Tears of a Clown

What is it with Batiuk and comic fans? Clearly what this guy is saying is supposed to be inspiring and insightful, but he’s been portrayed two days straight as pure nerd stereotype. He apparently can’t stand up straight and doesn’t own a comb (or probably shampoo). Batiuk has done this multiple times, where he tries to act like comics are the highest form of human culture, but then craps all over their fans and collectors.  I mean what this guy is saying is moving Flash and Phil to tears, I don’t know why he had to be portrayed as a background character from The Big Bang Theory comic shop scenes.
Oh, and if they “had something to say”, what exactly was it? I am doing to know.
I’m also sick of everyone in this strip only referring to comics as “books”, rather than “comics” or “comic books”.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

48 responses to “Tears of a Clown

  1. Banana Jr. 6000

    “I’m not a racist, but…”

    “I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but…”

    “I’m not speaking from a place of arrested development when I tell you that comic books matter, but…”

    • Mr. A

      Exactly. If you’re not “speaking from a place of arrested development”, why even bring it up? Smells like a Suspiciously Specific Denial to me.

      • spacemanspiff85

        When I read things like that in this strip, I really have a feeling that Batiuk is just writing down something he’s said to people more than once.

    • Charles

      And it’s totally directed at us rather than the audience in the comic strip. Why would Slobbo be concerned that someone was going to accuse him of arrested development in this circumstance? He’s surrounded by a bunch of fans of these two oldsters.

      Instead, it’s Batiuk trying desperately to convince his audience that this isn’t some pathetic sentiment coming from a grown person who considers childish media junk deep and life-affecting.

      And the other thing is, who gives a shit? Is there really any real human being reading this strip who’s invested in the legacy of these fifth-tier characters? Why should anyone care about a redemptive arc concerning them? Does any Funky reader even think about Flash or Phil when they’re not in the day’s strip?

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        A related question is “Why would Slobbo be concerned that someone was going to accuse him of arrested development, when his generation simply doesn’t do that?”

        In this day and age, if you want to be inspired by The Amazing Mr. Sponge well into your 30s, nobody’s going to judge you for that. Especially not at a comic book convention, where most people are there to indulge their own geeky interests. People are more open about interests they might once have found embarrassing. Grown men go to My Little Pony conventions. Quidditch is an accepted club sport on university campuses. This is a golden age of geekdom.

        So this dialog betrays a lack of understanding of a later generation’s value system. Which is a common problem with Baby Boomers: they have no concept of any life experience other than his own. And they’re not interested in learning, because theirs is obviously superior.

  2. William Thompson

    I think Batiuk feels superior to the younger set of comic-book nerds. He personally discovered the Silver Age, by gum! He was there when it mattered, protesting to everyone in his dorm about TV’s desecration of Batman! He stood tall when his mommy told him to grow up and read real books! All they’ve done is follow in his footsteps, stood in his shadow and wet on his ankle, the pikers!

  3. J.J. O'Malley

    Oh, for the love of…Dude, will you please just go up to the stage, crawl under the table, and do what you’re obviously dying to do! Phil Holt’s already made it easier for you by forgetting (?) to zip up his trousers!

    Can’t wait for the Sunday page, where Phil and Flash FINALLY describe why they fell out, what drove Phil to fake his own death, and whatever happened to Ruby? This should be…Oh, who am I kidding? There’s a better chance it’ll be the cover to The Subterranean #1 from Atomik’s latest talent acquisitions.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      I know. They’re just comic books. I’m going to say it: I’d rather have a Les strip.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        It’s a valid feeling. Les is a character the audience can actually hate. These comic book bozos, we just them to go away.

  4. Epicus Doomus

    If Flash and Phil’s old-timey comic book work was so influential, why did they both wallow in total obscurity for seventy-whatever years? And given how that comic book nerd doesn’t appear to be elderly, when exactly did Flash and Phil work together? Was it the 1950s, 1970s, 1990s or what? Only in the Funkyverse is everyone’s childhood shaped and formed by the pop-culture detritus of bygone decades. It’s all so confusing and that’s not even taking the fact that Phil is dead into account.

    • Charles

      And the sentiments Slobbo is discussing might be more impactful if he was actually an old guy who was a kid when all of Phil and Flash’s stuff was going down.

      I consider Jfff’s deification of Cliff Anger for his Starbuck Jones serials to be dopey as hell, but at least I can see how it might have improved his life when he was a child. Some 20-something’s ignoring a whole lot of media that’s been produced in the meantime in order to laud these two ancient pantloads. Why were those not his “North Star”? Why did he have to go back to something that was produced nearly 50 years before he was born? It can’t even address his specific life circumstances. It was written before the Space Age, the Kennedy Assassination, the Vietnam War, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the rise of the internet, 9/11, etc. etc. etc. Those comics were written with no knowledge of any of Slobbo’s cultural touchstones.

      • Charles

        Just as an example, in an unrelated moment, I was thinking earlier tonight about Henry Fonda’s first appearance in Once Upon a Time in the West, and about how someone who’s under the age of 70 would probably not be able to appreciate the impact of that scene in the way someone would who grew up watching Henry Fonda in his All-American Man roles. A guy Slobbo’s age would be oblivious to things that would be obvious to people who were around when these comics were being written. The cultural things he takes for granted is completely different compared to someone significantly older or younger than him. And because of that, media, especially ephemeral media like comic books really wouldn’t speak to him in a deep fashion. And if it did, it probably was either extraordinarily simple, or hit him in a way that Flash and Phil couldn’t possibly have intended.

  5. St. Marlo Thomas Aquinas

    Geeeeezus. You can cut the puke-inducing sentimental shlock with pavement saw.

  6. billytheskink

    I wish this guy was speaking from a place of Arrested Development. This strip would be a lot funnier.

  7. I do like how Flash stores his tears in his ear. That must be convenient for him.

  8. Sourbelly

    I could easily see one of our commenters drawing this as a PARODY of the strip. And most of us would complain that the parody was too far-fetched. Like, “Batshit is mawkish and awful, but this goes too far!” But here we are.

    • I think the only way to do a parody Funky Winkerbean strip would be to have likeable characters pursuing their goals, comprehensible plots that didn’t simply circle themselves like a dog spinning down for bed, and actual funny jokes.

  9. Hitorque


    Were they political, satirical, full of biting social commentary, or were they just damned funny?? Did they spark the Civil Rights movement or dismantle the Berlin Wall?? Did they inspire mankind to go to space?? You know what? Don’t explain or give us any more details because this comics worship zealotry is making me throw up in my mouth a little….

    Oh, and clearly nobody gives a good goddamn about Ruby, since she only wrote comics for 9-year-old girls and I guess those comics didn’t matter or have any sort of message because none of these slavish geek losers are even talking to her…

    Help me out here — Tom Batiuk has been a comics fanboy and he’s been unashamedly celebrating comics geekdom for most of his life. Don’t you think he’d want to portray the comics industry and especially comics fans in a much more positive and non-stereotypical manner? I mean hell, these are HIS people and he should know them as well as anyone, I’d think?

  10. Hitorque

    Oh, and who in the fucking fuck is **WE**?? Who is this assclown presuming to speak for?

    It’s funny because this dude is I guess a millennial so he would have been born long after Flash/Phil retired… Even if the characters Flash/Phil created were still household names when Mr. Fanboy was a kid watching them on Cartoon Network, SOMEBODY ELSE WAS WRITING THE CHARACTER STORIES AND DOING THE ARTWORK! Maybe this geek should seek out those people at the convention instead?!

  11. Hitorque

    So… What started as a revenge plot by an angry bitter dude who faked his death because reasons ends with two old men crying on a stage while giving each other mutual handjobs and a crowd of 200 has a circle jerk over the wonderment of cheesy silver age comics… Utterly craptacular.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      It’s just Batty indulging his childhood dreams and so the result is a boring hodgepodge of crap. Heck, I’ve gotten more wisdom out of a Hi and Lois strip.

      I gotta think that even diehard comic book fans are offended by this crap.

      • erdmann

        I can only speak for myself, but yes I am offended. I’ve said it before: TB is doing no one any favors with his comic book fixation. It demeans the very books, creators, industry and hobby he supposedly venerates. It’s embarrassing. He needs to stop.

  12. Gerard Plourde

    I’ll admit that I hadn’t thought of this aspect of the Batom Comics saga before, but this arc undermines TomBa’s morality tale of the innovative small publisher being crushed by the giant companies. Presumably, since Starbuck Jones and Mr. Sponge were successful titles, the artists who created and wrote them would be invited by the new owners of the characters to continue writing them (which Flash and Phil’s renown seems to imply here).

  13. Suicide Squirrel

    What color is the sky in your world, Batyuk? What an utter load of self-indulgent rubbish.

    Are there any true non-ironic fans of this strip left? I’d love to ask one of them how they could possibly like anything about this particular story arc. I think Batyuk could hand them a flaming bag of dog shit and they’d say “Thank you, Mr. Batiuk. May I have another?”.

    One of the things I like about GoComics is that each comic strip lists the number of followers on its “About” tab. I wish the Comics Kingdom had a similar feature. I’d like to see Funky Winkerbean’s number. I can imagine it dropping like a rock.

    • The Duck of Death

      For a couple years now, when commenters have come into the FW comments on Comics Kingdom to bash the snarkers/defend TomBa, I have been respectfully asking them what it is they like about the strip. Never — not once — have I ever received an answer. Not even something like “Funky reminds me of my father-in-law” or “I used to work in a pizzeria.” Just nothing. That’s what FW’s fans have to say in defense of the strip.

      • Every now and then someone will post here, claiming to be a fan of the strip. We are always polite and respectful, and always ask the same question: What is it that you like about the strip?

        The answer is always, and I mean always, the same: “I remember it from when it was funny.”

        • The Duck of Death

          “Why are you eating this moldy, fly-specked tuna salad sandwich we left on the counter when we went on our three-week summer vacation?”

          “I remember it from when it was fresh.”

      • be ware of eve hill

        I actually received a reply from a Batiuk defender a couple of years ago. I wish I could copy and paste it here but my Disqus reply history only goes back one year. They said something along the lines that they liked Funky Winkerbean for its ‘wholesome good old American values.’ 😂🤣😂

        I think they just pulled that reply out of their hindquarters because they thought it sounded good. I asked them, wholesome good old American values like what? Alcoholism, teen suicide, homophobia, and rape? Hello? Hello? Batiuk defender, are you still there?
        ♫ And there’s no reply at all ♫

        • The Duck of Death

          PSHAW! He was probably referring to wholesome good old American values like egotism, perpetual adolescence, and refusal to engage with any culture more recent than 1960, combined with a confused desire to be “woke” like the “kids of today.”

    • gleeb

      I’ll never leave. I want to be in at the kill.

      • William Thompson

        I want to bury it at a crossroads, to make sure it stays killed. Although it would be funny to watch Batiuk choose his successor; is there anyone he would find worthy of taking over this strip? And would be willing to do it for the paltry salary?

    • be ware of eve hill

      The Comics Kingdom does have the “What do you think?” poll. As you know, the poll in Funky Winkerbean’s discussion is always lopsided in favor of the “Angry” and “Sad” camps.

      I suggested a mercy rule in the discussion a couple of months ago. Don’t know if you saw it. If the sum of the negative votes is consistently more than twenty and twice the sum of the positive votes, the comic strip should be dropped by the syndicate. I wonder how ironclad Batiuk’s contract is, if he has one?

      I don’t really believe the poll is a good gauge to determine how many “real” fans the strip has. You have to wonder how many of those upvotes are pity votes. I can easily see a person giving the strip a positive vote simply because they believe the snarkers are “mean” to the strip’s creator.
      Ursula Upvoter: I’m giving this strip an upvote just to spite all of you nasty people leaving mean comments”.

      • The Duck of Death

        I love the name “Ursula Upvoter” for those who breeze in, call us all meanies, inform us that no one’s making us read the strip, and breeze out again, never to return.

        Perhaps “Debbie Downvoter” would serve for the weirdo who occasionally shows up here to downvote every post.

        • be ware of eve hill

          I’ll never understand why people can’t comprehend how some people really enjoy reading and writing snark. The CK FW discussion is there for both the positive and the negative. It’s not our fault the strip receives no praise. Blame the author for writing snark fodder.

          If a critic writes that a movie blows chunks, do the fans ask them why they watched it? Doesn’t the critic review movies because they enjoy the process?

          • The Duck of Death

            You might as well ask an NTSB investigator why they bother trying to reassemble crashed airplanes and retrieve black boxes. They probably feel a compulsion to understand how something simple and routine could have gone so horribly, terribly wrong.

  14. The Duck of Death

    Number of times Batiuk has told us that some trivial entertainment meant for children is meaningful, important, a North Star guiding him to all that is right and beautiful, a brilliant work of deathless art, etc: Approximately 764.

    Number of times Batiuk has shown us anything of the real or fictitious work mentioned, other than a cover: One. [We saw a bit of Flash #123.]

    Number of times Batiuk has explained how or why the aforementioned ephemera served as a Bible for him: ZERO.

  15. Hello. I keep wondering if this was supposed to be TB’s ode/commentary to the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby/Steve Ditko Marvel years. If so, I think what the audience member is saying is appropriate as it applies to those three. If, however, he meant it as some sort of self-congratulatory wish-fulfillment, then disregard all after ‘Hello.’

  16. Professor Fate

    OH dear lord this is painfully cringe worthy. He’s going to get warts on his hands if he keeps this up.
    Still, one does have to wonder just how how how desperate for praise the Author is if he goes to these absurd lengths to have folks in his strip showered with praise. (and no I don’t think we’re going to get an explanation of why Phil faked his death).
    And there is razor blade slice of irony in this tongue bath by the author of the Kirby, Lee team – as they introduced with The Fantastic Four the other books stories that featured more rounded characters some even with human flaws – a trend the Author has spoken out against time and time again preferring the weightless cardboard DC Silver age books – like where the Flash gets fat.
    And no, dear stand in for the praise the Author wants to hear directed his way, you are, protests aside, speaking from a place of arrested development as is the author in defense of the meaning of stories where Superman has to wear a hat (red kryptonite gives him a 3rd eye so he wears a hat cover it) .
    And just what did these comics inspire folks to do – as far as we can see from this strip they become passive man-children who sit on the floor re-reading comic books while their mother substitute wives bring them milk and cookies.
    I’ll stick with Fantastic Four #50 This Man This Monster – it still kicks (although the writing is a little clunky Lee was never quite the master of the language he thought he was) and you are honestly moved.
    In short – Ha – Batiuk can get knotted.

  17. batgirl

    Is there subtext happening? Northstar was the first openly gay character in American comics, and the last panel shows Holt and Freeman on the verge of giving each other a big hug.
    I nearly typed ‘Spock and McCoy’ there.

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