Tag Archives: Cliff

Dead Punch Line

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.

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In-No-Sense

< sarcasm >
Today’s strip clears up so much!
< /sarcasm >

Dashiell Hammett “felt” Brinkel was innocent of Valerie Pond’s murder? Well… how can you argue with that? Especially when Hammett himself believed that Brinkel was covering up for the REAL murderer, which is… not a crime? Is that right?

Interesting that Cliff is essentially hatching a conspiracy theory about Brinkel, given how he didn’t seem to care for Senator McCarthy’s conspiracy theories about his own actions.

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Haiku-mmett

Batiukverse space time
Still warping in today’s strip
A 40s newsboy?

Street-hawking newsboys
Were in decline in the 10s
And gone by 40s

Hammett’s Pinkertons
Found nothing on Brinkel’s case
They were years early

Or have we gone back?
Brinkel’s a silent star?
40s a typo?

Who knows? I sure don’t
Author sure doesn’t either
Just end this thing, please

Bad newspapermen
Are ones who print comics like
Funky Winkerbean

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Hammett Up, Cliff

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Xanaxian Peril

170730I think today’s strip is something new, I don’t recall seeing a movie poster homage before. It looks like TB doesn’t know any movie poster artists, as he conscripted old pal (and Cliff Anger expy) Chuck Ayers to draw this one up. I guess that Crankshaft story arc where Crankshaft sold a bunch of vintage movie posters so he could pay for the “Roughriders” on his bus route to go to college was a good enough qualification.

I am not sure why present-day Vera is morphing into Holly, but Cliff appears to have found out about the rerelease of the old Starbuck Jones serial in Reader’s Digest. He is certainly the right age for a Reader’s Digest reader. I’ll bet the announcement was written in Junior Spaceman decoder ring code…

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Decoder? I barely know her…

Tough luck, SOSFers. Not just because you’ve read today’s strip, but also because today’s strip is particularly rant-worthy and I may well be the weakest ranter on this site. I am sorry, I just cannot do it justice. I’ll lean on our commenters to give this strip what it deserves.

I do have an editorial comment, though, and it doesn’t involve Funky in a coma this time. Among the few printable things that have been said about this whole unending Starbuck Jones movie arc is that it is “wish fulfillment”. It is an apt description, of course, as nearly everything about Starbuck Jones comes across as what TB wishes would have happened to his own creations. However, there is no reason that wish fulfillment can’t be entertaining.

Sally Forth just spent a whole month at a (very) fictional Japanese movie monster theme park, something I’m sure unabashedly nerdy SF writer Francesco Marciuliano very much wishes was real. However, Marciuliano uses his fantasy to tell a story and crack jokes that are relatable to readers whether they are kaiju-obsessed or not. You may not know what a Gamera is, but you probably get jokes about taking family vacations and waiting in line at theme parks.

TB’s Starbuck Jones business, meanwhile, requires a tome of Batiuk blog posts and a glossary of Hollywood terms to understand, and a miracle to find entertaining. It seems to be perpetually patting itself on the back for being such a big deal in its own allegedly realistic universe, thrusting long-standing characters into Hollywood’s orbit for seemingly no reason other than to show that they are great enough to be involved in Starbuck Jones things.

I would say that my wish would be that we could leave Starbuck Jones, Hollywood, and the Valentine Theater behind… but that undoubtedly means more of Les. I can’t win. None of us can.

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Dead Putz Society

Everyone is severely intoxicated in today’s strip, right? Those glasses everybody has been carrying around have surely been filled and emptied many times by now, yes?

Because I don’t really know how else to explain this. The exaggerated hand gestures, the jumping on tables, the applause, the addressing of a group of full-grown adults as “kids”… Heck, alcohol may not really be enough to explain this. Not even something as dumb as Funky still dreaming in a coma back in 2010 effectively covers this ridiculousness.

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