Atmos, at Least

[A] hero who’s composed of air,” encased in an airtight suit. Doctor Atmos basically a man-sized balloon animal. Not where I might’ve gone with this “Elements” concept, but in fairness to Batty, no worse than some real-life comics concepts. Since returning from the “dead,” Phil has grown more youthful looking each day, while “Flash” and Ruby remain their wizened selves. Darin’s corny, round spectacles don’t do any favors for his youthful looks (and let’s face it, he and Jess have to be pushing forty).  Pete has always looked middle aged, but today his face just looks bizarre.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

53 responses to “Atmos, at Least

  1. Epicus Doomus

    I have an idea for a new superhero too. He’s composed of absolutely nothing and he wears a suit made of sincere grins that disguises his lack of substance. I call him “Batmos”.

    So there’s The Subterranean, Atmos and The Scorch. That leaves water, which is where I assume Rip Tide – Scuba Cop comes in. Or does the superhero actually have to be made of water? “Sue Nami, The Human Tidal Wave”. She’d be a nice placid little lake up in the mountains until she was summoned to do battle with evil doers and put out fires and such. She’d travel by evaporating then condensing wherever she was needed. Her arch-nemesis would be Count Freon, who is forever trying to put her on ice. She’d probably have some sort of fish sidekick too, or maybe a lovable manatee or seal or something.

  2. William Thompson

    Another way to describe “Doctor Amos” is “a windbag.” Which means that his mundane secret identity must be Les Moore.

    • batgirl

      Not Dinkle? Oh, Dinkle could be the Silver Age Dr Atmos, known as The Wind Instrument.
      Isn’t it exciting that superheroes can have a past?

  3. Banana Jr. 6000

    Hey, you know what’s been really different about this week’s arc? Everybody’s happy. Look at all those smiling faces. Les Moore gets all of Hollywood kissing his ass for a month and he’s all OH GOD LIFE IS SUCH PAIN SMIRK SMIRK EYEROLL LOOK HOW WRY I AM. These people make a crappy comic book character, and they all look like they snorted six tablets of molly.

  4. billytheskink

    What is he a doctor of anyway? Hopefully not optometry, then he’ll have to deal with Funky’s other cataract and all the “full speed ahead” that entails…

  5. Lord Flatulence

    Meet … Doctor Anus.

  6. Gerard Plourde

    A superhero who has to be in an airtight suit to be prevented from dissipating into the atmosphere. That’s an incredibly inconvenient weakness to have when combating villains. For that matter, what happens if he gets snagged on a nail?

    • J.J. O'Malley

      Well, DC has at least two heroes whose no-longer-human energy forms are held within special containment suits, Captain Atom (a former Charlton Comics character now affiliated with the Justice League) and Wildfire from the 30th-century Legion of Super-Heroes. Speaking of the LSH, they also once featured a member named…you guessed it, Atmos.

      Way to go, Batty.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        He also reminds me a little of Johann Kraus, the ghost in a diving suit guy from the Hellboy comics and movie.

        Really, the idea of a superhero forced to wear a suit in order to maintain a corporeal form, and thus slightly less than human, and cut off from normal human contact, isn’t the worst hero trope. And every comic idea has been used before, so complaining about Phil ‘stealing’ ideas is a ‘Simpsons Did It’ level of critique.

        The problem is that we have no idea what possible powers Atmos might have. It’s like if the only thing you know about Superman being his fear of green glowing rocks.

        • Yeah, was going to say. Having great powers but also having to deal with an inconvenient, pesky weakness could make for a good character. (Relatable, even, since we all have the experience of wanting to do something that would be easy if only the stupid stuff could get out of the way for five minutes.) Unfortunately, whether it works is all in the execution.

          Will say I like my superheroes to have a certain fairy-tale logic, where you get these seemingly weird, arbitrary limits, with part of the fun how the hero finds a clever way around them. But that only comes into play if we see a story with Doctor Atmos.

          • Maxine of Arc

            Which we will not, since we’ve never seen an actual story with ANY of these characters, up to and including Starbuck Effing Jones.

        • Mr. A

          It would be funny if he had no powers at all. Like Batman, if Batman just happened to be a puff of air.

          “So your body is made of gas, huh? How does that help you fight crime?”
          “It doesn’t.”

        • Mr. A

          I’ve been thinking a little more about Dr. Atmos’s possible powers. If you’ll permit me to indulge myself…

          In order to exist or move at all, Dr. Atmos’s mental-energy-pattern must exert some kind of “influence” over the gas-cloud that is himself. Not enough to prevent a stiff breeze or a large fan from dissipating him, but something to work with.

          We’ll say that the suit, in addition to shaping and containing the good Doctor’s core form, has a built-in brainwave-amplifier that dramatically increases both the power and the range of his “influence”. This essentially adds a large volume of surrounding air to his “body”, allowing him to manipulate it accordingly.

          (Of course, by that token, his “body” will be touching every square inch of every nearby object at all times, including the bodies of his teammates. That’s going to be an awkward conversation.)

    • be ware of eve hill

      Did you see what happened to the troublesome alien in the movie Dark Star? The alien looked like a plastic beach ball with claws. The alien was shot with a gun and flew around the ship like deflating balloon.

      I imagine Dr. Atmos’s punctured suit would do something very similar. 😂

    • Ralph the Wonder Llama 🦙

      How did Dr. Atmos get into the containment suit? If he can control his motion to enter the suit, why does he even need one?

      Did there happen to be a convenient containment suit lying around? If not, how was he contained before the containment suit was built? A chemical flask, a bottle, or plastic baggies (blue and yellow make green so you know the bag is sealed)?

      If Dr. Atmos was dissipating into the atmosphere, how much of him was lost before he could be contained in the suit? Is it safe to say Dr. Atmos is only 10% there?
      Other Elemental: (snapping fingers) “Dr. Atmos! Are you still with us? Please pay attention.”

    • Charles

      He can be defeated when a supervillain inhales him!

  7. be ware of eve hill

    Phil in panel #2 appears to have an old man’s head on a little boy’s body.

    Mopey Pete in panel #2 appears to be channeling Jimmy Durante.
    Mopey Durante: Good night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are!

    At least we’ve been spared another bizarre Mindy transformation.
    Voiceover: The role of Mindy Murdoch today will be played by Francine the Fiddler Crab.

    • J.J. O'Malley

      Pete, looking in a mirror in Unseen Panel #3: “Whatta revoltin’ development this is! Am I mortified! Umbriago!”

    • Charles

      Phil in panel #2 appears to have an old man’s head on a little boy’s body

      Seriously, he looks as if he’s around 4 feet tall.

      Batiuk could explain that he never actually came back to life, like in the movie Thunderball, Kevin underwent a whole host of plastic surgery, learned how to sound and act like Phil and worked on his drafting skill in order to draw these…. fairly basic superheroes. And now he’s back taking Phil’s place as if Phil never actually died.

      It would certainly explain where little person Kevin went.

  8. batgirl

    My concept for a hero composed of air… is a standard-issue muscle guy in dark, nondescript suit and mask. Nothing about this design says ‘air’. Nothing.
    This is not even trying.
    Here are some wind-themed superheroes – a bit more active than ‘air’ with more distinctive costumes:

  9. Sourbelly

    Good lord, what happened to Pete’s face? Is he allergic to non-green shirts?

  10. Pete looks like a serial killer wearing a clown mask.

    I would like to encourage him in his new career. All those people would make great victims.

  11. Hitorque

    I don’t get it… Did they bring in some artwork to show off? If so, WHY?! Or did Phillip Holt just draw that up a few seconds ago in the Atomikkk Komixxx office? AND IF SO, WHY??!

    I’d have thought Phil+Flash would want to show off the return of their famous partnership to their millions of fans instead of a few random nobodies working for a multimillionaire man-child’s ego-stroking boutique niche faux-retro comics publishing company… For fuck’s sake Chester — At least get your phone out and tweet this shit on the Atomikkk Twitter account, because you can’t buy publicity this sweet…

    Oh and not one person has even bothered to ask Darrin about his bio-mom being portrayed on the big screen by the hottest actresses in Hollywood, or why he didn’t attend the wrap party… That’s another pet peeve of mine — With Bull Bushka gone there’s only like 5-6 ongoing storylines in Westview, and despite all these small-town rubes knowing each other all of their lives, and despite them all having similar interests, these storylines NEVER, EVER intersect: Atomikkk Komixxx, Westview High, Montoni’s, Komixxx Korner, Harold Leroy Dinkle’s lastest shiny flashing object, etc all seem to exist in their own vacuum, and Batiuk isn’t the only comic strip guy who does this, but it’s creeping me out…

    Why is this? Is it because too many women (blondes) look too alike and bringing certain characters together would cause confusion? Is it because bringing certain characters together will expose how ludicrous some of these age disparities have gotten among some peer groups (hi, Cindy!) Or is it because Batiuk would have to write better and more complex storylines when he’s already got his strip in cruise control until retirement?

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Good point about Darrin, one would think Les would ask that he be invited to the wrap party.

      Batty thinks he has created this rich tapestry of characters, but they are mostly accidental creations that were needed to advance a dumb story.

      The fact that nobody talks about Bull is really appalling. That was such a stupid arc.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        It’s just as appalling that nobody talked about Lisa’s Story, and just let Les decide everything. Darrin, and other important figures in Lisa’s life like Holly, would want to have some input. Or at least they’d be curious about how they’re going to be depicted. But no, everybody just deferred to Les, because only Les is the True Eternal Protector and Curator Of All Things Lisa. Even though Les has been seen in the strip misrepresenting canonical events to make himself look better.

        And this is why Tom Batiuk’s “rich tapestry of characters” is so crushingly poor. None of them have any desires or opinions of their own. It never occurs to Holly or Darrin that they should take some interest in their own lives. Batiuk simply can’t imagine characters having their own motivations. Everybody must go along with whatever his Mary Sue characters want. Hell, look at today’s strip. You’re telling me that seven people are in a room discussing the creation of a new superhero, and there isn’t a shred of disagreement or competing ideas? You can’t get three schoolchildren to agree on what color The Hulk is.

        • Gerard Plourde

          “ And this is why Tom Batiuk’s “rich tapestry of characters” is so crushingly poor. None of them have any desires or opinions of their own.”

          Exactly this! Every one of his characters is a one-dimensional mouthpiece for whatever point TomBa wants to get across.

          So I guess Dr. Atmos, being air in a containment suit, is the most honest character representation he’s ever come up with.

        • Rusty Shackleford

          Les (Batty) is more protective of Lisa’s character than JD Salinger was with Holden Caufield.

    • Charles

      Yeah, my view is that it’s too much work to incorporate these in such a way that they work together. If it’s not the very narrow point that Batiuk wants to make, he has no use for it. So Lisa’s Story only affects Les. And Lisa’s death, you’ll notice, also only affects Les. Summer never seemed to be devastated by her mother’s death, although she is a bit devoted to her memory and especially her silly tapes. The way Funky, Holly and the others react to it, it’s as if they didn’t even know Lisa. Since their sense of loss from their friend’s death was less significant than Les’s, it’s not worth portraying. They only respond to Lisa’s death through Les’s reactions, and they don’t appear to have any personal feeling about it at all.

      Batiuk could actually write an interest human interest story about the varying reactions to Bull’s or Lisa’s deaths and what it meant to each of the characters, but he either can’t be bothered or isn’t capable of it. And since there’s no one who suffered like Les over Lisa’s death with regard to Bull, Bull’s suicide has been largely forgotten. You’d think Linda would be tormented, but she seemed much more put out that she wasn’t going to get paid for Bull’s circumstances than by his actual death. She’s so shallow a character that Batiuk’s completely flummoxed by the idea of showing her experiencing grief.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        he either can’t be bothered or isn’t capable of it.

        This. Tom Batiuk says he wants to tell serious stories, and wanted to since 1992.. So why does he suck so badly at it? One dead raccoon in Calvin and Hobbes tugged more heartstrings in a week than 20 years of Lisa dying but never going away.

  12. Gigi de Tours

    The Michelin Man is decades ahead of you. And he’s adorable.

  13. Ralph the Wonder Llama 🦙

    Doctor Atmos’s power is breaking wind. Vile, noxious, and incapacitating farts.

    I can imagine a bad guy on their knees, clutching their throat, and gasping for breath.

    Bad Guy: “Yah! My eyes are burning! I can’t breathe!”
    Doctor Atmos: “Feel the fury of the ‘ass blaster’. Surrender or I’ll fart again!”
    Bad Guy: *whimper* No! Have pity!

  14. Hitorque

    Just your daily reminder that Phillip Holt literally faked his death and for 2-3 years lived in exile (presumably in small-town Mexico, where he wouldn’t be recognized and the locals mind their own business) ALL FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF WORKING ON HIS COMIC BOOK MASTERPIECE, AND THIS EIGHTH GRADER DETENTION HALL BULLSHIT WAS THE BEST HE COULD COME UP WITH?? Like I mentioned before, this is like Stephen King hiding himself away to work on greatest novel, and three years later he proudly shows the public an opening paragraph scrawled on the back of a used envelope… You know, sometimes dead is better…

    Confession time — Phil spent 98% of his time in exile swilling liquor and popping pills, didn’t he?

  15. Rusty Shackleford

    Batty posted some 9-11 look back strips. They aren’t too bad.

  16. Smirks 'R Us

    I’m not current on comic books but could Dr. Smirk be a thing? His super power could be wry banter that is nowhere near as funny as he thinks it is. By day he publishes poorly written novels that have the power to put large groups of people to sleep. His outfit (of course) would be a yellow JC Penney button down with the sans-a-belt slacks.

    Any copyright attorneys out there?

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      See, that would actually be fun! If Funky Winkerbean must spend so much time talking about comic books, that’s what it should be doing. Let the Westview dorks turn into superheroes that reflect their actual personalities, and play them off each other. Like this:

      But Tom Batiuk is so thin-skinned that he won’t subject his characters to even that level of good-natured ribbing. The level of good-natured ribbing present in a cartoon for children. And he certainly can’t pry himself away from his boring publishing stories and his precious bullpen long enough to make something any other human being might enjoy.

  17. Mr. A

    It’s never been more obvious that Batiuk came up with an idea for a cool comic-book cover first, and worked backwards from there. On Saturday they’ll name the water character, and then we’ll see the cover art on Sunday, and then we’ll be done.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Oh, I figure each of the four “elemental” characters will get their own week and Sunday comic book cover. The banner at SoSF includes Funky sneaking up on Holly, so unless that’s the Sunday strip for the 19th or later, we’re not even getting the Air man comic book cover this week.

  18. Finder of Lost Gloves

    The only superhero I care about is the man who saves Hollywood stars from breast cancer.

  19. Ralph the Wonder Llama

    If Dr, Atmos is “a hero who’s composed of air” why is he depicted with muscles? Shouldn’t he resemble a blimp or a balloon?

    Calling Dr. Atmos… I mean Dr. Sphere.

    Does he walk or just float along like a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade balloon? Can he grab things?

    What does he do for energy? Absorb sunlight? Plug into an electrical outlet every night? Absorb the local fauna?
    Dr. Atmos: * belch * “I’m sorry, was that your cat?”

    What is his superpower? Bumping into things? Gusts of wind? Summoning windstorms, tornadoes, and other weather? Is he just a highly intelligent bag of air?

    ’tis a silly superhero. Let’s not go in that direction.

  20. You know why Pete’s face is drawn that way. Because they had to get Ruby and her stupid hat in there, and Pete’s regular mouth wouldn’t have worked. These people are such hacks, if they had a sense of shame they would have quit years ago.

  21. Westview Radiology

    Imagine the STINK of Ruby’s “commie cap” & scarf!