipped into his drink or God only knows what.

And Cayla’s slow descent from “character” to “caricature” to “prop” continues unabated today, as BatNard couldn’t resist throwing in a touch of that patented “female = jealous” trope he enjoys so much. “GASP! She’s going into that room to talk to my HUSBAND…ALONE!!! I hope SEX isn’t involved!”. And while I’m braying on and on about shitty, poorly-developed female characters (again), there’s Marianne Winters, the beautiful twenty-something movie star with the small-town heart of gold, about to confide in her dear friend Les Moore, who didn’t even want her cast as Lisa in the first place. Luckily for her, she won him over with her pitch-perfect Lisa-isms thus immediately putting Les at ease to a point where he chose to allow himself to befriend her and not dismiss her as another cheap Hollywood phony like he initially assumed she was. Another believable and convincing female FW character and not at all indicative of far bigger and way weirder issues that are just too icky and disturbing to address at any length today.

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Si Habla Lespanol?

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Only two languages? How incredibly humiliating for poor, poor Dick Facey. It’s all just another burden Les has to bear, the price he’s being forced to pay for bearing his innermost soul and so forth. Now I’m not a big-shot professional author, so I can’t say for sure, but it seems to me that getting your book translated and published in Spanish would be a pretty big and possibly even lucrative deal. But, as we know, the bearded dick with ears cares not about wealth or fame or notoriety or success, as demonstrated by the obnoxious way he tilts his stupid beard in panel three as Marianne futilely attempts to placate and pander to him. What a dick.

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Before They Make Me Run

Hope everyone’s enjoying a nice Labor Day Weekend!

So Les is back in Westview for the Lisa’s Legacy Run. And Mason, Cindy, and Marianne surprise him by showing up. And “Cindy is shooting footage of us running the race today…” For use in the movie? Will Marianne and Mason be running in character as Lisa and Les? Cindy’s a cinematographer now? Wouldn’t they need permission to shoot? And two movie stars and a former network news anchor are just hanging out, not attracting attention from anyone beside Les. Such disorienting plot “developments” have been Funky Winkerbean‘s stock in trade since mid-Act II. Let’s talk instead about the deteriorating draftsmanship in this comic strip.

The only modification I’ve made to this panel was to remove the dialogue balloons, or “word zeppelins,” in order to allow us to better appreciate this Mount Rushmore of melting faces. Les suffers the least, as his goatee in profile always looks like shit. Mason sports an even goofier than usual expression. Cindy is droopy-eyed, and Marianne’s head is on a stalk.

Tom Batiuk writes and “inks” FW, but for the last two years the strips have been penciled by Batiuk’s ol’ Kent State pal Chuck Ayers. Ayers has partnered with TB in this way since the mid 1990’s, in addition to drawing Crankshaft for 30 years. In March 2017 Ayers gave up both jobs to pursue other interests, but returned following the tenure of Rick Burchett, who turned out some of the most horrendous, slapdash, off-model draughtsmanship since another noted comics artist, John Byrne, was at the drawing board.

Ayer’s Crankshaft strips always seemed to me to be much better and more naturally drawn than Funky Winkerbean. And the aforementioned Messrs. Burchett and Byrne were renowned, more-than-capable comic book artists. I’m bringing all this up because I wonder if a requirement of working as Tom Batiuk’s penciller is having to “dumb down” one’s ability closer to Batiuk’s level. In this way, the guy who got laughed out of New York by Marvel and DC gets to hire real artists, and then pin clip their wings.

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Fuel for Thought.

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And here it is. We’ve had to suffer through an entire week of Les whining to Marianne about one woman who died at least 15 years ago in strip time (Edit: twenty-three, ED), while the world is literally burning around them. As day turns to night with nary a word from Cindy, Masone, Pete, or Mindy.

You people have been saying it all week: Marianne has been blandly listening to Les whinge about his manpain, instead of worrying about friends, family, coworkers, or her own property. The girl had more going on for herself when she almost threw herself off the top of the Hollywood sign.

And all so Marianne can watch some video tapes that Batiuk will, no doubt, forget were transferred to digital years ago. So many problems with this. But two stick out in my mind.

One, why didn’t he let her or Masone watch some of the tapes to begin with? It’s implied that some tapes are very private and others are meant for more public consumption, as seen in this strip from Darin’s birthday. Why did you ever think of this as an all or nothing thing?

Two, are you now going to let her watch all of the tapes? Even the tapes that weren’t meant for you? Have you seen the tapes addressed to Summer directly? Or the tape specifically for CauCayla? Are you prepared to override the rights of Lisa, Cayla, and Summer, to have their own private messages remain private?

Who are we kidding? Of course you are. The sum total of everything Lisa ever was or wished is now yours to use, abuse, and change however you see fit. You can tell yourself that you think Lisa would have wanted you to share material that SHE SPECIFICALLY TOLD YOU IN PERSON was private. Anything so Marianne can have important moments like this inform how she plays Dead St. Lisa.

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You say it best (when you say nothing at all.)

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Baituk is really desperate to sell some books, eh? First he tells all his Beady Eyed Nitpickers on his blog that in order to truly understand the difference between a ‘retcon’ and ‘direct flashback’ we need to buy and read The Complete Funky Winkerbean Volume 9. Now he’s referencing some obscure bit of titillation, as if to bait us into buying and scouring Lisa’s Story for the infamous ‘Snow Angel’ incident.

I’ve only got the vaguest recollection of Les spilling this sordid tale to someone else before, and I couldn’t find the moment in the archives. I’m crossing my fingers and hoping our Skinkmeister can give some context to the readers who’ve only been able to religiously follow this strip since the end of the Bush administration.

It’s weird that, whatever the dirty little something was, Marianne is flat out refusing to say it on screen. A slice of life drama like this movie, which seems to be going for, ‘A Marriage Story, but ending with cancer and not divorce’ lives and dies on the simulacrum of realism, and if we’re getting the horrible ‘playground closed for repairs’ bit, then this must be something next level nasty.

Batiuk is probably imagining that we’re picturing kinky, like what Pepper Potts whispers into Tony Stark’s ear in the first Avengers movie. But cute and kinky would make it into an adult movie, as an important establishing moment of vivaciousness and young love. There is nothing a Hollywood starlet wouldn’t say or do if she thought it would increase awards potential.

Except something like:

But what do you guys think? I’d love to see some of your takes on Lisa’s forbidden dialogue.

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No Preview Review

Link to today’s strip whenever it drops.

Today’s strip wasn’t available for preview. So instead enjoy my favorite comment from yesterday.

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For a given value of save.

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Les, I am going to explain this using short unequivocal statements, that way there is no way for your spotty memory and outsized ego to twist my words.

You. Did. Not. Save. Lisa.

All you did was let her out the door first. That’s not a rescue, that is chivalry so lazy it’s a 50-50 shot if it was intentional.

Wally. Saved. Lisa. And. You.

Wally Winkerbean, that poor sad, pizza baking man has had his wife, his dignity, the childhood of his son, his sanity, and his agency as a character taken from him by Batiuk. Don’t you take one more damn thing from this strip’s number one whipping boy, who took all of that abuse, and survived, without a single legacy foundation to his name.

Les, I don’t know if you could ever lay claim to ‘saving Lisa’. Unlike some, I don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of all the Act II drama. But you can’t even really take much credit for saving Marianne. You drove shotgun through a fire, and then carried a woman out the door who really should have been able to walk.

Why did I have to be given a Les arc? I would rather have a week of Dinkle.

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