Do You Hope to Pluck this Dusky Joule?

November 29, 2021 at 11:57 pm
…For all that money and all that artistic talent, this [Atomik Komix] outfit has the professionalism and maturity level of a bunch of neighborhood kids in a treehouse with a mimeograph machine…

In my dissertation yesterday regarding the traits of various FW characters, I called Phil Holt “a nasty, sarcastic little prick.” His partner Flash once diplomatically described him as a “grumpy guy who spent most of his time (emphasis mine) at war with the world and everyone in it.” Most of his time. Yesterday (or a few minutes or hours ago in strip time), Holt came thisclose to telling Pete to shove “all of these ideas of yours” up his ass. Today the Silver Alert, uh, Silver Age Duo have come a knockin’ to borrow a cup of Darin and Pete’s creative sugar.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

43 responses to “Do You Hope to Pluck this Dusky Joule?

  1. William Thompson

    “I’m starting to like these guys.” So that’s what the kids are calling a plea for help these days.

  2. Best. Doors. Reference. Ever.

  3. Epicus Doomus

    Wait a minute. Is this supposed to be a “two old men leering at a hot young superhero” gag? Because if so, there’s a noticeable “dirty old man” element improbably seeping its way into the strip as of late, which in my opinion is a deeply disquieting trend.

    Of course, maybe I’m wrong and “Joule Jordan” isn’t even a woman at all, so I dunno. If she is a woman, why aren’t Mindy and the other one involved? They get stuck fooling around with the lame and wimpy Wendy Wayback while the guys draw and drool over hot exciting female characters? That’s a little weird and disquieting too.

    Or, alternately, perhaps Joule is a man and Phil and Flash just happen to be gay. THAT would be a wild, Pulitzer nomination-worthy FW arc right there. Former bitter enemies, now content and comfortable with their deep lifelong bond, working together in the most progressive and welcoming comic book studio in the world, dammit.

    And it’s all because of that “indeed” line he stuck in there. It might merely be a case of Phil being very impressed with Pete’s “electric” new character, but it doesn’t really read that way to me. But then again, I’m way too cynical where FW is concerned, so you can’t go by me.

    • Charles

      If she is a woman, why aren’t Mindy and the other one involved?

      Because wimmens be too delicate and passive to write stories involving action and violence. They can only write stories about cute little girls looking for lost puppies or trying to find the best tie for Dad. If they tried to write a scene involving a fistfight or something, they might swoon and faint at their desks.

      Or am I forgetting the comic portrayed where Wayback Wendy went way back to Akkadian times, got separated from her time-traveling dog, got captured and sold into slavery?

  4. Sourbelly

    “If I fly up and stop that meteor, the whole world will know that Joule Jordan is the Scorcher!”
    How would the world know that you’re some name you’ve made up? Full disclosure: I don’t read comic books. Does this make sense to those who do?

    • Hitorque

      I’ve seen more than a few 60s comics cover teasers where Clark Kent/Peter Parker or whoever has to do that superhero thing except he’s surrounded by people who know him and he can’t just up and leave without drawing attention to himself, exposing his identity in the process…So this setup only works if “Joule Jordan” is already well known by all of those bystanders…

      • ComicBookHarriet

        Yeah it’s a rip-off of a common Silver Age cover trope. But they could have done it in in thought bubble instead of having Scorch blathering her secret identity all over the sidewalk. See, for example, the copy of Superman 142.

    • Charles

      “If I fly up and stop that meteor, the whole world will know that Joule Jordan is the Scorcher!”

      That’s okay, Joule. Let thousands of people die and throw the whole world into chaos as a major city is destroyed by a meteorite. You make sure to keep your secret identity secret!

  5. Hitorque

    I liked the modified panel better

  6. be ware of eve hill

    Dull… dull… dull. Comics Kingdom should shut down this week’s Funky Winkerbean.

    WARNING: THIS STRIP IS CLOSED FOR PUBLIC SAFETY. This week’s Funky Winkerbean contains excessively boring material that is only important to the author. Please help yourself to one of the other quality comic strips on our website.

    Do not operate heavy machinery after reading Funky Winkerbean. 😴💤

    Do not eat breakfast after reading Funky Winkerbean. 🤢🤮

    • Perfect Tommy

      Thought of suicide may occur. Talk to your doctor if you or anyone you know finds this strip funny or entertaining. Do not read if you are driving, or are planning to drive, to Nobottom Hill.

      • be ware of eve hill

        I’ve never had thoughts of suicide after reading Funky Winkerbean, but I have definitely felt sullied. Yuk. 😝

  7. Hitorque

    It’s funny because in the few seconds it took for Joule Jordan to process that thought, the meteorite would have already impacted and killed everyone…

    But seriously. Help me out here because I don’t know how the industry works: Is it the norm for writers to just “borrow” already existing characters like this? Ol’ Buzz and Phillips 66 couldn’t have thought of their own “fire elemental” in like 30 seconds? And don’t they have to work out intellectual property rights or permission or compensation for using one of Pete’s “original” (yeah we knew Jordan is a half-assed copycat) characters??

    I mean, if they were planning to collaborate all along it would make sense, but I don’t think this is the situation here?

    • J.J. O'Malley

      In a nerdy nutshell: Golden and Silver Age comic book characters were generally the property of their respective publishers, so writers at DC and Marvel were usually able to use who they wanted–with some thematic and editorial restrictions–to fill the rosters of, say, the Justice League or the Avengers (specific teams like the Teen Titans or X-Men had built-in requirements, i.e. teenhood or mutanthood). Creators with modern companies like Image own their “children” outright or have some say in how they’re handled, so that when, say, Rob Liefeld came up with his Youngblood squad, he couldn’t simply toss Todd McFarlane’s Spawn into the mix. I assume Mopey and Durwin own some percentage of their Atomik output, and that they’re happy to loan out Scorch to Flash and The Late Phil Holt.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        I’ve been saying this all week, but: the story never resolved the question of who owns “The Subterranean.” Phil Holt wanted it from the old Batom Comics, didn’t get it, and Atomik Komix somehow acquired it without explanation. Funky Winkerbean spends so much time talking about publishing rights issues, and then can’t be bothered to resolve these details or even keep them consistent.

  8. billytheskink

    Since it appears that half of Ms. Jordan is already on fire on that cover, it would seem everyone on the street already knows she’s the Scorch. And they don’t care. And I don’t blame them.

    • J.J. O'Malley

      I think Battyuk and Ayers are attempting to “homage” those early Spider-Man comics when Steve Ditko would draw Peter Parker with a half masked/half-unmasked head in order to play up his dual identity.

      • batgirl

        I think the newspaper Spiderman strip had one of those half-face panels in the last couple of years, but since I only see the strip on the Comics Curmudgeon I may be wrong.
        I’m sure you’re right about the intended hommage – though uninked, it looks more as if Joule is turning invisible.

        • billytheskink

          Newspaper Spiderman would also use the half-face bit when Peter’s Spider-Sense would tingle while he was out of costume.

          I get the homage, of course, but it’s a very clumsy one I think.

    • gleeb

      Maybe they just think she’s incredibly behind the times in criticizing the Diem government’s favoritism towards the Catholic minority.

  9. William Thompson

    Inevitable physics joke: Joule should be grounded in the Grand Erg.

  10. Jeff M.

    “Julie Jordan” is the name of the lead female character in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “Carousel.” Indeed, the first song in the show is “You’re a Queer One, Julie Jordan.” It’s too odd a name choice for it not to be deliberate – but if so, WHY!?!? Will Joule also be an abused spouse who excuses her husband’s beating her by telling her daughter that it is possible for someone to hit you really hard and not have it hurt a bit? (It’s a…problematic musical; that’s the last line of the show.)

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      Somehow I doubt it: the Atomik characters have names, but not lives, and certainly not private lives. This is probably more like Pete’s defeating the Lord of the Late by coming up with “Seismo” who drank “Tec-Tonic” at the time of a tsunami in Asia.

      “Joule” is a scientific term, and “Jordan” is the surname of the greatest Green Lantern of all by default* (Hal Jordan), so I think that the “Carousel” connection is a happy bonus. Or happy if you’re listening to the box set of Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals, as I am presently.

      Richard Rodgers worked with Lorenz Hart before Oscar Hammerstein. (A witticism distinguishes the collaborations thus; With Hart, we have songs everyone knows from shows no one remembers; with Hammerstein, we have songs everyone knows from shows that won’t go away.) If Batiuk meant Joule to recall Julie, I imagine he’d give her a daughter named Valentine, as a nod to “My Funny Valentine” from “Babes in Arms.” (Or maybe not, given the cinema now strip club in “Crankshaft” and the musical’s Valentine is male and no Michael Valentine Smith!)

      * By default, because the Guardians of the Universe wanted to have a Chief Green Lantern and chose the son of Krypton’s Jor-El and Lara for that honor. To insure that, they sent Tomar-Re to prevent that world from exploding — and he failed, thus meaning that he became a Man of Steel rather than an Emerald Crusader.

      The Guardians took this in stride: Superman was a titan, and when the Universe created a titan, it had more need for him than the GLC ever could.

      (Full story in “Superman* #257. For another Guardians/Superman story, see #247.)

      • batgirl

        Thanks for the musical insight! There is some dark stuff in those old shows – I remember watching a local production of Brigadoon (my mother was in the chorus) and being kind of horrified by the sequence where they chase down the villager who’s trying to escape.
        Never saw Carousel performed, but read the script long ago.
        Suddenly I am very grateful that TB hasn’t attempted a domestic abuse storyline.

        • J.J. O'Malley

          Hey, you want to check out “fun” old musicals with somewhat strange messages, there’s always “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” (“Say, guys, let’s abduct some women from their families and keep them captive until they agree to marry us!” ) or “Gigi” (a teenage girl is trained to enter the family tradition of becoming a wealthy man’s mistress).

          • Anonymous Sparrow

            The last revival of *Kiss Me Kate* also created a lot of controversy, and Amanda Green (daughter of Adolph Green, who partnered with Betty Comden on some very witty lyrics) rewrote some of Cole Porter’ lyrics for a non-1948 audience.

            The 1953 film may have predicted this, for Fred Graham (who plays Petruchio) is much more willing to take the play for his failure as a husband to Lilli Vanessi (who plays Kate) than he was on Broadway.

            The source material, *the Taming of the Shew,* is also subject to a lot of discussion.

            For those who care, Tomar-Re came from Xudar, and was the Green Lantern of Space Sector 2813. (Hal Jordan was responsible for 2814.)

          • batgirl

            Oh my gosh, yes. I remember watching those on TV (no idea how much or what was cut for commercials), in the … early 70s, I guess. In retrospect, the blend of squeaky-clean presentation and obviously sexual storyline feels really jarring. Sure, those young women and young men are snowed in together for months and months, but nothing happened. Really!
            At the time, Seven Brides was more memorable as the first time I recognized a set as a painted backdrop. It would take me longer to spot blue-screen, and then only because my dad was an enthusiastic camera and film hobbyist, so I knew it existed.

  11. Gerard Plourde

    The artwork on that un-inked “Scorch” cover exhibits very meticulous work. Could this whole week mess just be a setup for this Sunday’s sideways single panel “tip o’ the felt tip” homage to some guest contributor who created it fonTomBa?

  12. Banana Jr. 6000

    They’ve already published a Subterranean book (which had been Phil Holt’s passion project since the 1950s), they’re apparently working on another one, and they’re just now determining who their characters are? Going over their character roster is the only thing these Atomik Klowns ever do! Neighborhood kids in a tree with a mimeograph machine are more professional and organized than this.

    “I’m starting to like these guys?” Phil, you’ve done nothing all week but glare at Pete and tell him he sucks. Which is 100% correct, because Pete is just the worst. But this is what changed your mind? Joule Jordan/The Scorch is such an amazing concept? It’s a cheap, dull ripoff that is completely devoid of charm or fun, but acts like it’s the greatest thing ever created. Just like everything else Atomik Komix does.

    • J.J. O'Malley

      Also, Atomik has been publishing a Scorch comic book for about two years now, and the Golden Guys are swooning over this Frankie Raye (one of the Human Torch’s ex-girlfriends, given cosmic fire abilities by Galactus in ’80s FF books) rip-off as though it’s the first time they ever saw the character, which can’t be good for Mopey and Durwood’s egos.

  13. Don

    How original – a fire elemental named the Tor-er, SCORCH, the SCORCH. And with the first name Joule – definitely NOT a reference to Electro. I mean, it’s not as if Marvel has, as part of its deal with Disney, the right to borrow Disney’s copyright police – you know, the ones that demanded that a day care center paint its exterior walls after it had painted Disney characters on them? (To be fair, Disney was in the right; the day care centers were profit-making, and if Disney didn’t defend its copyright every time, the characters could become public domain – a lesson Parker Brothers learned when it didn’t defend the Monopoly trademarks hard enough. On top of that, Hanna-Barbera swooped in and let the day care center use its characters on its walls.)

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      That’s why I don’t understand why Tom Batiuk gets away with constantly using DC characters in his comic strips. Big media companies have to be overbearingly litigious about everything, even fundraiser t-shirts and grocery store birthday cakes, because they risk losing their intellectual property if they don’t. And nothing he does with these characters comes remotely near fair use.

      • Maxine of Arc

        Probably because he never uses them with anything other than breathless adulation.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          It’s not worth it. The Batman franchise is worth about $25 billion in revenue every year. It hardly needs endorsements from a man who couldn’t even get a comic book job, whose books are published by Kent State University Press, and whose online sales figures are basically zero. Hell, they’re doing him a favor, not vice versa.

    • Hitorque

      As always, Hanna-Barbera is doing God’s work…👍

      And screw Parker Brothers… It’s karma for the fact that they outright stole the concept of Monopoly from someone else…

  14. noahabaddi

    If any of you have been in Times Square in the last 15-20 years, you’ve probably noticed the proliferation of strolling creepy off-brand “superheroes” and “cartoon characters” that are just far enough off-model to evade the copyright police. And they usually evade the actual police, too. They run a scam on tourists that goes like this: “Arachnid-looking Man” or “Thunder God Guy” or whoever will approach an unsuspecting rube with kids and ask if they’d like a picture. Unsuspecting rube’s kids will beg for it, and photo will be taken with Creepy Off-Model Costume Guy. Then COMCG will demand money — 5, 10, or 20 bucks — for his “service,” and be scary and threatening about it. Usually the victims just fork over the dough. Cops periodically say they’ll crack down, but the scam is perennial.

    “The Scorch” would fit right in, prowling near the TKTS booth, looking for easy marks to intimidate and defraud.

  15. Perfect Tommy

    Wait a minute. Does the dialog on the cover say is is? Kinda hard to see with pixilation but further proof of non-editor oversight. Jesus H. I need a life.

    • none

      Indeed it does. That’s a good eye you have also have.

      Plagiarism. Typos. Characters remarking that unfunny jokes are unfunny jokes. 90 year olds leering at a drawn female like a pair of fifth graders. And the week isn’t over yet. What a ride.