Godiva, But with Her Pajamas On

At this point, the Komix Kritik “Travis Brickel” is literally in Mindy’s face, complaining about Atomix’ women characters unsuitability for, uh, one handed reading. Even if her riposte is once again less than scathing, Mindy’s gaze is steely, and she’s clearly standing her ground. We can’t expect her to rely on Pete to defend her: he’s got his back turned to her and Skyler, perusing a comic book whose pages are solid blue. Now that’s some #@!*🌩 coloring!

51 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

51 responses to “Godiva, But with Her Pajamas On

  1. Okay, I don’t get this at all. The female characters look like real women? Uh, what? Are they supposed to look like Penthouse Pets?

    Hasn’t this been the norm for comics since forever? Except for Power Girl, I guess. (She has a costume that showcases her cleavage.}

    • J.J. O'Malley

      Frankly, I think the norm has always been for them to look like pin-ups, from the Golden Age days of Phantom Lady, Black Cat, Sheena Queen of the Jungle, and of course that bondage-loving Wonder Woman up to such modern characters as Red Sonja, Power Girl, Starfire, and others. In the last decade or so the trend may have been to a more diverse body range (see the Kamala Khan Ms. Marvel or indie heroine Faith), but the old saying that the heroines have large chests because the heroes have large chests still carries some weight. Or, as Pete would say if he wasn’t desperately hiding his saggy punim in a book to avoid eye contact, “Hey, what about the Scorch? She sure has a HOT bod! Get it? Get it?”

      Speaking of the Mopey one…”You’re Losing the room, Groucho!”? Yeah, way to come up with a contemporary riposte, Zeppo!

    • Hitorque

      Maybe he’s more into Japanese manga? If he likes him some tig ol’ bitties and highly oversexed girlie characters, he’s been reading the wrong type of comics his whole life…

  2. Epicus Doomus

    Yeah, Pete’s bride-to-be is in a heated argument (about comic books, no less) with some deranged weirdo and he’s got his face buried in a comic book. Sheer cowardice.

    And in what universe are The Oceanaire and Wendy Wayback “normal women”? He’s riffing on “ordinary looking women” a few days after that Oceanaire cover? Please.

  3. Travis has a point. The Batom Comics women were a helluva lot hotter.

    • billytheskink

      Hotter than The Scorch?!

      • Epicus Doomus

        Isn’t it incredible how much of FW you forget almost instantly? All things considered, I have a pretty damn good memory and that includes remembering way, way too much FW, but still, whole huge swaths of it just vanish from my mind ten seconds after I finish reading it.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          That’s because all of it is exactly the same. Especially all of the comic book covers. Compare “Scorch” here to “Subterranean”, “Oceanaire”, and “Atmos Quake” or whatever Air Man’s name was. They’ve all got the exact same layout and design:

          To say nothing of how derivative these are from real-life comic books.

  4. Sourbelly

    “Losing the room”? What room, you and Li’l Skylab? And Groucho? Mopete, please stop trying to be clever. It’s just not a part of your, um, “skillset”. Why not just tell this weirdo the truth: “Sure, loser, we produce garbage, but we make 100x more money than you do, and we barely do any work! We win!”

    • RudimentaryLathe?

      And why is Skynet even here? I know the week’s not over but so far his presence hasn’t been relevant to this “plot” in the slightest. The poor kid’s just a captive audience watching two so-called grown-ups scream at each other.
      Why does Batty put children in this strip at all? He clearly has no interest in depicting the childhood experience – and that’s OK, not everyone has to be a Schulz or a Watterson; but don’t dredge child characters up if you’re not going to make them *characters*

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        It’s bad enough that child characters aren’t *characters*. Their parents don’t even acknowledge that they exist. Darrin and Jessica act like they don’t even have any kids. They spend tons of time doing stupid, self-indulgent shit like going on virtual ice cream dates, with no babysitter in sight. If this were The Sims, a social worker would have shown up to take Skyler away by now.

      • gleeb

        Schuyler is there so the reader can say, “such language in front of a child!”

  5. none

    Complete zero respect and class by Pepe.

    My wife is a freelance artist. If someone got in her face about her work, the last place I would be would be anywhere but at her immediate side. Confrontation involving your spouse/etc. isn’t something you just walk away from. Absolutely pathetic.

    Why does he think that this is a good look for the character?

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      It’s even worse than that. Pete and Mindy have completely forgotten they’re supposed to be protecting this child. They have allowed this possible predator to get between them and Skyler. If he wanted to harm or abduct Skyler, all he’d have to do is turn around.

      And look at Skyler’s face. He knows this isn’t right. He’s looking at Mindy like “shouldn’t you be protecting me somehow?”

      This isn’t happenstance. Skyler was appropriately guarded in Tuesday and Wednesday’s strips. Mindy and Pete yielded their protective position, because this comic book argument is more important. Pete took the further step of turning 180 degrees away completely, hiding his face in a new comic book, and leaving his girlfriend to handle an angry confrontation with a strange man. His next stop should be at the emergency room to get an engagement tiger removed from his ass.

      Fuck Mindy, Pete, Darrin, Jessica, Jessica again for being all “I have to give up Hollywood to raise my child” and then never being seen with it, Skunk Head John for letting this go on in his store, and Tom Batiuk for four different reasons: thinking this is cute; not knowing what “losing the room” means; being a hypocrite about the portrayal of women; and being unable to write a plausible fan complaint when we give him a customized list of them every single day.

  6. Mela

    If you’re going to invoke the name of Groucho, at LEAST make it a funny line.

  7. billytheskink

    Travis is picky. Reading this strip I’d settle for someone simply acting like an ordinary real woman…

  8. RudimentaryLathe?

    How the fuck would anyone in this universe know what an Ordinary Real Woman even is? Every female character exists to play enabler to some male “hero” (except of course when they’re embodying overwrought wimmen-be-shoppin stereotypes). And there are exactly three physical models: blonde twink, boyish brunette and blobfish in a wig.
    I know I shouldn’t let a decades-irrelevant comic strip get to me but it really is disgusting how Batiuk can depict women the way he does and then have the audacity to pretend he’s striking a blow against misogyny.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      And it isn’t even HONEST! Of the AK comics cover’s we’ve gotten with women, all of the positive female characters have all been attractive and as sexualized as is common today. Look at the pose for the Oceanaire from just a few days ago. Yeah, she doesn’t have ridiculous Liefeld proportions, But the jut of her hips, the roundness of her butt, the lipstick, the brows, all present her as a woman well above average in beauty. She looks like she could be real, but definitely NOT ordinary.

      • Epicus Doomus

        They should create a new female superhero who looks exactly like Elly Patterson. They could call her “Neurotica”. It would appeal to that key 40-55 female demographic that the comic book industry continues to ignore.

        But seriously, Travis might as well accuse the AK characters of being too imaginative, as there isn’t even a single “ordinary woman” in the AK stable, thus he’s dealing in inexplicable falsehoods here.

        • RudimentaryLathe?

          I would actually love to see a comic where a middle-aged heroine navigates the world of espionage using her experience as a PTA member, or something similar. That could be a lot of fun if it were done right (for starters don’t give her Elly’s personality 😋).

      • Y. Knott

        Yes. I mean, he has the gall to run this strip only THREE DAYS after we saw the fairly Playboy-esque curves of the heavily sexualized Oceanaire. Yeesh.

        Tom Batiuk is clearly a narcissist, which I suppose is mostly his problem. But his memory issues are really starting to signal early-onset dementia, which may rapidly become the syndicate’s problem as well. (This is exactly what I suspect is happening with Brooke McEldowney….)

        • hitorque

          McEldowney is just a straight-up deviated prevert, and the less said about his personal politics, the better…

  9. Gerard Plourde

    I’ve been at a complete loss trying to figure out the point of this week’s outing. At first I thought (like others here) that TomBa was trying to skewer his critics, but today’s installment is truly mystifying. Is TomBa revealing his preference for surgically augmented women? The BaTom cover with Jupiter Moon definitely reflects the Silver Age prototype with breast profiles that only became possible with the advent of implants. I hesitate to posit what we’ll encounter in the Friday and Saturday wrap-up. (And will we see another single sideways panel on Sunday?)

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I think Batiuk is trying to skewer his critics, but he doesn’t know how. He has so insulated himself from any plausible complaints about his work, and is so incapable of introspection, that he can’t even write a fan complaint when the story calls for one. This is the best he can do.

      “Women in comic books should be more sexualized” isn’t a sentiment that people vocalize. It’s an unconscious consumer preference. Sex sells, almost all comic book buyers are male, and there are industry-wide notions of what superheroes are “supposed” to look like. A more self-aware comic strip would have some fun with this, like Calvin and Hobbes and their “most common superpower.”

      • Charles

        I think you’re right with him being insulated. He has, however, appeared to put some thought into this by having this guy make these complaints to Mindy, who did the coloring he complimented and had at least one strip where she criticized Dorkin and Mopey for the overly sexualized conception of one or more of their female characters.

        But as you say, that’s the best he could do. Know what you could change to make this funny? Involve Pete more in this argument and have him present a united front with Pete and Mindy against the guy until the guy compliments Mindy’s work. At that point Mindy does a 180 and immediately starts defending the guy’s opinions. “You know, he kind of has a point. Your stories ARE rather derivative and uninspired.” (Note I have to come up with a more concrete criticism than Batiuk has here, which isn’t really much more specific, which really shows how little thought he put into this guy’s complaints)

        Or if he doesn’t want to go in that direction, he could have Pete do essentially the same thing from the opposite angle. “HA! Now I KNOW you don’t know what you’re talking about because the coloring is EASILY the weakest part of our production!”
        “Uh, Pete?”
        “It’s so bad that sometimes its badness overwhelms what else is going on on the page!”
        Pete grabs a random AK comic that’s sitting there because of course it is.
        “I mean, look at this crap! What the hell is going on with the blue on this page?”
        “Why didn’t you tell me?”
        “When you’ve been friendzoned as often as I have, you wouldn’t believe all the crap I’m willing to smile and nod over just to keep you around.”

      • Charles

        Also, perhaps Batiuk realized that if he had Tundra Top there make a plausible complaint about the women in Atomik Komix, he couldn’t easily dismiss it. So he sacrifices the plausibility in order to make it an easily dismissed complaint that makes the complainant look like an idiot.

        “All the women in your comics are ugly!”
        “WELL…. ugly women exist, you know!”

        Thinking more about it, since the whole endeavor was sold to Mopey and Dopey as a way to bring back Silver Age comics, meaning that there’s no subtext or depth to any of the stories, their comics sound really dire. It’s shallow reading by definition and that deficiency isn’t made up by having the thing interesting to look at at least.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          (Batiuk) sacrifices the plausibility in order to make it an easily dismissed complaint that makes the complainant look like an idiot.

          Yes, that’s exactly what he’s doing. The character is a straw man. Batiuk isn’t interested in a serious discussion about comic books, or even a story with any emotional weight to it. He’s interested in lecturing the world about hwo to do comic books correctly. All he knows is silver age=good and Atomik Komix=silver age, so Atomik Komix=good. Anyone who disagrees with that is wrong by definition.

          You hint at another problem when you say “this endeavor was a way to bring back silver age comics.” Well, buxom superheroines and damsels in distress are a big part of that aesthetic. It is possible to evoke a past art style, and leave its problematic aspects in the past (viz. Cuphead). But Tom Batiuk is incapable of nuance. So when he raises the issue of portrayal of women, he’s putting Atomik Komix at odds with itself. And, he’s being a hypocrite,

          Another problem is Atomix Komix’ role in the industry is unclear. They should be a niche publisher, either of silver age-style comics, and/or “Asylum”-like copyright ripoffs. But Batiuk’s ego won’t allow that, and his awful writing just lets everything be whatever it needs to be for each story. Again, it’s at odds with itself.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        Even if 50% of comic book readership were female, the majority would still want visually appealing and attractive characters to look at. See, for example, any trashy show that young women squeal over on the WB. Or heck, even romance comics of the 60’s and 70’s.

        • Charles

          Seriously. I don’t think the appeal or the familiarity of James Bond would be improved at all if he were played by a slubby suburban dad.

    • William Thompson

      I want this week’s arc to end with Mohawk Boy noticing Mopey and beating him to a pulp, inedible or not.

  10. William Thompson

    Add “How comic-book fans argue over comic-book problems” to the list of things Batiuk doesn’t understand. Although I’ll admit, Mopey Pete cowers with a subtle realism.

  11. Y. Knott

    Full Marx for the Groucho reference in the blog post title!

    The full song, for those who don’t know it:

    Oh Lydia, oh Lydia, say have you met Lydia?
    Lydia, the Tattooed Lady
    She has eyes that folks adore so
    And a torso even more so

    Lydia, oh Lydia, that encyclopydia
    Oh Lydia the Queen of Tattoo
    On her back is the Battle of Waterloo
    Beside it the wreck of the Hesperus, too
    And proudly above waves the red, white, and blue
    You can learn a lot from Lydia

    When her robe is unfurled, she will show you the world
    If you step up and tell her where
    For a dime you can see Kankakee or Paris
    Or Washington crossing the Delaware

    Oh Lydia oh Lydia, say have you met Lydia?
    Oh Lydia the Tattooed Lady
    When her muscles start relaxin’
    Up the hill comes Andrew Jackson

    Lydia oh Lydia, that encyclopydia
    Oh Lydia the queen of them all
    For two bits she will do a mazurka in jazz
    With a view of Niagara that nobody has
    And on a clear day you can see Alcatraz
    You can learn a lot from Lydia

    Come along and see Buff’lo Bill with his lasso
    Just a little classic by Mendel Picasso
    Here is Captain Spaulding exploring the Amazon
    Here’s Godiva but with her pajamas on

    Here is Grover Whalen unveilin’ the Trilon
    Over on the West Coast we have Treasure Island
    Here’s Najinsky a-doin’ the rhumba
    Here’s her social security numba

    Oh Lydia, oh Lydia that encyclopydia
    Oh Lydia the champ of them all
    She once swept an Admiral clear off his feet
    The ships on her hips made his heart skip a beat
    And now the old boy’s in command of the fleet
    For he went and married Lydia!

    • J.J. O'Malley

      Upvote for pretty much the only good scene in “At the Circus.”

      • Maxine of Arc

        And one of the best scenes in “The Philadelphia Story.” Virginia Weidler was always the only child actor from that era I could stand.

    • billytheskink

      I may or may not have once gotten in trouble for referring to some good friends’ infant daughter as “Lydia the tattooed baby”…

  12. Hitorque

    1. So much for showing the rugrat a good time… They’ve already forgotten he’s in tow. And is this kid mute? He’s never said anything and doesn’t look like he’s enjoying himself…

    2. Pete is a shameless coward and DSH John is an even bigger coward for not kicking this asshole out his place of business 3 days ago… Odd that we haven’t heard a single word from John since Mr. 40-year-old Incel started his rant even though we know he’s literally six feet away and can see/hear everything…

    3. Batiuk can’t even mock trolls properly…For all the legit complaints he could have about AK, dude is bitching and moaning about coloring and women not being drawn with enough T&A (which is ironic given that Batiuk’s Funkyverse gallery is chock full of the blandest most unremarkable generic template women imaginable, even the supposedly attractive ones; with exception of Cindye Sommerse-Winkerbeane-Jarre, who is allowed to be the sexiest senior citizen not named Helen Mirren)… It’s funny because this dude is at least in his mid-30s and his “criticism” sounds like it’s from a 12-year-old…

    3a. It’s funny because for someone who hates AK this much, dude evidently buys/reads everything they put out for his gripes to be this specific… Which reminds me about a story I read back in the mid-90s when Howard Stern was on top of the world: According to a survey, Howard’s biggest fans on average listened to about an hour of his three hour show every day. But Howard’s biggest haters, the moralizing prudes constantly demanding he be taken off the airwaves reportedly listened for twice as long, just hoping to hear something they could get outraged over and call their congressman or FCC to lodge an official complaint…

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      #1: You think they ever cared about showing the rugrat a good time? No, Pete is just doing what Pete wants to, and everyone else can either go along with it or shut up. Just like Les and his dead Lisa, and Dinkle and his band, all activities must center on what Pete wants at all times. And Pete only has one interest.

      #3a: Atomik Komix might be a low-quality publisher, but it’s irrational to get in an argument in the store about them. Just buy the comic books you like and ignore the ones you don’t. Sheesh.

  13. The Duck of Death

    This is Tom straw-manning his own critics in his mind. Instead of reading actual criticism (available fresh daily at two sites!), he decides that people are criticizing him for being “a quarter inch from reality.” Then he can defend himself because his supposedly real-looking female superheroes are a blow for feminism, or something.

    FWIW, I think one of the most truly “feminist” superheroes I’ve ever seen was Elastigirl, from The Incredibles, who looks nothing like a real woman. In fact, every female in that movie, from young Violet to Edna Mode, was a fully fleshed-out character with a distinct physical look, a real personality, and believable, independent behavior that flowed from their character. Things Batiuk hasn’t even achieved once in 50 years, and the Pixar writers did it in two hours. And it was done without physical realism. Why should cartoon characters look exactly like real people? They’re cartoons. What people actually hate about FW is the cardboard personalities, which change from day to day depending on the joke or crisis TB wants to depict, the lack of distinctive physical looks for the women, and the lack of agency/gumption they all display.

    It’s so much easier to knock down the flimsiest of straw men (“we don’t like your work becuz not enough boobz, bruh!”) than to deal with real criticism (your in-universe comics are derivative and boring, and presented with great fanfare and then promptly forgotten — and your regular characters have no personalities, especially if they’re women).

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Tom Batiuk interprets every criticism as a proof of his own greatness. People didn’t like the endless moping and pointless tragedy in Act II? They just don’t like serious stories in comic strips. People don’t like the characters? They don’t like that I let them age realistically, unlike those inferior comic strips. They point out my constant continuity errors? They’re beady-eyed nitpickers. It never ends.

  14. The Duck of Death

    I also have to add: TB knows or cares so little about actual women that when he actually has one show a little spirit, it’s only in the service of what he, a man, wishes he could say.

    Actual women, when confronted by an extremely unhinged man in public, will almost never escalate by aggressively yelling back. They will try to get away or placate the dangerous person. Even physically strong women don’t stand a chance against an average man, and men who accost a female stranger in public with angry yelling are men who might get violent. Women instinctively know this. Batiuck doesn’t, and neither do the men in the store. This is, ironically for the woke Batiuk, the epitome of male privilege: The privilege of having a screaming altercation with a strange man without fearing for your life.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Batiuk knows and cares so little about women that he doesn’t see today’s scene as a gigantic red flag in a relationship. Hey, Pete, that’s the woman you said you wanted to marry; you think maybe you should get involved here? Was it really the right move to bury your nose in a comic book you weren’t reading five seconds ago, and let your wife and a 6-year-old child fend for themselves against a hostile man?

      I am reminded of the Joe Agate plot in Peanuts. Joe Agate was a bully who tricked little kids, including Rerun, into giving him his marbles. What did Charlie Brown do? He confronted Joe Agate, called him out for what he was, then crushed him in a game of marbles and won back what the little kids had lost. Charlie Brown, the epitome of a sad sack loser, knew when it was right to stick up for someone who needed help. Why doesn’t Pete know this?

      • William Thompson

        I think Batiuk is trying to make Mopey Pete look cool and in control here. While Mindy gets all emotional and hyper, Mopey stays calm like a proper comic-book hero. He won’t react until Mohawk Boy gets physical. Then, uh, he’ll do something heroic, like threaten to dial 911, and the bad guy will run away. Mindy, emotionally-volatile girl that she is, will melt in his arms, call him a hero, and beam in approval when the encounter inspires a new superhero for Sideways Sunday.

        (I’m sure that this isn’t half as nauseating as what will really happen.)

  15. billytheskink

    TB and women have been a challenge since day 1:

    • The Duck of Death

      Yes, the very first strip and he’s already kicking at a straw man: “Women’s Lib.” Tom, you schmuck, the reason you put girls in a high school strip about boys is not because “Women’s Lib” militants stridently demand it. It’s because girls are part of boys’ lives. Often, girls are the primary focus of boys’ lives. And they are half of the student body in a high school.

      Did he not realize that, or did he just know early on that he wasn’t up to the challenge of writing female characters?

      • ComicBookHarriet

        I think that it’s laughable he attempted a [sarcasm] stunningly diverse cast [/sarcasm] in his first strip, only to memory hole the non-white and non-male characters so hard that many dedicated readers don’t even know they existed.

        From day one, he was attempting to signal virtues he completely lacked the focus or dedication follow through on.

    • Y. Knott

      I’ve never seen this before. It’s …. not the intro to something I’d expect to run for fifty years, and inspire two long-running spin-offs to boot.

      Les and Roland both have mildly amusing lines, though.

  16. I don’t have much to say that hasn’t already been said, but Pete is such a loser. He’s probably not even going to buy the book that he just blue all over.