As expected, a sideways Sunday komix cover that’s 25% the work of Batty and Ayers, with the rest by James Pascoe and colored by Rob Ro. The same team gave us the Subterranean (1st ISSUE!) cover. Judging from what’s on his rather homely website (“.net”, snicker), Pascoe specializes in drawing covers depicting the character flying toward you.
The rest of today’s offering is your typical Batomix Komix mess: the book title, set in distressed digital type (which really irks me when he does it on the “retro” Batom covers), the heavy Photoshop filters, the fictitious trade dress, and, Batty and Ayers’ contribution, the “reality bubble” (which really is a bubble in today’s underwater scene!).
44 responses to “On a Blue Sunday”
Every one of these stupid comic book covers is exactly the same.
Meh. F*ck Batom and his stupid comic book covers and f*ck his reality bubbles too. And the less said about his soul-crushing wordplay and “groaner” gags, the better. What I’m focused on tonight is how we’ve never had even a brief glimpse into who these stupid fictional superheroes are or what they do. “Starbuck Jones” has been prominently featured in the strip for like twelve years now and I’ll be damned if I know the slightest bit about him, other than that it involves space and robots somehow. “The Amazing Mr. Sponge” goes back farther than that and again, that’s all I really know about the character. I’m dying to learn more about “Rip Tide-Scuba Cop” but the title is the full extent of my knowledge there.
So what does this “Oceanaire” even do? Does she live underwater? Or can she fight crime on land, too? Gills, lungs, some combination of both? “Mistress Of The Maelstrom”…what the hell does that mean? And why is she smirking like that? We’ll never, ever find out. Unless Marianne Winters plays her in the movie, of course.
Re: “Mistress of the Maelstrom”: That’s a misspelling on the cover. It’s supposed to suggest that she’s having an affair with a married man named Mal Strom.
Yeah, that threw me too. “Mistress”? Like The Maelstrom is married to someone else? I think it’s pretty amazing how he’s created this vast fictional comic book sub-universe, populated with all sorts of wild characters, then never followed up on any of it, ever. Right now, I actually know LESS about Starbuck Jones than I did when he was still just an old comic book.
You don’t know any more about them because there’s nothing more to know. Tom Batiuk genuinely, sincerely, and whole-heartedly believes that coming up with a name and a hook for a character that makes HIM chuckle (or say “cool!”) means that he has created a brilliantly compelling persona that *everyone* will instantly adore.
He believes this to the very core of his being. And nothing will dissuade him from continuing to act on this belief.
Confession time: I still have a couple of notebooks from my high school/college days that are filled with sketches of superheroes and villains I dreamed of someday bringing to life for DC or Marvel. A lot of them were derivative, but I still think some are darn good (especially seeing what the two companies have spewed out in the last dozen years or so). Thing is, I know these characters’ origins and backstories in my head, and just seeing a name and a costume doesn’t convey any sense of that. That’s the point that TB always seems to forget.
True. It’s actually puzzling that all of these superheroes lack even a rudimentary description of their powers/abilities. Can’t he think of what they might be able to do? Or doesn’t that task interest him?
Why does the Oceanaire look like Mary Worth?
Well-spotted! I was going to ask if Oceanaire’s maelstrom powers are why she has two sets of breasts.
At least she has two arms. From yesterday’s artwork, I was afraid she was yet another amputee in the Funkyverse.
Oh shit, it is Mary Worth. Damn, you just ruined The Oceanaire for me…. The food was kinda overpriced to begin with but now all I can think about are Wilbur and his fishies…
By default, Wilbur and his fish have a much more dramatic and entertaining storyline than anything from Atomik.
(He’s going to flush them down the toilet when he fails to hook up with some lady who works at the aquarium.)
Mistress of Meddling!
May I just take a moment to remind everyone that the flannel-shirted schlub who has spent the past week doing little more than smugly standing around, mouthing inane puns that most Dads would keep to themselves and desperately seeking approval from his mentors, is posited to be Atomik Comics’ premier writer, a creative talent who specializes in wordplay and dialogue?
Not to mention the fact that Pete got them their current jobs, after lengthy periods of total inactivity AND unreported death and insurance fraud. Yet Flash, who took a cool sixty years off, is talking to Pete like HE’S the new guy on the job. It’s like sometimes BatYam just totally forgets who the characters are and/or doesn’t give a shit.
Let’s not forget that the one line Mopey wrote that we’ve been shown is “Once you’ve been kissed by Jupiter Moon, you never forget it, Starbuck Jones!”
I was writing more convincing dialogue when I was 7. And I suspect I’m not alone.
The “reality bubble” is the worst part of these comic book covers. It’s always the snotty, talentless Atomik Komix crew congratulating themselves for whatever lame ripoff character they came up with. Which is really just Tom Batiuk congratulating himself for the same thing.
Here’s another thing I can’t stand about the comic book covers: they aren’t fun. At all. Comic books are supposed to be fun. I think I’ve posted this before, but compare;
Those superhero clones are just as derivative, but the story does something with them. First of all, there actually IS a story. But it also plays off the main characters’ personalities, and has fun with superhero tropes. Other franchises like The Incredibles and The Tick implement their ersatz superheroes much more creatively, and then lets them be their own characters. And they don’t take it all so seriously.
Tom Batiuk can’t let himself have a shred of fun, because he thinks he’s still auditioning for that Marvel job he didn’t get 50 years ago.
Quite the contrary. Tom Batiuk is having LOADS of fun. He gets to ‘create’ comics characters exactly the way he likes: a character name and a slogan. That’s all you need!
He gets to supervise how they are drawn. Real comic book professionals will draw WHATEVER he comes up with! All it takes is the money to pay them!
In his fantasy world, all his creations are always beloved and mega-successful. He does not have to worry about ‘stories’ or ‘character development’ or ‘actual superpowers’. He just needs to come up with a a character name, and some sort of slogan or catchphrase. Like, say … (looks around, sees light coming through window) The Light Ray! Faster than the speed of light! Wow, there’s ANOTHER great character! This is a lot more fun than stinky old Marvel! THEY want me to fill in all the stupid story stuff about my characters that nobody cares about! But people only care about the cover!
I’d be willing to bet that Tom Batiuk doesn’t pay these artists anything…it’s his syndicate that writes the checks.
I doubt that. Batom holds the copyright, so the practice would normally be that the syndicate pays Batom the fee … then it’s up to Batom to apportion the work in whatever way they see fit to have a finished product ready for the deadline. If Batom wants to hire a gagwriter to ghostwrite, and an illustrator to draw the strip, that’s Batom’s decision. But the syndicate won’t pay extra for non-Batiuk contributors, after already having paid once to distribute the strip (to which they don’t hold copyright, remember).
Of course, the syndicate still theoretically edits the material, and could pull a strip if they found it offensive or unpublishable for some reason.
One of the artists commissioned to do a Sunday strip cover discusses the experience here: https://wcgcomics.blogspot.com/2016/04/extracurricular-activities.html
He talks exclusively in terms of dealing with Tom Batiuk. Who, to be fair, seems to treat his commissioned artists with professional respect and then some.
Hmm, I see your point. I was intending to focus on the comic book parody being fun for the reader, which these covers very much are not. But I think he is, on some level, still trying to prove himself to Marvel and DC with this stuff. Let it go, Tom.
Lightray is my favorite New God, even if it was Orion who fought for Earth
The Light Ray is totally different! The Light Ray’s name is three words, not one! And he’s FASTER than light! So, it’s not the same at all!
And besides, I just thought of an EVEN BETTER character while I was at the airport! Sky Cap! He’s the Captain of the entire Sky!
You see why Batom is better than crumby ol’ Marvel or DC? See? See?
I just saw that episode a couple weeks ago!
Never noticed this before, but… that “seal” up in the top-right corner… isn’t that supposed to be “COMICS Code Authority,” not “COMIC Code Authority”? (Quick check of Grandpa Google) Yep, it’s supposed to be plural.
Good ol’ BatYam. Can’t even properly copy a defunct censorship stamp.
Actually, the stamp reads “APPROVED BY THE COSMIC CODE AUTHORITY”.
COMICS ⇒ COSMIC. Perhaps Batty is dyslexic? Was he trying to be funny? What’s cosmic about an underwater superhero?
It’s the “Cosmetics Code” because Batiuk is always putting lipstick on his latest pig of a character.
Tom Batiuk HATES the Comics Code. He blames it for his failure to get that job at Marvel, when he showed up with a bunch of werewolf and vampire stories at a time when that was verboten. Which sounds more to me like he didn’t follow directions. But we all it’s never Tom Batiuk’s fault when the world fails to recognize his brilliance.
He’s taken shots at it before; I remember one “Inedible Bulk” cover where he flat-out called it stupid. Batiuk can’t let anything go, and the Funkyverse lives in a perpetual 1989 anyway.
Also, silver age comic books are the only correct comic books on Planet Batiuk, and the comics code symbol was part of their aesthetic. It’s the kind of detail he would obsess over while completely failing to give the Oceanaire any discernible traits.
Wow. I completely missed that.
I’ll go with “Dyslexic Comic Strip Writers” for $100, Alex…
As for what’s cosmic about an underwater superhero… maybe the bottom of the ocean is where the aliens live, as in “Radio Ranch.” No, wait, that was aliens living underground. The aliens at the bottom of the ocean was “Undersea Kingdom” with Crash Corrigan, which was much better than “Radio Ranch” (admittedly, that’s not saying much).
And may one add, the cover is boring. It’s monochromatic. And nothing is happening other than she’s swimming. Not very dramatic and the trailing arm is well doesn’t fit the rest of the figure. Actually the Saturday sketch was far more visually interesting and what happened to the rod she was carrying?
Again one does not wish to put all the blame on the artist, I suspect that Batuik had final say on the version used and that it’s uninteresting (would you pick this up if you were browsing a comic store? I don’t think so) says a whole lot about Batuik’s taste and not much of it good.
She’s an icky girl, so she isn’t able to do anything but strike a pose. It’s one of Batiuk’s Three Laws of Comic Creation.
She’s not even swimming. She’s doing this weird pose with her butt lifted so it can be displayed for all, and it’s especially weird because it’s facing away from the audience. So these guys have probably drawn women like this for so long that they think it’s a natural pose. Gotta have their women contort in unnatural ways so we can see their breasts and ass at the same time!
Her whole character design seems so random. What’s with the pattern? Does it serve any other purpose than to accent her, uh, “feminine parts”? Why does she have those weird clavicle pads or whatever on the sides of her collar? Why is she not in the ocean? Where IS she and what the hell is she doing?
I guess her power is that she controls water, but I can only conclude that based on negative evidence. There’s so little there that you have to default to only the most vague of suppositions.
Being in a pedantic mood, I looked up the definition of maelstrom in its original nautical context. So it appears from that description that The Oceanic’s superpower is creating whirlpools in the ocean. That’s a pretty context-specific power that doesn’t translate to any beneficial purpose.
On the other hand, creating a whirlpool, exerting a vacuum-like force, sucking things away to their doom… that does seem to sum up AtomiKKK KomiXXX pretty well.
(It’s so nice to be able to say “sucking” without worrying about the nannybot)
I don’t know about you folks, but I think an underwater superheroine should be built like an Olympic swimmer. Those gals have muscles. The Oceanaire in this cover looks like she’d be exhausted after two lengths of the pool.
I understand she has to be drawn “a certain way” to draw in male readers. Don’t guys find athletic women sexy?
You’re right, she’s a little too busty for a world-class swimmer. But I think that’s the least of the problems with this character concept.
Besides, even if the artists gave her a more practical body type, they’d just find a way to sexualize that too. Like Chun-Li of Street Fighter. She looks like she could actually kick your skull in. And that somebody at CAPCOM was definitely into thighs.
“Hey, guys! I thought up the name for Doctor Atmos’ secret identity! F. Art Bellows! Isn’t that great? I think it’s a gas, but maybe it blows?”
I simply can’t be arsed to comment on most of this AtomikkkkKKKKomixxxx stuff. It’s so excruciatingly dull and empty. Every day, the same thing.
PETE: [something stupid and useless]
OTHER CHARACTERS: That is stupid and useless.
But I had to pop in to thank TFH for the title of today’s installment. One of my favorite Doors songs and pretty much the only bright spot in this dreary week.
I’m ready to face the All-Singing, All-Dancing, All-Dinkle runup to the Rose Parade. As long as we’re spared AK and Les, I think I can endure it.
She looks like Camille Paglia ca. 1990.
An apt and totally unexpected observation.
It IS pretty uncanny.