Hail to the King, Baby.

Link to Today’s Strip.

Let me see if I’ve got this straight, Phil. You faked your own death so you could work without being bothered, and in the literal years since you’ve managed to draw and layout a single issue? Seriously? GRRM works faster than you! I swear to Galactus, if there isn’t Berserk levels of detail to every single panel of this book…

Jack Kirby would be ashamed! You know, the guy you’re supposed to be based on? Jack Kirby was a legend for his output and work ethic. He could complete multiple pages a DAY. The man was a machine. If Jack Kirby faked his death to work on a project for four years, the final output would rival Henry Darger.

But how close are you really to Jack Kirby? I took the time this week to watch a few documentaries, read a few articles and interviews. Let’s see how close Phil Holt stacks up to The King. The glorious co-creator of Captain America, The Fantastic Four, The Hulk, Mr. Miracle, The New Gods and so many more.

First of all, the physical resemblance is as close an approximation as the art style allows, especially in the earliest appearances. The poofy, swept back hair, the cigar, the squarish head and round face, all look like a caricature of Kirby. Even more, they look close to how Kirby depicted himself in comic form. The strip even goes out of it’s way to show that Phil is shorter, just like Kirby who was 5’6″.

The only difference is the glasses, and even then, the glasses seem to serve the function of giving him the boxed off square brow and deep set eyes he had naturally.

But does Phil resemble Jack in personality?

Not really. Phil is prickly, he snips and snaps at everyone. He might have depths of generosity, and hidden warmth, but twice he is described as someone whose resting state was antagonistic.

The Jack Kirby described by others, and I saw in interviews was not this person. Yeah, he was a pugnacious guy, who could hold a wicked grudge against people who he thought slighted him. He even lashed out at people he was frustrated with by creating comic villains to RESEMBLE those people.

Funky Flashman (Stan Lee) and Houseroy (Roy Thomas) from Mister Miracle #6, 1972

But to anyone else, he was warm and welcoming. He had a wide circle of friends. People liked working with him. The documentary I watched talked about how random people would show up at his house and he would let them in, show them his studio, and his wife would feed them sandwiches.

Did you know he had a wife? And kids too! People he was financially supporting. Relationships that drove him to look for work and and fight for contracts that paid him his fair share of the profits he was creating, and get rights to royalties that would allow him to continue to provide for his family in the future.

And Jack Kirby never disavowed comics. Sure, in the 80’s he moved on to animation for Hanna-Barbara, but he created comics intermittently through the 80’s and early 90’s. He continued attending conventions and meeting with fans right up until the year he died. He was proud of his work, and went through a legal slugfest with Marvel trying to get his artwork back.

I might think it was petty to draw a sniveling caricature of poor Roy Thomas, and print it in the pages of DC; but I’ll give Jack Kirby this, he didn’t stomp out of an entire industry in a huff and never work again. Jack Kirby worked hard his entire life. He fought hard for his credit, and switched comics companies multiple times, because he wanted that hard work to be recognized. Not just for himself, but for his wife and kids.

Is Phil Holt meant to be Jack Kirby? Probably. But he’s a Jack Kirby that existed in a world where he had nothing to fight for but his own ego.

This was my favorite of the documentaries I watched. It’s probably more hagiography than strict history, but peeling back the veneer of eulogy you can still see that the truth of the man beneath. If you’ve got the time, and the inclination, I’d recommend.

DID YOU KNOW? Despite being drawn 24 times, Mindy has only been allowed to speak twice this entire month?

60 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

60 responses to “Hail to the King, Baby.

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Yes, Boy Lisa, he’s working on THE SUBTERRANEAN, just like he said yesterday. It’s hilarious how this dumb thing we first heard about last week is supposed to hold some sort of vast significance and meaning to the reader. As always, BatScam won’t explain it or bother to flesh it out at all, it will merely exist and that’s it, just like with Starbuck Jones.

    I guess this pretty much confirms what we’ve all suspected all along. BatBrain gives his artist a rough outline (“everyone goes to Phil’s house”), the artist draws it, then Batty fills in the word balloons with whatever comes to mind. It’s all just premises, there’s no “writing” involved at all. What’s so incredible about THE SUBTERRANEAN! What makes THE SUBTERRANEAN so special and mind-blowing? Why should we care about THE SUBTERRANEAN? Who knows? Who cares? I mean he obviously doesn’t.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Yeah, the story really doesn’t sell the relevance of this at all. It’s won the Tom Batiuk Plot Point Lottery. In which ten minor plot points are introduced, and the story randomly decides which one it’s going to care about.

  2. William Thompson

    Phil Holt role-played death as best he could, which is why he did so little in the past four years.

    Meanwhile, the crowd in that first panel looks as worshipful as the people surrounding the manger in a Nativity scene, so let’s call it “The Adoration of the Maggot.”

  3. J.J. O'Malley

    “I’ve almost got the first issue laid out.” Let’s see: the average Silver Age comic book was about 32 pages, including ads and letter pages, so a full-length story was 24-25 pages. 25 pages over the four years Phil Holt! was a ghost works out to 6.25 pages a year or one drawn (and inked?) page every 58.4 days. Good thing he was creating in a distraction-free environment, or his output might have suffered.

    Also, Phil Holt! has this first issue “laid out,” which means he must also have a story idea kicking around in his febrile imagination. Did he plan to take any of this to a comic book company and ask for a writer to collaborate with him on the project? One can only hope so, if he was in danger of using phrases like “write it to life.”

    Fianlly, anyone out there who wants to see a truly moving and fitting tribute to Jack Kirby should check out the “Superman: The Animated Series” episode “Apokolips…Now!,” featuring the character “Terrible” Dan Turpin, who was redesigned to resemble Jack, and Kirby creations Darkseid and the New Gods. There’s more emotion in this half-hour cartoon than a year’s worth of Battyuk’s drivel.

    • Epicus Doomus

      I’m no comic book expert or anything but I kind of assumed that you write the story first, THEN have the artist illustrate it. So it would have made more sense if Phil was the writer and Flash was the artist. But BatYam couldn’t do it that way because he already established Phil as the artist. So, according to the story here, Phil spent four years illustrating a story he created (read: “wrote”) and now needs Flash to somehow make sense out of it.

      • the manwich horror

        In the Lee/Kirby/Ditko days, the “Marvel method” actually was for the artist to present the writer with finished art to which the writer would add captions and dialogue.Which means he has basically plotted this thing, but over the course of four years wasn’t able to generate one comic book’s worth of Stan Lee tier dialogue.

        • Epicus Doomus

          Interesting. Also interesting how I learned more from one SoSF comment than I did from weeks and weeks worth of FW strips about comic books.

    • billytheskink

      Another lovely tribute to Jack Kirby was the 1986 Donatello-focused Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle comic titled “Kirby And The Warp Crystal”. That comic was nicely adapted in a season 1 episode of the 2003 TMNT animated series called “The King”.

  4. Mr. A

    “But I need somebody to write it to life. [turns] You’re Pete, right? Darin tells me you’re pretty good.”

  5. The entire story has been set up because Tom Batiuk set up his fantasy comic book publishing firm, and by God, since he can do whatever he wants and no one can stop him, he was going to have Stan Lee and Jack Kirby working for him. That’s all this is. So he can have Lee and Kirby churning out issues of The Inedible Bulk.

    I think both men would be offended, honestly. Lee usually had some good grace and would probably laugh it off, but I think Kirby would not let it go so easily.

    Way to go, Batiuk. I wonder if your house is soon going to be filled with inexplicable poltergeist activity.

  6. billytheskink

    Phil takes 4 years to lay out a single comic book issue… but its this Thompson guy who Flash nicknamed “Turtle”.

    Frankly, Phil’s paltry output makes me think he will fit in really well with the endlessly shirking smirkers in the Atomic Komix bullpen.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Remember when they brought their laptops to the airport because Chester said they still had work to do? Now they’re all on a non-work-related “road trip” in a random California house. And by the way, why is Atomik Komix ferrying Freeman around when he doesn’t even work for them? Couldn’t he buy his own plane ticket?

      • Hitorque

        Not that TomBa gives a shit about details, but I really like to believe Phil’s house is right across the border in Mexico… Not only does it make logical sense, it explains a lot of questions about how Phil was able to drop off the radar so easily

  7. Hitorque

    1. For fuck’s sake can we just fast-forward to Atomikkk Komixxx publishing this bullshit already?? At this rate it’s going to be Labor Day when we finally get our Sunday sideways cover and move on to something else… And we already know the next storyline is going to start off with Les Moore jogging in a park…

    2. So… Exactly *one* half-finished comic in 4+ years of isolation and seclusion? Exactly what in the hell has he been doing all this time? That’s like Stephen King writing a single paragraph during that stretch!!

    3. Wow, you know what would be nice? If there was some sort of high-key exhibition event for the public celebrating comics, manga, sci-fi, movies, TV, video games, you name it. You could invite all the biggest names in the industry, Hollywood A-list celebrities, etc… I’m just thinking out loud because if such a venue existed it would be the ideal place for a famously reclusive comics artist who was presumed dead to capitalize on his new creative content…

    3a. It’s funny because Flash+Phil should be back at the convention center shopping this shit to the highest bidders and negotiating possible movie rights, merchandising, etc. which would be about a hundred times more than what Chester Hagglemore (who has big bucks but will only ever be a small-time minor leaguer in this game) would ever be willing to pay them… But we know they’ll go sign a sweetheart deal with Atomikkk Komixxx because artistic purity and grassroots old school retro or some such bullshit.

    4. Unanswered questions about Phil’s death, life, what he did for income, potential legal consequences, people angry because they mourned him and moved on, forget it…

    5. Unanswered questions about ComiCon, the Hall of Fame induction, who’s manning the Atomikkk Komixxx exhibition booth right now, where the hell is “Mickey”, forget it…

    6. Unanswered questions about the Flash/Phil rift, and how 60 years of animosity vanished in ten freaking minutes, or what Phil’s grand scheme was if Flash didn’t come to Sandy Eggo this year, forget it…

    7. Remember Ruby? This story’s about Ruby… And Alice… And the restaurant…

    8. Wherever Darrin’s wife is, I honestly hope she’s meeting with a divorce attorney right now. Besides Kayla, is there a more pitiable prop wife in the Funkyverse?

    • 7. You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant… EXCEPT A SATISFYING RESOLUTION TO THIS STORY ARC

      • Anonymoous Sparrow

        Oh, I’m sure there’s a fascinating study of Tom Batiuk’s fingerprints in Washington somewhere…underneath half a ton of garbage, of course.

  8. Jimmy

    I know it wasn’t Batiuk’s intention, but Flash Freeman is the one who comes across as an a-hole throughout this “story”.

  9. The latest from the TB blog, lamenting lack of book sales. An extract:

    “The book unfortunately disappeared like a hammer in a lake. […] The other reason was that…Funky had already started to evolve and grow beyond being described in a one or two word sales pitch. […] I was well into the process of making my work difficult to market.”

    That last sentence says it all. Truer words were never spoke.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Lucky for him he has tenure on the comics page and so he had the luxury of making his work unmarketable. He probably considers it a badge of honor, a sign that he was appealing to a higher form of art. I’ll just note that Calvin and Hobbes was very artistic and very marketable.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Yeah, it’s never his fault, is it? Maybe his book sales went into the toilet because he turned a serviceable comic strip into a bunch of maudlin cancer porn, ham-handed very special episodes, Mary Sue wish fulfillment, and self-indulgent comic book stories.

      And he tries to turn this into a virtue, like he’s too sophisticated for us mere mortals to understand. He sounds like Spinal Tap’s manager: “their fan base isn’t shrinking, their appeal is becoming more select.” Funky Winkerbean isn’t marketable for the same reason shit-flavored candy isn”t marketable.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Also, Funky Winkerbean *is* marketable in one word: “cancer.” It’s amazing that Batiuk doesn’t know, or chooses to ignore, his work’s reputation. Even Crankshaft can be explained in one word: “asshole.”

    • billytheskink

      It is just one sad excuse after another in that post… it’s a very TB post. Funky Winkerbean by Tom Batiuk with a foreword by Erma Bombeck You Know You Got Trouble When Your School Mascot Is A Scapegoat stayed on the shelves in droves because:

      – The book’s use of the new so-called “Garfield format” confused customers, who were disappointed to open the book and not see Garfield I guess!
      (This is all kinds of BS, lots of non-Garfield comic strips had success selling books in the Garfield format… and with good reason, it is a vastly superior format for reading comic strips than the old vertical paperbacks! It allows strips both square single panel and horizontal 3-4 panel to be read in the book just as they are in the paper, no separating or dicing up panels as was done in the old vertical books. It was revolutionary at the time, and while the classic Garfield format has largely given way to a larger and more square format for comic strip collections, no one would dare now to print the strips in a book format that would require breaking up the original strip’s panels. Jim Davis is often fairly criticized for his naked commercialization of Garfield, but he championed the Garfield format book for artistic reasons, and it benefitted pretty much every comic strip that was printing collections… except Funky Winkerbean. Go figure.)

      – The publisher and the syndicate didn’t try to sell it!
      (I don’t know why they print and ship something they weren’t trying to sell, but I wasn’t there…)

      – The title was too long!
      (I’ll give him this one.)

      – His work was too complex and difficult to market to mouth-breathing comic strip-reading plebes!
      (If your work is complex to a point that it has limited appeal, that’s fine, but don’t turn around and complain when folks don’t buy your “difficult to market” book.)

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Hey, you know who else prints books and doesn’t market them? Atomik Komix. Tom Batiuk refuses to even depict any non-creative people on staff in his ideal publishing world. Surely he’s not suggesting that anyone other than writers and artists have anything to do with a book’s success?

      • Professor Fate

        Lord god the Book he’s moaning about came out in 1984 – sweet mercy Batiuk just let something the hell go. I’m of Irish background and they are known for holding grudges but dear lord this is embarrassing. At laest there was a reason my Grandmother referred to Cromwell as G-damn Cromwell. Here Tom your book sucked and nobody wanted it, that’s on you. And your collected strips are being printed for the world – good god let it go.
        Oh yes the number one selling comic strip book on Amazon – is one by Edward Gorey #2 is a Calvin and Hobbes collection. It must eat Batiuk alive that his strip is far far less popular than a strip that stopped running in 1995.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Wow, Funky Winkerbean was having sales problems that far back? The strip hadn’t begun its decline in quality. And the competition was about to get a lot tougher. Calvin and Hobbes didn’t exist until late 1985. Bloom County and The Far Side weren’t as huge as they would become in the late 1980s.

    • Maxine of Arc

      I feel sorry for the guy. What’s happened is that nobody cares about his strip anymore now that he’s aged up the characters, “retired” Dinkle, and focused on a stable of inconsistent, poorly written characters engaged in various levels of hero worship of Silver Age comics. He’s lost the high school teachers and band directors that were the only ever non-ironic readers of his life’s work. And that has to be so, so hard to realize. And, for TomBa, impossible to accept.

      So no, it can’t be that nobody likes his comic strip anymore. It has to be that his comic strip is simply too profound to be marketable. I’m once again forced to draw a parallel to Calvin & Hobbes, a truly profound piece of work that EVERYBODY LOVED. And Bill Watterson, who knew when it was time to stop. And as a result, everybody still loves it.

      • Professor Fate

        I don’t know if you know this but Berkeley Breathed’s Bloom County has been running a cross over arc where Hobbes with the help of Opus and the gang is looking for Calvin after 25 years. It’s on face book and Instagram (and he and Watterson are friends so that’s why this is getting done ) Do check it out. Real emotion and humor – who knew it could be done

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        A part of me feels sorry for Batiuk, because he just doesn’t get it. But he doesn’t want to get it. He can’t accept that his work is simply not in the AAA class of Watterson, Larson, Breathed, and Schulz. And that’s fine! Not every actor can be Tom Hanks, but they can still do good work. During Act I, Funky Winkerbean was a welcome part of my daily comics read. It had a niche. It had a breakout character in Dinkle. It made a cultural impact. It could be funny.

        But Act II was a vain attempt by Batiuk to reinvent himself as Mr. Serious Issues In The Comics Page. Even though For Better Or For Worse already existed. It was the first of many fishing attempts by Batiuk to make his strip seem more relevant than it was. If people loved schoolteacher Dinkle, they’ll love 75-year-old Dinkle! A cancer story got media attention in the comic strip, so let’s do rape! And suicide! And terrorism! And alcoholism! And PTSD! And CTE! And senility! And deafness! Oh, wait, forget that last one, 75-year-old Dinkle is too important to the strip! He just throws everything at the wall, and nothing ever sticks. Because he has no clue why it worked in the first place. And he also threw away everything people did like about the strip.

        And now Batiuk just doesn’t give a shit anymore, but he hasn’t dialed back his expectations or his ego any. He’s doing whatever he wants…. and his massive deficiencies as a writer are even more evident.

        It’s all just sad. I remember when this strip used to be good, and I think a lot of us do too. Putting an end to it would be an act of mercy at this point.

        • It’s because of Batiuk’s focus. If you’re telling stories to an audience, you have to make sure your stories and characters are appealing. If you can do that, you will have an audience of readers.

          On the other hand, if you’re chasing awards, you have to tailor your content to the award committee’s focus–and “entertainment about the committee’s focus” is not usually part of its charter. Hence, you do a lot of guessing and flailing hoping to attract that committee’s attention, but you’re never aware if what you’re selling is what they feel like buying.

          • Gerard Plourde

            I think you’re right that TomBa decided that “being relevant” (whatever that means) would bring him fame and immortality. The reality-based arcs of Act 2 were really no worse than what was being served up at the time in the long-in-the-tooth Mary Worth and RMMD. Sadly, He mistook the Pulitzer pro forma nomination to mean more than it did. The ensuing hunt for fool’s gold cost him focus on story and consequently an audience.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            Yes, Batiuk is doing the comic strip equivalent of Oscar Bait. But he’s no better at that than he is at writing stories that would win them legitimately. This was actually a better attempt:

  10. Gerard Plourde

    First of all, thanks to CBH for yet another masterful deep dive into a topic. I can always be assured of learning something new and interesting when SOSF’s daily post appears.

    Something she unearthed in today’s installment raises an interesting question about the inception of FW and about TomBa’s Batom universe. The first issue of Mr. Miracle debuted in 1972, the same year as FW. The Stan Lee-inspired villain is named “Funky Flashman”. Was Funky’s first name actually inspired in some way by Jack Kirby? And is it a coincidence that the Stan Lee-inspired partner in the Batom bullpen is Flash Freeman?

    • It’s practically a given that “Flash Freeman” comes from “Funky Flashman.” As for the use of “funky,” well, that word was everywhere in 1972 so it’s probably just a coincidence that it was used in the strip’s title.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Good eye! I noticed that too. If I had to guess, I’d say that the Funky Winkerbean to Funky Flashman connection is a coincidence. According to Batiuk he had his own students name his strip’s eponymous character. Funky was a word circulating in the zeitgeist at the time.

      But I’m guessing Flash Freeman was an intentional nod for ‘those in the know’ about Funky Flashman.

      Funky Flashman has continued to appear in comics for DC off and on. Nowadays he’s more likely to be an over enthusiastic, hype-man.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      I thought the same. But as I recall his students came up with the name Funky Winkerbean. Tom admits it was a bad choice. I guess at the time he didn’t feel like the strip would outlast the popularity of the word “funky”.

      It was a popular word. My aunt’s dog was named Funky.

  11. hitorque

    I think Tom Batiuk should hire Miss Harriet as some kind of resident comics historian/consultant…

    I’m 100% serious here.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      His ego would never allow that to happen.

      It does show that Batty can’t be bothered to do the least bit of research. I’m not sure how much time CBH spent but I never knew anything about Jack Kirby and yet in less than 10 minutes I found the Wikipedia article I posted the other day.

      Batty doesn’t want reality spoiling his wet dreams of how things should be.

  12. Professor Fate

    First let me add my thanks to CBH for her wonderful essays this week including this one. And yes there was reason that Jack Kirby was called King.
    There was always an amazing energy in his work – sometimes it seemed the the figures were going to burst from the page and no one was as good at creating cosmic landscapes and Alien machines like Galactus’s world devouring machine – I still remember in the sense of ‘oh dear god how to you fight THIS’ that storyline gave me . And yes he was amazingly prolific Marvel without Kirby doing almost all of the drawing in the early days is unthinkable (hat tip to Ditko for the Amazing Spider Man as his style fit the character perfectly.)
    Second oh dear god this strip – towards the end of the first run of For Better or Worse snarkers would use the term Glurge to describe the nonsense issuing daily from that strip. I would suggest this strip is as a good example of Glurge as well; Batuik’s mawkish sentimental nonsense has all the subtlety of being stuck repeatedly in the face by a treacle soaked brick. The bonding of two folks long estranged over the magic of comics while intended to be heartwarming is instead nausea ensues. And as others have noted Holt’s really really slow.
    And okay here’s what bugs one about “The Subterranean” (which I keep mixing up in my head with the Sub-Mariner); everybody talks about it hushed tones like it was a lost James Joyce novel but we as the reader have no idea why it is spoken with such hushed tones. And this was a character created some 60 or so years ago yes? The world and comics have moved on thank you. How could it still be the ground breaking property it may once have been? Of course the author isn’t going to tell us he’s just going to tell us about it and then complain about sales in his blog. .
    Arggg. Its’ enough to make you start doing this yourself. no matter how awful your creation was it couldn’t be this slipshod and uncaring.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      “Batuik’s mawkish sentimental nonsense has all the subtlety of being stuck repeatedly in the face by a treacle soaked brick.”

      Okay, I’m stealing that and I’m probably going to forget to credit you….actually how would I even credit you?

      So I heard this awesome turn of phrase from Professor Fate…Oh? He’s a regular poster in the comments section of a niche blog.

      The blog? Well it sort of dissects and comments on a single weekly comic strip. It’s been going for years, and has a rotating panel of writers and somewhere between 20 and 40 dedicated commenters.

      The comic strip? Uh, Funky Winkerbean.

      You’ve never heard of Funky Winkerbean? What’s does it do specifically to generate so much sustained interest from a dedicated group? Well, uh, listen, been nice talking to you, I’m going to go flying into the sun now.

      • Credit would be “I read this on the internet.” It’s kind of the only possible way to give credit.

        • ComicBookHarriet

          LOL. “I read this on the internet.” is also the way I win all scientific and political debates.

          Such a useful phrase.

      • Professor Fate

        I’m blushing. And oh yes, steal away. I probably stole/modified that line from someone that I don’t remember – I’m usually not that good at putting words in a row.
        As to why i comment – well – I love comic strips Peanuts, Krazy Kat, Doonesbury, Bloom County, the Far Side, Pogo, Calin and Hobbes et al…some exist in a timeless realm some have amazing art (the old Prince Valiant strips are a good example of that) and compared to this august company Batiuk is such a puffed up self impressed popinjay (and the vast difference between the strip he talks about in his blog and to press and the train wreck we read daily is a major part of this) that one HAS to say something and this little niche is a good spot to do so. And I am able to read the wonderful snark of others as well. Win, win as the saying goes.
        Anyway as I said, steal away.

        • Rusty Shackleford

          I’ve said it before. The only reason I read FW is this blog.

        • ComicBookHarriet

          All of us have our own wonderful reasons to be here. Personally, I’m here to feast on the humor of others.

          Batiuk is everything you said, and yet, I have such warmth in my heart for him. For nearly 50 years he’s built his baffling little world, and I’ve gotten so much joy from getting together with others to pick it apart.

          You can disagree, and he’s probably earned that disdain if you want to give it to him. But If I ever met him, I’d shake his hand and thank him for creating something I’ve enjoyed so much, even if it’s not in the way he intended.

          • Gerard Plourde

            “But If I ever met him, I’d shake his hand and thank him for creating something I’ve enjoyed so much, even if it’s not in the way he intended.”

            I agree, CBH and could imagine myself doing the same. Full confession – I actually liked FW during Acts 1 and 2. Act 1 was humorous and Lisa’s law career in Act 2 coincided with my own entry into the profession. Things started to turn sour with the return of Lisa’s cancer and the forced way he ensured her death (the x-ray mix-up and Lisa’s snap decision to end therapy violated the character he had created in my mind). This was followed up by his complete copout – failing to even attempt to address the aftermath of Lisa’s death. Even a mediocre attempt to show Les trying to cope with single parenthood of a preschooler would have been something I would have given him credit for.

            Instead, we were given the mess that led me to this site which has provided an outlet and a place where truly interesting people use TomBa’s work as a springboard for worthwhile and informative discussion. (For longer term readers of SOSF, I apologize for repeating parts of a previous rant I’ve engaged in here.)

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      One of Jack Kerouac’s novels is *The Subterraneans.” It appeared in 1958, although it was written five years earlier

      Truman Capote said of Kerouac’s most famous work, *On the Road,* that it wasn’t writing — it was typing.

      Capote would like the idea of “that’s not comics — that’s awards bait.”

      Before there was Funky Flashman, there was Stan Bragg, an insufferable editor in the *Angel & the Ape* strip. In one story, he says:

      “Why are you so ungrateful? When you write good stories and do good artwork, don’t I sign it?”

      Could Sam Simeon, the Ape of the series, be related to Zanzibar, the Talking Murder Chimp?

  13. All this fuss about THE SUBTERRANEAN, and it was never more than a few pitch sheets, and (1) not-even-half-finished comic book? “The Thief and the Cobbler” was less of a wet fart than this!

  14. Jimmy

    Fun fact: I have almost zero knowledge when it comes to super hero comics. The first half of today’s entry, I was thinking the old artist from Mark Trail was more prolific than I thought.

    Then it occurred to me: “OHHHHH…Jack KIRBY, not Jack Elrod.” I had no idea who Jack Kirby was until today, so thanks for an educational post, CBH.

  15. Suicide Squirrel

    Scenes I’d like to see…
    Phil Holt: “But I need somebody to write it to life”. (looks directly at Flash).
    Flash Freeman: “Phil, I’m in my goddamn nineties. I can barely see well enough to draw. I’m retired!”
    Phil Holt: “GET THE FUCK OUTTA MY HOUSE! I’LL FUCKING KILL YOU IF I EVER SEE YOU AGAIN!!!”

    Great blog post again Comic Book Harriet. It brings back some fond memories. I remember hopping on my bike and riding to a local newspaper shop once a week. I’d take my paperboy money and buy several comics (Still only 35¢!). On one trip I picked up a couple of Jack Kirby first issues, Machine Man and Devil Dinosaur. I didn’t read or hear anything about the titles. I bought them simply because Jack Kirby’s name was on them. I’m not sure if I still have them or not. There are about a half-dozen computer paper boxes containing comic books in a room off of my loft. I haven’t really looked into the boxes since my last move more than fifteen years ago. Those boxes are about half of the comic books I ever purchased. There came to be a point where comic book storage in my bedroom became an issue and good ol’ mom forced me to cull the herd. For some reason, I don’t want to talk about it anymore.😭

    • Suicide Squirrel

      Also CBH, thanks for the link to the Jack Kirby documentary. At least I’ll have something to watch tonight. I have a certain lack of enthusiasm for the Olympics this time around.

      I’m getting discouraged by TV. It seems like every program I enjoy is getting canceled. Why invest time in a TV series if it’s just going to be canceled midway through the story?

  16. Suicide Squirrel

    The Subterranean. I’m somewhat underwhelmed by this title. What is he supposed to be? A superhero who lives in the sewer? Look out bad guys, it’s Sewer-Man!!

    Is he supposed to be something like Man-Thing? A large, slow-moving, empathic, humanoid poop monster? YaY!

    • Anonymoous Sparrow

      A famous tag for the Man-Thing was “whatever knows fear…burns at the Man-Thing’s touch.” (That means I’m safe, thought Daredevil, along with the Green Lantern Corps.)

      How does “whatever respects quality shrivels at the Subterranean’s touch” sound?