Tag Archives: Cliff Anger

When’s This Story Gonna Endsday, July 10

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.

FW7-10-96

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.

17 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

Call a Spade a Spade

Cindy, master interviewer that she is, finally asks Cliff a question in today’s strip, but not before hitting a dead end with her traditional method of making a statement and hoping Cliff spits out something interesting in reaction.

Not that actually asking a question yielded anything all that interesting either, but at least the story moves on to something that isn’t a ridiculously obvious red herring. It is understandable that Butter Brinkel’s innocence remains in question when the only guy who could prove it is a fictional detective. I suppose Cliff means Humphrey Bogart told him Brinkel was framed… or perhaps it was his good friend, Sam Spade creator Dashiell Hammett.

18 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

Rolling Pinheads

Cliff exhibits his trademark blasé in today’s strip, though I remain quite unsure how that demeanor lends itself to gripping documentary film.

Did Cindy not tell Cliff what he was going to be filmed for before he sat down? I mean, sure, he’s old but he’s not senile, right? In any event, poor Cliff does look emaciated. His looming death is probably the reason that Cindy is frantically asking Jessica if she is filming.

16 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

Let Us Now Praise Famous Ninnies

Link to today’s strip.

Wow, everyone is sure full of praise for themselves!  Even waiter Barrithuh Hatchetface is smirking to beat the band.   Too bad their praise is so misplaced.

Director:  We’ll sit in chairs and chat, and I’ll only ask you questions you can preen about.  Thus, later, I’ll be surprised by very basic career information about you.

Videographer:   I’ll shoot this chair-bound set with a hand-held camera!

Subject:  I threw away over seventy years of my life so I could have a snit-fit.

BuddyBlog:  What kind of crap is this?  Damn, it’s a good thing my dad is rich…I think.

Emmy awards committee person A:  Oh my God, this is so terrible.  I think we finally have a winner for the “Most Pathetic, Pitifully Bad Production – Documentary” award someone added as a joke.

Emmy awards committee person B:  You mean the “Please Just Stop, or At Least Try Next Time” award?  Won’t that make the ceremony longer?

11 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

It was already Thursday

But his Lordship’s artificial limb had still not been found.

Therefor, having directed the servants to fill the baths,

He seized the tongs,

And set out at once for the edge of the lake

Where the Throbblefooted Spectre still loitered in a distraught manner.

He presented it with a length of string

And passed on to the statue of Corrupted Endeavor

To await the arrival of autumn.

(As you might have gathered, today’s strip was not available for preview.  So please enjoy chapter one of Edward Gorey’s “The Object Lesson,” written from memory.)

18 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

Let’s all sing along!

Link to today’s strip.

So, the last two strips were entirely superfluous–weirdly superfluous, as if Batiuk did have some purpose–“Say, no one’s mentioned Lisa lately, how can I fix that?  I know, I’ll just push Monday’s strip to Wednesday, that gives me two whole strips to shoehorn her in.   Now, where’s my thinking crap?”

Now, credit where it’s due, I guess–Batiuk just straight out has Cindy outline her entire purpose, when he could have stretched this out for days.  (“Oh, you knew someone named Lisa, too?”)  Oh, don’t get me wrong, he’ll still stretch the whole premise out for days, but at least we get the preliminary bit right out, center stage.   So we’re at least somewhat on track.

Of course, I would not put it past him to run the following script in tomorrow’s episode–

Panel One:  Cliff:  So let me get this straight–

Panel Two:  Cliff:  You want to make a documentary about Butter Brinkel, the biggest screen comedian of his day,

Panel Three:  Cliff:  And how he went to prison for the murder of actress Valerie Pond, despite protesting his innocence?

Panel Four:  Cindy:  Well, let me put it another way–

And the next day, Cindy restates it all again.  Repetition, it’s what all the cool kids are doing, and it’s a surefire way to make it to that fiftieth!  Less than three years to go!

17 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

Chemo-Sabe

Link to today’s strip.

Look, I made a pun!  Based on “kemosabe” and “chemotherapy”!  Do I get an award yet?!  I should go out and stand by the mailbox!

Of course, I have the feeling that Batiuk has used that exact same pun, previously on this long hard slog, so I’m a bit deflated by that.

Speaking of deflated, how completely baffling is it that Lisa is brought up in today’s strip.  It makes it look as if everyone in the entire world was affected by her passing, and everyone must pause and mourn when something brings her to mind.  “Hey, look at this painting, the Mona Lisa!”  (sigh)   “I guess I should sign the lease, uh?”  (moan)  “Okay, I found one, where’s the other shoe?”  (sob).

Because otherwise it just seems like more whoring out of Tom Batiuk’s Greatest Hit, in the hopes that someone, somewhere–anywhere–might say, “Hey, I’ve got an award I’ve got to give out–and it looks like I’ve found someone deserving!”

Batiuk, let her rest.  You fumbled it, and the play’s been called.

21 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

Dine ‘n’ Slapdash

Link to today’s strip.

Many thanks to Comic Book Harriet for her recent hosting of the Ongoing Mess.  As usual, her posts were more interesting than the strip before us.

As for the strip before us, a cursory glance at today’s strip left me really puzzled.  I thought, How in the heck could Crazy Harry be close to Butter Brinkel, someone who had probably died before he was born?  Is this like his Tarzan fixation, where his obsession with the character led to said character coloring his world?  Just because he owns all the DVDs?  And how could he afford to fly out to Los Angeles?

A more careful reading then revealed that this was Cliff Anger, and not Crazy Harry.   Frankly, this strip is too worthless to inspire careful readings, so I was a bit put off.

Then there’s the word “kemosabe.”  I’m of the generation who associates the term with the Lone Ranger and Tonto, being Tonto’s term for the Ranger.  A quick search says that it means something like “faithful companion,” which is how I always took it.  The fact that it’s an odd word, not likely to used in common parlance, leads me to believe we’re going to get some kind of awful wordplay down the road.  Oh…joy.

(Unless Batiuk is going to pick up on the Urban Legend that “kemosabe” means “horse’s ass,” but I don’t see how he can get Les to Los Angeles in time….)

23 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

That’s Not What I Smell



Link to today’s strip.

Well, Cindy’s discovering all kinds of new information about Cliff, isn’t she?  But let’s stop and take a look at this for a moment, just so we can see how utterly stupid it is.

If you’re anyone other than Tom Batiuk, you might recall that Cindy did a documentary about Cliff, which was considered worthy of an Emmy nomination.   In the interview, she and Cliff sat and talked about his life, his blacklisting, his rediscovery, all that stuff.  The fact that it was shot with a single hand-held camera…well, the contents must have been pretty damn good to garner an award nomination.

And, apparently, she asked him nothing about his career.   You know, the reason you would interview a performer.   Apparently, this whole bit about Cliff working with some “movie-serial comedian” (a thing I doubt existed anyway–serials tended to be action-adventure stories) is completely new to her.   I mean…*gasp*   I need a moment here to process this.

She’s coming across as so dense, I would not be shocked to find her surprised that Cliff played Starbuck Jones.   The entire reason for her interview.   “Really?  That was you?  Wow!”  But no, after the interview, she’s still unaware.  Was she born stupid, or did she study?

I can easily imagine Cindy making a documentary about (grabbing random celebrity) Paul McCartney and asking about how he met Linda Eastman, that time he was arrested in Japan, Linda dying (from cancer!!) and his bitter divorce from Heather Mills.  Then, she meets him at a party and says, “Say, I understood you knew John Lennon!  How the heck did that come about?  Also, someone told me you write songs!  Any I would have heard?”*

Today’s episode is amazing.  I suppose one could put this down to Batiuk’s general in-strip contempt for women, but wow, it’s pretty cold.  It’s ice cold.

Now, it would make sense for Cayla to be asking these questions, because Cayla hasn’t met Cliff before.  Cayla could have seen Cindy’s documentary and asked some follow-up questions.  But Cayla married Les, so she can’t be shown as flawed.  And Les would have told her all this stuff, and she would have listened intently.  And Les would be in the scene, to correct Cayla (and Cliff) about how things actually happened.

Cindy, on the other hand is consistently a target in the Funkyverse; Tom Batiuk loves to lob potshots at her, so sure–she’s stupid and bad at her job.  Ha ha ha, stupid!  You’re a dumb gurl and everything!  “Remember high school?  I do!”

Wow.

Just…wow.

*Granted, Paul McCartney’s story is pretty well known, so an interviewer might try to go in another angle to get a different perspective on him.   But the whole point of Cindy’s documentary was to re-introduce Cliff to a public that had largely forgotten him.  One of the things you would do in a documentary like that is tell people what he had done, and why he should be remembered.  And all of that would come from his career, not his personal life.

Yeah, I’m back to using italics like a madman.

22 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

Eating Their Turds and Whey

Link to today’s strip.

Whoops!  Late to the party on this one, but I got involved in a project of my own and neglected the time.

Not much to say about this one.  The artwork continues to slide into the abyss, the dialogue is idiotic, and Rich Burchett shows us something in that last panel  (almost wrote “penal”; these hosting stints, lemme tells ya…)

I mean, look at Cliff’s face in that last panel.  “Oh?  Think I’m not planning on getting my cheese dip on?  Really, Vera?  Wow, are you in for a surprise!”

Overall, again, it’s people sitting around discussing things that we have not seen and we’ve not been given a reason to care about.  Eating food that looks, honestly…well, it looks largely like bowel movements.  Which, given the overall bent of this strip, makes perfect sense.  It also makes those vaguely flesh-colored cubes that show up now and then in Mary Worth look edible.

It’s kind of silently nauseating in its own unique way.  And it’s another step away from what people want in comic strips.  And it makes me feel that the 50th anniversary will be something to see, though I can easily imagine Batiuk presenting something ultra dull.  After all, it’s the Funky Winkerbean way.

18 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky