Time to Play Besides

Your genial host weighed in yesterday about snarkers who suggest that Tom Batiuk, who will turn 75 in two weeks, is experiencing cognitive decline. They point to the countless inconsistencies in character, plot, and overall quality of his two franchise strips. My take is that Batty works for a syndicate that’s happy just to have a fifty year old comic title to offer its paying customers, while providing minimal if any editorial oversight.

I give you today’s strip as evidence that TB has still got it, whatever “it” in his case means. Pete chimes in with the same remark he uttered three weeks ago, and naturally we hate-readers and everyone else is supposed to exclaim “got the reference!” Meanwhile, Pete really needs a new joke.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

39 responses to “Time to Play Besides

  1. Epicus Doomus

    SoSF site note: Tonight we will cross the 100,000 total comments threshold! Thanks and gratitude to everyone who made this milestone possible! That means you, so give yourselves a round of applause, let’s go!

    And on that note, we’ll be lucky to get two or three comments a day this week, once everyone sees we’re back at Atomik Komix HQ with those assholes Flash and Phil. I barely made it through that last one and this is just way, way too soon. I hate how Flash has inexplicably become the central character in the strip and I REALLY hate how BatHam slipped that by me without me really noticing at first. But now I do notice, and I’m pretty damn salty about it too.

    • Charles

      Tonight we will cross the 100,000 total comments threshold!

      That’s pretty amazing. I’m wondering if it’d be possible to have a list of the most-commented-upon strips over the last 12 years or so this site’s been around. I seem to remember that this site had a widget that indicated that several iterations ago.

      I suspect most of them would feature Les and his Lust for Lisa.

    • gleeb

      It is kinda nice to see the Mope constantly told to butt out, but the cost is kinda high.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Today I crossed the 1,000 downvote threshold! I’d like to thank Dora and Donnie Downvote for making this possible!

  2. Preacher Batiuk is the worst Batiuk of all of them. Worse than Fanboy Batiuk, worse than Award-Chaser Batiuk, worse than Nostalgia-Bestolgia Batiuk.

    It’s going to be a rough ride.

  3. ComicBookHarriet

    Dear Flash,
    No, you don’t. You just introduced the Strong Force. Four villains that need to be fleshed out and differentiated. That can get you through an entire 12 issue year, if not more.

    The absolute STATE of modern comics. It’s like no one here has ever read Batman Hush or the Court of Owls.

    • William Thompson

      Batiuk repeats “‘Fleshed out’?” A light goes on over his head (an original Edison bulb, with a carbonized-thread filament) and fleshes out the Strong Force by adding extra bulges to their muscles.

    • billytheskink

      “The ‘Strong Force’ is a great villain team for the ‘Elementals Force’… but we need some new villains who can actually do villainous things.”

      I think we’re starting to see the real reason Phil left Batom Comics and eventually faked his death… Flash seems to be as bad to work with as he claimed Phil was back in the day.

  4. Charles

    Mopey throws his arms out in a Jesus Christ pose because he’s martyring himself for us fools who don’t appreciate how we’re destroying the planet. Seriously though, how many of you have seen someone throw their arms out wide like that when they’re trying to make a point or just talking to you?

    I made it as a throwaway point a couple months ago, but it’s really evident that Batiuk brought Phil Holt back from the dead and jammed him into Atomik Komix so that he could have an elderly Mopey and Dopey pair to focus on. There’s absolutely no reason why this sequence couldn’t be a conversation between Darin, Mopey and Mindy as they talk about their creations. Batiuk just tossed two oldsters into this office because he thinks he can cover up his terrible stories with the intrinsic hilariousness of old people.

    And so his main character, the guy he made a superstar comic book writer and superstar scriptwriter, who he created Atomik Comix to showcase, is shoved into the background; doing nothing and presumably wandering around the office until he overhears a conversation he can disrupt, frequently annoying his elderly coworkers in the process.

    • Hitorque

      Oh and don’t forget Pete is technically supposed to be the “boss” of this half-assed outfit, too…

  5. J.J. O'Malley

    Not-So-Bold and None-Too-Informed Opinion: This week will see Mopey suggest the sort of one-dimensional, wealth-obsessed, anti-environmental human baddies we saw in the ’90s “Captain Planet” cartoons. Looking forward to Batiuk’s takes on Duke Nukem, Hoggish Greedly, Looten Plunder, and of course Verminous Skumm (the last one was a mutant rat, but you get the idea).

  6. Jeff M

    And the name of this strong force these two comics legends will come up with? Yeesh. Also again with the pinch. What percentage of FW strips have one at this point I wonder?

    • Margaret

      Yes, that pinch gesture is really odd. I don’t know much about the way comic writers and artists work together. Does Batiuk draw a rough sketch for Ayers, or write out instructions, or does Ayers just get the characters and dialog and do his own thing with the art? In other words, I wonder if the pinch thing Batiuk’s idea or Ayers? Either way, I don’t get it.

      • be ware of eve hill

        I, too, have always wondered if Batiuk sends the penciller a storyboard or rough sketch. If not, does he send the artist a synopsis? I wouldn’t be surprised, as many readers have pointed out what a control freak Batiuk appears to be.

        I’ve also been curious about the artwork distribution. Batiuk once said in an interview that he still inks and letters the strip.

        I’m most curious about the days when the comic strip panel(s) are dominated by word zeppelins. Does Ayers draw the word balloons? If not, how does he know how much space to leave? If he doesn’t draw the word balloons, how does he feel about witnessing his artwork getting overlaid by them?

        I tend to lean towards Ayers drawing the word balloons because that would explain the times when there is a lot of whitespace in the word balloons or when the dialog appears to be crammed in.

    • be ware of eve hill

      That pinch gesture always reminds me of my brothers’ G.I. Joe dolls back in the late 1960s. At least one of the Joe’s hands was crafted in that position to carry objects or to hold their rifle. The pinch was also the Joe’s trigger finger.

      Dolls? Action figures?

  7. newagepalimpsest

    Well okay, I’ll do my bit for 100k comments.

    Remember when Ruby casually revealed to the others that she spent years poisoning her co-workers with paintbrush water-made coffee? Those were some fun times. I wonder where Mindy, Darrin, and Chester are…

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Tied up in the broom closet.

    • Hitorque

      How does that work? The first time Ruby made a shitty, undrinkable pot of coffee, wouldn’t that responsibility have been taken away from her for good??

    • Suicide Squirrel

      I wonder where Mindy, Darrin, and Chester are…

      They’re probably staying as far away from the Dementia Duo as possible. Can you imagine having to listen to Flash and Phil “brainstorm” all day?

      Chester might want to invest in a soundproof conference room or two.

  8. Banana Jr. 6000

    It’s as if “Flash and Phil” are the personification of Tom Batiuk’s dementia. They show up, hijack the strip, and set it on an endless loop of creating and fixing non-existent comic book problems. They just created a team of sub-atomic villains, and now those villains aren’t big enough. Oops! Better get “Flash and Phil” to fix it!

  9. Y. Knott

    Funky Winkerbean is not a very good comic strip. It features uninteresting — sometimes annoyingly uninteresting — characters spouting poorly written dialogue in situations that are almost pathologically devoid of interest.

    When it attempts to be funny, it isn’t. When it attempts to be dramatic, you wish it would try to be funny. Many days, it doesn’t seem to attempt much of anything at all. Paradoxically, this is perhaps the most infuriating type of Funky Winkerbean strip …. even though there’s decades worth of proof that when attempting something, the author will fail resoundingly. But even as they gnash their teeth in frustration, these strips lead the reader to ponder: is a crushing failure at least nobler than a crushing failure to try?

    The worst Funky Winkerbean characters are the ones in the most recent strip. This is true no matter what day you happen to be seeing the strip. However, other Funky Winkerbean characters have also been the worst. They remain terrible right now, and will be the worst again when they reappear.

    The worst Funky Winkerbean arc is the arc that’s happening right now … although many past arcs are also the worst. The next arc will also be the worst.

    There is no reason for Funky Winkerbean to continue existing, except that comic strip inertia is a real thing that allows comic strips to continue on indefinitely until the corporation that owns them is dissolved, or the heat death of the universe occurs, whichever comes first.

    Funky Winkerbean is one of the most idiotic things you have ever seen. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having read it.


    For those new to the blog, we hope comment 100,000 (a summary of the previous 99,999 comments) gives you an overview of the site … and also saves you a LOT of scrolling.

    • ComicBookHarriet


      You just copied that from the Wikipedia article for Funky Winkerbean.

      (Seriously. Amazing. I want this on the back of every Complete Volume.)

  10. Hitorque

    Doesn’t Pete have some work of his own he could be doing right now? Isn’t he juggling 5-6 titles by himself?

    Are Freddie and Philip ever going to create some stories and dialogue to go along with these characters, or is that someone else’s job?

  11. Bad wolf

    JFC, Pete! Every single developed nation is well below TFR replacement level! Modernity is killing us too! Is that enough of downer for you yet? Stop thinking up excuses to marry what’s-her-name and get in the game.

    • Stop thinking up excuses to marry what’s-her-name and get in the game.

      What’s-her-name has a long wait ahead of her. She and Pete have only been engaged since August 2019. Cory proposed to Rocky over 7 years ago (maybe they eloped to avoid being forced to have another Montoni’s wedding).

  12. Hannibal’s Lectern

    I was going to make a comment about how, if he’s so concerned about the future of the planet, MoPete should take a close look at the carbon and resource footprint of AtomiKKK KomiXXX… but then I realized it can’t be all that big. Each “book” only prints one issue, then it’s on to the “1st Issue” of the next title. We’ve never seen them on sale anyplace other than Komix Korner, a “business” with so few customers that we all wonder how it stays open. So, unless Chester is hopelessly over-optimistic and orders huge press runs of each new “book” (99% of which go directly to the landfill), odds are AK’s impact on the physical environment is minimal.

    It’s impact on our collective mental health… that’s another story.

    • Hannibal’s Lectern

      Dammit! I used the wrong form of “its/it’s” there. Evidently reading today’s strip has damaged my brain further.

  13. be ware of eve hill

    Is anybody else seeing Saturday’s FW strip when they click on “Pete Chimes in” or is it just me? It just seems peculiar that nobody else has mentioned it in the comments.

    Ordinarily I wouldn’t complain, but the strip has Les in it. Please! I’m trying to eat lunch!

  14. Suicide Squirrel

    New villains for the Elementals Force? Already? The ‘Strong Force’ can’t threaten the planet?

    Has the mighty ‘Strong Force’ already been dispatched? Were they defeated on that comic book cover before the story even started?

    Maybe they should have been named The ‘(Lack of) Strong Force’. The ‘Weak Force’? The ‘Wuss Force’? The ‘We Quit Force’?

    The ‘We Got Our Asses Kicked and Ran Home to Our Mothers Force’?