And Even Fewer Care, Cliff

Link to today’s strip

History lesson time…who knew? Anyhow, the entire SJ mythology veers wildly off-course today as the old serials we assumed were based upon the “Starbuck Jones” comic book series were actually written by Dashiell Hammett, a renowned  mystery writer and political activist from “back in the day” (guess which day, bet you’re not surprised). Few people knew this, as generations of obsessive SJ fanboys somehow completely overlooked the old SJ serial films because comic book fan communities rarely deal in the arcane or trivial and would have no interest at all in something like that.

Anyhow that’s a real swerve into left field completely out of nowhere, eh? Obviously none of this shameless, haphazard retconning makes even a little sense but hey, it’s his comic strip and if he wants to use it as some sort of half-assed platform to create magical boring fantasy worlds where his real-life interests and preferences get shoehorned into the narrative regardless of logic or continuity, that’s his business.

Briefly checking out the Dashiell Hammett page gives me an idea of where this is going…ugh. Cliff Anger…Political Prisoner? I guess it does beat band turkeys, though.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

25 responses to “And Even Fewer Care, Cliff

  1. spacemanspiff85

    You think Batiuk got permission from Hammett’s family or estate to use him in this story? I can’t imagine he did. I don’t think “a tip of the Funky felt tip” is enough to keep off a lawsuit, but who knows.

  2. Epicus Doomus

    So, those crappy old Starbuck Jones movies everyone forgot about for sixty years were actually brilliantly-written works of art created with the help of hip young Hollywood idealists, eh? Well, color me retconned! At first I thought this Hammett guy was another one of BanTom’s fancifully-named little friends and I stared at that name for a full four seconds trying to get the joke.

  3. Oh, hell. He’s going to ruin Trumbo.

  4. It isn’t bad enough this inept clod makes a worse farce of the McCarthy era than reality itself did without his trying to drag a name talent into his vortex of crap. Next thing you know, Ray Bradbury will have been the creator all along.

  5. ComicTrek

    “Dashiell Hammett.”

    I’m out.

  6. ComicTrek

    I mean, I’ll stick around to see how this arc ends up. But not without pain!

  7. The Dreamer

    Dashiell Hammet wrote the Maltese Falcon, about a statue of a falcon that everyone thinks has riches inside and is valuable, but is actually worthless except to those who want to believe otherwise. Like Starbuck Jones 🙂

  8. Chyron HR

    “Pfft, hey, Cliff, next you should tell her you’re the Lindbergh baby.”
    “C’mon, Vera, nobody’s dumb enough to buy THAT one!”

  9. Scott Lovrine

    As soon as I recognized Hammett in the header, I realized Batiuk was reading THE FADE OUT a year ago while “writing” this strip.

  10. Rusty Shackleford

    See, I told you that Batty just writes for himself!

    Batty, you da man, so knowledgeable, so righteous, and all because if comic books.

    Yeah man, back then we actually stood for something! That’s what Kent State taught me!

  11. Charles

    You think Batiuk got permission from Hammett’s family or estate to use him in this story? I can’t imagine he did. I don’t think “a tip of the Funky felt tip” is enough to keep off a lawsuit, but who knows.

    The Right of Publicity is a pretty murky legal area, but some states have decided that that right goes away when a person dies, so Batiuk might be covered. And even if he isn’t, the paltry sum he’d make from name-dropping Dashiell Hammett probably would make any case not worth pursuing.

    But who knows, violating the right of publicity by explicitly linking Hammett’s name to this shitty little comic serial in a shitty little comic strip could be considered grave damage to his reputation. So good job, Batiuk. I have no idea what he thought he was accomplishing with this. You don’t want to remind people of good writing in the middle of your putrid writing.

  12. Rusty

    Wikepedia tells me Hammett was blacklisted after refusing to testify in the McCarthy hearings, in 1953. So if he started writing the serials in the mid-50’s, and Cliff was starring in them at the age of 30ish (my guess), Cliff is about a thousand years old now. Give or take the 10 year gap between this and Crankshaft.

  13. Eldon of Galt

    “…for another who was black-listed.” I’m guessing another besides Cliff, because we seem to have jumped over about ten minutes of this conversation, in which we would have learned why Cliff went to prison, what black-list he’s talking about, and other details that are only entirely essential to understanding this so-called story. Man, is this ever lazy and inept.

  14. “Dashiell Hammet? Oh, wait, that’s the Alzheimer’s acting up. I meant to say Ed Wood.”

  15. saturnino

    “guess it does beat band turkeys”

    A turkey, no matter how you dress it up or stuff it, is still a turkey.

  16. A HREF

    TB continues to surprise me with how dull he could make something that could be interesting.

  17. Clyffe Angere: “Okay, the Hammet thing was just a joke. What really happened was, we had just wrapped up the ‘Xanaxian Terror’ serial. Vera and I got really drunk and decided to sneak onto the set and film a stag reel in costume. We got the guy who played the rubber-suit monster to join us…”

    Vera West (smirking): “…and he was hung like a horse, dear…”

    C.A.: “Somehow, it got spliced into a print of Episode Six that was shown at a Saturday morning children’s matinee in Toledo. We had to stay out of Ahia for thirty years after that, till the statute of limitations ran out.”

    V.W.: “That poor producer who changed planes in Cleveland…”

    C.A.: “I think he’s still rotting in jail in Akron…”

    (both smirk)

  18. spacemanspiff85

    That’s my point, really. It’s not so much the legality of it, as who in the world would ever want to be associated with this strip. And Batiuk’s just doing all this to make his fake comic book seem even more impressive, which is just silly and really kind of sad. Next thing you know he’ll have George Lucas directing the serials, and say that John Wayne was Cliff’s sidekick.

  19. Judging by TB’s blog we’re in for a sideways comic on Sunday again. How the hell hes gonna tie Kid Kidd to Cliff, blacklisting, etc. is beyond me. But then, I don’t know “writing.” It is interesting, though, that he seems to equate raging nonsequiturs with dramatic tension. Or maybe the Starbuck Jones comics artists got blacklisted as well and had to take hack jobs doing shitty westerns comics? Man, I am wayyyy overthinking this….


    Geez, Is there an artist who name drops more than Batiuk? Yes, I get it. You know the name of great writers. Maybe if you actually learned something from those writers, we could enjoy theses strips, more!!

  21. I think you’re almost right, @spacemanspiff85 – but it will be John Wayne Gacy, who framed Cliff for the murders… hey, look at me, I’m writing FW fan fiction now!

  22. Really? The Hollywood blacklist? How cliche…

    Why couldn’t Cliffe have gotten caught up with the Mason Family or something?

  23. bad wolf

    @oddnoc: Trumbo, released 27 November 2015 (USA). Uncanny. TB truly is the Emperor of Last Year.

    Sorry to be less liberal myself but the Hollywood Blacklist is, as Hitorque says, pretty cliche. And tbh I thought worse of it before than in the last few years when I started hearing people say that they wouldn’t see/read things by conservative actors/writers/etc. That anyone would still be beating that McCarthy dead horse in an current climate of Hollywood single-party activism is, as always, bizarre.

  24. It’s always a bad idea for a writer to draw attention to a writer who is much better than he is.

  25. Rusty Shackleford


    Wow, Batty’s last blog entry is sure full of it. I guess he is too busy with book signings and that takes away from his writing time. I got a good laugh when he talked about picking up something cultural for Christmas. (I.e. One of his books)

    And for a strip dedicated to discussing contemporary issues, why is it he is always time traveling? After all, he could be discussing modern Hollywood and its obsession with political correctness.