Does This Spell The End?

Having been informed in today’s strip that the name of his newfound comic book company is already trademarked, Chester decides to employ the strategy of phonetic misspelling that made the TurboGrafx-16 the number one name in video games.

I find this strip to be fairly discordant because of the use of “Grandpa Google” combined with the revelation that an Atomic Comics already once existed. First, “Grandpa Google”… please stop trying to either make this a thing people say or pretend that it already is a thing people say. It is not and it never will be. However, stupid as it is, I can allow that it is some kind of in-universe slang. But that brings in the second point of discord. If this is a fictional universe in which people say “Grandpa Google” without being blackmailed then why does “Atomic Comics” have to be an unusable trademark? Skirting a real-life trademark is a spectacularly uninteresting story arc, not to mention that “Atomik Komix” isn’t likely to stave off a lawsuit that “Atomic Comics” would invite anyways. This makes the set up of The Phantom Menace look like Macbeth.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

39 responses to “Does This Spell The End?

  1. spacemanspiff85

    That’s all it takes? I might have to found Marvell Komix, then. Or try writing comic strips online called Phunky Winkerbeen and Krankshaft and see if Batiuk doesn’t sue me.

    • countoftowergrove

      Now that I see it, be careful Kraftwerk doesn’t come after you!

      • Saturnino

        Would you get a C&D letter from Bathack’s (retained) counsel if you started a comic called F*d up Winkerbone?

        • comicbookharriet

          If you make it a Tijuana Bible, Batuik will a least appreciate your knowledge of comics history.

  2. countoftowergrove

    I’m going fission here: “Newkular Komix.”

  3. Gerard Plourde

    Also, if Atomic Comics is no longer publishing, why couldn’t Chester simply contact whoever holds the trademark and offer to buy it (if it hasn’t passed into public domain already)?

    • Exactly! Chester is rich enough to buy a building and presumably hire staff to maintain it and operate a book publishing company with writers, letterers, inkers and printing press, but not smart enough to hire lawyers to buy the trademarks he needs. And we’ve yet to talk about distribution. Good thing the strip is so grounded in reality.

  4. Epicus Doomus

    As far as this “Grandpa Google” thing is concerned billytheskink nailed it. It’s never going to catch on for a wide and varied number of reasons too complicated and boring to get into here. It doesn’t even make sense. What’s so “grandfatherly” about Google? Usually I can figure out what he’s going for with a gag like this but this one confuses me.

    “Atomik Komix”…there is no f*cking way in hell I’m typing that over and over, henceforth it’s AK for me, thank you very much. On one side you have a guy who’s making huge decisions based on who used to work in old buildings and a comic book store he visited once and on the other side you have a guy who quit his lucrative job and moved his family from California to Ohio THEN googled “Atomic Comics”. Every FW character always makes important life decisions in the most half-assed way possible then they walk around with that annoying look of wry detached irony on their faces, like they just cannot fathom the absurdity of the hand The Universe has dealt them THIS time.

    I don’t know about you guys but seeing that childish scrawl with the deliberately misspelled words in the middle of an arc about a guy trying to re-create the fictional comic books of his childhood gives me the willies. In his zeal to be all cutesy-wutsey about it he just saddled his second (sigh) fictional comic book company with a stupid name no one could possibly like. Just like he did with this very strip (and Crankshaft too, which has an entire different connotation depending on who you’re talking to). Has he learned nothing after forty-whatever years of this?

    • spacemanspiff85

      I guarantee the sole reason behind “Grandpa Google” is just that they both start with G. So much of the “humor” in Crankshaft just consists of Batiuk switching one word with another that’s sort of similar but makes zero sense.
      Or Batiuk thought it would somehow catch on and he’d be able to sell the idea to Google, somehow.

    • Charles

      I could see the idea that Grandpa has all kinds of experience, knowledge and wisdom due to all the years he’s spent on this earth, and thus consulting Google to find something out would be similar to consulting a grandpa about something.

      But every grandfather in Batiuk’s two strips is an idiot or an invalid, or just plain absent. (Where are Lisa’s parents? You know, Summer’s grandparents? Why were they not present at all during Summer’s big run to the state championship, or her graduation?)

      • Epicus Doomus

        If I’m remembering this correctly, Lisa’s parents were “religious folks” who cast Lisa out after she became pregnant and refused to forgive her and make amends on her deathbed. I have never seen or even heard Les’ parents mentioned at all.

  5. The Nelson Puppet

    Man, FUCK a bunch of “komix”!

  6. billytheskink

    Heh, Chester’s hastily-scrawled sign looks better than the clip art monstrosity of a logo that he unveiled last month.

    Wait, is that 40 year old paper and pen Chester just used? That’s been sitting there since Batom comics went kaput?

  7. A forced and ridiculous dilemma with a stupid and unworkable solution would be bad enough were not the allegedly clever fix palmed off as a total surprise.

  8. Charles

    If Mopey and Darin weren’t total idiots, and, you know, not cartoon characters, they’d both be totally shitting their pants over quitting good and well-paying jobs to move across the country to work for this lunatic. If he’s this implusive and haphazard, and he so badly organized this endeavor, there’s no reason to think he won’t just wander in next week and say “Forget it! I’m calling it all off! I’m sinking all my money into Plastics, or VHS distribution, but probably Plastics!”

    You know they don’t have contracts, because since this sequence has been running nonstop (including Sundays!) since February, you KNOW Batiuk would have shown them going to an attorney to go over it. Hell, there’s no indication that either of these two putzes has an agent.

    It’s rather amusing how easy it is to see how Batiuk’s process works. He no doubt drew up the strip with Atomic Comics, but then realized afterward that he could get into real life legal trouble by using the name, so he came up with this half-assed backtrack rather than redoing the strips. Just like, if I wanted to bother, I could probably figure out just when he realized that he could use Chester Hagglemore of the vaguely-defined fortune to finance the wish-fulfillment arc we’re currently mired in. You know he didn’t introduce Chester originally with this in mind. Hell, didn’t Chester originally live outside New York City?

    • @charlesnotinwestview: Hell, didn’t Chester originally live outside New York City?

      You are correct, sir. Unless he has identical mansions with wrought iron gates in NY and OH. Good call!

      • comicbookharriet

        I’ve thought about this, and the only in universe explanation for this flub is that she flew all the way to New York to get Pete’s art, and then off-strip flew back to Ohio to confront Chester. If you asked Batty about it now, that would probably be his excuse.

  9. Rusty Shackleford

    Here’s hoping Batty gets the same call that Wilbur just got over in Mary Worth. They’d just need to change column to comic.

  10. sgtsaunders

    If it’s not obvious, Atomic is the only distinctive portion of any potential trademark there. “Comics” is generic as hell, no matter how you spell it. Durwood seems to think trademarks are forever, but Atomic Comics has probably been abandoned.It’s a term of art in trademark law that means, uh, “abandoned”. So is there hope? Whaddya nuts? This is Westview over here.

    • DOlz

      I bet a large sum of money that TB doesn’t read Techdirt because they cover Trademark and Copyright issues on a regular bases. “Atomik Comiks wouldn’t pass the moron in a hurry test (heck my spell checker fought me on the name).

      As far as “Comics” being generic, being generic hasn’t stopped people from trying to claim a word. One of the trademark issue Techdirt has been covering is the San Diego Comic Con suing other Comic Cons for using “their city name” Comic Con.

      • comicbookharriet

        Also Saunders has a point that if the old Atomic Comics is defunct, there’s a good possibility that they would be able to use the name anyway.

  11. I think Batiuk feels that folks are so inspired by this arc that someone’s going to start up a real-life “Atomic Comics” and he’s warning them of legal issues.

  12. bobanero

    Grandpa Google notwithstanding, Chester is a guy who has been living and breathing comics his entire life. Wouldn’t he have heard something about the original Atomic Comics if it had actually existed? I call bullshit.

  13. Over at the FW blog, Batty shares samples of a collaboration he tried to launch with artist Gerry Shamway called Dick and Jane. The art is actually good, and while TB cites it as “a full-blown example of the kind of more adult writing I wanted to do,” it does offer a couple chuckles of the kind Funky used to provide, and of course includes a pizza reference.

  14. comicbookharriet

    • redsnifit

      So that’s how the Korner managed to stay in business for so long.

      (er, accidental downvote, sorry)

  15. Hitorque

    1. It’s funny because Chester did no fuckin’ research whatsoever, he didn’t know the name was already in use despite being the single biggest comics geek in the rust belt, nor did he register the name or try to copyright his lame assed amateur hour logo… How is this experiment not doomed for failure again?

    2. Just how does somebody this naive and inept at business matters become a multi millionaire anyway? Even if Chester is supposed to be some king wizard at investing, some hustlers would have cleaned him out long ago.

  16. Gerard Plourde

    This entire storyline is a textbook example of the complete lack of attention that has become the hallmark of this strip.

  17. Professor Fate

    In the world of the strip this is just mind bogglingly insane – nobody bothered to do 5 minutes research before committing to the new job? And then you find this out? And this idiocy is the solution? Why not go and see if you can get the rights to the name. Hell why not see if you can use the name Batron Comics? This being the Funkyverse i’m sure you can get the rights for a couple of mint Starbuck Jones issues, milk and cookies.
    Over in the real world: my guess here is that this was someone the Author listens to (lord know who, its not the strips editor) told him while looking over the strip in progress that there was already an Atomic Comics so the author whipped up this little non-arc in the middle of the longer Non-arc to handle that.
    The Strip is really reaching Dada like levels of non-story with this arc – every single expectation an audience has about what a story is and does is dashed to the ground – the strip is nowt an absurdist farce with these three idiots wandering around in an abandoned building doing pointless things. One almost expects to see Validmir and Estragon the two tramps From Waiting for Godot to guest star

    • Gerard Plourde

      “The strip is now an absurdist farce”.
      If only that were the intent. Sadly, I think that the only thought operating is “How quickly can I dash this off so I can go back to my collection of “The Flash”.

  18. bad wolf

    Oh come on, he’s not trying hard enough:

    atomiK KomiKs

    Ahh, safe by a whisper! Nothing wrong with that!

  19. Maxine of Arc

    Clear evidence that Chester doesn’t have a goddamn lawyer, which is the absolute first thing he should have gotten when he decided to start up a new intellectual property company.