I Want to Be More Like the Ocean

Banana Jr. 6000
December 2, 2021 at 9:16 am
They’ve already published a Subterranean book…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!

…aaaaand Mindy, “The Girl.”

Batiuk famously builds story arcs set in milieux around which his lack of actual understanding becomes glaringly evident: think moviemaking, or military service. But we all know him to be a bonafide, lifetime consumer and aficionado of comics and comic books. They are his sworn passion. Young Tom Batiuk even followed his dream to New York. “I met with an editor at DC Comics who ripped not only my work up and down but me as well for having had the temerity to show up at his office with it.” OK, it didn’t lead to his dream job, and he had to settle for being a mere “cartoonist.” Still, he knows and collaborates with people in the industry. Which industry, with very few exceptions, probably operates nothing like the way he depicts it here.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

53 responses to “I Want to Be More Like the Ocean

  1. spacemanspiff85

    I have to imagine that Batiuk walked into the DC offices with badly drawn pictures of The Amazing Mr. Sponge, Starbuck Jones, and the Subterranean and got laughed out of the building. It is pretty hilarious how he portrays comics work as basically just coming up with a dumb pun name and that’s it, the comic writes itself at that point.

    • none

      Most of the week has been basic bitch Ideas Guy fodder. Again.

      When given the chance, he’ll blather on about how great the stories are in comic books. The incredible stories of The Flash are what captivated him so, likewise The Phantom Empire. He was able to squeeze in a strip within the most recent Comicon thing – y’know, the one where Phil Holt came back from the dead and invited guest Ruby Lith got shoved away from her microphone like a jester – to have some slob blubber on about how great the comic book stories are.

      We know nothing of the stories behind any of these books. A bunch of stuff is implied or might be inferred from the covers, but not even the great writer himself can be bothered to depict the process nor results of creating a great story for these books.

      It’s been said many times before and bears repeating forever. It’s amazing how thoroughly and completely he fails to deliver the slightest iota of the qualities which he champions within his work. Mr. It’s Called Writing just simply refuses to write.

      • Hannibal's Lectern

        As I’ve proposed before, he could be attempting to do a meta-level thing, writing comedy about the process of creating komix books. “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “WKRP In Cincinnati,” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” all mined that vein successfully, as did the classic newsroom play “The Front Page.” What all of these works had in common was a sense of authenticity, a feeling that the authors had spent some time learning what goes on in the writers’ room of a TV show, or behind the scenes at a radio station or a newsroom. Which is completely lacking from the world Batty creates at AtomiKKK KomiXXX* (and for that matter, just as lacking from the world he creates at CME Studios and all those “Batom Comics” sepia-toned flashback panels). He never worked in these fields and apparently couldn’t be bothered to research, choosing instead to just make everything up.

    • The Nelson Puppet

    • The Nelson Puppet

  2. billytheskink

    The writer of the group had a good writing idea instead of a clear rip-off of the name of a DC character?! ZOUNDS!!!

    “The Oceanaire”, though, sounds like a seedy motel in a sleepy seaside town waiting to be the setting of a Stephen King novel. In reality, it is a chain of high-end seafood restaurants owned by the guy who owns the Houston Rockets. Hopefully your food gets out to you before you eat every packet of Captain’s Wafers at your table.

    Poor Holtron. Not only does he have to sit here and listen to this drivel, Phil has taken to leaving a coffee mug and binder of Subterranean ideas on top of him.

  3. Epicus Doomus

    I’m not sure where this “Pete is a blithering moron” trope came from, as according to the strip itself Pete is a hugely successful comic book and superhero movie writer who Chester actively courted to run his dumb comic book company. As bad as “Oceanaire” is, “Aqua Lady” and “Water Woman” should result in both Boy Lisa and Mindy’s immediate dismissal, not to mention two severe beatings. Each.

    • gleeb

      I think it’s the years of Mopey Pete being depicted as not writing. And getting fired from the Superman gig to be shuffled on to the Sponge comic, which sounds like a demotion. Even now he does no work that we see, just bumbling around the Atomik offices bothering people who are actually productive. And, as OP says, we never even get an outline of anything he’s supposed to have written.
      Why would Batiuk hide that under a bushel basket if it were any good? Knowing what Batiuk thinks is good, why would he hide it if it existed at all?

      • Hitorque

        Oh and don’t forget, even though his rebooted Mr. SpongeBob was a commercial success, Pete still found a way to get fired immediately afterwards, most likely for badmouthing his editors and leaking upcoming Mr. SpongeBob storylines on his all-day Skype calls to Darrin… During work hours… On his work computer…. Within earshot of pretty much everyone in his office…

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          I like Mr. Spongebob.

          Are ya ready, kids?
          (disinterested murmuring)
          I can’t hear you!
          (disinterested murmuring, just louder)

          Who lives in apartment above Mon-to-NIIIIIS?
          Funky! Winkerbean!
          Obnoxious and smug and not funny is he!
          Funky! Winkerbean!
          If comic book covers be something you wish
          Funky! Winkerbean!
          Then here’s Volume One of Inedible Fish!

          Funky! Winkerbean!
          Funky! Winkerbean!
          Funky! Winkerbean!
          Funnnnnnnkyyyyyyy! Win – kerbean!

          (Les rises from below camera holding a flute, then puts it down and says “when Lisa was first diagnosed with breast cancer…”)

          (Final refrain of flute solo plays)

          (Title card, which includes a drawing of Dinkle, looking particularly hateful)

    • Hitorque

      Uh… Peter Rattabastardo *IS* a blithering whiny moron asshole fuckwit geekboy and always has been. Like Les, Cindye Sommerse-Winkerbeane-Jarre and other certain characters, Peter Rattabastardo took his tiny amount of genuine talent and has been surfing a giant wave of what I’d call “Westview Mafia/Freemason Nepotism” sprinkled with several outrageously lucky “right place at the right time” opportunities… (Case in point: Darrin owes his entire financial success to his proximity to Peter and nothing else)..

      If Chester Hagglemore didn’t exist, Atomikkk Komixxx would still have happened because Pete would have tripped over the Hope Diamond in a parking lot or the winning Powerball ticket would have been blown into his face by a heavy breeze or he would have discovered the Mona Lisa at a garage sale…

  4. be ware of eve hill

    Let’s make ‘The Scorch’ and ‘The Oceanaire’ both postmenopausal. That way we can joke that ‘The Scorch’ suffers from hot flashes and ‘The Oceanaire’ retains water.

    C’mon, Batty. Older women can be superheroes too! You misogynistic ageist!

    • be ware of eve hill

      Speaking of older women, where’s Ruby Lith?

      Chester: Sorry Rube old girl, I have to let you go. I can’t afford both you and Phil. Mindy doesn’t require much of a salary and she was hired mainly to make Pete happy. Please clear out your desk by the end of the day.

      Have we seen Ruby in the AK offices since Comic-Con? Perhaps after her HOF moment got overshadowed by the resurrection of Phil Holt, she died of a broken heart. Ugh. Men!

      • Suicide Squirrel

        On a slow tramp steamer to Russia?

        Taken her talents to South Beach?

        Died of a broken heart? She and Flash had a thing going until Phil rose from the grave.

        Most likely, Ruby is working in her little corner of the office, listening to her records, and staying as far away as possible from this conversation.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      Which reminds me of the joke about the two principal newspapers in the Soviet Union, “Pravda” and “Izvestia.” “Pravda” means “truth” and “Izvestia” means “news,” thus…

      “There is no izvestia in ‘Pravda’ and no pravda in ‘Izvestia.'”

      If they went with “Aqualady,” would she have an evil half-sister known as the Ocean Mistress?

      Tom Curry, Aquaman’s father, was a lighthouse keeper, but, as far as I know, was not the inspiration for Erika Eigen’s “I Want to Marry a Lighthouse Keeper.”

  5. newagepalimpsest

    Mindy is acting out because she’s having flashbacks to the time ten years ago in 2041 when Lillian made her teach her Computers. What’s Darrin’s excuse?

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Am I the only one who looks at Crankshaft Mindy and Winkerbean Mindy and forgets they’re supposed to be the same person? There is no continuity of behavior. Mindy is truly the blandest of bland tofu characters, a block of beige filler, absorbing the flavor of anything around her.

      • bobanero

        I hadn’t even thought about that connection. The main thing that is bothering me about this current Crankshaft arc (other than the fact that this is probably the fifth time that I’ve seen an “old people don’t understand new technology” story that plays out exactly the same every time) is that, a lot of the “humor” has revolved around Lillian’s reliance on a Kodak Carousel Slide Projector for her book presentation. This begs the question, what could Lillian have on these slides that makes them pertinent to anything that she’s going to say about her novels? Is she just going to show Ektachromes from her 1972 European Vacation? If the content of the slides is pertinent to her presentation, how did she get them printed?

        • Hannibal's Lectern

          This has been bothering me as well. She’s promoting her book, which (as far as I know) is just words on a page, no illustrations. What use does she then have for visual aids? My first thought was that when this “story” came (mercifully) to its end, we’d find there was only one slide in the carousel, and it was just a picture of the book’s cover. All that work for, effectively, nothing. Ha-ha, almost a punch line! But I realized Battocks would never stoop so low as to have a punch line, so I suspect we’ll just move on to something else and never actually see Lillian’s presentation.

  6. J.J. O'Malley

    Sadly, Pete immediately squandered his brief moment of goodwill from The Late Phil Holt by adding that the new heroine’s secret ID should be Vietnamese-American marine biologist Helene Hu, thus enabling them to title her origin story “Hu Wants to Be an Oceanaire?”.

  7. Hitorque

    1. Do none of these idiots have anything else they should be working on right now?

    2. “Aqua-Lady!” “Water Woman!” “The Oceanaire!”

    I just want to remind y’all that these three non-ironic suggestions came from three geeks who have been reading comics their entire lives — And two of these geeks are literally the HIGHEST PAID CREATIVE TALENTS IN THE INDUSTRY!!

    3. And for a couple of legendary industry fossils, Buzz and Phillip sure seem to have a lackadaisical attitude towards the creative process.

    4. Another daily reminder that Phillip Holt faked his death, went off the grid and lived in self-imposed exile for 3-4 years just so he could develop his beloved Sub-Terranian in peace and quiet away from distraction. And in that time did he create a multiverse of heroes and villains with full backstories along with dozens of potential storylines? Nope, all he had to show for his labor was SOME BASIC CONCEPTUAL ARTWORK AND NOTHING ELSE!

    5. I don’t know who needs to hear this, but if your business is creating comics for kiddies and teenagers and the **average** age of your creative staff is somewhere between 55-60 years old, it’s time to rethink your business model…

    • Maxine of Arc

      I’m pretty sure kiddies don’t even read comics anymore. Based on every trip I’ve ever made to the comic shop, the youngest regular readers are older teens and college kids. That doesn’t mean you can’t pitch lighthearted stories and that they can’t be successful- I can’t do Grim and Gritty but I enjoy titles like Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Patsy Walker a/k/a Hellcat, She-Hulk, hell, I even loved the Jem comics from a couple of years ago. It DOES mean that you can’t pitch stuff that is clearly meant only for 8-year-olds and expect it to go anywhere. That just isn’t the market. In Batty’s world, comix haven’t changed in any way since 1955.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        And Batiuk is hostile to so many concepts that seem central to the comic book experience nowadays. Like alternate/shared continuities. You’d think Mr. Storyteller Who Totally Should Have Gotten That Job At Marvel would understand the utility of multiple continuities. They let you do things with the characters that you couldn’t do if one overarching reality had to be adhered to at all times. But Atomik Komix thinks this is some kind of virtue:

        And it’s another example of what iota said, that Batiuk fails to adhere to his own standards. Having only one universe and a “quarter inch from reality” ethos didn’t prevent the Funkyverse from becoming a continuity shitshow.

      • hitorque

        At least in the Funkyverse I’d be pretty sure kids are reading stuff like “Wayback Wendy” which always struck me as some time traveling Dora The Explorer ripoff… I’d be honestly shocked if public school libraries, First/Second Grade teachers and Pediatricians/Dentists weren’t buying up those issues in bulk…

  8. Rusty Shackleford

    “ Going over their character roster is the only thing these Atomik Klowns ever do!”. And something Batty never does!

  9. Banana Jr. 6000

    No Flash, Pete did not just have a good idea. Tom Batiuk doesn’t know good ideas from bad, or even how to write a good idea. But his story needs a good idea, so this is the one you need to like.

    This is one of Batiuk’s most annoying tropes: the fact that his in-universe “bad ideas” are no worse than what he presents as his A material.

  10. “The Oceanaire” is a stupid name. It’s more like a description than a name. It’s like Siegel and Schuster saying their hero’s name is “The Man of Steel.”

    • Sourbelly

      It’s very stupid. It sounds like a combination of two “elementals” – water and air. And they’ve already got the air guy, right? Whose superpower is defying gravity or something equally as nonsensical?

  11. Hannibal's Lectern

    I made the mistake of looking at Batty’s blog page. Assuming the typewritten sheet is the story he pitched to DC, I’m not surprised they ripped him up, down and sideways over it. “Quarter inch from reality,” my patootie; this is a quarter inch from plagiarism. See Arthur Clarke’s classic 1955 short story “The Star,” which is essentially the same tale. No wonder Batty is constantly ripping off Marvel and DC characters (“The Scorch”? Really?); he seems to have no concept of what it means to own a character, story or art.

    It’s informative to see the differences in how a master like Clarke and a hack like Batiuk handle the same story: Clarke takes a human perspective (the first explorers to reach the “star of Bethlehem” and explore its planets) and ends the story with a whole lot of hard questions about the nature of the divine. Batty tells us everything, wraps it all up in the kind of evangelical-tract comic book you’d expect to find tucked behind a truck-stop urinal.

    This blog post explains so much…

    • Gerard Plourde

      Wow. It hits on all cylinders: Simplistic, Judgmental, Lacking in any character development.

      • Hannibal's Lectern

        Also multiple typos and grammatical errors. So much for the Lord of Language.

        “Maybe this treatment for Marvel comics wasn’t quite as cliche forty years ago”? Umm, Tom… Clarke’s story had been reprinted at least twice in the fourteen years between its debut in 1955 and your “treatment.”

        Proper comments about Batty’s need for a “treatment” are left as an exercise for the reader.

      • hitorque

        God, it’s a shame the Bulwer-Lytton Competition wasn’t around in 1969 because this is First Ballot Hall-of-Fame material here!

    • hitorque

      Sometimes it’s harder than you think to come up with something truly original… True Story: 10+ years ago the Washington Post was hosting some high-profile all-comers short fiction contest, and while I’ve (still) never written anything longer than newspaper stories in my life, I still fancied myself at the time as having some kind of great untapped literary mind…

      I was so hyped up, because in my mind I knew I had a good chance to make a name for myself… I already had a basic story, characters and plot in my mind cooked up, (Hint: I was going to write a humorous story heavily inspired by “2001 A Space Odyssey” except I would incorporate the world events, pop culture and technology we KNEW existed from the real year 2001, and I was going to be the main character… Then halfway through crafting my outline, it hit me like a bullet through my brain that my story concept was derivative as all fuck and the ideas and gags I thought were original I’d subconsciously stolen from a couple of video games plots and some episodes of “Futurama”… And then every alternate idea I thought about trying died because I realized it came from this movie or that book or that TV show…

      I was SO downfallen and traumatized that the only thing I submitted to the Washington Post was a two-line apology for wasting their time and I haven’t tried to seriously write anything since…

  12. Maxine of Arc

    “Water Woman.”

  13. Banana Jr. 6000

    From the blog post:

    “As my plane circled over (New York), I was suddenly struck by the realization that… the prospect of failure was now a part of the equation.”

    My Lord, what an ego.

  14. batgirl

    Pete’s eye bags appear to have abandoned his tiny pin prick eyes and are attempting escape via his ears.

  15. hitorque

    WAIT JUST A GODDAMNED MINUTE: Are my eyes playing tricks on me, or right behind Darrin is that one of those antique magnetic foil type computers from the 1960s?!

    • billytheskink

      That’s the old (canonically sentient) Westview High School computer from Act I, which found a second life as Holtron (named for undead Phil Holt) in the first Starbuck Jones film, was tackled by Conan O’Brien at a press conference, and was ultimately gifted to Pete and Durwood as they left Hollywood to start up Atomik Komix.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        “We don’t want it to be sold to some wealthy baby boomer, so we’ll give it to the highest-paid writer in comic books for free.”

      • Hitorque

        1. Wouldn’t it belong to the Westview public schools system? Les and those other idiots don’t have the authority to just give it away…

        2. It’s funny because Batiuk continues to illustrate how toxic comics/sci-fi/anime fandom can be…

        3. I love how they’re acting like Pete wasn’t already obscenely compensated for his involvement for the movie… Well, nice to know that extra special gift of a one-of-a-kind freaking sentient computer is living out it’s service life as a surface for coffee mugs and assorted paperwork or whatever…

      • Epicus Doomus

        That was 2018? Seems like ten lifetimes ago.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      That’s probably the hugely valuable prop from the Starbuck Jones movie that they just gave Pete and Darrin for free for no reason. Which in turn was Holtron, the machine gun-wielding hall monitor from Westview High School in the 1980s.