With This Ring I Thee Dread

Link To Today’s Atrocity

And now my disgust, rage and nausea gives way to resigned acceptance and a sad admission of defeat, as my worst fears are seemingly about to be realized. Cliff is going to ask Vera to marry him and he’s going to use that goddamned f*cking old decoder ring to do it. Not that long ago Cliff was hawking the thing on Ebay, today it’s an enduring symbol of the eternal love he feels for the woman he apparently forgot about for sixty years. Perhaps digging it out from under the bed in his sordid hovel of an apartment jogged his memory or something.

I have to admit it, while I dreaded the possibility of an unholy union between these two I never saw the f*cking decoder ring angle coming. The bastard out-hacked me yet again. Just when you thought it’d be impossible for this trash heap of a story to become any more sickening and repugnant bam, the f*cking SJ decoder ring hits you right in the face. I suppose I should have expected this but for some reason I always underestimate his ability to plumb the depths.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

27 responses to “With This Ring I Thee Dread

  1. Gerard Plourde

    So are we to assume that Vera is such a Starbuck Jones fan that she will be impressed by Cliff’s gift (possibly engagement ring)? So much for any resemblance to reality. There is virtually no likelihood that a nonagenarian woman whose only connection with the franchise was a role in a serial based on the comic in the late 1940’s or early 1950’s would form any lasting attachment to it. She did have a life (and, one assumes, a career) in the intervening 60+ years.

    The one thing that is plausible in this whole thing is Cliff’s obsession with it. We did first encounter him reclusively holed up in his apartment. And he apparently was hoarding memorabilia connected with his pre-Blacklist work. The implication is that he’s in serious need of therapy.

  2. billytheskink

    Even a whole quarter-inch away from reality, the next panel should be Vera throwing this thing as hard as possible directly at Cliff’s enormous forehead.

  3. spacemanspiff85

    I’d love it so much if he wasn’t proposing to her at all, but just giving her the ring because it’s a Starbuck Jones thing and everyone loves Starbuck Jones. Really, there’s no way one of Batiuk’s characters would get this excited over something as boring as love or marriage. But comic-related crap? Absolutely.

  4. Epicus Doomus

    spacemanspiff85: I can paint an even uglier scenario here. Cliff and Vera get engaged. Mason and Cindy are engaged. Cliff used to be “Starbuck Jones”, now Mason is. FW once had a wedding arc where everyone wore superhero costumes. You do see where I’m going here, right?

  5. Rusty

    kick his ass, lady.

  6. I know how this could be worse. Les could be sitting there, smirking to beat the band, and he’d be the one to suggest that Cliff use the decoder ring. He’d say something intended to be profound but it would come out awful.

    “You know they’ve discovered rings around Jupiter? Maybe it’s time Starbuck paid them a visit.”


    “The soul of youth knows that it will always be young, as long as it holds on to the things that make it young. But those things can be shared.”

    You know. Something Lessy.

  7. louder

    “And it’s yours for four installments of $29.95, plus S & H!”

  8. The Merry Pookster

    Why that’s nothing but a two bit ring from a Cracker Jack box. But for you Vera I will sell it for $5,000. Take that you first class chump

  9. Now we know why Cliffe’s lampshade was askew. That decoder ring was holding it up.

  10. Hitorque

    Jesus Fucking Christ… Proposing with a kid’s toy that came out of a cereal box? What self respecting woman doesn’t walk out then and there?

    I guess my only real surprise is that Masone didn’t propose to Cindy this way first?

  11. sgtsaunders

    What the everlovin’ is even going on here. This is one of the more cram-worthy events I’ve ever seen in FW, a strip chock full of cram-worthy events.Looks like Les may have to stand in line to get that VHS tape out of his colon.

  12. @hitorque – and Rachel got a rolled-up piece of paper. Let’s see, Rocky got a proper ring, because of comic books…I can’t remember what Cindy got. Is this a thing with this strip? Engagement rings are tied to paper products?

  13. And maybe the wedding invitations will be sent as an encoded advertisement on the 12th page of the Westview Gazette, and somehow draw a full house at Montoni’s. You know this wedding has to happen at Montoni’s.


    Three things about this strip:

    1. I have horrible images of a dual wedding between Masone & Cindy and Vera & Cliff. That is just the type of hack idea that Batiuk thinks is cute and heartwarming. And to top it off, they probably will incorporate it into the movie.

    2. What’s a worse proposal? The piece of paper ring Wally Winkerbean used on the red-haired waitress? Corey selling shitty Starbuck Jones comics to afford a ring? Or this?

    3. If I were Vera, I would go up close to Cliff and say “Hey, I have a message for you that you don’t need to decode.” And then punch him right in the dick.

  15. @Epicus Doomus: Yeah, I’ve been thinking in the back of my mind that we were getting railroaded to a dual wedding in full costume…

    I’m *SO* very glad I missed the comic superheroes wedding you mentioned, because I would have had an aneurysm…

  16. @beckoningchasm: A rolled-up piece of paper? I’d go on another long rant here, but then I remember that all Funkyverse women are legally required to be unconditionally loving doormats by decree of the author…

  17. @bobanero: Why go back to Ohio when they can have the wedding here and contract those creepy guys from the “Film Food” truck to cater the whole event? Then the cast can spend the next two weeks wondering just how the DMZ folks keep getting all those photos and juicy scoops…

  18. billytheskink

    I can’t remember what Cindy got.

    Undetermined. Mason and Cindy simply showed up at Montoni’s and announced it, Mason stating he was “picking up his option” on Cindy. Ugh.

    I have horrible images of a dual wedding between Masone & Cindy and Vera & Cliff. That is just the type of hack idea that Batiuk thinks is cute and heartwarming.

    He’s done it before, so it’s a fair bet he’ll do it again. TB likes to go back to the well.

    Funky-Holly and Wally-Becky had a dual wedding back in 2005:

  19. DOlz

    Dual weddings and cheap ass engagement rings/IOUs/whatever, that TB is the Ebenezer Scrooge of romantics.

  20. Professor Fate

    No. Just no. That’s all that needs to be said. Really.
    I love b movies and the old serials and the like and I’ve read some things by Tom Weaver who has interviewed stars and crew and all sorts of folks involved in these films and for a lot of them the jobs ended after a while, maybe after the first film. And yeah it hurt and yeah it was disappointing but the thing that shines through for all of these people was they GOT ON WITH THEIR LIVES and found as best we all can paths to happiness and fulfillment in their lives. They didn’t sit in an apartment and mope for 50 years or whatever about what cruel fate did to them. But in FW characters cling to loss and hurt and resentment like limpets to a rock, it’s their defining character trait really – which is what makes them all so unlikeable – really without their bitterness about the past they would have nothing. As an object lesson in not clinging to hurt it’s a good one, it makes a poor comic strip however.
    And she should just get up and walk away, resist the temptation to ram the decoder ring (and didn’t he sell his?) right up his nose. It’d be fun but I think illegal.

  21. We know absolutely nothing of Vera’s back story, do we? She just basically showed up on the lot during the filming. Are we to assume that she’s been living in her own boarding house in a seedy part of LA all these years?

  22. spacemanspiff85

    @Epicus Doomus:
    Oh there’s definitely a costumed dual wedding coming, I think the question is whether or not they film it and use it in the movie. And whether Marianne can find a match so she can finally be happy and not have to consider suicide so easily. My money’s on Pete, or if Batiuk is feeling bold, summer. Given the way he draws I don’t think I could tell them apart.

  23. spacemanspiff85

    She’s a woman and she likes Cliff. That’s literally all Batiuk thinks could be relevant about her.

  24. There is one thing that he does with pop culture after all: remind us that he doesn’t have a fucking clue as to how women actually think. Just as Saint Dead Lisa was supposed to be delighted to cosplay as the Burt Ward Robin when she got married, Vera is supposed to be happy that she gets this appalling trinket because otherwise, the clueless dick would have to see women as more than hindrances or victims.

  25. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    “Oh my goodness! A Starfuck Moans buttplug! Who gets to wear it first?”

    “Be my guest, milady! I was wearing it until 5 minutes ago!”

  26. The Dreamer

    He can do a double wedding with the other couple being Cory Winkerbean and Rocky– remember they got engaged a year ago and then haven’t been in a strip since that week. I assume they are still getting married and Cory is this huige Starbuck Jones fan