Wow, what an ugly, ungainly mess this one is. The vertical single-paneler is possibly the most annoying FW gimmick of them all, but cramming it full of TWENTY word balloons takes this debacle to a whole new level of stupid. As usual, the gag here (“it’s all already been done”) is fine in and of itself, but the execution is botched, bungled and mangled beyond belief to the point where only hardcore FW readers will “get” it and even then it’s iffy. Thus far in 2022 there’s been a noticeable decline in the quality of the strip’s wry banter, to a point where you have to seriously wonder if perhaps there’s some sort of legitimate cognitive impairment involved. Or maybe it’s just the shittiness of the premise, it’s tough to tell one way or the other.
45 responses to “He Blinded Me With Word Balloons Pertaining To Science. Blinded Me, With Word Balloons Pertaining To Science!”
You know, ever since Freeman and Holt have been introduced, the strip treats them as if they were preserved in plastic for the last sixty years, with no knowledge at all of how the comics industry has developed since they retired/quit. Didn’t they keep up with the business at all? Wouldn’t they know these sorts of things? Why do they have to turn to Pete for knowledge?
Pete seems like the dimmest possible source for anything, other than how to have the worst ideas ever, belittling women as creators, and grousing about working.
That’s because Tom Batiuk’s brain has been preserved in plastic for the last 60 years and has no knowledge of… well, you can see where I’m going with that.
Batiuk hires people to draw his Sunday comic book covers, but it’s obvious that the concepts are 100% his. Everything is so bland, derivative, unimaginative, and trapped in the Comics Code era. I’m sure that Ayers, Tom Zahler, and Rob Ro combined have at least one better concept than this list we’re seeing today.
If you want to see comic book cover concepts, there’s way better stuff floating around the Internet, made by ordinary people. There’s a whole blog, BraveAndBoldLost, that’s nothing but fictional comic book cover art of insane team-ups. Like “Darth Vader vs Howard The Duck.” And the industry banter is way better too. I don’t think I can embed an image here, but check it out.
I’m not a comic book fan but I liked their covers. Good stuff. Thanks for the link.
I’m not a comic book fan either! I just went looking on the Internet to see if anyone was doing better faux comic book art than Funky Winkerbean. Holy cow, are they ever. The artist’s name is @RossPearsall, and he has a new piece almost every day. And look who makes an appearance:
I can just picture Batiuk making that indignant face, and saying those words, as he gazes upon this “travesty.”
“That’s because Tom Batiuk’s brain has been preserved in plastic for the last 60 years and has no knowledge of… well, you can see where I’m going with that.”
Absolutely true, but what’s puzzling is that his blog’s “Cover Me” posts show newer work which, if memory serves, includes a lot of indy covers.
Makes one wonder if he just looks at the covers and doesn’t read the content.
Yes, there’s definitely some “Cover Me” stuff that’s out of his silver age comfort zone. But he never says why! There’s rarely any accompanying text, even for covers that are radically different from his usual preferences. I’d love to know why something as different as this was featured:
This is another reason Batiuk is such an awful writer: he doesn’t tell you the stuff you actually want to know. Like why a CFL team sent him a “Crankshaft” jersey with a different number than Ed’s traditional 13. I’m still baffled at that.
Batiuk is really a master of halfassing stuff:
“I found this interesting comic book cover to put in my blog. Should write some accompanying text? Nah, it’s good enough like that”
“I’ll need to write something to my blog. Nah, can’t be bothered, I’ll just copy an introduction from one of my collections.”
“There is this interesting event I could make a strip about. Should I research it? Nah, I’ll just invent something”
“I came up with a great pun I could use in a comic. Should I write some good setup for that? Nah, I’ll just throw some pointless banter in”
And this week’s storyline:
“I came up with a great supervillain name for Atomik Komix. Should I write some story where they build the character. Nah, I’ll just list names of other Superheroes. It’s good enough”
And he half-asses in every possible direction. The Excuse Plot of “we need to think up new comic book characters” would be fine if it was going to end in an amazing visual spectacle.
Or, if this was part of some larger AK story, where the company needs to invent new characters to survive in the marketplace or something. But AK already has a much larger character roster than it needs, of characters we never saw again after their #1 issue was unveiled. So there’s no storytelling justification for it either. There’s no payoff anywhere. It all needs to just go away.
Once again, the same trope: A bunch of stupid ideas, which we are supposed to accept as a legit strip because the author tells us “I know these ideas are stupid.”
I’d actually prefer it if he advanced the same stupid ideas but planted the punchlines firmly and stood behind them, like other long-moribund legacy strips do. Right now he’s telling us: “I know these ideas are shitty, but I can’t be bothered to come up with anything better, even given my one-year lead time. They’re not even ideas, as such, just half-baked brainstorming. So here’s a shitty strip for ya! Enjoy!”
I’m confused. None of the words The Artist Phil Holt mentions are powers. Well, maybe entropy, if you stretch the definition really to the limit. I agree, Epicus. There seems to be a cognitive lapse here.
Then there’s that. How is “eternity” a “cosmic power”? It’s like if I said “name a particular flavor” and you said “toaster”.
I think they’re supposed to be names of potential villains. Powers and abilities are always kept blank with these stupid Atomik Komix titles.
With all due respect to Thomas Dolby, I would fail this strip in BOTH biology and geometry…and would be only too happy to toss it’s antiquated notions right out the window!
The Torpid Trio of Tedium is admitting that they’re creatively bankrupt. “Entropy is a stupid name, but we would have been all over it if it weren’t taken.” Is Batdick commenting on himself? Probably not, but I’d like to think so.
If FW’s entropy continues at this rate, by the end of the year the strip will be nothing more than a single, vaguely wavy line.
The letter “L”
The dialogue which never quite resolves into something that makes clear sense … the invariable return to only a few simple core subjects … the inability to keep track of story points … the focus on the past as the only era of certainty … the ongoing failure to recognize that the audience is not engaged with what’s being communicated …
Look, I’m truly sorry to be a downer. But if these aren’t signs of early-but-progressive cognitive impairment …. what is?
It’s really too bad about Quasar. A villain with all the powers of a 13″ TV/VCR combo sounds like a worthy adversary for the Elementals Force.
Just as long as Philled Hole doesn’t draw the “works in a drawer.”
“It’s been done?” Since when was that an obstacle for Atomik Komix? Everything they do has been done before! They’re the Asylum Video of comic books. I expect this Sunday’s strip to announce that they’ve created “Chiroptera Man” and his sidekick “Redbird.”
Too bad Die Fledermaus is taken. By a vastly superior comic.
I thought this dynamic duo were supposed to be world-class creatives, the Jack Kirby and Stan Lee of the Batom Comics era. They can’t even have a single coherent conversation, or come up with one idea that’s original OR interesting.
The whole thing is very odd. Here is a guy, Batiuk, who worships Silver Age comics. He’s even built a whole fake universe around them, centering on a fictitious publishing company he dreamed up. He wanted desperately to work at Marvel when he was young. And now, he ‘s a syndicated cartoonist with a half-century of work behind him, no editorial supervision, and a stable of capable buddies who will draw any character he dreams up. In other words, the sky’s the limit.
And this is the stuff he comes up with.
In the backstory TB wrote for Batom Comics, he says they got sued back to a ball of dirt when they published “Arachnid Man.” That name works perfectly for that story, because of what an obvious ripoff it is. It makes the reader think “wow, they deserved to get sued.” It makes you think of movies like “Atlantic Rim.”
But now TB insists these Flash and Phil characters are masters of the comic book craft, and all they ever come up with are more Arachnid Mans.
Isn’t it sad that, even in a fantasy world where no reality can get in his way, the best TB can do is dream up a cheap exploitation publisher pumping out ripoffs and getting sued for them?
If they were anything else, he might’ve had to actually create interesting heroes for them.
I was thinking of Batiuk’s thought process, which seems to be largely based on random terrible puns or portmanteaus that occur to him. “Band booster.. booster shot… band booster shot!” It’s a terrible creative process but in the hands of someone who gives a damn, it can still result in wonderful, original characters. I’m thinking in particular of Danny the Street, a gender-bending, sentient street who is a member of Doom Patrol. I’m reasonably sure this character’s origin came when one of the creators pondered the name of Danny LaRue (since “la rue” means “the street” in French).
If any of us here were given the assignment to create any superhero or supervillain we could dream up — and it only had to appear on one cover, with no origin story or details necessary, and we didn’t have to draw the cover, or ever worry about creating stories with the character — I bet every single one of us could come up with something either original or funny, or both. I’m pretty sure none of us would come up with “Rip Tide, Scuba Cop” (another character whose origin is apparently based on a ha-ha pun) or a dreary bunch of third-rate Fantastic Four retreads.
If any of us here were given the assignment to create any superhero or supervillain we could dream up — I bet every single one of us could come up with something either original or funny, or both.
We’ve been having fun with “Typeface” all week. Freeman immediately rejected this idea, but us dumb snarkers are getting some yuks out of it. The strip sure as hell hasn’t come up with anything better. And it isn’t going to tomorrow or Saturday.
You know what was a better villain? The Lord of the Late. Sure, he didn’t do anything but gloat, but at least he had a goal.
–wait, his goal was to keep Pete from writing. Scratch “villain” and enter “hero.”
I have a suggestion for a super villain. How about Overly-Talkative-Boring-Sideways Man?
He’s another cohort of Typeface. In one story, he helps Typeface escape by talking so much that the entire world turns sideways, and Typeface climbs out the window. Much like the staging of the window gags from the 1960s Batman TV show:
YaY! I like it!
On a side note (pun intended), what did Burt Ward use to shave his legs?
So smooth! Nice!
I think he wore flesh-colored tights.
A web search indicates Burt did both at one time or another. Burt also discussed how the producers made him hide his manhood. TMI Burt!
My favorite window gag is the one with Edward G. Robinson. The comments on art are very funny.
I almost skipped reading today’s strip. I read the blog and all the comments, then reluctantly read the strip. A sideways strip with an overabundance of dialog? Screw you, Batiuk.
I think Batiuk does it just to annoy. Perhaps he’s trying to draw attention to himself.
Batty: Look at me. I’m Tom Batiuk. I’m different. I’m whimsical. Whee!
Kings Features ought to charge a premium for sideways oriented comic strips. That ought to put an end to the practice.
KFS: You submitted a sideways comic strip that inconveniences our readers. That will be a $1,000 surcharge.
Thanks to the person responsible for rotating the linked strip. 🤟
I should know to come here before reading the Comics Kingdom.
KFS: You submitted a sideways comic strip that inconveniences our readers, and adds nothing to the story. It has been rejected. Please re-submit
KFS: Dear Mr. Tom Batiuk. After careful consideration, we’ve come to the conclusion that your comic strip sucks. Your contract will not be renewed.
I don’t get it… The entire fucking Atomikkk Komixxx business model is based on cheap plagiarizing ripoffs, or rebooting long-dormant characters, but today for reasons unknown they HAVE to come up with an original idea??
And as an aside, I’m utterly disappointed that the only well they can even think to steal from for supervillain ideas is “Conventional American comics, circa 1965-1999″… No Japanese manga/anime? No video games, etc.?
*THIS* is the fatal flaw of AK when the entire dumbassed outfit consists of three Golden/Silver Age fossils who should have stayed retired, one grossly overpaid artist/geek fanboi who doesn’t ever come up with ideas because his only job is to draw sketches and color, a moderately talented, grossly overpaid writer/geek fanboi who worships at the altar of the Silver Age and even though he’s officially the “boss” of this office he never, ever acts like it, his nepotism hire fiancée/geek fangirl who has no defined job responsibilities and is only around to remind everyone that Peter is straight and has peener that works, and the whole operation is being bankrolled by a multimillionaire hedge fund and real estate player/geek fanboi collector who has zero industry experience whatsoever…
This is a 100% closed shop with no diversity to speak of, with a staff that thinks alike and always agrees with itself because AK never dares to hire outside of the Official Westview Nepotism Mafia Network… And despite the fact that they have a near-unlimited budget there’s never any discussion of expanding the staff or poaching these famous writers or those famous artists from the Marvel or DC houses… Nevermind the fact that there is absolutely no organizational or professional structure to speak of and the average age of the staff is like 57… And somewhere back in Ohio, Batiuk is wondering for the life of him why he hasn’t been able to squeeze more humor or even half-decent storylines out of the AK workplace…
Which leads us to the core issue plaguing the Funkyverse — WHERE ARE THE MISFITS? THE SCREWBALLS? THE WEIRDOS? THE OUTCASTS? This is where your *comedy* comes from, people!! Krankenschaaften still works somewhat because he wears his resident “screwball/crazy old coot” label with pride in Centerville… Yes, once upon a time Pete was a weirdo comics geek and that was his motif, but when he’s surrounded by the same flavor of comics geeks who think exactly as he does, what’s the point?? And by the way, who the hell ever heard of a bunch of comics geeks in one place (either AK or Komixxx Korner) never getting into shouting arguments? I remember about 5-6 bros in my college dorm absolutely screaming at each other in the hallway from midnight to 3 am about whether Wolverine could beat Superman in a straight-up fight and yes, to back up their cases they did cite what happened in this comics issue or that comics issue for God knows how far back…
Seriously, who was the last real misfit weirdo to appear in the strip? Maybe Chullo Kid?
Maybe they think that they need to invent an original name to avoid being sued immediately, because they know the character itself will be a blatant ripoff
How about calling the villain “Centrifugal Force”? Because, like Batty’s writing ability, it’s not a real thing.
Paging Perpetual Motion Man! Come in, Cold Fusion Kid!
Really? Damn, my highschool science teacher told me it was centripetal force that didn’t exist.
three Golden/Silver Age fossils who should have stayed retired
Two of them should have stayed retired. The other one should have stayed dead.
I don’t give these titles enough credit for cracking me up! Haha! 🙂
Thanks Trek! At this point, I can goof on FW in my sleep (the medication is helping with that, BTW) but we all TOIL over the post titles. IMO it’s by FAR the hardest part, mainly because 99% of the time he gives us NOTHING to work with. So the acknowledgment is appreciated!