Mitchell Knox will obviously want the picture of John Darling, Jessica’s father who was murdered.
Maybe Mitchell Knox will make some outrageous bid on the John Darling photo that will be enough to bail Montoni’s out of whatever supposed financial straits they’re experiencing.
I wonder whose photo they’re removing to make room for Summer’s. John Darling’s? Somebody call Mitchell Knox!
be ware of eve hill
Winners, please come to the pay window!
A lot of you predicted this development, and today we get it as the “memorabilia auction” starts. This is the kind of detail Funky Winkerbean never gets wrong. Characters fluctuate between being dead and alive, and their surnames randomly change. But it would never forget the memorabilia preferences of a comic book artist!
Beyond that, this scene raises so many questions. What’s in all those boxes? It looks like framed pictures and rolled-up posters. Is Funky selling memorabilia that wasn’t even good enough to put on the walls? “Now up for sale, this historically relevant artifact we took off our history wall to make room for a third picture of Tony Montoni. The bidding starts at $10,000.”
How – and why – did Montoni’s con Lillian out of her tiffany lamp? That anecdote has more story potential than anything we’ve seen all week.
Where are any of the regulars? Where’s Les, who wanted to buy the sign? Where Summer, who’s supposed to be recording all this history before it’s lost forever? Where’s Crazy Harry, who spent so much time at Montoni’s he forgot to do his job?
Is “Ferris Wheeler” the best punny name Tom Batiuk can come up with anymore? He doesn’t sound like an auctioneer, he sounds like a carnie played by Matthew Broderick. At least “Amicus Brief” got his profession right. And when I’m holding up Amicus Brief as an example of how Funky Winkerbean used to do something better, there’s a real problem.
I feel like I’m watching Funky Winkerbean deteriorate in real time. It can’t even be bothered to follow up its own self-serving story points, which it just introduced last week. Did Tom Batiuk forget he has to make Summer famous? Or does he think he did enough already?
The strip’s laziness, lack of focus, and emphasis on all the wrong things, are getting worse.
Filed under Son of Stuck Funky
Tagged as Anon-O-Characters, auction, Ferris Wheeler, Funky, Holly, Lillian, memorabilia, microphone, Mitchell Knox, Montoni's apron, Montoni's, poorly taped signs, Rachel, silly names, single panel, traveling green shirt, Wally
Today’s strip echoed a personal experience for me.
For almost as long as I can remember, my parents were small business owners. They ran a family business that started in 1980. When my father couldn’t do it anymore in 2005, my brother took it over. It operated continuously until 2020. You can probably guess what contributed to its demise.
When it was time to move out of the building, one of the more difficult things we had to do was take down all the pictures, mementos, awards, and other history that had been hanging on the wall for decades. There were pictures of old friends and loved ones who aren’t with us anymore. There were pictures of us with famous people. There were pictures of the time we were on a local TV news story. There were print magazine and newspaper articles. There were letters of commendation we had received about the work we did. There were letters that mentioned Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. There was even a Little League team photo plaque dated 1985, for a team I played on. Every item brought back a fond memory of a former time in our lives. So much of my family history was documented on those walls.
Montoni’s history wall sucks.
Three pictures of Tony Montoni? A local TV host? A 12-year-old playing Defender? A vague woman on a motorcycle? Most of this junk isn’t worth hanging on the bathroom wall, much less selling as “memorabilia.”
The picture of the visit from Bill Clinton is fine. Any personal interaction with a current or former POTUS is a big deal. But let’s talk about what’s not on this “history wall”:
- Mason Jarre, a major Hollywood movie star who has been to Montoni’s multiple times, and initiated the Oscar-winning movie on the premises
- Atomik Komix, a local, nationally prominent comic book publishing company, with two Hall of Famers on staff
- Pete, the writer of this world’s equivalent of Star Wars, which was also filmed in this town
- Holtron, a noteworthy prop from this movie, that is housed nearby
- Cindy Summers, a local product who became a national news reporter and was so popular in high school her parties were covered by MTV
- Bull Bushka, a local product who played in the NFL
- Any of the high school championships Westview won (my local Applebee’s commemorates such things, and I live in a big city with several high schools)
- Harry Dinkle, a man who single-handedly propped up the economy of Belgium
- The pizza box monster, who doesn’t turn up in today’s strip either. As commenter Andrew pointed out yesterday, his real-life counterpart is on Luigi’s history wall.
And I never thought I’d have to ask this, but…. where are Les and Lisa? We’re supposed to take their ridiculous over-the-top Love Story rip-off and all its side plots seriously. So they’re a massive part of Westview history.
This pathetic display should be enough to convince Summer that her proposed “oral history of Westview” is unviable. On top of that, Funky is selling all this! Why would anyone want to read a history of Westview, when the people who live there and collected that history, don’t care enough to keep it?
As Les and Summer drone on, we learn that MONTONI’S IS CLOSING???!!!
Well, this is a shocker. Montoni’s is so central to Westview that Tom Batiuk will have to completely retool the comic strip. It’s a key location in the storytelling world of —
Oh right. I forgot. This is Funky Winkerbean. Batiuk will just forget this strip ever happened.
Funky Winkerbean has a serious problem with introducing sudden dramatic turns that radically alter the status quo, and then just disregarding them. Dinkle’s deafness, Mort’s dementia, and Phil Holt’s death were all examples of this. Sometimes it does the lame “all just a dream” cop-out, but more often they just fade away without ever being addressed. Or any character even commenting on these miraculous recoveries. It happens so often that terminally ill people should be going to Westview like it’s Lourdes. (I already used that line, but I like it so I’m using it again.)
Everything I’ve said about Summer this week applies to this stupid plot twist as well. Montoni’s suddenly needing to close doesn’t ring true. The story didn’t hint at this in the slightest. It very clumsily mentioned the pandemic, but the biggest hardship we know about was Funky having to move the jukebox.
And it ignores what we do know. Funky has no signs of financial problems. Quite the opposite: in the middle of the pandemic he paid for two surgeries, mocked a financial planning seminar, and had a major house renovation. Keep in mind, this is his house:
So there’s a good chance this seemingly monumental announcement will amount to nothing.
On the other hand, this doesn’t feel like a throwaway story. I predicted earlier that the deification of Summer would take months. Funky mentions a Montoni’s memorabilia auction. You’d better believe that’s going to happen, because memorabilia collecting is one of the strip’s favorite things to depict. And with no Montoni’s, where will Summer have her book release party? This week is setting up a lot of future sub-arcs that the strip is likely to deliver on.
It’s tough to speculate on what today’s strip means, until we know if it’s for real or not. Either this is a major step in the winding down of Funky Winkerbean, or the strip is about to reach new lows for retconning itself into meaninglessness.
Link To The Sunday Strip
Interesting how the gun is nowhere to be seen today, in the Sunday strip. Perhaps he felt it’d be inappropriate, as a lot of people see the Sunday funnies, as opposed to the daily ones, which no one sees. It’s certainly conspicuous by its absence, as it was, you know, the whole centerpiece of the entire story and all.
Even stranger is Mitchell declining to talk about comic books. I repeat: MITCHELL DOESN’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT COMIC BOOKS. This is unprecedented in Westviewian history. It’s never happened before, and it’ll surely never happen again. Whatever that Brady Wentworth did to ol’ Mitchell back in the day, it sure was effective. Now let’s hope we never, ever find out what that was, OK? Because I really don’t want to know.
Link to today’s strip
I’m curious to know how much trouble Mitchell had to go through to get this memorabilia. If nobody remembers them anymore, then there really couldn’t have been much of a demand for the stuff. I did some quick Googling, and I think all of these are actual real Cleveland TV personalities. I’m very interested in local history and tend to be pretty nostalgic, but I do kind of wonder how old Mitchell is supposed to be, and if he’d really remember this from his own childhood. I do again wonder why Batiuk had to portray him as a schlubby paranoid jerk, since he’s apparently appreciating old timey stuff, which is absolutely something Batiuk thinks is good.