Today’s strip contains
A couple of near-haiku
Shall we take a look?

“This text may be the
Answer you are looking for
It’s just gibberish”

“That is because it’s
Written in the Starbuck Jones
Junior Spaceman’s code”

Jeff has just put on
That stupid decoder ring
Why does he have it?

Came from his pocket?
Does he carry it around
Annoying others?

He just got a text?
But it was a Tweet he sent
To Director Guy

I guess that Durwood
Has uncle Jeff’s phone number
As if he’s used it

Nice car on the curb
Puts Batiukmobile® to shame
Who would park it here?


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

21 responses to “Hai-Code

  1. Hey, Max, why the long face?

  2. Epicus Doomus

    Seriously, are we to believe that this idiot actually wears a decoder ring on a daily basis? How would it even still fit? Maybe his finger just grew around it as he aged, like with a tree branch. It’s not the fixation on the old SJ serials that annoys me so much, it’s the fixation on the stupid pop culture detritus related to it. Secret codes, junior spaceman rings…and that’s it really, but it’s still somehow way, way too much.

    And believe it or not BatNom, but they do marketing and merchandising tie-ins with modern movies these days too, don’tcha know? Perhaps Boy Lisa could develop a decoder app, they could re-launch a Junior SpacePERSONS Club…and that’s it really, but again, way more than enough. Anyway, I hate these Crankshaft morons and their stupid crumbling old movie house with all the sentimental value. I hope the movie SJ bombs hard, the Valentine closes and they convert the space into something more useful that everyone could enjoy, like a weed-and-broken glass-strewn empty lot or something.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      In Batty’s mind this all makes perfect sense. This is how movie premieres were handled in the past. Everything in the past (when Batty was growing up) was the best, and represents the proper way to do something.

      Odd for a strip that claims to be contemporary, but that’s the newspaper biz for you.

    • Saturnino

      The Valentine and Max probably started their decline when Hannah left, which she apparently did in a fit of clarity…………..

      • Saturnino

        BTW, whatever happened to Mindy? She must be a frustrated old maid by now. Maybe she found a letter from Hannah to Max and trashed it.

        What AM I thinking? Stuff like that never happens…………..

        • billytheskink

          From TB’s blog:

          …for Darin and his friend Pete (soon to be dating Ed Crankshaft’s granddaughter Mindy) to go to the Flash Museum in Central City…

          Mindy will, I’m sure, fall for Pete’s obvious charms

    • You hit the nail right on the head. Marketing has to find a way to touch every profit point a movie can have. These include actors on talk shows touting the movie, image licensings (toys:re: decoder rings, action figures, wall posters). favorable reviews to generate word of mouth buzz and most importantly, picking a opening date that potentially generates the most.revenue while facing the least competition. (Don’t open the same day Star Wars opens.) These decisions are made while the movie is in pre-production. But I’m sure Marketing will forget all of this when they get the phone call telling them to move the movie premiere to a small town in Ohio. Yeah…right.

  3. louder

    So I guess, to BatHack’s way of thinking, a director gets a tweet, on the spur of the moment decides to go to the middle of nowhere for the opening without consulting with the studio, who financed the movie, has no one go out a look at the so-called movie palace, and makes the commitment by way of text message in stupid comic code. Sure, that’s how modern day Hollywood decides how to do openings.

  4. I love the faces in the last panel. They basically scream “Oh, no. Not this crap again.”

    Which would be great it this is how the arc ended. “Poor old, uh dad. I guess he was someone’s dad? Unless we’re lucky? Anyway, he went out the way he lived–blabbering on and on about something no one cared about. Uh, amen, and we spent a lot on snacks for the enclave, so enjoy and everything.”

  5. billytheskink

    I wish this strip was written in the Starbuck Jones Junior Spaceman code, it would be a lot easier to ignore as I would never bother to translate it.

  6. Epicus Doomus

    This endless fascination with the concept of secret codes and decoder rings is mysterious and extremely weird. This has to be at least the third or fourth FW arc involving junior spaceman decoder rings which is a lot for a subject that’s inane even by FW standards. I know WAY more about these decoder rings than I know about SJ itself, these decoder rings are getting more strip space than some characters have seen in years. I mean it’s just a simple letter substitution-type code but he carries on about it like it was some sort of youth and life-altering epiphany or something, the most indelible memory he has. This SJ mega-arc has been creeping along for years now and it’s finally almost ready to reach its climatic moment and somehow it all comes around to these stupid decoder rings again, like it’s all so clever or something.

  7. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    It’s just gibberish
    Nothing ever makes sense in
    Funky Winkerbean

  8. How classic him that he’s in love with a silly marketing gimmick cynically designed to exploit his need to feel important in order to sell him junk he didn’t need.

  9. bayoustu

    Sheesh… if Batboy is gonna bring in loathsome characters from a completely different strip that no one likes anyway, why not just import the cast from “Marvin” and be done with it?!

  10. sgtsaunders

    “It’s just gibberish.”
    *smirk* “That’s because it’s written in the Starbuck Jones Junior Spaceman’s Code.”
    “I know. It’s still fucking gibberish.”

  11. By the way, the decoder ring has one magical power: it can instantly teleport itself onto its owner’s hand. If you look over the past couple of strips it’s nowhere to be found on Jff’s hand.

    • Gerard Plourde

      The alternative implication, that a man reaching retirement age would regularly wear a kid’s toy ring, is sad and troubling.

  12. Professor Fate

    The Message: “Drink more Ovaltine”
    Funny how Jean Shepherd was able to be both nostalgic and clear eyed about things like a decoder ring which is why what he wrote was both funny and true. This, this is neither – indeed Jff’s obsession with Starbuck Jones borders on mental illness. which would explain the eye rolls in the last panel ‘oh god he’s gone again’ look.
    At the same time there is a real question here as to whose side is the reader supposed to be on here? We know that millions of dollars are heading the theater’s way as the SJ’s movie has its world premiere in Ohio so actually we should be chuckling thinking ‘oh boy are those two going to feel stupid when Jff decodes the message’, but Jff is such a vacant yet smug unlikeable man child that even though the reader knows good news is coming you are still hoping it isn’t.


    Starbucks Decoder ring is to Jeff, as Sonichu Medallion is to Chris Chan.

  14. Over at the FW blog, Batty bitches about threatened lawsuits in the days of John Darling.

  15. Charles

    Making erdmann’s comment Comment of the Week really seems inadequate. It ought to be Comment of the Month, or better, Comment of the Quarter. You know this shit’s gonna last at least until after Labor Day.

    I like how Jff somehow knows that the coded message is going to save the Valentine from financial ruin, despite the fact that he hasn’t decoded it. For all he knows, the tweet might read “LOL old man, go fuck yourself.” Or, if we wish to be more generous “Make sure to see the new Starbuck Jones movie out this Labor Day Weekend! (Bring your friends, as if you have any, you loser)” But no, he instinctively knows that it’s an offer to hold the World Premiere at this crumbling shitheap in the middle of Asshole, Ohio. It only makes sense.