I Wish This Was All in Batiuk’s Imagination

I’m sure asking someone if you’re currently dreaming or your very life is somehow an imaginary story in front of a crowd and on camera will do wonders for Flash’s reputation.
This is just so dumb on so many levels. Batiuk can’t resist making everything into some kind of comic book reference or “joke”. Phil has apparently literally come back from the dead and is reunited with his former coworker/friend, and this is what Batiuk does with that moment? Instead of going with something genuinely emotional, or maybe explaining how he’s not dead anymore, he decides to criticize other people’s comic book writing? This is just sad.
At this point, why not just have Lisa randomly show back up alive next Monday?

54 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

54 responses to “I Wish This Was All in Batiuk’s Imagination

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Oh yeah, I forgot all about that arc where Flash kept pestering Bun E. Carlos and Robin Zander for money, so I have to agree with the new, alive Phil Holt here, although the rest of that arc is best left forgotten. The Sunday “At Budokan” strip was mildly amusing though, I guess.

    Has anyone ever faked their own death for a dumber reason than this? Methinks not. Just like yesterday, no one is really reacting as you’d think one would upon seeing a dead guy suddenly brought back to life. “Is it really you?”…duh, Flash. You’d think he’d take a swing at him or something but nope, it’s just stupid smirks all around. Nothing fazes these imbeciles at all.

    Coming soon: Phil’s probate fraud calls the legitimacy of “Lisa’s Legacy” into question, prompting Les to visit the park bench with his lawyer to get the whole sordid mess straightened out.

    • William Thompson

      However dumb the reason for Phil Dolt’s fakery seems now, I’m sure Batiuk’s explanation will be even dumber.

  2. J.J. O'Malley

    Panel Three: Phil’s talking about Tom Batiuk, isn’t he?

  3. Actually, SpaceManSpiff85, I think you got your wish too. This is all that’s in Batiuk’s imagination, there’s nothing else there.

  4. Gerard Plourde

    Well TomBa has certainly become expert at trolling. A year ago he anticipated that someone (I’ll go out on a limb and guess he follows this terrific community of beedy-eyed nit-pickers) would speculate whether it’s some fantasy or dream sequence. What he’s doing now is keeping us guessing. Which way do you think he’s playing us? I’m now less sure that he’s not going to pull a “Bobby Ewing in the shower” dream sequence. We’ll just have to keep following how this develops.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I look at it his way: if Batiuk wanted to put one over on us beady-eyed nitpickers, do you think he’d do it this well? This is all a pretty good mind screw.

      Tom Batiuk may be the world’s foremost example of “never attribute to malice that which can be attributed to incompetence.”

    • hitorque

      If Batiuk could put that much effort in trolling us, he should find a way to put it into his storylines instead…

  5. William Thompson

    Why are MC Guy and Rubella smiling? It’s like they know this is a prank and don’t care if they spoil it. They should look alarmed. Or are they so rooted in comic-book geekery that they’re thinking “Yes! Phil Dolt has returned from the dead, just like a proper comic-book hero! Or villain. Either way we have front-row seats for some world-destroying superpowered combat! Last year it was Los Angeles, this yea it’s San Diego’s turn to be ruined! But we’ll be okay!”

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I still say this whole thing is a bad pro wrestling stunt. The MC and Ruby Lith are taking this ludicrous development far too well, as if they knew it was coming. And yesterday, the MC seemed to be trying to sell it. “How special is this? Flash’s wish came true! Phil Holt’s not dead!” This is what Vince McMahon would say if The Undertaker climbed out of the casket at a funeral to get in Hulk Hogan’s face.

  6. be ware of eve hill

    THIS DOESN’T EVEN MAKE ANY SENSE. BATIUK IS JUST MAKING THINGS WORSE DAY AFTER DAY!

    Isn’t the formerly deceased Phil Holt the one relying on shenanigans?

    What’s up with Ruby? All smiles yesterday and stifling a laugh today. Is she in on something? The MC is taking this disaster in stride. Is Flash getting punk’d? If that’s a Phil Holt impersonator, it seems like a real nasty trick to do to someone. Save the really nasty tricks for Les Moore.

    Batiuk Go Round in Circles
    ♫♪
    Tom’s got a story, it ain’t got no plot
    He’s gonna fling it at his readers
    Tom’s got a story, it ain’t got no plot
    He’s gonna fling it at his readers

    Batiuk go round in circles?
    Will it fly high like a bird up in the sky?
    Batiuk go round in circles?
    Will it fly high like a bird up in the sky?

    He’s got a story, ain’t got no moral
    Let the story make sense every once in a while
    He’s got a story, ain’t got no moral
    Let the story make sense every once in a while

    Batiuk go round in circles?
    Will it fly high like a bird up in the sky?
    Batiuk go round in circles?
    Will it fly high like a bird up in the sky?

    Will it go round in circles?
    Round and round and round
    Will it fly high like a bird up in the sky?

    ♫♪
    Lyrics based on the song “Will It Go Round in Circles”. Apologies to Billy Preston.

  7. Sourbelly

    I thought I could deal with stupid. Like, hardcore stupid. But this…this is too much. Batwad broke me.

  8. billytheskink

    It’s not really Phil, Flash, it’s Barry Goldwater… back from the dead himself to tell us all that moderation in the pursuit of awards is no virtue.

  9. William Thompson

    “Instead I learned my mind tricks from the Red Eye Knights! *hic!*”

  10. Lung Wart

    Lose the cigar, asshole.

  11. Hitorque

    “Unlike you, I never leaned on a cheap plot device!” Said the guy who was assumed dead only to come back in a big public reveal like The Count of Monte Cristo, Ben-Hur, etc. etc.

    I was sort of rooting for Phil to get his vengeance and start dropping truth bombs all over ComiCon, but holy hell he’s an insufferable passive-aggressive douchebag… It’s like Batiuk put the worst parts of Lester Moore and Krankenschaaften in a blender and seasoned it with the worst parts of Dinkle and Batton Thomas….

  12. Rusty Shackleford

    From the Wikipedia entry for Jack Kirby:

    Return to Marvel (1976–1978)[edit]
    At the comic book convention Marvelcon ’75, in 1975, Stan Lee used a Fantastic Four panel discussion to announce that Kirby was returning to Marvel after having left in 1970 to work for DC Comics. Lee wrote in his monthly column, “Stan Lee’s Soapbox”, “I mentioned that I had a special announcement to make. As I started telling about Jack’s return, to a totally incredulous audience, everyone’s head started to snap around as Kirby himself came waltzin’ down the aisle to join us on the rostrum! You can imagine how it felt clownin’ around with the co-creator of most of Marvel’s greatest strips once more.”[119]

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Good find. And this is exactly what Tom Batiuk would find heartwarming, so into Funky Winkerbean it goes.

      And that story alludes to something that really sucks about this one: Batiuk spoiled the reveal. He telegraphed Phil Holt’s presence four different times, not even counting the week the characters spent randomly talking about Phil Holt. The only mystery was whether or not Batiuk would be so crass as to bring Phil Holt back from the dead, or if this was someone else.

      It would have been much better if Ruby and Flash’s award story just went as as normal, and then suddenly a guy with a Darth Vader head started yelling things out of the crowd.

    • The Duck of Death

      I think you nailed it, Rusty. I looked up some photos of Kirby, and I think it’s pretty plain that PhilHolt is based on him.

      If only Bathack had had this reunion idea before he killed off Holt. But neither continuity, common sense, nor respect for his readers have ever stopped him from running with the first notion that pops into his head.

  13. Suicide Squirrel

    Do you remember about a month ago when the worst place we thought this story arc could go was Ruby and Flash hooking up?

    Man, were we optimists!

    • Margaret

      It could still happen! Imagine – Flash and Phil work out their differences, make up, join up as partners again (Chester hires Phil), and Ruby and Flash get married at the awards presentation with Phil as the Best Man. How’s that for a happy ending Batiuk style?

      • Maybe a threesome? Anyway, one of the more enraging things about this arc is that when it started, it looked like it was going to focus on Ruby finally getting some recognition for the accomplishments of her career with the HOF nomination, but that story totally got shanghaied by the totally fucking ridiculous Flash/Phil story.

        • No kidding. Is she going to spend the rest of the month standing in the corner and pulling faces?

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          This was never Ruby’s story. We just assumed it was, because that would have made sense. And it started on Day 1. Flash seemed oddly tacked on to what was Ruby’s redemption arc. But it’s now clear that this was always his story, and Ruby was the one tacked on. What an elaborate undermining of her story. This strip spent so much time yacking about everything she went through, and Mindy bonding with her over that. And now she’s just a prop while the story brings a man back from the dead to confront Flash over a comic book-related spat in 1955. I wonder what she’s thinking right now. “I finally get some recognition, and at my own press conference,
          it’s all about two men. Typical.”

          As much as we get accused being haters, it’s amazing how much we overestimate Tom Batiuk.

          • hitorque

            I should have known when Darrin never even bothered to ask Ruby what she knew about Phil Holt on the flight from Cleveland… I imagine the comics creative community was relatively small in her heyday, so even if she’d never met Holt, I bet dollars to donuts that over the course of her career she knew or worked with probably a dozen people who knew or worked with Holt…

          • beware of eve hill

            Yes, of course. How silly of me to think that Batty the misogynist would ever have a story arc featuring a woman other than the hallowed Dead St. Lisa. Let all other women in the comic strip prostrate themselves at her greatness. All hail Dead St. Lisa. Blessed be her name.

            It seems female characters in Funky Winkerbean, other than Dead St. Lisa, fill one of three roles. A subservient Stepford wife like Cayla, a frumpy dimwitted hausfrau like Holly, or a hapless young androgynous twit, like Becky, who can’t seem to function without the help of a strong male character.

            Bite me, Batty.

  14. Professor Fate

    Yes of course Phil would never say plot a story were the cast as teenagers are brought by Crazy Harry into the future where they meet their older selves at a high school reunion and where the teen age Les upon discovering that Lisa has died of cancer DOESN’T TELL HER THAT (so not to spoil his book sales one assumes) and where it turns out it was all a dream LES was having.
    Nor would he have a plot where Boy Lisa in an insane attempt to get his favorite drawing pens (you know we’ve never actually seen his work) attempts to highjack a ship at sea only for the reader to discover yep it was all a dream.
    Nope Phil would never do that.
    Jesus talk about a complete self own. Is he really this utterly clueless without the self awareness of a rabbit? Judging by his blog posts yes but STILL.
    This arc is truly a new low.

    • Or we see Wally get blown up by an IED in Iraq only to find he was just playing a video game.

      • Professor Fate

        oh yes forgot that one.

      • hitorque

        God, I’m so glad I missed that shit…

      • hitorque

        Yeah, because a two-time POW suffering from PTSD just has to come home and turn on the XBox or PC for some Battlefield 3 or Arma 3or Spec Ops: The Line played at max volume in his surround sound headset…

    • hitorque

      Yeah the time warp was potentially a goldmine of an idea, except Batiuk sucked ALL the life out of it by having the characters ask themselves the most inane bullshit questions imaginable, even for a dream… I think Funky asked himself about comics or something dumb, Cindy stroked her ego because in the Funkyverse you keep the “Miss Popular” title for life, and Young Jerome asked old Jerome how many Super Bowls the Cleveland Browns would win in the ensuing 40 years… I mean, there wasn’t even any cross conversation with different characters?! Funky didn’t even think to slap Holly (who in her majorette outfit was ten times hotter than Cindy ever was) in her ass, which would have been perfectly acceptable behavior in 1975! Nobody popped Cindy’s ego by telling her how absolutely fucking stupid her “pointy hair perm” was in any decade…

      And Les, aka “Mr. Refuses to let the Memory of his Dead Wife Go 15 Years Later” gets his prayers answered for a brief moment seeing Lisa come back to life and forget hiding a photo, HE DIDN’T EVEN HAVE THE COURAGE SAY A SINGLE FUCKING WORD TO THE WOMAN HE’S BEEN OBSESSED WITH FOR ALMOST HALF HIS LIFE?!

  15. Today’s blog entry: never has a man been so full of himself.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Oh my God. That ego trip is going to require a full dismantling later. “I was looking to transform the comics page.” You were 25, asshole! You should be thankful such a great opportunity fell in your lap. And that it hasn’t been taken away because of your piss-poor performance.

      But everything is just dirty rags before the mighty Tom Batiuk, the Lord of Language, Transformer of the Comics Page, Man Who Did What No Other Cartoonist Dared To Try (except that plenty of them did, earlier and much better).

      • The Duck of Death

        JESUS. H. CHRIST. ON. A. CROOKED. CREAKY. CRUTCH. How has he not drifted away like a hot-air dirigible, blown out over Lake Erie, and been shot down by Harrier jets when he refused to identify himself as anything but “The Lord of Language”?

        Seriously. Batiuk thinks that, in the 1990s, he invented the soap-opera strip. He actually believes that. He truly believed that no newspaper strip ever dealt in drama, or politics, or social issues, or in anything but gag-a-day, until Funky Act II.

        Folks, is it possible that with his head buried in comic books all the time, he just hadn’t ever read any newspaper comics? And still hasn’t? And that’s why all this seems new to him? I mean, if he were the only newspaper comix writer he’d ever read, he’d also be the best one by default.

        There’s no other possible explanation for his pompous and laughably high opinion of himself. Oh, other than severe cerebrovascular disease. I guess it could go either way.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          I think Tom Batiuk’s dirigible of an ego is about to get very badly punctured.

          The ongoing crossover story in Bloom County about Hobbes’ search for the adult Calvin implies that they will find each other soon.

          What a moment that would be. Every major newspaper in America will take a moment to celebrate the 25-year reunion of the beloved and much-missed duo. With Bill Watterson’s blessing, and in the context of the also much-loved Bloom County. Crusty old editorial writers will pine for the days when the funny pages were a culturally important, and shared, experience. The Internet, which Batiuk sees as little more than a bastion of hatred and stupidity, will cream itself with joy. The Bloom County crossover arc already has gotten news coverage and social media interest. The resurrection of Phil Holt has gotten none. Even the Cleveland-area newspapers don’t give a shit what Batiuk’s doing this week, because Watterson is from Chagrin Falls, Ohio and C&H was based there.

          What a blow that would be to Batiuk’s ego. Oodles of love, attention, and praise, and not a word of it is for him. Unless it’s to name Funky Winkerbean as an example of the poor-quality comic strips that occupy the space once ruled by legends like Watterson, Breathed, Larson, and Schulz. I can already hear him making excuses in his blog: “I carefully planned the return of Phil Holt, but the return of Calvin came out the same week, costing me the recognition I had earned…”

    • Gerard Plourde

      Wow! That blog entry reaches a new level of pretentiousness.

    • Epicus Doomus

      There’s just a massive disconnect between what FW is and what Batiuk says it is and only daily FW readers know it. Writing a new gag every day is hard, writing a glacially paced piece of tissue thin melodrama is easy. Not according to him, though.

  16. William Thompson

    I’m calling it. Phil Dolt never died. He went to the hospital for an ingrown toenail. While he was there, somebody mixed up the records. He went into a vegetative coma when he was given the medications meant for Philo Dendron, who died of toe cancer. Nobody caught the clerical error and Philo Dendron was planted in a grave under Phil Holt’s name. Dolt himself woke up just in time for ComicCon and immediately learned about Freeman’s HoF induction, because comic books is magic. And Batiuk would never repeat a hackneyed storyline, now would he?

    • The Duck of Death

      The old “medical records switcharoo” worked a treat the last time. Why not go for a twofer?

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Better yet: Phil went into a vegetative coma when he accidentally received Lisa’s Stage 4 cancer treatments. They told Lisa she was fine because she, got Phil’s records, and he only had indigestion.

      Yeah, these things happened ten years apart, but that’s no obstacle in the Funkyverse.

  17. J.J. O'Malley

    FYI, on Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary site, the noun “hoax” is defined as “an act intended to trick or dupe.” Exactly what does Phil Holt assume faking his own death qualifies as?

    Gotta admit, though, I always found DC’s cover blurbs of “Not a dream! Not a hoax! Not an imaginary story!” kind of amusing. If an everyday tale of an alien living on Earth who can fly, bend steel in his bare hands, and see through walls battling a computer-brained android who visits worlds and shrinks whole cities to collect them doesn’t qualify as an “imaginary story,” I don’t know what does.

    • The Duck of Death

      UGH, I didn’t realize the reference to a dream, hoax, or imaginary story was more inside-baseball shit. Once again, he’s writing for an audience of one: himself.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      “This is an Imaginary Story,” wrote Alan Moore. “Aren’t they all?”