Failing Up

No doubt TB means to suggest that a “Netbusters” movie is barely a notch above “straight to cell phone.”

Me, two days ago

OK, I stand corrected: they are equivalent. For once, Batiuk seems to have achieved synchronicity between seemingly divergent plotlines, and the results are just as implausible as you’d expect. Pete, who sat practically mute as his editors shitcanned him, vents at length to his Skype wife Darin (these guys are too cutting edge to just talk over the phone; anyway, Pete’s panel 3 air quotes would be lost in translation).

The Hollywood writers don’t know how to handle superheroes…” This has to be the most howlingly funny and asinine thing that TB has written in years. Comic book adaptions continue to be among the biggest-grossing movies year after year, and probably not on the strength of the writing. Mason Jarr the movie star, because he has just so much clout in this town, decides that the answer is to “bring in some fresh talent” from the comical books. This of course spells opportunity for Pete Reynaldo, freshly chewed up and spit out by New York, whose epic struggles vs. deadlines should play just fine with the studio.


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Fired? Pete’s been fired?

Welcome to CloudFunkyCuckooLand, folks. Batiuk has at long last thrown off the bowlines and sailed away at last from the harbor of continuity and logic.

Sure, the editors tasked him with taking Mister Sponge in a “darker and grittier” direction, but the clone idea was Pete’s own, and he enthusiastically sold it to his bosses. When, as they anticipated, controversy ensues, his editors reassure Pete that his story has “lit up the internet” and put sales of their comic book “over the moon.” They outline a plan (presumably involving Pete) to further boost revenue by spinning the one title into three. When Pete predictably complains about the increased workload (his current output is already enough to trigger Pete’s psychoses), his nerdbosses calmly throw him overboard in favor of the Netbusters guy.

Suddenly jobless and 400 miles from home, Pete is concerned not for himself but for the “poor readers,” represented by Owen in a panel 3 which presumably takes place months hence: the same Owen who was devastated to learn that his absorbent and yellow and porous hero had been “retcloned” has dutifully shelled out for all three of the resulting comics and pronounces them “cool.”


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It’s Badly Drawn Beard Guy’s turn to speak. Mega Comics has “leaked the news” (no doubt via an anonymous Tweet) of the coming Spongeclone Saga, and cover artists are fighting over the gig like it’s Starbuck Jones. Naturally, Pete immediately balks at the prospect of tripling his workload—it takes all his strength to produce one monthly comic, let alone three! His superiors, no doubt acutely aware of Pete’s goldbrick tendencies, have already brought in an acclaimed and expeienced comic book writer “a guy who’s written a movie script for Netbusters,” which avid hate-readers of Batiuk’s strips will know  is where members of the Crankshaft household rent their movies. No doubt TB means to suggest that a “Netbusters” movie is barely a notch above “straight to cell phone.”


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Trilogy of Error

April 12, 2015 at 11:07 pm
Odd word-balloon separation there. Almost looks like there’s a ghost speaking.

When a cartoonist relies so heavily on verbiage, you’re bound to get some inconsistencies with the dialogue balloons. We see it again in  today’s panel 1, except rather than separating, the balloons merge, making it appear that Pete is answering his own question. So giddy are Pete’s editors at the prospect of spinning the controversial yet wildly lucrative Spongeclone concept into a franchise that they breathlessly speak for and over one another, while Pete Reubens with his under-eye bags is beginning to resemble a late-career Moe Howard.


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What a Clone

I know that among the readers here at SoSF are a number of you who “get” comics and the comics industry. While I haven’t picked up a comic book since they cost 12¢ and bore the stamp of the Comics Code Authority (the Silver Age, I reckon), I respect and understand the fandom. So, comic book people, is any of this arc making sense to you? Because it’s giving me a migraine.

Who even said anything about “killing off the clone“? Batiuk almost (almost) succeeds in making me feel sorry for Pete, as once again he is forced to listen in bug-eyed perplexity as this three-headed monster of an editorial team finishes each others’ sentences and even speaks in unison, grinning maniacally the whole while.


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Merrily We Troll Along

Batiuks aims for “bearded hipster” and hits “happy Cro-Magnon”

I’ve struggled to hang on to the notion that Tom Batiuk’s illusory superiority renders him oblivious to his online critics. But between yesterday’s “chew toy” reference and today’s panel 3, it seems that not only are some of those slings and arrows getting through, but that TB gets the last laugh. “Hate readers”, after all, are better than no readers; meanwhile, those paychecks from King Features Syndicate continue to accrue.


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Sponge Nonsense

The “action” continues to alternate between the west and the east coasts…

As he did with his “shallow end of the gene pool” remark, Pete continues to speak in weird lingo.  By the way: the “clone story arc” wasn’t the chew toy, Pete himself was, even unto these editors he’s addressing (and whose names we’ll never know; let’s call them  Manny, Moe, and Moishe). Pete also continues to moan about being responsible for a story arc which he developed and enthusiastically pitched just a couple weeks ago, and which, while controversial, has proven to be enormously successful.


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