The good news? Batiuk is opting for once to “show, not tell” how Cliff wound up in front of Sen. Joesph McCarthy’s committee. The bad news is that rather giving us a straight-up flashback, TB’s presenting  Mason Jarre starring in The Cliff Anger Story. No way could the guy in today’s panel 3 be the same one we saw in yesterday’s: not with that cheese-cutter nose and maddening, dangling anglerfish-like forelock.

Gerard Plourde
November 26, 2016 at 1:31 am
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…

Many of you in our very erudite audience have rightly taken Batiuk to task for his fuzzy depiction of this chapter in our nation’s history. If TB can’t be bothered to do research, neither can I, though a little Googling turned up an article mentioning Dashiell Hammett, who was in fact called before Joseph McCarthy’s Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations but refused to cooperate. The article fails to mention if Hammett “sassed” Sen. McCarthy in the manner of Cliff Anger; but though he was blacklisted, effectively hastening his demise, he was not put behind bars.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

14 responses to “Doppelg-Anger

  1. spacemanspiff85

    Does Batiuk think that any of his readers actually care about Cliff? Because there’s not even at attempt at humor here. Just sticking it to a senator who’s been dead for sixty years, which is weird and bizarre and totally par for the course for Batiuk.

  2. Epicus Doomus

    “And then I said if you mean catchy Americana-tinged rock and roll and the throaty yet passionate vocals of Mr John Fogarty then goddamned right I’m with the CCR. Although I was never certain who or what Creedence Clearwater was or why it needed reviving, to be honest.”

    Yes, heroic steely-chinned Young Mr. Anger, handsomely taking a courageous stand for the right of every American to do nebulous, undefined things…(sniff)…this is the single bravest thing I’ve seen in FW since Les had to write a book while a pretend cat taunted him mercilessly about what a loser he was. He was almost like Gandhi or Christ in a way, minus the unexplained fifty-eight year narrative gap and the awful B-movies he made that were completely forgotten for sixty years until some annoying hipsters dug them out of the trash and gave them new life as pathetic nostalgic wallowing totems. But similar in some ways. Look at him there, heroically staring down ol’ Tail Joe (as he preferred to be called) with all the sheer swagger of a man with some pretty darned important points to make could ever hope to muster. What a guy.

  3. billytheskink

    Non-felt tip for TB: If something was mentioned in Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start The Fire”, it’s probably been covered to death in every medium imaginable by now. Practically no one under the age of 35 cares about it and most of those over the age of 35 probably had their fill by watching Forrest Gump, reading one of Bill O’Reilly’s Killing (blank) books, or looking at the cover of a “collectible” special issue of Time magazine while waiting to check out at the supermarket.

  4. Epicus Doomus

    See, BanTom has always seen himself as being a martyr for his art too, as he bravely stood defiantly against those who didn’t approve of the way he turned the comic strip writer’s craft on its ear by abandoning the “gag-a-day” structure in favor of long ponderous serialized bits of melodrama that eventually led to a guy needing a week and a half to open an envelope. He was willing to sacrifice tens of fans if it meant he could follow his heart and spend the next thirty years pretending to be a real writer while blatantly going through the motions. In fact it’s even easier without those pesky fans with their dumb continuity questions and incessant braying about wanting to be “entertained” and all. He truly put nothing whatsoever on the line for us, the readers, and for that we should forever be indifferent at most.

  5. Jimmy

    I’m willing to bet that Joseph McCarthy said something about comic books ruining our youth. You don’t disparage the noblest art form without getting your posthumous comeuppance.

  6. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    “And then I said, ‘Blow it out yer ass sideways, ya old fart! Up your gigi with a wahwah brush!'” (A quick wink to Vera) “Are ya getting all this, girlie? Ya sure ya got enough film in your camera?”

    There have been times when one of you funksters will put forth a guess about what’s going to happen, or where the “plot” line is heading. I’ll laugh and think, “That is too ridiculous and stupid for even this comic!” – and then you’re right. I’m learning. I’m learning.

  7. Epicus Doomus

    ian’sdrunkenbeard: Rule number one of FW predicting is, if you think your guess is too complicated, interesting or entertaining for FW it definitely is.

  8. It’s fascinating in a terrible way. It’s almost like watching Alda turn the Koren War into “the damned war this, the damned army that, Kim Il-Sung, fuck, yeah!!!”

  9. This may be TB’s most ambitious retcon yet. Transforming a B-grade science fiction story that was so lame even Ed Wood wouldn’t touch it into an integral part of the cold war resistance. Odd that none of these facts turned up in the research that Cindy did before the interview (she does research her interview subjects, right?)

  10. Gerard Plourde

    @tfhackett – I was surprised when you dug up Hammett’s testimony before the McCarthy committee. I couldn’t figure out how he could be connected to government operations but a quick Google brought up his testimony. Apparently McCarthy was going on a fishing expedition to root out Communists in the State Department because Hammett’s books were used by the State Department in its information program (I’m assuming that this was a reference to the U.S. Information Agency, which is responsible for cultural exchanges).

  11. Gerard Plourde

    Also, leave it to Batty to have Mason be a member of a group that was actually formed by the Communist Party of the U.S.A.

  12. Hitorque

    Can we just fast forward to the part where Cliffe admits passing on sensitive files to the Rosenbergs or Klaus Fuchs or whoever??

    It would be cool if Vera was shown to be Cliffe’s secret KGB handler/control, but that would take actual writing…


    I think the real story here is that Mason Jarr is a time traveler. Cliff Anger is Masone’s older version of his younger self and he hired his older self to cast in a role he played when he jumped in the 1940s. Or wait did I get that wrong…. Well It’s no worse a time conundrum that the regular Funky Winkerbean/Crankshaft timeline.

  14. Charles

    the awful B-movies he made that were completely forgotten for sixty years until some annoying hipsters dug them out of the trash and gave them new life as pathetic nostalgic wallowing totems.

    That’s one of the amazing things about this whole stupid storyline, that he retconned Starbuck Jones from being a 70s thing to being a much older thing, and in the process Batiuk removed it from being a plausible nostalgia totem for aging hipsters. And you don’t succeed in Hollywood by making a comic book movie aimed at men in their 70s. This was, after all, one of the last generations of the whole “when I grew up, I put aside childish things” outlook.

    It wouldn’t be a big deal or a huge success along the lines of the Avengers or Spiderman or something. Instead, from the way Batiuk has presented it, it’d be more like the recent retread movies that came from much older source material, like John Carter, which is so old I bet most of its intended audience didn’t even realize it was an old property, or The Lone Ranger, which was only noteworthy because it reinforced what a God damn weirdo Johnny Depp is. Notice that both of those properties failed badly. It’s from a different era, thus it wouldn’t be the least bit relevant to the enormous audience that’s paying money to go see comic book movies. There’s a reason why, in this era of digging up old properties and repackaging them, Flash Gordon hasn’t been seen.