In Soviet Russia YOU call ComGovOp

Link to today’s strip

Contemporary issues come roaring to the fore today as FW courageously takes a swipe at Senator Joseph McCarthy and the Cold War-fueled “Red Scare”. Of the 1950s. “Contemporary” in this case meaning “within the last century”. Not a lot of comic strips out there are willing to tackle the events that rocked our culture six decades ago and for that I sincerely believe FW and TB deserve a lot of credit sixty years from now. Perhaps in 2076 some obscure comic strip writer will name drop BanTom and his heroic fight against entertainment. Maybe some future generation will see FW differently than we have and it’ll gain a cult following and those “Lisa’s Story” books will be worth a fortune. But probably not.

Look at Cliff today, just oozing titly-headed sincerity all over the f*cking page, tilting this way then that way to get his point across. Along with their mystery-writing guru, Cliff and Vera were all set to “change the world” in some vague, weakly-defined way until it all fell apart thanks to the vicious hand of various artist-martyring forces who ruined their careers and made them sit there doing nothing for sixty years until an opportunity to suck at the teat of the modern-day mass media Hollywood machine came along at which point Cliff couldn’t get off the couch fast enough. And Vera sure seems to be enjoying the attention and the opportunity to live it up on CME’s apparently massive bankroll too. I guess that gave up on all that youthful idealism when they became reclusive hermits. Glad to see them finally getting the opportunity to complain about it now, too, right as everyone who vividly remembers that era prepares to die.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

16 responses to “In Soviet Russia YOU call ComGovOp

  1. I shouldn’t have to point out to Tom Batiuk that, after the fall of the Soviet Union and the opening of (some of) the KGB archives, it turned out that many of those who were suspected of being Soviet agents…were Soviet agents. There were all manner of records of meetings with KGB personal, who told them what themes to push in their work, and so on, and so on.

    But Joseph McCarthy was an uncultured boor, who probably once said that comic books were bad, so it all balances out, eh Tom?

    That’s the problem with this strip and its attempts to deal with anything weighty. I have a feeling that the origins of these “serious” themes all come down to someone quoted as saying, “I hate the Flash.” And Tom Batiuk’s brow narrows, and he scowls, and he gets out his felt-tip.

  2. spacemanspiff85

    So what was the point of having Hammett in this story? Batiuk couldn’t just have Cliff be a communist all on his own? I think Batiuk mostly just did this to make Starbuck Jones seem cool, which seems to be the only purpose of this strip anymore.

  3. billytheskink

    “Huh, Funky Winkerbean just improved my opinion of Joe McCarthy…” I just said to no one in particular.

    Given TB’s track record with facts, I’m half-surprised he didn’t pin the red scare on Eugene McCarthy.

  4. Jimmy

    It was Charlie McCarthy who actually had all the reds running scared.

  5. Gerard Plourde

    The “Red Scare” and blacklist of the late 1940’s and 1950’s is a very complex subject and an understanding of that history is not helped by confusing and conflating events. The blacklist was not a product of McCarthy’s Senate hearings in the 1950’s that targeted government employees and whose activities were finally discredited in the Army-McCarthy hearings in 1954. It was the product of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Un-American Activities (also known as HUAC), a committee that survived into the 1970’s as the House Internal Security Committee.

  6. Since Batiuk’s a mush-head, he’s going to roll that mess into a taco of huffy failure. It would be a lot simpler and easier if he were to malign HUAC’s go-to paranoiac Walt Disney. That way, he could also jam it to Touchstone Television for telling him that Crankshaft actually has to have redeeming qualities in order to be watchable.

  7. Saturnino

    “Perhaps in 2076 some obscure comic strip writer will name drop BanTom and his heroic fight against entertainment.”

    What’s even more sad is that if everything is destroyed and 2000 years from now some archaeologists come upon a remarkably preserved piece of paper in a large metal container (thought to be a repository for valuable records) near a roadway………………

    This could be called the Batiuk or Starbuck civilization.

  8. The Merry Pookster

    Porgy: “Looks like we’ve caught them Red-handed.”
    Mudhead: “Look, here’s a Red hand.”

  9. It’s long been apparent that TB is very proud of how he plays around with perspective angles in his drawings. But all too often he falls on his sword and looks like a first year art student. Remember that missing car wheel a few weeks ago? So today, he’s going for “emphasis” with Cliff, even though people don’t lean sideways to convey seriousness-they lean forward. Here, he looks like a restless child acting silly. Or maybe it’s that the camera gal can’t hold the camera straight due to the lack of tripod…

  10. Rusty Shackleford


    Yeah Batty’s art is inconsistent and it does look more like he is playing around. He never really develops anything–so I guess we can say that draws like he writes.

    Compare Batty’s art to Breathed or Watterson and you can see that the latter can really paint a picture (and tell a better story) for the reader.

  11. Double Sided Scooby Snack

    Batty: “Haw haw! You thought I brought in obscure has-been Cliff Wanker to do a one-scene cameo. I’ll bet you also thought I brought in Very Gash to do a quick reunion with Cliff at a signing event. But then I decided they were the most interesting characters in the story (hey, they’re MY age!), and put them both in the whole movie. But guess what? They’re also the most courageous freedom fighters in the history of mankind! VICTORY LAP!!”

  12. I’m going to guess that, in a year’s time, Cliff and Vera will be telling Cindy how they secretly filmed some of the Starbuck Jones serial in Cuba.

  13. Oh my God. On his blog, Tom Batiuk talks about a daring rescue mission, when he took a comic book from a barber shop:

    “It was an older issue that I had missed on my rounds, and I knew that it would eventually become ruined and ratty from rough handling by other kids who didn’t appreciate its importance. Kids who would (I can barely think this, let alone type it) fold a comic book in half to read it. I’m not kidding. So I kind of took it with me to give it a good home. I looked on this as more of a rescue mission akin to keeping art from the Louvre safe from the Nazis.”

    I keep saying things about his obsession with comic books in a sarcastic way, and it turns out I’m just writing his biography.

  14. Double Sided Scooby Snack

    Comic Book = Fine, valuable art.

    Barber Shop = Louvre

    Grubbly handed little Komix Folding, hidebound literalist kids = Nazis

    What he doesn’t tell you is this happened last week. Wotta dork.

  15. Jimmy

    So, Batiuk admits to stealing from a barbershop. Wotta guy!


    Hmm, I wonder if there are statute of limitations on theft in Ohio..