Reporting For Doody, Sir!

Link to today’s strip

How very touching. See Cliff, they never forgot about you…except for that brief sixty year period between your final Starbuck Jones film and right now, that is. Just a few months ago these crappy old Starbuck Jones films were so obscure that even Pete, the nerdiest nerd who ever nerded, didn’t know about them (and he whined about having to see it in the first place). Yet now throngs of weirdos (all male, coincidentally enough) are pouring out of their hovels (and the WHS faculty lounge) to chant banal old catchphrases at a ninety year old guy in a spaceman suit. Did the films suddenly become popular again or did dozens of people suddenly remember they were the cornerstones of their childhoods or what? It’s all so typically Batiukian, something is, then suddenly it isn’t, then it’s both and sometimes neither.

What a weirdly specific-looking big-headed crowd, I (sort of) wonder who they’re all based upon? Those creepy big heads are just way too detailed to be accidental. Friends and associates is my best guess. Lucky them.

Boy, the Batiukverse is really in chaos now, particularly the timelines. FW is featuring an arc about an old 1950s B-movie star, which means these dorks are all agog over a guy whose “heyday” was over sixty or (if we’re still pretending it’s ten years from now) seventy years ago, long before the majority of them were even born. And nothing that’s happened in the strip would indicate why this is so.

Meanwhile “Fallen Star”-era Les Moore is talking about old books in Crankshaft, which I assumed was happening in the present day. So if it’s 2016 in the Crankverse and it’s 2026 in FW, the CS Les should be Les from ten years ago, when the strip was rolling along with its very special all-cancer format as we slowly waited and waited for Lisa to finally die. Even if it’s “now” in FW and ten years ago in CS it doesn’t add up correctly.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

25 responses to “Reporting For Doody, Sir!

  1. Bill Clinton, Dick Van Dyke and Stephen King. I never knew Starbuck Jones fandom was so widespread.

    Bobanero called this earlier in the week. Why is this happening in Crankshaftville? It should be happening at Montoni’s, in Westview. You know, the town that actually welcomed Mason Jarr, where he hoped to build his future life. Instead of this nowhere town with no one in it. Why would the studio insist on holding this meeting here? Hell, they could tout the connection with Mason in Westview…in Crankshaftberg, it’s just random. Once again, Tom Batiuk ignores reality in his increasingly desperate attempt to get people to like Crankshaft. (Mr. Batiuk, no one will ever like Crankshaft. Give it up.)

    Since I try to forget FW strips as soon as they’re posted this may be wrong, but I seem to recall that having Jff visit during the “Lisa’s Rape Diary” story was touted as this amazing cross-over that would blow people’s minds. Look how Jff holds a cup of coffee!

    Now, the Crankshaft cross-overs are every couple of weeks. We haven’t seen an actual Funky Winkerbean character for two weeks until today…and Jim Kibblesnbits is not the sort of go-to character that will “engender reader loyalty” unless those readers are reading the instructions on air sickness bags.

  2. At least half of these must be caricatures of people Batiuk knows. The might be friends, although after seeing how they’ve been drawn that might be a point of contention.

  3. billytheskink

    I never thought the day would come where I’d desperately wish for one of TB’s trademark panel-covering walls o’ text.

  4. spacemanspiff85

    I really get the impression Batiuk drew Jim in there at the last minute after he realized he maybe needed to have an actual Funky Winkerbean character in there. I really don’t know where Pete, Darin, John, Harry, and Jeff are, especially since we actually saw Jeff go to this thing last week. I guess Batiuk’s saving them for the grande finale.
    And doesn’t this seem like the kind of thing someone making a documentary on Cliff Anger would want to be at? I know it’s No Girls Allowed and all but you’d think they’d make an exception…

  5. Gerard Plourde

    Leaving aside the caricatures, the transformation of the basics of this storyline over the last few weeks is nothing short of unbelievable. It would have been more consistent (and realistic) if Batty has scripted an arc explaining that the Batom title had enough of a regional following that it spawned a local after-school kids’ show where Cliff as “Starbuck Jones” introduced cartoons and “Three Stooges” shorts. It would explain both his obscurity in New York and his relative fame in Northeastern Ohio.

    Instead we get this.

  6. spacemanspiff85

    And what the hell is up with the hands? They’re not waving. It’s almost like they’re giving some dumb spaceman salute, except everyone’s hand is different.

  7. This is truly a breakthrough in literary physics. We’ll call it Quantum Continuity: Cliff Anger is, at the same time, both utterly obscure and mega-famous. The Starbuck Jones movie is, simultaneously, a market-tested, summer tentpole feature, and a haphazard experiment in guerrilla filmmaking. Mason Jarr is, at one and the same time, accustomed to a lavish, millionaire lifestyle, and needs to crash in the spare room at an old friends’ house. What else . . . if Lisa shows up yet again, she could rightly be called Schrodinger’s Spouse, both alive and dead at the same time.

  8. Here, we have a bunch of idiots recapturing their boring, tawdry and silly childhoods. On Crankshaft, we have Dick Facey setting up the Little Old Lady In Pasadena gag.

  9. @Gerard Plourde; Making the back-story make coherent sense is something Batiuk detests because he thinks the stream of ass-pulls that was Silver Age DC Comics is how writing works.

  10. Jimmy

    I’m intrigued by the guy whose arm is coming in panel while he is off screen. Did Batiuk promise to draw him as well, but they had a spat? “Yeah, I’ll still draw you in, beady-eyed little nitpicker. You just wait.”

  11. Jimmy

    Never mind. I was going off HeyIt’sDave’s rendition and not the original.

  12. Saturnino

    ” I know it’s No Girls Allowed and all but you’d think they’d make an exception…”
    “Yet now throngs of weirdos (all male, coincidentally enough) are pouring out of their hovels”

    Yeah. What happened to the Susan Smith figure who was waiting on line outside the door?

    Oh, maybe she didn’t pay Bathack the $100…………………

  13. This is the single most pathetic collection of immature, ignorant middle-aged men since… Congress? I’m almost surprised Batiuk didn’t have them all standing at attention in full salute or whatever…

    Anger is clearly shocked at: 1. The incredibly inappropriate venue for this event, with nobody in attire befitting the surroundings, 2. After the studio went through all this time and effort, not even 20 people from the greater Cleveland area could be bothered to show up — And the ones that did all look like card-carrying members of the “Society of Comic Book Store Pederasts”, and 3. Mason smirking in smug satisfaction, like this was an unbridled success or even a good idea to begin with (to be fair, since Mason has no idea what ‘success’ by Hollywood standards looks like, he actually thinks 20 weird dudes showing up is a *good* thing….

  14. Didn’t Pete Ronzoni spend most of a week purchasing a decoder ring from Cliff Anger over Fleabay a couple of months ago? He should be front and center in this group. TB can’t even get the Chekhov’s gun rule right.

  15. Rusty

    My guess is these are all the guest artists who have done Starbuck Jones covers for Batiuk in the past. Or his own group of bros down at the Komix Korner. And as others have noted, you spend all week getting Jeff there, then don’t show him in the crowd? WTF.


    It should be pointed out that all of these so called diverse collection of Junior Spacemen are ……..white.

  17. billytheskink

    Bill Clinton, Dick Van Dyke and Stephen King. I never knew Starbuck Jones fandom was so widespread.

    I spy at least three Clint Howards in that crowd too.

  18. Professor Fate

    I said this before but it’s still apt: AHHHHHHH!!!!! Kill it! Kill it with fire!
    Really this is the scariest looking group of happy people I have ever seen.

  19. HeyItsDave

    You can always tell when T-Bats is giving someone a “portrait shout out” because they look like they’ve been drawn by that caricature guy who sets up at the state fair and whips out fast big-head doodles WHILE-U-WAIT (I can’t remember who first pointed that out – @tfhackett maybe?)

  20. HeyItsDave

    Also, over in Dimension C-137, it is revealed that Lillian is selling all her own used books – she has no idea how a real store works. I, too, wonder if Lisa will be dead in this dimension.

  21. 6. Bob Newhart
    9. Tintin
    12. Soupy Sales
    14. Mitt Romney
    18. Robert Redford
    19. random douchebag

  22. Ray

    @Gerard…” local after-school kids’ show where Cliff as “Starbuck Jones” introduced cartoons and “Three Stooges” shorts. It would explain both his obscurity in New York and his relative fame in Northeastern Ohio.”
    Amazing…you captured both the essence of “SuperHost”, and Michael Stanley at the same time.

  23. Gerard Plourde

    @ Ray – I can’t take credit for clairvoyance. Our local version in the 1960’s on WKBS in Philly was Captain Philadelphia (played by sportscaster Stu Nahan). Buffalo station WKBW had two iterations – Rocketship 7(referred to by David Boreanz in a “Bones” episode and helmed by his dad, weatherman Dave Thomas, who moved to the ABC affiliate in Philadelphia and became Dave Roberts) which then became the Commander Tom Show with weatherman Tom Jolles filling the role.

  24. Jimmy

    Great call on Tintin, TFH.

    @billytheskink: The presence of multiple Clint Howards must mean Ron Howard is producing this Starbuck Jones movie. This ain’t no Apollo 13.