Flash Memory

April 22, 2018

Don’t you remember, Tom…? The comic book column that Flash wrote was called “Bullpen Boasts.” Like “Bullpen Bulletins,” which was what Stan Lee called the page that he created in Marvel Comics. I suppose the title could have changed over time, the way “Bullpen Bulletins” would become “Stan’s Soapbox” (hat tip Uncle Wikipedia).



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

35 responses to “Flash Memory

  1. Epicus Doomus

    It’s hard to believe that someone sat down, wrote this slop, then thought “yes, this is sufficiently entertaining”. He does this all the time with his Very Serious Topical arcs. They’re supposed to be “about” something, but by Wednesday it all devolves into nonsensical babbling and annoying wry banter that never has anything to do with anything, let alone the premise. And color me stunned that old comic books hold all the answers, who could have seen that coming?

  2. When Pete says “You addressed climate change in that column” it sounds like either 1) the column only ran once and was sensibly discontinued, or 2) every single column that appeared was about climate change. Because that’s how that sentence reads.

  3. RudimentaryLathe?

    God this is taking a long time to go nowhere.
    Performance activism is one of the worst side effects of social media/Internet culture. That it’s the one aspect of the ‘Net age Batiuk has embraced is …. sadly on brand.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Funky Winkerbean has always been performative. Everything is done in the most empty, showy way possible. I have to save Lisa. Look at my arm stump. Oh boo hoo, I have cancer. I’m an alcoholic, so watch me order a drink and walk away from it. Or drone on about my Walkman. Oh no, I’m up for an incredibly prestigious award. You’re screwed if you win or don’t win.

      None of which is ever explored. It’s just shoved in your face for a week and then dropped for the next performance. And every week feels both padded and desultory.

  4. Sourbelly

    Gripping stuff. It turns out Phlush wrote some forum entry about Climate Damage (?) at some point in the past, and Phlush just plum* forgot about it! And on top of all that, he also plum forgot to take credit for it…right at the moment Petey brought it up? The punchline, as per usual, makes no sense. And also, per usual, today’s strip doesn’t advance the story at all.

    *Grandpa Google seems confused as to whether it’s plum or plumb. Please advise.

  5. William Thompson

    Will Batty give us details on the Great Climate Address, like “When was it made” and “what did it say?” Something–experience, I guess–makes me expect that we’ll see a lot of praise but no substance. “Your ‘Evil Mutants Will Exterminate Us Humans’ column warned us what was coming! If only people had listened!” “Yes, and if only I had talked about the effects of environmental mismanagement on the viral mutations that gave us the pandemic, instead of saying we would all be strangled in our sleep by green-skinned children with tentacles!”

  6. billytheskink

    Flash discussed climate “damage” in his lightly-read comic book editorial column?

    And that Greta Thunberg gets all the attention…

  7. J.J. O'Malley

    I truly hate to be that Silver Age Comic Book Old Fogey, but Marvel’s “Bullpen Bulletins” page was a mish-mosh of topics from debuting character previews, chats with new writers and artists, merchandising announcements, TV and other media news, and so forth. “Stan’s Soapbox” was a specific column on the page where Lee would espouse his opinions on the future of comics, fandom, bigotry, brotherhood, and other sundry issues.

    “Flash’s Forum,” I imagine, served the same purpose in the Batom “Bullpen Boasts” world, although it revives the question of whether Freeman was the company’s editor-in-chief or just a hired writer. Either way, was climate change even a point of contention back in the ’60s and ’70s (I seem to recall that “global cooling” was a common theory back then) as opposed to ecological themes in general? And why does Mopey think his hero would remember one stray essay out of possibly dozens?

  8. Charles

    “Don’t you remember, Flash? You cared about it, until you didn’t.”

    So he wrote about it ONCE, and the point was so forgettable and throwaway that he has no memory of it. And presumably this was from so long ago that its actual point was either maddeningly vague or no longer relevant.

    But really, it’s just Batiuk trying to claim that his characters actually always gave a shit about this so he doesn’t look like a massive hypocrite and tool.

    Go ahead, Batiuk, have Mopey take another flight across the country to watch a Starbuck Jones serial. And then he can fly somewhere else to watch Radio Ranch. And then he can fly back home to write a screed about how we’re all idiots for not taking climate change seriously.

  9. Hitorque

    Uh… Please correct me if y’all had a different experience, but climate change didn’t enter widespread public discussion until circa 1990 or thereabouts and even then the issue was inextricably linked to the ozone layer and shrinking Brazilian rainforest (which was the popular celebrity cause at the time)…

    I know this because from 1987 to 1992 I spent a huge chunk of my free time completely locked into MTV which at that time was the cutting edge for the latest trends, styles and naturally, popular social causes. I was in 8th grade in spring 1991 so I remember writing a cheesy short report about the ozone layer and oddly enough I couldn’t find a book about it at the library so my mom had to drive me to Barnes and Noble to buy a new book for my research (and even then there were only a few different ones in stock)…

    Climate change still has way too many denialists in 2022 so you can imagine trying to have a “real” discussion about it 30 years ago was mostly treated with the same seriousness as trying to have a “real” discussion about UFOs…

    TL;DR VERSION — if Freddy Freeman is saying he was talking climate change in the 60s or 70s he’s a goddamned liar.

    • erdmann

      Comics in the early Bronze Age’s “Relevancy Period” would sometimes deal with the broad topic of pollution, but don’t remember anyone ever railing again Hal Jordan because the Green Lanterns “never did nothin’ about the the hole in the ozone layer or the global warmin’!”

      • billytheskink

        Hal Jordan actually did contribute to global warming in Challenge of the Superfriends S3E2, “Invasion of the Fearians”. Sinestro used his ring to threaten the Earth with impact from several yellow comets, which Jordan’s Green Lantern dealt with by moving the Earth out of the way (since his ring was powerless against yellow things). He then forgot to put it back…

        This was exactly Sinestro’s plan with the comets, though. The Legion of Doom was working with the Fearians, a race of three-headed robot-voiced creatures from Venus, to make the Earth’s climate more like Venus… hotter and wetter, so that the Fearians could survive on Earth when they invaded.

        • J.J. O'Malley

          Hal Jordan, the most heralded and respected member of the Green Lantern Corps, forgot that he moved the Earth out of its orbit and the planet suffered immediate and devastating weather catastrophes as a result?

          Lord, how I loved that “Challenge of the Superfriends” show!

        • Sinestro®? Isn’t that a brand of flea collar?

    • William Thompson

      Popular discussion of climate change started in the mid-to-late Seventies, but thanks largely to inept reporting was scientifically uninformed. There’s a good history of the subject here:

      I recall some SF stories that involved “global cooling,” but they were based on the idea that the sun might dim, the earth would cool and the glaciers would come back. (The movie “Quintet” struck me as a low point there.)

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        I’m not even 50 yet (okay, later this year), and I remember “we’re going to have another ice age” being a serious topic of discussion when I was little. This coincided with the one time in my childhood where it snowed in my very southern hometown. So I can understand a little skepticism about the whole thing.

      • Hitorque

        Interesting… Oddly enough, as a kid in the 80s there were only four things I believed most likely to eventually doom humanity: 1. Nuclear annihilation, 2. Computers/robots getting too smart for their own good and rising up against us, 3. Hostile aliens from outer space, and biggest of all, 4. The unstoppable spread of Killer Bees…

    • Hannibal's Lectern

      Back in my high school days (approximately 1968-71) I subscribed to Analog sci-fi magazine, and I remember an editorial by the great John W. Campbell poo-poo-ing the whole notion of global warming. I remember him closing with a statement along the lines of, “if the climate warms up, then the birds will fly north sooner, spring will come earlier, and what’s wrong with that?” If the phenomenon made it to JWC’s attention, it had to be getting at least some discussion by then.

      Which makes me think, by the way, that if Flush Foreman was indeed talking about climate change in a Silver Age comic, he was probably poo-poo-ing it just like Campbell.

    • sorialpromise

      My earliest recollection of global warming being a national issue is the 1992 vice presidential debate between, Al Gore, Dan Quayle, and James Stockdale. I believe Mr. Gore had already written a book.
      I have always enjoyed the fact that almost all the people that promote Climate Change do it by plane travel. I believe Greta may be the one exception.

  10. erdmann

    “Remember, Honest Acolytes: Be part of the solution, because there’s nothing groovy about pollution! Peace!” — from Flash’s Forum #271, August 1971.

  11. spacemanspiff85

    This entire week up until this point could’ve been accomplished with one single panel of Flash announcing he was going to write about climate change in an editorial in his comic (although what an editorial Flash wrote years ago has to do with coming up with villains for this bozo superteam to fight, I have no idea).
    Having one character just tell another character “hey, remember that thing you did?” is crappy, crappy writing.
    Also, he took credit for what he wrote. It was in the column named after him. He just forgot about it, but he absolutely took credit.

  12. ComicBookHarriet

    All this climate change pontificating from a guy who once jumped at the chance to ride on a chartered private plane halfway across the country so he could watch a movie serial.

  13. batgirl

    As a kid reading science fiction and comics in the early 70s, I definitely recall stories about pollution and the destruction of the environment. And as a Canadian, I pretty much expected that the US was going to invade at some point because we still had clean water (this fear is referenced in Margaret Atwood’s Surfacing, by secondary characters). Assuming the twin dooms of nuclear war and pollution didn’t just contaminate everything first.
    Which is to say, yes, comics did address environmental issues from time to time. The vocabulary was different and often more particular: ‘ecology’, ‘environment’, ‘smog’, ‘acid rain’, but the fear that we would screw it up on a global scale did exist.
    Hey, anybody remember that British tv show “Doomwatch”?

  14. Banana Jr. 6000

    What can you even say to this anymore? Tom Batiuk is obsessed with comic book publishing, makes his entire world revolve around comic book publishing, and can’t keep its most basic facts straight or put together a coherent one-weeks story. Funky Winkerbean is half-assed about its own half-assedness. Mocking it seems like more effort than it’s worth.

  15. The Duck of Death

    I really thought that, as we approached the 50th anniversary of FW, Tom would have something special up his sleeve. Perhaps another time-warp story, where the gang goes back to high school? Perhaps a reunion (an upcoming reunion) wherein each character comments on where they started and where they’re going? A book-release party for Holly’s autobiography? Perhaps a big celebration for the Oscar nomination of Dead St. Lisa’s Saga?

    But no. It appears that we’re going to putter along with bird feeders and comic book covers.

    I realize that entropy gets us all in the end, but lord, I’ve never seen someone slide so willingly into it, like a jellyfish, incapable of thought, just drifting where the currents go, unable to move itself when it’s stranded on the sand.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Well, he’s going to give Les an Oscar for nothing. That’s probably the next three weeks, which ends on Sunday, March 27. It’ll probably also be a comic book cover. Lord, help us.

  16. be ware of eve hill

    Let’s interrupt the story arc that’s going nowhere to have Mopey Pete suck up to Flash. Apparently about a decades old editorial column that Flash has completely forgotten about.

    * sigh *
    Hard hitting story arcs about climate change like this can only be found in Funky Winkerbean. /s

    Countless readers across the country and around the world have just yawned and moved on to the next comic strip.

    Join us tomorrow when Phil interrupts the conversation to complain about the rheumatoid arthritis in his drawing hand. Mopey Pete commiserates by admitting his knee throbs when it rains.

    • J.J. O'Malley

      Please, dear eve, never use the words “Mopey Pete” and “throbs” in the same sentence again.

      • be ware of eve hill

        You lost me, J.J. O’Malley. I don’t understand what your issue is. Care to explain?

        What about these sentences featuring “Mopey Pete” and “throb”?

        I get a throbbing headache every time I read a strip featuring Mopey Pete.

        Mopey Pete captures the dull throb of soulless, everyday boredom.

        Nobody has ever considered Mopey Pete a teenage heart throb.

        Watching Mopey Pete get flattened by a sixteen-ton weight would make my heart throb.

        I could still hear the throb of my car’s engine after I ran over Mopey Pete.

        Do you really rate me as “dear”? 🥰

  17. The fact that Flash wrote about climate “damage” in his comic book column in the past in no way diminishes the fact that Pete’s idea still sucks.