We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!

Three panels, three places, and no answers in today’s strip.

So Phil Holt created The Subterranean, demanded ownership of the property, didn’t get it, left in a Les-level huff… and then hated Flash for the rest of his life? Was it Flash that denied Phil ownership of The Subterranean? Should I submit this to CIDU? We’ve gone from classic TB “tell don’t show” to “tell, but not really”.

One assumes then that Phil took The Subterranean to Marvel, where the concept was reworked into Subterranea. The butterfly effect of this decision ultimately resulted in the greatest Spider-Man story in recorded history, so let us all be grateful for that.

47 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

47 responses to “We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!

  1. Now, someone who knew how to write, would have put a text box in that last panel. It would say something like “Meanwhile–” or “Elsewhere–”

    But no, Tom Batiuk’s stories are so intense and meaningful that slowing them down with things that might help a reader fathom what’s going on–well, that’s just beneath him, these days. If people need a crutch to understand his work, well, they’re not worth it, are they?”

    • billytheskink

      And now TB has Ayers doing his stupid bubble/cloud border thing when transitioning from one place to another in a strip.

      Cloud borders indicate dreams and flights of imagination and such, they make no sense as an indicator of transition from one place to another. A competent cartoonist/writer would use a yellow rectangle that says “Meanwhile-“.

    • be ware of Eve hill

      Oh! Thank you for explaining it! I couldn’t figure it out. Why was Flash giving Darin an “exhibitor” badge? When and where did Flash get Comic-Con badges? Why didn’t Flash have a special “inductee” badge?

      We all know photo corners with sepia colors means past events. That’s obvious, but a cloudy border means change of place? Oooooo-kay. Only in the Batiukverse. I guess that’s something only Batiuk insiders understand. Everyone else can go pound sand.

      I wonder how much money Batiuk saved by not putting in that meanwhile/elsewhere text box. It seems Batiuk can throw up walls of text, but can’t spare a few words when they’re really needed. Wotta hack.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Anyone who reads or comments on this blog is about as “Batiuk insider” as it’s possible to be, other than Batiuk’s personal friends. And we’re all confused by it.

  2. Banana Jr. 6000

    So some nobody artist created some characters while in someone else’s employ, demanded ownership of them for himself, and then threw a tantrum. What a jerk. Who’d want to work with somebody like that?

  3. William Thompson

    Who is offering who that CC badge? And why? If this is a Freekman/Dullard exchange, wouldn’t they both already have membership badges? If one or both will have an art display, when did they prepare for this? Or does that curvy line around P3 indicate that someone is giving Phil Holt an anonymous membership badge, so that nobody will recognize the famous old man? Or did his long-ago death lead to him being frequently mistaken for the Crypt Keeper? Is “Darrin” really the nickname version of “Diarrhea?”

  4. You know, it would be interesting to give Batiuk a collection of Shakespeare’s plays and say “Here, re-write these.”

    Ed Wood and Tommy Wiseau would appear as Force Ghosts only so they could explode in a Sunday sideways tribute strip.

    • Epicus Doomus

      “To be or not to be, that is the question!”

      “To be? Or not to be?”

      “Yes. To be, or not to be.”

      “Is that a question? (smirk)”

      “Did you hear that Funky asked Wally “to be or not to be”?

      “As a question?”

      “Yes, he asked him “to be or not to be”.”

      “For me it’s hit the snooze button or not hit the snooze button!”

      (Smirks)

      “Hey Funky, did you get an answer to your question?”

      “To be or not to be? That question?”

      “Yes, to be or not to be.”

      “I decided to let it be.”

      (Smirks)

  5. none

    This is essentially what you did with the My Father John Darling strip, you insufferable hypocritical jackass. You realize that, don’t you?

    Again, to refer to the pivotal revelation made in yesterday’s opening statement here, Darrin already is aware of this situation. There’s zero reason for Easter Island Flash to speak in this manner.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Yeah Batty pulled this crap with the syndicate. Too bad they indulged his childish tantrums. They should have just canned him. Now we are stuck with his preachy BS.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Yeah, it’s too bad that act gave Batiuk an irrevocable lifetime contract with absolutely no oversight or performance standards whatsoever. Bobby Bonilla wishes he had Tom Batiuk’s contract.

  6. Epicus Doomus

    The one thread running through this alleged story is that you have to be a regular dedicated daily FW reader to understand it. To anyone else this is pure gibberish, but we speak fluent Batiukian thus we’re able to follow along, as it were. For example, we all know what “The Subterranean” is supposed to be, not just because we follow the strip but because we understand the thought process at work here. This is the first we’re hearing of this yet we totally understand.

    Or panel three. We understand that the wavy panel borders represent one of BatYam’s cornball cliffhangers where an unseen character is doing something in a different location, but a (lol) “casual” reader wouldn’t have a clue. Or the fact that “Phil Holt” was an obscure one-arc character who last appeared in the strip four years ago, yet suddenly he’s front and center now. Only the real die-hards would have any earthly clue about what’s going on here. And even then it’s real iffy, at best.

  7. Mr. A

    Is the third panel supposed to represent the mystery character getting an entry badge from someone else? There’s only one hand in the shot, the hand’s direction of movement is unclear, and the speech bubble is coming from the hand’s direction. So it looks more like the hand of the character who’s giving the badge, not the character receiving it. If that’s the case, then the mystery character is not present in the panel in any form. And the weird scalloped edges of the panel evoke “thought bubble/dream sequence” rather than “real events occurring simultaneously in a different location”, which makes the whole thing even more confusing. It’s a mess.

    The fact that the badge has a Starbuck Jones decoration brings me to my second question: why did Pete have to make a special plea for Flash to get recognized at Comic-Con? Flash was (if we are to believe yesterday’s strip) the face of Batom Comics in its heyday, regularly giving interviews to the press. He co-created the comic book that became Hollywood’s hottest blockbuster just a few short years ago. The kind of people who give out lifetime achievement awards for comic books would absolutely know about him. And yet Batiuk is implicitly being treating him as though he is just as unknown and forgotten as Ruby Lith, who wasn’t allowed to write under her own name and went through hell just to stay in the industry. It’s completely out of whack.

  8. J.J. O'Malley

    So, back in what I presume somewhere circa 1947-1967, a comic book artist created a character. And the publisher he worked for–almost certainly under “work for hire” contracts that gave them ownership for any ideas or concepts he put into their books–refused to let him keep the rights to said character. As a result, he left in a huff (or, as Groucho would say, a minute and a huff) and subsequently held a lifelong grudge against the writer who was his collaborator at the company and presumably had no power over this matter.

    Congrats, Battyuk. Your attempt to roman a clef the Lee/Kirby feud fails at every level. You got the concept of how comic book companies maintained ownership of characters wrong. You got the long-simmering resentments between Stan and Jack that soured perhaps the greatest partnership in comics history wrong. You got any sort of logical motivation in YOUR OWN characters wrong.

    Odds are, any other publisher Holt took “Subterranean” to back then would have made a similar offer and held onto the rights. Comics creators before the 1980s were in a position similar to MLB players in the same era, pre-Free Agency, when they were bound to the team that signed them or had their contact. It’s only been in the last 40 years or so that writers and artists have gotten to hold on to characters or gotten creative credit and a percentage of merchandizing money, and that old-timers like Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were finally recompensed (partially, at least) for what they signed away decades earlier.

    Oh, well, at least Flash just called him “Phil” this time instead of “Phil Holt” or “Phil Holt, the artist I regularly worked with and now can’t stand, even though he’s deceased.”

    :Here, you this badge to get into the online-only Comic-Con!” I wonder if there’ll an online-only panel with Mason Jarre and the cast of the “Gee, did they ever finish shooting it?” Dead St. Lisa movie?

    • Mela

      My spouse the comic nerd agrees with this-says it is spot on. He had to fill me in on the Lee/Kirby deal, as my comic knowledge does not extend to age old Marvel feuds. However, I’ll take Groucho references any time!

    • erdmann

      Well said. Where exactly did Phil Holt, the artist who drew all of stories Flash Freeman wrote, think he was going to take his idea? Work for Hire was the industry standard and writers and artists who retained ownership of their creations were so few and far between 60 or 70 years ago that he should have had no realistic expectation of being one of the lucky ones. This fails to explain why he would’ve been angry at Flash or why Flash wouldn’t want to be on the same planet with Holt. It does, however, make Holt look like an irrational hot head. Of course, this is the same guy who hoarded original comic cover art — which he apparently thought had no value — and lived in poverty.
      Considering Holt is clearly a stand in for Jack Kirby is is extremely annoying. There’s no doubt Kirby could be difficult; he was a tough customer with a strong will and a temper, but he was not stupid.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      In Kirby’s *Mister Miracle* series, there was a character who lived off the ever-diminishing remittances of a character named “Colonel Mockingbird.” He was a cigar-smoking blowhard who wore a toupee and he had a sycophantic follower called Houseroy..

      Many feel that this was Kirby’s depiction of Stan Lee and the treatment he’d experienced with and from him during their collaboration on “the Marvel Age of Comics.” (Houseroy was meant to be seen as Roy Thomas.)

      The character’s name was Funky Flashman, and he entered the world in *Mister Miracle* #6, with a January-February 1972 cover date. Thus, he precedes Batiuk’s Funky Winkerbean,

      Mister Miracle once told the evil Granny Goodness to dry up and blow away. Would it be worthwhile telling Batiuk to do the same, or that whatever he hopes to say about Lee and Kirby, that Kirby did it first and did it better?

      Zanzibar the Talking Murder Chip asks me to add that DC mocked Stan Lee as “Stan Bragg” in the short-lived *Angel and the Ape* series of 1968-69.

      Excelsior!

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      In Kirby’s *Mister Miracle* series, there was a character who lived off the ever-diminishing remittances of a character named “Colonel Mockingbird.” He was a cigar-smoking blowhard who wore a toupee and he had a sycophantic follower called Houseroy..

      Many feel that this was Kirby’s depiction of Stan Lee and the treatment he’d experienced with and from him during their collaboration on “the Marvel Age of Comics.” (Houseroy was meant to be seen as Roy Thomas.)

      The character’s name was Funky Flashman, and he entered the world in *Mister Miracle* #6, with a January-February 1972 cover date. Thus, he precedes Batiuk’s Funky Winkerbean,

      Mister Miracle once told the evil Granny Goodness to dry up and blow away. Would it be worthwhile telling Batiuk to do the same, or that whatever he hopes to say about Lee and Kirby, that Kirby did it first and did it better?

      Zanzibar the Talking Murder Chimp asks me to add that DC mocked Stan Lee as “Stan Bragg” in the short-lived *Angel and the Ape* series of 1968-69.

      Excelsior!

  9. billytheskink

    Now here’s the one part of this nothingburger conversation that Chester should be eavesdropping on. You think he wants Durwood demanding ownership of Rip Tide: Scuba Cop? He needs to shut this down before Durwood wants to join a union and starts voting for the Prohibition Party.

  10. Gerard Plourde

    I see from the date on the Comic Con badge that TomBa has finally dropped any pretense of a time jump. So in the Funkyverse the cast of Crankshaft can, like Schrödinger’s cat, simultaneously be both their Crankshaft age and ten years older in FW. How many nanoseconds is he spending on this strip?

  11. Professor Fate

    As others have noted Holt’s beef would have been with the Publisher not Flash so we are still wondering why Holt hated Flash – maybe he took the side of the publisher but it would have been nice to let the reader in on the deal yes?
    And the final panel creates zip suspense as we don’t have clue who this guy is or why we should care – at least in say Batman they pull this sort of thing you know the mystery person is going to be someone out to get Batman here we don’t have a clue nor do we care really. All we really know is that it will be mind numbingly stupid.

  12. Banana Jr. 6000

    Panel 3 is very, very confusing. In addition to the cloud-shaped panel normally indicating a dream or thought, what is the significance of the Starbuck Jones-themed badge? Is that supposed to hint at who provided it, or Batiuk just cross-promoting himself again? As best as I can tell from real life, the branding on your badge means little. But it’s drawn attention to here, as if it were signficant.

    • Mr. A

      For me, the Starbuck Jones badge reminded me that Starbuck Jones is a very popular and successful media franchise in this universe. Which raises a question: as the co-creator of that franchise, how was Flash not already on the Comic-Con Lifetime Achievement Award committee’s radar? Why did they need Pete to tip them off?

      Further, why is Batiuk implicitly treating Flash as though he is just as forgotten and underappreciated as Ruby Lith? By Batiuk’s own design, Ruby went through hell just to stay in the industry. Meanwhile, Flash apparently spent years giving regular interviews to the press (see yesterday’s strip), and that was before Hollywood turned his work into a blockbuster hit.

  13. Hitorque

    It sure would have been useful if Holt was still alive so he could explain his side of the story…

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      This is the Funkyverse. He may still be. We saw him in ghost form, but that’s no obstacle.

  14. Eldon of Galt

    Considering the many, many things wrong with today’s strip and the current story, and taking note of beckoningchasm’s reference to Ed Wood and Tommy Wiseau, I have gained a new insight on my on-going fascination with “Funky Winkerbean”. Batiuk isn’t just a terrible writer, he may be record-setting terrible. Among writers who get paid and published, in any field of writing, he consistently places with the very worst I have ever seen.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      He really is the worst. Tom Batiuk’s grammar is horrible. His word choice is poor. He thinks he’s being deep when he’s just being unclear. He undermines his own stories. He raises points and then never revisits them. His continuity is a mess. He beats you to death with cliches. He thinks editing and re-writing are things that only hacks do. He laughs at his own jokes. He drags his narrow-minded personal opinions into everything. He’s extremely repetitive. There is no conflict. There are no antagonists. All tension is resolved as quickly as possible. Then he tries to create tension by dragging obvious events out for a week or more. His characters are malleable and almost completely interchangeable. Porn movies have more realistic dialog, especially for women. He borrows elements from better stories, and then uses them in ways that show he doesn’t understand them. His use of copyrighted material badly exceeds fair use. His stories are full of self-serving product placement. He has no ability to recognize when plot twists, or even entire stories, are too inconsistent with established reality. There is no fidelity; anything can be retconned at any time. He tells you how you’re supposed to feel about his characters, when the story is taking you in whole other direction. His characters are deeply unlikable, and bear little resemblance to human beings. He avoids what should be the story, and drones for weeks about trivia. Everything he writes is thinly veiled personal wish fulfillment. Everything is banal. There is no energy. There is no fight, only dull acceptance. There is no fun. There is no humor. There is nothing unique. There is no insight into the human condition. And Tom Batiuk’s writing fails in the most basic way of all: it fails to convey meaning. And despite all these limitations, the man is constantly striving for awards, constantly taking on sensitive and controversial subjects, constantly criticizing other writers, and has an ego the size of a planet. Other than that, I guess he’s allright.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        We’ll head on over to BattyBlog where Tom brags about the latest FW collection. We finally get to the Lisa stories and Batty considers these to be his best work. Lisa, Lisa Lisa, how I hate her!

      • be ware of Eve hill

        Wow. This is a dead-on comment that should be immortalized in some fashion. Maybe a link from the main page labeled “Tom Batiuk, a Legend in His Own Mind”, or “Son of Stuck Funky – Our Raison D’être”.

        Well done. I wish I could upvote this comment more than once. 👍

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Thanks! It was just a rant, though. And Batiuk’s failings as a writer should be compiled and put in a book called How Not To Write. He gets EVERYTHING wrong.

  15. Check today’s “Cover Me” entry. The guy on the cover must have hugely impressed Batiuk–cos that’s gotta be the Platonic Ideal of smirks.

    • _

      It appears that the cover is from a short-lived comic/pulp published in 1945 or 1946.

      • Gerard Plourde

        It appears that the cover is from a short-lived comic/pulp published in 1945 or 1946. Sorry for the unlabeled comment.

        • Hey, we all make mistakes–I think even Tom Batiuk makes ’em.

          I find his “Cover Me” posts more irritating than interesting. He posts a lot of fairly terrible covers which I guess he likes, but he rarely says anything at all about why he likes them.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            Most of the “Cover Me” comic book covers are just unremarkable. And he doesn’t say why he likes them. Considering the dreck he writes about The Flash and Isaac Asimov, it’s just as well that he doesn’t try.

          • Gerard Plourde

            Right on both ooints. Most of the covers are unremarkable and he makes no effort to. Explain what he sees that in his mind makes them noteworthy.