In Fact, Terrible

Link To The Sunday Strip

Four generic superheroes battling four generic super villains in front of a plain background…THIS is what they toiled over all week? And look at Flash in the reality bubble, all smug and self-satisfied, like he actually accomplished something. I wish he’d do an arc where Chester shits himself over the astoundingly terrible work these imbeciles keep cranking out. “Wayback Wendy”, “Pion”, “Scorch”…I mean come on. Chester has to be losing money hand over fist on this horseshit.

I really, really need for this arc to be over. I mean yes, it’ll take way more than that to truly break me, but this one really tested my patience. Fortunately, it would appear that Mason Jarre is on deck, to take us in a “different direction”, hopefully a direction that has nothing to do with comic books or marching bands. If it turns out he wants to do an animated film about a marching band composed entirely of superheroes, that might be all for me.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

58 responses to “In Fact, Terrible

  1. Sorry this is TLDR

    What a terrible cover. That is really bad.

    Here’s how I bet it came about.

    “Hey, artist, can you draw these two characters fighting?”
    “Sure thing! Here you go!”
    “Can you draw these different characters fighting?”
    “Absolutely! Here you go.”
    “How about these two characters, can you draw them fighting?”
    “No problem. Here you go.”
    “I’ve got two more characters to fight, can you draw them?”
    “Not a problem. Here you go.”
    “Wow, these are all great! Can you combine them into one image?”
    “Well…they’re all kind of the same, you know? Two characters coming from the sides. I’m not sure how I…(sigh) I’ll see what I can do.”

    And the artist goes home, thinking, I don’t want to redraw all this crap. So he opens up a new PhotoShop file, and just dumps all the previous layers into it, one on top of the other. Who cares if it’s a mess? The check cleared.

    It’s possible to make a good cover with multiple characters; take a look at most Justice League or Avengers issues. This, with everyone staged the same, crowding each other out, is just awful.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Wow, James Pascoe and Rob Ro aren’t even bothering with a background any more.

      I’m going to post this again, because the Sunday Atomik Komix New Character We’ll Never See Again Comic Book Cover keeps moving closer to it:

  2. William Thompson

    How many pages are in this issue? What’s the paper like, and is the ink indelible? You never know what shortages we’ll face next, and I’m thinking that at $3.99 plus tax it might be cheaper than some toilet papers. (I know this joke has been made before, but what else can you do when Batuk keeps giving s these generic covers?)

  3. Gerard Plourde

    Also, if this really were the first issue, there is nothing on the cover that identifies which characters are the heroes and which are the villains. (I forget – do The Scorch and The Subterranean have their own stand alone titles in the Funkyverse?)

  4. billytheskink

    Even Mr. Kitty wouldn’t review this. And he once reviewed this:

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Atomik Komix doesn’t rise to the level of stupid.

    • J.J. O'Malley

      Sorry, but I cannot in good conscience stand by and let the memory of Dell’s Fab 4 be besmirched. I was in third grade in ’67 when this VERY short-lived series debuted, and at the time I kind of enjoyed the story of Hy, El, Polymer Polly, and Crispy (Great Krypton, I STILL remember their names!). At least the cover, generic as today’s strip, has background action, and the group apparently taught that other Fab 4 the importance of fling copyright claims.

      • The Nelson Puppet

        You ain’t kidding. Apple Computers had to pay Apple Records a substantial sum for infringement. Same thing happened again when Apple Computers blundered into forming Apple Music. It probably amounted to couch change for Yoko Ono and Paul McCartney, but I’m sure George and Ringo benefited from the proceeds.

  5. Banana Jr. 6000

    What is even the scale of this? How do human-sized heroes fight sub-atomic sized villains? Or even know they exist?

    • Hannibal’s Lectern

      According to Grandpa Google, the strong force operates over a range of 0.000000000000001 meter, about the diameter of a proton. Gonna be hard for these “super-villains” to do much.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        I’m still wondering how sub-atomic beings can have clothing and objects. They’d have to be made from matter that is sub-sub-atomic.

  6. Epicus Doomus

    I just find it hard to believe that this came from the same mind that brought us “Rip Tide-Scuba Cop”. At least when Rip did battle with The Moisturizer, it made sense, as water is wet. Likewise, when he did the ticketing blitz on the speeding submarines, it was logical, as after all, he is a scuba cop. But here he has Pion waving her electric pom-poms at the Oceanaire, for seemingly no reason at all. And check out Meson and Scorch, could those costumes BE any tighter? Just what sort of depraved filth are these two out-of-touch coots trying to peddle here?

    I really hate those reality bubbles, though. Every one of them is exactly the same. Same mood, same sentiments, only the wry banter changes. I really, REALLY would like to see one where Chester tells the staff to shape up or get out. Every Sunday strip doesn’t necessarily have to be so dippy and sappy.

  7. be ware of eve hill

    So there are four new characters called the Strong Force who are allegedly villains.

    Why are the Strong Force villains? Where are they from?

    Why did they band together? Ditto for the Elementals Force.

    Elementals Force? When did that happen? I thought they were called The Elementals?

    Why is the Strong Force fighting the Elemental Force?

    Is this some kind of gang war?

    Why is there no dialog? That could have possibly answered some of my questions?

    Who is the leader in each group? Don’t these supergroups usually have a leader?

    When did the Subterranean start wearing briefs?


    This is kind of sad. It’s like Batty’s mommy bought him a bunch of action figures, and he’s in his playroom pretending they’re fighting one another like a six-year-old.
    Batty: Vroom! Doctor Atmos flies in and blasts Baryon! K-blammo! Give up Baryon! Never! I’ll get you yet Doctor Atmos!

    At least there are none of those cliche comic book cover sayings such as “Because you demanded it!”

    The only person who demanded this was you know who.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Poor Dr. Atmos. They only dreamed up THAT half-assed character a few months (or were it years?) ago and he’s ALREADY relegated to being a mere teammate. Atmos got no time in the spotlight at all.

      • be ware of eve hill

        The Subterranean was supposed to be some big whoop-de-doo as well. Big enough to make Phil of the Undead quit his job at Batom all those years ago.

        Here is the Subterranean in his spiffy new underoos. Just another big oaf to provide the brawn. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

  8. Y. Knott

    This just in from James Pascoe, Rob Ro, and Chuck Ayers: That Funky felt-tip ALSO better be signing some cheques, bro.

    • newagepalimpsest

      Seeing as these covers have only gotten worse over the years, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were starting to get annoyed with drawing this crap. Or if they realized after a certain point that the client doesn’t have any idea where he’s going with any of these concepts, so they could just slap any old concept they wanted onto the page and send it off.

  9. Lord Flatulence

    Next Up: No comic books, marching bands, retired perverts, or dead Lisa, please.

  10. The Duck of Death

    This could be a very long battle, as they all seem evenly matched. That’s because they all have the same power: Zapping with an energy blast that carries a ball of plasma.

    You’d think Dr Atmos would be using some kind of wind power, or taking the oxygen out of the air to choke his foes, or something. And the Subterranean — wouldn’t he be underground? or using earth somehow? Wouldn’t Oceanaire be whacking his enemies with a wave or a waterspout or an angry whale or something?

    Nope. Just characterless bores shooting plasma balls at each other. Why? Where? Hey, Batiuk doesn’t care, so I sure don’t.

    • Suicide Squirrel

      I always thought Doctor Atmos’s powers would be similar to this guy.

      Perhaps Doctor Atmos has powers similar to the Inferior Five member, The Blimp.
      Scorch: “Damn it, Doctor Atmos, the battle has commenced. Hurry up! We need you!”
      Doctor Atmos: “I’ll be with you in a few minutes. I think I’m getting a bit of a tailwind.”

      If you pumped helium into Doctor Atmos’s containment suit, would his voice sound funny?

  11. The Duck of Death

    Epicus, I gotta say: I love the idea of a marching band composed entirely of superheroes. At least it hasn’t been done a million times before. It has great comedic possibilities — give the hugest member a piccolo and the tiniest member a bass drum. Force them to submit to the greatest supervillain of all, Hairy Dingle, the World’s Greatest Super-Band Leader. Etc.

    Because it has the potential to be interesting and/or amusing, we don’t have to worry — it’ll never happen.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      Reminds me of the M.M.M.S, or Merry Marvel Marching Society. All the children sing:

      Stand a little straighter.

      Walk a little prouder.

      Be an innovator.

      Laugh a little louder.

      Grow forever greater.

      We can show you how to.

      Where will you be then?

      You’ll belong, you’ll belong, you’ll belong, you’ll belong to the Merry Marvel Marching Society.

      March along, march along, march along to the song of the Merry Marvel Marching Society.

      If you growl, if you groan with a down and sour outlook, if you howl, if you moan, you can lose your sour grout by keeping trim and in step with the vim and the pep of the Merry Marvel Marching Society.

      Be an early riser.

      Strive to be ambitious.

      Speak a little wiser.

      Try to be judicious.

      Be a good adviser, never ever vicious.

      Where will you be then?

      Face front. . .

      Lift your head. . .

      You’re on the winning team. . .

      NUFF SAID!

      You’ll belong, you’ll belong, you’ll belong, you’ll belong, to the Merry Marvel Marching Society.

      March along, march along, march along to the song of the Merry Marvel Marching Society.

      If you growl, if you groan and your star is nearly zero, do not howl, do not moan, you can be a superhero, marching right along to the fighting song of the Merry Marvel Marching Society.

      Stand a little straighter.

      Walk a little prouder.

      Be an innovator.

      Laugh a little louder.

      Grow forever greater.

      We can show you how to.

      Where will you be then?

      Deep in the jungle, whee the mighty tiger lies, Bungalow Bill!

    • Epicus Doomus

      And they would fight marching band crimes exclusively. Marching band competition judging scandals, improper footwear, backing tapes…they’d be all over it.

  12. robertodobbs

    And it is “Enfants Terribles” with an “s.”

    • The Duck of Death

      Yes, and what makes it especially egregious is that “enfant terrible” is in the English dictionary, along with its correct plural, but the Great Man has no need of a dictionary. Batiuk punctures his own sad pretensions without our having to lift a finger.

  13. ComicBookHarriet

    Ugh, what makes half the Atomik Komix weeks so aggravating is that they do nothing and go nowhere with the characters. It’s just a bunch of idiots blithely brainstorming at each other until the Sunday, “Aren’t We Just the Greatest?” moment.

    Would it be so hard to give this dreck another LAYER, Tom? You did it once when Mindy suggested a sidekick that Pete hated. That arc wasn’t great, but it had an actual character building CONFLICT in it. It had a premise beyond: Idiot thinks up stupid things while others watch and agree.

    If you’re not going to give us any good window into the conflict in these stupid comics, then the point of these stupid arcs should be about the Atomik Komix crew themselves. Their clashes of goals and egos. Their competing ideas of how things should go. You could do a week around that easy! And still have time for all your stupid wry side eye.

    • newagepalimpsest

      I hated that arc at the time, but you’re right in that it actually was about something other than the comics. I hesitate to say that they developed as characters, but Mindy and Pete clashed and that (briefly) caused something almost interesting to happen.

      And Batiuk should know that’s where the drama is because he brought in these two just to tell his “How Stan Lee and Jack Kirby SHOULD HAVE Ended Up” fanfic!

  14. Suicide Squirrel

    I’ll have what Phil Holt’s having. Whatever happened to the angry old man? Angry Phil would tell off the Atomik Komiks bullpen when they pissed him off. That made him somewhat of a likable character. Nowadays, he’s never drawn without that insipid imbecilic smile. Is it contentment? Evil plans coming to fruition? An engaging sex life? Gas?
    Imbecilic Phil: “I made a doody.” (gushes)

  15. Suicide Squirrel

    Oh, hell. It’s Masone Jarre in the SOSF banner. The portent of insufferable things to come. Let me guess, he’s flying into Westview to tell, in person, an indifferent Les that the Lisa’s Story movie is experiencing some kind of miracle. A resurgence at the box office? Nominated for awards across the boards? He wants to make a sequel (Les’s Story)? 🤢🤮

    Whatever Masone has to say can only be great news for the movie. We can’t have any enduring pain or strife involved with Les Moore’s precious gift to the universe, ‘Lisa’s Story.’ For the millionth time, Les will pooh-pooh the news and tell Cayla how conflicted he is.

    Let’s see how many strips I can tolerate before bailing for the remainder of the story arc.

  16. sorialpromise

    I am going to post an opposite opinion. I liked the cover for several reasons: It reminded me of other Marvel covers e.g. Marvel King Size Avengers #2. It actually made me want more of the story. I imagined this story playing out in maybe 3 issues. (I will hold my breath waiting for a follow-up!) I liked that Batiuk had a theme: ancient science concepts vs. modern science concepts. (It helped that I just finished reading C.S. Lewis, the Discarded Image expounding on this.)
    I especially want to thank Epicus Doomus for not printing this sideways.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Thank you for posting an opposite opinion, SP! Always refreshing when someone can find something to like.

      I agree that I didn’t think the cover was awful. Sometimes when introducing a new character group, you don’t want anything in the background to clutter things up.

      I just wish he would give us more than a gimmick and name. Like I’ve said before, plenty of comics characters that look dumb ‘on paper’ when you just have their gimmick and name have had great stories told using them. Swamp Thing, Animal Man, Secret Six, Mr. Miracle, heck there have been good stories with THE METAL MEN.

      • sorialpromise

        I especially liked an early Metal Men when Tina was cooking eggs and it turned into a giant amoeba creature!

        • Perfect Tommy

          I remember Tin and Tina merging to form a big tin can and rolling towards the villain. Unfortunately, they got shot up like a kid plinking with a Red Ryder B.B. gun.

      • J.J. O'Malley

        What’s the only metal that’s a liquid at room temperature? Which metal has a lower melting point, gold or platinum? What’s the most abundant metal in Earth’s crust? Mercury, gold, and aluminum, respectively, all “fun facts” about the elements that I learned from reading 1960s Metal Men comics. This is part of the Silver Age story that Batiuk seems to ignore.

        Why do I somehow doubt that the the Atomik “Bull”pen will take the time and minimal effort to include such details in their stories, or even explain the characters’ names to their readers, and imagine that instead they’ll fill the pages with half-baked puns and “clever” wordplay?

        • Bad wolf

          I had a nice cover from Metal Men or Metamorpho fighting Osmium hanging at work once where i worked with the stuff. “You fool! Osmium’s the densest metal known!” one of them shouted.

          Yeah, those old strips and their random facts stayed with us. Sometimes I wonder if i could license them for a Gen Chem textbook.

          • Anonymous Sparrow

            It’s *Metamorpho* #12 (1967). The scientific detail comes from the creator of Osmium, the villainous Franz Zorb.

            Metamorpho plays football against Osmium and his fellow Test-Tube Terrors. Sportos, beware!

            My first *Metal Men* story was a reprint of their debut in a 1972 *Flash* Super-Spectacular. If I remember correctly, Batiuk’s review of the issue was rather dismissive of Dr. Will Magnus’s robots.

            Duh to you, too, as Lead might have said.

    • sorialpromise

      Thank you for posting the cover to the Avengers

    • Hitorque

      So in other words, the Elementals cover is lazy and derivative like all the other Sunday covers…?

    • Epicus Doomus

      TFH gets the credit for that, he’s a real stickler where this sideways bullshit is concerned.

  17. The sideways Sunday komix covers are always self indulgent and usually have little or nothing to do with the current arc, but for the most part are competently rendered. This one’s just a mess, and I can totally believe that the “creative” process went down exactly as Beckoning Chasm described in his comment. It looks literally thrown together, against a beige background no less.

    • The Duck of Death

      In defense of the team of artists, with all the characters stacked the way they are in the foreground, there’s almost no way to picture any background without cluttering things to the point of no return. That’s why you virtually never see 8 characters, arranged in columns, on a competently laid out cover. Perhaps they could have vaguely suggested a skyline or something similar, though, just to make it clear they’re not fighting in a void — unless they ARE fighting in a literal void, in which case maybe the background should have suggested that.

      Once again, every single commenter here has given 100x more thought to this wretched team-up than anyone involved in its creation, including Flesh Floppington and Theartistphil Holt.

      • Snarker sorialpromise referenced a (very) similar Marvel cover from circa ’68, which I wouldn’t be surprised to learn was the inspiration for today’s mess. It’s certainly unfair to compare anyone to Jack Kirby at the height of his powers, so the character rendering is what it is. But note what a difference the black background makes vs. a beige, radial gradient.

        The other thing–ok, another thing that has always irked me about these Sunday comics covers is the way the book titles are always rendered digitally instead of hand lettered, like this supposedly Comics Code-era Batom title. That tortured, distorted type kinda undermines the retro feel.

        • The Duck of Death

          TFH, I’d quibble over how similar the covers are. Yes, they both have a lot of characters. But the sense of energy, of movement, of focal point, of how your eye bounces dynamically across the page, led by the layout, the color, and the bold strokes of the pen — none of that comes across in the Batiuk version.

          Also note how the characters are assuming different poses as they use their unique powers/weapons. Again, nothing of that in the latest Atomik title.

          • The Duck of Death

            Forgot to add: What makes this cover even more tempting for a comics fan is that it’s good guys vs. good guys. Why are they fighting? Who will win? You want to open the issue and find out. It’s a teaser. Bad guys vs evenly matched good guys, all hurling plasma bolts, isn’t nearly as interesting, at least to me.

      • Maxine of Arc

        Did it have to be beige, though?

  18. Bad wolf

    I’m shocked that according to the countdown widget on the right, we are within 6 weeks of TB’s 50th anniversary and this… well this doesn’t seem to be building up to anything. I mean, sure, for him it was a wrap a year ago. But you’d think he would, i don’t know, check in on all the old characters? Have Summer move home? Show Les sitting down to watch the Lisa movie?

    • Y. Knott

      That brings up an interesting question. How do you think the 50th anniversary will be celebrated?

      A) Not at all
      B) With an oblique reference; perhaps someone says to Funky, “Gee, you don’t look 50!”
      C) With a parallel in-universe celebration of, say, the 50th anniversary of Montoni’s
      D) Les and other Westviewians ‘enjoy’ a special one-time only showing of “Lisa’s Story: The Motion Picture” at The Valentine
      E) Some sort of half-assed high school reunion plot featuring the ghosts of Lisa and Bull Bushka
      F) An Atomik Komix cover, for some reason

      What other treats in store could there be for us all?

      For our fearless rotating blog posters, this might make for an interesting post on a day when the comic itself doesn’t give you a whole lot to work with. (So, like, y’know, ANY day.) I’d love to see what 50th anniversary themes, photoshopped strips, and other TomBatiukFoolery you all come up with!