A Picture is Worth a Dozen Words

Batiuk has long relied on the “photo album corners” visual cue when depicting flashbacks to past events. He uses that device once again in today’s strip to confusing effect. Are we seeing the photo that Holly is holding in her hands? Why is that photo talking? If Holly’s photos aren’t collected in a photo album, why does this one have photo album corners? There are other head-scratching details to unpack as well. There are apparently enough majorette pics to staple together and make a movie, yet there’s only one single photo of Holly as a baby…and she’s not even in it? I get the feeling too that Batty had an extra baton twirling joke, and decided to use it up in the middle panel. It really doesn’t have much to do with what’s being said in the panels surrounding it.

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Wigged Out

It’s a hell of a mishap when a flying pole with burning rags wrapped around both ends gets away from the majorette. It might cause the football field to catch fire, as Buck Bedlow can tell-not-show you. Which is a funnier circumstance than that of a girl forced to spend her teenage years hiding hideous, painful deformity to please her twirler mom. Oh, and the spelling you want in panel 2 would be “trouper.”

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Asbestos You Can Get

At least in this case we know that the red blur in the picture isn’t a ball of fire.  It’s Holly, in her classic Scapegoat majorette uni. I don’t know what’s worse: a “fireproof” garment that leaves your extremities exposed, or one that’s made out of material that can potentially cause cancer. Why not both?

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Girl on Fire

beckoningchasm
September 12, 2021 at 10:36 pm
Interesting that the only color we see on the photos is blotchy red. Are these photos of shooting victims?

J.J. O’Malley
September 13, 2021 at 10:37 pm
…[A]ll the photos appear to black and white with occasional splotches of red. Was Fun…er, Holly taking pictures at a screening of “Schindler’s List”?

billytheskink
September 13, 2021 at 10:24 am
Given all of the red smears on the photos…I’m guessing most of these “old” photos date back to Holly’s days as a red-and-white clad high school majorette…

December 3, 2013

Kudos to the above-quoted snarkers  whose beady, nitpicking eyes were drawn to the red splotches in nearly all of Holly’s photos. Those are all great (and funny) guesses, but apparently the pictures depict teenage Holly engulfed in flames.

The flaming baton gag dates back to the Act I days, and it is amusing to imagine it going horribly awry. It’s a little less amusing to imagine it causing disfiguring burns. And it becomes horrifying when we learn that her mother’s response was to schedule Holly’s yearbook photos accordingly. Also, disfiguring burns aside, Holly needn’t be so modest about her “skill” with a flaming baton. After all, she was still good enough, years later, to show a Xenon warrior just how it’s done.

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Maybe We Could Do the Twirl

Try saying “Twirling Tots” five times fast, I dare ya! Holly has settled into her ponderous pandemic picture project and is actually enjoying a little quality mother-daughter time. I don’t think I noticed until just this week that Melinda is drawn with the same weird, wide cartoony eyes that Holly had in her majorette days, and even when she was still a “Tot.”

Holly has been pictured in this outfit before. She’s wearing this uniform and boonie hat in her picture that hangs on  Montoni’s Wall of Fame. I started searching the archives to find the strip that shows this, but quickly became flustered, and I soon found myself sitting cross legged on the living room floor, being comforted by my mother. I’m going to need another pandemic to find it, har! har! har!

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Photobombed

I’m always forced to admit it when I find an FW character’s situation relatable to my own. My family photos aren’t collected in neat, tidy albums. They live in boxes and bags in the attic, and I need to, one of these days, take the time to sort and organize them. It’s a daunting task, to be sure, and that’s why I keep putting it off. But when I do find myself going through old photos, the memories they hold always bring a smile to my face. In today’s strip, Holly appears to be utterly distraught as she cowers on the floor amidst her family snapshots.

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I Don’t Need No Doctor

none
September 10, 2021 at 11:16 pm
The only thing that he has ever conveyed in any of this Atomic Comic trash are the Ideas. That’s it. Here’s the name of the book, here’s the cover to the #1 issue, and everything else – story, marketing, advertising, criticism, reception – is irrelevant.

Banana Jr. 6000
September 11, 2021 at 9:20 am
…“This superhero is based on air” is not a story. It’s not even a character. But whatever, give us the goddamn Sunday comic book cover already so we can get this shit over with.

You asked for it, Banana Jr. 6000! Meet…DDCTDR ATMDS! Those who read Funky only in the Sunday funnies won’t have the benefit of knowing the backstory of the Doctor’s fascinating origin. I think they’d be more likely to assume the this comic’s title character was the figure flying in from the right. The one on the left looks more sinister, and appears to throwing off a whole bunch of “killer watts!” Nobody should be shocked that Batty uses the reality bubble at lower right for three weak electrical puns. Two puns, actually: Pete’s not pronouncing it “revolting.” He’s literally revulsed. Pete is as sick of these two as we are.

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Tell, Don’t Show

Mr. A
September 10, 2021 at 9:37 am
It’s never been more obvious that Batiuk came up with an idea for a cool comic-book cover first, and worked backwards from there. On Saturday they’ll name the water character, and then we’ll see the cover art on Sunday, and then we’ll be done.

Two outta three ain’t bad, Mr. A! I didn’t even get today’s gag until the third or fourth read through. Why was the writer teasing the artist about an “obsession with writing things down”? I suppose that Phil is implying that he did the real work of drawing, while all Flash had to do was spin a “story” without even having to set it down in written form.

So we won’t know yet how the fourth character, representing the water element, will be (the Inedible Pulp, perchance?) But yes, tomorrow we’ll see a Comix kover (desktop users, get ready to rotate those monitors). And then we’ll be done. And, speaking of teasing, we’ll reconnect with yet another octogenarian FW character, one whom we’ve only seen in a single cameo in all of 2021!


Addendum

The Batty blog is running the FW strips from the aftermath of September 11, 2001. The strips are really…not so bad (this was still Act II), and, to TB’s credit, they ran less than one month after the attacks (not a year later, as is the case with his Covid content). Anyway, I’m bringing this up as an excuse to post the most savagely funny sendup of a certain self important cartoonist from Ohio. Never forget.

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Atmos, at Least

[A] hero who’s composed of air,” encased in an airtight suit. Doctor Atmos basically a man-sized balloon animal. Not where I might’ve gone with this “Elements” concept, but in fairness to Batty, no worse than some real-life comics concepts. Since returning from the “dead,” Phil has grown more youthful looking each day, while “Flash” and Ruby remain their wizened selves. Darin’s corny, round spectacles don’t do any favors for his youthful looks (and let’s face it, he and Jess have to be pushing forty).  Pete has always looked middle aged, but today his face just looks bizarre.

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Elemental as Anything

Except for his outburst of mock anger yesterday, the usually cantankerous Phil Holt has been positively gleeful about rebooting his comics career. What ever became of the one-man “hostile work environment,” who walked off the job in a fit of resentment, regarded his own work as “just junk“, and had to pay the bills working as a caricaturist at kiddie parties? All it took was a little affirmation of the meaning his work had for others. The hard feelings he engendered in his partner, and the hardship he spitefully caused himself, are forgotten, and he’s ready to return to “working in a bullpen”.

What’s also forgotten in today’s strip is that “the batty Batom bullpen” never existed, at least not as a rollicking, “fun” filled, shared workspace. From April, 2018:

Turns out that Batom Comics pioneered the “work from home” concept that has, since last year, become more commonplace. A fact that Chester, having more money than brains, discovered only after he bought the entire building in pursuit of fulfilling his Silver Age fantasies. “Emphasis on the ‘bull'” indeed.

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