Leningrad Steamer

Tailgunner Joe clearly has got some kind of a hard on for Cliff Anger and his commie pals, and he continues to press his case against this hostile witness. Query this, though: if Cliff had to find work in the summer of 1940, let’s figure his age at the time had to be at least, oh, sixteen. Which would make him 92 today. It’s not totally implausible that he could be spry enough to travel to Hollywood, resume acting, and even pitch woo with his former costar, but it is kind of a stretch. Of course, in the Funkiverse, age and even time itself is fluid and elastic. Cliff looks hardly older than the ostensibly late-fiftyish Crazy Harry, and Harry’s contemporary Cindy has the face and body of a millennial.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

16 responses to “Leningrad Steamer

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Easily the most laugh out loud hilariously bad FW of 2016. So now Cliff Anger was a Depression-era hobo too, eh? “Tramp steamer”…sure Tom, he hopped on the ol’ tramp steamer bound for Leningrad, right after his zeppelin trip to Constantinople. TomBan is lost in another fantasy world again and now he’s just randomly free associating things he knows about from the era. Tomorrow Cliff will be running a speakeasy in the Dust Bowl and dancing the Charleston in a beaver coat while swallowing goldfish on top of a flagpole before he dons his zoot suit and catches the Dorsey band over at The Copa.

    It took me a few seconds to realize that Cliff was being sarcastic here, given the imbecility of the dialog and the entire premise in general. Given the fact that so far he’s indeed done everything Tail Joe has accused him of doing, his pissy attitude makes him seem like less of a persecuted martyr and more of a smug dick than anything else and Lord knows FW already has more than enough of those. One person on Earth was amused by this “gag”, for reasons we cannot attempt to explain or quantify.

  2. billytheskink

    Cliff is making Tailgunner Joe look like one of history’s most honest and competent politicians here. He has denied none of McCarthy’s allegations, confirmed a few of them, and it could reasonably be inferred that he expressed some level of regret for joining Hammett in the CRC before he even launched into this McCarthy story.

    If I didn’t know TB’s work so well, I’d start to think this story arc was a pro-McCarthy piece. Intended or not, it works as one.

  3. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    “How would you characterize your shipmates, Mr. Anger? Were they communists? Were they virile? Strapping? Did they have tattoos?”

  4. No wonder McCarthy was an alcoholic: he had to interact with a character from Funky Winkerbean.

  5. It’s sort of hard to feel sorry for someone who keeps feeding the Committee evidence against him but we’re supposed to because Batiuk’s an idiot.

  6. Rusty Shackleford

    This non story is still dragging on. I wish a certain syndicate would form a committee to investigate why the author is still getting paid.

  7. “Mr. Batiuk, are you now or have you ever been a writer?”

  8. Charles

    “Mr. Batiuk, are you now or have you ever been a writer?”

    Only in a technical sense, Senator.

    Shaggy Dog stories with a punchline are hilarious. Shaggy Dog stories without a punchline are Funky Winkerbean.

  9. The sanctimony and self-righteousness dripping from this strip would really be something, if they weren’t blotted up by the sheer incompetency of the storytelling.

  10. Gerard Plourde

    I wonder where he’s going with this. Does Cliff defect to the USSR and end up in the Gulag until 1992?

  11. 1. Is Cliffe supposed to be serious here, or is he still bullshitting? Because if he *didn’t* go to St. Petersburg in 1940, then he just perjured himself before a federal investigative body… And who the fuck just up and goes to St. Petersburg for work, anyway? Even if it was acting work, Cliffe doesn’t strike me as someone with the brainpower to memorize all his lines in another language…

    2. “Communist Russia” is redundant, especially in this context — Much like “Red China”. Besides, weren’t they commonly call the Soviet Union back then?

    3. And a hearty FUCK YOU to Tom Batiuk for making me actively root for (one of) the most notorious fearmongering paranoid demagogues to ever haunt the political scene… Even though sadly, if McCarthy was around today he wouldn’t even be batshit insane enough to warrant media attention…

    4. As others have pointed out, Cliffe is in his mid 90s at the minimum and more likely well into his 100s

    5. You’d think since Cindy had the initiative and ambition to FUCKING BREAK INTO CLIFFE’S APARTMENT just to whore herself for an interview, she would have done some due reseach on the Red Scare and the Hollywood Blacklist and saved us five weeks of flashbacks…

    6. As one of the last surviving entertainers to be involved with the blacklist, you’d have thought Cliffe would have been swamped with interview/book requests from the national media instead of fucking around with meaningless cameo roles and PB+J/Ovaltine fan fests for a bunch of middle-aged losers — Especially since it’s shaping up that his testimony during the hearings was the stuff of legends (by Batiuk’s standards, anyways)…

  12. sgtsaunders

    I’m beginning to think all this overly dull shit is designed to make us miss Les.

  13. If you factor in the time jump, Cliff is actually 102. Anyway, it’s long been established that time is a fluid property in FW that behaves purely at the whim of the author. That may explain why the different characters appear to be aging at radically different rates. I believe that each character exists on their own personal time line. That’s the only way I could explain a father (Mort) who appears to be the same age as his son (Funky), whose ex-wife appears to be young enough to be his daughter.


    “Tramp Steamer” sounds like a codeword for something else. Which makes me wish that the big reveal on Cliffe Anger is that he was really in a Tab Hunter/Rock Hudson type scenario.

  15. Jimmy

    I, for one, applaud Mr. Batiuk for not writing a convuluted story arc.

  16. Rusty Shackleford

    Batty probably conceived of this arc simply as a means to work the words “tramp steamer” into the discussion so as to show off the new vocabulary he learned.