Those Were The Days

So why was there such animosity between these two? They’re agreeing they had fun and their time together was the best time of their lives, so why was Phil so bitter when he came back from the dead? Batiuk’s writing always seems like it’s at the rough draft idea, where he just comes up with a premise (former coworkers are reunited, conflict ensues) and just leaves it there without developing it all. Was it all because Flash took credit for Phil’s ideas? It would have been nice to have shown that, once, rather than to have Flash praising Phil before he even knew he was alive again.
Is it me or do the dimensions of that table seem off? Looking at the second panel and the last panel, I don’t see how everyone can be in both panels. Unless Darin is climbing into Ruby’s lap, which wouldn’t surprise me, and would explain why Jessica never travels with him.

Well, I’m glad I didn’t get another two weeks of Dinkle, at least.  ComicBookHarriet takes over tomorrow!

36 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

36 responses to “Those Were The Days

  1. Epicus Doomus

    What a poorly-written story, even by Batiukian standards. Flash and Phil had a whole huge feud, then Phil faked his own death, Then he kept a low profile for four years, at which point he decided to resurface at Flash’s CCCBHOF induction ceremony to set the record straight regarding his old nemesis. Then they hugged it out and began reminiscing about all the fun they had back in the day. Real coherent story there, Pulitzer (nominee) Boy.

  2. William Thompson

    Get a crypt, you two!

  3. Batiuk inserting elderly “comics creator” characters into his wish fulfillment story. Wow, never saw THIS happening. Oh, and Ruby? Can you make some coffee for the men-folk? Since you’re not doing anything, that is…

  4. billytheskink

    I guess youth would be wasted on the old, too.

  5. J.J. O'Malley

    Gotta be honest: Since there were two weeks dedicated to Flash (and Ruby’s) SDCC HOF panel and the simultaneous Resurrection of Phil Holt, I half-expected today to feature the actual induction itself, with the big announcement that the HOF committee just voted while standing around to add Phil Holt to this year’s roster alongside Flash (and Ruby). Maybe that will be shown this coming week (funny how the in-person FW SDCC lasts nearly three times as long as the real-life online only event).

    And of course Battyuk never bothered to depict his characters’ feelings and motivations or explain away the plot inconsistencies. No, putting his imprimatur on Silver Age comic book creators and placing a happy spin on the Lee/Kirby controversy was all that mattered.

    Oh, well, at least (and Ruby) got invited to dinner. Oh, and Chester managed to find Mopey, Min-dull and Durwood (how telling that Mopey sits next to Chester rather than his fiancee).

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Are we sure that’s Min-dull? It could be Jessica, especially considering she’s making bedroom eyes at Darrin in all three frames she appears in.

      What a blow that would be for Pete. To lose his girlfriend and his boyfriend at the same time.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Too coherent and too complicated for FW. To you and I it’d be a perfectly obvious way to tie the “story” together but BatYam simply doesn’t do things that way. His stories always seek the dumbest possible path and often times they’re paths no one else would even imagine taking. It’s his artistic gift, as it were.

  6. Sourbelly

    “Happy to see your reanimated corpse again, my hated arch nemesis, who I would never share the same room with!”
    “You should be, I came back from the dead to be here!” To be where? At a triumphant dinner after you and Flatch cried, kissed, and made up? No, you arose from your forever box to heckle Flatch at his induction to the Comix Hall of Fame or whatever ceremony. Out of childish, pointless spite.

    I guess the key to appreciating this story is to continuously forget what happened in the previous strip. The movie Memento comes to mind. I’ve asked this before, and I’ll ask it again: Is Tom OK?

    • Gerard Plourde

      “Is Tom OK?”

      This is the fundamental question.

    • Epicus Doomus

      It’s one of the great FW paradoxes. To understand vast swaths of the strip you need to have a near-encyclopedic knowledge of the characters and their respective histories, yet those histories are frequently ignored and unbelievably easy to forget. It all means something, unless it doesn’t.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      The saddest part is…. I think Tom is OK. I think he’s just been left to his own devices so long that he thinks this how you write a story. You start with one of the two possible endings: sappy and maudlin, or wry and smirky. Then you write backwards to the beginning. You don’t concern yourself with things like character, motivation, plot, continuity, or making any goddam sense. Or anything other than giving people publishing contracts, giving them awards, and talking in circles about your fictional comic universe full of thinly-veiled ripoffs.

      Funky Winkerbean needs adult supervision.

      • Charles

        I think he’s gotten to a point where he just doesn’t say no to his bad ideas anymore.

        My feeling with this story is that he wanted to reunite Flash and Phil to write for Atomik Komix, and the fact that he killed Phil earlier was no longer an impediment to him doing what he wants. Before he may have decided that that’s a story he couldn’t write, but now, anything goes. He’ll fix it in post.

  7. Banana Jr. 6000

    I love Ruby in this strip. I love her bitter little smile in the first panel. “Well, this is nice. I’m so glad Pete took the time to involve me in this. I wonder if anyone will even remember I was there. Oh well, keep smiling…”

    Then in the final panel she’s still trying to be happy, but she’s completely blocked from view. Like the “Monsters, Inc” commercial Mike Wazowski was all excited to be in, but got covered up by the logo.

  8. Gerard Plourde

    What does TomBa want us to believe by the “I came back from the dead to be here” comment. Is Phil still really dead? So much for the “quarter inch from reality” claim.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Maybe he means that he was dead inside for years. And only felt something like live stirring in his withered soul when the chance to troll his old nemesis at Comic-Con presented itself.

    • spacemanspiff85

      I hope it means that tomorrow will be a single panel of Zombie Phil biting Flash, finally succumbing to his hunger for the gigantic brain that must be inside that abnormal head.

      • William Thompson

        I hope you’re right. I’ve always wondered if a ghoul could die of food poisoning.

    • Hitorque

      I guess “dead” meant “reclusive self-imposed exile” although that doesn’t explain the Force Spirit and artwork auction…

  9. Banana Jr. 6000

    “All that matters is what we created. I don’t even remember which one of us created what anymore.” Well, that’s nice. Then would you stop talking about it, please? This whole month has been nothing but who created this and who owns that.

    This comic strip spends more time chewing over more publishing details than Publishers Weekly magazine, then has the nerve to act all artistically pure.

  10. Mr. A

    “I don’t remember which one of us actually created what anymore!” OK, so Phil was mad about Flash taking all the credit for their shared work? Even though he said on Thursday that he didn’t really care about that, and the ownership was what really mattered? Sheesh. I wish Batiuk would make up his mind.

  11. Suicide Squirrel

    Ya’ suurrr! I’d like to see anyone keep track of all the twists and turns spun in this tale of woe. You’d need to create one of those link charts a detective uses to solve the big case. You know, the charts with the photographs, sticky notes, push pins, and different colored yarn.

    Flash and Phil couldn’t stand being in the same universe, yet here they are almost sitting in each other’s laps frenching one another.

    Phil Holt was dead, but then he wasn’t, and now he claims he was. I guess when we saw Phil with the Dead St. Lisa, he was just astrally projecting himself from the Tibetan mountain retreat where he was hiding after he allegedly died. Or is he dead now? This just in, Phil Holt is still dead.

    Phil was upset that he couldn’t have control of ‘The Subterranean’ and took his property with him which he couldn’t do because it belonged to Batom Comics. Yet at the SDCC he says he wanted Batom Comics to keep creative control (I think). Now Flash and Phil don’t care who did what. Everything is just peachy with a side of keen.

    Doot De doot. Round and round the story goes. Where it stops, nobody knows.

    Is anybody following this?

    Batyuk, please spare us. Retire.

  12. Hitorque

    This is a new low… Not only was Phil retconned back to life with zero explanation or even the courtesy to tell us what he’s been doing the last few years to go from poverty to financial stability; not only was the highly valuable artwork he bequeathed Darrin completely unaddressed; not only was that epic 60-year “dispute” over credit or legal ownership or whatever muddled, half-assed and sloppily resolved without anybody doing anything; not only was Ruby and her dumbassed musty itchy scarf in 96 degrees not even a sidebar in her own storyline; not only was that “Hall of Fame” induction bullshit and Phil’s potential inclusion completely sidestepped; but I know beyond all doubt that Phil’s “Came back from the dead” line was put in there just to fuck with us….

    Look, I get it — Have the long lost silver age fossil come back from the dead just like one of his silver age characters in a completely non-ironic manner… But were classic silver age storylines THIS haphazard and poorly written? If some kid read this in 1961 would he be inspired for life by the story and message, or would he have thrown it in the trash?

    One thing I hate is getting the feeling I’m putting infinitely more effort into hatereading this strip than TomBa is into writing it, and I’m not even getting paid!

    • gleeb

      “[W]ere classic silver age storylines THIS haphazard and poorly written?”
      Yes, they were.

  13. Charles

    It’s remarkable how terrible Batiuk makes his characters without even trying to do so.

    “To be honest… I don’t remember *which* one of us actually created *what* anymore!”

    No, you asshole. You don’t get to say that. Not after you destroyed a friendship, after you destroyed your career, after you hurt the livelihoods of however many people worked for your stupid comic shop, after you held a grudge against a friend of yours for 60 years. Not after you decided to go to his Hall of Fame induction and disrupt it by being an asshole. You don’t get to say you don’t actually remember what happened. What a weak, craven pathetic statement that is after all the useless buildup Batiuk did for this moment.

    You can say you were wrong, Phil. You could say that the entire dispute was foolish, that you’ve now realized how unimportant it was, but you can’t evade what you’ve done by claiming that you don’t actually remember. Show Flash and everyone assembled here some god damn respect, for Christ’s sake.
    Have some self-respect as well.

    And while we’re at it, show your readers some god damn respect, Batiuk.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Essentially Phil is saying that he FAKED HIS OWN DEATH and scammed his way into Comic Con but isn’t sure why. If Batiuk wrote for “Batman” the last page would feature Batman and the Joker exchanging wry banter and the Joker saying “you know, I don’t even remember what set me off!”.

  14. Perfect Tommy

    I think Phil is trapped in Schrodingers box. Is he alive? Is he dead? I dunno. Let’s open it up and find out.

  15. Professor Fate

    So all sorts of plot threads are abandoned – like what was the reason for their falling out, why did Phil fake his death, what was Phil’s idea coming to the con and we are left with the standard smirks around firehose of treacle everybody’s happy now ended without any explanation why.
    Not quite a new low but pretty close. At least we can presume that we are going to be free of these folks company for a while.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      The story also lost track of that whole “being elected to the Hall of Fame” thing. And forgot Ruby Lith entirely. With her face covered up in the last panel while she’s trying to participate it’s almost like Batiuk is going out of his way to insult that character.

    • Not only why did Phil fake his own death, but HOW? Unless you’re lost at sea or in the wilderness, there’s got to be a body. Everything we saw prior to this inane arc indicates that Phil Holt was fairly definitively dead (including depiction of the actual ghost hob-knobbing with another well known FW ghost). You don’t just get a redo on death, although Lisa did rematerialize (or at least her voice did) long enough to phone in a bomb threat to keep Les from flying on a faulty airplane. This is one of the things that really bothers me about this strip. One day it’s a story in the real world about people in a small town in Ohio and the next day it does something that totally breaks all scientific and metaphysical laws, and not at all for any good reason other than to bring in some lame jokes,

  16. Okay Chester, the coach class tickets already outed you as a cheap bastard, but don’t you think that you should let the old guys have a private booth for their date?

  17. beware of eve hill

    Today’s Funky Winkerbean strip was so sucktacular it crashed the Comics Kingdom servers. I can’t view any comics over there. I keep receiving a ‘Page not found’ error for every comic. Way to go Batty.

    • Baby Shart da-dat-da-daa-daaaaah

      Even network servers know talentless, incoherent crsp when they see it.

    • Hannibal's Lectern

      Been out since sometime this morning, still out a good six hours later. Maybe Batty took all the servers out to Nobottom Road.

    • Perfect Tommy

      Same here. And I didn’t even get to see Zits and Mutts.

  18. Hannibal's Lectern

    I am struck by the juxtaposition of “The Amazing Mr. Sponge with Absorbing Junior” in the splash panel, and Flash’s solemn “All that matters is what we created.” This is at least an order of magnitude beyond irony.

    I wonder if Ruby is slowly disappearing behind Moppy Pete’s hairdo in the last panel because she realizes what Karl Marx would have said about Silver Age Batom Komix.