The Duck of Death
December 9, 2021 at 9:23 am
[Tom Batiuk] 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.

Now it’s Mindy’s turn to be the one intimidating a stranger. She leans into Travis Brickel’s personal space: commenting about his “butt,” poking him in the chest, and mingling/mangling sporto metaphors. Only when Mindy’s neutralized the threat does Pete feel emboldened to step in, though he still feels he must use little Skyler as a human shield.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

58 responses to “Minsplaining

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Coming in 2022: Travis’ new comic book, “Perpetual Engagement”, which focuses on the inner workings of a fictional comic book company, takes the comic book world by storm and is optioned into a series of very successful movies. Pete responds with “Comic Book Store Guy”, a new superhero about whom very little is known.

  2. J.J. O'Malley

    Well, Battyuk/Mindy sure put us in our place, didn’t they?

    Can’t wait to hear how little Skycap describes his day out with Aunt Mindy to his folks…assuming they ever see him.

    • Charles

      Can’t wait to hear how little Skycap describes his day out with Aunt Mindy to his folks

      “How was your day with Aunt Mindy, Skyler?”
      “Aunt Mindy got….”
      “Shut the fuck up. I’d explain what a rhetorical question is to you, but I don’t give enough of a shit.”

  3. Ah, it’s the return of the argument “If you don’t have a Pilitzer-nominated strip, you cannot criticize those who do!”

    So, by your own logic, Tom Batiuk, if you have not done anything outside of drawing and writing a terrible comic strip, you have no right to criticize those who have.

    Let’s see how long that lasts.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      It ended before the strip ran.

      After forcing myself to watch four (TV) episodes of (Isaac Asimov’s) Foundation, each time hoping things would get better and start to make sense and failing to find anything remotely akin to the core novels, I opened the airlock and abandoned ship. Asimov’s core work would have survived the transition to the screen just find if only the producers/writers had trusted it. The TV experience lacks intelligence and heart and a basic understanding of the work on which it purports to be based.

      Batiuk did not provide a list of his own TV production experience. I’m sure this was just an oversight.

  4. Phil

    That guy needs to leave now. I think he’s aged about 10 years from the first strip to today.

    • Phillip Craig

      Actually, everybody is aging at an alarming rate this week. Li’l Skylab has grown at least a foot taller since Monday.

  5. Sourbelly

    I hate this concept so much. It’s wrong on all levels imaginable.

    “This comic strip sucks!” “Oh yeah, how many comic strips have you gotten published, loser?!”

    “This movie sucks!” “Oh yeah, how many movies have you written, produced, and starred in, tough guy?”

    “Our quarterback isn’t good enough!” “How did you do as an NFL quarterback, wussy?”

    I guess it’s a way to defend your work when you really can’t defend your work.
    I just hope L’il Skylab is too young to commit this idiocy to long-term memory.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      “Our quarterback isn’t good enough!” “How did you do as an NFL quarterback, wussy?”

      And you’re being told this by Uncle Rico.

      Mindy is a nepotism hire in a specialized role. Batiuk has spent his entire life trying and failing to get a job at Marvel. Pete spent all of last week sucking at his job, all of this week cowering, and today being unable to come up with a witty retort. Where do any of these bozos get off taking a “you haven’t walked a mile in my shoes” attitude about comic book creation?

      I feel no need to prove my skills to people who clearly don’t possess them either. Besides, I post Photoshop edits of Funky Winkerbean strips here all the time. Some are parodies, some are much-needed edits, some point out errors. I stand by all of them as being superior in quality to the originals. And so is the work that other posters do. TFHackett posted an improved version of an FW strip just this Monday! “You try it”? We do, Tom. We do.

      Mindy, Pete, and Tom Batiuk are all insufferable poseurs. Rachel Dolezal says hi to all three of you.

      • Bad wolf

        A few years ago one of the commenters at the gocomics Luann site would post edited strips for laughs. Many, many more laughs than you would get from the source material. I doubt Greg Evans (and daughter) ever noticed but MAN nothing drove the ‘trufans’ up the wall more.

        Eventually they got him (and me) banned and i moved on but yes, i always think an MST3k style ‘riffing’ of a strip is a worthy effort all on its own.

    • Professor Fate

      Yes this – late to the party but as noted elsewhere it was a common enough ‘defense’ of Batuik’s work over on Comics Kingdom. Really by this measure Robert Hughes couldn’t write about art because he wasn’t a painter and Roger Ebert couldn’t write about movies because he wasn’t a director -(although he did write the screen play for Beyond the Valley of the Dolls) – it’s a dismissive attempt to deny the critic any right to comment because they lack standing because they can’t answer the basic criticism, that the work of art (and here a piece of popular art) fails. People know bad when they did it. nobody has to be a director to know Manos the Hands of fate was awful. Nor do they need an art degree or be a comic strip writer to know FW is meandering self indulgent nonsense.

  6. RudimentaryLathe?



    I can’t even find a word for how pathetic this is. Batiuk and Karen Moy must have a bet going on who can write the most loathsome comics couple.

    • William Thompson

      You overlooked Rex and June Morgan.

      • RudimentaryLathe?

        Oh man don’t get me started on the current state of Rex Morgan. I was a casual reader as a kid in the 90s when it was a real soap opera strip about the hospital’s revolving door of patients. They had some legit interesting stories about topics like domestic abuse, the HIV scare, prescription drug addiction – Rex and June coupling up ruined both characters and turned the focus exactly where it shouldn’t have gone.
        Oh and fuck Heather. She is just The Worst.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Yeah, but Karen Moy isn’t out there chasing awards. I think she has fun with the strip and I do get a lot of laughs out of it.

      Batty acts like he is king of the Comics Kingdom and we he doesn’t get the accolades he feels he deserves, he blames the readers.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        Karen Moy has a sense of humor, and Mary Worth has it’s own kooky weird, meandering charm.

        • Rusty Shackleford

          Yep, and I know we have discussed this before. I enjoy the kookiness and it is much more honest than what Batty produces. Batty just writes things that he thinks will impress the people he looks up to.

          Karen honors the traditions of the strip she inherited. Although I have to admit I miss those Aldo Kelrast strips.

        • Rusty Shackleford

          Yes Wilbur is loathsome, but Estelle is a dingbat who is probably still sending money to Arthur. But I laugh at both characters.

          They are both way better than Les!

  7. William Thompson

    You can’t criticize a badly-done comic book or strip until you’ve published one yourself? That’s like saying a doctor can’t diagnose you with cancer unless she’s had cancer herself. But never fear, this encounter will lead Mopey Pete to his greatest characters, Straw Man and Red Herring! Crayoned by his fiance, of course.

    • none

      No, let’s be more literal with this.

      You can’t criticize a comic book unless you have some shmoe with a literally unlimited bank account there to finance your work. If Jeff Bezos wants to buy an abandoned warehouse for me and a few other people to sit around in it and produce unmarketable trash all day while earning millions per year, I’m down. Let me know where to sign and I’m there.

  8. billytheskink

    So… is Mindy offering Brickel a job at Atomik Komix? He’s certainly given more of a job interview than she ever did.

  9. none

    ok boomer

    Go ahead and let me have your strip’s space and circulation. Just hand the keys over. I can write self-contradictory drivel every day of my life too. Just watch.

    No deal? Huh. How about that.

  10. batgirl

    This will never not be the stupidest response to criticism. So if you aren’t a chef yourself, you can’t send back an undercooked roast? If you don’t manage a hotel yourself, you better not make a peep about the sheets being damp and the air-conditioning not working?

    There are at least two parts to any creative endeavour – the creator’s and the audience’s (and some would day the book/film/music has its own separate part). The reader is a kind of co-creator, interpreting the experience of reading with their own viewpoint and understanding. This can lead to wildly divergent experiences for different readers, but without any audience, the work is effectively silent – the tree falling in the empty forest.
    Of course, TB is essentially writing for himself, his ideal audience. Other than income, it’s unclear to me why he bothers to share his work with the blind and senseless mob.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      Here’s some Shakespeare, from the final act of *A Midsummer Night’s Dream,* as the “rude mechanicals” perform their inept but hilarious version of *Pyramus and Thisbe*:


      This is the silliest stuff that ever I heard.


      The best in this kind are but shadows; and the worst
      are no worse, if imagination amend them.


      It must be your imagination then, and not theirs.


      If we imagine no worse of them than they of
      themselves, they may pass for excellent men…

      In his last completed full-length work, *The Marble Faun,* Nathaniel Hawthorne has Hilda say that no one should look at art unless they’re prepared to see more than is actually there; their greatest value is suggestion.

      But sometimes the more you give, the less you get in return, and you want to buy Hippolyta a drink and not cry “well roared, lion” or “well run, Thisbe.”

  11. William Thompson

    It’s funny because Mopey Pete isn’t boasting about how many comic books AK sells.every month, or how many of their titles have been optioned by Hollywood and TV studios, or all the tie-in products that should be gracing the Komix Korner’s shelves. I guess they don’t make numbers that small.

  12. Charles

    Funny thing about this is that it’s not even a defense. It’s a concession. Mindy’s not refuting the main claim that their product sucks. It’s too difficult to not suck. You’d suck too!

    Plus, it’s real rich hearing this from two people who work for a wealthy, insane man who’s been shown to shovel bad money after good into their comic creation; someone who clearly holds them to no standards whatsoever. They’ve done nothing to earn their current lofty positions in the industry. They’ve just managed to con a gullible, foolish lunatic into patronizing their work financially. Basically, anyone who finds their own Chester Hagglemore could do what these two doofuses do.

    And they’re basically admitting it, seeing as how neither of them has actually made a cogent defense of their work this week.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      And it’s even worse from a storytelling perspective. Everything Funky WInkerbean tells you about Atomik Komix is that they DO suck. Especially Pete, who is constantly depicted struggling to do his job, despite his “best writer in comic books” status. On the flip side, we’re supposed to hate Travis Bickle for simply having a negative opinion about them. And we’re supposed to root for Mindy, even though she is now being more hostile and angry, arguing a position that’s just plain stupid, and completely forgotten she’s supposed to be looking after a small child.

  13. ComicBookHarriet

    Bold words coming from a woman hired because she wandered into her boyfriend’s work and colored in a picture.

    A woman who had never shown the slightest interest in comics before, and was baffled by her dad’s obsession with them.

    • hitorque

      Not to mention a woman who has maybe what, a grand total of 12 months of real experience in the industry? Mindy needs to step down off her high horse and take a look in the mirror…

    • be ware of eve hill

      Clearly, Mindy has the mind of a child. She just waltzes into her boyfriend’s place of work and starts messing around with an abandoned workstation (seriously, the AK people don’t lock their computers when they leave their workstations?).

      My husband works part-time in a gun shop. Maybe I’ll visit him at lunch someday and amuse myself by playing around with a handgun and live ammo. After I shoot up the place, perhaps they’ll even offer me a job.
      Gun Shop Owner: Wow, you’re a regular Annie Oakley. How’d you like a job?

      At best, Mindy’s judgment is highly questionable. This week she is confronting a hostile stranger, in front of a child placed in her care. I think Mindy and Mopey Pete should put off having children for a while. If they do, they should follow Darin and Jessica’s playbook and leave the child with the grandparents as much as possible.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Mindy and Pete both have severe maturity problems. And it’s the only thing they seem to have in common. They do NOT need to be having a child. Though I’m sure Batiuk will shove them down that road soon enough.

  14. Charles

    Some haikus:

    spend fifteen minutes
    writing it – seven cold
    days defending it

    criticism sucks
    read it skip the details and
    tell me you love it

  15. Gerard Plourde

    After a slight detour, TomBa returns to his original critic-bashing theme for the week.

  16. Bad wolf

    Well, if this was intended as a blow against the meanies of 2017’s “comics gate” TB will be happy to hear many of them produced their own books through Indiegogo campaigns. (Which is at least as respectable as Comics Kingdom, from what I’m looking at)

    • hitorque

      comics gate?

      • bad wolf

        The last time I remember much about fans complaining about the comics from the major publishers.

        The trouble i’m having is: TB doesn’t think much of modern comics, likes older comics. Most comics fans feel that way, with varying definitions of what the ‘good old days’ are. So far, so good. The thing is, he creates a modern company, but i always assumed that these were folks trying to emulate golden (well, silver) age comics. So, is a critic complaining about modern comics or retro comics? It’s just… completely incoherent.

  17. The Duck of Death

    As already mentioned, I think we all knew this was gonna turn into the ol’ “If you can’t do it better, you have no right to criticize” trope.

    But we do. We compare Tom’s work with that of other professionals in the same field. That’s how criticism works.

    “You think you can do better?” is only valid if one amateur is criticizing another — say, if your mother-in-law criticizes your Thanksgiving dinner, or your spouse criticizes your lawn-mowing skills.

    (But even in those contexts, sometimes it’s better to take the criticism on board and realize your work could be improved. And even in those contexts, you should realize that the answer may well be: Yes, they could do better. I suspect Batiuk is incapable of receiving criticism in any domain of his life, from cartooning to cooking to choosing which socks go with brown dress shoes.)

  18. The Duck of Death

    Oh Lord. Is this guy gonna be an on-the-spot hire for Atomik Comix?

  19. hitorque

    1. Mindy needs to calm the hell down and walk away because she has LITERALLY aged thirty years this week…

    2. Bravo Pete, well done… Glad to see you finished that all-blue comic book from yesterday. Way to stick up for your career, your creative output, and your fiancée with that absolute zinger of a final line…

    3. Sound like Mr. Thomas Batiuk is dropping a direct challenge for SOSF to write his storylines for a year…? Dear Jesus God I hope that’s the case…

    4. It’s funny because Pete/Mindy are supposed to be ‘young’ folks who have grown up with the Internet Age, and yet neither of them (nor Freewheeling Flash for that matter) know how to deal with a Basic Level 1 troll…

    4a. The FIRST COMMANDMENT OF DEALING WITH TROLLS — If you engage with a troll, the troll wins… What Pete should have done was let the troll watch as he silently grabbed the nearest rare collector’s comic within reach, tossed a handful of $100 bills in DSH Jack’s direction, pulled it out of the plastic, tore some strips off the first few pages, pulled out a baggie from his coat filled with the finest White Widow, rolled up an epic fatty, lit it with another $100 bill, taken a long-assed draw from it, and blown the smoke in Travis Bickle’s face… Everyone in the store would have gotten the message… But nah, let’s just have Mindy scream “YOU’RE A POTTY HEAD!!” at him all week instead.

    5. And as others have said, it’s not like anything that’s happened this week changes the reality that Atomikkk Komixxx sucks out loud… I wonder if we’ll discover in 2022 that Chester Hagglemore created Atomikkk Komixxx just so he could have a front for laundering money from his other business ventures…

  20. billytheskink

    To borrow again from the old Milton Berle-Sidney Shpritzer/Henny Youngman/Statler and Waldorf heckler routine that I previously borrowed from several years ago:

    Mindy: If you know so much about creating comic books… then you should get off your butt, climb into the ring and do it instead of sitting on the sidelines whining!
    Brickel: I should.
    Mindy: Oh, can you draw?
    Brickel: No.
    Mindy: Can you write story arcs?
    Brickel: No.
    Mindy: Can you create compelling characters?
    Brickel: No.
    Mindy: OK, most importantly, can you color?
    Brickel: No.
    Mindy: *scoff* Then just how would you go about creating a comic book?
    Brickel: The same way you guys at Atomik Komix do, I guess.

  21. Over at the blog, it’s confirmed: the first Flash issue TB bought was the one where he turned fat.

  22. Hannibal’s Lectern

    Many, many years ago, when I worked in high-tech R&D, on new products that had never been developed before (and technologies that we weren’t even sure would work), I would respond to criticism by saying, yeah, we know it sucks. This is new stuff, hard stuff, nobody’s done it before, and we’re doing the best we can. If you have some great ideas, we’re hiring.

    And I think Minty’s snappy comeback would make some sense IF AtomiKKK KomiXXX were in fact on the cutting edge of graphic storytelling, like the underground komix of the ‘60s, or some of the smaller presses today. But the whole point of AK, as explicitly stated by Chester the Molester, is to re-create the Silver Age comics formula. Which is exactly that: a formula. Follow the formula and you get an acceptable result. If AK’s ersatz Silver Age comics suck, it’s because the “bullpen” crew is better with the “bull” than with the pen, and Minty’s got nobody to blame but herself.

    • The Duck of Death

      Even then, something tells me you did some UX/user experience testing, and then you at least seriously considered the criticisms you heard from end users. Unlike Batiuk.

  23. The Duck of Death

    Here is the ultimate irony: Those beady-eyed nitpickers Mindy/Batiuk is lashing out at are RIGHT HERE, where you’re reading right now, and also at CK, every single day.

    Every single day, Batiuk has an opportunity to engage with dozens, sometimes hundreds, of comments about his work.

    He never has, to my knowledge.

    I’d welcome the opportunity to engage with him and I’d be civil and respectful. But he’s not up to it, apparently. So he continues constructing, and then destroying, weak straw men, instead of answering the actual critiques of his readers.

    It’s plain cowardly, if you ask me. Either ignore the critics or engage them; don’t straw-man them.

    • be ware of eve hill

      I’ve seen comic creators directly communicate with their readers.

      A comic creator on GoComics can have a profile that has a “Creator” label. On some days Born Loser, Brutus P. Thornapple – Creator (Chip Samson?) will reply to almost every comment. Scott Roberts, one of the creators of Working Daze, one of my favorite comics on GoComics, will directly answer a reader. Most of his replies are friendly conversations with a commentor. I’ve had friendly one-on-one discussions with Scott myself. He’s one of the reasons why I read that comic’s comments every day. At times, Scott can be a little crusty with responses to critics.

      Here’s an example from the other day. There’s a definite “up yours” undertone to his response.
      Comment: Did Dana’s left breast fall out of her maidenform?
      scottartist: Here we are again with readers who pay curiously close attention to the details on the female characters. These aren’t Playboy cartoons.

      Her upper body is at an angle, with her right side higher. Oddly enough, that makes the left side lower. The framework of the characters is always sketched out in light pencil first. And since her seater doesn’t fit like a coat of paint, you may be misled by the flat art.

      You can even see GoComic creators commenting in other creators comics. I think that’s cool.

      I’ve seen comic creators reply to commentors in Comics Kingdom, too. Bill Holbrook, Jim Keefe, etc. There is someone claiming to be “Hiram Flagston” in the ‘Hi and Lois’ discussion. They can be a little thin-skinned, at times, but at least they fire back in the discussion. Not passive-aggressive bullshit like this week’s Winkerbean.

      A lot of comic creators will converse with their readers on social media or even on their own webpages. They may edit negative comments, but at least there is a forum.

      None of the above for Batty.

      Aw, sweet little prince’s feewings are hurt. He’s cwying. 😭

      • The Duck of Death

        It’s interesting — in the conversation you quoted, if anything, I’m team Scott. In an actual conversation viewed by neutral observers, overly nitpicky critics do risk coming off as Comic Book Store Guy from the Simpsons, and creators can easily get the upper hand. It shows a real lack of self-confidence that Batiuk, instead of using the daily opportunities to put his critics in their place, stays far away from all discussion forums.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          It’s all way too personal for him. Every artist has critics, and you can either ignore them, laugh them off, engage them, or use them as a sort of advisory panel. Batiuk can’t let anyone know they exist. So he tries to hide them under straw criticisms of himself. Like “people didn’t want to hear serious stories on this comics page.” Which is one of the dumbest and most easily disprovable statements ever made, but it’s Batiuk’s personal north star. He can’t face the real problem, which is that nobody wants to see HIM doing serious stories on the comics page. We never minded when Watterson, Schulz, or Johnston* did it.

          * – except for Anthony

    • I actually had TB respond to me on CK. It was a while ago so I don’t remember the details, but I think someone (Red Ronin?) had used the same argument (You can’t criticize if you don’t have a strip) and I said something like “Tom Batiuk sure uses a lot of fake names.” Someone named “Tom Batiuk” replied that he never uses fake names.

      That was the extent of it. I know that’s not exciting or interesting, but this is Funky Winkerbean we’re talking about.

      • The Duck of Death

        I think it’s more likely that that was someone like DSSS using the name “Tom Batiuk.” Back in the day on CK, unregistered users could comment using any name they liked, even using a different name each time.

      • Epicus Doomus

        Based on everything I’ve ever seen, read or heard about him, Batiuk seems like a genuinely nice, sincere guy. And I say that in all seriousness. IMO it makes the intense awfulness of his dumb comic strip(s) even more of an enigma. He seems to really want to be a “trailblazer” and he appears to have a deep love of the entire comics genre, yet his work is total dreck. It’s inexplicable.

        • Yeah, I agree. He seems like a genuinely nice guy, the sort of guy you’d like to hang with and talk about…well, not comics. It’s just weird that these terrible comics come out of a pretty normal, nice person.

      • be ware of eve hill

        Ah, @Red Ronin. The anti-snarker. Called the snarkers jobless bedwetters who lived in their mother’s basements and subsisted on free government cheese.

        The snarkers would accuse @Red Ronin of actually being Tom Batiuk.
        “C’mon Tom, confess. We all know it’s really you.”

        I found @Red Ronin’s Disqus profile page several weeks ago. It still exists and I wish I bookmarked it. Their last comment was in some kind of moderator’s discussion forum. @Red Ronin was in the process of getting banned from Disqus. @Red Ronin wrote to the moderators something along the lines of “The snarkers are the ones who should be getting banned! Not me! They’re evil!”

        Alas, poor @Red Ronin defended Batiuk too hard and got banned for their efforts.

        • The Duck of Death

          I found it pretty easily, along with the conversation about having his profile banned. Quoth Red Ronin:

          There’s a cadre of trolls at the Funky Winkerbean strip that rag on the strip daily. They badger and belittle anyone that disagrees with them and start flagging their posts if that doesn’t work. Moderator isn’t in actually doing their job. Easier to just block the people getting flagged by the trolls.

          Chickenshit won’t even answer my emails.

          It doesn’t seem like language TomBa would use, but who knows?

  24. be ware of eve hill

    Thank you, Tom Batiuk. I thought it was no longer possible to get any laughs directly from reading Funky Winkerbean. I laughed so hard at today’s strip I was crying. 😂🤣😂

    It’s the old chestnut, “don’t criticize unless you can do better.” Countless times, I’ve witnessed the ridiculous “Let’s see your comic strip” defense of Funky Winkerbean in the Comics Kingdom discussion. Batty, all those times, was it you? 😂

    Batiuk Defender: It’s so easy for you to criticize. Let’s see your comic strip.
    Snarker: So you actually enjoy this strip? Please tell me one thing you like about it?
    (cue No Reply at All by Genesis)
    But there’s no reply at all

    Doesn’t Batty critique comic books in his blog? Hypocrite! If he knows so much about creating comic books, then he should get off his butt, climb into the ring and do it instead of sitting on the sidelines whining! Let’s see your comic book, TB!

    Oh right, we actually do see his attempts at a comic book. Lame-o comic book covers created by actual comic book artists paid by Batty. Story content? We don’t need no stinking story content!

  25. William Thompson

    “I read a dozen issues and wasn’t entertained! No sense of wonder, no adventure, no surprises! Each comic is a promise of something good, and you never kept that promise! You wasted my reading time and I want that time back!”