Today’s strip wasn’t available for preview. I’m guessing it’ll show Jeff either showing off his decoder ring to Hallucination Young Jeff or awkwardly/creepily hugging him.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

60 responses to “Cave-ferno

  1. Epicus Doomus

    LOL…”Hallucination Young Jeff”. HYJ for short. Man, this arc is a real trip, maybe BatBarf should take FW on the road more often. Once again Batiuk astounds by improbably finding a way to work his love for ancient popular culture into the strip even thought it couldn’t possibly be any less relevant to the story.

  2. CRM114

    Yup, Jff hugging HYJ, he’ll actually have a character making love to himself. (But Batty does it all of the time so…)

  3. Y. Knott

    I’m guessing it’ll be …

    … the ghosts of Lisa and Bull appear and …

    … inspire a great comic book idea about …

    …the grim reality of steroids.

  4. Y. Knott

    I’m guessing it’ll be …
    (rolls dice)
    … the ghosts of Lisa and Bull appear and …
    (picks card from pile)
    … inspire a great comic book idea about …
    (spins casino wheel)
    …the grim reality of steroids.

    • Y. Knott

      Huh. For some reason, the first time I entered this, it stripped out all the dice rolling and other randomization activities.

      And yet this dull piece of information is still more interesting than anything in the strip will be.

      • Epicus Doomus

        When the fire first started and everyone was speculating on where it might lead, NO ONE guessed “Jff from Crankshaft will be trapped inside a cave full of 1930’s movie detritus”, as it could have only come from one very specific mind.

      • spacemanspiff85

        If Batiuk just came up with story ideas by rolling dice, it would be a massive improvement.

    • SeaCountry

      Oh man, we need to create a bootleg Cards Against Funky Winkerbean set! Of course Crankshaft can get involved, too.

  5. CRM114

    If Masky McDeath doesn’t make an appearance during this arc then I, for one, will be profoundly disappointed.

  6. erdmann

    So, if Jeff dies, will we be treated to a week of Pam whining about how they were never really in love and how marrying him killed her dream of becoming an author? Will she then realize that, following Les’ example, she can write a book about her late husband and how his obsession with a movie serial that came out before he was born led to his demise?
    And what’s the deal with “The Phantom Empire” anyway? I mean, it’s okay, but come on. Me, I would’ve gone with the fact that it’s the Batcave from the ’60s TV series. “Crankshaft” could have featured a flashback of Jeff and his long-haired hippie friends getting stoned and grooving to Adam West doing the Batusi. Holy funky freakout, Batiuk!

    • Charles

      Me, I would’ve gone with the fact that it’s the Batcave from the ’60s TV series.

      That’s the thing, though. None of Batiuk’s “good” characters are allowed to like something he doesn’t like, and he’s pointed out that he found the Adam West Batman show to be frivolous and disrespectful to the comics.

      This is why he’ll have Cory suddenly be interested in comic books when he needs Cory to be interested in something, and why not a single person in this comic who lives in the Akron area cares about the Cleveland Cavaliers even though some of them are devoted basketball players.

      • erdmann

        Funny thing: When I was a kid, I enjoyed the series. By the time I was in high school, though, I would have agreed that it was “frivolous and disrespectful to the comics.” Today, I own it on Blu-Ray and shake my head over comic fans who have no sense of humor about their hobby.
        Apropos of nothing, I also own the serial “The Adventures of Captain Marvel” on DVD. It was also filmed in Bronson Canyon.

      • Epicus Doomus

        Batman? You mean that newfangled Adam West version with the hippies and all that “rock and roll”? Not on Batiuk’s watch. He prefers the 1922 silent version, “The Bat Man” starring Rudolph Valentino.

      • hitorque

        I never understood either why the Cavs didn’t get any love for delivering a long-awaited title, especially when Batiuk hasn’t had any issues with his characters cracking “LOL Cleveland sports teams really suck!” jokes…

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          The same reason other great pro sports teams don’t get the attention they deserve: they’re not New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, or Boston.

        • Charles

          What I find worse and even more inexplicable beyond the lack of love for the Cleveland Cavaliers is how no one ever mentions Lebron James, whose hometown is Akron. The best active basketball player in the world, who is arguably the best ever, IS A LOCAL. And no one ever mentions him. He’s not from Cleveland. He’s from the town where Montoni’s is supposed to be located. He grew up twenty miles from where Batiuk lives. He’s an icon in Batiuk’s hometown.

          And it would be odd but not utterly inexplicable if the main character’s daughter’s whole identity, and the identity of her best friend/stepsister wasn’t wrapped around basketball. It’s hard to believe that it’s not a veiled insult and deliberate snub of James that he’s never mentioned.

      • SeaCountry

        I think that’s why so many of us find this frustrating, seriously. Batiuk might be able to competently tell the emotional, relevant stories he so desperately wanted to if he got out of his own way and looked past his own nose. If he let a more common reference like the Batcave draw readers into his story. If the men didn’t all love obscure comics. If the women had their own agendas that conflicted with men’s. Hell, if he gave women braids and topknots and not all the same boring straight shoulder-length cut! If he let his cast of basketball loving Ohioans celebrate the Cavaliers championship with real smiles instead of smirks. If, well, lots of things. Instead, he turned his strip into a train wreck.

  7. Epicus Doomus

    Wow, those trees sure do look awfully ominous. Looks like I sold BatYam short, the fire WILL affect the “Lisa’s Story” gang after all. This thing is just wildly yo-yo-ing all over the place.

    So how did Marianne get there? Why would Mason be in “editing” if the production was suspended? Are we the only people trying to make sense out of this and if so, why?

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I feel like I’m watching bad long-form improv. There’s all these plot threads flying around, but they don’t connect together at all, and the characters don’t ring true. But improv is made up on the spot, and this shit is written 11 months in advance.

  8. billytheskink

    And we’re somewhere else again… This is approaching the indecipherable madness of the final year of Apartment 3-G.

    Whoever had “manhole cover” in the SOSF foreground image pool can come forward to collect their prize.

    • William Thompson

      All that lush, well-watered greenery around Mason Mansion #2 will make for a lovely fire when the flames roll across town.

    • William Thompson

      I hope the manhole cover is foreshadowing, and Cindy and Marianne take shelter under it when the fire strikes. Call me naive, but I also hope Les is left behind and fries on it like it’s a skillet.

      • SeaCountry

        And that Cindy and Marianne bond as sisters for life over how pathetic L*s is before the fire hits, and that Cayla has a surprisingly large life insurance policy on him.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Especially when Cindy was so insanely jealous of Marianne she couldn’t handle Mason doing scenes with her. Why would Marianne even go to her home? They’re friends now? This all makes no sense.

          • Mela

            And to sunbathe of all things. Something that will most likely involve swimsuits, comparisons and another opportunity for Cindy to talk about how old and unattractive she feels. But maybe this is set up so that they’ll see the fire headed their way?

          • SeaCountry

            A better writer might put a frank exchange of ideas between the two women there, with or without the use of nails. I kind of figured that offer of “friendship” was the older and presumably craftier Cindy’s way of sizing Marianne up and figuring out her intentions. Then, you know, a true friendship might evolve after Cindy finally understands that Marianne is not competition. Or L*s could overhear Marianne talk about how hard it is to work with him because “when I put on the Lisa wig, he looks like he’s seen a ghost.” But those things would require Batty to have a slight understanding of how adult human females think.

  9. William Thompson

    Wait, what? Isn’t the film on hiatus? Would you do any editing then? If filming is going to resume later, what’s the point in editing now, when you don’t have everything filmed? Never remind, I’ve read this strip long enough to realize that “editing” is at the top of the list of things Battyman doesn’t understand.

    • Y. Knott

      Hey, *someone’s* got to get a start on editing the hilarious blooper reel of Les blowing his one line 58,000 times.

  10. William Thompson

    All that lush, well-watered greenery around Mason Mansion #2 will make for a lovely fire when the flames roll across town.

  11. comicbookharriet

    Who is this woman who’s coming over to see Cindy? Because it’s not Marianne, unless Marianne just had her wisdom teeth taken out.

  12. SeaCountry

    Another change of venue, and this time Marianne is hanging with Cindy. He even got close to passing the Bechdel Test! But give Batty his due, he moved it back pretty fast to set another piece of his fustercluck in motion after placing Jeff’s Inner Child at the cave.

  13. You know what would be great? If Batiuk was gathering up all his characters so they could be burned up in a fire.

    Next week: Funky and Holly get some ominous medical news, and they have to fly to LA to the clinic there. They invite Dinkle to come along.

  14. Rusty Shackleford

    Working on their tans…ah, the LA life. Deep stuff here.

    Though maybe they both will get skin cancer.

    • SeaCountry

      Thereby creating a plot line starring women that would interest Batty.

      • William Thompson

        It takes a long time to go from “sun exposure” through “pre-cancerous lesion” to “visible tumor,” which would suit Batiuk’s painfully slow storytelling pace.

  15. Paul Jones

    The irksome thing about having to see all the people in the way of The Might Fist O’Ham Fire is watching Crankshaft flood his back yard. We can blame it all on him for draining the aquifers.

  16. Professor Fate

    And we have yet another neck snap of a scene change. Some questions? One I thought these folks didn’t like each other – or more precisely Cindy didn’t like what’s her name. Two – isn’t Les moping about some where? Three – is it the Starbuck Jones premier? I’m guessing yes but here for the first time in years the author doesn’t completely spell it out so there is a bit of doubt. and finally what is being edited as others have noted production of Lisa’s story is on hold?
    That is a lot of questions for a two panel strip yes?
    Honeslty the fire won’t kill enough of them – and oh yes Ross Macdonald used a California wildfire as symbol/metaphor/background a heck of a lot better in The Underground Man (1971) Just sayin’

  17. robertodobbs

    The faces seems off as if someone completely new is pinch hitting today.

  18. Ray

    I will say that seeing the cave where they shot the Batmobile leaving the Batcave was pretty cool when I went to Bronson Canyon.

  19. Gerard Plourde

    So of the California contingent we’ve accounted for Pete and Mindy (at the beach), Jeff (on his way to Murania to help out Gene Autry), Mason (at the studio micromanaging the editing of Lisa’s Story or maybe the Starbuck Jones sequel is going through last minute changes like “Cats” had to after a disastrous prescreening), and Cindy and Marianne (working on their tans at Chez Jarre). Unaccounted for is Les. Could we hope that he’s decided to go running in Malibu?

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Les has to be separate from the others, so Lisa’s ghost can show up to save only him. I still think that’s where this story is going. That, and the decoder ring being used somehow to save the day, somehow.

      • Mela

        I agree. I do think we are in for a Lisa’s ghost appearance even if it’s just her showing up as Les is sleeping off his drunken stupor (I’m assuming this as Cindy seems to be done with him for now) and warning him to leave the house.

  20. Banana Jr. 6000

    So Mason is the editor now? In addition to being the star, producer, director, casting agent, and location scout? I can’t wait to see the credits for this turkey. It’ll be like Bambi Meets Godzilla.

  21. spacemanspiff85

    Am I the only one who gets real uncomfortable reading Batiuk’s writing of female characters? “The men are busy, let’s go work on our tans while we’re waiting on them, so we can keep looking hot!”

  22. spacemanspiff85

    Does Marianne not have a life of her own (Ha, of course she doesn’t)? “My co-worker in this one movie is busy, so I have nothing else to do my life.”

  23. hitorque

    Deep breath…

    You ever get the notion that Batiuk is pulling a “Max Bialystock” and intentionally making his storylines craptacular just to read our reactions? Anyway, let’s dive in:

    1. “Head up to the porch?” Did you mean “deck/balcony/roof” instead? Because at least to me that makes no sense. And do people who *live* in SoCal have to “work on their tans?” Is that still a thing? Because I’d assumed folks living out there tanned naturally?

    2. I thought the Lisa movie was “on hiatus” because there was so much pre-release hype and publicity for our stars to generate for the SJ sequel (which should already be in the can)?

    3. WHY in fuck’s name is Masone “in editing”? WHY the hell did Masone even bother to get a producer and director when he micromanages this much and his creative authority on the set is clearly 100% absolute and unquestioned? And on the flip side, WHY isn’t Marianne there? Hell, why isn’t Les there?

    4. **WHY** in the name if God would Cindye invite Marianne to her condo when they aren’t even friends (or have anything in common, for that matter when Cindye is literally older than her mother)? What happened to the Cindye who couldn’t even hear the mention of Marianne’s name without grinding her teeth; the Cindye who’d spend countless hours digging up gossip dirt on Marianne; the Cindye who has low-key tried to professionally sabotage Marianne on more than one occasion??

    4a. **WHY** in the name of God would Marianne even accept such an invitation? Oh, right — Because Batiuk really wants us to think that an A-list superstar actress who is still in the ascendancy has NO social life, NO interests, NO other work projects and NO friends outside of the movie set…

    5. Oh and a hearty “fuck you” to Batiuk making a 22-year-old sexpot actress and a jealous, jaded 62-year-old Newsblonde look like contemporaries. It’s no coincidence that Batiuk had to get her out of Westview lest more readers start mistaking Cindye for the daughter or niece of one of her high school classmates.

    5a. Get ready of a week of Cindye sulking around in self-doubt and misery while wearing her usual black bikini with ZERO cellulite or wrinkles, and she’s going to flagrantly fish for a “But you’re still so pretty!” from Marianne because constant validations of her beauty and fuckability are more essential to Cindye than oxygen.

    • SeaCountry

      Making them both look like somewhat attractive women is challenge enough for Batty, dude.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Yes, there’s a big difference between “having a tan” and just being outside in the sun. Take it from a Florida native who got called “farmer tan” a lot in his youth.

  24. hitorque

    6. Am I the only one wondering why not one fucking character has even mentioned the wildfires yet? They were already serious enough to be national news on TV back in Ohio and that was what, 3 days ago at least?

  25. hitorque

    7. So it’s official — There’s NO FUCKING WAY Cindye is still a newsreader over at since the last two years at least we’ve seen her do nothing but sunbathe, drink expensive wine, taxi friends to and from the airport, and hang around the house doing nothing like a 1950s sitcom housewife until Masone comes home… And clearly, if she was still a journalist she’d be on air covering today’s big story right now.

    As an aside, didn’t Cindye use to have some kind of life? Wasn’t she once the self-appointed coordinator for ALL happenings, news and activities for her high school reunion class? I specifically remember her making it a point to let us all know how busy it kept her…

    • SeaCountry

      Good point. And if Marianne is starring in that Starbuck Jones movie, she should be busy picking out a dress, working on how she’ll answer questions, etc.

  26. At her core, Cindy has the same basic problem that Les does. The author came up with one good storyline twenty (?) years ago, runs it up to the edge of a climax, and then abruptly swerves away to avoid giving anything resembling judgement, statement, or even closure.

    Cindy is a 60+ woman from a small town in Middle America who was told all of her life that her only talent was her looks. At some point in high school, her sister faded from existence and nobody acknowledges that she ever existed. In her early adulthood or thereabouts, she was married to a struggling alcoholic, which is a terrible ordeal, even in cases when the alcoholic in question is aware of the severity of the problem and/or is not abusive while under the influence (please correct me on this point if I am mistaken: I didn’t read much of the strip during Act II.) She finally gets a divorce and leaves Westview in the dust, only to discover that the world of newscasting is just as awful and shallow as high school. She gets fired and telegraphs her despair to the world by quoting Superman.

    Then she has to come crawling back to the crappy town she thought she’d escaped, and even though everyone’s (sort of) polite about it, and her ex-husband has finally gotten help for his addiction and is surprisingly copacetic about the divorce, it’s still quite humillating.

    But then! One day the Fates decreed that hunky, talented, dimwitted, but hunky Mason Jarre comes to town and they hit it off right away! But what if fate takes him away just as easily? What if he knows the horrible truth, that all she has is her looks and everyone HATES her because those can’t last forever?! What if some younger and way more bankable than “former Channel 3 morning show lady” starlet STEALS HIM?!!! So then, Cindy’s brainworms land her in a situation where she ends up fighting with every woman in Hollywood because of course they are all younger and prettier and have fewer emotional issues.

    Now, whether or not this is a particularly original storyline is beside the point. It does have many of the elements of good storytelling like cause and effect, rising action, etc. The problem with the storytelling aspect of all this comes into play when Cindy finally crosses a line like, for example, publicly bawling out Mason for kissing Marianne, which piques the curiosity of TMZ, which kinda sorta leads to Marianne’s suicide attempt. Instead of everyone going “Cindy, what the heck?!” and putting her on the spot to either get therapy or slink back to the obscurity of a PR Manager position at Montoni’s, the story just… ends.

    Several months later, Cindy is jealous because Mason is in a movie with Marianne and I think there might be a kissing scene! And as we see today, the perpetual Reset Button has denied her even the smallest of consequences for her actions. Of course Marianne actually wants to hang out with her, in spite of the fact that she (and her high school buddy boy) bullied her as recently as weeks ago. Of course Mason doesn’t confront her about how she broke her promise not to cause drama this time, and warn her that she’d better start playing “nice” or it’s Dumpsville. Of course… Well, actually, she looks absolutely terrible today, so the artist must still be a bit peeved at her.

    • Hitorque


    • Hitorque

      And as a former journalist I can say this:

      Cindye layering on the makeup, putting on her best “Fuck Me!” little black dress, flirting with Masone all night at Montoni’s and going for a long, romantic nighttime walk during an “interview” in which she oddly didn’t bring a camera, tape recorder or God forbid a *notepad* was beyond the pale for Batiuk. Hell, iirc Cindye didn’t even bother to ask one direct question about the SJ movie in that first meeting with Masone which turned out to be 5% “interview” and 95% “date”…

      I’m just saying that Cindye set the cause of women reporters back 50 years.