Link to today’s strip.

Ah, the fickle world of publishing, where the trashing of your dream character, just to stir up sales, is a regular event.  Where palpable alarm and twisted anger morph instantly into fervid enthusiasm.  Look at the guy in the white shirt in panel one–now that’s someone so angry he’s warping his face.  Hope it doesn’t stick that way, buddy.  Dopey McGlasses, on the other hand, goes from stunned to happy with such ease he even does that Hummel thing with his hands to show how much he loves this idea.

My impression of this arc is that we are meant to disapprove of the way in which publishers demand that characters transform from happy and bright-eyed to dark and gloomy.  I hope I’m wrong, because this, coming from the man who writes and draws Funky Winkerbean, is too ironic by half.

Anyway, I’m glad the Mega Men are all enthusiastic.  Because the actual readers of this comic strip can share in none of the emotions on display here–not for us the gobsmacked alarm, the face-melting rage, the burning anger (look at GroverShave) or the unbridled enthusiasm of the last panel.  Because we’ve all been locked out of this story.   It’s people discussing a comic book character we’ve never seen.  We don’t know if sales are down, or if the character is in danger of irrelevancy, or if the book might get cut if not for Pete’s clone-strategy.  We’ve never seen a bit of Mister Sponge as he is currently, so his new direction means nothing.  Even “Sophomore Sightings” made a few appearances in the strip and, apparently, it was not requested that it become dark and dreary like poor Mr. Sponge.

Of course, there is a bright side for us in today’s offering–the surety that we’re not idiots.  Today’s strip reminds us that we don’t require t-shirts or easels to know where we are and where we’re working, unlike the intellects vast, cool and unsympathetic who need these things to work at Mega Comics.  That easel in particular is great–normally, one might expect a sales chart or something, but that would require actual story-telling ability, a hint of what’s at stake, so instead it’s just the logo.  Just sitting there, like a prop.  I bet it has to be on display at every meeting or there’s a panic:  “Oh Hell, where are we working?  What are we doing?  Who am us, anyway?”

On second thought, I’m betting this isn’t anywhere near “Mega Comics” headquarters.  This is just a bunch of Pete’s friends all play-acting.  They’re sitting around wondering why they got fired and fantasizing about being big shots in the comics world.

I think that’s a much better scenario; the only flaw is that it requires Dopey Pete to have friends, which is pushing things a bit far.

And, just to leave you with some entertainment….


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

14 responses to “We Love It THIS MUCH!

  1. Spacemanspiff85

    The thing I don’t get-so what if Absorbing Jr. isn’t the real Sponge’s son? The readers have never known the real Sponge, just the clone. So it’s not like there’s family separation going on or anything.

  2. Tom, the Spider-Man Clone Saga was about 20 years ago; it’s a little late to rant on it.

  3. Epicus Doomus

    BC: Oh yeah, the hilarity of Batiuk doing a riff about witless publishers and editors ignoring plausibility and continuity is definitely not lost on me. I suppose it was pressure from those mean nasty editors that forced him to go on his thirty year long rampage of misfortune and sadness, eh? Talk about a retcon job. I mean come on, he has to be yanking our chains here, right?

    I’m kind of confused by what he’s trying to get across here. As it’s been explained, Pete’s editors want him to darken and grit “TAMS” up by around twenty five percent or so like those other more popular comic book titles. Pete bemoans having to do this, but he bows to his corporate masters and cranks out a story that totally disregards the history and continuity of the strip. His editors love it, as in their (expert) opinion it’ll sell a lot of copies.

    So what is he saying here? That comic book fans are a bunch of unsophisticated morons who’ll buy any piece of dreck even if it defiles the artistic integrity of their favorite title? Or is he subtly trying to say that “editors” in general will just agreeably lap up whatever dumb shit you throw at them because they’re all idiots? It’s almost as if he was going for some sort of commentary about the state of comic book character history trashing, then slipped into “publishers are morons” mode (a recurring FW theme, of course).

    Two other brief points: nice use of needless expository rehashing in word balloon one. And note how Boy Lisa is totally gone now, kicked to the curb once again. You’re way down on the character flow chart if you’re getting bumped in favor of Pete.

  4. Rusty

    This is the first strip I can remember showing Pete speaking to adults outside of Montoni’s or the Komic Korner. A big step for him.

  5. Nathan Obral

    “Idiot Control Now…” one of the GREATEST MST3K host segments ever.

    “IT STINKS!”

  6. Didn’t Pete work for DC at some point? When did that change? When Batiuk decided to get on his “How DARE you make comics that aren’t like the ones I enjoyed in the Silver Age?!” high horse?

  7. Okay, you know what? No. Just no. This is crap. And now his own characters are creating crap. Yeah, nice not-so-subtle reference to those of us who don’t like this strip. We ALL know what you’re doing, Tom. It’s like putting bite-sized anchovy bits on a cracker. It’s still going to be too salty and too strong.

    So boring, so pointless, and so very bad. If it weren’t for snarking and my rage at TB for destroying *all three* of his strips, I would NEVER go through this pain every day!
    I can’t imagine how it must feel to those who have literally grown up reading these strips and were forced to watch them ALL slowly crash and burn over the years.

  8. The problem, as I see it, is that Batiuk is completely sincere because his brain conserves self-awareness. He has no idea that he’s far more guilty of the crimes he’s whining about than Joephisto is. Hell! If they ever did a PSA about it, Quesada’d be the one telling Batiuk he learned it from watching HIM.

  9. Professor Fate

    This storyline is astounding. But not in a good away. And as others have noted what difference does this make? Was TAMS thinking of dumping the sidekick but felt constrained because he was his son? Context just a little context please?

  10. billytheskink

    So… The Eliminator, the kid video game and courthouse record-hacking prodigy, is actually female despite being referred to as male for the entirety of Act I and never correcting anyone about it!?

    So… Bull, the bully who frequently beat up Les in high school, actually just pretended to beat Les up in the closet in order to protect him from other bullies even though he was depicted as fighting Les out in the open in Act I and Les remains uncomfortable around him into Act II!?

    So… Fallen Star, the mystery-solving book Les wrote about Jessica’s dad John Darling who was murdered, was actually a published commercial flop promoted at Cub Scout meetings despite explicit storylines involving Les losing the Fallen Star manuscript in New York and not getting it back until after he had a publishing deal for The Other Shoe!?

    So… Harry Dinkle, the world’s greatest band director, remains Westview’s High’s band director emeritus and continually hangs around the band room offering unwanted advice 10+ years after he was said to have retired due to hearing loss that would have prevented him from conducting music!?

  11. bigd1992

    At least Les is nowhere to be seen

  12. Jimmy

    I have an alternate theory about Mega Comics. It’s an ironic name, like calling the tall guy “Tiny” or the fat guy “Slim.” The marker-on-T-Shirt look is very professional, though.

  13. @TheDiva: People from Marvel and DC must have taken him aside and told him not to use their names in his strip; this stupid tantrum about stuff that happened twenty years ago is just his way of sticking his tongue out at them.

  14. captaincab

    lol Seeing my avatar and one of the greatest MST3K skits in the history of the series being used to mock today’s strip is a thing of comedic beauty!

    btw, for those who are wondering, that MST3K episode which the “It stinks!” line/skit are from is Pod People. Bizarre 1980s Spanish film dubbed in English which is a creepy mix between an E.T. rip off and a horror movie, one of the best episodes and a must watch!