Paging Le Chat Bleu

Today’s strip poses the existential, time-travel-convoluted question “Am we happy?”—or is that “Are I happy?”

Clearly Cindy will never have read The Antidote: Happiness For People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking, which you’d think would be required reading at Westview High, were it not for the ban on happiness of any kind, and probably the school levy failing.

Although… Cindy ought to be happy, given that her female existence has been validated by Mason Jarr, a man, coming into her life.

“And Im Livinia, the only girl in this strip but what women’s lib doesn’t know won’t hurt ’em!”
Just ask Livinia what the worth of a woman is! (Detail from inaugural FW strip, 27 March 1972.)

Mason arrived in Cindy’s life inexplicably, I might add, but needn’t, because everything in Funky Winkerbean is inexplicable. You know what else is inexplicable?

  • It’s still the evening of July 5. Talk about time paradoxes!
  • The older versions of the characters don’t remember this event (except possible Crazy Harry).
  • The older versions of the characters offer no useful advice. Here’s a thought for title character Funky Winkerbean: “Hey, kid, you don’t know it yet, but you’re an alcoholic; please don’t ever touch the stuff!” (Alternatively: “Kid, my advice is to start drinking heavily!”)
  • Young Funky doesn’t recognize old Funky from the Starbuck Jones–cellphone girl incident.

So… Cindy is going to be the latest character to be revealed—mirabile dictu—to suffer from depression, or self-doubt, or impostor syndrome. Why isn’t Le Chat Bleu there to taunt her?

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26 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

26 responses to “Paging Le Chat Bleu

  1. SpacemanSpiff85

    I’m starting to think the fact that Lisa’s dead won’t be discussed at all, and Les and Lisa won’t interact one bit. Although if the story goes where today makes it seem and Teen Cindy kills herself, that might be interesting.

  2. Rusty

    It’s really mind-boggling that he would set this premise up and just use it as a vessel for more dopey wordplay and ennui. I should know better than to expect something interesting.

  3. Epicus Doomus

    Ugh. This one is possibly the worst of the lot so far. Why does BanTom feel so compelled to drag Cindy through the mud every time she appears? For the last few years every single Cindy story has centered around how “old” she is to the point where she’s just a stupid caricature. I honestly don’t know why he thinks this is “humorous” but it always comes across as being so mean-spirited and spiteful. I mean the woman just started a new (albeit shitty) job and she’s dating a Hollywood movie star (despite being married to Funky f*cking Winkerbean at one time), why the need for that annoying wry self-deprecating banter with herself? And why the fixation on her “fading beauty”? She began as a one-dimensional character, then he spent DECADES building her into “more” and now he’s trashing it all for the sake of these moronic gags. It’s almost as if he’s just admitting that a solid thirty years worth of his “work” was all just meaningless garbage.

  4. Nathan Obral

    Just ask Livinia what the worth of a woman is!

    And Livinia, like Dead St. Lisa the Cancer Chew Toy who was Cremated, is also dead.

  5. SpacemanSpiff85

    And this whole scenario really just highlights how ridiculous Cindy being portrayed as an old hag is. In the third panel today they basically look the same age. Compare that to how Teen Holly and Adult Holly look. If Batiuk had any integrity, this whole entire week would’ve been nothing but Teen Holly saying “No, seriously, I grow up to be you?” and then sobbing uncontrollably.

  6. MJ

    This is all just all just light hearted filler until he gets to the big Les and Lisa payoff, then everything will get all serious. Kind of like the history of this comic in a nutshell.

    You know it’s coming, otherwise why bother retconning Lisa in with the original gang?

  7. Guest Page Turner Author

    Les and Lisa! That needs to be the focus here, Battic! Les and Lisa!

    SHE’S COME BACK FROM THE DEAD, YOU HAVE TO ACKNOWLEDGE THIS HERE!

    Enough of the whining about middle aged ennui, and gags about 21st century technology. Get to the center of what’s going on!

    I still hold out hope that Battic will address this properly.

  8. Granted, I don’t know much about the Act I Cindy, but wouldn’t her question more logically be “Are you, me, we, us..you know…popular?”

    The few times her past self has been mentioned, it always seemed that “popularity” was what brought her happiness.

  9. No really, Young Cindy, Old Cindy is asking. She’s been in Westview long enough to completely forget the definition of “happy.”

  10. Charles

    Granted, I don’t know much about the Act I Cindy, but wouldn’t her question more logically be “Are you, me, we, us..you know…popular?”

    Just goes to show that Batiuk doesn’t really think about these at all. He didn’t think about characterization or context within the larger universe he’s created over the last 43 years. He just thinks of the one thing he immediately associates with the character and that’s that. Cindy’s so miserable because she’s so ollllld. Funky hates his dumb name. (Seriously, where did this come from? Has this always been the case?) Crazy likes comic books. He hasn’t shown Les because he hasn’t been able to figure out whether to go with “Les is a loser” or “Les is a pompous ass”. He hasn’t done anything with Lisa because the most obvious thing is too problematic for the stupid, facile level at which he wants to write this sequence.

    It’s epic laziness.

  11. The problem is not simply laziness and stupidity. We also have to factor in the fact that envy, misogyny, spite and misogyny enter into the picture. Even from the start of things, Batiuk was pissed off at all the girls who didn’t have time for the oddball with the funny name and used his strip as a means of getting back at mean popular girls and stupid majorettes. The default misogyny that informs the strip is so toxic, most Men’s Rights freaks are probably turned off by it.

  12. ComicTrek

    @Paul Jones: Wow, is that true? Yikes!

  13. Rusty Shackleford

    What were they doing inside their school on July 5th back in the 70’s.

  14. Nathan Obral

    Tom Batiuk is not that different from noted misogynist Brooke McEldowney of Bigporn and 9 Chinless Loon. Whereas Brooke blathers about his conservative views while drawing ugly women with around 100 teeth (not kidding), Batiuk can only draw three types of women:

    1. Those who are perpetually younger than they look (Cindy, Jessica Darling the daughter of My Father John Darling Who Was Murdered)
    2. Those who don’t even look like females with rather ugly short hairdon’ts (Summer, Becky and Dead St. Lisa the Cancer Chew Toy Who Was Cremated)
    3. Those who are fat, frumpy and/or totally unappealing, with or without the traced-on Ed Crankshaft bulbous nose (Holly, Linda, Apple Annie, Donna, Alex, etc.)

  15. billytheskink

    While I think Young Cindy’s crestfallen reaction is a bit much, I do sympathize with her here. If and when I jump in a time pool and travel to the future, I would be extremely disappointed to find my older self asking me 2nd grade vocabulary questions.

  16. @Nathan Orbal: McElnazi (so called by Comics Casserole because of his insane Germanophilia) can only write mindless and inept sex kittens or wizened, anti-life crones. This makes him vary in degree but not in kind from Batiuk and his endless array of shrewish hindrances, servile doormats and out-and-out imbeciles.

  17. Professor Fate

    and we keep waiting for the shoe to drop when young St. Lisa finds the monument to dead St. Lisa and finds out she’s well, dead. Instead we get this mindless chatter telling us things readers of the strip already know – such as nobody is happy in the Funkverse.

  18. $$$WESTVIEW ONCOLOGIST$$$

    Happy – anything that is not the comic strip “Funky Winkerbean”.

  19. Nathan Obral

    You want ‘happy,’ Teen HollyCindy? Go over to Phoebe and Her Unicorn or Pearls Before Swine next door.

    Or talk with Berkeley Breathed. I’m sure he can squeeze you in as an extra in Bloom County 2015.

  20. Sgt. Saunders

    The most egregiously inexplicable item is Les ignoring Lisa. He’s supposed to be so enamored of her, yet he won’t even tell her to get a second opinion on that biopsy or, presuming this is a pre-Frankie-defiled Lisa, to warn her of Frankie’s impending violation of her woman flesh. It probably won’t matter because everyone involved – except Harry – apparently remembers nothing that happened.

    I predict that Harry will wake up on Friday or Saturday in the comic book shop, all sweaty from his fever-dream, while not noticing some physical clue that his dream was real.. That could be one reason that all the participants are acting in such an incongruous manner. Another reason is that it’s just another day in the Funkyverse.

  21. Nathan Obral

    @Paul Jones

    McElnazi (so called by Comics Casserole because of his insane Germanophilia) can only write mindless and inept sex kittens or wizened, anti-life crones. This makes him vary in degree but not in kind from Batiuk and his endless array of shrewish hindrances, servile doormats and out-and-out imbeciles.

    I still can’t believe that Brooke McEldowney spent 15 GODDAM MONTHS on a stupid and implausible WWII flashback sequence with a whimpy French imbecile as a key character. That character (I forgot his name entirely) made St. Les the Righteous Smirker look lovable and un-punchable by comparison.

    One other major difference between Brooke and Tom Batiuk (beside political affiliations) is that Brooke forbade comments on both of his comics. Otherwise, they are similar in their hatred of critics who say it’s not “art.”

  22. @spacemanspiff, yeah, I’m starting to think the same thing about Lisa and Les. Lisa is the big, dead elephant in the room here

  23. $$$WESTVIEW ONCOLOGIST$$$

    Here is what I don’t understand about Brooke McEldowney. Why is he still writing comic strips? Why doesn’t he just focus on Graphic Novels? That’s obviously what he wants to do. The comic strip forum is ill suited for his fucked up vision.

  24. @Nathan Orbal: McElbonehead’s hatred of comments seems to stem from an over-inflated ego that insists that only HE can judge whether he’s churning out pap because only he is smart enough to tell chicken salad from his strip. It’s as if Brainy Smurf wrote misogynistic, anti-choice porn.

    As I said, that distinguishes him not at all from Batiuk/Funky who points at a woman and then his dick and says “You go on here.”

  25. bad wolf

    Fun fact: Le Chat Bleu was previously literally blue! The CK archives of earlier strips had a Sunday from July 18, 1999, and there he was, a blue ghost cat instead of the banal white/black one we get nowadays. Weird, huh?
    Le Chat Bleu July 1999

    Look, i hope i didn’t get anyone’s hopes up thinking anything about FW was going to be “fun”.

  26. @Beckoning Chasim: From what I remember, Act I Cindy was a vain popular girl that was a massive shopper. So much that the local mall gave her a Hollywood-style welcome when she came back from college to visit. Also, her dad would indulge in her, giving her money whenever she wanted.

    @Paul Jones: Don’t forget, if any woman doesn’t have either trait (Mildred/Death and Esther), she is free to be treated like crap. Either that or she’ll eventually become a sex-kitten (Hemylyn (sp) and Fernanda.) That and a number are elitist bitches (Fernanda and Juliette.)