Link To Today’s Thinly-Disguised Attempt To Run Out The Clock
My God this is just repellent. The “frisky old coots” trope, some faux-ribald dialog straight from the “Three’s Company” outtake reel and that disturbing close-up, it’s a master class in classic FW hackery. Fifty year old Funky can barely tie his shoes anymore but the ninety year old Cliff and his ninety year old girlfriend Vera are flitting all over Hollywood like two kids in love, both of them sharp as tacks and full of vitality. I guess taking a six decade sabbatical from everything keeps you fresh for the homestretch. It’s all about as believable as anything else that happens in this unbelievably dumb comic strip.
Morty’s advanced Alzheimer’s disease turns him from a near vegetable to a chain smoking, trombone-playing horndog. Bull’s declining motor skills are played for laughs as he trips and spills human remains all over himself. Marianne’s wildly impulsive suicide attempt is smirked away as being no big deal. And now an agoraphobic elderly man is suddenly a full-time actor and man-about-town, sweeping his old flame off her feet. If cancer was even half as zany as mental illnesses are “Lisa’s Story” would have been optioned into a Will Ferrell flick years ago.
Link To Today’s Thing
Ugh, it’s BatNard at his worst…wallowing in stupid old pop culture nostalgia via two annoying characters absolutely no one gives half a rat’s ass about. He obviously thinks this trite pandering nonsense is “cute”, but actually it’s just nauseatingly stupid…at best. The romance of the century, featuring two imbeciles who wasted six decades of their lives on…well, we have no idea. Now the two fossilized lovebirds are off to the hottest Hollywood eatery of the 1950s, the legendary Brown Derby, where perhaps they’ll catch a glimpse of Bing Crosby or Desi Arnaz while they’re gumming their tapioca and urging their waitress to please turn up the heat. Maybe tomorrow they’ll cruise the Sunset Strip in Cliff’s Edsel and catch the early-bird before heading out to see the Tommy Dorsey Band. Or barring that perhaps they’ll explain why their undying love for one another took a sixty year hiatus until two irritating busybodies brought them back together, but given how that would actually fill in the narrative gap (canyon), I seriously doubt it.
And sorry about that title but I can only work with what he gives me.
Link To Today’s Disappointment
Oh, gross. What the hell is this? A thousand and one unresolved plot threads are just dangling there, rotting away on the vine and he has time to focus on these two awful contrivances and their repellent old-timey smoochy talk? Man alive, it’s so nauseating I might keep a copy of it in the medicine cabinet in case I accidentally eat rat poison and need to induce vomiting quickly. Once again he goes to the “frisky old coots” trope and generates “ewwwws” instead of “awwwws”. Then “gaks” followed by a few rounds of “why the f*ck do I read this thing?”.
What is he even still doing there? Why is he always in that idiotic costume? WTF is Vera’s deal? And why are Mason and Marianne…I mean Boy Lisa and Pete hanging around the set again? Are we already due for another “gee Darin, I wonder how ninety year olds made out with one another back in the ol’ Batom Comics days?” arc again? I think it’s pretty remarkable how at first glance you can’t tell if you’re looking at Marianne, Summer or Pete, especially since one of them is supposedly a Hollywood sex symbol. Here comes the nausea again.
God I hope this is a grab-bag/garbage dump week because five more days of this is going to be hellish. The “new” characters don’t normally annoy me quite as much as the regulars do but Cliff and Vera are just gratingly bad and their already-abandoned little back story was blindingly stupid even by FW standards. Maybe it’s somehow leading back around to Frankie’s Film Food flim-flam but who the hell knows? Just please, not a f*cking wedding arc…anything but a f*cking wedding arc.
Link to today’s strip
Cliff Anger is a defiant and bitter commie. Jessica is back behind the camera after the unfortunate “Barbie” debacle. (I somehow totally missed that development this week, which says plenty about the Jessica character in general). TomBat was once the ringleader of some shoplifting-endorsing comic book liberation movement. It’s like the whole Funkyverse is all topsy-turvy, nothing makes SENSE anymore!!!
Fortunately though, at least one aspect of FW remains constant, the rock-solid pillar and foundation the entire Funkyverse is based upon. Of course I’m referring to abysmal, stupid, sub-moronic wordplay…what else? Apparently Cliff’s career wasn’t quite as important to him as the opportunity to make a really dumb and inane joke was and Cliff seized that opportunity, Tailgunner Joe and his own nascent movie career be damned. It’s a profile in courage all right. Life, liberty and the pursuit of idiotic gags that would make a third-grader roll his or her eyes… it’s in the Constitution. Give me punnery or give me death!
What a debacle. And on that note I’m passing the SoSF baton to the one, the only…TF Hackett, who’s all set to tackle the next two weeks of wry banter, painfully bad wordplay, adorable ninety-year old coots and sinister bio-dads, along with whatever other weird curveballs Batiuk yanks out of his musty little bag of contrivances. Why, it might be a retconned sixty year old congressional hearing or a broken pizzeria bandbox or a brain-damaged man comically spilling human remains all over himself…you just never really know until Monday rolls around and even then it’s sometimes unclear.
Link to today’s strip
Contemporary issues come roaring to the fore today as FW courageously takes a swipe at Senator Joseph McCarthy and the Cold War-fueled “Red Scare”. Of the 1950s. “Contemporary” in this case meaning “within the last century”. Not a lot of comic strips out there are willing to tackle the events that rocked our culture six decades ago and for that I sincerely believe FW and TB deserve a lot of credit sixty years from now. Perhaps in 2076 some obscure comic strip writer will name drop BanTom and his heroic fight against entertainment. Maybe some future generation will see FW differently than we have and it’ll gain a cult following and those “Lisa’s Story” books will be worth a fortune. But probably not.
Look at Cliff today, just oozing titly-headed sincerity all over the f*cking page, tilting this way then that way to get his point across. Along with their mystery-writing guru, Cliff and Vera were all set to “change the world” in some vague, weakly-defined way until it all fell apart thanks to the vicious hand of various artist-martyring forces who ruined their careers and made them sit there doing nothing for sixty years until an opportunity to suck at the teat of the modern-day mass media Hollywood machine came along at which point Cliff couldn’t get off the couch fast enough. And Vera sure seems to be enjoying the attention and the opportunity to live it up on CME’s apparently massive bankroll too. I guess that gave up on all that youthful idealism when they became reclusive hermits. Glad to see them finally getting the opportunity to complain about it now, too, right as everyone who vividly remembers that era prepares to die.
Link to today’s strip
BOOM! Look at Cliff, trying not to crack up. Sometimes NomBat makes this way too easy.
“Yeah, the feds got wise to us while we were filming “Starbuck Jones Leads The Righteous Lunar Proletariat In A Galactic Revolt Against The Decadent Capitalist Space Bourgeois” and long story short, I spent the next thirty-two years working a floor buffer at Leavenworth. Even worse, my cell was in the Right Wing so all day long I had to watch my back in case someone wanted to trade currency for goods or services. It was hell on earth. Really good grilled cheese sandwiches though, it’s all in the quality of the paper you’re using when you heat them on the radiator.”
“Oh how I waited and waited for my dearest Clifford to call after his parole. So many years spent watching my neck waste away, hoping to hear from my beloved Starbuck. Then I learned he had a computer and could have looked up my number in like two seconds. I began to see things in a different light after that. But still, this is too good to pass up, the studio pays for everything no questions asked and the food is fantastic.”
“When Dashiell told me to meet him at on Marx St at the old Lenin building over on the communist side of town I was a little apprehensive and when he asked me to wear all red I thought “hmmm, this guy could be involved in some far-out stuff here”. But he was very engaging and persuasive so I eventually agreed to obtain the blasting caps for him in spite of my misgivings. But I wasn’t anywhere near the bald eagle sanctuary on the evening in question and you can put that on the record.”
“I tried to tell him “Cliff, darling, this Hammett guy is a pinko, he associates with more Reds than Ted Kluszewski, he’s a goddamned f*cking commie to the core. But that’s my Clifford, a dear man but quite frankly dumber than a pillowcase full of broken toasters.”
Link to today’s strip
Happy Thanksgiving From Your Pals at SoSF!!!
Dashiell Hammett makes his first actual appearance today and it’s everything you imagined it’d be, even minus the band turkeys. Yep, nothing leaps off the funny page like a drawing of a man while he writes…but as a regular FW reader YOU ALREADY KNEW THAT!!! This Hammett guy was a political activist during the “Red Scare” era which is without a doubt where BanTom is going with this, although I can tell you with 100% certainty he’ll dance around the particulars and the details and keep things as vague as he possibly can to ensure there’s absolutely no possibility of offending anyone whatsoever, like he always does. Yep, 1950s commie paranoia…issues, today’s youth and so forth. Sigh.
“Starbuck Jones”…an obscure, short-lived comic book title that eventually grew to span decades and captured the very imagination of a nation. The old SJ movie serials of the fifties…low-budget and mostly forgotten matinee fare that was actually the brilliant work of a group of idealistic young Hollywood subversives. Cliff Anger…not really a weird old recluse but an American hero forced into seclusion by Cold War paranoia. Montoni’s…lousy indifferently-made food that Westviewians would kill for. Nothing is ever what it appears to be in the Funkyverse, like how it’s always on the page titled “Comics” for some reason.
Link to today’s strip
Huh? Cliff was in prison? What was he convicted of, impersonating an interesting comic strip character? Comic book theft? Counterfeiting pizzas? Violating the super-strict NYC lampshade statutes? And no one knew anything about this until right now? Well, that’s just fascinating and by “fascinating” I of course mean “duh”. I can’t wait to see where this latest twist takes us and of course by that I mean “please kill me now”.
So Cindy is only finding out about Cliff’s prison past right now? There’s no documentarian like a Westviewian documentarian, like no documentarian I know as a matter of fact. Once her crack team figures out The Google thing this project is really going to take off, mark my words. And correct me if I’m mistaken here but wasn’t Vera supposed to be “long lost” when they dredged her up to appear at Starbuck-Con? So she was long lost AND ardently following Anger’s life at the same time? Hey, it’s the Batiukverse…why the hell not?