You know what would be useful when you’re trying to pass off jealousy as a motive for murder? Maybe establishing that the murder victim was in any kind of relationship that would inspire jealousy. Or that Valerie was going to steal Butter away and he’d leave Zanzibar behind, but then I really don’t think “jealousy” is the word to use in that case. Like, I don’t think there was even a hint that Valerie and Butter had ever even talked to each other, let alone that they were in a relationship. Also, the house was full of people, so why would Zanzibar kill Valerie instead of anyone else? Unless Zanzibar was in Butter’s bedroom, waiting for him, or saw Valerie enter the room, and then became jealous because only he was supposed to pay nighttime visits to Butter’s room? I mean, this might possibly be the first time in a mystery story where the jealous lover murderer is a different species than his love interest. I seriously hope it is, at least.
Maybe all those loving glances Cliff was giving Zanzibar were totally intentional.
Also, Butter was acquitted, and just had to go back and live as a millionaire for the rest of his life? After covering up for a murder? When he was totally responsible for that murder? And he was okay letting the murder victim’s family think he murdered her? So what interested Cindy enough to film a documentary was “an old actor got acquitted of murder and never acted again, but was still a millionaire” and not “a famous up and coming actress was brutally murdered, and nobody ever paid for it, and the crime was never solved”?
And we’re supposed to be sympathizing with Butter? I mean, I don’t want to read too much into this here, but the point of this story really seems to be “What if a rich and famous guy was accused of doing something incredibly terrible to a young woman, but he got acquitted and she was dead? That’d be real bad for the guy, right?”.
Okay, so the absurdity continues today. The storytelling absurdity, not the whimsy of the story itself or anything. Cliff literally lived through something straight out of the Planet of the Apes, which a chimpanzee wielding a weapon at him and speaking, and never told anyone until now? I don’t care if he was literally spying for the KGB, this is by far the most interesting part of his life. Or anyone’s life in this strip. Forget Lisa and John Darling, Les needs to write about Zanzibar.
Oh, and apparently Butter slept with a she-chimp and fathered a half-man, half chimp, which explains why Zanzibar was so talented, and had a burning desire to kill humans.
I feel like the only part of the movie-making process Batiuk has actually shown is reading scripts. Because that’s all there is to it, I guess. The genius writers make the scripts and talk about bent nails to the actors, who just sit around reading the script until they film. I would’ve much preferred him to be reading Das Kapital or writing a letter to Trotsky or something.
Oh, and I guess past Cliff is about to get shot with a ray gun by a monkey. Sure it’ll mess up the time stream, but I think it’s worth it.
Tom Batiuk is a 14 year old. Because he clearly seems to think smoking and drinking makes you a badass, which I’m pretty sure that stopped being a thing in high school. A literal 14 year old boy writing this strip would explain why it’s so fixated on comics and has such a creepy portrayal of the female characters. Also, teaching an animal to smoke and drink isn’t awesome, it’s abuse.
Oh, and Cliff absolutely has the hots for Zanzibar in the last panel. Note the leer and the fact that his right hand is clearly under the table.
Again-this didn’t come up in the previous documentary about Cliff Anger? The fact that he literally lived with a monkey? This is honestly the most interesting thing about him. And was this before or after he took off on the tramp steamer? Did the monkey live with him in his crappy little apartment? Did Zanzibar testify before Congress on his behalf? Is the fact that Cliff lived with a convicted murderer’s pet monkey maybe contribute to his being branded a communist, or living as a bachelor for sixty years?
Also, how in the world was there “no way of telling when Butter would be back, if ever”? Does Cliff/Batiuk not know that people are sentenced to jail for specific lengths of time, and not like “whenever Williams/Wilson Bellows Inkpot feels like letting you out”, or whatever is supposed to be going on here? It says a lot that Batiuk can botch a storyline with an actress being murdered and a monkey so incredibly badly.
And is it me, or does Cliff look disturbingly like Frankie in the last panel? I’m sure it’s just supposed to be a “cool” expression but it always comes off way more creepy to me.
Link to today’s strip
Thanks for having me back. I’m always nervous that I’m going to get stuck with weeks of Dinkle typing in silence when it’s my turn here, so I guess this is better.
I’ve got two issues with today’s strip. I would really, really like to know why Hammett thought Brinkle was covering up for someone else. It’s basically the core of this whole lame “mystery”. Somehow a jury found enough evidence to convict him, but Hammett found evidence that he didn’t do it? Gosh, that sounds almost interesting.
It’s also very funny to me how this never came up once in the documentary Cindy already did on Cliff. It’s like if you did a documentary on some random old football player, and then a year later he just casually mentioned how he had proof that O.J. Simpson was guilty and never mentioned it before.
Today’s strip is EDT. Extremely Dead Today.
Lame? Oh yeh, but I figured it wouldn’t look half bad following this. I know Pete’s the writer and Durwood’s the artist, but sheesh Durwood, do you have to make it that obvious? Guy probably wouldn’t even be working so late if he wasn’t such a chronic procrastinator, so no sympathy from me.
And with that, I pass the keyboard over to SpacemanSpiff85, who reminds us of the best of comics in name as we dissect the worst of comics in FW.
Today’s strip gets a “time travel” tag and a “retcon” tag, because both of those things appear to be happening!
This is lifted wholesale from the Fatty Arbuckle case, by the way. Dashiell Hammett actually was a Pinkerton man in the late 1910s and early 1920s and he did claim to be a part of the Pinkerton team hired by Arbuckle’s defense attorneys, though some historians doubt his involvement was significant if it even happened at all.
How this squares with the timeline of silent film star 1940s icon Butter Brickle Brinkel’s trial is unclear… but all timelines in the Batiukverse are about as clear as an oil spill.