It’s been bothering me for a while now; Pete looks like someone famous but I can never remember who. With the profile view in tonight’s strip it hit me!


Only Howard Cosell looks less like a melting waxwork figure.

In any case, Pete still can’t see the upside of getting the chance to work on a truly epic story arc in the canon of Mr. Sponge and instead continues moping as if he’s tasked with actually killing someone off in real life with his bare hands.

You’re a writer , Pete, and from the way you’ve been played up, the last great dreamer. Surely you can figure out how to bring Sponge Jr. back. Besides, it’s comics! You can basically pull a Simpson’s reset with the barest of explanations and readers will take it. How do you think Superman survived a storyline like this?


I haven’t read it but Superman probably hit Jimmy in the head with a rock and gave him amnesia. I’m sure Westview’s boy genius can figure something out.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

29 responses to “SpongeBlah

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Coming soon: “Absorbing’s Story…December’s Other Boot”. Followed by a ten-year time-jump featuring Mister Sponge telling his daughter Absorbina all about what a fine young sponge she’s become.

    I don’t know where he lifted that cover from (is this Sponge’s first-ever appearance? I pictured him as being an actual sponge) but I remember “The Simpsons” doing the exact same gag (“the one where Fallout Boy dies on every page”) almost twenty years ago and they obviously lifted it from somewhere too so I’m assuming it’s based on an actual famous comic book cover.

  2. Rick Brooks

    The cover is a ripoff – excuse me – homage to an old Batman comic from the early 1960s. The story was called “Robin Dies at Dawn.”

  3. SpacemanSpiff85

    The baffling thing (one of many, actually) about this arc is that the only audience it could really honestly appeal to is comic book fans. But they’ve been making this exact point for thirty or so years now, only much better and with actual humor.

  4. DOlz

    Is this TB’s way of telling us he’s bringing back St. Lisa?

  5. Rusty

    Just have him come back as a ghost, and on pre-recorded VHS tapes, or something. It’ll be great.

  6. And Mopey Pete is certainly a homely fellow.

  7. Epicus Doomus

    Oh, so it was a homage of sorts, only marred by his hacky unimaginative touch. I see. Very nicely traced, I must say.

  8. Since people are still taking action on what ridiculous way they’re going to cure Wolverine of being a giant hood ornament, it’s obvious that Batiuk can’t get it through his head that only Uncle Ben and Batman’s parents are the only people who are actually going to stay dead. This isn’t Earth 2 or the Ultimate Universe, it’s the Silver Age….death is part of the workout routine.

  9. I wonder when it dawned on Tom Batiuk that the only people who read Funky Winkerbean are people who think it’s terrible. Non-stories that never resolve, dialogue no human being has ever uttered, mid-arc shifts into a second meaningless alley…Tom Batiuk seems clearly to be saying, “Oh, so you want to complain about these things? Well, I’m going to do nothing but these things from now on!”

  10. A HREF

    That’s it— Pete is Howard Cosell. Been bugging me all week long. I kept trying to make him be Al Pacino but it didn’t quite fit.

  11. Smirks 'R Us

    Uh oh, new masthead alert. I can’t tell if that is mid 50’s Cindy or Crankshaft’s twenty something granddaughter, or maybe Owen after he takes off the chullo. Doesn’t matter. Any diversion from this pathetic diatribe on the evil comic book industry is OK by me.

  12. sgtsaunders

    If, at Heaven’s Gate, Saint Peter reads a list of the moments I’ve wasted on this mortal coil, the precious few seconds spent this week gazing at double-fictional Pete and his sponge creature will likely be the most egregious and possibly damning.

  13. bad wolf

    Here’s a couple more versions, from the ’80s. That’s still a little old for Pete though, right?


    Oh my bad, these comics have detailed backgrounds with multiple characters and individual expressions! Oops. Batiuk probably should have called Joe Staton for another favor, although i would not be surprised if Staton’s screening his calls after the Dick Tracy cross-under.

  14. I wonder if the comic-cover rip-off is supposed to be a comment on the various PhotoShoppings of Funky Winkerbean. It seems weird that, as a giant comic book fan, Tom Batiuk would be unaware that his (cough) homage would not be instantly discovered. Especially for such a slabbed platinum key arc!

  15. The lameness of the original Robin’s costume always bothered me. It looks like something he threw together for a Halloween party.

  16. So, Batiuk has just now realized sensationalism has been a part of the comic books game for a long time now? I thought he was supposed to be this huge uber-fan.

  17. bad wolf

    @beckoningchasm, not a chance–his Sunday homages went from redrawn strips with his own characters inserted to complete, 100% “redrawings” aka tracings. He’s been doing this so long he thinks he’s doing them a favor. “Tip of the Funky felt tip!” means some credit, no money, thanks for ‘inspiring’ me, now i can take Sunday off.

    My previous references were to X-Men #136 and Crisis on Infinite Earths #7, btw.

  18. Epicus Doomus

    It’s just a remarkably dull and un-inventive fantasy sequence. Mr. Sponge (and Batom Comics) is his own creation, he could take it in any number of ways yet he chose the most boring route possible. And on top of that, the whole thing was a huge waste of time story-wise, as absolutely nothing happened. Which of course is nothing new, as it’s what he always does. If he dislikes criticism so much maybe he should avoid writing the exact same stories over and over again. There was no good reason to make this another screed against the evils of the publishing business, he’s stomped that premise into the ground countless times through the years. Whether he realizes it or not it comes across as really whiny and petty, not to mention hypocritical.

  19. There are profound differences between the Batman & Mr. Sponge covers. For instance, the position of the sun in the sky! S & A Jr. are in an arid wasteland, not just on an alien world! Um… Er… Oh yeah! Best of all, the Batom comic is shocking; whereas Batman can manage nothing better than sensational.

  20. Saturnino

    >>Tom Batiuk seems clearly to be saying, “Oh, so you want to complain about these things? Well, I’m going to do nothing but these things from now on!”<<

    Raison d'etre.

    At least until year 50.

  21. Beecher Meete

    “No sweat. Just have Spongeman find a crate of VHS tapes Absorbine Junior made before his humorous but untimely death. And… and… Absorbine Junior can talk to Spongeman on a park bench… Dance with him on New Years Eve. Yeah. Yeah, that’s it, see?”

    I think this whole arc was a very long way to go just to fabricate an excuse to draw a big, muscle-y guy. Whatever floats your boat, Batty.

  22. batgirl

    This is a really minor thing to be bugging me, but … is Pete an artist or a writer? In the first panel, his boss is holding an inked (but not coloured) cover piece (which already has the price, logo, and Comics Code thingy on it, which I’m pretty sure weren’t added until the book went to print). The sheaf of paper in the next panel has no art, so it should be just the dialogue and instructions to the artist, presumably Pete. But the boss’s last panel instructions would go to the writer, not the artist. (like the inker and the colorist, they were different people usually)
    Even more minor, but still annoying, is that Batom comics seem to continue to cost .10, no matter where in a long run they come. I’m probably close to TB’s age, and I remember the price going from .12 to .15. Did he stop buying and reading comics before the price changed, so it remains somehow his Platonic ideal of a comic book price?

  23. We give Batiuk a lot of flak for his “Tell, Don’t Show” tendencies. But now that we’ve actually seen the legendary Amazing Mr. Sponge for the first time, it’s clear that he shouldn’t have shown us after all. Seriously, is there anything remotely spongelike about this generic super-hero?

    And mark my words, I just know we’re going to get an even closer look at him tomorrow when Batiuk presents us with the full-color cover as tomorrow’s Sunday panel.

  24. @batgirl; Don’t give him ideas. I live in fear of a world where Batfailure creeps on the industry for having to respond to inflation like everyone else.

  25. Wait a minute, he actually got GUEST ARTISTS to copy another artist’s cover? And he gives his “tip of the Funky Felt Tip” to the WRONG artist? That Batman cover was by Sheldon Moldoff, not Bob Kane! I know Kane was notorious for taking credit for all of his “assistants”/ghost artists’ work, but there’s no need to perpetuate Kane’s deception over 50 years later.