Nothing Is Really Work Unless You Would Rather Be Doing Something Else

You really work for Atomik Komix?” “Well, I generally come in at least fifteen minutes late…ah, I use the side door…that way Chester can’t see me, heh heh – and, uh, after that I just sorta space out for about an hour. Yeah, I just stare at my desk; but it looks like I’m working. I do that for probably another hour after lunch, too. I’d say in a given week I probably only do about fifteen minutes of real, actual, work.” Yeah, I stole that from Office Space, which is light years funnier, truer to life, and more timely than Funky Winkerbean.

For a comics geek, this guy is more than a little intimidating. His menacing demeanor, drab coat, and especially his Mohawk remind me of DeNiro in Taxi Driver…let’s call him Travis Brickel. Not only does he swear in front of a small child, by panel three he’s advanced on our group. And he’s totally just ignoring Pete, which is hilarious. I don’t think Pete’s panel 3 expression is fear; he’s just really hurt by what the guy said.

This strip actually might have been compelling had Batiuk kept it to only two panels. Check out my hastily composed edit:

Instead, he just has to give Mindy a comeback. Instead of shooting back with some #@!*🌩 of her own, the best sick burn she’s able to muster is a passive aggressive “Nice to meet you too!” Batty doesn’t even bother to put her words in one of those speech bubbles with icicles hanging off it.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

51 responses to “Nothing Is Really Work Unless You Would Rather Be Doing Something Else

  1. Epicus Doomus

    “Hey, Batiuk! Maybe you oughta spend less time aimlessly gazing out that f*cking pizzeria window and a little more time explaining how Becky’s mom got off that scissor lift! I mean, what the f*ck was that, huh?”

    “Grrrr. I hate these obnoxious hard-core fans. But it does give me an idea. It might be very funny if I had Pete visiting a comic book shop and…”

    I’ll never understand this weird love/hate thing he has with the comic books. He obviously loves his own memories of reading them back in the day, but he seems to pretty much hate everything that came after those memories. It’s almost as if he has some sort of deranged fantasy about being the only comic book fan, like they should have ceased to exist when he left for college or something. He hates collectors, he hates the fans, he hates everything new unless it’s retro, yet he simultaneously wallows in and obsesses over them. It’s all very strange, in a really boring kind of way.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Tom Batiuk loves comic books, but he hates people who do not read comic books correctly. The correct way is to obsess over the cover, analyze the story like a pretentious 9-year-old writing a book report, and comment on which of the contributors you like. Every one of his “Flash Friday” blog entries follows this format.

      There are also taste issues, like multiple universes are wrong and confusing; the Internet is bad and should be avoided; The Flash, especially issue #110, is the quintessential comic book; the cheesy 1960s Batman TV show was a crime against humanity; there is no upper age limit to reading comic books designed for said 9-year-olds; there are no types of comic books other than silver age superhero stories; the Comics Code is to be mocked, even though it has been out of use for 20 years now; and above all else, comic book creators are never, ever, ever to be criticized under any circumstances..

      There’s really no excuse for people enjoying comic books in their own way, when Tom Batiuk has made it very clear how you’re supposed to.

    • Your avatar of Montoni’s head chef Marcello Mastriani is priceless! #istandinline

  2. People who criticize Batom or his AromiK Komicks knock-off work aren’t really worthy of a quality riposte. That’s the lesson here.

  3. William Thompson

    So does Skylark kick The Critic in the shin, or does he say something clever (hey, does he talk yet?) Either way, what are the odds that his heroism will inspire a new AK superhero. Watch Scalar “Skyler” Vector attack Mighty Mouth the space barbarian!

    • newagepalimpsest

      That’s got to be the only reason Skylar has appeared in the strip for the first time since… 2018?

  4. Sourbelly

    Baldy McSayswhatwe’reallthinking really shouldn’t be swearing within earshot of li’l Skylab. Or worse yet, poor li’l Mopey-Poopooface.
    Luckily, Windy rebuffs him with her biting riposte.

  5. none

    “See! None of you can say that my strip is pure wish fulfillment! See THE CONFLICT? Take THAT!”

    Watch this turn out to be the shmoe who wrote that letter about gravitational theory last Monday.

    If not, well, I can foresee one of two things:
    1) Skunky heroically evicts The Flash(er) before anything escalates.
    2) The Flash(er)’s basis for criticism is fully based on something superficial and ultimately irrelevant.

    Surprise me, dear author. Make the criticism about the story – about the things that all of these characters actually suposedly do – so that we can see it for the first time.

  6. DickJohnson

    Got to say that Travis Brickel is now my new favourite character, a low bar to be sure but its something

  7. billytheskink

    I’m with Brickel here, I also find it hard to believe anyone works for Atomik Komix.

  8. Banana Jr. 6000

    This is like being mad at the makers of the movie Sharknado for not trying harder to win an Oscar. Being a low quality ripoff is the entire point. Hanging out in a comic book store looking for new and better comic books to rip off is about the best thing Pete could be doing with his time.

  9. Phil

    “Hey, Pete, how many people work at Atomik Komix?”

    “I’d say about half.”
    Ah – one of the classic jokes.

  10. Hitorque

    It’s funny because Peter Rattabastardo should be an instantly recognized face and household name in the world of comics geekdom… And just like with frequent visitor Batton Thomas, it never freaking occurs to DSH John to take photos or ask for some autographs or announce it on social media because God forbid he try to draw more potential customers and business to his homely little rundown shack of a store…

    If this criticism is made in good faith, now’s the time for Peter and Mindy to actually ask Mr. Roid Rage what he doesn’t like about their line of comics offerings… Because Atomikkk Komixxx has been around for a minute now, with a practically unlimited budget thanks to Chester, and a literal Hall-of-Fame Dream Team of creative talent and IIRC, this is the *first* real, authentic reader feedback we’ve ever seen… And no, that trolling geek asshole who e-mailed Buzzcut a couple weeks back doesn’t count… And if I had to guess, I’m thinking this dude’s problem has something to do with AK’s penchant for neglecting their ever-increasing list of forgettable characters and storylines in lieu of constantly creating brand new forgettable characters and storylines. Because it seems like that little six-person staff is stretching themselves really really thin right now.

    As an aside, I hate how Batiuk constantly has this or that character starting some kind of financial/business venture (and this build-up can last for years in real time) only for the success or failure of such a venture to be a complete fucking anticlimactic afterthought… Complete failures never seem to have ripple effects; astounding successes are never followed up on except for the sacred books of St. Lisa…

    And for all that meaningless bullshit about the Lisa Movie not getting any “distribution” (because big-time Hollywood studios are evidently indifferent when the top actor, sexpot actress and director fresh off their multibillion dollar grossing superhero trilogy return to adapt a New York Times bestselling love story for the screen), WHAT DID THE CRITICS THINK OF IT? WHY DID NOBODY IN ST. LISA’S FREAKING HOMETOWN CARE ENOUGH ABOUT FINDING SOME WAY TO SEE IT? WHY DOES LES BEAR NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE FLOP AS CO-PRODUCER?!

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      The worst example of “no ripple effects” was the closing of the Montoni’s branch in New York City. A failure of that magnitude should have bankrupted Funky. But like Chester at Atomix Komix, Montoni’s has a deus ex benefactore, Tony, who can painlessly absorb all financial losses.

      The Lisa movie failed because Les wanted it to fail. And Les always gets what he wants. Even when it makes no sense. Even when it reflects badly on himself, because he is never held accountable for anything, Least of all his own obnoxious, self-indulgent behavior.

      Tom Batiuk never fails to protect his main characters from every possible consequence of their own actions.

      • The Duck of Death

        THANK you, BJr6000. It’s unfathomably expensive to open a restaurant in NYC — and although I was never able to identify the location of the restaurant (even though I know Ayers must have been using reference photos of some kind), it appeared to be a very large corner somewhere in Midtown Manhattan, some of the most expensive rental real estate on Earth.

        (As an aside: did anyone ever figure out where the place was? In the 4/10/10 strip where Funky closes up the NYC shop, there are street signs visible. One says “58th St” and one says “MOD[unreadable].” The only street that could possibly be is Madison Ave.

        But there is no “58th St” in Manhattan. There are only E. 58th St and W. 58th St. If the building were at 58th and Madison, it would be E. 58th St, but the building is labeled “323,” which means it’s nowhere near Madison.


        And 323 E. 58th is out, because that’s the entrance to the Queensboro Bridge. 323 W. 58th is out, because that’s on Columbus Circle.

        It still irritates me that Batiuk, who harps constantly on his visits to New York and the Lisa Bench in Central Park, would be so specific and yet so damn cluelessly vague and flat-out wrong. Any free tourist map would have helped him, but why consult a map when he is the all-time expert on NYC?)

        • The Duck of Death

          UGH. Well, you can’t say I didn’t try to embed the art. Maybe this will work?

          • hitorque

            Holy damn they started out by giving away FREE pizza? This is a corner joint in midtown Manhattan, not some mom-and-pop stand at the local county fair back in podunk… No wonder Dr. Funk went bankrupt almost instantly.

            If anything, Funkenstein should have tripled his prices just to get New Yorkers to take him seriously…

            Extra credit for Funkenstein thinking that Metro Cleveland and the entire state of Pennsylvania weren’t worth his attention in his expansion plans… Nah, his ass had to go straight to New York City, lol… Now I’m wondering why he didn’t think BIGGER and just skip New York and went straight to London, Barcelona, Paris, Rome, Munich, Warsaw, Budapest, Prague, Bern, Moscow, Mumbai, Beijing, Tokyo, and Sydney? Then he could have hit Honolulu then Los Angeles and continued expanding eastward!

          • The Duck of Death

            The free pizza was being given out after he realized he was unable to sustain the business. Which makes no sense, because you’d want to sell as much as you can until the last minute, to at least make the astronomical rent, and reduce whatever debt your failed business accrued, and make payroll.

            Also, this is not like ice cream or fruit, a perishable that, if not sold, would just be thrown away. Making pizza requires labor and energy (probably a gas oven). It costs money and effort and time. Why would you feel the need to convert a bunch of flour and cheese to pizza, just to give it away to people whose goodwill is useless, because you’re going out of business in a day or two?

            Something tells me Funky isn’t the sharpest pizza cutter in the pizzeria.

        • bobanero

          This is a dude who can’t even get Pete’s last name right (a major character), and randomly changes the spelling of another character’s name (Khahn). Why would you expect him to care about getting geographical details of a NY Pizzeria correct? The whole “Funky makes the big time with a pizzeria in NY” arc made almost as little sense as “Phil Holt comes back from the dead”.

          • The Duck of Death

            Of course you’re right. It’s not that I expected him to get details right (as incredibly easy as that would have been). It’s more that he went to the trouble to put in specific street names and building numbers that were totally unnecessary AND completely wrong. Like he went out of his way to be wrong. Because when he’s wrong he’s still right. Because any criticism is beady-eyed nitpicking.

            He gets the freakin’ curtain rings and counter stools and band box of Luigi’s 100% perfect on the nose when he renders them as Montoni’s. The geography of Manhattan, that storied isle he seems obsessed with? Hey, anything goes! Let’s put the Sears Tower in there! Let’s say the Battery’s up and the Bronx is down! I’m the mighty Tom Batiuk and I am never wrong!

  11. J.J. O'Malley

    Well, to be fair, judging from the covers I’ve seen those Atomik Komix books are pretty #@!*% bad.

    Once again Batiuk manages to put us potty-mouthed, snarky, so-called “fans” in our place. The only stages of fandom in his worldview seem to be eternal man-children who are locked into the (usually Silver) Age of Discovery from their youth, those who snag an industry job to constantly relive said youth, and those who mock and belittle the creators of the books they nonetheless faithfully read/collect.

    Incidentally, in Travis Brickel’s (any relation to a certain scandal-ruined Hollywood comedian?) ‘s two word balloons he manages to say both “Komix” and “comics.” Are they pronounced the same, and how does he get to have one start with a “K” and the other with a “c”?

    • Hitorque

      And that’s just it… There’s tons of legit criticism against AK, starting with the utter lack of diversity and their penchant for nepotism crony hires…

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Almost all of their characters are copyright-evading clones of better superheroes. They constantly introduce new characters and #1 issues and never support any of them with continuing stories. They have no social media, marketing, or industry presence. They have no discernible publishing schedule. They publish rude responses to fan letters. Their overall “silver age” aesthetic is squarely aimed at the 55-and-older crowd, which seems a thin demographic. They’re not cheap, carrying a 3.99 price point, and I think I saw 5.99 once. What we routinely see of their creative process – Pete being unable to come up with ideas and landing on lame ones – suggests poor quality overall. And this week’s arc is probably that they can’t take a shred of criticism.

        • Hannibal’s Lectern

          “And aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?”

        • hitorque

          There’s no company mission, no management structure, no accounting, no tracking of sales figures, no receptionist or even a phone number, Pete is in theory supposed to be running the whole show but never acts like he is, and although Chester is signing all of the paychecks, he isn’t the head or managing editor of AK unless it’s convenient to the story — Otherwise, he’s content to sit in the background and handle the paperwork dealing with printers, wholesalers, vendors, etc…

          In the real world there would be a ton of upcoming or veteran comics writers/artists from Marvel/DC kicking down the door with resumes in hand (especially at the salary Chester is paying)… And yet, one employee got hired for being Pete’s best bro, one employee got hired because she fucks his brains out every night, and the three others are industry legends dragged out of exile or retirement… There’s never been a single outside job interview or applicant and AK has been around at least 3-4 years in Funkyverse time.

          It’s almost like Chester Hagglemore (who’s supposed to be an undisputed business genius worth tens of millions, if not more) doesn’t want AK to grow into some kind of self-sustaining success? After all, Chester could have rented a cheap, no-frills office space for AK… He could have put them in one of his already existing places of business… Hell, he could have had them work solely out of a wing of his gigantic mansion and nothing would have changed… But no, for reasons still unknown to us, Chester decided to freaking buy a nine-story fixer-upper in the gentrified Warehouse District and spent god knows how much renovating and modernizing… Which is fine if you’re planning to make AK into something huge, but after all this time they’re STILL on six employees…

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            Atomik Komix runs on Tom Batiuk’s fantasy business model: give all your money to the self-proclaimed “writing talent” (meaning him) and let them make every single decision with zero oversight or profit motive. And the AK output is a perfect example of the low-quality product you’d get if anyone was ever insane enough to try it.

            On a side note, I refuse to believe that Pete and Mindy actually have sex. I don’t think either of them knows how, or even wants to. They’re both near-fatal cases of Peter Pan syndrome. I can just see the look on Mindy’s face when she learns the logistics of it. “You want to put what where?”

          • ComicBookHarriet

            “It’s almost like Chester Hagglemore (who’s supposed to be an undisputed business genius worth tens of millions, if not more) doesn’t want AK to grow into some kind of self-sustaining success?”

            If the AK becomes self-sustaining, then his importance diminishes. He wants them dependent. Which is why Chester will continue to pour his extra cash into the budget hole he wants to be there. So AK is really HIS, not the ‘fans’ buying the books.

          • billytheskink

            The best thing about Chester insisting on housing Atomik Komix in that decrepit office building he bought (simply because it housed Batom Comics once upon a time) is that the office doesn’t have a restroom. AK’s employees have to go downstairs to a law office’s space to use the restroom.

            Yes, I know this is because TB chose to forget that AK’s owner also owns their office building… but I like to believe it is just Chester passive-aggressively showing that he hates them all.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            Chester’s role doesn’t make any sense at all. If the comic company is just an expensive toy for him, why do we never see him playing with it? He never goes to the office, doesn’t hobnob with any of the legends he’s hired, doesn’t participate in the creation of new characters, doesn’t review or direct any of their output, and doesn’t impose his desires in any way at all. He doesn’t do any of the things a super-wealthy owner with no profit motive would actually do.

          • J.J. O'Malley

            As a small example of Atomik’s business strategy, I’m forced to bring everyone back to the summer’s San Diego Comic-Con/Resurrection of Phil Holt storyline. SDCC (when it’s actually held live) is the biggest pop culture gathering on the globe, yet at no point did we see or hear anything about AK setting up a booth, having its staff–who were ALL there!–attend panels or do signings, hand out free issues or posters to attendees, or take part in any of the activities a small publishing house might. No, everyone flew from Ohio to California just to watch Flash and Ruby get their shoehorned-at-the-last-minute HOF kudos, and then marvel at the return of The Late Phil Holt. You’re comic book creators at a comic book convention! Do something to promote your output!

  12. Y. Knott

    I….I actually like a character in Funky Winkerbean. I want the next two weeks of strips to consist of nothing but following this guy around Westview as he insults people.

    What will he say to Funky? To Harry Dinkle? To Les Moore?

  13. Dood

    Didn’t Travis Brickel have a falling out — “Are you flinging poo at me?” — with Zanzibar?

  14. Bad wolf

    Why do i get the feeling this is TB’s not very on the ball response to ‘comics gate’ (circa 2017)… “Take that, ya incels!”

  15. Gerard Plourde

    A beedy-eyed nit-picker in the Komix Korner! Will DSH eject the heretic from the sacred precints?

  16. Hannibal’s Lectern

    Travis Brickel’s faith in the AtomiKKK KomiXXX crew is an inspiration to us all. I mean, he actually believes their “books” would be better if they spent more time at the factory working on them. That’s touching.

  17. bigd1992

    I have a new favorite FW character

  18. The Duck of Death

    Just spitballin’ — maybe the guy is salty because none of the Atomikkkommmmixx titles have any interior content, as far as we know. They appear to be just expensive front covers. What’s inside them? Blank pages? Ads? Has anyone ever seen an AK story, or even a page?

    And there never seems to be an Issue #2 for any of the titles either.

    I’m surprised people aren’t at the door of AK with pitchforks, but accosting them with obscenities when you meet them randomly is okay too, I guess.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      See, that would actually be funny “I want to complain about this comic book I bought. There are no pages in it. It’s just a cover. Even the back of it is blank. Am I supposed to hang this on my wall, or what?” That would be some genuine self-deprecating humor on Tom Batiuk’s part. Which is why it will never happen.

  19. Banana Jr. 6000

    Guess what, you guys! Dinkle and the Band Directors Assocation float won’t just be in the real Rose Parade! It’ll be in Funky Winkerbean as well!

    I know. I can barely believe it either. (smirk, eyeroll)

    • Professor Fate

      Words fail me but “AHHHHHHHHH the Horror! The HORROR!” come close.

    • I assume that’s Dinkle in the full band uniform, complete with hat. Naturally, none of the other marchers know how it’s supposed to be done.

    • William Thompson

      Googling uncovered the fact that there’s really a Michael D. Sewell Memorial Foundation, founded in 2017 and dedicated to furthering the work of a band director from (and this is surprising) central Ohio. It’s good to see that Batiuk has expanded his horizons beyond eastern Ohio.

  20. Banana Jr. 6000

    And look how smug those two twerps are when they think they’re going to receive a compliment. “Why, yes, I am a comic book creator,” Mindy’s body language is saying. And she was the Westview Mafia hire (hat tip to Hitorque for coining such an apt phrase) who never cared about comic books until she got hired to be a colorist. But she sure has latched on to Tom Batiuk’s worldview of comic book creators being the highest exemplars of humanity. And Pete’s happy smile turned into a hurt frown the second he realized he wasn’t getting his ego stroked. Negative, critical, overdemanding, and just plain rude fans are part of the business ,and Tom Batiuk needs to stop insulating his characters – and himself – from them.