Same Old Used to Be

Starbuck Jones…was the brainchild of Batom Comic’s first official writer Flash Freeman…Freeman had reached out to Phil Holt, an artist he had worked with from time to time on his various freelance jobs. Part illustrator, part cartoonist, Phil was the perfect artist for the job. His clean exciting style set the tone for the series right out of the gate.

Batom Comics – The Untold History Chapter 3” at the official FW blog

So there’s the backstory, for those of you who understandably can’t be arsed to follow the 11-part (and counting) history of Batiuk’s cloud cuckoo land comics empire. I shall use the rest of my time to share some observations about Rick Burchett’s artwork. Where Batiuk often would eschew busy backgrounds in favor of a crosshatched, encroaching black void, RB likes to cram in lots of detail, and today’s strip is a case in point. The kid sitting for a caricature resembles bratty Angelica from Rugrats, but Phil depicts her, as he probably depicts everyone he draws, as a flying superhero. In the background, a kid inexplicably goes sailing ass-over-teakettle through the air.

As Chyron HR pointed out in the comments yesterday, Phil Holt bears a resemblance to legendary comics artist Jack Kirby, born one hundred years ago this month. According to Batom’s “history,” Phil drew the first SJ comic in 1954; he’d be in his mid-eighties by now, which makes his having to work kids’ parties a little depressing. But in a universe where a nonagenarian actor is feted at Comic Con and a WWII vet still drives a schoolbus, I suppose this is totally plausible.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

25 responses to “Same Old Used to Be

  1. Epicus Doomus

    In “real life” the odds that this could happen would be so astronomical they probably couldn’t even be calculated. Boy Lisa can’t even step away from his comic book geek lifestyle without falling ass-backwards into ANOTHER comic book geek fantasy, this time running into the artist who originally drew the superhero the film production he currently works for is based upon, completely by happenstance. Get ready for all sorts of nostalgic memories about things that happened thirty years before Darin was born…sigh.

    His bio-mom happened to be Lisa, Les happened to have plenty of extra room available, Montoni’s happened to be looking for extra help, Westview happened to be clamoring for breakfast pizza, Les happened to ask him to do a few doodles for his vanity book project, his best friend happened to score a lucrative head writer gig for a major motion picture and happened to need a storyboarder, his wife happens to be remarkably patient and now this. Any other character in the strip would kill for just a taste of this sort of good fortune. Boy Lisa is by far the luckiest character in the strip.

  2. billytheskink

    Good job blowing Phil’s cover, Durwood. Now he has to get a new identity and skip town before Matches Malone breaks his legs.

  3. spacemanspiff85

    That history of Batom comics Batiuk has on his blog is just bizarre. Who does he think would possibly find it interesting? It’s not remotely entertaining, and since it’s fictional, there’s not even a point or benefit to it.
    If Batiuk had written Game of Thrones, he’d do it like this:
    “A king died. Then later, another king died. And some other kings died, later.”
    There’s far more to writing than Batiuk seems to know. Or more likely, he knows but doesn’t care to put the effort in anymore.

    • Epicus Doomus

      I’ve read it too and he put a lot more effort into that than he does with FW. If he’s dying to do these Batom Comics stories he should just DO them and stop being so half-assed about it. Just take three or four months, throw every idea you have out there and do one huge Batom Comics ultra-mega arc instead of these dumb dribs and drabs that always contradict everything else. The idea of a really half-assed fantasy world existing within an equally half-assed fantasy world blows my mind in a really half-assed way.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Not sure why he just doesn’t publish his own comic book. Also surprised his syndicate lets him put this crap into his daily strip.

  4. Tom Batiuk is obsessed with the story of Siegel and Shuster, who were robbed of millions because they signed a contract. Yeah, it isn’t fair.

    The thing is, LIFE isn’t fair, and never has been. Siegel and Shuster got robbed? The line forms at the back, folks. Should have called up Bob Kane’s lawyer.

    I’m thinking this arc is another of his attempts to “right history’s wrongs” by having Shuster be given the acclaim he was always accorded but never received.

    Again, it’s so beyond childish to be pretty incomprehensible.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Again I just don’t understand why he just doesn’t do an arc about that instead of inventing his own amazingly half-assed fictional world to act as a boring and confusing stand-in for the real thing. I get that he’s just running out the clock here and stopped caring a long, long time ago and all but that’s my point: why even bother to create a fictional world within a fictional world if it’ll ultimately be indistinguishable from a “Funky goes jogging” arc? It’s part of what makes FW so much more than just a lousy comic strip, it’s the infinite conundrums and the way he so consistently steamrolls every last possibility of creativity out of the thing.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Batty forgets that back then, you needed a publisher. Sure, it’s a business, but without those evil publishers, those great comics would have never seen the light of day.

    • gleeb

      You mean a Schuster and Siegel story beyond the weeks-long pilgrimage that mopey Pete and granny-cheatin’ John made to one of the two’s childhood house on one of the several occasions when Pete couldn’t think of anything to write about Superman?

  5. Gerard Plourde

    This attempt to shoehorn the Batom backstory into Funky Winkerbean truly shoots his already jumbled timeline to hell. The creation of Starbuck Jones (according to his Batom history) occurred after the publication of “Seduction of the Innocent”. That was published in 1954. Joe McCarthy’s downfall was triggered by the Army-McCarthy hearings that ran from April through June of 1954. The main events of the Hollywood Blacklist occurred from 1947-54, so a Starbuck Jones serial couldn’t possibly have existed for Cliff Anger and Vera Nash to star in.

    • His overweening need to attack dead people who’ve angered him seems to taken precedence over the odd and pointless concern fungus snarker-trolls who live in their basement have about plausibility. We only care about that because we don’t want to care about refugees in war zones with world diseases. Oh. Wait. That’s Lynn Johnston’s way of yelling “La-la-la-la, I can’t hear you.”

    • If I’m remembering correctly, when Funky went back in time to the 70’s he told his younger self to buy Starbuck Jones #1. That in itself shoots continuity in the back of the head and dumps the body in the lake.

      • Epicus Doomus

        You are indeed remembering it correctly. That was back when SJ was an obscure title that only existed for a handful of issues, back before Holly started collecting the entire 300+ issue run, which was before it suddenly existed back in the early 1950s. At this pace, Darin and Pete should be discovering the original SJ parchments at an ancient native American burial site by 2018 at the latest.

  6. Oh, right. This messy convolution of a time-line is all about the mess with Siegel and Shuster and always has been. If they were the sort of greedy crook Bob Kane was, we wouldn’t have to deal with this ordure.

    • Gerard Plourde

      Ironically, if he hadn’t killed off Lisa he could have her represent Holt in his legal efforts to get acknowledgment and recompense. I don’t want to think of the ways that his lack of research could play itself out in that scenario.

  7. Chyron HR

    “You’re Phil Holt? What a coincidence–My best friend and I keep having shared hallucinations where I’M Phil Holt!”

  8. bobanero

    Well, Durwood certainly made a quick recovery from that nasty Comic-con crud he was suffering from on Sunday. So, it’s another impossible timeline this week, also known as “another week in Funky Winkerbean”. I’m guessing that Durwood will figure out a way to get this guy involved in the movie production and share in the unlimited riches that will come if this movie is ever released. I envision a scene on stage at the Valentine where Phil Holt and Cliff Anger stand together with the rest of the cast and crew, clasped hands raised in a gesture of victory, in front of an adoring audience of Westview locals.

  9. Hitorque

    How would Darrin even know what 1950s Phil even looked like, much less modern day??

    Too bad another ComiCon passed and Batiuk forgot to give Phil his ultimate redemption story complete with a million dollar contract and his check for 50 years “lost recognition pay” plus interest…

    Lemme guess — Phil also has a long lost fiancee who he was about to marry until he had a falling out with his cigar-chomping fatass boss and she’s been patiently waiting 60+ years for him to get his mojo back?

    • Gerard Plourde

      Also, Batom Comics was based in Cleveland for its entire history. What’s Holt doing in LA?

      • Epicus Doomus

        He fled to California when the economic downturn of the 1970s forced Ohio’s many comic book mills to close.

  10. Hitorque

    Batiuk does realize the brazen hypocrisy of righting the wrongs against supposedly talented people by employing naked it’s-not-what-you-know-but-who-you-know cronyism and patronage, right?


    Yeah, I’m with the girl in pink. This strip really is fucking boring.

  12. Charles

    So queue the nine-strip sequence about how this guy was a genius who was producing beautiful works of art and was sabotaged and drummed out of the business by terrible people in charge who were only concerned about the bottom line. Just like everyone else.

    The amazing thing is that Batiuk writes something like this and thinks that we’re going to empathize with this guy – this guy who didn’t even exist two days ago. He comes up with his standard pathos and expects it’s going to carry his point, but he forgets that people have to care. No one’s going to care about this guy who just appeared out of thin air, and is no doubt going to plunge into this whiny, bitchy backstory about how bad people are the reason for all his problems and why he’s such a burnout.