Here’s the story
Of a hack named Batty
Who was busy with two comics of his own.
Both of them had stupid puns
And lots of wordplay
And bad dialog for girls.
Why the f*ck is there a soda can in the header panel? What does that have to do with anything? So BatYarn wanted to parody Zoom, but didn’t really know much about it or have any serious ideas for doing so. Naturally, he decided to plow ahead anyway and this floppery is the result. This is just bad on a visceral level, the kind of FW strip that firmly convinces me that mocking FW every day is indeed the right thing to do. What a hack.
And on that note I am done. What an ordeal that was. There’s been entirely too much Les lately, too much cancer too, at least for my tastes. Stay tuned for a Special Guest Appearance by Our Fearless Leader himself, the SoSF King Of Kings, TFH!!!
30 responses to “It’s The Way They All Became The Batom Bunch”
The, uh, good thing, I guess you could call it that, is that we didn’t have to look at this during the height of the pandemic, when things are bad enough. It still sucks to see this in 2021, and it raises a new question: all of those students look too old to be teenagers. Did their advanced years make any of them more vulnerable to the ‘rona? Did any of them die? Please?
So you had the Act II generation of WHS students, with Boy Lisa and Pete and Jessica and etc., who were pretty well fleshed-out character-wise. Then you had the Summer/Keisha/Cory group, who were a little less developed. Then you had the Owen/Cody/Alex group, who were even more poorly-developed. And now here we are, with a whole new crop of WHS students who barely even have names. It seems as if Bernie sort of has a personality, kind of, but the rest of them are pretty much anon-o-characters.
Bernie’s got a personality, alright: “douchebag.” The Crankshaft twins (I will not learn their names) are sort of a yin/yang pairing: one’s sweet and the other snide. The kid we’ve christened “Thatsnought” stands out just by being The Black Guy. Logan Church, The Black Girl, was Caucasian when we met her over five years ago. Ed Grimley-lookin’ Connor and his ugly cat, I don’t believe we’ve seen before.
“The Crankshaft twins (I will not learn their names)”…you and me both, TFH. No matter how hard he pushes it, I simply refuse to read that comic strip.
Thank you for posting that Logan Church strip. I thought I was losing my mind.
The other day, I was going to joke that Logan absorbed all the pigmentation that Cayla lost, but I couldn’t find the strip to back up the joke.
From the ‘Believe It or Not’ department:
In the Comics Kingdom archive, the 2/26/2016 strip has recolored Logan Church as an African American. I wonder who would bother to make the change after the strip had already been published? Batty wouldn’t have bothered. Continuity means two things to Batty. Jack and shit.
But why is he so lazy? He could have easily slipped these in last year when this was relevant and topical.
Here in Ohio, kids have been in school for almost two weeks now. Kent State is open with in person learning. So this strip is just out of place now.
I still can’t believe they don’t even mention Bull. It’s like he never existed. Linda sure got over him quickly. I guess they can only mourn Lisa.
Ironically, this is a Sunday strip where turning it sideways would actually have helped.
Confession Time: I have some vague memories from my mid-’70s high school years of occasionally seeing FW in the Sunday paper and thinking it was an amusing teen-themed strip (I never bought one of the paperback collections, however; that money was saved for Peanuts, Pogo, Doonesbury, and Tumbleweeds).
Over the last few years, as his now-AARP-aged characters slowly decay in their own personal purgatories, I sometimes wondered why Battyuk didn’t just concentrate on the next generation of Westview high students and let the OG crew age gracefully into the background. Today’s entry offers the best case as to why he doesn’t: TB can’t come up with an interesting 21st-century teen to save his life (apparently, no one can think of faces for three of them, as well).
NOW can we start the Subterranean arc? I want to see him battle his arch-enemy, the Igneous-Metamorphic-Sedimentary Man.
Based on the snarling visage in the logo, that must be where we’re headed. And judging from Phil’s expression, he will be continuing his quest to become a bigger schmuck than Les, Dinkle, Klabichnik, Bernie, Wilbur Weston, the dad from “Dustin” and the entire cast of “Judge Parker” combined.
Let’s avoid the Christmas rush and start hating him now.
Upvote for the Charles Emerson Winchester reference.
Phil Holt is dead.
Not since last month. Turns out he faked his death (what his ghost was doing at the Batom auction with St, Lisa the Cancer Chew Toy remains unexplained).
Oh, we’re going to get so much Subterranean that we’ll be begging for Lisa’s Story III.
I still think this month will be the beginning of Act IV and its All Comic Books All The Time format.
I guess this “joke” might have “worked” if the panels were arranged in a Brady Bunch intro way (Yes, I got the reference, zzzzzzzzzzzz). But it wasn’t. So…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Bernie’s humming is the least offensive thing in this particular strip… and I’m a cat person.
Epicus, I really really really feel for you this shift. While poor BC had to deal with two weeks of LesCancer before your stint started, you had to deal with a week of LesCancer AND a week of LesCovid. I honestly don’t know which of you had it worse. I can only offer you this cold comfort: you gave meaning to the pain, and in giving it meaning you gave it purpose, and in giving it purpose we grew as nitpickers.
TFH, to those about to suffer, we salute you.
You always have to remember that as bad as it might be, it can always get worse. Which is worse, a shattered ankle or a shattered wrist? I dunno, but they both beat being squashed by a huge meteorite, so there is that.
That’s certainly my own goal, CBH: To grow each day as a nitpicker, and to nurture the Twitter Tot within.
On to the strip: Batty’s never seen a Zoom meeting, has he? My son had remote high school all last year and in most of his classes, most of the students had their cameras off. When their cameras were on, the screen looked nothing whatsoever like anything in this comic.
I continue to be baffled that Tom won’t just do a 5-second Web search for, say, “Zoom meeting video” or something. Truly, not only is he the most self-satisfied of artists, he’s also the most incurious. It’s sad, really. His mind is a hall of mirrors that reflects his wrong assumptions back at him, and he likes it that way. He doesn’t want any input from the outside world. And this sclerotic, clueless comic strip is the result.
TomBa’s method of writing is revealed in a statement of Flash Freeman from his “Batom Comics – The Untold History Part 11” posted on October 22, 2016:
Flash asks two of the other bullpen members, “If someone were to offer you two thousand dollars to create a hero based in Africa, what’s the first thing that you would do?” After hearing how they’d spend the advance doing research and being asked what he’d do, he answers, “I would put the two thousand dollars in the bank first, and then I’d go home and write the whole story from my imagination.”
And that tells you all you need to know about what TomBa does to get background for his stories.
But, y’know, get the address of a long-gone coffee shop wrong, and Phil Holt will cut you, dude.
That’s interesting. If it were me, I would keep the $2k too, but I would do some free research at the library or on the internet about African folk heroes and myths/gods/demons. I’d also visit some museums with collections of African art, just to inspire me visually.
If the superhero were actually based in Africa, I’d pick a country and try to understand what the current cultural crises there were. I’d need to know that in order to know what the hero’s powers should be.
Then I’d take all I’d learned and think about how I could synthesize the ancient culture with modern culture.
This is how characters like Thor or The Flash were created — taking elements of ancient religion/mythology and applying them to the modern world. In fact, that’s how most great art is created — by taking elements of things that came before, and using personal creativity and experience to morph them into something new.
OR… you can just pull any ol’ crap right out of your ass, slap it on the page, and pat yourself on the back.
(Flash Freeman says) “I would put the two thousand dollars in the bank first, and then I’d go home and write the whole story from my imagination.”
And yet, Tom Batiuk routinely complains on his blog when the writers of his precious The Flash comic books do exactly this. https://funkywinkerbean.com/wpblog/flash-fridays-the-flash-289-september-1980/ is his latest complaint that the plot elements in a children’s superhero story weren’t scientific enough for him.
Which makes it a perfectly Batiukian answer. Everyone else goes to Africa and researches particle physics, while he pockets the $2,000 and sneers at you for being less clever than he is.
With this week’s strip, TB has checked off all of the “pandemic humor” boxes, and now he can put it behind him and pretend it all never happened, just like the great LA fire. What’s amazing is that he had a year and a half to think about it and these strips are the best he could do.
What’s even more amazing is that he felt a need to do pandemic strips at all. Does he think he needs to touch on the topic in order to be taken “seriously”? Still gunning for that Pulitzer, Tom? These aren’t the arcs that’ll win it, that’s for sure.
All I know is that this half-assed approach led to less highly-snarkable misery porn and more “Funky complains about rich people problems.” I can’t imagine that anyone was satisfied.
Assuming this is Les’s online class, he should have the power to mute Bernie himself, right? I’ll be generous and assume that this happened in the 5 minutes before class officially started and students were still signing in.
Also, have we seen Blue-Haired Possibly-Asian Girl before, or is she new?
So this is what Les and Crew have been complaining about all week?
A Competent Teacher: “Bernie, no listening to music during class, especially if you don’t have the sense to do so discreetly. Everybody else, simmer down and open your books to Chapter Two…”
Les: “WHY GOD?! WHY DO YOU NEVER STOP TASKING ME?! LISA WAS TOO GOOD FOR THIS WRETCHED WORLD!!!!!”
Les was emotionally scarred as a youth by an English teacher denigrating his work, and (as expected) holds that grudge into his latter years. (I think this was a separate incident from the essay contest that he didn’t win.) He never mentions any positive input from any of his teachers.
He has anxiety attacks and sleeplessness at the beginning of every school year, from high school (possibly before) to the present.
Why did he go into teaching as a profession? And why at the very school where those anxieties took root?
I know this is a comic strip, and the characters behave in over-the-top and caricatured ways because that’s supposedly funny. But TB also aims for the heart-tugging from time to time. Has there been a notable arc where Les-our-hero inspired or encouraged a student? Or Dinkle? Or Whatshisname? Those are the teachers TB likes. The closest to an inspirational arc was the Bull and Jarrod Posey story, and we know that TB wants us to think of Bull as a failure. (Plus, the insistence on jocks-be-bullies-yo screwed up any inspirational ending to that one).
I think the reason he’s doing this strip now, as opposed to a year ago when it would have been relevant, is that there must be an award given to someone who never, ever, changes his plans.
“Plans” might be too strong a word, though.
I’m just thankful that Batty/Ayers drew those little music notes in Bernie’s balloon, else I’d have thought that Bernie was pulling a Jeffrey Toobin!