Don’t Try Scuba-Side

Here’s that “Rip Tide, Scuba Cop” cover that nobody asked for. Back in June, Batiuk shared Craig Rousseau’s preliminary sketches for this cover on the FW blog back in June. The draftsmanship is fine (certainly better better than Batiuk and Ayers recent output), even if the composition’s a little…busy. In this way, it has more in common with the action-packed Silver Age covers of Batiuk’s beloved Flash than with the edgier, minimalist modern day covers that he likes to feature (without attribution) on the blog.

No doubt that this one had its genesis when comics fanboi Batiuk seized on the “Scuba-side” pun. After that, it was just a matter of squeezing out a few more jokey names based on bodies of water to round out the “squad.” Then it was just a matter of finding a comic book artist with some free time on his hands.

All that was left was to contribute the “humerous bon mot” (that’s how Batiuk spells it) featuring Mindy and Pete, to give this strip some tenuous tie to an FW plotline. Mindy’s not just some dumb gurl who lucked into a colorist job at Atomik Komix. She’s the brains behind Pete. Her insistence on going to the beach, instead of hiking to Bronson Canyon, inspired Pete to create a new Atomik title (and potentially saved them from dying in a fire).



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

79 responses to “Don’t Try Scuba-Side

  1. Captain Gladys Stoatpamphlet

    How many “1st issues” is that this year? Does Atomix Komix even do series or just one-offs of deadend ideas?

    • I think each issue is just a single sheet of paper in a dust cover, with the cover on one side and advertisements for X-ray specs on the back. It’s much easier to crank out story ideas when you don’t have to create any content to back them up.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        And in a collector’s sleeve, so it will stay gem mint condition and you can sell it for a million dollars in five years.

      • Epicus Doomus

        Oh, he has no problem at all with creating whimsical fantasy sub-universes stuffed with all kinds of wacky characters. It’s actually doing anything with them that’s the problem.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I’ve said it before, but Atomik Komix would quickly be shunned by comic book stores. Everything is a gimmicky, transparent attempt at generating buzz, and they never support anything with new stories.

    • J.J. O'Malley

      Sadly, this is one aspect of the modern comics industry that Battyuk has actually gotten right. Even as the reading audience has shrunk over the past decade (and collapsed during this year’s pandemic), DC and Marvel still follow their recent pattern of discontinuing titles and re-introducing them with new #1s in hopes of goosing sales numbers. Low-selling series are retroactively described as having been “limited series” before they’re brought back a few months later.

      As far as today’s “homage,” it’s nothing more than a pastiche of DC’s Silver Age aquatic-themed action series “Sea Devils,” which ran from 1960 to 1967 and followed undersea adventurers Dane Torrance, Biff Bailey, and sibs Judy and Nicky Walton (See, there’s a difference between hokey names and unfunny pun names, TB). Yes, they predated the Fantastic Four, although a half-human foe-turned-ally known as Man-Fish came after Sub-Mariner was re-introduced. Ironically, the book is probably best remembered these days for its gorgeous covers by artist Howard Purcell.

      • Gerard Plourde

        I remember Sea Devils. A plot device that sticks with me to this day from that title is that in one of the stories they used Pig Latin to communicate in order to keep the villain from knowing what they were saying. (One of the team explained the method to Judy as transposing the initial letter of the word to the end and add “ay” as a suffix. Ike-Lay is-thay.)

      • Rick Brooks

        Not to be a beady-eyed nit-picker, but although Howard Purcell probably drew as many, if not more covers, I think the Russ Heath illustrated covers are the ones that really stand out.

        Either way, it’s better than this nonsense.

    • Hannibal's Lectern

      This one’s destined to be a one-issue series. “Scuba-side” refers to their habit of not bothering to test and properly calibrate their air pressure regulators before diving. All of them suffered fatal cases of the bends after their first adventure.

  2. Aurora Snorealis


  3. No matter how low your expectations, Batiuk makes them seem sky-high compared to the actual output.

    • Epicus Doomus

      And he does it every single time. You can predict or expect the dullest scenario imaginable and not even be close. Like the big wildfire sub-arc, which ended with one character (a character from another comic strip, mind you) handing a rock to another. A rock.

    • gleeb

      Knockin’ those expectations out of the park with some killer shark komix kovers!

  4. batgirl

    I have so many thoughts about TB’s presentation of comics and gender that I’m going to have to write them up separately and come back with some tl;dr wall of text later. Apologies in advance!

    But until then, links to a couple of short essays on how the readership of comics has broadened and diversified, while the core of the industry has tried really hard to pretend that isn’t happening and that those aren’t “real comics”. (Some interesting comments too):

    Anyone want to place a small bet on whether the Komics Korner carries manga?

    • SeaCountry

      It’s so difficult to imagine an industry being stupid enough to deprive itself of interested people who want to participate and spend money, but comics certainly isn’t the only one where that’s happened. Thanks for the background.

      • batgirl

        The movie industry is a long-standing example. The popular wisdom has been that as soon as Hollywood realized those underserved viewers had money, they’d get right on to extracting it.
        But whenever a movie succeeded with those audiences, it was treated like a fluke, and/or the wrong conclusion drawn from it. Young women loved Titanic? Must be because of Leonardo di Caprio, let’s put him in more movies! And so on.

    • Mela

      Thanks for posting these links. Manga isn’t my thing, but it’s HUGE and of course it’s comics. I find these articles interesting in that they point out a snobbery toward a younger audience when comics at one time was primarily a kid-centric market.

    • William Thompson

      I think a central problem is that the publishers have a core audience. They cater to what the core doesn’t want as much as to what the core does want. And like Batiuk, they want a simple WASP universe, where Others are as harmless as Cayla and Nate (only not as blatant and clumsy as that).

      • Hannibal's Lectern

        Unfortunately, this is not unique to the komix industry. It’s playing out in the motorcycle industry now. For the last five or six years, the CEO of Harley-Davidson has been trying to expand the company’s customer base beyond aging white male Boomers who want bikes that look like they were built in 1956. The whole time he’s been meeting resistance from those same customers, who seem to believe their intense loyalty to the brand means the company must make bikes for them and them ONLY. Month or two ago, the CEO was sacked, most of the new models under development for younger/female/non-white/non-“cruiser” customers were canceled, and the company announced its new strategy of “focusing on the core market.” Sigh…

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Interesting links. I’m not up on the comic book scene so thanks for sharing.

      All I can say is that Batty expects everyone to like comics his way. Everything else is anathema.

    • newagepalimpsest

      Mopey Pete once nearly had a psychotic break because Robin the Boy Wonder is a character that has existed for 90 years. I refuse to take that bet!

  5. William Thompson

    I looked at that non-cover and heard Lloyd Bridges say “By now my brain was aching for ideas.”

  6. Professor Fate

    Well wow that’s a big ol fish tank of nothing isn’t it? And once must note that The Author’s obsession with stupid juvenile joke names for his characters is one of the reasons i’m not surprised that both Marvel and DC took a look at what he showed them and said “no thanks’
    And oh yes you’re gad you went to beach guys no mention Mindy of your father who almost died in a fire by the way.

  7. Banana Jr. 6000

    “The cover will be a coda to the lengthy Lisa in Hollywood story arc.” — blog post


    • billytheskink

      I take back my post from a few weeks ago, this is a much much worse coda than Rod Laver visiting his in-laws in Tampa after competing in ABC’s 1973 Superstars final.

    • newagepalimpsest

      See, this is why the world needs Lisa’s Story. Not a lot of people out there know that she was the original creator of the Scuba Squad, but in fact she penned some of the most iconic and impactful stories that the series has ever had!


  8. SeaCountry

    WHAT?! That’s the “coda”?! Not that I was expecting much, but that’s even less than I expected.

  9. SeaCountry

    OK, y’all. I basically fanfic’ed in my head. Out of frustration with Batiuk’s inability to tell a story and the shabby ways he treats his characters, I will share. I plotted out the full story of Cayla at the Bat a few days ago.

    A couple things: I am from the “Break My Heart, I’ll Break Something of Yours” school of relationships. As this is inspired in part by Beyoncé and her “Lemonade” video, I’d want to give her a tip of the nib by dressing Cayla in yellow and showing the words “Hot Sauce” on the bat.

    1. A bat smashes a window from the inside. Tan hands hold it/We see the words “Hot Sauce” as the bat smashes what looks like Cayla & Les’ wedding picture/We see Cayla in a yellow shirt & jeans smash things for a couple more panels.
    2. As everyone leaves the Fun Run, someone gets a cell phone call & announces “Cayla finally snapped!”/Everyone gets the hell out/Les breaks the fourth wall with a plaintive expression, asking the reader, “Finally”?
    3. Show’s over. Cayla’s packing the car/Women rush to help/Interior, coffee table, close-up of rings & divorce papers.
    4. Cayla’s in the car/Les runs up to talk to her/Cayla does a donut in the yard and zooms out.
    5. The crowd cheers as Cayla’s car departs
    6. Marianne is confused/Cindy or Mason fill her in/Marianne didn’t even know Les had remarried.
    Sunday: Funky, Holly, & Summer helps Les clean & give him some truth.
    7-8: Continuation of Sunday. Last frame in 8: A window truck
    9. The actors express sympathy, mention their homes under construction, and leave.
    10: Cayla is at Keisha’s apartment. Her hair is very short & natural. She tells Keisha she feels she wasted her life.
    11. Les tells Summer he thinks he made a mistake or three.
    12. On the phone, Summer & Keisha agree they’re sisters and friends forever, no matter what.
    13. Cayla settles in on Keisha’s air mattress/An online job posting is shown for a secretary at Westview High.

    • SeaCountry

      Self-edit: Perhaps cut strip 8, put the glass truck in 7, keep it to a tight 2 weeks.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        I was thinking of a strip where Cayla reminisces about her secret affair with Bull. They are laying in bed laughing about Les as Bull talks about how he used to beat him up in school.

        The TV is playing a Lisa DVD and we see a scowl on her face. Cayla starts talk about how that b!atch actually made dvds. Well watch this cancer girl. Cayla and Bull start getting busy.

        • newagepalimpsest

          I’m going to imagine that nobody put the DVD on out of spite or to be kinky or anything like that. The TV is just haunted now.

  10. Chyron HR

    Mmmmm… Pocky S’mores.

  11. billytheskink

    Let’s hope “bOOgie bOards!” invites a cease-and-desist letter from Ernie Reyes Jr.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Since yesterday, I’ve been trying to grasp the horrifying idea that “Boogie Boards” is supposed to be a person’s name.

  12. Epicus Doomus

    LOL yeah, sure Tom. Pete was drawing a blank until Mindy went to the beach and belched forth “Boogie Board” and “Rocky Shores”. Whatever Chester is paying him, it’s way way too much.

    • Hitorque

      Don’t forget Chester literally made him the single highest paid artist in the industry, and gave him 100% total creative authority… All because he made SpongeBob SquarePants into some gritty silver age superhero…

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Nah, I’m disappointed we didn’t get to see Mindy in her Malibu Strings bikini.

      As a modern girl, I totally thought she would be flaunting in LA.

  13. Jimmy

    What the frick does a scuba cop do? Prosecute crustaceans? Good luck carrying a service weapon, as it will be rendered useless in the sea water. It’s such a stupid concept that the Inedible Pulp looks genius by comparison.

    And I’m probably not the only one who imagines who thinks BOOgie looks like breasts.

    • Epicus Doomus

      I assume he solves underwater crimes, like salvage disputes, pipeline and undersea cable sabotage, illegal fishing and stuff like that.

      “Shit! It’s Rip Tide! I TOLD you those bivalves weren’t legal to harvest!”


    • J.J. O'Malley

      What does a Scuba Cop do? He investigates Crime Waves, of course!

    • SeaCountry

      Hey, somebody’s gotta keep Spongebob and his no-goodnik friends in line.

    • Hitorque

      I’m a little surprised to not even see *one* character carrying a speargun…

    • Margaret

      Well, I can think of a couple of TV series about underwater crime and villainy that managed to go for awhile without running out of ideas. Marine Boy, and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea are the ones that come to mind. Never seen Flipper, but I would guess most of the action involved water. All fairly silly, of course, but then so are superhero comics. So, it is possible, although it goes without saying, not by Batiuk.

      • William Thompson

        Back in the late Fifties there was Sea Hunt, a half-hour show where Lloyd Bridges got into trouble every week as a professional SCUBA diver. (Back then almost every acronym was capitalized.)

  14. Charles

    So Mindy and Mopey went on vacation, got caught in the Fire of the Millenium that destroyed most of Los Angeles, and after they get back to thing that had the most profound effect on them was the trip to the beach that never happened. They didn’t even leave the parking lot of their motel!

    It’s as if Batiuk simply can’t get up any excitement for his own stories, and generalities and “remember whens” are all he has left.

    • Epicus Doomus

      “Oh no, the Starbuck Jones premiere was cancelled because of the massive fire! And you father is missing!”

      “Let’s go to the beach!”

      LOL real plausible there, Tom. The sudden tonal shift from total devastation to light-hearted Funky sad-sack gags was just incredibly weird and jarring.

    • Mela

      I made the assumption that they went to the beach while Jeff was visiting Bronson Cave/Murania with his younger self and then returned to find the hotel being evacuated. But yeah, we never actually saw them there, which might have tied the story to the comic cover a bit more.

      • Epicus Doomus

        That’s BatHam…don’t show, don’t tell. It’s better and way easier to let the readers fill in the blanks.

        “Hmmm, Funky can’t possibly be sixty-five, so apparently there’s been another FW time shift! Oh well. Now let’s see what that wacky Ed Crankshaft is up to today…”

  15. TFW you get up on Saturday morning, write Sunday’s post, and hit “Publish” instead of “Schedule for 10:30 PM…” go to work and don’t find out until 8PM…

  16. Hitorque

    I don’t know the comics industry at all, but are conceptual ideas really this simple to come up with? I mean, Pete just sees or hears any random fuckin’ thing and instantly turns it into a comic…

    And yes, I am incredibly disappointed that Pete didn’t create a “FIRENADO!” character after that bullshit adventure in California.

    So after eating up 3+ months of our time for nothing to happen, the world premiere of SJ: PART II and the single biggest natural disaster ever to hit the United States have already fallen down the memory hole, never to be spoken of again…

  17. William Thompson

    Why is it everyone is giving Batiuk’s humerus bon mot the cold shoulder?

    • Gerard Plourde

      Maybe because there’s nothing humorous or witty about it.

      To quote Inigo Montoya “I do not think that means what you think it means.”

  18. Rusty Shackleford

    Besides going to Luigi’s in Akron, it appears Batty goes to Angel Falls coffee in Highland Square. Must have gotten this idea while sipping coffee there.

    • SeaCountry

      This makes the jokes about terrible office coffee in Crankshaft even more perplexing. Like, Batiuk knows how easy it is to get something decent.

  19. Count of Tower Grove

    BWAWHAWHAWHAW! It’s funny because Todd has made a pun of “suicide,” a topic a year ago he treated so ineptly, but was considered so thoughtful and sensitive, that it was covered in The New York Times!

  20. Gerard Plourde

    Right. And the pun also relies on a reference to a movie that came out in 2016.

    • Hannibal's Lectern

      Which, if we believe the time-jump chronology that puts Flunky in the 65-and-over category at the Lisa’s Larceny Run, means it’s a fourteen-year-old movie in the Funkyverse. I’m sure lots of high-school-age komix fans are going to get a book [sic] title pun based on a movie that came out before they were born.

  21. Banana Jr. 6000

    What even is this crap? Would it be asking too much for a “coda” that has something to do with any of the non-fitting pieces of this story? Has a Sunday comic book cover ever served any purpose other than the Atomik Komix idiots congratulating themselves?

    I can’t believe he gets paid for this crap.

  22. newagepalimpsest

    I can’t believe that I’m about to defend Pete but… I just feel that “nearly dying in a fire tornado, only to be saved by a weird hallucination about something I saw when I was 4 years old” would have been much better inspiration for people who write adventure comics for a living.

    Especially since 90% of real ‘beach cop’ duties seems to be “please don’t leave your glass containers on the beach” and “you can’t empty your boat’s septic tank this close to shore you assholes.”

  23. Olive McSweeney, LLC

    Excellent. New litter box lining.

  24. William Thompson

    Three major problems with this “cover.”

    1: What does it tell you about the characters? Nothing, really. You don’t even know what most of them look like, or if they have some sort of specialty beyond SCUBA diving. Would it have been too much to show their unmasked faces, with one of them doing some repair work on a regulator while another googles some useful information? Maybe shows some facial expressions more informative than a generic smirk?

    2: Once again, this is a genuine, exciting Atomik Komix First Issue. Well, is Rip Trunks, Scuba Cop, the only established character here? Or were these other characters set up in different ishes of Rip’s series? That’s the only way it makes sense to be “introducing” Booger Bore.

    3: It looks boring. It sounds boring. It would be the trifecta of boring if Batiuk actually did a full Scubacide Squid comic book.