Le Chat Blacque

Hannibal’s Lectern
April 29, 2022 at 6:40 am
Prediction: tomorrow will feature no dialogue (Tom’s writing at its finest), just three panels of the trash can. In the first two, the helmet just sits there. In the third, it’s gone, replaced by a “BLIP” sound effect…

So close! But none of us were expecting Kili, the stowaway kitten from Les’ Kilimanjaro climb, to show up in Crazy’s neighborhood! The panel I’ve Photoshopped for you here depicts where I’d have liked to see this go: Crazy Maddie fishing the helmet out of the trash to give it a try. If it doesn’t send her back to the dangerous old days, at least the fumes will get her high!



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

45 responses to “Le Chat Blacque

  1. Banana Jr. 6000

    Well, that’s one way to get rid of a character you don’t intend to use anymore. If only Batiuk had the courage to make Cayla disappear this way. Or even better, Les.

  2. William Thompson

    At long last, a take-charge character with wit, charm, intelligence and good looks! I look forward to the creation of an alternate-timeline Westview in which mere humans (plus whatever Les Moore may be) serve their feline overlords with a proper sense of deference! More catnip, slaves!

  3. Gerard Plourde

    I’d love to know what TomBa thought he was doing when he came up with this nonsense and then proceeded to run the bases.

  4. sorialpromise

    I Can Only Imagine

    You have no idea
    The hopes we have for Batiuk
    Start, middle, climax
    It can change
    We can hope.

    Your mileage may vary.
    Inspires wife Donna
    Top my score
    Harry repeats
    (I heard) Your mileage may vary.

    I can only imagine
    The end of this tale
    A trashcan for our helmet
    A better use for this plot
    I can only imagine
    Your mileage may vary
    You have no idea
    Do some miss Dinkle and Les? No way!
    You have no idea.
    Your mileage may vary.

  5. Sourbelly

    I suspect we’ll see more of the Off-gassing Time Travel Helmet. It will become one of Batdick’s self-cherished traditions like the Pizza-Box Man.

    • William Thompson

      Now there’s a depressing thought: the helmet passes from character to character, each of whom visits an important moment in their pasts, doing and learning absolutely nothing.

    • gleeb

      Oh heavens, the pizza-box crap. Did Batiuk suffer a blow to the head?

  6. Epicus Doomus

    “Donna shows Maddie her old Eliminator helmet. Crazy is poisoned and a stray neighborhood cat dies”. If you traveled back in time four weeks and saw that story description, you’d probably think “holy shit, that sounds pretty wild by FW standards”. And, as always, you’d be dead wrong.

  7. Green Luthor

    I knew we were going to get some kind of “It was all a dream… OR WAS IT???” ending, but I figured it would follow up on the “Skunky finds the comic Harry forgot to bring back” thread. I certainly wouldn’t have predicted THIS, although admittedly the fact that I have, like, ZERO memory of that cat may be a significant factor in that…

    • Epicus Doomus

      Which cat, Kili? After Summer graduated, her and Les went to Africa to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. One of their fellow climbers inadvertently packed a cat in his luggage. Then Les ran back home real quick to help Funky name his new car. He returned to Kilimanjaro and resumed climbing, with cat still in tow. Then they left a Lisa photo at the summit, and neither the mountain or the cat was ever mentioned again.

      • billytheskink

        Obviously Kili became a time-traveler… this is the origin story of how she wound up on Kilimanjaro to begin with. Perhaps she left the helmet on Kilimanjaro, and now the mountain itself is traveling through time.

      • gleeb

        Yeah, creepy Les took his daughter to Africa, because diasporic tourism is just a set of syllables to creepy Les and his Black wife.
        And he has never taken her to China, as he said he would.

      • Bad wolf

        All this took place in 2012, so a tenth anniversary of sorts.

        I bet that hallucinatory cat Le Chat Bleu has twice the appearances of Kili since then.

      • Suicide Squirrel

        How do you know the cat is supposed to be Kili? It’s been almost ten years.

        Knowing how Batyuk can hold a grudge, the cat may be based on a neighborhood Tom that violated his wife’s cat, piddled on his favorite rose bush, or simply crossed his path.

        Batyuk: “It’s a trip into the past for you. Take that, you vile creature!”
        (high-fives himself in the mirror and runs the imaginary bases)

  8. Hannibal's Lectern

    Judging by panel one, Kili the cute little “kitten” has grown into a pretty good size adult black panther (I have one of those rolling trash carts, and it’s a good four feet from the pavement to her front paws). I can only assume that she’s going to use that time traveling helmet to go into Less Moore’s past and claw his face off.

    Well, at least I can hope that. With Batiuk, you can never assume anything.

  9. Doghouse Reilly (Minneapolis)

    The cat is going back to 1980 and grab the comic book?

  10. ComicBookHarriet

    What kind of adventues with Beckoning Chasm’s cat have in the past? Who else could the kitten meet up with!?

  11. Rusty Shackleford

    Maddie doesn’t need any help to get high, whatever she’s using is working for her. I think Mary Worth is on it too today.

    Crankshaft was just a weeklong plug for the Ohioana book fair. He sure loves shilling for them and the OMEA.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      And Montoni’s. And Kent State. And the Rose Parade. And Lisa’s Story.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        The syndicate should be charging those groups for the advertising.

        They reall do just let Batty do whatever he wants. Watterson and Chip Sansom both lived in Ohio when their strips were published yet they never plugged anything specific to Ohio. Watterson’s winter scenes were certainly modeled after his time in Chagrin Falls, but he never made a big deal about it.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Batiuk does freelance artwork for OMEA and Kent State. So he’s basically giving space in Funky Winkerbean to his own personal customers. Or entities Batiuk wants to suck up to, like his endless attempts to get himself hired by Marvel or DC. It’s pretty unethical, and the syndicate shouldn’t tolerate it.

  12. So tomorrow, young Donna finds the helmet; puts it on and decides to call herself Donald and becomes the ‘eliminator’ as she meets and beats her future husband at video games. The helmet becomes another magic item in the world of Westview like Les’ mystery phone call that stop him from getting on a doomed flight.

  13. Mela

    All this “blip” talk this week reminded me of a game I used to play.

    • batgirl

      I’ve been reminded of a very 1960s book of travel to alternative worlds/universes on BLIPs (like floating portals). The Unicorn Girl by Michael Kurland, the second book in a trilogy written by 3 different authors.
      Unlike anything by TB, the story is wild and funny, and includes at least 2 passages I cannot read aloud because of laughing too hard to enunciate.

      • Y. Knott

        I’ve read that book! I checked it out because they briefly travel to Lord Darcy’s universe (though Lord Darcy is not in the book) — but it worked on its own as a fun, goofy very 1960s story.

        You can probably find more entertainment value in a random sentence of Kurland’s book than in this entire FW arc.

    • Suicide Squirrel

      I had that game too and played it a lot. I drove my family nuts with the game’s buzzing noise.

      It was a battery operated mechanical game, rather than a video game.

  14. batgirl

    Of course Maddie can’t put on the discarded helmet and take up her mother’s legacy. Initiative is for boys.
    (I guess it’s now canon that Old Crazy’s head is the same size as an undersized prepubescent girl’s.)

    Hey, which Funkiverse character would you prefer to see pick up the helmet? I’m voting for Flash Freeman, because there’s no way his weird elongated cranium would get more than 3 inches into it, and it would balance up there like a party hat.

    • Hannibal's Lectern

      And maybe, just maybe, it would teleport only the top half of Flush’s head into the past, leaving the lower part behind. I bet Chuck would enjoy drawing that!

    • Hitorque

      Maddie is a grown ass woman and as others have mentioned, girl gamers are no big deal anymore (AND THEY WEREN’T EVEN A BIG DEAL IN 1981!!)… Nevermind the fact that being the “champion hero” of the local mall arcade stopped being a thing sometime in the late 1990s…

  15. Hannibal's Lectern

    Oh, and I notice the used condom is still there, still lovingly drawn.

    • Gerard Plourde

      Although looking less condom-like, which supports yesterday’s theory about Ayers occasionally unilaterally sticking something incongruous into a panel.

  16. Banana Jr. 6000

    I know I fisked Batiuk’s blog post yesterday, but today’s is even more hilariously awful.

    Watched the first episode of The Man Who Fell to Earth on HBO the other night, and it prompted me to pull my copy of Walter Tevis’s ineffable novel from my bookshelf to see if it was as good as I remembered.

    Just… what?

    You watched a TV adaptation that made you think the original book was terrible? Literature does not work that way. Neither does television.

    And what the hell is an “ineffable novel”? Ineffable means “incapable of being expressed in words.” Being expressed in words is what a novel is! It’s at the maximum level of non-ineffability! Yes, it can also mean “unspeakable” or “taboo”, but that makes even less sense.

    It was.

    Well, that’s good to know. I’ve never heard of an adaptation so bad that it ruins the source material. That sounds something the Nostalgia Critic would do for an false opening skit, and then call the idea stupid before switching to the actual movie review.

    Walter Tevis has been one of my favorite writers for a long time

    I’m glad Batiuk cleared this up. Because until this point, I had no idea if he liked the book or not. He wondered out loud if it was as “good as I remembered”, which could have been sarcastic (like wondering if Baby Geniuses is good as you remembered), and then he called it “ineffable” which could be positive or negative. This is what happens when you’re trying so hard to be clever that you forget to say anything.

    and has formed an unholy triumvirate in my personal pantheon

    I happen to be watching a music review that just called something a “primo 17-year-old’s mangled metaphor.” It fits here too.

    What is an “unholy triumvirate”? There isn’t a holy triumvirate (the word has its roots in Roman government), so reversing the meaning of the adjective creates a meaningless phrase. Calling something “the unholy grail” makes sense, because there is a holy grail whose meaning we can work from. It would describe something that is rare or highly sought after, but negative or unwanted. “Unholy triumvirate” is meaningless piffle. Who all is in this triumvirate, anyway?

    along with Daniel Keyes and Bradely Denton.

    Batiuk has never mentioned Walter Tevis on his blog before. He’s only mentioned Keyes and Denton once each, the former in a list of sci-fi novelists he likes. And that list doesn’t include Tevis or Denton. Ignoring the problems with “unholy”: why are these three men all of a sudden the “the triumverate of your personal pantheon?” And why isn’t Asimov in it when you’ve glowingly reviewed 17 Asimov books?

    If, like me, you found the HBO offering to be in want of a whole lot of something

    Hey, you know what would have been useful to say here? Why you didn’t like the TV show. What you didn’t like about it. What it did wrong. What the novel did better. Why it was better than the TV series. How you’re comparing the different mediums. LITERALLY ANYTHING AT ALL ABOUT THE SUBJECT.

    When Batiuk’s not talking in circles, bludgeoning you with his thesaurus, confusing you with his tone, or making you swim through incoherent metaphors, he’s declaring his opinion as the only correct one and moving on. The TV show wasn’t good. The end. The writing in Funky Winkerbean is just like this. It’s insistent on its own twisted, baffling priorities. No character may ever question them, express an opinion to the contrary, or even view them as unimportant.

    then you really owe it to yourself to experience the source, Luke.

    If you’re going to act all highbrow about a sci-fi TV show being inferior to the book, a Star Wars joke is not the best way to illustrate that. Especially if you can’t even do it correctly!

    • batgirl

      I would place a small bet that TB was thinking “unholy trinity” but couldn’t remember the word he wanted, so he went for something that sounds kind of like the word. (Please insert that Mark Twain quote about lightning and lightning bugs here, I’m too lazy to look it up).
      Personally I’ll cut him slack on wondering if the Tevis book was as good as he remembered. There’s a phenomenon where a book or movie that was amazing when experienced in one’s youth, turns out to have been visited in the intervening years by what Jo Walton calls the Suck Fairy. There might be previously-unnoticed racism or sexism, or just that passages that seemed marvelously evocative and poetic back then turn out to be overblown or flat and dull.
      Depending on how long ago the book was read (I read it at about 19) it may well be disappointing to read it decades later.

      I’m unable though to guess what the triumvirate have in common. Tevis and Keyes, I think, are known primarily for one book each. Denton seems to be quite a bit younger and to still be turning out mid-level sci-fi-ish novels and short stories.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        I would place a small bet that TB was thinking “unholy trinity”

        You’re probably right, but it wouldn’t have helped. There’s nothing “unholy” about a trio of authors you like. That’s something you call Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin if you rooted for any other football team at the time. And whatever Tom Batiuk wants to call his super-special three-person group of sci-fi authors, it contradicts his voluminous history praising Asimov.

        There’s a phenomenon where a book or movie that was amazing when experienced in one’s youth, turns out to have been visited in the intervening years by what Jo Walton calls the Suck Fairy.

        And if Batiuk had said that, that would be fine. But he didn’t. He said only that the show “prompted” him to review the books. It’s not clear why, and it takes re-reading to figure out what he thinks is good or bad. Your one explanatory sentence, which clarifies and enhances what you’re saying,.is exactly what he never does as a writer.

        I’m unable though to guess what the triumvirate have in common.

        Again, Batiuk doesn’t tell us. He just declares it so, and moves on. Even though his literary preferences are germane to the topic, and would be insightful as to why he didn’t enjoy the TV show. He didn’t like the show because… oh, he doesn’t tell us that either. He just declares it bad and moves on. And he makes us decrypt all these incoherent metaphors to even figure that out.

        People overthink writing. It’s simpler than people think. Say what you mean. Be brief, clear, direct, and to the point. Batiuk is a sterling example of how not to write. Anything.