A Funky Thing Happened on the Way to Flash’s Forum

March 2, 2022 at 10:35 pm
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.

But wait, BC, there’s a third option: reprint that eco-sermon from 1972 in every ish of their new comic. That wouldn’t be too preachy, would it? Many of you have pointed out that the Stan Lee “quote” was addressing pollution, not climate change. While both topics are of course related, climate change has only more recently been regarded as a threat. By characterizing it as “climate damage,” Pete’s making Flash and Stan sound like they were ahead of their time.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

41 responses to “A Funky Thing Happened on the Way to Flash’s Forum

  1. Epicus Doomus

    The weird thing about this one is that Pete appears to be saying that Flash should reprint Stan Lee’s old column in issues where only one Elemental addresses climate damage, as opposed to issues where they all do, together. Why so oddly specific? Why is it worded that way? Can’t anything in this stupid comic strip ever just be normal?

  2. spacemanspiff85

    Addressing a serious issue by having one of his characters plagiarize something someone else said about it really is peak Batiuk. I look forward to his next interview when Batiuk refers to this week as “tackling climate change”.
    So they’re only reprinting the column in issues where a character addresses climate damage? How is that going to work? Is one character just randomly going to mention rising sea levels or something? Also, if these guys have the powers of the elements, couldn’t they do something to actually fix climate change?

    • Epicus Doomus

      And he specifically says issues where ONE Elemental is addressing climate damage, and that they should only run the column in those specific issues. It’s bafflingly specific.

      • spacemanspiff85

        I don’t gamble, like, at all, but I would bet all the money I have that Batiuk never ever reads what he’s written once he writes it down the first time. There’s no way he can.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      It is peak Batty. Everything is here: Stupidity, soapbox preaching about whatever Batty read in the NYT last year, lots of incomprehensible dialogue, butt kissing silver age comic book writers, a lame attempt to show that comic books are relevant and real art.

      And after all that we get a boring story where nothing happens. Bravo Batty!

  3. William Thompson

    Damn your eyes, Batiuk, there’s no need to further shame us! Being caught reading this strip is already shameful enough!

  4. RudimentaryLathe?

    Climate change is bad!
    Dogs are good!
    Stan Lee loved colors!

  5. J.J. O'Malley

    So, Atomik Comics should reprint an opinion piece that ran in Batom Comics books and was taken from an essay written by the editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics? Well, if wasn’t already, add “copyright law” to the very, very, very long list of topics that Batiuk likes to pretend he understands but really has no comprehension of.

    Can’t wait for tomorrow’s sideways cover cringe.

  6. Sourbelly

    Philled Hole’s shrieking ventriloquist dummy in panel 3 terrifies me far more than Stan Lee’s quote about “climate damage”.

  7. Charles

    So in response to this serious, world-threatening issue, these doofuses are literally doing nothing except reprinting someone else’s quote from FIFTY years ago? We say he’s lazy and yet he continues to shock with how lazy he really is. The very nature of Batiuk’s gesture defeats the purpose he claims it to have.

    I remember when Batiuk had an insulting double-meaning tag line for Frankie’s movie production company. What he really should be doing for these dumbasses is something similar: “Atomik Komix: It’s The Least We Can Do.”

    But then, even coming up with a tag line might be too strenuous for them.

  8. Dood

    You know, this story arc could earn this strip its second Pilitzer nomination.

  9. Gerard Plourde

    The brilliant suggestion is to repeatedly reprint a stupid hectoring platitude in the letters column? I guess this week’s sideways panel is going to be a mockup of “Flash’s Forum”. (And isn’t that title itself another ripoff, this time of the title of the letters column in the Silver Age Flash comic?)

  10. Banana Jr. 6000

    “It’s not too late now?” Pete, did you even read the stupid quote? “It’s too late” is exactly what it says! “We did this to ourselves. We had this. We had that. We thought it would last forever.” The whole thing is in past tense! You say this message is so important it needs to be repeated ad nauseum, to achieve a goal that completely contradicts it.

  11. Bad wolf

    Pete seems to think of himself and AtomiX Xomics as the slave in Ancient Rome that would whisper in the ear of the victorious generals “Momento mori “—remember, you will die. ie, a tremendous buzzkill.

    “Hey kids, were you enjoying this retro tale of two groups of muscleheads beating on each other? Well, your exhalation has damaged the whole world we live in. Excelsior!”

  12. Banana Jr. 6000

    This week may be the worst writing I have ever seen on any topic.

    It started with “the comic book characters we just debuted two weeks ago are inadequate.” Sheesh, just think about that for a minute! This is the rising action, folks. It’s why we’re talking about the environment at all. These people failed at their jobs, but this failure never becomes part of the story, even though this would be a huge failure for a comic book publisher. And their new requirements for villains (being able to threaten the environment) completely contradict what they just created (being sub-atomic). And the author demanded a “nailed it!” for those characters! Mr. Batiuk, on what planet does an artist “nail it” when you throw his concept out 2 weeks later for something completely different?

    Then Pete references a past story point, the Point Dume fire, that flickers in and out of continuity depending on each strip’s needs. You watch: when Les wins the Oscar later this month it won’t be mentioned at all. Then he says the heroes should “battle inaction”, which is too abstract a concept for a comic book. More importantly, printing a comic book to save the environment is exactly the kind of empty gesture that “battling inaction” would be opposed to!

    Then the story references an article Flash Freeman supposedly wrote. This is explained so unclearly that it sounds like it ran in every issue for decades. Then that article turns out to be nothing but a long, empty quote from Stan Lee. Then THAT turns out to be a line of dialogue from a movie! A movie that never even got made!

    Hey, Tom Batiuk! Stephen King doesn’t deeply believe everything Carrie, Pennywise, and Warden Norton ever said! Quoting Stan Lee for a line of dialogue he wrote for a character in a movie, and then acting like this is the final word on the environment, dishonestly ascribes an opinion to Stan Lee that he may not have possessed. Or at least it would if it said anything at all; the lengthy quote is just an empty harangue.

    Then Pete says “it’s not too late” when the quote literally says “it’s too late.” The story defeats itself from so many different angles that it’s hard to keep track of them all! And tomorrow we’re going to get yet another comic book cover, which will confuse it even more. Good God.

  13. We’ve got three “creative geniuses” here, and they can’t think of anything new to say about climate “damage”? WTF is Chester paying these losers for?

    • William Thompson

      Atomik Komix is a Potemkin village. Tsar Chester can wander through its halls and chambers while he fantasizes that he reigns over a prosperous empire of happy creators, busy printing presses and a resurgent Silver Age of comic books. Meanwhile, in a world that’s a quarter-inch closer to reality than these characters, Batiuk runs victory laps around his office when he finishes each of these strips, so at least he’s getting some exercise.

    • Green Luthor

      I’m just assuming that Chester’s using Atomik Komix as a money laundering scheme for the mafia. (Makes about as much sense as anything else in the comic…)

      • William Thompson

        If that were the case, Batiuk would show us actual washing machines in the AK basement, and clotheslines stretched out on the roof (with Ruby Lith and The Other AK Girl hanging out Benjamins to dry).

  14. billytheskink

    Who says “climate damage” anyways? I’ll be there are more real life people who have said “Grandpa Google” than have ever said “climate damage”.

  15. batgirl

    That speech counsels despair and advocates inaction. But that is on brand. Remember the abandoned house story? The lesson from that was that nothing anyone does matters in the end.

    Speech from a script that was never filmed, commented on by an artist who hid his creation from publication. Les humblebrags that he writes books that no one reads, Jess (back when she had a speaking part) makes films no one watches. The perfect creative work is one with no audience?

  16. be ware of eve hill

    I guess we should all celebrate an Atomik Komix title will finally have some content past the cover when they run the column.

    But how does occasionally running the column fix Flash and Phil’s original problem of finding a new villain for the Elementals Force? Will they be fighting mankind physically?

    – Will The Scorch give the CEOs of fossil fuel burning factories the hot foot? Burn down the factory?

    – Will The Oceanaire throw water balloons bombs at people who drive gas-guzzling SUVs? Hit them with a fish? Unleash a tidal wave, capsizing a massive fossil fuel burning cargo ship?

    – Will the Subterranean throw rocks at the windows of homeowners not embracing solar power? Release an avalanche at loggers or farmers cutting down the rain forest? Have the earth swallow them by opening up from underneath them?

    – Will Doctor Atmos asphyxiate politicians who refuse to embrace climate change reform? Unleash tornadoes at fossil fuel burning power plants?

    Who would be considered the villain in these scenarios?

    I’m sure Bats, in the five minutes it took to think up this miserable story arc, thought that it was a good way to include climate change in his strip.
    Bats: Look at me! I’m topical and totally with it. What other comic strip is addressing climate change? I’m relevant.

    As @Charles wrote to me yesterday, Bats just wanted to run that Stan Lee quote, no matter how awkwardly he had to shoehorn it in.

  17. be ware of eve hill

    And another thing…

    No matter how critical Mopey Pete thinks that quote/column is, it will lose its effectiveness. Does Mopey Pete fully expect the readers to faithfully read the column every time it appears?
    Column: “We deserve no pity, for we have done this to ourselves…”
    Reader: Yeah. Yeah. Blah blah blah. I’ve read that. Get the fuck out of my face.

    • Honestly, If I saw something like that in the comic book, I wouldn’t even finish reading the first sentence if I noticed the column at all. I’d turn the page and start reading the story (if there was one).

    • be ware of eve hill

      If you see something too much, it can be annoying.

      Case in point, there is a commercial about how to start a conversation and talk to a friend about their mental health. An important cause, to be sure.

      But this damn commercial has been around for more than a year. It’s been on so many times, it’s beyond annoying. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve seen it, I could pay off our mortgage. I skip forward over it or mute it every chance I get.

      If I purposely avoid the commercial, how effective is the message?

      Is the actual message to annoy your friends so much they’ll open up to you?

      If you watch the NFL Network, there are some programs where this vile monstrosity is played on each and every commercial break. Sometimes, I change the channel or turn off the TV just to get away from it.

      Play this crime against humanity every 5 or 10 minutes and see how much you can take.

      That music! GAAAHHH!!!

      Friend: Are you alright? You haven’t been yourself lately. Is there something bothering you?
      Me: (crying) There’s this commercial on TV. It’s driving me insane.

      • Suicide Squirrel

        That music seems inappropriate. Talking to a friend who is possibly suffering from mental illness is fun and whimsical?

        FYI, the date on the video indicates it was loaded FOUR YEARS ago! And the commercial is still getting airplay? It’s past the time to refresh your message!

    • Hitorque

      Nevermind the fact that wouldn’t a quote from an honest-to-god environmentalist carry more weight than Stan Freaking Lee? Yeah I know he’s pretty much God to comics geekdom, but Stan Lee telling us to save the planet means about as much to me personally as Stan Lee telling us how to save money on car insurance… It’s a celebrity-endorsed commercial and not much else.

      Peter could have used this free space for USEFUL shit, like telling readers how to get involved locally, which organizations they could join, how to contact their congressman and state legislatures, or profile the people who got off their asses to actually do something because weren’t just content to sit home and mope…

      • be ware of eve hill

        I’m sure a quote from an honest-to-god environmentalist would carry more weight, but would that really inspire the reader that much more?

        I like your point below about Atomik Komix having a Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn account (whatever the latest and greatest social media platform is nowadays). By using social media, Atomik Komix’s involvement wouldn’t be limited to a single page in one title (That really is lame).

        IMHO, the best way to inspire somebody into action is leading by example. I’m less inclined to get involved if a speaker is telling me what to do while sitting on their hands.

        On social media, Atomik Komix could inform the readers what they’re doing about climate change. Tell the readers what they are doing to get involved locally. They could organize rallies and start petitions. Include links to organizations the readers can join, and instructions on how to contact their congressman and state legislatures. Include profiles of the people “who got off their asses to actually do something.”

        Atomik Komix should show they’re willing to make sacrifices. They could print their comic books on recycled paper. They could move to a more environmentally friendly building or work remotely.

        Lead by example, or the readers are just going to tell them to go pound salt.

        Unfortunately, the above exercise is completely moot. We all know Mopey Pete, and Batiuk by extension, are never going to do anything other than write about it and pat themselves on the back.

        • J.J. O'Malley

          Atomik Komix should…print their comic books on recycled paper.

          I assumed they already did: recycled perforated two-ply, like the kind those cartoon bears who are always wiggling their bums on TV use.

  18. Hitorque

    Wow… They’re really so lazy that they can’t be bothered to come up with something original and plan to keep stealing a 50-year-old quote?

  19. Hitorque

    And what the fuck is the point of a “Flash’s Forum” anyway? Do these people still think “Letters to the Editor” are a thing in goddamned 2022?

    Freddy/Peter/Philip would get infinitely more reach, engagement, feedback and *relevancy* spreading climate change awareness with a MOTHERFUCKING TWITTER ACCOUNT instead of once a month in a printed issue that might distribute what, 20,000 copies in the Northeast Ohio region…?? Don’t they know that? AK as a business is at least three years old now — Don’t they have a pretty good idea who their readership is by this point? Age, socio-economic demographic info and all that? Or are they still assuming their average reader is an eight year old kid shooting marbles out in front of the local Chemist all day?

    • Suicide Squirrel

      Excellent point. Join the 2020s, Batyuk.

      An adolescent with a snow shoveling business has a bigger social media presence than Atomik Komix. Much like Flash’s column, Batyuk’s worldview is from fifty years ago.

      Several years ago, super-adaptiod Darrin created a mobile app for Montoni’s. Now that a “techno wiz” is needed at Atomik Komix to set up a social media presence, Darrin has been exiled to the Isle of Forgotten Characters.

      I wonder what’s up with Darrin. How did he fall out of Batyuk’s favor? Darrin has gone from being seen far too often to not being seen at all. Strange.

      I guess even Batyuk got tired of Darrin.

  20. Hitorque

    Okay I’m convinced now that Peter is trying to low-key sabotage this comic title because his “ideas” have been absolute and utter shit… There’s no other explanation that makes sense.

  21. Suicide Squirrel

    I haven’t bought a comic book in almost forty years, but I can’t imagine this topic being popular at all. Who the hell wants to be lectured about their behavior in a comic book? Mopey Pete, Batyuk’s alleged comic book genius, is clueless. I thought the idea was to sell comic books. Not chase your readers to the competition.

    Once again, I have underestimated how far Batyuk can run a storyline into the ground. This storyline makes very little sense.

  22. hitorque

    Agreed… I’d listed a few ways they could lead by example earlier in the week… I was just thinking sometimes it’s better to hear some things from the experts instead of celebrities

    • be ware of eve hill

      Agreed. Stan Lee was a person with an extraordinary amount of charisma, but that didn’t automatically make him an expert on everything.

    • Charles

      And it’s something better that Batiuk can do without actually doing anything.

      “We’re going to have a message or an anecdote from a different expert/activist each month that’s relevant to the actual story we’re telling.”

      Or hell, just have one of these oafs say something about it. You know, because they care so damn much about it.

      As it is, after one month it’s going to be like the damn FBI warning that pops up on your screen every time you start up a DVD. It’s just going to be a minor annoyance that gets skipped over. It’s stunning to me that Batiuk thinks that this is the best idea his idiot geniuses could have. It took no thought whatsoever.

      I actually hate the term “virtue signaling” because I feel that it’s most often employed by shitheads to mock people who actually care about something, which just promotes apathy and/or cruelty. I mean, anything statement in support of something can be virtue signaling if you really get down to it. But holy shit, if anything’s the actual intended definition of virtue signaling, this is it. It’s obviously an utterly empty, insincere sentiment. Batiuk’s trying to signal here that he cares about climate change, but he clearly doesn’t care enough to come up with something to say. Or something for his characters to actually do. It’s almost as if someone told Batiuk he’d have to do this and he decided to do the worst thing imaginable that took the least effort on his part that nonetheless kind of addressed the issue at hand.

      He works hard at not working. And as we’ll see next week, he thinks he deserves a fucking Oscar for it.