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I demand a Plantman spinoff strip (in which he dies of a fungal infection of the leaves)

Funky Winkerbean, 4/18/14

Oh, whoops, it looks like Jess did read Les’s book after all. It’s just that she thought she could make a documentary that would explore the motivations behind her father’s murder without talking to her father’s murderer! Which seems … like it wouldn’t have worked very well? We learn by doing, I guess!

Anyway, given the air of understandable seriousness in this strip, you’re probably finding the phrase “aka the Plantman” kind of jarring. Well, thanks to faithful reader/novelty Twitter handle owner BatLesMoore, I can now reveal to you the strip where John Darling’s killer tried to take out Les:

Funky Winkerbean, 8/4/97

I have literally no idea what led up to this or followed it — presumably we’ll learn more later in this storyline — but it’s an interesting look at the Funkyverse as it transitioned from zany and whimsical to realistic and grim. Which is a nice way of saying it’s completely bonkers! Les is being tied up and held at gunpoint but a guy dressed up as a plant! I am now very much looking forward to Jess’s jailhouse interview with this maniac. The first question I’m eager to see answered: is he allowed to wear his plant costume in prison, for “religious reasons”?

Another important thing to note about that old strip is that the killer is Peter Mossman, not Pete Moss, and his alter ego was Plantman, not the Plantman, so maybe it’s more accurate to say that Jess skimmed Les’s book.

Momma, 4/18/15

So Momma is hanging out with … Tina? Or some other random young woman who’s never been in the strip before and never will be again? Whatever, the important thing to note is that Francis is so excited about his “theme music” that he’s vibrating like a tuning fork. Psychotic breaks from reality that cause you to believe you’re on a TV show and an unseen audience is watching and enjoying your every move can be fun, kids!

“To a certain extent,” hahaha

Mary Worth, 4/17/14

WHAT A TWIST! It turns out that it’s not just Tommy who’s too darn lazy to get off his duff and get a job; his mom is a shiftless bum too! “I don’t want a lot of talk about putting in the effort of learning how to bake, Mary,” she thinks to herself. “Just hand over the goddamn muffins! mmm, just gonna visualize Tommy lounging around back at the apartment while I go to town on this. He sure isn’t learning how to bake! Stay strong, Iris!”

Better Half, 4/17/14

It’s true, Stanley, a cool way to lose weight would be if you were just a smooth spheroid with no openings or internal structure, just a blob of living matter with no mouth or way to digest nourishment, yep yep yep not horrifying at all no sir

Funky Winkerbean, 4/17/14

Wait, but … but … Les already solved this, in his book about John Darling? OH MY GOD NOT EVEN JESSICA READ LES’S BOOK

Adventure awaits at Obie Falls, I am 100% certain

New-school Mark Trail: not only does he consort with geese but he also expresses the human emotion of affection for his wife? Bizarre. I mean, at least he’s doing it from a distance of several miles, so he won’t be expected to hug or kiss or touch or look at her. Seems relatively safe. Also, notice how he pairs up “being married to you” and “living here in Lost Forest”: if I have my LoFo lore right, the Trails’ cabin home is actually owned by Cherry’s father Doc. So, yes, this actually makes sense: every once in a while, Mark needs to placate Cherry’s intense, terrifying, incomprehensible feelings with an absolute minimum physical contact, so that he can continue to live rent-free in a cabin next to a forest, which is all he’s ever wanted in life. “I’ll be home later, honey!” he says. SPOILER ALERT: He’ll be home a lot later.

Better Half, 4/16/14

You know you’re a desperate pill addict when your mail-order prescriptions are delivered it feels exactly like your birthday and Christmas and every other holiday plus the day you got out of prison when you went away for mail fraud that one time combined.