Talkin’ “Turtle”

Epicus Doomus
December 1, 2019 at 11:34 pm
The sad thing about this is how [Batiuk] seems to think a story about a comic book artist who’s always behind schedule is an interesting and relatable premise.

We get it. “Turtle Thompson” was a real pain in the ass to work with. Luckily for him, he was surrounded by enablers who let him get away with being lazy and unreliable. Maybe his artwork (which we’ll never see, unless tomorrow’s strip is a sideways Sunday comics cover) was so good, he was worth the aggravation. Maybe capable comics illustrators were hard to come by in those days (doubtful). At any rate, years later they are reminiscing fondly about ol’ Turtle. He, and Flash and Phil Holt and all those comics legends created entire worlds, and their work was consumed by legions of devoted fans. Though Darin and Pete imagine themselves to be in their same league, their work will never have that kind of impact. It’s no wonder that Darin’s quip, referencing a supervillian who exists nowhere outside of his and Pete’s imaginations, falls a little flat:

19 Comments

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19 responses to “Talkin’ “Turtle”

  1. William Thompson

    “What’s this ‘Lord of the Late’ talk? Are you trying to project your images into my mind, punk? Get to work! Why are you two slackers smirking at me like a pair of spaced-out chimps?”

  2. “Uh, sure, whatever you said. Anyway, that’s my remembrance of the Amazing Mister Sponge, Starbuck Jones, um, and the other beloved characters I co-created. They were a pain to produce, and I hated having to pull those teeth, but people tell me they were worth it.
    “Now, what have YOU guys done! Dazzle me!

    (long pause)

    “…oh, a scuba cop, a time-traveling dog, and a pile of wet comic books…
    Excuse me, I have to make a phone call. I hope “Turtle Thompson,” or, as I knew him, Jeff Jackson, is still alive in that rest home. I have a lot of apologies to make.”

  3. Epicus Doomus

    That “punch line” does indeed fall a little flat. And the Hindenburg kind of caught fire. BatBore creates an entire sub-universe filled with all sorts of characters and history, then spends six days telling us how lazy a guy we never actually saw used to be. It just boggles the mind. BatYam was probably the kind of kid who slept fitfully on Christmas Eve, dreaming of all the socks and underwear Santa was certain to leave under the tree.

    • Oh good Grief, no. He wanted those lumps of coal. And he smiled happily thinking Krampus would hoover off his repellent relatives.

      Christmas was always a disappointment. Then, smiling, he realized he could turn his disappointments into book deals.

  4. Banana Jr. 6000

    I love the look on Darin’s face. It really captures the feeling of “Oh God, I’m saying something really stupid right now, but it’s too late to stop.” He looks like he wants to bite his lip and swallow himself.

    But Darin can’t embarrass himself in front of his idol, because that would be funny. So the author bails him out by having Flasshole Freebird smirk at this non-joke, even though he has no frame of reference for “lord of the late.”

    How can you mess up such a simple comic premise as this? And if that’s not the intent, why is he drawn like that? Ugh. Such terrible writing!

  5. spacemanspiff85

    So the Lord of Late has his own hall? It’s not called the Lord of Late’s Hall of Late or anything, it’s just “the Lord of Late’s hall”? I bet the origin of this week came from about a year ago when Batiuk overheard a sporto talking about a hall of fame vote, thought “hey, that’s topical and relevant”, and then worked backwards and blew an entire week on “hey, this one guy always was late doing his work!”. I mean, even just calling it the Hall of Lame or something would’ve been better. The hall of the “Lord of Late” just sounds like word garbage. And it’s predicated on the reader knowing and fondly remembering the Lord of Late, which is just sad on multiple levels.

  6. Doghouse Reilly

    Wait, which ‘Turtle Thompson’ are these guys talking about? The plumber ‘Turtle Thompson’? The pro tennis star ‘Turtle Thompson’? The rabbinical scholar ‘Turtle Thompson’? The artist ‘Turtle Thompson’? I’m lost without a frame of reference!!!

  7. I do like Thompson saying he’ll have to stop giving promises if people are going to keep him to them. I’m sure he rehearsed it ahead of time, knowing that that guy who’s somehow a traffic light but also a comic book editor would give him a setup. But he was ready for the setup when it was needed.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Yeah, I didn’t follow that at all. In the first panel, Flash says “One day, when I called him on it…” uh, from we’ve seen, you constantly call him on it. Or at least, you call his mother on it, you insufferable jerkwad.

      “If you’re going to hold me to my promises, I won’t be able to make them any more.” Is that a passive-aggressive threat to quit? An artist’s statement that deadlines are artificial? An Oscar Wilde-like acknowledgment that his own promises are meaningless? A zen koan? This really needs more explanation OH GOD I CAN’T BELIEVE I JUST SAID THAT.

      But it’s true. Because we’ve been given no insight into why Thompson is always late. There’s no conflict, or humor, or anything at all that would make this any kind of a story. Wow, that “Turtle Thompson”, he sure was late. The end.

  8. billytheskink

    So… did Flash slide in through the mail slot or slip underneath the door?

  9. comicbookharriet

    Extra photoshop effort put in today! Gave me a good hearty chuckle.

  10. Paul Jones

    So we’ve wasted a week watching an old man savage a dead man so we could get the weakest pay-off possible. Typical Batiuk. The only things that remain are the Sideways Sunday and trying to figure out which real person is getting the Funky Felt-Tip in the back.

  11. Chyron HR

    Flash, you’re supposed to wait until somebody asks “How late was he?” before delivering the punchline. It’s in the Code of the Catskills.

  12. Count of Tower Grove

    So disappointing that we never got to see “Turtle Thompson,” naturally wearing a “turtleneck.”
    Durward has a creepily coy grin in panel three. Flasher reciprocates like Mr. Herbert. Makes one wonder if Flasher has a whistle lisp.

  13. Batgirl

    Turtle’s line was actually mildly funny and would have made a better last panel. But then TB wouldn’t have been able to shoehorn in Funkyverse Lore.

  14. Double Sided Scooby Snack

    Next week, we hear some smirky wordplay about the writer ‘Molasses Murphy.’ You think the artist ‘Turtle Thompson’ was slow?? Hoo boy! Stick around. We’ll be right back.