The Last Inaction Heroes

Is Pete eating an invisible apple or clutching an invisible oxygen mask? Discuss.

I actually like Flash’s misconstrual of Pete’s concept–in which the Elemental Force use their mediocre superpowers to punish humanity for climate crimes–much better than what Pete’s actually proposing. I’d even rather see a Captain Planet ripoff, which is where a couple snarkers have suggested this was going. “They should battle human inaction!” What’s that going to look like in a comic book? Probably less like Cap’n Planet and more like Woodsy Owl.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

62 responses to “The Last Inaction Heroes

  1. billytheskink

    Human inaction? So the Elementals Force is going to battle the bullpen at Atomik Komix?

  2. Epicus Doomus

    The super-villain is going to be…”human inaction”. That just might be the most Funky Winkerbean-ish thing ever.

  3. William Thompson

    “Battling human inaction?” We all know which side this strip would take, if it could take any kind of action.

  4. Epicus Doomus

    “At last we’ve discovered your Fortress Of Disinterest, Dr. Ennui! What diabolical scheme are you cooking up this time?”

    “Eh, nothing really, I mean what’s the point?”

    “Quickly, Oceanaire, give him the informational pamphlet!”

    “Meh. I’ll read it later…maybe, I dunno.”

    • J.J. O'Malley

      “I’m too bored to read your pamphlet. Hand it to my teen sidekick, Blase Boy.”

      • Lord Flatulence

        And Apathy Lad.

        • Epicus Doomus

          “Meh, I dunno. Activate the disinterest beam, Apathy Lad. If you want, I mean.”

          “Yeah, whatever. Disinterest beam activated (yawn).”

          “Dr. Atmos! What’s wrong?”

          “I dunno, this climate stuff is so boring. And I mean hey, what can I do about it anyhow?”


  5. Y. Knott

    What’s that going to look like in a comic book?

    I have a feeling, Mr. Hackett, that one Sunday very soon you’ll at least find out what it’s going to look like on a comic book cover.

  6. Sourbelly

    To paraquote Walter Sobchak, “Shut the fuck up, Pete. You’re out of your element.”

    Lucy Van Pelt: “Good news, Mopey, you DON’T have Imposter Syndrome!”
    Mopey: “I don’t?!”
    Lucy: “No! You truly are an imposter! You totally suck!”

  7. spacemanspiff85

    Batiuk is the absolute last person who should be criticizing people for inaction, since he phones his own job in more than anyone else I can think of.

  8. I don’t know how you battle “inaction” except by hectoring. Unless Pete is proposing the “Superman solution” in which the heroes just do everything the humans should be doing–taking the job off the table, as it were. “Thanks, Heartburn! Thanks to you, I won’t have to pick up the litter after all!”

    • Epicus Doomus

      This story practically writes itself. The Strong Force develops a way to completely mitigate the effects of man-made climate change, without “humans” having to do anything. In exchange, they enslave them. The Elementals job is to force humanity to have a conscience and tackle the issue head-on instead of taking the easy way out. Which they eventually do. I mean, the average fifth grader could bang this story out on the school bus in the morning and still get an easy B-minus.

      And Flash and Phil are TOILING over this, for months now. And today they’ve reached a point where they’re seriously considering “human inaction” as their villain. Chester made a huge mistake when he brought these two codgers on board, as they really, really suck at this.

      • See, the problem with your story is that it has an interesting moral dilemma at the center of it. What if the Elements Gang has to UNDO what the Strong Farts have done, essentially making the planet worse? What if the Strong Farts don’t exactly “enslave” humanity, but enact certain rules? That could be very interesting.

        Your story is therefore unsuitable for Atomik Komiks and we must regretfully turn you down. Good luck with placing it elsewhere.


        –Atomik Pete

        • Epicus Doomus

          They would necessarily have to undo it, they’d just need to show “humanity” that it’ll all just happen again if they do nothing, thereby allowing the Strong Force to win. And they’d do this by showering humanity with pamphlets…lots and lots of pamphlets. Maybe bumper stickers and refrigerator magnets too, I suppose.

  9. J.J. O'Malley

    Well, I for one can’t wait to plunk down my hard-earned $3.99 (and up) for a comic book and then start reading a story where the heroes harangue me for not doing enough to combat global climate change.

    By the way, Mopey, what exactly are you doing to combat global climate change? Do you have any idea how many square miles of virgin forest have been felled to make copies of “Rip Tide, Scuba Cop”?

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      You know, for a man who loves the Flash as much as Tom Batiuk, he doesn’t seem to know that in his time with the Justice League, Barry Allen dealt with Andrew Helm and the Indestructible creatures of Nightmare Island (Andrew sought to give the world a conscience!) and men who had to learn that their name was brother, while, without him, his teammates confronted polluters from another planet who sought to destroy Earth as they did their own world.

      (*Justice League of America* Nos. 40, 57, 78 and 79.)

      All of these stories came out over fifty years ago.

      I don’t know if it’s just proof of the wisdom of Gustave Flaubert — “whatever else happens, we shall continue to be stupid” — but it’s not as if comics haven’t tried to tackle these themes.

      Or as if the Guardians of of the Universe didn’t once make a Man of Tomorrow reflect on “Must There Be a Superman?”

      (*Superman* #247, 1972)

      Excuse me while I revisit the *Squadron Supreme* Limited Series from the 1980s with its “Utopia Project”…

      Or revisit the *Miracleman* issues (Nos, 17-22) in which our hero makes Earth a paradise and we get stories not about those who glory in the new civilization but are discontented with it. (From the 1990s…ah, Batiuk, hoping to do things he thinks are new, while others have already watched the tears go by.)

  10. none

    Holy Jesus Christ go fuck yourself TB. Put the pen down and shut the fuck up and go the fuck away forever.

    Congratulations on swallowing every inch of the corporate propaganda which depicts us individual persons as chiefly responsible for our current state of affairs, and that goes from the environment to race relations to work relations and practically everything else that all of us who aren’t billionaires have to deal with every day. For 30+ years we’ve been preached to about using less polluting materials and properly recycling and all that while corporations pour billions of gallons and pounds of pollutants into the air, land, and sea. For 30+ years, so many of us are trying to adopt non fossil fuel based modes of energy generation and transport. 30+ years of protests and petitions and boycotting and the only response from the CEOs of Exxon and Dupont and Monsanto and everyone else like them is to laugh and spit in our faces while they pay for the laws that the politicians enact.

    Human inaction. Get absolutely fucked you worthless sack of shit.

    • Hitorque


    • Rusty Shackleford

      Yeah just like yesterday’s preachy Crankshaft where he talks about bringing share back to shareholder.

      He really has a childish view of the way the world works, it’s probably from reading too many comic books.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        That Crankshaft story is so ridiculous I don’t even know where to start. Today they asked one-armed Skip if he wants to be the editor of their pretend version of their oh-so-precious Centerview Sentinel. Well, if the solution was for unpaid volunteers to help Skip, why didn’t they just do that in the first place? He could have stayed employed there and made the newspaper they wanted, with the newspaper’s resources! Instead of making a ridiculous clone of existing intellectual property that will absolutely get them sued them back into a ball of dirt.

    • Hannibal's Lectern

      I suspect Battocks still believes Chief Iron Eyes Cody is a real Native American and not an actor of Sicilian ancestry from Louisiana.

    • Hannibal's Lectern

      You know, Flush Foreman’s proposal that the EF “battle humans” actually has some potential in this context. The more we dig into the sordid past of things like tetraethyl lead, PFOAs, BPAs, single-use packaging, fossil fuels, mercury-laced coal, synthetic opioids, etc., the more we learn that there were specific people behind these things, who used money, connections, and propaganda to hide the fact that they knew damn well exactly what they were doing to the public and the environment in order to maximize their profit. Superheroes using their powers* to arrange appropriately ironic punishments for these individuals… that could be an interesting premise for a comic. Which means (a) it’s probably been done, and (b) Batty won’t do it.

      *It occurs to me that I have no idea just what specific powers the members of the EF have. Dr. Atmos is made of air, so he’s got powers related to… air? How’s that work? The Sub-turd-annean is… somebody who can dig through the earth? Like the Mole People of the cheesy horror movie? How is digging a super power, anyway? Anybody with a shovel can do it. I realize I literally know more about the Oceanaire Motel in Florida than I do about the eponymous EF character. The only EF character I understand is the Scorch… and I suppose that in the arena of climate change, the most effective thing a fire-based hero could do is retire, to minimize her future CO2 emissions.

      Once again, the rule applies: before asking yourself WHAT Batty was thinking when he wrote this, you first must ask WHETHER he was thinking.

    • The Duck of Death

      None, sir or madam, I salute you. I applaud you. And I concur most wholeheartedly.

    • batgirl

      Yes, this. Absolutely. A+++ rant.

  11. ComicBookHarriet


    Batiuk could probably get a job working for DC these days. He could take over for Tom Taylor in writing Superman: Son of Kal-El. I bet the cover to Issue 7 put a tear in old Batty’s eye.

    Serious, this is just empty virtue signaling all the way down. And it’s going to fail to wrestle with anything interesting that other stories have wrestled with before: If superhumans should be able to ‘right wrongs’ by force against the wishes of nations.

    Superman the Quest for Peace and GI Joe Retaliation handled this better!

    There have always been preachy comics, always, from BUY WAR BONDS BATMAN, to Green Arrow/Green Lantern try to get Speedy off speed, to Superman and his pink haired boyfriend Try to Stop Climate Change Kaiju. Some have been handled better than others, sure. You can like what you like.

    But none of them stand out as THE BEST. The most remembered, the admired. Because they lack nuance. That’s why ‘The Watchmen’ or ‘Kingdom Come’ were so genius, because they didn’t tackle a strawman, they wrestled with human fear.

    • Hitorque

      I’m decades out of the comics loop because I never heard of “Kingdom Come” so I glanced at the wiki and WHAT IN THE HELL….?

      And I never read Watchmen but I did see that movie which came out a decade ago — But all that did was confuse me…

      I did thoroughly enjoy the storyline of the video game “Batman: Arkham Knight” (imo easily the best Batman “movie” that wasn’t a movie), but I’m a simple man whose comics tastes were honed by Challenge of the Superfriends and Spiderman and his Amazing Friends Saturday mornings in the early 80s… I guess that’s why “Teen Titans Go” is much more my speed these days…

    • ComicBookHarriet

      LOL! Just looked on Batty’s Blog, and he totally put up the cover to Superman: Son of Kal-El 1 on his blog. So I guess he is a fan.

  12. Hitorque

    Just your daily reminder that these two fossils are allegedly two of the all-time greatest creative minds to ever work in the industry, yet Peter Rattabastardo has to walk them through every step of the entire imaginative process like they’re a couple of interns…

    Don’t you think that for someone as obsessed with comics all his life, Batiuk would show the daily life of comic book writers and artists as a bit more fun, glamorous, and exciting?? You know, like some Willy Wonka’s factory shit? It just seems like working at AK is as lifeless, unfulfilling, mundane and intellectually undemanding as my real life job, and nobody should want that… The only difference is the folks at AK work a lot less hours and they’re getting paid high six figures in salary.

    (As for my real life job, **please** kill me now)

    • Epicus Doomus

      It’s not just AK…NO ONE in the Funkyverse enjoys what they do, ever. Funky’s stupid dream was to own Montoni’s, he’s been miserable the whole time. Les hates writing, Mason and Marianne hate Hollywood, everyone at WHS hates the students, and everyone at AK is a frustrated, weary wretch.

      One of the nuttier things about BatHack is how he created an entire fantastical comic book sub-universe, full of wild fictional characters with sub-universes of their own and a whole superteam of comic book-centric characters dedicated to bringing those sub-universes to life. Then every single arc about that comic book sub-universe consists of a bunch of boring morons sitting around exchanging wry, sarcastic and unfunny banter. It’s very imaginative and not imaginative at all, at the same time, which shouldn’t even be possible.

      • hitorque

        And who could forget Bull Bushka (dumb, marginally talented athlete) not even bothering to hide his seething contempt for generations of Westview football players he coached for being dumb, marginally talented athletes? No wonder none of them came to his funeral.

        • Epicus Doomus

          Yep, plus there’s Dinkle and Becky, who both hate teaching music, and Crazy Harry who got f*cked over by the USPS. Skunk Head John is always miserable, as is Batton Thomas.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          To be fair, I think that attitude is standard for youth sports coaches, especially ones with retrograde mentalities. (And Westview knows no other kind.) Academic teachers are supposed to be a little more positive and supportive. But Les, Linda, Kablichnik, Becky, and of course Dinkle are far worse than Bull was. And they come off a lot more genuinely hurtful.

  13. Dirk Meatwhistle

    Mopey is running a close race for having the most punchable face especially panel 2

  14. We all know how this is going to end: people congratulating themselves for doing something meaningless that makes them feel important. Can that be Thursday’s strip? Then we can see what’s up with Chullo and Glasses. At least they had stupidity.

  15. Gerard Plourde

    If Pete has become so aware of the challenges of climate change, why doesn’t he write stories about it starring the heroes of his titles – the Inedible Pulp or Scuba Cop.
    BTW – It’s also interesting how unaffected Musso and Frank’s was last week. Its location appears to be in the direct path of the massive fire that started at Point Dume and spread all the way to Griffith Park.

    • hitorque

      Hell, why doesn’t Peter just get off his ass and DO SOMETHING HIMSELF? Lend his name to some causes… Donate some of his time, money or labor into something. For fuck’s sake if he did nothing else but organize a trash and litter cleanup in Cleveland somewhere… If Greta Thunberg could start her own movement, I don’t see what’s stopping Peter…

  16. Will

    Mopey Pete is the poster boy for slacktivism. “Global Warming is destroying the planet! I was nearly burned alive inconvenienced by a fire in Los Angeles! We must do something! I’ll write a preachy comic book!”

  17. bad wolf

    This is real timely stuff from Batiuk. I had to check but it was around last November that an X-men character (“Nature girl”? okay whatever) straight up murdered a convenience store clerk for not recycling or something. I only heard about this from youtube but i guess the message of the story was something about litter is bad? This character was not written as the villain apparently.

    Anyway, good luck with your struggle against the weather and action itself, Mopey.

    • hitorque

      I don’t know if she is supposed to be a satire or parody or whatever, but the only thing worse than Bullwinkle Girl and her overly judgmental extremism (if she were held to her own impossible standards she’d have to kill herself out of pure hypocrisy) are the discussion comments at the bottom…ugh

      • hitorque

        As an aside, this was another reason why I could never really get into the X-Men as a kid or now… Okay, the powers and abilities of some of the best known mutants/villains at least makes *SOME* kind of logical or narrative sense and I don’t have to bend my imagination into knots to swallow it…

        But for other mutants in the second/third/fourth tier, it just seems like the creators put all the superpowers they could think of in one of those lottery ping-pong ball machines, and whatever comes out is given some kind of abnormal but easily distinctive body feature and a new mutant character is born…

    • hitorque

      Forgive me, I’m still trying to wrap my head around this…

      Bullwinkle Girl could have gone after the company that makes single-use plastic bags and other items… She could have gone after the Boards of Directors at the Top 50 biggest polluting global corporations… She could have gone after countless bought-off politicians and pundits who continue to block meaningful progress… Instead she goes after a single defenseless convenience store clerk (not for the crime of polluting mind you, but for the crime of working at a store that uses similar bags)…

      Yes, there are plenty of legit ways in the comics world to satirize environmental activism when its taken to twisted or silly extremes (SEE: Poison Ivy or Namor the Sub-Mariner), but Bullwinkle Girl isn’t an environmental activist as much as she is a straight up homicidal sociopath…

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Giving out plastic bags to customers isn’t the cashier’s decision. These are bottom-level employees who just do what they’re told to. The anger is completely misaimed. And you’re right, it comes off more like just being a sociopath than anything having to do with the environment.

  18. Maxine of Arc

    Look, I’m the huggiest tree-hugger there is, AND I read comics, and even I wouldn’t touch this nonsense.

  19. Hannibal's Lectern

    How does a super-hero solve the problems of world hunger, poverty, pollution and climate change? Zach Wienersmith answered this question almost ten years ago. See the SMBC comic for 2011-07-13:

  20. be ware of eve hill

    Speaking of human inaction, out of curiosity, I checked out the Winkerbean blog to see if Bats had written a pontificating blog entry to go along with this week’s story arc.

    Nope. Since the climate change story arc started, there’s been an entry for a Doctor Strange splash page and another featuring a photo of icy weather covering some of his property. The latter was probably taken from inside his gas-guzzling premium octane SUV as he drove ten miles to his favorite grocery store, where he chose plastic bags over paper.

    There’s no link in today’s comic where you can get more information on climate change, not that anybody doesn’t know where to look.

    Holy human inaction, Bats. What can I do to help? Should I go stand on a street corner and yell at people?
    Me: You there! Yes, you! The one who’s breathing! Stop that! You’re emitting dangerous CO2 emissions into the atmosphere! Shame!

  21. be ware of eve hill

    Shame on me for not noticing sooner, but Mopey Pete’s travelling green shirt has returned from the dead. In some recent story arcs, Mopey Pete’s signature flannel shirt had been a faded red, like Phil’s sweater.

    • be ware of eve hill

      About Mopey Pete’s hand in panel #2. It looks kind of small for a “man” of his size.

      The hand gesture makes it appear like he’s checking to see if he has bad breath. Trust me, Petey, it’s bad. Which explains the looks on the old guys’ faces.

    • Glass-half-full Squirrel

      Au contraire mon ami. Mopey Pete wore green flannel earlier this month during ‘Strong Force’ creation week.

      See the February 9th comic where the great buttinsky Mopey Pete Roberts/Reynolds first interrupted the Codger Force with the infamous words “Beside Humans”.

  22. The Duck of Death

    I await this Sunday’s groundbreaking new title, Inaction Comics #1.

    • Dang! Shoulda used that for my post title. Well played!

    • Glass-half-full Squirrel

      Inaction Comics? Do you mean like Act 3 Winkerbean?

      When was the last time there was a physical altercation in this comic? On the rare occasions that somebody is angry, their anger always subsides in a panel or two. It has been well documented how any action occurs off-panel.

      I’d say the only action we’ve witnessed in the past year is Holly breaking her foot/ankle/leg (take your pick).

      All words and no play make the strip a dull read.

  23. hitorque

    One question keeps nagging me, so I’ve got to keep on asking it… Exactly what the hell was Phillips 66 Holt doing during the 3-4 years he was legally ‘dead’, and why did he fake his death in the first place?

    Because it’s established beyond all doubt now that “So he could develop and write the Sub-Terranean in peace and quiet!!” Was 100% bullshit since he never wrote a single story, a story outline, or even some general notes during that time — All he had was a few goddamned sketches and that was it. The entire Sub-Terranean universe, his sidekicks, his cadre of enemies, their motifs (elements versus subatomic particles) and the general narrative theme (fighting environmental indifference) have ALL been ideas of either Peter Rattabastardo (who is hanging around for the sole purpose of dropping enough random unsolicited suggestions that he gets to put his name on the cover alongside the two fossils) or Freddie Freeman…

    So tell me what makes this guy such a supposed “legend” again??

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      So tell me what makes this guy such a supposed “legend” again??

      The same thing that makes everything true in the Funkyverse: because Tom Batiuk says it is. I’ve never seen an author who just flat out tells you how you’re supposed to feel about his characters. And what qualities they have, because he can’t be bothered to give them any.

      • Jabootu refers to this as an “informed attribute.” You see it in bad movies all the time, wherein a character will say “Gosh, Susan, you’re the best dancer in the whole school” without every showing us any scenes of Susan dancing. It’s easier to do than training someone to dance, or in the case of Batiuk, actually showing us any of his “genius level” work.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Batiuk’s problem is that he can’t do any genius level work. The stuff he passes off as Les’ great writing and Atomik Komix’ wonderful comic books are laughably atrocious. He’s got his superheroes fighting abstract concepts now. And we all know the Sunday comic book cover will just be another Generic Man #1.

          This is another research failure. If you want your character to be an expert in something you’re not an expert in, you have to learn about it. Otherwise you get… well, Funky Winkerbean.

        • batgirl

          Upvote for Jabootu reference!

    • Green Luthor

      Don’t forget that he needed the “peace and quiet” from his day job of… doing caricatures at children’s birthday parties, where no one had any clue who he was. (Boy Lisa was literally the only person to recognize him, which is why Phil’s will left all his original art to Boy Lisa, which he then sold off for “charity” (probably visiting the new Valentine). Ghost Phil even talked to Ghost Lisa about it, even though at least one of them wasn’t actually dead.) I’m sure was just swamped with work that couldn’t afford him the time to work on his genius ideas.

  24. Glass-half-full Squirrel

    I’m kind of surprised by the number of comments here today. This story arc is beyond boring and hasn’t gone anywhere in three days.

    If I wanted to be lectured by a comic strip about climate change, I’d still be reading ‘Arctic Circle’. ‘Arctic Circle’ was a decent comic strip at one time. Now it’s just a one-note borefest about climate change. I dropped it from my favorites a long time ago.

    I read ‘Arctic Circle’ today for the first time in quite a while to see if it’s still the same. Yep, today’s comic is about how the U.S. has fallen behind in clean technology. With only five comments and six responses in the discussion, it’s safe to say a lot of people agree that it’s not worth reading anymore.

  25. Charles

    I suppose it’s not surprising that Batiuk forgets his own backstory for this stupid comic book company, seeing how cavalier he is with his strip’s history in general.

    I wonder how Chester would feel about this, since he founded the company with the intention of bringing back old school comics with simple stories and simple morals. It was supposed to be about good guys beating up bad guys, who had ridiculous plans to take over the world or rob banks or some such shit. What those comic books weren’t supposed to be about were complex moral questions about humanity’s responsibility for the situations we find ourselves in. This is no longer escapism. It’s no longer mindless fun. And considering these doofuses, it’s not even going to be interesting or provocative, although doubtless Batiuk will think it’s just the definitive statement on the issue.

    But that’s not surprising, because I suspect that Batiuk doesn’t appreciate or understand the complexities of things like climate change. It’s just bad people being bad and the answer is for them to stop being bad, or for them to be replaced by people who aren’t bad. There’s no sense that there are conflicting motivations or difficult moral decisions that need to be considered here.

    It’s the same sort of thing we see in Crankshaft, where the Sentinel was closed not because it no longer had a viable function in its community. It’s because some hedge fund manager (a convenient villain) being bad decided he wanted to hurt a community because he’s bad and that’s just what he’s going to do. There was no sense that there was a legitimate defensible motivation on his end. He just did it because he wanted to be evil.

    At least when The Tick said “I say to you, villains, STOP BEING BAD!” the creators realized how ridiculous that was.

    • Hitorque

      I guess Ruby fills the niche for “sweet and simple” comics… As for Peter, Chester Hagglemore famously did promise him the one thing the big labels wouldn’t, which was 100% creative and editorial freedom… So Peter could publish the edgiest darkest demented nihilistic lewd DeviantArt perverted stuff imaginable and Chester would have to allow it.