Deja Doom

Link to today’s strip.

Oh good heavens…are we all trapped in Hell, where we have to relive things over and over again, until we’re forgiven and allowed to pass into purgatory?  Didn’t we just go through all this “back in the day” stuff?  In fact–isn’t Pete’s dialogue in panel two an exact repetition of what he said before?  (I’d look it up, myself, but I’m starting to feel a distinct aversion to going through old Funky Winkerbean strips.  Life being short and all.)

How much padding does Tom Batiuk need to get to that 50th anniversary?  Wait–don’t answer that!

Well, since we must, I’m guessing the answer is…a lot.

As for today’s day-old bread, again, I posit thus:  that Pete here is merely a clerk-typist, tasked with putting the real screenwriter’s handwritten notes into proper script format.   After all, he’s never been to a script meeting, and none of the producers have ever come by to chat about the project, even though he’s in the same building and everything.

I think he was hired because Mason wanted to do Cindy a favor, and CME thought Mason was valuable enough that he could be indulged a bit.  But when they got his first draft, things went sour (“What the hell is this about sponges?  And clones of sponges?  And why does Starbuck Jones have so many soliloquies railing against short-sighted editors?”) and he was quietly moved out of the writer’s chair into something more attuned to his abilities.

As for Darin, I have no idea why he’s even here.  Storyboards are typically done when there’s a reasonably final version of the script in place; there’s no point in paying someone to draw out sequences that may never be passed out of committee, let alone see the light of film.  (Particularly for a firm that produces cable-TV movies, most of which are cancelled.)

That sort of thing is nowadays called “pre-visualization” and I think it’s beyond Darin’s abilities–after all, you have to imagine something that works, rather than assuming failure right out of the gate, and no one from Westview has that talent.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

25 responses to “Deja Doom

  1. I don’t know as much about storyboarding, screenwriting, et al as the inimitable beconingchasm, but I do know that if I spent as much time whining about my job as Sir Mopesalot does, I wouldn’t have one. And if he spent as much time doing his job as having acid flashbacks, he’d have the damn script finished by now.

  2. Ugh. Haven’t we seen this story before? Like, literally, this series of strips has been run before?

  3. SpacemanSpiff85

    It’s truly amazing how Batiuk can have so many storylines about writing that don’t show any of the actual writing.

  4. Frank Bolton

    Serious question: does Batiuk actually enjoy the process of writing? Almost every time some kind of content creation is depicted in this strip — whether it’s music, drawing, or especially writing — the process is shown as tiresome and disempowering. The only time I remember a non-Dinkle person enjoying the journey of creating something was Les smugging it up with his stupid Lisa’s Story grand slam metaphor.

  5. Frank, I was actually just thinking this himself. In Tom Batiuk’s world, being a writer must make you a beleagured, misunderstood victim. What’s even more exhaustive and confounding is how frequently he writes stories ABOUT writing. Which wouldn’t be such a bad thing if he didn’t make it seem so terrible. But you’d think if he was so passionate about writing comic books, he’d write actual comic books, instead of writing ABOUT writing comic books (in utter misery).

  6. Epicus Doomus

    Talk about a lazy, slovenly piece of hackery. This time around he couldn’t even be bothered to create a new segue into his moronic Batom Comics/Fat Editor fantasy world, he just copied a strip from a few months ago practically word-for-word. How this bum manages to maintain a national platform for this dreck is still as mysterious and inexplicable as it’s ever been.

    BC: The real question is: will he manage to outlast us all by just bludgeoning us to death with his mighty boredom hammer? Will there be anyone left standing to say “hey, FW is the vacuum cleaner of comic strips, it both sucks and blows” when he receives the coveted Golden Felt-Tip? I’ve always maintained that not only doesn’t he want “new” readers, he wants to rid himself of ALL readers so he can cruise to that 50 year finish line nice and discreetly and with as little effort as possible. And if I’m wrong, well, it opens up a whole other range of possibilities, none of them very pleasant to ponder.

  7. It’s been theorized that Batiuk doesn’t have editors, which makes sense because I doubt there are any left who want to work with him.

  8. billytheskink

    So when the CME middle manager in charge of this rat-trap office looks in on his two charges, does he see Pete and Durwood slumped over with their heads on their desks or do they daydream by looking at the ceiling they’ve thrown all of their pencils into?

  9. SpacemanSpiff85

    Also, when your response to your boss asking you to actually do your job is to immediately whine and daydream with your high school buddy, screw you, you’re lucky to have a job.

  10. And remember, all of this is because someone asked him to kindly change Crankshaft into someone the audience wouldn’t want to hunt down and murder. Not only are editors mercenary creeps who want to stop him (and everyone else) from suffering for his art, the people who pay the bills and watch the shows are idiots who don’t want to accept the reality that is an elderly vandal making the world a worse place to live.

  11. Paul Jones: And remember, all of this is because someone asked him to kindly change Crankshaft into someone the audience wouldn’t want to hunt down and murder.

    Hey, I still wanna hunt down and murder ol’ Ed Crankshaft.

    HAnzMFG: Ugh. Haven’t we seen this story before? Like, literally, this series of strips has been run before?

    Pret-ty much.
    November 17:

    January 5:

  12. After comparing those two strips I can only conclude that they have been moved to a new office. No way would TB forget what the outside of the building was drawn as, because that would draw the ire of the continuity police.

  13. HeyItsDave

    It’s not as if T-Bats hasn’t recycled his lame jokes before.



  14. It’s kind of pointless to keep commenting on this, since it’s basically the same shite over and over again. Pete Rutger and Durwood have both got their dream job in Hollywood (storyboard artist is the dream job of an MBA?), and all they can do is whine about doing their job, while other qualified writers and artists are working as waiters and waitresses.

  15. ComicBookHarriet

    Yup, and how many times has he used this punchline: Smug fatalistic irony is the only way to deal with the universal and inevitable descent of life from a peak of futile youthful dreams into senility, frailty, and death.

  16. HAnzMFG

    Now that’s just embarrassing.

  17. hitorque

    So by my count this is the third time Pete Ratkowski has stopped working to daydream about how things would have been for him in the “good old days” that he’s way too young to have any proper concept of:

    So what is his fascination with what I’m guessing is circa 1960, anyway? I’m pretty sure Pete worked with some 20-year veterans at his old job who almost certainly told him “Oh, yeah — Working in the comics industry was WAY better back when I started in the early 1990s than it is today!” or whatever…. So why the hell doesn’t Pete daydream about *THAT* goddamned era?

  18. My guess is, Batiuk is writing this from personal experience in the 60s when he was trying to get into the comics industry. Of course, the reason he never became a famous comics author among the ranks of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were undoubtedly because of tyrannical, meddling editors, and nothing to do with, say, shoddy artwork of awful character concepts like The Amazing Mr. Sponge.

  19. hitorque

    @HAnzMFG For the love of God, please tell me Batiuk drew that as a bored 9th grader killing time in detention or study hall or whatever… I’m surprised it wasn’t drawn on looseleaf lined paper…


    Script Changes! The nerve of some people actually wanted to make sure their movie is good! They should just do like Batiuk does and just toss any crap out.


    Oh,dear god in heaven…I just realized I made that same joke when the original strip came in!!! Maybe we are in hell!

  22. @hitorque
    Oh, you haven’t seen that masterpiece before? Man, I hope it is. Maybe it’s not surprising Tom limited his art style to vaguely Peanuts-esque drawings, at least back in the day

  23. HeyItsDave

    @HAnzMFG Hahahaha! Mr. Sponge! Knowing how thin-skinned he is, I wonder if T-Bats got all bent out of shape when Nickelodeon introduced Spongebob Squarepants?

    “Damn it, I’m telling you they’ve TAKEN MY CHARACTERS right down to the last detail! Squidward is obviously Carl Lears, and can’t you see how much of Martin Shaft is in Patrick? GET MY LAWYER!!”

  24. Professor Fate

    We have all been here before – we have all been here before.
    As noted above, the Author continually portrays creative work as unalloyed misery – even the godlike Les has gone through crippling writer’s block from time to time. And granted writing on deadline can give one a feeling that not only are you never going to have another idea again but you are damn sure you’re not getting one before Tuesday. (an Observation of one David Ogilvy) but really this whining is just tiresome – there is no sense of Humor about oneself here just petulant whining that the evil ones are telling you to do what you’re being paid to do.

  25. I get the sense that what lies at the root of The Author’s work is a desire to be an “Artist” who creates something that achieves a kind of immortality, ensuring that that the “Art” he creates will be known beyond his lifetime. His need for this blinds him to the fact that renown and immortality are things we have no real control over. It also probably removes all joy from the actual process. In reality the most any person can hope for is to find work that is personally rewarding, do the best work he or she is capable of in that task and leave the rest to fate and destiny. It’s sad that he apparently can’t see this.