Rag-snore-rok

Hey, we’re finally getting around to the reason behind Flash and Phil’s falling out in today’s strip and it’s… less than fascinating to say the least. Durwood, who asked Flash to elaborate on their split to kick this week off, appears to already know the answer to his own question anyways. So was the primary reason Durwood brought Phil up to Flash so he (and, by extension, TB) could humblebrag about selling Phil’s old comic book covers for the St. Lisa charity? I think that is a reasonable assumption.

I don’t know what to make of the fact that Flash is smiling as Durwood brings up the straw that broke the Holt-Freeman partnership camel’s back, so I won’t make anything of it much like how nothing has been made from this story arc’s rancid ingredients.

48 Comments

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48 responses to “Rag-snore-rok

  1. Chester certainly seems to take an interest. So, there’s one person who cares.

    • Yeah, I do like eavesdropping Chester. He’s sadly mistaken if he thinks he’s going to hear anything juicy, but at least he’s trying to inject life into the plotline.

  2. William Thompson

    Somehow I get the feeling that when people wanted to talk to Flash Freeman, they wanted to ask why his characters were lame, dimensionless knock-offs of Superman, Iron Man, Wonder Woman and whatever other characters were famous back then. And I get the feeling he defended his writing by blaming Phil Holt’s mediocre artwork.

  3. J.J. O'Malley

    “Ragnarok, Apocalypse, Crisis on Earth One or whatever you want to call it…” Suddenly, from the row behind them, comic strip legend and “Three O’Clock High” creator Batton Thomas starts shouting out “Flash of Two Minds! When Titans Clash! Infinite Feuding! Final Credits! Zeroes Reborn! I’ve got a million of ’em!” Turns out Skunkhead John wrote to the SDCC folks and they’re inducting Batton into the Comic-Con Hall of Fame, too!

    Never mind Battyuk’s over-extended and meandering interpretation of the Lee/Kirby rivalry; what we should be talking about is the fact that Ruby Lith apparently died in her seat a hour or two ago and no one seems to have noticed.

    Tomorrow (maybe): “When Passenger Jets Land!”

    • William Thompson

      Ruby Lith died? Well, you can’t blame her for taking the easy way out, but you can resent her for it.

    • batgirl

      We aren’t seeing Ruby’s contributions because she’s only allowed to talk about sexism in the Old Days, and then only to Mindy. Mindy’s not sitting next to her, so Ruby can’t talk.
      I know we’ve seen her and Flash standing next to each other, but there are no speech balloons,in those instances. Imagining what they would have to talk about does not lead anywhere comfortable,

  4. Who Wants Eggs!!??!!

    It’s just too much for me to care about.

    The paragraphs are too long. I am sure they are awkward, repetitive, and clunky.

    I did read the last word balloon because it is short. But it is some sort of nonsense that I cannot put into context. I do not care to take the effort to read the preceding yammering to attempt to do so.

    Why is this dreck still being published? Who is the audience?

    • Hitorque

      I am getting tired of characters needing an entire week to say what could have been said in one day… Why not get to the point and tell us about the Subterranean four days ago??

      And Flash, you’re an 80-something year old dude and you’re talking about a lifelong feud with your former best friend — We don’t need three separate panel-clogging comics-related references (only one of which I sort of understood) to describe it… Try talking like a grown up for once…

      And why the hell is Flash smiling about this? It’s supposed to be a SAD story; knowing he won’t ever be able to find forgiveness or reconcile with his one-time best friend… Unless of course Flash is happy knowing Phil is dead now and the only version of their history we’ll ever know will be Flash’s version.

  5. Epicus Doomus

    Uh yeah, maybe if I had a little background here to go on I’d have some idea about what these two nimrods are yammering about. I still wouldn’t care, but at least it might make a bit of sense, maybe.

  6. Mr. A

    Batiuk, you misspelled “apocalypse”. But more importantly, that entire sentence is terrible. Just say “breaking point” instead of three separate terms that don’t quite mean the same thing.

    • billytheskink

      Hey, you’re right about “apocolypse”! I thought that was an odd way to spell “narcolepsy”…

      • I hadn’t noticed either. How does Darkseid spell his planet’s name?

        Oh crap, I’m doing comic book crap!

        • billytheskink

          Apokolips, which always made me chuckle because the word “lips” ends the name of the home planet/base/fortress of one of the few villains who is consistently portrayed as a terrifying and serious threat to Superman.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      My theory is that “apocolypse” is a portmanteau of “chocolate apocalypse,” and that he’s Batom Comics’ version of Luke Cage.

  7. Sourbelly

    A few years ago, I took a brief sabbatical from reading FW. I feel like everything these clods are talking about must have occurred during that time.
    I really don’t know what the hell are they talking about. But that’s OK, because I don’t care.

    • Mr. A

      Yesterday’s stuff (Phil was grumpy and poor, Phil died, Phil left all his stuff to Darin because they talked once, Darin auctioned off said stuff for mucho moolah in honor of Dead St. Lisa) was indeed covered in 2017. But this mention of the “Subterranean” is new material. And Batiuk will stretch that new material to cover all of next week, no doubt.

      • William Thompson

        I don’t recall “Subterranean” getting a mention in the strip. Is it something on the BattyBlog? Is Batiuk hawking yet another half-assed project?

        • Gerard Plourde

          It’s not in any blog post about Batom Comics that I’ve found. Given his veiled references to real comics, I’m expecting either The Underminer from The Incredibles (maybe triggering a suit from Disney) or, Heaven help us, some offshoot of Murania.

        • Anonymous Sparrow

          My theory is that the Subterranean is a play on the Silver Surfer, a Kirby creation (because a guy like Galactus wouldn’t just show up announced, he’d have a herald to scout out worlds for him) which Lee basically appropriated as his own spokesman…to the point that when the character got his own title in 1968, he didn’t ask Kirby to draw it, but went with John Buscema. (Kirby drew the last issue in 1970, for what it’s worth, before he went over to DC. It promised a new direction which wasn’t borne out…although some twenty-plus years later, someone explained why it hadn’t.)

          Although it could be a nod to Him (who became Adam Warlock a few years later), for whom Kirby had different ideas than Lee. While Lee and Kirby worked together for three years after that story-line in FANTASTIC FOUR #66-67, some speculate that Kirby was so disturbed that he no longer gave Lee his A material for stories.

          ‘Nuff said, because it’s clobberin’ time.

          • batgirl

            i have pretty well all the Adam Warlock comics, which survived my comics-culling of a few years back. He certainly bounced around the crossover issues – I think following his errativ progress was what started me reading Guardians of the Galaxy. It was interesting to see how his origin was retconned and revised to fit whatever plot or crossover or theme was in for that month. He was a Christ figure at least once.
            The strip “mutss” did an odd one-off hommage to the Fantastic Four cover of the Cocoon that would introduce Him. An odd choice, as it would certainly be incomprehensible to the majority of readers – Adam Warlock is not even as well known as the Silver Surfer.

  8. Khan Fuzed

    I don’t even know what the hell I just read.

  9. Ray

    Okay, I’m just lost. I recognize the word “ragnarok” from some sort of movie that came out a while back. What it means I haven’t a clue. As for panel 3, I’ve got crickets.

    Maybe I’m just an old fud, but I’ve also got no interest in whatever an MCU is. I feel I know too much about it just by osmosis.

    • Mr. A

      Outside of its use in comic books and comic book movies, Ragnarök is basically “the end of the world” in Norse mythology. Most of the gods will die in a great big battle, the earth will burn and/or flood, the stars will go out, etc.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      “Ragnorok” is there to show you how massively epic Tom Batiuk thinks this crap is. A falling out between two comic book artists 60 years ago is being equated with the end of the world. Because to him, it is. A sane cartoonist would have had Freeman call Subterranean the “last straw” between himself and Holt.

  10. erdmann

    Apocolypse — or apocalypse, as most people spell it — is the world-ending event described in Revelation. It is not to be confused with Apokolyps, the home of Darkseid in Jack Kirby’s Fourth World books published by DC Comics.
    Ragnarök is sometimes translated as “the twilight of the gods.” In Norse myth, the Aesir, or Asgardians as they are now better known, fight a final battle against their enemies and everyone dies. The fire giant Surtur sets the nine worlds ablaze and all is destroyed… but a new world arises from the ashes. See also: Götterdämmerung. Flash Fact: Kirby supposedly wanted to end Marvel’s Thor series by actually having Ragnarök occur. His “New Gods” would have taken the book’s place. When he references the old gods who died in the Fourth World books, he is referring to the Norse gods.
    “Crisis on Earth-One!” is the first of a two-part story appearing in Justice League of America #21 (1963). The second chapter, “Crisis on Earth-Two!”, appeared in issue #22. The story tells the first full team-up between the JLA of Earth-One and the older Justice Society of America of Earth-Two. The reference is out of place here; the two parallel Earths aren’t really in that much danger in the story, which is really about the two teams joining to stop a gang of super-villains from the two worlds. “Crisis on Infinite Earths” would have been a better fit, but TB probably hates the series as it killed Barry “Flash” Allen and he stayed dead for decades.

  11. Paul Jones

    It doesn’t get better on the other end of the time ball. That’s because Pmmmm outed her ‘concern’ for her dad’s gardening habit as being her worry that she isn’t going to inherit piss-all when Cranky croaks. She wants sympathy? It’s there in the dictionary between shit and syphilis.

  12. Paul Jones

    Also, it is oddly appropriate that he mentioned a non-conclusive crossover that meant nothing much sixty years ago. This is because whoever is coming up to dispute things is will be unleashing pointlessness and ennui on us all.

  13. Banana Jr. 6000

    I feel like I’m listening to Paul McCartney explain that Yoko Ono caused tension in the Beatles. Yeah, the whole world knows that. Why are these obsessive maniacs hanging on every word of the most banal facts of an even more banal story they should already know?

    You’ve heard of the Idiot Ball or the Villain Ball. Tom Batiuk has the Comic Books Ball. That’s when one of his characters suddenly forgets everything he knows about silver age comic books, so one of his octogenarian bullpen artists can wander in and explain it all again.

  14. Doghouse Reilly (Minneapolis)

    Their Twilight of the Dogs was caused by a Jack Kerouac novel? How banal.

  15. Oh, I have a terrible feeling we’re going to find out that the Phil Holt who died was just some realtor or drywall salesman, and not the artist.

    As for how Dullard got the comic book covers, well, it’s those darn lawyers, they jumped the gun because they’re just so incompetent. Like oncologists.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      That would be such a Tom Batiuk plot twist. It removes the immediate obstacle to shoving whatever he wants back into the strip, and letst as incompetent. But it would create so many other problems that the story longer makes sense. Holt was depicted as a ghost, FFS.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        That should say “and lets him bash a profession he doesn’t like as being incompetent.”

  16. Banana Jr. 6000

    Based on the new head in the banner, I’m guessing Rush Limbaugh is going to appear in the strip sometime next week.

    • beware of eve hill

      The return of Butter Brinkel (Bricknel)? Let’s hope he brings the Scotch-drinking, cigar-smoking, car-driving, gun-toting murder chimp Zanzibar!

  17. Maxine of Arc

    I hate to even think this, but I’d rather see a sepia-toned photo-corner flashback than word zeppelins telling the characters stuff they already know. I suspect I will get my “wish” next week.

  18. beware of eve hill

    I had to read the second panel four times because my mind kept drifting off. This comic strip has become so lousy it no longer even annoys me. It’s more likely to result in the torpor of ennui.

    Some days, it’s like snarking at a pile of laundry. It’s just the same depressing, dreary sight every day.

    I will admit that I am slightly intrigued by Chester’s eavesdropping. I’d like to think that TB included it for a reason. Probably not.

    Until tomorrow. The ‘Subterranean’. DUN DUN DUUUN!!!

  19. Professor Fate

    Nope – we are at the end of the week not much further along than we were on MONDAY in understanding what happened. Other than Phil had a bad relationship with the press (And oh yes who was writing about comic books back in the day? Nobody gave a damn back then) and that they instead would talk to lantern head here who became the face of the comic – which considering it was or used to be a third tier comic book company one really wasn’t much. Still it was something Phil resented (and one might suspect that Flash being a typical FW character i.e. a totally self absorbed jerk he wasn’t giving Phil much credit but the author would never allow for such complexities to emerge) but aside from this detail we are still no nearer understanding what the hell happened. The “Subterranean” (said with a dramatic pause and Da Da Dum! in the sound track one assumes) means nothing to us the reader although it’s obvious boy Lisa knows something of the story. it’d be nice if he shared but I wouldn’t want the author to do anything against his religion.
    Seriously we’ve waited a week for this? The letter opening arc had more forward momentum.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      Going by my memories of the Bullpen Bulletins of the 1960s, it seems that there was a fair amount of media attention given to Marvel titles and their “super-heroes with problems.” (You didn’t have that with DC, beyond *Doom Patrol* and *Deadman.*) I believe that Lee did give an interview which rubbed Kirby the wrong way, although they kept working together until 1970.

      The underground minions of Marvel’s Mole Man are sometimes called Subterraneans. They are not known for reading Jack Kerouac, but they may be able to converse intelligently about Ezra Pound!

  20. You know, it occurs to me that if Dullard had heard of The Subterranean, then he might also know the drama behind the character’s creation. I mean, he seemed to know instantly that this was the event that broke the Freeman-Holt partnership…despite the ignorance he has shown up to this point?

    I don’t know how Batiuk writes this crap without giving himself a headache. He sure knows how to give them out, though, as I’ve got a beaut right now.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Again, it’s like the Yoko Ono thing. If you were sat next to Paul McCartney on a flight, you might be interested in hearing some stories about the Beatles. But you don’t want to be told slowly for an hour that Ono was a major annoyance and Lennon could be a bit supercilious. You’d think he was being sarcastic with you.

      • The thing is, though, if McCartney sat next to me and I said, “What caused the strain between you and Lennon?” and he answered, “Well, there was one major factor that came between us” and he continued, “Yoko Ono!” yeah, that could be sarcasm on his part.

        But if instead,I immediately blurted out “Yoko Ono!” that would seem to mean that I knew the answer all along, and I was just being a snide jerk…or in other words a typical Tom Batiuk character.

  21. batgirl

    i have pretty well all the Adam Warlock comics, which survived my comics-culling of a few years back. He certainly bounced around the MCU – I think following his errativ progress was what started me reading Guardians of the Galaxy. It was interesting to see how his origin was retconned and revised to fit whatever plot or crossover or theme was in for that month. He was a Christ figure at least once.
    The strip “mutss” did an odd one-off hommage to the Fantastic Four cover of the Cocoon that would introduce Him. An odd choice, as it would certainly be incomprehensible to the majority of readers – Adam Warlock is not even as well known as the Silver Surfer.