I guess calling Becky the “current band director” would have bruised Dinkle’s ego a tad too much. By the same token, I guess having John putting on a normal shirt would render his character unidentifiable. And I guess Rana is still a Muslim, Billy is still alive and Wally Jr. joined the circus or the army or something. And why didn’t Wally arrive with the rest of the Winkerbeans? Why was he relegated to the B-team? My God, what a slog.
Tag Archives: Wally
Before we get started, a huge shout-out to Comic Book Harriet, who always brings the knowledge. Her ability to analyze and correlate is second to none–and you certainly won’t see anything like that from me! Which means my mundane and dim-witted commentary will seem refreshing because of the contrast!
…I always knew I’d end up thinking like a Batiuk. With any luck I can get therapy for this, maybe with some kind of salve.
Today’s entry is kind of baffling. Seems to me he wrapped up the Pizza Box Monster arc pretty well yesterday, yet he felt he needed to add this weak coda. I guess he thought “CSI: Montoni’s” was too clever to leave out, but when it came time to write the strips he forgot to add it.
Weird how Rachel is mooning over TBM, while her husband is standing right there. Nobody respects Wally. Oh, and check out Holly–you can see it looks like she’s holding some kind of crutch, as a middle finger to everyone who said “Well, she’s limber and can get to the roof easily, because he wrote this arc several years ago, before he decided Holly needed a broken ankle.”
I did not. I completely did not. I am just as creative and innovative now as I was forty years ago!
It’s not Wally. (Sobs and takes down the thumbtacks and string)
But who is left?
Darin? Fat chance. The only time Boy Lisa ever risks his life is in his dreams.
But I don’t know if Mason knows Montoni’s layout intimately enough for this stunt… We’ve never seen the action star on the roof, or in the back room.
But then again, who does that leave?
Only one man.
Suspect: ‘Kahn/ Khan’ (Possibly an alias?)
Background: Khan hails from the wild hills of Afghanistan. He was a bandit leader, drug dealer, and gun runner, who held Wally captive for months hoping to sell him to anyone willing to pay, even presumably American enemies, so the buyer could in turn make ransom demands.
Wally charmed Khan with chess and pictures of American women, stalling for enough time to signal allies and escape. Rana’s older sister found Wally and helped to hide him from the desperately searching Khan, and eventually led him to an American airfield.
When Wally and Becky returned to Afghanistan with an NGO mine clearing organization, they hired a local liaison to work as their guide and driver, and he turned out to be Khan.
Khan seemed overjoyed to be reunited with Wally, and Wally was pretty gracious to a man who had intended to sell him for cash.
On one of their last days in Afghanistan, Wally stepped on a landmine. Knowing it might trigger when he stepped off, he told Khan to leave him and drive a safe distance away.
Instead Kahn attempted to defuse it,
And when he couldn’t decided that he would bat the mine right out of the air in a stunt more nonsensical and ballsy than anything Crankshaft has ever rigged up with Bean’s End Merchandise and lighter fluid.
They return to the city to find that the Afghan family that’d helped Wally escape from Kahn before had exploded in a car bomb attack, leaving only Rana, the orphan Becky and Wally immediately decided to adopt.
A few months after the family returns to the US, Kahn walks into Montoni’s asking for Wally.
And like anyone who ever walks into Montoni’s, this murderer, drug dealer, and former terrorist is offered a job there on the spot.
Kahn arrived mere moments before the fateful letter that Wally was to be redeployed to Iraq, where he is blown up and captured again.
Post-time skip. Kahn is still working at Montoni’s.
Wally returns home in summer 2009 and takes a job at Montoni’s February the next year, but we get no strips of Wally and Kahn in a panel together because Batiuk is boring and unimaginative and I hate him.
In 2011, we are informed that Kahn has received American citizenship and has opened a Deli next door to Montoni’s
In 2014, Wally and Funky notice a ‘Going out of Business’ sign on the door and go in to talk to Kahn. He says he intends to move back to Afghanistan.
Spelling change why?
And that’s it. That’s the last time we’ve ever seen or heard of Kahn.
1.) Khan is tall, male, slim and, while darker complected than other characters, light skinned enough.
2.) Khan is a former bandit leader who was allowed American citizenship. This implies that he must have turncloaked and aided the Americans enough to receive some significant favors.
3.) Khan was an employee, and manager of Montoni’s for years, he would be very familiar with the building.
4.) Khan once batted a landmine away with a wooden board. The man has no fear.
Why would Khan do this?
To figure this out, I had to archive dive and see what was happening in the Funkyverse, and specifically Montoni’s, in the time leading up to the first appearance of the Pizza Monster. And, in the year before, Wally finished college and was made not only a manager, but seemingly a part owner of Montoni’s.
In his final semester of college, he also befriended Iraqi immigrant Adeela, and reconnected with his adopted Afghan daughter Rana. Rana told him that following graduation she intended go back to Afghanistan to teach in a girl’s school.
And, who may have Rana looked up in Afghanistan to help her get the lay of the land? Mayhaps her old family friend Khan?
So Khan hears that Wally is now in line to inherit the Montoni’s pizza fortune. So what?
So. We know two things about Khan. He admires Wally Winkerbean. And he didn’t think all that highly of Funky.
I think it all boils down to the landmine incident. Wally had every reason in the world not to value Khan’s life, and to hate him. Khan was a murderer who had indirectly killed his friends. And the only comeuppance Wally sees fit to give him is a black eye.
Khan also seems touched and impressed that Becky and Wally would adopt Rana with no reservations.
When they first met, Khan had only seen Wally’s life in terms of how much money he could make. But when his own life is in danger, Wally tells Khan to leave and save himself. Khan makes a daring gamble, puts both their lives on the line, and miraculously they both walk away. But is that enough to make up for the months and months Khan held him captive?
Kahn follows this admirable man to America. When Wally is presumed KIA, Kahn stays working at Montoni’s for years, ragging on Funky for neglecting the restaurant Wally had so loved.
When Wally returns from a traumatic captivity, so similar to what he had already been subjected to, maybe Kahn keeps his distance so as to not remind him? Maybe Khan leaves Montoni’s to make space for Wally’s advancement? Maybe he only leaves Westview once Wally seems stable and secure: newly engaged to Rachel, going back to school etc.
And now, Wally’s daughter tells him that, once Funky retires, Wally will have the whole restaurant. The entire pizza empire of Westview. The only thing standing in the way of his hero is the fat aging blowhard he never respected.
So, Kahn uses his US Citizenship to return to the states, and plans a series of drastically escalating pranks designed to drive Funky crazy and send him into an early retirement.
Still not convinced?
Remember last year, when the Pizza Monster was able to keep Mr. Monster from unmasking him by suggesting he was a woman?
Well, during Wally’s daring escape from Khan, Wally used the exact same ploy. Completely covered in head to toe, and using Khan’s people’s reluctance at revealing the female form to maintain his disguise. Khan had learned from the tricks of his friend.
So, Kahn is the Pizza Monster. Canon.
But why does Rachel look so enamoured with the PBM today? Does he remind her of someone?
It’s been a fun two weeks! Beckoning Chasm takes over tomorrow. Happy Halloween everyone!
I’m sorry Jimmy. A broken sarcasm meter is one of the most common injuries suffered by SOSF commenters. We’ve been trying to pioneer a new treatment that involves carefully grafting sarcasm from other sources to the site of the meter injury.
But Wally Winkerbean is a name I’ve seen mentioned again and again, both in our comments and in the comments on Comics Kingdom. So I spent way too long over the last few days pondering the character of Wally Winkerbean, an exercise nearly as psychologically damaging as the actual act of BEING Wally Winkerbean.
And the whole time, I was asking myself, is this man the Pizza Monster?
Suspect: Wally Winkerbean.
1.) Wally could fit the physical description. He is nearly always drawn equal to or just a shade shorter than Funky. He is physically fit.
2.) Wally has former military friends and connections. While he probably lacks the funds to hire a helicopter, maybe a pilot buddy owes him a favor.
3.) Wally is familiar with helicopters.
4.) Wally is a manager of Montoni’s, and lives above the store. He is very familiar with the building. This works against the Mason Jarre theory. Would Mason have known about the roof ladder? Would he have had a key to the side delivery door? Would he be able to plan his interior getaway through the upstairs apartment? Did this require a key? Wally would have all of these things.
And here is where things get hazy. What motive would Wally have to do this? Who is Wally?
I don’t even think he really knows. He’s like a dog that’s been kicked around one too many times. He’s so guarded. He lingers at the edges of panels, letting other people do the talking, smiling benignly. He’s always trying to be helpful, always aiming to please and not cause a fuss or make trouble. Like he’s apologizing for existing.
Because he is.
Wally used to be an underachieving, pseudo delinquent who spent his days goofing off at band practice and dragging a frozen turkey around on a string.
And then, right after high school graduation, when he was joyfully confessing his drunken love, he caused a horrible car accident that maimed his girlfriend and ruined her music scholarship. He didn’t speak to her for more than a year and joined the military. To atone? To escape? Both?
The car accident sets Wally off on a spiraling cycle of trauma and atonement. He is in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan, presumed dead (for the FIRST time) but escapes captivity and returns to Westview to marry Becky.
But the trauma of Afghanistan weighs on him, and he returns to the country in an attempt to atone for that. Both he AND Becky are nearly exploded, and adopt an orphaned girl.
Wally is unexpectedly redeployed to Iraq. When he gets there he learns that his wife is pregnant and he misses the birth of his son. During the time skip wally is exploded by a roadside IED, and held captive for years. The only face he can remember during his long imprisonment is the face of his beloved Becky.
And when he’s finally reunited with her, she shows him her second husband, takes him to his own grave, hands him a trombone, tells him Dinkle said hi, and LETS HIM WALK TO FUNKY’S HOUSE.
And you know what? He takes it all. We barely see him complain. He just accepts it. He gets angry and loses it ONE TIME to a random guy at a traffic light. He has a panic attack at a basketball game. But he doesn’t want anyone to make a big fuss on his account. When he can’t minimize, he apologizes. When someone helps, him he thanks them. He resists help only when he sees it as fruitless or too much of a hassle.
Eventually, Wally get’s his wonder dog and his wonder wife, and things have mostly turned around. He’s happy now. But he still seems happiest when he’s pleasing others, or when he’s doing good. That’s what the Adeela thing turned out to be. She reminded him of his sins and trauma, so first he tried to run away. Then he tried to please her. He offered her a job, helped her get her license, worked to keep her from being deported, just another bit of atonement for the fact that poor Wally still doesn’t really think he’s worth the hassle.
Why would this sad sack of a man be the Pizza Monster? Why would he torment the one person who was there for him when even his own wife had abandoned him?
And so again: Motive:
1.) Similar to a Mason theory, Wally believes that this yearly prank is somehow good for Funky. Either as a distraction from grief, or a catalyst to shock Funky out of his usual ennui. He believes this helps Funky so much that he is willing to go through a dangerous stunt that would likely trigger his PTSD.
2.) When you peel back the layers and layers and layers of guilt and trauma, there is something inside Wally that craves the boy he used to be. A prankster. A fearless daredevil. And that buried side of himself has responded to his life’s trauma by craving first the anarchy of anonymous pizza theft, and then the danger of this year’s stunt. Even Wally seems to realize that he is repressing something.
At what moment in Wally’s life did he feel the most joy? When did the art show us he was completely free of the weight of all his guilt and inadequacies?
The adrenaline pounding in his veins, the rush of air in his lungs, the unbridled cry of triumph. Yes, I am alive! I have done the impossible! I have stood at the precipice of death. Yet everything I love awaits me in safety! I have broken the rules of this dark universe!
What would Wally do to recapture that moment when every thought in his tortured brain was blanked out by wordless, animal joy?
Would he become….the Pizza Monster?
Again we see Funky fetishizing an inanimate object with ties to his youth that only holds meaning to him. And once again it makes no sense whatsoever. Why would the jukebox “have to go”? They couldn’t wipe it down with some sanitizer a few times a day? I mean it’s his building and his jukebox, I can’t think of a single reason why he couldn’t just leave the f*cking jukebox where it is. Yet there they are, hurriedly rushing the jukebox out the door like it’s packed full of anthrax (the disease not the band although both could be deemed as alarming). Why? Does it shoot COVID from the coin return or something? Will the song choices compel listeners to violate social distancing standards? I don’t get it.
And look how they didn’t even bother to coil up the cord. That dumb jukebox is one of Funky’s most treasured objects yet he’s carting it around like it’s a broken toaster. I don’t know what the idea behind this strip was supposed to be but I’m just baffled.
If Funky’s been fortunate at all, it’s when it comes to servicing his business needs for cheap or even free. He got the multitalented Darin to singlehandedly develop a bespoke Montoni’s app. Adeela provides architectural services for a server’s wages (minus tips!), and who needs a sign painter when you’ve got Wally? When finally he is forced to pay an actual professional, the job turns out to be a prolonged nightmare.
What Funky really needs to hire (or take unpaid advantage of) is a hospitality designer, an interior decorator for restaurants. Just look at the tablecloth in today’s strip. That acid green, buffalo plaid tablecloth that looks like it’s made out of the traveling green shirt. That green does not tie in with the green stripes on the Italian tricolor awning, nor with that grimy, red velour cafe curtain in the window. Behind which sits those late 80’s “dusty rose” colored walls. On second thought: instead of that hospitality designer, I’d think I’d like to see chef Michael Irvine give the pizzeria the Restaurant Impossible treatment.
Leave it to Batty to give a line about “going insane” to the character who’s famously struggled with mental health issues. Funky may not be going insane, but this extended reno clearly has taken a toll. He’s had that bemused look on his face all week. Everything happens to Funky!
So today we get the strip that probably should have run Monday. The good news is that in today’s strip, Batty’s setting up an actual joke. The kitchen reno drags on with no end in sight (and remember: this all started out with a quote on a bathroom renovation and turned into a package deal; we don’t know if they’ve even started the bathroom). Funky dimly recalls that Rachel’s “studying to be a lawyer” and, in classic Funkman form, sees an opportunity to cadge some free legal advice. Funky doesn’t understand how adoption works? Isn’t his son Cory (like most other Westview millennials) an adoptee?
So now we’re back to “Funky’s Body is Failing, Chapter 43”. Is that supposed to be Corey in the first panel? I hope so, because it’s legitimately hilarious that he’d have no clue that his dad is about to have surgery. Years ago, somebody must have told Batiuk that the way to get readers up to speed on what’s happening in your story is to have one character ask another what’s happening, because he sure does it a lot, and it’s super awkward every time.
Oh, and Funky is still nervous, in case you didn’t know. I really don’t know why Batiuk thinks “someone is nervous about surgery” is comedy gold, but he does.