Many apologies for the late and short post. Unfortunately, I was in a situation that was unavoidable, much like a Funky Winkerbean strip about comic books…
Today’s strip dares to ask the musical question, what’s a comic book doing in a comic book store? The answer may not at all surprise you.
Many of you
beady-eyed nitpickers eagle-eyed commenters noticed that this is not only The Flash #123, but one of a series of recent reprints of the issue. You think Batton Thomas is going to try to pay DSH a dime for it?
30 responses to “Nothin’ But Reruns”
Yeah, one had to assume that even Skunky wasn’t that dim. Problem is, reprint issues for the last 30 years or so have had the original sale price removed from the cover and the new price (currently $3.99 plus, although Marvel has had some $1 special releases) put in its place, along with the ubiquitous UPC box somewhere.
Wait, Komix Korner SOLD some books?
Finally, as a 50-plus-year comic book reader, it wouldn’t surprise me a bit that these reprints are outselling the drawn-out, SJW pandering pablum that DC and Marvel are releasing these days. If they were doing “Flash of Two Worlds” these days it would take at least six issues to tell the story so that they could re-release it as a trade paperback.
“ Wait, Komix Korner SOLD some books?”
Not necessarily. Look at what DSH hasn’t said. He hasn’t said how many of the reprints he’s sold. If he’s counting the one in Batton’s hand as the sale and he’s sold no other comics, the sale of the single reprint makes his statement technically true.
I agree it wouldn’t have surprised me if the reprint had outsold the new book for that month. But it wasn’t true. According to Comichron February 2020’s Flash reprint sold 11,774 and the new issue of Flash for that month sold 29,671. Flash was the 55th most popular book sold that month. Top seller was Wolverine 1, the first issue in a relaunched series.
Oh pfah! Do you think the Komix Korner katers to _those_ buyers? Its kore klientele is the key demographic of 40-80 yr old balding nebbishes who use komix as a substitute for meaningful employment and relationships.
If John ran a side hustle in delivering hot chocolate and kookies, he’d be the richest man in Westview.
Sorry. The ‘k’s seem to have infested my keyboard.
One thing – i know someone in the comics business and he told me that the real money to be made (and it is a business) in the trade paperback collections so it’s the market is driving the trend towards longer story arcs.
I hate this comic book shit.
Does a “world famous” syndicated cartoonist and comics geek really not know that classic comics get re-released?
Did you know: old comics are good! This has been a public service announcement.
Message here: only the things that TB liked in his youth are worth anything. Any media that younger people might like _now_ are trash.
Y’know, as one gets older and (sometimes) matures, one looks on childhood favourites with different eyes, and may discover that they have been visited by what Jo Walton calls the Suck Fairy – when you realize that much or all of the wonder had been added by your own young brain, and the actual bare text was … not so good.
Impressively, TB never seems to encounter the Suck Fairy. Weird-ass Silver Age stories (Flash gains 400 pounds! Jimmy Olsen becomes a gorilla!) at worst get a bemused chuckle at the imagination of those masterful creators. Does he even read any of the terrific stuff that’s coming out now? (J.J., you and I are going to have to disagree about that 😉 though I prefer the indies to DC and Marvel anyways).
Oh, believe me, batgirl, my local Komix Korners still get a disproportionate share of my disposable income every Wednesday. The Big Two’s trends of releasing megagiant, world-changing crossover events ad infinitum, downplaying classic heroes in lieu of knock-offs to appeal to niche audiences instead of creating original characters (a spider-powered alternate universe Gwen Stacy? Really? Let the poor girl rest in peace!), and the overall dark and joyless attitude of the last 20-plus years have soured me on a lot of books, though.
I do enjoy recent series like Daredevil, Hawkman, Immortal Hulk, Super Sons, Superior Foes of Spider-Man, and the Doomsday Clock mini-series that DC should have used for a total reboot, plus indies like Terry Moore’s Serial and the (on-hold) Archie revamp, and I like to think my tired Silver Age eyes haven’t been completely glossed over by the Suck Fairy’s magic (maybe I need cataract surgery). it’s pretty clear from TB’s Atomik Komix avatars that he, however, can only look backwards.
I don’t see anything wrong with a cartoonist highlighting something that he likes. That’s fine. What Batiuk fails to do is to make it interesting to anyone who isn’t himself.
Which I think answers the question: who are his readers? Turns out they are he.
Batiuk abuses the privilege. This comic strip is almost entirely self-indulgent now. How much space in this strip has been devoted to:
– buying comic books
– collecting comic books
– creating new comic book characters, who are never used for anything except one-off Sunday comic book covers
– giving praise, money or awards to characters who are writers or comic book creators
– showing how difficult is to be a writer, boo hoo, because sometimes they get writer’s block
– people getting book deals, record contracts, and other high-paying, low-work jobs as media creators
– Les droning on about Dead Lisa, while the whole movie/burning down Hollywood arc goes unfinished
– shilling his preferred/self-insertion characters
– promoting Luig- err, “Montoni’s”
– promoting Kent State University
– sucking up to the Ohio Music Educators Association
And what isn’t any of those things is pointless filler, taking up space so Batiuk can get his precious 50-year cartooning award. The first and last award of his non-illustrious career.
And let’s not forget that he’s completely ignored the most interesting character he’s created in the last decade, Zanzibar, the Murder Chimp.
Well said. So far, this week has no punchlines, no plot, and no interesting character work. It’s been an exercise in pure nostalgia. But maybe things will pick up later in the week? (…he says, knowing they probably won’t.)
And now we go right into the his tedious ‘older stuff is always better than newer stuff’ nonsense. It’s as predictable as the sunrise. Times change, tastes change, markets change, get used to it and stop whining.
While I prefer older comics, I can happily report there are still plenty of good books being produced today. At the same time, I must admit that some of the comics I loved as a boy really aren’t as good as I remember.
Some are still good, but just haven’t aged that well. There are aspects of the Thomas/Buscema “Avengers,” for example, that I now find hard to read, while other parts are still quite enjoyable (and have been extensively mined for the Marvel Cinematic Universe).
Other old comics… well, to be blunt, some others probably sucked from the get-go.
One thing that Bats seems to forget is that the benefit of hindsight filters out the dreck. There’s always about three good comic books going any given time, and 50 meh garbage hack books. But no one remembers how bad those random issues of Cloak and Dagger from 1988 were.
Look, I get it… People have their niche passions that they never grow out of. Hell, if I make it to 70 years of age I promise you I’ll still be playing video games in whatever format they’ll be in then… It’s just that EVERY FUCKING 70-year-old in the Funkyverse morphs into a little kid when they see a bit of nostalgia (See: Pete’s father-in-law and his cereal box decoder ring from last summer)…
I’m just saying that even 70-year-olds who still like this stuff will all like it in different ways and for different reasons… Some would be like wine snobs with very refined palates, only reading one esoteric Japanese artist when he collaborated with that one particular Japanese writer, some just want to briefly recapture their past, others would be like Batiuk’s “EVERYTHING WAS BETTER IN MY CHILDHOOD AND ANYTHING PRINTED AFTER JULY 1963 IS SHIT!” And others try to be all high-minded and intellectual about it, probably writing their Ph.D thesis on “Comic Books as High Art, American Style” and some just want endless debates over whether Wolverine can defeat Superman or whether Batman represents the best of the entire genre, or is he just a hypocritical billionaire asshole? And still others like me, who never really got into the comics thing as a kid (I’d just buy random comics off the rack at 7-11, and my only criteria was how much the cover art intrigued me), and I have no plan to read every single major storyline I missed in the 80s and 90s, but I can enjoy comics through the stellar run of animated series, movies, video games, etc. the past two decades…
I guess I’m just saying I really hate how everyone in the Funkyverse must like comic books *exactly* the way TomBa likes them with no diversity in thought or taste. And it’s then I start to realize that literally every male character in the Funkyverse is a different sliver of Tom Batiuk’s personality that he sliced out of himself.
And actually adults can and do often have more than one interest – which makes the FW Comic book monomania so aggravating – for example I’m fond of the clunky 1950’s monster movies like The Giant Claw but I like grand opera and I’ve a collection or two of Peanuts and Krazy Kat and Calvin and Hobbes. We are all unique and can be quirky in what we like but you never see that sort of thing in FW – what you get is comic book as object of fetish worship.
You’re entirely right, and nothing proves it better than Batiuk’s whine about how the campy Batman TV show ruined his life when he was in college:
“They treated the art form that I aspired to as some sort of lower caste illegitimate that would only be palatable to adults if you made fun of it. The show turned out to be a smash hit for the network. The American viewing public loved it. Well, they were wrong too.”
Always remember, comic books are Art in its Purest Form. They are not a commercial product and comic book publishers definitely do not exist to make money pleasing a customer base like every other company in the universe. “Kitty Pryde and Wolverine,” a billion Silver Age stories where Lois Lane bewails that Superman hasn’t married her, the one where Supergirl’s magic horse is in love with her. Pure Art. Never to be sullied by such sacrilege as affectionate satire.
“Well, they were wrong too.”
Ah Tom megalomania is not a good look for a comic strip artist. Sheesh.
But that makes no sense either, since the entire Funkyverse is on record as despising the so-called ‘dark and gritty’ versions of superheroes that’s so popular today… So if he doesn’t like Adam West and if he doesn’t like Christian Bale, then what does he like??
And there is a reason why I don’t go within ten miles of his blog… Batiuk can die mad about Adam West for all I care, but even he cannot deny 1. It advanced and uplifted the entire genre, 2. It has incredible staying power as a premium example of lovable 1960s kitsch, 3. Half a century later that show’s influence on the Batman universe (comics, video games, merchandise, toys, animated series, parodies, parodies of parodies) continues to be plainly visible and 4. It is a permanent piece of our collective pop culture memory…
If Batiuk wants to look at me with a straight face and tell me Adam West was an insult to the genre, then I fucking defy him to tell kids and teenagers watching the new “D.C. Superhero Girls” or “Teen Titans GO!” (two of my guilty pleasures) the same thing…
I wonder what he thinks of the Lego Batman Movie. Personally, I thought everything about it was awesome.
As I’ve mentioned before, I enjoyed the Batman TV series as a child and detested it as a teen. When I grew up, I realized there no harm in having a sense of humor about my chosen hobby and could appreciate the show for what it was — silly, campy fun that in no way took away from my enjoyment of more “serious” works.
You know what does detract from comics — or from anything for that matter, Tommy? You know what really drives away the general public and convinces people that something is worthy of scorn?
The snobbery of its fans.
His overwrought recounting of the first time he watched that show demonstrates that the makers of the Batman TV show were more right to do what they did than anything else could.
What a ridiculous putz.
“I had anticipated a drama that took the Batman premise seriously and was prepared to tell an exciting and straightforward story framed by that context.”
The funny thing about that statement is that much of the dialogue in the series and many of the situations that Adam West’s Batman faced were reminiscent of the plots of many of the stories that I had read. Certainly DC had no problem with the tone or the characterization of a property they owned.
Another thing – TomBa was apparently reading Asimov and possibly other science fiction and fantasy by that time. Didn’t he notice the difference between the stories he was reading in The Flash and those in the novels and short stories?
I would agree with everything except the “different slice” bit at the end. They are all just copies of the same slice.
(See: Pete’s father-in-law and his cereal box decoder ring from last summer)…
Not to “well, actually….” but….
That’s been going on for at least five years. Jfff Murdoch abandoned the man he was and let loose his inner child in the aftermath of his mother’s death.
If Batiuk actually made that a character study rather than just “oh boy, I can play all the time now!” it could have been interesting. Instead, he just celebrates the virtuously virtuous virtue of an old man who unironically wears a plastic toy ring he got out of a cereal box or a Crackerjack box sixty years ago.
Regular FW readers who are also Flash fans will love this arc and I hope that guy really enjoys it. You know who I mean.