Finally, an in-depth look into the inner workings of a legendary comic book bullpen. It’s about damn time, too. I honestly had no idea that this is how they do it. I assumed the comic book writers and artists would sit around brainstorming, sketching and spitballing ideas around the room in a Red Bull and Skittles-fueled frenzy. But it turns out it’s really just two somewhat slow-witted morons slowly bungling their way into the foundation of a barely-passable premise. I have to imagine that they fill in the details after. I wonder how many other comic writers of note use that approach?
This is some really, really bad dialog right here. It reads like it was randomly generated, which I suppose it sort of was, in a manner of speaking. It’s just amazing how he can take a personal passion (in this case, legendary comic book company bullpens) and just completely and totally drain every last morsel of humor, joy and fun out of it, leaving nothing but dull, mundane and often confusing banter.
37 responses to “Harnessing The Weak Force”
Wow, the ideas and the artwork are battling it out to see who can be worse.
Can’t really knock Ayers here. If you were forced to draw something based on this dialogue, would you spend one second longer drawing it than the absolute minimum you needed?
Nobody wins. 😔
“Mega-powered?” Uh, yeah, that’s such an innovative idea for the comic books. I’d suggest making the heroes clever and resourceful, but with these fossils their creativity would amount to “Look! The bad guys use a code that relies on writing words upside-down! Can we turn the stolen plans over in time to read them?”
I was going to say the Atomik Komix creative process reminded me of the 70’s “Superfriends” TV show characters trying to solve a problem.
Seanbaby was the best writer the Super Friends ever had.
Seanbaby may be the best writer the Internet ever had. His whole website is screamingly funny. Especially if you’re aware of 1980s pop culture effluvia. His takedowns of those obnoxious little “100 ways to be more romantic”-type pocket books, especially the ones by Gregory Godek, are my favorite. He’s very NSFW though.
Seanbaby used to claim to have invented being funny on the internet…
The claim checks out, even if the only thing of his you read is commentary on a Hostess Fruit Pie comic book ad.
To this day the advice letter to Nice Guys is one of the best things I’ve ever read.
Seanbaby was the hero we needed but not the hero we deserved.
Flash’s head looks like gelatinous blob, growing and shrinking to fit the word balloons.
Now THAT would be an interesting comic book character. Like a plastic man, but it’s only the head that can morph….
It could be another one of Typeface’s superpowers. The heroes tried to snag his coat by saying “piggy” at him over and over in lower case, but he was able to duck under the descenders.
I guess this is how Tom Batiuk thinks comic book writers work. You come up with a name, very first thing you do, then you worry about abilities.
“Uh, the ‘Sea Cucumber!’ He lives under the sea, get it, and he’s always cool no matter what the circumstances! His weapon is a salad shooter, and he can also use his intestines as a snare!”
For regular ol’ non-snarky comic readers, what would the joke of the last two strips be? That Philled Hole is a blithering idiot who doesn’t have a decent idea in his skull? And that Flushface adds nothing but obvious questions, followed by dismissing the suggestions without suggesting alternatives? Those regular folks would have to ask, “Why am I reading this? Just get to the new villains part, can’t ya?”
Sadly, us folks know the answer: Half-assed Filler. Period.
Wait … this is the very first Funky Winkerbean to earn the tag “terrible ideas”? I recognize that this is an *especially* terrible idea, but still….
It still amazes me how Batiuk seems to think there’s nothing more to writing comics than coming up with a stupid punny name. There’s never any discussion of what makes the character or the story interesting, it’s just thinking of a random word and figuring out how to turn that into a title.
Speaking of mega, it reminds me an awful lot of Megan Man villains. Ring Man! Wood Man! Metal Man! Heat Man! Fire Man!
Also, even by these standards “Mega Monger” is hideous. A monger is a person who sells something. Is this supposed to be a guy who sells megas or a mega-powered salesman?
If you want to have fun, run up to random person and yell out Flash’s dialogue in the first panel while making that same pose and facial expression. I’m pretty sure you’d be undergoing a mandatory drug test very quickly.
Well we know that is how Batty creates comics. Come up with a punny name or just a pun, and then write the strip around that. Don’t forget to add in lots of unnecessary dialogue as this causes large word balloons which means less background you have to draw.
And he still wonders why he didn’t get hired at Marvel in 1973.
Careful guys, you don’t want to invite a cease-and-desist from Mega Comics…
We might not mind seeing that, though. We know TB knows how a cease-and-desist letter works, so this strip might come across well-informed for once.
Not that our resident Lee and Kirby manque would ever know this, but the term for ludicrously over-powered characters in modern comic books is…well, “over-powered” (Think Brie Larson’s MCU heroine who’s co-opted the long-held “Captain Marvel” cognomen from poor Zach Levi). Telling your artist/partner that you want a “mega-powered” baddie without any clue what that entails or what powers it might include really amounts to no help whatsoever.
I’m reminded of the oft-told story about how the real Stan and Jack were coming up with the first Galactus storyline in “Fantastic Four,” and Jack’s initial sketches featuring the world-devouring adversary included a surfboard-riding figure that Stan never imagined. Kirby explained to him that a powerful foe like the Big G would need a herald to help him find suitable planets to consume, and thus the Silver Surfer was born. THAT’S how the collaborative process works, Batiuk!
Brie Larson is incredibly overpowered, but she’s also a sex machine so it all evens out
I’m old school, so when Captain Marvel was announced, I was expecting Billy Batson and his crutch and belt. Who knew?
Yes folks, you’re watching the raw, visceral creative process in real time from supposedly two of the biggest industry legends who ever lived…
GO STAND IN FUCKING LINE ————->
But seriously, if this is how these two work, I’m really interested in knowing how they ever finished ANYTHING back in the 50s/60s, especially when they still had to worry about meaningless things like sales figures, production schedules and deadlines…
Maybe they should go for a run on Flash’s treadmill? That always seemed to work for Pete…
“Now we need a villain!”
“How about ‘the Cartoonist!’ His plots are always badly thought out, he does the minimal work and frequently abandons them, but he takes up a lot of space with terrible dialogue! His secret identity is Leigh Z. Bouhns.”
Bonus points for a stealth Hoagy Carmichael (writer of “Lazybones”) reference!
I’m just pretending these guys are writing for The Tick if The Tick didn’t entirely get its own joke.
The dumb word association games these geezers play also make me think of delightful Marvel heroine Squirrel Girl, who was created as a joke by Will Murray and Steve Ditko and has gone on to be a popular character with books of her own. In the hands of real writers with influence from real fans, she’s become a beloved hero. This is how the process works in real life: you don’t just throw “The Elemental Force” out there and assume it’s going to be a success, because Batiuk has no idea how market forces work and what superhero comics are like now.
I know, I KNOW all this is beside the point and Batiuk doesn’t care and it’s just TomBa living out his fantasy based on ideas he formed as a child during the comic Silver Age. I just hate the laziness of it.
It’s frustrating because I think he’s capable of doing better! If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t rage.
He really is capable of better. He’s just been allowed to do whatever he wants for so long that he’s lost all discipline. His last editor died in 2005 or so, and he hasn’t mentioned a subsequent one. At least not one with any power to tell him “no.” And it’s really what he needs.
“He really is capable of better.”
That’s my beef as well. He has been capable of writing coherent stories. Not timeless prose but coherent.
Squirrel Girl rocks… Weren’t they planning to make a movie about her starring that well-stacked girl from the AT&T commercials? Or was that just an internet rumor?
Probably. Every news story I read on the Internet has at least 7 clickbait links on the bottom about that actress.
Milana Vayntrub. There was a pilot for a TV project where she would have played Squirrel Girl but it didn’t get off the ground. She still voices Doreen when she shows up in animated shows.
I like to think that Darrin and Pete are in the unemployment line right now, cursing their former idols for stealing their jobs.
If Darrin did lose his job, he wouldn’t even make it to the unemployment line before somebody handed him a new six-figure job. He’s a market research expert now!
I just had a crazy thought. Is it possible that Batiuk is such a Bitter Batty about being passed over by DC and Marvel, he’s purposely mocking them by making comic book legends Flash and Phil look like fools?
Batty: Comic book creators are hacks. It takes real talent to create a daily comic strip. Comic book titles come and go, but Funky Winkerbean is undying. (maniacal laughter)
TB isn’t nearly that nuanced. His idea of a villain is Frankie. I’ll believe Flash and Phil are villains when they declare their love of non-Tom Batiuk-approved comic book tropes, and announce their evil plans to torment someone in Westview for no good reason.