Big Sack of Something, All Right

Link to today’s strip.

Pete was a guest at Comic Con? When was that? Because my failing memory tells me that the Starbuck Jones panel was the actors, the director, and…Holtron. Along with a moronic Conan O’Brien, who was probably persuaded not to bring a lawsuit because “he’s just doing it so you’ll give him some free publicity. Calm down, Conan.”

I’m not saying he couldn’t have been a guest, rather than an attendee like everyone else, but I’d think that would be memorable. Even for this remarkably unmemorable comic strip. What would he talk about at his panel? How to get ideas from other people’s random conversations? That seems to be his special talent, after all. And I guess there was a time he wrote for Superman comics. BillytheSkink, please let us know what fantastical adventures the Man of Steel suffered under Pete’s hands.

But anyway, what does Mindy think Pete can do? Does Comic Con give out awards? That’s certainly a Batiukian goal. I don’t know myself but I kind of doubt Comic Con does this.

Or maybe he could set up a panel for them? “Old comic book creators who never got any attention.” One that would be attended by ancient fans who would gush, “You did what superheroes do–you saved me.” He’d better arrange to have barf bags provided.

A panel that will end with the two of them announcing their engagement. I’m almost willing to put money on it. My reasoning is this:

Mindy just spent a week listening to Ruby tell about how she felt harassed and unappreciated. It would be a natural thing for Mindy to suggest to Pete that something be done for Ruby. Instead, she chose to highlight both of them, saying that both were unappreciated. But it seems to me that Flash Freeman has definitely been given lots of recognition in this strip–examples escape me, but in the comic book industry here he’s regarded as a legend. So why would she include both in her plan, unless there’s something that happens when couples get together?

I probably have put more thought into this than I should have, but there’s so little to work with…

Note: Banana Jr 6000 made a similar observation–“Why does Mindy care about Flash?”– in yesterday’s comments. I’d already written the above, but I want to acknowledge the synchronicity.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

41 responses to “Big Sack of Something, All Right

  1. Epicus Doomus

    “Then after employing misdirection to confuse the male character, the female character uses her feminine wiles and affections to get the male character to do what she desires”. That sounds about right. Hey, I don’t write this shit, I merely observe and if you’re not observing the same thing I am, I actually envy you. I would say that perhaps someday someone might notice the consistent pattern of weird retrograde male-female relationships in this strip but you and I both know that’s never going to happen, as they’d have to notice the strip itself first.

    Pete’s a sack of something all right. An engaged comic book couple working together at a comic book mill talking about two elderly comic book creators and a comic book convention…that sounds about right too. This is one of the most eye-gougingly terrible arcs ever, or maybe it just seems that way because it’s the one going on now. In any event, f*ck all these terrible, horrible, no-good jerks and their comic books.

    • William Thompson

      The name of the “Sad Sack” comic strip comes from an expression WW II drill sergeants used when facing a group of brand-new draftees. The sergeant would look at one of the worst of them and say “You are the saddest sack of shit I’ve ever seen.” After basic training, a sad sack was not a lovable, hapless loser like the comic strip character, but the worst sort of soldier–a slacker, a cheat, a coward, a malingerer, a whiner. You know, a Mopey Pete, but in an olive drab rather than a green-checkered shirt

      • J.J. O'Malley

        Fun Fact: The original “Sad Sack” comic book series from Harvey Comics (publishers of Casper and Richie Rich) ran continuously from 1949 into the early ’80s for over 250 issues. The hapless G.I. also appeared in several other titles, from “Sad Sack and the Sarge,” “Sad Sack’s Army Life,” and “Sad Sad Sack World” to the childhood-set “Little Sad Sack,” each with a run of issues Atomik Comix could only dream of.

        On other notes….it’s already June, and Min-dull is expecting Mopey to get the SDCC crew to re-arrange a schedule they’ve set up months in advance to toss in “honors” for two people who could just as easily attend as guests on their own? I’ve been to major conventions in New York, Baltimore and, yes, San Diego, and there are always industry pros there signing and doing sketches (I even saw Silver Age icon Ramona Fradon at a Baltimore panel dedicated to her body of work). The Uncaped Codgers should NOT need anyone’s help to get that “recognition” that everyone EXCEPT they themselves seem to feel is so vital (Battyuk really is projecting here, isn’t he?). This whole week has been nothing but a big sack of Shmebulock.

  2. William Thompson

    “–and my itty-bitty nut sack!”

  3. Banana Jr. 6000

    How needlessly complicated does this have to be? Reminds me of this:

    • billytheskink

      That’s a better game than White Men Can’t Jump on the Jaguar, though. WMCJ, I believe, is known as the Funky Winkerbean of video games.

      • none

        The Funky Winkerbean of video games would be something like Depression Quest, only it was written by Hideo Kojima and the dialogue was machine translated from Japanese to English, and it would be optimized for VGA displays running on Windows95.

  4. ComicBookHarriet

    Pete looks really depressed in the last panel which doesn’t make any sense. He flew cross country on a whim to hunt down Cliff Anger. Why would the prospect of honoring another elderly pop culture creator get him down.

    Is it because calling him a big sack of sugar reminds him that he is both overweight and pre-diabetic?

  5. Banana Jr. 6000

    Also, Mindy and Pete have been engaged for almost two years. Are they not up to holding hands yet? This is the most indifferent engagement since Eugene proposed to Lillian’s sister Lucy via snail mail, and then neither of them ever bothered to follow up on it.

    • Hitorque

      If someone just started reading FW this week, they’d assume that Mindy punted Pete so far into the “friendzone” that he’d have to change his area code

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        How would anyone have any idea these two are even in a relationship? Pete normally kisses Mindull like she’s his grandmother, but I think today is the first time we’ve seen her do the same. Their “engagement” was so muted and half-assed, I’d understand if both of them just forgot. Weddings in the Funkyverse are just an excuse to wank about comic books anyway, but Batiuk’s already constructed plenty of those.

      • Sourbelly

        If I were new to this strip, I’d assume Pete was Mindy’s 15-year-old son.

  6. Mr. A

    [I thought I posted a long comment earlier, but maybe it got eaten by the spam filter? Or I clicked “Cancel” without noticing? Anyway, if that one reappears, feel free to delete this one.]

    I don’t understand how Mindy expects Comic-Con to “honor” Ruby and Flash. Invent an award to give them? Put them on a stage and have a moderator talk about how great they are? The only people who would show up to an event like that are people who are already fans of Flash and Ruby. And if those two already have enough fans to fill an auditorium, why does Comic-Con need to “honor” them in the first place?

    The only plausible version of this scenario is if they slot Flash and Ruby into some existing panel alongside other, more famous people. Then the fans who show up to see the “headliners” might decide they like the “opening act” too. But I don’t know if Batiuk would write it that way.

  7. billytheskink

    Your memory did not fail you, Beckoningchasm, you tabbed everyone who was part of the Starbuck Jones panel at ComicCon in 2017… Pete was not among them.

    His tenure writing Superman was… well, here are some examples.

    All classic Superman stories begin with… Jimmy Olsen?

    This strip infamously ran the day after the awful Tohoku earthquake and tsunami struck Japan.

    Somehow, this Superman story wound up not involving Superman at all.

    Beats never getting getting to bat in the big leagues, I guess.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      The highest-paid writer in comic books, everybody.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      When you’re a freelance writer, you’re expected to deliver what the client asked for. If someone paid Pete to write a Superman story, he is expected to deliver a Superman story, not whatever shit he felt like writing. And a big company like DC Comics would have a style guide, and other standards that freelance writers need to follow. And they would not be allowed to just make up new characters willy-nilly.

      It’s pathetic how desperately Tom Batiuk wants to write comic books, when he’s this ignorant of how it even works.

  8. erdmann

    The Eisner Awards are presented during Comic Con but it’s much too late to nominate someone. Voting for hall of fame inductees closes in few hours.
    This year’s nominees are Ruth Atkinson, Dave Cockrum, Kevin Eastman, Neil Gaiman, Max Gaines, Justin Green, Moto Hagio, Don Heck, Klaus Janson, Jeffrey Catherine Jones, Hank Ketcham, Scott McCloud, Grant Morrison, Alex Niño, P. Craig Russell and Gaspar Saladino. Flash and Ruby have a ways to go before they measure up to some of these folks.
    Hey… didn’t TB trying to finagle a nomination for “Lisa’s Story” a few years back? The man is nefarious.

  9. erdmann

    Random thoughts on those Pete strips:
    Tec-Tonic? Sheesh! Was he writing a sub-par “Superman” or an inferior “Inferior Five?”
    Script writing, another thing TB apparently doesn’t get.
    The opposite of “black” is “good?” Ohhhh my….

    • J.J. O'Malley

      Thumbs up for the I5 reference. I see a live-action remake with Mopey Pete as Awkwardman, Mindy as Dumb Bunny, Durwin as White Feather, Chester as the Blimp, and Les Moore as Merryman.

  10. Hitorque

    It’s funny because Mindy works in the comics industry, she’s engaged to the highest paid dude in the business and yet SHE HAS ZERO FUCKIN’ IDEA HOW COMICON WORKS(!)

    Pete isn’t an organizer, he isn’t a corporate sponsor, and he isn’t Don Fuckin’ Corleone who can make anything happen with just a phone call… The best he can do is sponsor a booth, set up a table and let them sign autographs or something… And doesn’t Atomikkk Komixxx have a PR rep or social media presence or at least a website? You’d think they’d be broadcasting to the entire comics blogosphere the fact that they got one legendary fossil still working everyday for them despite being in her 90s, and another fossil who hangs out in their office all day just because…

    And do we *really* have to go out to San Diego? Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Indianapolis, Chicago all have major conventions IIRC and any of them would be more than enough. Hell, wouldn’t a ‘smaller’ convention be a better idea, since the two antiques would have a lot less competition for the spotlight? How much more attention would they even get in San Diego as opposed to Cleveland? San Diego will have every big name from movies, music, books, TV AND the biggest video games producers showing previews of upcoming titles…

    And has Mindy ever considered these antiques might not WANT all the fuss and attention and chaos of a hundred thousand convention goers? Has she ever considered that long distance air travel can be problematic, troublesome, and even hazardous to the health for people of a certain age? Has she forgotten already that a huge chunk of Southern California was destroyed in a wildfire with a death toll in the thousands and the regional economy hasn’t recovered from the tens of billions of lost revenue and is suffering 25% unemployment?? Of course not, why would she?? Mindy has the brain and mindset of a 12 year old.

    Naturally Pete is so pussy-whipped that instead of shooting this dumbassed fantasy down, he’ll keep quiet and do anything to make his girl happy, common sense be damned.

    • Hitorque

      It’s funny because Mindy didn’t even think to ask her fuckin’ billionaire comics geek boss, who probably has the money and clout to make it happen much more easily than her worthless fiancee

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      And doesn’t Atomikkk Komixxx have a PR rep or social media presence or at least a website?

      On Planet Batiuk, that’s going to be a huge “no.” You see, proper Silver Age comic book companies don’t need any non-creative people on staff. All you need is two Chads, one of their idiot girlfriends, a couple 95-year-olds who wandered in off the streets of Cleveland, and some rich bozo to dump huge amounts of money into it all. The printing, shipping, marketing, scheduling, sales, accounting, human resources, and project management are all done by magic. The Internet is bad, everyone hates it, and publishing companies in the 2020s don’t need to use it at all.

      • hitorque

        Ironically, Pete+Darrin sitting on their asses all day taking dumb selfies for their “#ComicsLife!” Instagram feed and getting into drawn out debates on Twitter over whether Wolverine can beat USAF Lt. Col. Hal Jordan in a fight (and the answer is “no way in hell”) would be the most true-to-life realism we’ve seen from the Funkyverse in long time….

        I’m no industry insider, but it had previously occurred to me that a LOT of steps are in between the point when Pete+Darrin send a finished comic off to the publisher and the time when it arrives on the shelf at Barnes & Noble… Dealing with vendors, wholesalers, distributors, corporate chain offices for this or that region, identifying a target demographic, finding a profitable price point in-line with the prevailing markets (and it also goes without saying that the cost of Pete+Darrin’s over-the-top contracts are getting passed on to the customer), etc. etc…

        And no, Batiuk can’t just take the easy way out by saying “Chester handles all the hardcore financial and accounting stuff…” because he’s already established that Atomikkk Komixxx is only one of his several business interests… Not only that, but Atomikkk is clearly nothing more than a plaything for him, a little vanity project, a hobby that he’s willing to operate at a slight loss or barely break-even point to feed his comics geekdom. And yeah, I get it — If I had the cash I’d almost certainly be buying my own race team or boutique video game company… But the point of it is Chester’s primary source of his millions is his wizardry in flipping a quick buck from undervalued properties (real and intellectual) he buys on the cheap in bulk, and exploiting the ever-lovin’ fuck out of the Dow Jones through derivatives or hedge funds or AMC/Gamestop or whatever the hustle is these days… So aside from his courtesy visits once or twice a month, Chester has no free time to oversee Atomikkk’s daily business operations… Of course he could easily hire a team to do this, but then Atomikkk would be running WAY in the red and we already know Pete+Darrin could only get hired away from Hollywood with the promise of 100% creative and administrative freedom, and their feelings about “bosses” and “management” and “structure” and “accountability” and “professionalism” are well known…

  11. Gerard Plourde

    I don’t know where to begin with this mess, but here goes. In a normal year, Comic Con is a summer event. The schedule and list of panelists and honorees would already be set by now. Even allowing for the special in person event scheduled for Thanksgiving weekend this year, I think it might be late to add anything to the program. And isn’t TomBa World’s Southern California still dealing with the after effects of the massive fire that devastated in world Los Angeles last year?

  12. Gerard Plourde

    All of the glaring inconsistencies that have been identified are meaningless to TomBa’s target audience, which is TomBa.

  13. Rusty Shackleford

    Another cheap Batty gimmick is on display in Crankshaft today. The upstairs apartment. I’ve never seen so many over garage apartments since Happy Days.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I want to hear the rest of that sentence. “Say yes, Max. Living above your parent’s garage is the best you will ever be able to provide for me and our child.”

      • hitorque

        All she had to say was “THANK YOU WE’LL TAKE IT!!” instead of putting words in her dear hubby’s mouth… I mean god damn — The mom is right there in front of them? And where was this wife’s outspoken assertiveness when dear hubby decided to keep playing “Radio Ranch” on a 24-hour loop for the last six months?

        Am I really to believe the Valentine has been going bankrupt for weeks, and a young couple with a baby put ZERO thought or planning into where they were going to live after moving out?

        It’s funny because for all their mock outrage over a gentlemen’s club taking over, a young, attractive couple like this could make a lot of easy money through OnlyFans (and for those who don’t know, a whole lot of respectable upstanding suburban moms have made a fortune during the pandemic)… And don’t pretend Mr. and Mrs. We-Love-To-Get-Our-Rocks-Off-In-A-Crowded-Movie-Theater-That-Now-Smells-Like-A-Fish-Market would be prudish at the thought all of a sudden…

        • The Duck of Death

          You see? This — THIS is what happens when society fails to appreciate the genius of The Phantom Empire and Radio Ranch! Young families are left homeless, elders are displaced, babies have to live above garages!

          WAKE UP, SOCIETY! We must return to the 1930s! A wholesome era, when men were Gene Autry and women were Queen Tika! Reject the degenerate modernism of the Adam West Batman and the Christopher Reeve Superman! Reject the bourgeois intrusion of color into our filmed entertainments! Reject the world of today and come back, day after day, year after year, to see Radio Ranch at The Valentine — or face doom!

  14. The Duck of Death

    I don’t think Flash needs any more honoring; he’s already famous enough to have had a bobblehead doll made of him (seen in P2).

  15. Maxine of Arc

    If Flash and Ruby actually WANTED to be speakers or panelists, which they have not in any way suggested they do, then they can apply to do so (which they undoubtedly should have done months ago) or AK can submit applications for them (which they undoubtedly should have done months ago). If they don’t, then they might want to have an artist booth to sell sketches, meet fans, etc. (which, again, they have not suggested they want, and for which they should undoubtedly etc. etc.). Then if AK wants to give them a promotion/publicity campaign to encourage people to go to said booth, they can do that.

    I’m sure neither of them is unaware that Comic-Con and similar industry events exist, and neither of them has as far as we know made any effort to get involved.

  16. The Duck of Death

    A bit late in the game, I’ve realized that the key to all comics-related FW strips is: Every comics fan, and especially every comics creator, represents Tom Batiuk himself. Applying this principle makes all the muddled story lines clear. “Hey! This comix guy did some unspecified amazing stuff, but he never got the acclaim he deserved! Let’s shower him with awards!”

    Imagine being Tom Batiuk, and earning a good living from two syndicated strips, including one that’s been coasting for 45 of its 50 years, and feeling bitter and unappreciated at your lot in life.

    I’ve always felt that the Disney princesses set little girls up for bitterness later in life, when they realize they’re just people like everyone else, and not the center of a magical prince’s life.

    I now think that, in a similar way, superheroes set Batiuk up for failure; in his 70s, he’s still coming to grips with the fact that he’s just a nerd with glasses, and the magical transformation into Supercartoonist is not going to happen.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I would take your idea one step further and say that every character in Funky Winkerbean is Tom Batiuk. Les is the Tom Batiuk who thinks his inability to accept his wife’s death makes him Lord Byron. Dinkle is the Tom Batiuk who thinks he’s Mr. Chips and Jamie Escalante rolled into one. Funky is the Tom Batiuk who complains incessantly about his third world problems. Harry and John are the Tom Batiuk who dreams of screwing around in a comic book store all day while his wife provides the actual income. All the wives are Tom Batiuk’s mother. And all the villains are lame strawmen to Tom Batiuk’s bizarre idea of how the world should work.

  17. The Duck of Death

    > All the wives are Tom Batiuk’s mother.

    Oh my god. So Dead St. Lisa is… Batiuk’s mother, whose death he cannot get over?

    Have you found the metaphorical decoder ring that would allow us to make sense of the incomprehensible Lisa-worship that never abates?

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I didn’t mean to include Lisa in that group. She is a character’s wife, yes, but her existence and purpose in the Funkyverse are unique. Which ties into your second question: Lisa and Dinkle belong to a special category called “original characters who legitimately worked once, and therefore must be re-used incessantly.” Batiuk loves these characters and he keeps shoving them into the strip, hoping to recapture whatever magic they once possessed. But he doesn’t have any idea what that was. Dinkle makes no sense outside of Act 1 and is now highly unlikeable. Lisa is difficult to use in the strip anymore because she’s been dead longer than Dan Fogelberg.

      • The Duck of Death

        That makes sense. Like his characters (eg, Max and Hannah with The Valentine), he can’t change tracks or try new ideas.

        Max and Hannah were all, “The theater’s going out of business. We’ve tried showing Radio Ranch *twice* a day to empty houses, but that didn’t help, and now we’re all out of ideas! Unless maybe three showings a day would work?”

        Similarly, I think you’re right — Batiuk thinks if he just shoves these now-morphed, muddled characters in our face more and more, we’ll love them like in the olden days. The Pulitzer nomination days. The marching band shoe character tie-in days.

        And if it’s not working, it’s because he hasn’t put them out there enough or showed clearly enough how much they are loved in-universe. Perhaps another arc will do it. Just one more.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          I don’t even know what Funky Winkerbean is trying to be anymore. Other than a narrow-minded, self-praising comic book wankfest slathered in ads for Montoni’s and Radio Ranch. Put Les in a fursuit and you’ve got a webcomic.

    • William Thompson

      Dead Fucking Lisa is God. She’s off-stage now, but she left behind her VHS (Very Holy Scripture) tapes to guide the faithful. This makes Les Moore her apostle and prophet. Where’s Judas Iscariot when we need him?