The Never Mind

Link to today’s strip.

Let’s leave aside the fact, a year or so ago, that the Lord of the Late was revealed to be just an aspect of Pete’s personality.  That alone should banish him from the strip.  (Imagine a monster, long since revealed to be Old Man Carruthers, the Caretaker, returning to menace the Scooby Gang as the same monster.  They’d go right to the mask-pulling without even pausing for a musical number.)

Let’s also leave aside the charming picture of Pete furiously picking his nose in the penultimate panel.  And let’s leave aside what is going on with the hand in panel four (first one on the bottom).

Instead, I have to wonder–has Tom Batiuk ever read a comic book?  Because Super Villain Rule Number One is that you have to bedevil your designated hero at every opportunity.  Saying “I’ll let the internet be mean to him” is just not done.  Imagine the Joker refusing to plot against Batman because he notices the Batmobile parked in a loading zone or something, and is just giddy at the idea of Batman getting a traffic ticket.  I mean, why is the Joker even there if he’s not going to act?

Same with the Lord of the Late.  Why is even here, if his sole purpose is to announce that he’s not going to do anything?   Making Pete “woefully late” is all he does.   (Well, in theory.  In actual fact, Pete always comes up with a remarkably stupid idea to save his career at the last moment.)

Granted, that’s not the worst thing a Funky Winkerbean character can do.  At least it’s not Owen, asking why Humphrey Bogart didn’t use his jet-pack to rescue Ingrid Bergman in that poorly thought-out Casablanca film.  It’s not Holly telling Dick Tracy, “It’s not what you eat, it’s when you eat it.”  And it’s not Les doing, well, anything.

I mean, he’s not really here solely so we can hear about “internuts,” “twitter tots” and “tweet revenge” is he?   Because that’s just sad.  Look, Mr. Batiuk, I know you don’t enjoy criticism–few people do.  But here’s how you get it to stop.  Start actually writing stories, using interesting characters, and–this is key–ask for a new editor, one who will push you to use your strengths rather than sign-off on your work without even reading it.

Yes, I know, that’s not going to happen.  It’s far easier to insult people and get all huffy than it is to change the path of a runaway truck.  So it’ll be all dreck, all the time, on the way to that magical 50th.  The thing is, the critics will be right along for the ride–you can’t shake them by having nothing happen in your strip, because that’s a choice as well.

Well, folks, I can see the sunshine finally appear as my SoSF guest-host stint finally comes to an end (for now).  Please welcome David O as your new dungeon master starting tomorrow, as we ask the musical question, “Whose idea was this?”

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23 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

23 responses to “The Never Mind

  1. SpacemanSpiff85

    When you’re creating a storyline entirely so you can take potshots at your internet critics, they’ve won.

  2. But what does this Lord Of The Late guy even have to do with anything? NONE of this is cool by any means. Neither are the usual puns and insults.

  3. DOlz

    “internuts,” “twitter tots”? Ah, TB your razor sharp wit has cut me to the quick. How ever will I reenter the area with you? I know I will thicken my skin by having my three year old nephew insult me. Granted his insults will be sharper than yours, but my one year old niece doesn’t speak yet.

  4. For someone who obsesses about comic books so much, Batiuk sure seems to hate the people who enjoy comic books.

  5. Epicus Doomus

    Sometimes BanTom is amusingly annoying, sometimes he’s aggravatingly annoying. Then there are times like this week, where he’s insufferably annoying beyond belief. Whackadoodles, internuts (good one), “Twitter (registered trademark) tots” (WTF???), yeah dude, we get the message. Hardcore fans of things who complain online when those things suck are just a bunch of jerks who ruin it for the rest of us. I have no idea what “it” is, but it really doesn’t matter anyway.

    Too bad the Great Author didn’t channel his rage against the online commentariat into writing a story arc that wasn’t a lazy self-indulgent piece of garbage. Not only would it have been a novel experience for him, but maybe someone might actually notice if it didn’t reek of laziness and indifference. Perhaps they’d even go so far as to take to the interwebs to tell other readers that it didn’t suck cold limp tool today like it usually does. Yup, too bad that didn’t happen.

    Note how he didn’t even have balls enough to have a regular FW character crack wise about the internuts. He had to use faceless anon-o-editors and that stupid Lord Of The Late to deliver his little tirade instead. The irony of going off on an anti-internet rant in the same week an online video chat was a prominent part of the story isn’t lost on me either. Then again it’s no surprise, as this guy can contradict himself a dozen times in a single sentence, much less an entire arc.

  6. Nathan Obral

    So now it appears that Batom® has decided to directly channel Brick Tamland with today’s strip.

  7. Rusty

    I’m convinced Pete only exists so Batiuk can trot out the lord of the late every year.

  8. Nathan Obral

    Just imagine the reaction Batom® would have if someone had the guts to hang a banner on the Medina Gazebo that says, in big bold letters, “LISA LIVES!!!”

  9. Nathan Obral

    @Epicus Doomus: “The irony of going off on an anti-internet rant in the same week an online video chat was a prominent part of the story isn’t lost on me either.”

    The ultimate irony is that SoSF pretty much has the most relevant and up-to-date information about Funky Winkerbean out there. Certainly more than Funky Winkerbean’s official website, that’s for sure.

  10. bobanero

    Forget “lord of the late”. This strip calls for the “archduke of awful”, the “king of krap”, the “sultan of suck”, or the “earl of effortless”.

  11. Mason Jarr

    Injustice briefly glanced at this, and turned away.

  12. Epicus Doomus

    Coming next week: Inspired by Pete’s heroic struggle against The Man, Boy Lisa introduces “twitter tots” to the Montoni’s menu and they’re an instant hit among the hip young internet crowd. Boy Lisa nets a ten dollar bonus and a half-off coupon good on weekdays except Fridays and holidays. Then on Wednesday he fades out and his arc becomes about someone else.

    Nathan Obral: I for one would happily welcome a comprehensive FW fan site featuring FW fan polls with questions like “would you miss LOTL if it disappeared forever right now?”. I’d be very interested to see how they both voted.

    Now I have “Twitter tots” stuck in my head. Damn that BanTom and his sick mind games. They’d be shaped like those symbols he uses in place of “swear words” in the strip. Little exclamation points, spiral squiggles and asterisks.

  13. What irritates me is less that he’s angry that people he doesn’t know dare to comment on how absurd and stupid his plots have been since he decided to salt John Darling’s earth and more that he doesn’t realize that Winkerbean inspires ignorance and indifference in most people. Simply put, your average person doesn’t know what’s going on with the mopey looking old people and s/he doesn’t want to know.

  14. @Paul Jones: Yes, you are exactly right. And that John Darling stuff made/makes me so mad. Heck, nearly the whole strip from circa 1999-now makes me mad because, especially if you yourself love to draw and write stories you’re just wondering to yourself, “Wow. How could you DO such things to your characters and your readers and not even care?”

    Nobody should have to grit their own teeth in rage and embarrassment over a comic strip! 😦

  15. Soacemanspiff85

    @PaulJones:
    That’s what I was thinking was funny about this. If Batiuk “anonymously tweeted” a big continuity-destroying bombshell about FW, like how Lisa was going to be brought back to life by dark research funded by the Lisa’s Legacy money, everyone one who isn’t a commenter here would react either with amazement this strip is still printed, or total indifference.

  16. ^Right. OR if there are any funkyfans around, they would shower Tom Batiuk with praise for bringing her back. Although he was the one who decided to kill her off in the first place.

  17. Charles

    I knew once we saw Mopey being all morose earlier this week that it was only a matter of time before this asshole showed up.

    Even though it doesn’t make any sense, since nothing in this stupid story has anything to do with Mopey putting off finishing his assignment. If Lord of the Late got shoved out of the way to make way for the Baron of Bad Ideas, this strip might have actually been amusing.

  18. DOlz

    @bobanero, may I add to your list the Duke of Dumb and the Knight of kNaught (silent k on naught in honor (or is it disgrace) of TB’s forced puns)?

  19. He seems to be a catch-all villain for Pete’s fears that his career will go down in flames. It’s like how that damned cat is the personification of Les’s fear that people will think he’s a pretentious, no-talent hack who should be the punchline of a joke I heard on the radio thirty years ago:

    “Attention, students…Mr Ferguson, the English teacher committed suicide last night. He’s the third one this year so would you please stop asking them if they’re failed writers.”

  20. DOlz

    Oh geez how could I forget the Viscount of Vanity.

  21. The trouble with Twitter Tots is that the asterisks have either burnt points or a soggy center.

  22. Professor Fate

    This is just sad – really . He’s lashing out at on line critics of the strip – who after all maybe the only ones that actually care about the strip. Good stories in this strip have rendered into mush by the Author’s execution. We really care about comic strips and get upset when their potential is diminished by the Author’s fecklessness . But he just gets huffy that we do not recognize his worth. Again it’s just sad.

  23. Rusty Shackleford

    Is this strip financed by a National Endowment for the Arts grant? How is it possible that Batiuk gets paid for this garbage? We know that the newspapers aren’t making any money, so how is he getting paid?