This Call To The Bullpen Is Brought To You By Intense Ennui

Link To This One

Blurgh. You have got to be f*cking kidding me. Not these two tiresome codgers again, it’s just too damn soon. The way this Flash asshole emerged from nowhere to become one of the most-used characters in the strip is one of Act III’s most astonishing developments. Suddenly Flash is pretty much the brains behind the entire Atomix Komix operation, the ever-patient comic book sage who spins his pathetic colleagues’ pitiful ramblings into comic book gold. He just has this undying fascination with this kind of ridiculous comic book creator banter, like this is how people actually work.

The less said about that woeful Type Face gag, the better. I liked Phil better when he was a gruff, surly jerk, as opposed to the moronic buffoon he is now. I liked him best of all when he was still dead, of course, but that ship has sailed.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

68 responses to “This Call To The Bullpen Is Brought To You By Intense Ennui

  1. J.J. O'Malley

    Hate to break it to you, Statler and Waldorf, but Marvel Comics introduced a character named Typeface, with type all over his face, back in 2000. Seriously. He’s a Spider-Man villain-turned-vigilante and has his own Wikipedia entry…which one would think Batiuk would check on before thinking he’s hatched another “original” comics creation.

    This is just sad.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Good catch, I can’t believe he was unaware of this. Flash and Phil are supposed to be comic book legends, but in reality they’re just plagiarizing hacks, either too stupid or too lazy to make sure they’re not stomping all over someone’s trademarked intellectual properties.

      Coming tomorrow: Flash pooh-poohs Phil’s latest idea…”Stupendous Guy”, a superhero who’s faster than a speeding arrow, more powerful than a steamship engine and able to leap tall buildings in two or three bounds.

      • billytheskink

        And these two gave Pete crap about his ideas not even 3 months ago…

        • Hitorque

          Pete deserves all the shit coming his way if that was a serious idea from him… I mean FFS it didn’t even work as a bad joke…

      • Hannibal's Lectern

        Oh, I hope so… “Stupendous Man” was a regular in “Calvin and Hobbes,” and I hear Bill Watterson is really possessive about his creations…

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Oh, I think Tom Batiuk knows full well not to touch Calvin and Hobbes. He’ll rip off every other property on earth, up to and including Peanuts. But dropping a poorly-drawn, smirking, detestable Calvin into the comic pages would be a career-ending move. Watterson is one of those artists you don’t try to imitate, because they’re just that good.

          • Rusty Shackleford

            I did love the collaboration between Breathed and Watterson for the where is adult Calvin now arc in Bloom County.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            Oh, I loved that arc too. But Watterson approved of it, and collaborated with Breathed on it. I think he also did most of the artistic heavy lifting. That story came out great. I’m talking about Tom Batiuk’s typical appropriation of any intellectual property he thinks will draw more eyeballs to his crap. That would not go over well.

          • RudimentaryLathe?

            “Watterson is one of those artists you don’t try to imitate”
            Too bad Jeff Mallett didn’t get that memo 😡

        • Maxine of Arc

          “Stupendous Man” worked because it was explicitly coming from the imagination of an 8-year-old.

    • none

      Perhaps this is the latest dig at the Spiderman franchise, in continuation of his multi-decade grudge against the property?

      Meanwhile, I’m having zero success in even parsing the logic that the newly affable Phil even has in his suggestion – protagonists are elements, so antagonist is… type? face? Typeface? What?

      Also meanwhile, though, that wiki page sounds like something that would come from these two dopes rather than be something official from Marvel, so respect where due, at least he doesn’t have these guys doing something which is far dumber than real life, for once. Unfortunately, it’s equally bad.

    • Hitorque

      I thought that name sounded familiar… Just seemed like someone would have come up with that idea already ages ago

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      This is what a writer putting some effort into the “Type Face” gag would look like:

      • hitorque

        I look at how easily stuff like Robot Chicken and Teen Titans Go! can make genuine fun of the comics genre while still being humorous and I wonder why Tomba can’t just watch Cartoon Network and steal a bunch of fresher material… It’s got to be better than what’s currently being published.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Tom Batiuk is still bitter about 1960s campy TV Batman. He probably hates stuff like Robot Chicken and Teen Titans Go!, for the same reason: Not Taking Comic Books Seriously Enough.

          • hitorque

            So Batiuk is on record as hating the harsh gritty realness and darker, morally obtuse storylines of the 80s-90s-00s **AND** the 1960s camp kookiness? What the hell DOES he like, then?

          • Rusty Shackleford

            My wife wanted HBO max, so I subscribed. Was happy to find out it includes adult swim and the first thing I watched was robot chicken! Funny stuff.

          • Rusty Shackleford

            Tom like obscure things, just because they are obscure.

          • Gerard Plourde

            “So Batiuk is on record as hating the harsh gritty realness and darker, morally obtuse storylines of the 80s-90s-00s **AND** the 1960s camp kookiness? What the hell DOES he like, then?”

            If I were to guess, I’d say he likes the late ‘50s – early ‘60s stories that without a hint of irony included stories like Batman and Robin helping Man of the Bats and his boy sidekick Little Raven (Batman no. 86).

            /Users/gerardplourde/Pictures/Photos Library.photoslibrary/resources/derivatives/6/67CE7E13-C813-4A87-98C5-BAC05CCD083A_1_105_c.jpeg

    • Maxine of Arc

      Well, that’s just stupid.

  2. William R Thompson

    Let’s throw that out and call it Type Casting. Shouldn’t a proper villain play against the heroes’ weaknesses? Just to make the conflict potentially more interesting than simplistic puns?

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Shouldn’t a villain have already been invented, since each of the elemental forces has had a #1 issue already?

      • Green Luthor

        Atomix Komix doesn’t actually put out those #1 issues, they just publish the covers and call it a day. (It’s all just a money laundering operation for Chester Hagglemore, probably.)

  3. RudimentaryLathe?

    Supervillain “Typeface” sounds like something JonTron would make a snarky video about (back when he was doing videos on a regular schedule).

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      It makes me think of a *Fearless Fosdick* foe in Al Capp’s *Li’l Abner.” There were villains there named Anyface and Bombface…maybe they could all be brothers, or relatives like the “Top” folk in *Dick Tracy.*

  4. Sourbelly

    You’ve got the four elemental heroes in place. So your first villain is going to be…a guy with type all over his face? What? Why? How about a dog made of fruit? Or a 100-ft. stack of sentient English muffins? Philled Hole, your were more productive when you were dead. Jump back into your coffin, and take Flush with you. Leave it to…oh, yeah. Everyone else at Atomik Komix sucks as much as you too. Never mind. Carry on.

  5. Sourbelly

    *too = two

  6. Gerard Plourde

    The news that CBH broke about the remerging of the timelines pretty much means that most of the major characters we’ll see from now on either are or shortly will be eligible for senior discounts and flocking to Early Bird Specials. Flash and Phil fit right in. (I was going to add in Ruby, but I think her role will be limited to bringing in milk and cookies (and maybe the occasional Montoni’s pizza).

    • Rusty Shackleford

      I wonder if this means that Batty intends to retire or step away. He brings the timelines together and then after a year, he retires or someone else takes over the day to day running of the strip.

      I do not expect him to leave gracefully, rather I expect him to hang around the new artist a la Dinkle and be a constant thorn and annoyance.

      Either way, the comic book arcs are the worst for me. I’d actually rather have Dinkle.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        When it comes to Funky Winkerbean, never attribute to anything that which can be attributed to laziness.

  7. Hitorque

    1. I just want to remind y’all again that Phillip Holt faked his own death and dropped off the grid for 3-4 years just so he could develop his Subterranean in peace and quiet… And the grand total of those years of work were just some goddamn sketches and colored art of the title character and that was it… Freddie Freeman and the rest of the Atomikkk Komixxx crew have had to help him develop literally everything else — Allied characters, villains, what kind of universe the Sub-T operates in, and presumably plot storylines as well… Someone please tell me what made Phillip Holt so great again? Why is it so important that he writes the Sub-T himself at the ripe age of 91? Why not just sell the character rights to Marvel and be done with it? Shouldn’t he want his comics vision to have the best people working on it and the widest possible distribution? At least the big comics companies can put a whole division of writers behind the character and he won’t be stuck spitballing lameassed ideas with the 5 idiots who work at Atomikkk…

    2. I have to repeat: Phillip Holt got the idea for the Sub-T fifty fucking years ago, he had at least three years to work on it exclusively and he didn’t have the slightest fucking clue about actually trying to build a universe or storyline or supporting characters who aren’t uninspired plagiarized ripoffs of any random conventional element-powered superhero you can think of…

    I guess I’m trying to say when you’re completely devoid of original creative ideas, it’s time to get out of the game…

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Why not just sell the character rights to Marvel and be done with it?

      The character rights are a huge plot hole. According to the story, Phil Holt quit Batom Comics in the 1950s because they wouldn’t give him the character rights. This never got addressed. But Phil Holt must own the rights now somehow, because he took the character to a new company and published new stories for it.

      According to TB’s own backstory, Mega Comics sued Atomik Komix out of business and took all their assets. If that’s true, then the rights to Low-T Man would still belong to Mega Comics. It’s not old enough to have become public domain due to age, and there’s no other explanation of what happened. With Miss American you at least had the “Chester already owned it” handwave. Guess TB can’t even be bothered with that level of storytelling anymore.

      • be ware of eve hill

        I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit I read Batty’s blog, but wasn’t it Batom Comics, not Atomik Komix, that got sued out of business by Mega Comics?

        Nevertheless, the issue of ownership for the The Subterranean character is FUBAR, just like the Funky Winkerbean/Crankshaft timelines.

        If Batiuk takes notes, they’re on loose paper scraps scattered all over his office.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          You’re right, I incorrectly called it Atomik in paragraph 2. But there’s not much difference, is there? They both play the part of Tom Batiuk-Approved Comic Book Company, and there’s little else to distinguish them.

          • be ware of eve hill

            Sorry. Not trying to nitpick. Just trying to clear up any confusion somebody might have.

            Other than the timeframes of existence, there is little difference. Both were/are subpar comic book publishers. Flash and Phil worked for both companies. Mopey Pete works at Atomik Komix and had a wet dream about working for Batom.

      • hitorque

        The only possible explanation is in the Funkyverse there’s a hugely popular household name A-list superhero created by Holt back in the 1960s named “Underground Man” or something and the Sub-T is Holt trying to cash in with a shameless ripoff since he got screwed out of some sweet sweet royalties the first time around…

        This would also explain why he was eager to join the “new” Atomikkk Komixxx (instead of, you know, going to Marvel or DC for whatever salary he wished to name after returning from the freaking dead at Comicon) since their entire catalogue of offerings is shameless ripoffs, but they don’t sell enough copies or make enough money to draw the attention of readers outside of Northeast Ohio, much less Mega Comics’ legal department…

        • Green Luthor

          Hm, Phil has been a not-very-subtle stand-in for Jack Kirby. Jack Kirby, along with Joe Simon, created Captain America in 1940. When Timely (now Marvel) started publishing new Cap comics in 1954 without Simon and Kirby, they created “Fighting American”, an obviously similar character but who they retained ownership of. Don’t know if the parallels are intentional by Batiuk, but… can’t really deny there’s some similarities there…

          The fact that you’ve almost certainly heard of one of them, but probably haven’t heard of the other, should tell you how much of an impact Fighting American has had over the past few decades. Which is probably a parallel Batiuk definitely didn’t intend, but should probably tell us just how well “Subterranean” is selling.

          (Also, at one point, Fighting American was licensed by Rob Liefeld. And I have no doubt his Fighting American was better by far than anything Atomik Komix has ever put out.) (For those non-comics fans, Liefeld is considered one of the absolute WORST artists/writers in comics history, and not without good reason. And I’d still wager he’s better than the Atomik hacks.)

          • Anonymous Sparrow

            Don’t forget Fighting American’s chip-off-the-old-Bucky sidekick, Speedboy! (No, Crazy Harry, not Speedball.)

        • Anonymous Sparrow

          *The Underground Man* is a late (1971) entry in Ross Macdonald’s Lew Archer series. It contains one of the saddest commentaries on the generation gap, I can think of as a mother laments of her daughter:

          “We ave her everything — it wasn’t what she wanted.”

          Fyodor Dostoyevsky also had an Underground Man. I hope Les never taught a class on him.

  8. ComicBookHarriet

    “Intense Ennui” the new feminine fragrance for the mature Westview lady. Blot out the scent of disappointment, despair, depression…
    When feeling dead inside is the only way to live…
    “Intense Ennui”

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      In Thomas Heggen’s “Mister Roberts,” the Reluctant went from Tedium to Apathy, with an occasional side trip to Monotony. Apparently, the Reluctant once made it to Ennui, but the less said about that the better.

  9. In today’s episode, the part of “Pete, dispenser of moronic ideas” will be played by Phil Holt.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Don’t worry, Pete will be along soon enough to propose something even more moronic, which the Grumpy Old Men will decide is awesome.

      Notice you never see Mindy or Ruby in these insipid “bullpen” arcs. Creating themed characters for comic books aimed at 9-year-olds is man’s work, apparently. Except when they actually do that work, and the men just take credit for it. Claim Jumpers on Callisto, we hardly knew ye.

  10. Rusty Shackleford

    Hate to break it to Batty but technology is ruining another one of his running gags: snow days. See today’s Crankshaft for the current iteration.

    But with the recent snowstorm, many school districts, including Cleveland, eliminated snow days and instead required remote learning. I was expecting to see the teachers strike over this, but so far, nothing.

    • be ware of eve hill

      I never figured Ed for the religious type. He appears to attend St. Spires. I guess it’s the only house of worship in the entire Westview/Centerville area.

    • hitorque


  11. Maxine of Arc

    Type Face is the kind of villain the Tick would battle. And it would be hilarious. Because the Tick was self-aware.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      The Tick is something Funky Winkerbean will never be: fun. The Tick put so much effort into its characters and world-building that you had to be entertained by it. TB expends so little effort, and so much time indulging his own needs instead of world-building, that he turns comic books into a chore.

  12. The Duck of Death

    Guys. Guys. Creating supervillains is easy, as Mopey Pete has shown us.

    [grabs copy of “The Songs of Hoagy Carmichael,” consults index]

    Let’s see…. “Riverboat Shuffle”… nah… “Rocking Chair”…. the Chair-Rocker? Is that a good villain? Mmm, I’ll keep looking…. “Skylark”….

    YES! That’s it! The Skylark! No, wait. That doesn’t sound scary —

    The SPYLARK! A supervillain that looks like a harmless bird, and spies through windows!

    And, as usual, half the ownership of the character will go to the estate of Hoagy Carmichael! (d.1981). It’s only fair!

    • Y. Knott

      The Riverboat Shuffler! He’s the ‘real deal’ — he dresses like an 1880s card sharp, and throws cards with serrated edges at you!

      The Rocking Cher! She’s a gypsy, a tramp and a thief … who can turn back time!

      Hey, Atomik Komix — where’s my comic book deal?

  13. Today’s strip recalls the 1946 Daffy Duck cartoon in which “Duck Twacy, the famous de-tec-a-tive” goes to the Gangster Hideout and encounters some parody versions of Dick Tracy villains with names such as Pickle Puss and Neon Noodle. Except that was FUNNY. Around the 5:10 mark in the video below.

    • J.J. O'Malley

      “Fantastic! And furthermore, it’s unbelieva…bull!”

    • The Duck of Death

      Every one of those villains, each of which has maybe 15 seconds of screen time, is etched on my memory. Meanwhile, the entire Batom Comics universe runs through my brain like water through a sieve, no matter how many times it’s shoved in my face.

  14. The Duck of Death

    Can you imagine how fun this might be in the hands of a better writer? Imagine if he fully committed to the gag. Typeface could have throwing stars made of sharp serifs. When he’s angry, he could be boldface; when he’s running, he could “go italic.” When he’s being conciliatory and polite, he could turn into a lovely script font with flourishes.

    It’s all moot, because no matter what dumb idea TB goes with, we’ll never see the villain in action.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      You just did something that Batiuk has NEVER done for any of his fake comic book characters. You gave Typeface more than a single attribute and suggested how he might behave in various scenarios.

      • The Duck of Death

        Teen Titans Go is so underrated, especially by fanbois who don’t get that it’s not just an iteration of the Teen Titans — it’s its own thing entirely.

        This comment section would not be complete without this:

        • hitorque

          TTG is one of the several cartoon gems I discovered only because of the COVID lockdown… Along with SpongeBob, Gumball, Loud House the list goes on…

          • The Duck of Death

            I have no idea why Gumball is so obscure. It should have been at least as big as Spongebob. Brilliant writing and insane animation.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      “But Doctor Atmos, Typeface could never hide in a space this small!”
      “He can if he’s subscript.”

      • The Duck of Death

        “So you think to stop me with your puny guns, do you, Scorch? HA! I am impervious to hot lead! Why, my ancestors were made of hot lead! Bwaaa-haa-haaaa!”

  15. ComicBookHarriet

    Most recent Batiuk blog post is a John Darling reprint, presented without comment, featuring Bill Cosby.

    • be ware of eve hill

      Judging by the February 4th Batiuk blog entry “Winter” I’m going to go out on a limb and predict the 02/04/2023 strip will feature a lot of snow.

      Batty writeth: Winter… Mom Nature’s way of saying stay indoors and make cartoons.

      • be ware of eve hill

        Whoa! Sorry. That photo is a lot bigger than the blog image I copied.

        I reckon that’s a photo of the Château Batiuk back patio.

    • Gerard Plourde

      I saw that and wondered what he was thinking.

  16. Don

    What should have been in today’s strip:

    “And the Razzie Nominees for Worst Screenplay are:
    Diana the Musical
    The Misfits
    The Woman in the Window
    Lisa’s Story, by Les Moore, based on his book of the same title”

  17. Charles

    The whole Atomik Comix “Idiot proposes idiotic idea that immediately gets shot down by the wiser, beaten-down, weary ‘sensible’ character” is old hat by now. It’s amazing how often that shows up as a punchline during Atomik Komix obligatory weeks.

    But what’s more interesting and, for some inexplicable reason, more depressing is how Atomik Comix was originally a concept that allowed for strips around the younger characters of Mopey, Dorkin, Mindy and, to a lesser extent, their wizened master Chester. But now Batiuk has managed to move in three elderly replacements for the three younger goofballs. So instead of Mopey offering an idiotic idea and Dorkin shooting it down, it’s now Dead Phil offering an idiotic idea and Flash shooting it down. Instead of Mindy making some stupid interjection from the background, or reminding the audience that there be wimmenz here so praise this comic for its inclusiveness, it’s Ruby offering some stupid interjection from the background, reminding the audience that there be wimmenz here so please praise this comic for its forward thinking, trend-setting bravery.

    And it doesn’t end here. It shouldn’t really be a surprise that Batiuk’s favorite punching bag Lillian from Crankshaft suddenly became like the fifth most commonly featured character in this comic last year, following the idea that Batiuk’s shifting his focus on stupid old people. And naturally, she interacts a lot with Morton, who should be about 90 by now.

    Last week was a sequence about a convention that school band directors attend, but rather than focus on the younger woman Batiuk has installed at the school as its band director, he instead focuses on her retired predecessor, the 85 year-old-whatever Dinkle.

    And it’s even sillier. Since he doesn’t have much in the way of elderly married couples to peel those stupid jokes from, he’s decided for some reason to age Funky, and presumably Holly, up to Social Security age so he can have an elderly couple to use for those jokes as well.

    And along with Lillian, does Batiuk bring along any of the younger characters over from Crankshaft to appear in this strip? Maybe the twins who are now inexplicably attending the Westview school, or the kid who ran the Valentine theater that Batiuk’s used in more than two stories? Of course not! He brings over Pm and Jfff, aged up to withered elderly status.

    And even in situations where this shouldn’t be present, it is. We’ve got superstar actor Mason and his idiot wife who looks about 30 Cindy, and when they show up, Mason looks, dresses and styles himself like a 70 year old with some sort of wasting disease, and Cindy’s always complaining about how old she is.

    The only relief from this massive elderly character avalanche we seem to get is the not-quite-elderly Les and his Lisa obsession/psychosis, and, well…