Aristotelian Fistics

Back when he was pursuing his useless MBA, Darin probably didn’t have time to study the ancient philosophers. However, he’s retained enough of Mr. Kablichnick’s high school chemistry teaching to have a narrow understanding of what “elements” are, and he tries to convey his point of view to the new staff. Flash leans in and glowers at Darin, showing the whites of his eyes and his bottom teeth; his towering, elongated head looms over the younger man and threatens to crush him like a toppled totem pole. “They were in Aristotle’s day,” he growls. When Darin unwisely persists in trying to make his case, Phil Holt, who’s been sporting a dopey grin this whole time, reverts to his nasty self, cursing and waving his fist. Our newly minted Comic-Con Hall of Famers are not about to take any guff from Boy Lisa.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

68 responses to “Aristotelian Fistics

  1. Epicus Doomus

    You know how BatYam is always droning on about how he re-invented the comic strip genre and all. Well, in my opinion, nothing would re-invent the genre more than an obscenity-spewing character.

    ‘I’ll be damned if I’m gonna draw a book with 118 characters in it!”

    “I’ll be f*cked in half if I’m gonna eat pizza without f*cking pepperoni!”

    “The Subterranean” is a really shitty f*cking idea, Flash!”

    “Shut the f*ck up, Boy Lisa, you bland f*cking bore!”

    See what I mean? Just like that, FW would suddenly become readable. No more of this stupid symbol stuff, I mean it’s 2021 and we’re all adults here. I mean come on, how many kids read the funny pages, much less FW specifically?

    • none

      Censoring of words is unfortunately strongly prevalent now. I even see examples of it here on the comments. To me, all it does is draw the eyes immediately to the censored word in question and shifts your mental focus away from whatever point is being made and towards what the edited word is. If your language is going to invoke the word “fuck”, say the fucking word or don’t, I don’t give a fuck, but don’t fucking put f*ck there because the asterisk otherwise doesn’t appear in the middle of fucking words in the fucking English language so now all you’re doing is highlighting the fact that you want to say the word fuck but don’t commit to saying the fucking word for some dumb fucking reason, even though you want to say it. So good fucking job, all you’ve done is lose the plot of whatever the fuck it is you were even saying. Say the fucking word or don’t.

      This doesn’t even touch on language which is not explicitly profane or expletive in this current time. I’ve seen words like “death” and “retard” get partially edited, which I find laughably juvenile. I don’t remember anything else about those sentences other than whoever wrote them felt the need to not fully spell those words out. What do you think you are even accomplishing by doing that? Who are the people that are so sensitive to words like that, the act of reading them would invoke a similar reaction to reading a word like “fuck”? Give me a fucking break.

      On that note, let’s recall another word which was implied and edited out in this strip: “sucks”. Remember Summer bitching about her shitty basketball ability? Today’s strip actually becomes a tiny bit funny if you replace the word “sucks” for the grawlix. “I’ll be sucks if I’m going to draw a book with 118 characters in it!” To be fair, I’d probably not be fully coherent with my language if I was dead for a few years.

      • Epicus Doomus

        I censor f*ck because I always have, although it’s certainly not banned here or anything like that. Just my personal preference is all. I mean I live in NJ, where it’s a verb, adjective and noun, sometimes all in one sentence. I said “f*ck” at least forty times on my commute home today alone.

        Hell will freeze solid before BatHam uses “sucks” in a strip, I guarantee this. He’s not going to risk any critical letters to the editor at this stage of the game.

        • Maxine of Arc

          I often self-censor in internet fora because sometimes there are filters and it’s just become a habit. That does not appear to be the case here at SoSF.

          • be ware of eve hill

            The main reason I bailed from the Comics Kingdom Funky Winkerbean Disqus discussion was the ridiculousness of the automated moderation filter. Attempting to post a comment was like stepping through a minefield. You had to review your post to make sure there was no profanity, no insulting words, or words that could be used in a sexual context.

            A collection of some of my offenses. Offending terms in bold:

            Lillian’s rum balls Removed

            Messica is randy Removed

            Ha! Not bloody likely! Removed

            Ruby’s commie hat. Removed

            Way to contradict yourself, dimwit. Removed

            Don’t waste your time reading crap like that. Removed

            I am Cornholio! I need TP for my BUNGHOLE!! Removed

            Comics Kingdom screwed up their website. Removed

            Bernie on a bender. Removed

            Didn’t Messica ravage Dullwad in his boyhood bedroom? Removed

            I’m surprised this didn’t give Dinkless a stroke. Removed

            Ugh. May God damn us all and save us in the same breath. This has to be the worst Funky Winkerbean strip ever. Removed

            I think my record is six repostings of a single comment because I had difficulty determining what the offending term was. I found it by entering the comment one sentence at a time. That. Comment. Was. Going. Through.

          • be ware of eve hill

            Removed was to indicate the post was removed from the discussion. The removed posts still appear in my Disqus comment history with a nice red “Removed” tag. Kind of like a scarlet letter. SHAME!!!

          • William Thompson

            When I post on Disqus/CK, I work around the censorbot by switching my keyboard language to German (DEU) änd üsing ümläüts in the öffending wörd. Nö ßhit!

          • be ware of eve hill

            @William Thompson

            For a while, I copied and pasted characters from the character map app, but it was too much of a pain in the butt. I even installed a character map app on my phone.

            If the CK moderators ever make the list of banned words reasonable, please let me know.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      And Phil Holt would be perfect for it. The story spent so much time building him up as a difficult collaborator, and then neutralized him as quickly as possible, because no conflict is allowed to occur in Funky Winkerbean. That’s one reason this “bullpen” shit is so boring: everybody just stands around agreeing with each other.

  2. Gerard Plourde

    I’m not surprised that Darin’s education at Westview didn’t expose him to the four classical elements. I suppose he managed to avoid education in that area wherever he got his undergraduate degree but it seems to me that comic books have regularly made reference to them.

    And it appears that while TomBa was looking his up he missed the two proposed elements, Ununennium and Unbinilium, which have not been synthesized yet because we currently lack the technology.

  3. William Thompson

    “They were elements in Aristotle’s day! Too bad he didn’t have any other ideas worth stealing!”

    “What about the one where our perceptions of reality are so limited that we’re like prisoners in a cave, trying to guess the nature of an object by studying the shadows it casts?”

    “Leave my art work out of this!” Phil Holt snarls. “Or I’ll do to you what that Roman soldier did to Aristotle!”

    “You mean Archimedes,” Chester says. So Phil kills him.

  4. spacemanspiff85

    Tomorrow, Aristotle shows up to explain how elements work to Darin, having faked his death to get some time to work on his writing. He is offered a job writing a new comic series about Phil Holt, entitled “The Phil-osopher”.

  5. Smirks’R Us

    we’ll that was more stupid than I could have envisioned after yesterday’s foreshadowing by Durwood. Kudos BatHack.

  6. I guess the point of this was to show that Batiuk is aware of the periodic table? Because otherwise you have two panels of hostile morons.

    • spacemanspiff85

      I’m pretty sure he was reading some sixties Flash comic with “element” based villains and thought “I should use my comic to correct them!”.

      • More to the point, there was a wonderfully dumb DC series in the 60s, the Metal Men … robots, each keyed to a different metal (Gold, Platinum, Lead, and so on), who were the heroes, battling (honestly) delightfully goofy and weird menaces such as an Evil Automated Coney Island in Space. I swear, this really and truly happened. It is a delight and I don’t know how much of that is ironic appreciation. Like, the characters explain their premise and each of their personalities to each other every single page, and it’s either madness or genius.

        More, since the Metal Men were robots, they got killed almost every issue, to get rebuilt at the start of the next. One hesitates to stereotype Mr Batiuk but how could he not be all over a comic where you get to never stop killing your lead character?

        Anyway 120-odd primary characters is too much for a book, yes, but it would somewhat freshen up the elementals idea if they were keyed to actual elements. Apart from how that was already done too, in wonderfully silly comics.

        • (And, I should temper my own Metal Men rave here. First, the original 60s comics had a serious problem with Platinum, the female-type girl robot who’s a woman, whose treatment had a baseline of “incredibly sexist”, occasionally getting “so incredibly sexist that it breaks the sexism-detection meter”. Second, I know the series has been revived several times, but know nothing of how those later books are.)

          • erdmann

            I’ve always loved the Metal Men, especially the ‘70s revival with art by Walt Simonson and Dick Tracy’s Joe Staton. I’m a big fan of the original series, too, but you’re right about Platinum. Even by ‘60s standards her treatment is appalling. I read once writer Robert Kanigher (who also wrote Wonder Woman) fancied himself a ladies man. I can only hope his work didn’t reflect his real life treatment of women.

          • ComicBookHarriet

            I am only familiar with the Metal Men from when they appeared in the Alex Ross ‘Justice’ comic. From my understanding every single character was a cheap goofy trope, you’d think Batiuk would have loved it.

          • Anonymous Sparrow

            Platinum was also known as Tina. A second female robot in the series was a robot Tin, the shyest and sweetest Metal Man, built for himself. She was known as Nameless.

            Compared to Nameless, Platinum looks like a feminist icon.

            Mind you, she was supposed to get a name (much as Stanley’s Monster finally became “Spot” –don’t start me on that!), but she never did…and when the series took a dark direction in 1968, she just vanished for a decade for so.

            She reappeared in *Brave and the Bold* #187, where she married Tin and was vaporized. Lead said that she died with a name — “Mrs. Tin” — but to her widower, she was…


            The Batman is best man at the wedding and thinks:

            “Hard to take this as seriously as they…”

            Et tu, Tom Batiuk? Then fall Lisa!

            Incidentally, no reference to the Metal Men would be complete without mentioning that Mercury is the only metal that’s liquid at room temperature!

          • Professor Fate

            Thanks for mentioning the Metal Men a guilty pleasure of my young self reading comics. It was my first exposure to the idea that members of a team didn’t get along (I had yet to discover the Fantastic Four). and oh yes the treatment of Platinum was bad, even for the time. Neve mind how Namless was treated. Not that Tin was treated much better – he stuttered for some reason and even as a kid i was the way it was depicted was Hey this isn’t right. Of course it was one of DC’s second tier titles. I seem to have the knack of liking series that get canceled a lot (the elsewhere mentioned Doom Patrol is another one)

            And as far as the strip well you know shouldn’t you have the first few issues out before you start expanding the universe like that? Focus people focus.

            and lastly to hell with Boy Lisa

        • You know, I just remembered–National Lampoon did a “Large Book of Comical Funnies” special, and one of the stories was a super-hero book called “All The Elements!” where the entire thing was just heroes made from every element in the periodic table explaining their powers.

        • batgirl

          Didn’t DC’s Teen Titans have an Element Boy who could transform himself into any substance?

          • There was an adult hero named Metamorpho, the Element Man, who could do that.

          • batgirl

            I was close! It was Element Lad (appeared 1963 as Mystery Lad) who could transmute elements.
            Should’ve called him Alchemy Lad.
            Thanks for reminding me of Metamorpho, BC! I discovered that he had a partner/sidekick called Element Girl, whose story is pretty tragic.
            And there’s an Element Woman who was in Doom Patrol.

            Jeez, Darin, do you even comic?

  7. Mr. A

    Wow, this argument is way stupider than what I predicted yesterday.

  8. billytheskink

    Normally I would applaud even a half-@$$3& attempt at editing or peer review, but Durwood here takes a called third strike on a batting practice pitch. A nonagenarian just referenced “Aristotle’s day” and there is not even a hint of a quip about Flash living in that day? There’s a reason Durwood isn’t on staff as a writer…

  9. Sourbelly

    Nice artwork Ayers. It’s beneath comment.
    Sigh. I guess Phil’s grawlix stands for, “I’ll be nostril-raped by Phlush’s penile skull if I’m going to….”

    Dustbin’s hatchet-faced idiocy…yeah.

  10. Charles

    Why is Flash smiling? Is he being smug? Then he should next be telling Darin to shut the fuck up and untighten his asshole because nobody cares. He just “Well, actually”‘d your idea, Flash! Give him the disrespect he deserves!

    Anyway, “Don’t elements come from the periodic table” – that’s the writing we know so well. I once wrote that Batiuk’s writing superficially resembles actually speech, but upon closer examination is cumbersome nonsense. I would occasionally feel that was unfair to him, but today is not one of those days.

    • The Duck of Death

      Yes, he uses language like an AI that’s not quite ready to pass the Turing test. Nuance and ambiguity seem to distress him, and that’s unfortunate, because they’re everywhere in human language. For example, did you know that a single word, like “element,” can have multiple meanings, and they can all be correct, depending on the context?

      The More You Know ☆彡

    • be ware of eve hill

      Batty speaks/writes in a fringe Ahia dialect known as “Gibberish.”

  11. J.J. O'Malley

    Oh, for the love of Mendeleev…is Dullwood really so stupid that he never heard of a concept I remember from grade-school history classes on Ancient Greece? Has he never listened to Earth, Wind, and Fire? When he and Mopey Pete made their pilgrimage to the Flash Museum, did he not see the Rogues Gallery display for Mr. Element/Dr. Alchemy, a villain whose M.O. covered both aspects of today’s topic? Most importantly, did he not read any of the element-themed comic book characters I (ahem!) listed in my encyclopedic post yesterday?

    Of course, I did overlook the Silver Age Doom Patrol villain Mr. 103, who can transmute his form into any of the (then-known) 103 natural and man-made elements (I seem to recall that he was revived in the ’80s as Mr. 104; apparently he saw now being able to change into Rutherfordium as being noteworthy).

    Also, “don’t elements come from the periodic table”? No, Dimwit, they come from Nature or chemical research facilities; all the table does is group them together according to atomic number and certain physical properties. And who says an element team needs all 118 represented, Zombie Phil? The Metal Men got along just fine with just Gold, Iron, Lead, Mercury, Platinum, and Tin.

    The guy who co-created the Inedible Pulp is worried about scientific realism? This whole angle is just beyond asinine…er, I meant Astatine, element no. 85..

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      Ah, Mr. 104! How I wish he’d joined forces with the Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man just once!

      In *Captain Marvel Adventures* #100, Fawcett gave us three new elements: Shazamium, Sivanium and Marvelium.

  12. erdmann

    Phil is clearly no George Perez: “What’s that, Marv? You want 118 characters in that one panel on page 6? Only 118? I think I’d better throw the Phantom Stranger, the original Red Tornado, the Terrific Whatzit and the entire Green Lantern Corps into the background for good measure.”

    And Duckworth’s absolute cluelessness here makes him seem even stupider than usual… and that’s saying a lot.

  13. Rusty Shackleford

    There really is no way Batty can be fired, right? He gets to churn out crap until he retires or dies. Nobody at the syndicate can say we are pulling FW so we can make room for a fresh strip?

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      It seems that way. And the resurrection of Phil Holt is the strongest signal to date. That character was depicted as a ghost, was in a story that requires them to be genuinely dead, and it was all just handwaved away. And why? Because Tom Batiuk wanted Phil Holt in his goddam comic book bullpen. So he could participate in scintillating conversations like today’s.

      There must be a hell of a story in why this man gets away with what he does.

  14. Maxine of Arc

    You cannot tell me Boy Lisa isn’t familiar with this very well worn concept or hasn’t AT LEAST watched “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” The “4 element super hero team” idea is idiotic, but it’s not exactly NEW.

  15. Banana Jr. 6000

    What the hell is this strip? Tom Batiuk wants to write Funky Winkerbean stories about the magic of the comic books bullpen, and this is what he thinks goes on there? An intellectual argument that two second-graders would have? Yes, Darren, fire is in the periodic table. Its symbol is Fi and it has an atomic weight of 11.8763. Nobody even calls out his ignorant, self-defeating statement for what it is. And these are supposed to be college-educated, world-class comic book creators? Kent Read Kent Write Kent State indeed.

    This almost feels like an attempt by Batiuk to satirize his critics. “Oh, you can’t do a comic book about elements unless you include all 118 of them!”, said by a man who clearly doesn’t know what an element is. Or what a critic says. Or what a satire is. But this is how he views the “beady eyed nitpickers.” Remember the big show he made out of “I had to redraw a character because someone said ‘there are no men in the choir?'” It was an irrelevant plot point that could have been fixed with a minor rewording of the dialog.

    Tom Batiuk completely misses the point of why people criticize him. He has so insulated himself from criticism, he doesn’t even know what it sounds like anymore.

    • none

      This fits the long established trend he has of setting up a strawman in the form of one point of criticism to have it be knocked down by everyone else. Along with the choir thing you mentioned, he had Darin do the same with with that dumb Stardust week. He also had a week to do it for the guy who wanted Spamalot instead of That Cancer Play About Cancer for some high school thing.

      This is his preemptive response to your earlier post where you said everyone agrees with each other all the time. “Oh, exCUSE me”, he says, with a bent wrist at the chin while leaning back with a scoff, “but clearly that is NOT the case with this strip, you illiterate swine!” Thus, with a single panel or strip, he has deemed all possible criticism answered and defeated, and and other week passes where he is paid for writing this garbage.

  16. hitorque

    1. You know, for a 35-year-old manchild who has had his face buried in comic books ever since he could read, Darrin’s being an overly literal asshole here…

    1a. As a lifelong fan of Earth, Wind and Fire, I really wish I could reach through my monitor and wring Darrin’s scrawny little neck right now…


    3. Once again the entire staff is standing around with their thumbs up their asses and not working… Take a drink

    • batgirl

      Everyone works for Atomic Comics. The living, the dead. You do. I do. You just haven’t realized it yet. Their control is absolute.
      But nobody gets paid because we’re independent contractors, like bike couriers.

    • Glass-half-full Squirrel

      For point #2. At the convention, Chester invited Phil to bring “The Subterranean” to Atomik Komix, where he and Flash “could own it and work on it together.”

      The sideways Sunday “The Subterranean” cover had the Atomik Komix logo in the upper left corner. So, I guess we’re supposed to believe Phil and Flash work for the company. We’ve never seen Flash or Phil at a workstation of any kind. As you eloquently pointed out, nobody is shown working. As usual, Batyuk is as clear as mud.

      Take a drink? Don’t mind if I do. 🥃

  17. batgirl

    Um, Darin? Order of the Stick did that gag about 10 years ago.

    (Hope that link posts!)

  18. be ware of eve hill

    Help! I’m confused. Back in July, The Subterranean was mentioned as potentially the greatest thing to ever hit a comic book page. Now, the Subterranean is going to be reduced to a member of a four-person team?

    I thought the concept of The Subterranean was already complete. When Phil walked out on Batom because he couldn’t get ownership, what was The Subterranean? A bunch of sketches? Big whoop-de-doo.

    If Phil wanted ownership and the concept was complete, why is he letting Flash tromp all over his ideas?

    Did Batty hit us with another case of “don’t tell, don’t show” and The Subterranean has already been featured in a comic book?

    Is anybody following this? Am I expecting too much from gloriosi auctoris?

    • Glass-half-full Squirrel

      I believe the first issue of “The Subterranean” has already been published. Remember the sideways Sunday “The Subterranean” comic book cover from several weeks ago? It kind of spontaneously emerged right after Flash and Phil kissed and made up.

      Boy, Batyuk sure blew past that in a hurry. You have to stay on your toes with that guy.

      Am I following this? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  19. newagepalimpsest

    If Phil is going to scream cusses at the other characters whenever they open their damn fool mouths from now on, I like him!

  20. erdmann

    “From my understanding every single character was a cheap goofy trope, you’d think Batiuk would have loved it.”
    You’re not wrong, CBH, but when done correctly it was a fun book. Kanigher boasted he conceived and wrote the characters’ first appearance (Showcase 37 for those keeping score at home) during a single weekend. He also wrote Barry Allen’s first appearance. I don’t know what TB thinks of the Metal Men but I’ll bet he’s a Kanigher fan.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      The origin of the Metal Men was reprinted in *Flash* #214, a Super-Spectacular which delayed the Vandal Savage story promised in #213 until #215.

      In his “Flash Friday” on #214, I seem to recall that Batiuk said that he’d never been too keen on the Metal Men.

      My responsomoter might be failing me, though. (They were always faulty with Dr. Will Magnus’s robots.) After all, no matter how many times I say “3X2(9YZ)4A,” I still don’t have super-speed like Johnny or Jesse Quick…