Pull List Surprise

Mindy is the last person in the room who needs to apologize. Pete literally had his back turned as his fiancé got in a shouting match with a stranger. John was nowhere to be found while this was happening, and even after the jerk is gone still does not come out from behind the counter.

December 8, 2021 at 10:52 pm
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!”

Yesterday’s strip may have been the big F you to the critics, but today we get the victory lap. OK, we’re talking comic strips vs. comic books, but those checks from King Features Syndicate keep rollin’ in. And you and I may not have to pay for the privilege, but we snarkers are his most loyal readers. Not because we like it, though.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

54 responses to “Pull List Surprise

  1. Epicus Doomus

    “Yeah, Pete, Travis buys every Atomik Komix title as soon as they’re released. He’s a huge fan, in fact he runs a very popular AK blog called “Son Of Atomik Komix”, dedicated to reviewing and critiquing your work. He’s well-established as a leading comic book authority, in fact he’s my go-to guy whenever I have any AK questions. So I’d say his opinions are pretty darned valid.”

    “Oh, uh yeah, well, the thing is that I got engaged and all, plus we hired a bunch of wildly unqualified people, and I guess, uh, I kinda got distracted there and just churned out comic books without, uh, you know, making them good and stuff.”

    “Travis, among many others, says your Hollywood success spoiled you and broke your bond with true comic book fans, the ones who followed you since you first started. And based on your recent titles, I tend to agree. I mean “Rip Tide-Scuba Cop”? Pete, dude, what the f*ck?”

    “Hey, you big meanie, you leave my little Petey-weety alone! He’s going to be my husband AND my boss, so you’d better watch what you say or else I’ll get all hysterical and emotional!”

    “Wait, who the hell let A GIRL in my store? Sorry ma’am, but you’ll have to leave at once.”

    • Charles

      I do like how Gross John’s comments show that he just sat there listening to this entire shouting match in his tiny store and did nothing. Just sit there and let the confrontation escalate into a fistfight or something, all the while letting the fiancee of a VIP friend of yours and your store’s get verbally abused.

      Good thing strawman retreated after Mindy’s idiotic “well, where’s UR comic book, asshole?” response.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        I mean, to be fair, I wouldn’t want to get between comics creators who are my friends, and thus might make appearances or do signings for free…and a repeat customer with dozens of comics on his monthly pull list, meaning he spends thousands a year on comics.

        • Charles

          So you just let it escalate until they start beating each other up, repel your other customers (heh), start destroying your shop and end up both hating you?

          I could get behind it. But I suppose Gross John wouldn’t. Good thing he read ahead and knew that Strawman was going to scamper away once Mindy pulled the “WHERE IS UR COMIC BOOK?” despite the fact that he was screaming at her earlier.

          • ComicBookHarriet

            I mean, the guy is obviously a regular customer who hangs around hoping to get a chance to complain. Maybe he does this all the time. Maybe DSH has a very popular and lucrative YouTube channel where he surreptitiously films his customer’s nonsensical meltdowns and posts them, and he’s just paid for Christmas presents for his whole family.

          • The Duck of Death

            Conversely, what if Travis has a YouTube geekdom channel with 3.4M subscribers who hang on his every word? No way DSH, Peat, or Minty would pay attention to, or even know about, fandom influencers like that.

        • gleeb

          If anything, he’s going to be on Travis’s side. Because without Travis, what’re Mopey Pete and Mindy gonna do, work at Montoni’s?

  2. William Thompson

    If Batiuk is trying to put down us snarkers, he’s forgot that we don’t pay for his works output. We waste time reading it, but not money.

  3. The penny drops. “Those people who say your strip is terrible? They read every single one of them, and make blog posts about all of them. They are your biggest fans, and love your work. I mean, that’s what the evidence suggests, and who am I to deny evidence?”

    • gleeb

      There are people who have scanner radios and go to every fire they can. Thy don’t necessarily like the loss of life and property, though.

  4. Just got the pun in the post title. I am impressed.

  5. Sourbelly

    Dead Skunky: “I guess that means you guys win the Pull-List-er Prize! Unlike that one bitter D-list ‘toonist we all know!”

    Mopete: (Ixnay on the Atshitbay bashing!)

  6. billytheskink

    Forget panel 2’s “burn”, Tom Batiuk’s philosophy in a nutshell come’s right out of Pete in panel 1. Why bother trying to make anyone a fan? Why bother TRYING at all?

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Yup. Anybody who criticizes our work who isn’t an actual fan, even if they’re literally buying every single copy. Especially when they don’t even publish their own comic book! As if that’s something anyone could do. This has moved past lame strawmanning. Now it’s Tom Batiuk trying to disqualify the human race from having an opinion about his work.

      Well, Tom, I’ve never paid for a Funky Winkerbean book. And I’ve “published” my own improved versions of your comic strips on this website. What else you got?

    • Charles

      Yeah, exactly. At no point this week did we see either of these two dopes trying to ascertain what the guy’s problem with their work was. They weren’t interested in hearing whether he had a legitimate complaint, pointing out something they could do better or not. They have no interest in improving their output. Just shut up and love it, asshole.

      If you’re expecting only elegantly and thoughtfully worded critiques from grown people reading media geared toward 10 year olds, well, you’re probably going to wait a long time before you get them, all the while dismissing potentially helpful comments simply because they weren’t reverent enough.

      So to add to Tom Batiuk’s philosophy that you’ve already given us: he’s also a genius, so he never does anything slipshod or poorly. So obviously no criticism is ever worth listening to. Where’s your genius grant, asshole?

  7. Banana Jr. 6000

    Really, John? The guy reads Atomic Ape, Wayback Wendy, Sunset Kid AND The Amazing Mr. Sponge?

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Silly Banana Jr.! He wouldn’t read The Amazing Mr. Sponge! That’s owned by Mega Comics. Don’t you have an exhaustive encyclopedic knowledge of the fake comics companies in this fake universe?

      But, in addition to your titles listed, he would read The Stardusters, Riptide Scuba Cop, The Scuba-Side Squad, The Subterranean, Dr Atmos, Scorch, Miss American, and of course, their inaugural hero, The Inedible Pulp.

      Early on, Chester mentioned something about a book called Commander Comet, but that doesn’t seem to have gone anywhere. On Free Comic Book Day in 2019 Pete says AK has four titles, which would be covered by Pulp, Atomic Ape, Riptide, and Scorch.

      The fact I know this fills me with shame and regret for my wasted life.

      • Charles

        Was the Inedible Pulp really the first concept these goofballs came up with? Man…

        I do hope they had a sequence in his #1 issue where someone investigated only to determine “Well, this proves it. He’s inedible.”

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        “Silly Banana Junior” sounds like something that had a ska hit in 1992.

        And you are correct; my knowledge of these franchises is not as encyclopedic as I thought. But you get my point: these are all books aimed at different audiences. It makes no sense for one person to subscribe to everything a company produces. “Silver age comic books” is not a genre, it’s a style that can be applied to any genre. In fact, this seems to be AK’s mission.

        I didn’t think Tom Batiuk’s ignorance of the publishing industry was THIS bad. But here we are.

        • Green Luthor

          Meh, I’ve known enough comics fans who would do EXACTLY that. Comics fans often have an odd “completionist” tendency; for how few books these chuckleheads publish, I can completely believe someone following all their titles easily. (I mean, the total number of titles we’ve seen isn’t even close to a fraction of the number of titles Marvel or DC put out in a single week, and you’ll get people who subscribe to all of THAT…)

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            That’s a very good point. He could be buying the books as collectibles. Especially when Atomic Komix seems to cater to this, with its endless #1 editions. “You suck” and “I buy all your books” isn’t even a contradictory position within the rules of this world!

  8. Epicus Doomus

    Another interesting thing about this arc is that it features a “strong female character” taking on a loudmouthed critic. Or at least BatYam’s idea of what a strong female character would look like, if he were to create one and/or write for one. It’s almost as if he went out of his way to prove that not every Westviewian woman is a doormat. Of course Mindy is actually a Centervillite and not a Westviewian at all, but nevertheless. I really hate these “Crankshaft” carpetbaggers. They oughta build a wall, I’ll tell you what.

    Now excuse me, as I have to create, write, draw and publish my own comic strip so I can continue criticizing FW and its portrayal of weak, doormat-like female characters. Otherwise it’s just not valid.

    • The Duck of Death

      Yes, in Tom’s universe, there are two types of women:

      1) Women who are appendages to men, with no apparent agency or inner life of their own

      2) The same women, when they inexplicably show a little “spirit,” which consists of behaving exactly like a man (Tom) wishes he could. I’ve already pointed this out, but no woman with a lick of sanity is going to physically escalate an argument over nothing with an already bellicose male stranger. Especially when she’s taking care of a small child. Especially when she’s in a safe place where she has an option not to engage.

      Neither type of woman resembles actual female humans in any regard.

      I’ll give him an almost-pass on Cyndye Summers-Jarr/e. She showed a bit of ambition to get out of Westview (though it was her downfall; how dare she), and there was once a smidgeon of truth in the disappointments of going from the most popular girl in the school to a divorced, washed-up third-tier media personality. That tiny spark of reality could have been fanned into a fully-fleshed-out character. But instead, we now have a 60(?)-year-old who looks and acts 20 and is married to a movie star-ex-machina and has the whole world at her feet, and any spark of real personality has long been extinguished.

      • Epicus Doomus

        Remember, though, that when Cindy made her Act III return the ENTIRE ARC centered around how old and unattractive she’d become. That was literally the entire story. All that noteworthy achievement undone in a few panels.

  9. Gerard Plourde

    This conclusion leaves me to wonder what story TomBa set out to write. Here at the end TomBa inserts Mindy’s unnecessary and inexplicable apology to set up DSH’s big reveal that the critic is an avid fan. Setting it up this way also throws a spotlight on DSH’s weirdness.

    If a storeowner is confronted with a loud argument occurring in his store, his first instinct should be to act to restore order for two reasons, first so that other customers don’t leave (interesting side note – we now know that people other than adolescents who attend Westview High frequent the business). The other and more important reason, is that as a business owner, he has a duty to his customers to prevent their possible injury on the the premises. A real-life and attentive store owner in this situation would step in to de-escalate the situation in order to avoid the possibility that the confrontation could turn violent (but since these characters are one-dimensional mouthpieces, TomBa knows that that won’t happen). That DSH just sat back behind the counter and watched just highlights his detachment from human interaction.

    Also, what is TomBa’s point in brining this up? Could it actually show an awareness that the beedy-eyed nit-pickers are his most loyal followers?

    • Charles

      Also, what is TomBa’s point in brining this up?

      It’s so he could hit the trifecta in dumbass arguments against his critics.

      “UR WRONG.”
      and finally,
      “If you hate it so much, why do you read it?”

      Bonus for including but shooting down that the guy’s just a hater so he’s not someone whose opinions are worth considering.

      • be ware of eve hill

        If you hate it so much, why do you read it?

        Ugh, I totally can’t stand that argument. Last year, I read it too often and reached a breaking point (my Mindy moment?). I changed my Disqus profile name to “I Read Funky Winkerbean for the Snark” for a few weeks.

        How dim does a person have to be to enter a discussion where 99% of the commenters are having a blast ripping on the strip and wonder why people read it if they hate it.

        Learn how to read the room, for crying out loud. Do these idiots walk into a biker bar and ask what kind of idiot refuses to wear a helmet?

        • The Duck of Death

          How do strangers to the world of FW snark — and we all were strangers to it once — not see the sheer glee we take in snarking?

          Do they think we’re paid by the word? If not, can they not think of a single reason why some of the folks here and at CK have been at it for nearly a decade, and still make time for it practically daily?

          Imagine their confusion when they hear about the Razzies, or watch an episode of MST3K. “If they don’t appreciate the artistry of Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, then why do they make a TV show about it? HUMPH! That’ll show those complainers!”

          • Professor Fate

            For me it was a case of “this is my music, these are my people” I found this site in the wake of the death of St Lisa and it was wonderful to find like minded people who were similarly angry with the many many sins TB has committed against storytelling and continues to commit along with the baffling gap between the strip we read and the strip TB talks about to the press and in his blog. We in general seem to think comic strips are important enough to take seriously and are critical of this strip accordingly. Also the Author’s self impressed preening about his handing of ‘serious’ issues (ham fisted and in the end cowardly) demands a reply.
            And it’s fun.

          • Hannibal's Lectern

            “How do strangers to the world of FW snark — and we all were strangers to it once — not see the sheer glee we take in snarking?”

            I was looking for the right word to describe this. It’s not “schadenfreude,” as we are not taking joy in BatHack’s misfortune–he makes a decent living writing this dreck. Luckily, the Simpsons (is there anything they can’t do?) found the perfect phrase, in the “Everybody Hates Ned Flanders” song: “Springfield rocks with Homer’s joyous loathing!”

            Perfect. “Joyous loathing” perfectly describes how I feel when reading and contributing to snark on FW.

  10. The Duck of Death

    It shouldn’t, but it still amazes me every time TB sets up a situation that is full of dramatic possibilities, and manages to make it as dull as itemizing deductions on an IRS form.

    What if…
    1) Mindy had asked for specifics? And the guy had supplied them? And what if she had realized, “hey, the kook kinda has a point”?

    2) The guy, who seemed unhinged, had socked her, proving that all comix critics are lunatics? What would Pete and DSH have done? How would Skylark have reacted?

    3) Mindy had said, “Let’s see you step into the ring” and the guy had either said, “I have — I work for your rivals, Koldfusion Komix” or “I will — I’ll see you in a year with my own comic and I challenge DSH to hold an event where strangers will judge which one is better!”

    4) Mindy had backed down out of fear, and later berated herself? What steps would she have taken to prevent a similar situation in the future? Assertiveness or self-defense training?

    5) Mindy had let Pete (and DSH) have it for shrinking back in passive fear while she dealt with a belligerent, intimidating loon? How might this have affected their eterna-engagement?

    It took me 10x as long to type those ideas as to think of them. All of us here could come up with at least 5 or 10 additional dramatic possibilities for the “accosted by a critic” storyline.

    Tom came up with none. As usual, an intensely dramatic thing happens — a motion picture is made about your life, a fire burns down L.A, etc — and there are no consequences. It’s actually remarkable. FW is where drama, action, and character development go to die.

    • William Thompson

      Why did ToBa add Skylark to this story? He didn’t play any sort of role. He just stood there and looked bewildered. Is he going to have nightmares after watching this exchange? Are we going to get a second week of this arc, where his clueless parents explain why some people turn into mean, jealous critics? Or are we headed for more Dinkle?

      • The Duck of Death

        TomBa still has an ability to surprise me. I really thought the whole month would be a Dinkle-stravaganza, with Tom taking an almost-half-century victory lap while his most enduring creation prepares for his moment of glory. Shows how much I know.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Same here. As galactically important as Batiuk thinks this Rose Parade appearance is, and shamelessly as he uses Funky Winkerbean to promote himself, six weeks of Dinkle should have been a slam dunk. But he’s doing pointless (even by his standards) Atomik Komix arcs. I don’t get it either.

      • gleeb

        Schuyler is under the age of 40, so he will have no realistic drama.

    • Gerard Plourde

      “every time TB sets up a situation that is full of dramatic possibilities, and manages to make it as dull as itemizing deductions on an IRS form.”

      Truly one of the mysteries of the ages.

      • William Thompson

        Did he make a cross-country trip, visit a comic-book store and see an argument between a fanboy and a writer/artist? “Oh, boy, a story idea! Now I can write off this trip as a research expense!”

    • gleeb

      This is the first act of Cyrano applied to Tom Batiuk.

  11. be ware of eve hill

    What the hell happened to Travis Brickel? He just disappeared.

    Travis: I am completely defeated by your logic. I must cease to exist. *POOF *

    Did he scamper out of the room with his tail between his legs? YIPE! YIPE! YIPE!

    Jump out a window?

    Fall through a trap door?

    Did he get smaller and smaller until he completely disappeared from view? Watch your step, folks. DSH’s best customer is down there.

    Disappear in a puff of smoke?

    Did he spontaneously combust like a staked vampire?

    Did a fiery portal open up in the floorboards, and the denizens of hell dragged him down?

    Did he dissipate into the atmosphere like Dr. Atmos without his containment suit?

  12. Suicide Squirrel

    Other than serving as a human shield for Mopey Pete, what purpose did Skyler serve this week?

    It’s bad enough his parents dress him up in Cleveland Browns gear*, but did he have to be exposed to all of this nonsense too? Hopefully, he yells at his parents to “get off their butt, climb into the ring and do it instead of sitting on the sidelines whining”.

    * I’ve been a long-suffering Browns fan for 50 years

    Speaking of the Browns, I wonder if Batyuk saw Baker Mayfield in the orthopedist’s office. After writing this, Batyuk had to have hurt his shoulder, patting himself on the back.

  13. Suicide Squirrel

    I finally took that survey that the Comics Kingdom has been badgering me with all week. Every time I go to the website, that damn pop-up fills my screen.

    I had three suggestions:
    1. No more naggy pop-ups.
    2. Outlaw sideways comic strips or add functionality to rotate the comic.
    3. Get rid of ‘Funky Winkerbean’.

    • Hannibal’s Lectern

      Today’s “Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal” webcomic tackles the subject of ”your comics are bad” with far more insight, sensitivity and humor than all the Batom/AtomiK KomiX strips put together.

    • be ware of eve hill

      Get rid of Funky Winkerbean? Puh-leeze! Not bloody likely.

      I’d argue that Funky Winkerbean is one of the most popular strips in Comics Kingdom. Take a look at the total number of comments and all of the votes in the “What do think?” poll. Very few CK strips have that many comments or receive that many votes. Sure, the popularity is negative but Comics Kingdom doesn’t care. They just want page views so people can read the ads.

      • The Duck of Death

        Yes, “user engagement” is the name of the game. As long as the snarkers keep a-clickin’, Tom will keep a-goldbrickin’.

  14. The Duck of Death

    For those of you looking to complete your Tom Batiuk bingo card, sorry, today we didn’t get the hoped-for “Sentence starting with so” or the common “Quarter-inch pinch.” But we did get “Obscure comix collector lingo that casual newspaper readers would have no way of understanding.”