Bullpen Bullsh*t

Today’s strip.

Don’t know why I bothered updating this, it’s just a boring restatement of same boring theme of the entire week. I really wish I could pin Batiuk down and demand his sources for this storyline. I want the biographies, the interviews, heck the Wikipedia articles, he’s read. Because if he’s basing this on Lily Renee, fine, she was a teenage immigrant stuck in an office with strange men who made things uncomfortable for her. But telling this narrative as the prototypical experience does a disservice to the careers of Marie Severin, Toni Blum, and all the other women who managed pleasant working relationships with their editors and coworkers.

Here’s a little view into a sexist, patriarchal, art-jail of EC Comics where Marie Severin was an invisible colorist: harassed, underpaid, and unappreciated.

Was [artist] Al Williamson pretty demanding?

No. I didn’t want him to commit suicide because … You know what we did to him one time? Because I’m bad like that, I had this disappearing ink. You know in those days we did dopy things. You wore glasses with eyes. And Al Williamson would come in with his artwork like it was his child. I mean he killed himself on it. He was young and enthusiastic. It was wonderful. Great stuff. He brought it in and I was out to get him. So, Al Feldstein said something to me. We had it all planned and I threw it on his shirt and I said, “Don’t you talk to me like that!”

He said, “Are you crazy?!” Everybody wore white shirts in those days, everybody. And I walked out of the room.

And Bill is going, “Ah hahahah.” [Laughter.]

And Al is saying, “She’s crazy, she’s lost her mind.” As he’s talking it’s disappearing. And Bill is going, “Ah ha ha ha ha,” and it was still wet. When he looked down it was gone.

So when Williamson came in, they got his work and Al went, “Oops, oh my God!”

And Williamson went “Oh! Oh! [Laughter] You’ve killed my child!”

Did Al laugh when he realized that his art wasn’t hurt?

Oh yeah, but it took him 10 minutes, ’cause he was ready for an ambulance. ’Cause any of these guys, they really worked. Everybody worked hard on their stuff but Al especially. He was the baby and he brought in his stuff late. Very late. [Laughs.]

Below is a picture Marie drew and colored in 2004 of the EC Comics staff as they were in the 50’s. Look how she drew those chauvisinstic boors who either ignored her or made her life hell.

a poor invisible woman, maligned by her peers

30 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

30 responses to “Bullpen Bullsh*t

  1. Rusty Shackleford

    Today’s comment is also not available for preview. But I know tomorrow’s strip will just be more crap, with awkward dialog. But maybe a bit of Yiddish, the language of comedy. Which is why Batty should be prohibited from using it.

    Agh well, Sunday’s Mary Worth will have an inspirational quote from Leo Buscaglia or Ekhart Tolle.

  2. Epicus Doomus

    As predicted (duh) this imbecilic story isn’t going anywhere. Ruby sat there, took the abuse, then presumably retired and spent the rest of her days wandering from comic book-related event to comic book-related event, complaining about her fate like every other sad-sack FW character has since time immemorial. No discussion about the rest of her career, no discussion about her work or her characters, just endless bitching, pointless complaining and idiotic wry rejoinders, as if some sort of “amusing anecdote” has been shared here. “Poor Ruby! No one took her seriously in 1955 because she was a GIRL!”. Real compelling stuff there, Batiuk. His various fantasy lives are even more boring than his real one.

  3. More persecution fantasy. For someone who seems to be standing up for women in comics, his own record with female characters is nothing to be proud of.

    This is like the guy who robbed the 7-Eleven saying the people who rob Mini-Marts are just terrible and should be ashamed of how they act.

    • Epicus Doomus

      There have been two genuinely “strong” female characters in FW history. One is dead and the other might as well be. The most conventionally “successful” female character is a vain, appearance-obsessed, anxiety-ridden mess. The two regular female WHS faculty members are a miserable mope and a hapless schlub. The most successful female WHS sports coach is trapped in a loveless sham of a marriage. Jessica has sacrificed her career and dreams twice on Boy Lisa’s behalf. Susan Smith’s career and reputation were destroyed by her uncontrollable lust for Les Moore. Holly is mostly a moron and Cayla is little more than a doormat.

      So yeah, I agree, his female characters leave plenty to be desired. he couldn’t even populated his own comic book sub-universe with a single “outside the box” character, as Ruby is just another sad-sack wryness generator like the rest of them.

      • comicbookharriet

        Miss Mackenzie, successful writer and business owner, is the best woman in the strip.

        • Oh God, you mean Lillian? She’s probably the worst person in the Funkyverse, and that’s saying a lot. Billy the Skink has filled in her backstory.

          • comicbookharriet

            Yeah. I know what she did. I’m saying she’s become the best over the last few years. Name a Funky Winkerbean character that didn’t do something appalling in the past for the ‘shock value’. Also, Wally Winkerbean is the worst person in the Funkyverse.

          • gleeb

            Nothing in the world is worse than Dinkle.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            I don’t hate Lillian as much as a lot of people, because the engagement she “interfered with” was so weak a stiff breeze would have broken it up. I agree with Curmudgeon’s take here: https://joshreads.com/2011/10/friday-post-3/. Even Mopey Pete says to that “Dude, man up.”

            So it’s just as likely the marriage she broke up would have been a bad one.

          • billytheskink

            Yes, the Eugene-Lucy non-proposal was dumb (not as dumb as Les’ plan to propose to Lisa by mailing her an audiocassette, but still plenty dumb), but it was far from the most awful thing about the whole Lucy-Alzheimer’s story arc. TB made Lillian a jealous, pissyfaced monster in order to make his Alzheimer’s story arc his most maudlin piece of awards bait yet. Then he wanted us to pity her as she became wracked with guilt and admitted her half-century-long lie to a dying and unconscious Lucy. The whole thing was gross and no character came out of it smelling like a rose (in December or otherwise).

        • billytheskink

          No, the best woman in the strip is Livinia because she was the first to escape this carnival of pap.

          I do have a mild appreciation for Chien and Betty (the pre-Cayla school secretary) because they were never willing to take any guff from Westview High morons like Les, Fred, Bull, Linda, or Nate.

  4. billytheskink

    Sit Ruby in front of a cliched comedy club brick wall and all of the sudden she’s got jokez! I dunno whether to be baffled or thankful that we never saw this kind of stab at humor back when TB used to keep the comic strip masonry union overworked drawing strips at the high school.

  5. Epicus Doomus

    CBH: second worst, Les Moore is and always will be the most detestable character in the history of fiction. He’s FW’s Secretariat, so far ahead of the field everyone else is just battling for second. My off-the-cuff current “Worst FW Characters Ever” list…

    2. Summer
    3. Lisa
    4. Act III Dinkle
    5. Boy Lisa
    6. Becky’s mom
    7. Cayla
    8. Wally
    9. Pete
    10. DSH John

    By “strongest” female characters I mean they were given storylines and dialog that wasn’t always strictly one-dimensional and didn’t always center around their spouses. Lisa got to be a lawyer, Summer was a sports star. They were both VIOLENTLY annoying characters, but there was more thought behind them than, say, Jessica or Mindy or Holly.

    • I would definitely put Dullard in that list.

    • comicbookharriet

      Yeah. Some real nightmare characters. The reason I put Lilian so high now is because she basically succeeded better at being a writer in two years than Les Moore has in his entire life.

      • billytheskink

        Lillian is a monster for what she did to her sister, but the fact that she quickly succeeded as a writer while Les failed for years is genuinely hilarious. Heck, it is funny that Pete’s success as a writer came much more quickly and has far outclassed Les’ one-note career as well. It may be even funnier, because unlike with Lillian I don’t think TB realizes this (outside of a nod in a single early Act III strip). If he did, insufferable Les would be bragging about how one of his former students wrote for Marvel, DC, Mega/Batom, Atomik, and the apparent smash success that was the Starbuck Jones movie.

  6. ian'sdrunkenbeard

  7. erdmann

    First, allow me to join the chorus praising CBH’s efforts this week. I’ve done my share of comic book history research, yet I’ve learned a lot from your posts. I’ve also gained a new respect for George “Two-Fisted” Tuska.

    Second, I fully agree Batiuk has done a disservice to real comic creators with this storyline, especially today. Batom Comics is a fictional company and, as its creator, Batiuk is within his rights to people it with sexist, misogynistic dillweeds, but he needs to be careful not to tar real people with the same brush, especially without offering any proof to back it up.
    Has it actually been stated Ruby worked for Batom during all her travails? Today, Batiuk refers to “the bullpen,” then goes on to mention the Invisible Girl and Doctor Doom. This blurs the line between fiction and reality and seems to point an accusatory finger at real creators and editors working at Marvel Comics during the Silver Age. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but it galls me.

  8. Paul Jones

    Great. Another mouthpiece for Tommy Boy lashing out at the terrible people who keep saying useless and mean things like “Get your facts straight”, “no one likes these people and they’re right”, “why would he even do that?” and “that doesn’t work that way.”

  9. Paul Jones

    It’s bad enough that he witlessly defame people and tell a disjointed mess of a non-story. The worst is that he expects praise for his latest nothingburger.

  10. Gerard Plourde

    This pathetic arc is a textbook example of TomBa”s m.o. We know he starts to put things into the pipeline a year in advance and tries to be trendy, so last year #metoo came onto his radar. Rather than actually research what life was like for the many women who worked in the field in the ‘50s (as CBH has admirably done in an amazingly short amount of time), TomBa (who’s never worked for a comic book publisher) went to his fantasy default premise that everywhere was a horrible sweatshop populated with bullies and evil slave-driving editors, who naturally also were sexual harassers. As already pointed out, in his haste to indulge his fantasy, he has sullied the reputation of real people by implication. This is unacceptable.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Good point, CBH pulled this together very quickly and found numerous positive examples of women working in the comics industry.

      But as always, Batty has to focus on the negative.

      • Of course. “Positive” gets smiles. “Negative” gets awards.

        We could have heard over the course of this arc, what Ruby’s creative process was like, the characters she created, etc, etc. Nope, not from Batiuk.

  11. Banana Jr. 6000

    The guy in the first panel appears to be committing suicide rather than listen to any more of Ruby’s story, like the people who sat next to Ted Striker in Airplane!

    Also, is Cindy getting bored? Look at her disinterested faces in panels 2 and 3.

  12. Just gonna leave this here:

    • Been saying it for weeks–it’s Dinkle in drag, playing a prank. Wait’ll he finds out the wig doesn’t come off, like some Twilight Zone episode. Then he’ll have to be condescended to the rest of his life.

  13. Johnny

    Shouldn’t that last panel be view through the coffee house front window?

  14. robertodobbs

    Just consider the amazing talent represented in the Marie Severin EC drawing… Bill Elder, Wally Wood, Jack Davis… Not many or any like that bunch anymore.

  15. Buckeye Feculence

    There is a level of self-righteousness in all of this.

    It’s easy to look back and criticize from a 21st century viewpoint and believe oneself incapable of the same behavior. But if TB were in the bullpen in that era, it’s pretty hard to believe that he might not act just like many other “unenlightened” mid-century working stiffs..