Today’s strip was not available for preview, so we’ll all just have to wait for midnight Eastern time to see how Cliff’s hallucinations of Sam Spade prove Brinkel’s innocence or something.
In lieu of this Brinkel nonsense, let’s hop back 23 years to this very day, the last time a Funky Winkerbean character attempted to solve a celebrity murder.
The summer of 1996 was a busy one in the Batiukverse. Lisa was badly injured when talk radio caused the Westview Post Office bombing and Les was busy working on his first book, the eventual Fallen Star, where a fictional detective (surely not Sam Spade?) solved John Darling’s murder.
The interviewee here is Wade Wallace (he eventually became Funky’s AA sponsor) and Les didn’t even seek him out for this interview. Nope, this exchange happened because Funky, Les, and Lisa caught him running an ongoing scam where he would call and order a pizza, not pick it up, and then fish it out of the Montoni’s dumpster when Funky threw it out… y’know, because he was homeless. In fact, he likely had been homeless for a nearly 2 decades at this point, as his homelessness was used to set up a vanity gag in a December 1979 John Darling strip. Act II was a maudlin mess.
Wallace returned later in the summer to return a publisher’s check to Les, which he found because Les accidentally threw it out like an idiot. Les spends three strips in a dumpster looking for the check, which is a real highlight in Batiukverse history.