Smell That Oceanaire

No prizes for anyone who saw this coming: a Sunday Sideways Comic Book Cover, the Oceanaire’s second and James Pascoe’s third in three months.

For this one, Pascoe’s softened the character’s looks, compared to her first cover and especially compared to the Elementals Force cover, where she appears to be throwing up. As clumsily composed as that cover was, at least it depicted action. While her posture is one of repose, her fists are clenched, and the Oceanaire gazes intently at the viewer. For an artwork created by a nonagenarian cartoonist, on a drawing board under a floating fluorescent lamp, this sure looks…digitized. Everything surrounding The OC’s face is soft and blurry. Is she standing underwater? Or mostly submerged, lying on her back on a vast bed of garbage?

To answer Phil’s question: the cover doesn’t need more trash, just for the trash to be realistically drawn. These floating bottles and cans are rendered in such odd shapes and sizes, so generically as to be almost abstract. And I don’t even wanna know what those white blobs are floating around her collarbones.

Billytheskink takes over the reins with Monday’s strip. Thanks for reading! Stay Funky and stay tuned for news about a couple special events!


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

30 responses to “Smell That Oceanaire

  1. William Thompson

    It’s–it’s a second issue! This may be a first for Atomik Komix!

    • Hannibal's Lectern

      In a sense. In another sense, all AtomiKKK KomiXXX are “Number Two.” Every issue, every title.

  2. Yeah, who didn’t expect this? Tom Batiuk wants to talk about “climate change” but unfortunately for him, there are arguments on both sides here.

    So let’s pivot to pollution, which has only one side (everyone agrees pollution is bad, right? Oh crap, who are these–oh, they’re just Captain Planet villains, never mind, carry on!) It’s the easiest way to say “Hey, I care!” without demonstrating anything other than virtue signaling.

    Tom Batiuk, you demonstrate every day that you have no thoughts at all.

  3. Epicus Doomus

    This is the most laugh out loud FW strip of 2022 so far. The Oceanaire cleans up undersea litter? That’ll surely sell tens of copies. Illegal dumping and “climate damage” are not really the same thing. While they’re both “environmental” concerns, this arc wasn’t about “the environment”, it was about “climate damage”. And Stan Lee.

    And IMO this is maybe the dumbest reality bubble of all-time. I liked Phil WAY better when he was still dead. And I’ll definitely like Flash way better when HE’S dead, which is hopefully very, very soon.

    Coming next week: The Oceanaire and Rip Tide-Scuba Cop join forces to thwart and cite illegal offshore dumpers. Meanwhile, Dr. Atmos and The Scorch team up to tackle landscapers using leaf blowers before 8AM on Saturday mornings.

  4. billytheskink

    I’m betting on the great Pacific garbage patch in this matchup against The Oceanaire, but I’d be rooting for it even if my money wasn’t on the line.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Note how he deftly avoided the issue here again. “We’ve got to do something about human inaction regarding climate change” became “please don’t litter”, and it was so subtle you barely even notice it. Non-obsessives, I mean, as I naturally noticed it immediately. It’s the most milquetoast “stand” I’ve ever seen anyone take.

  5. Sourbelly

    I’m seeing mostly glass bottles and aluminum cans in the trash that Philled Hole just can’t get enough of. I’m pretty sure plastic waste is the main issue that this lady should be addressing…by crossing her arms and staring at us
    like we forgot to take out the garbage.

    As for relevance to the plot so far, Maybe Batdick’s “Climate Damage” neologism covers both climate change and pollution. Just kidding. That would entail too much thought.

    Regardless, I just can’t get over how drastically BORING this arc has been. Unless Batdick keeps harping on this, I’m pretty sure we’ll forget that any of this nonsense ever happened within a matter of hours. Wouldn’t be the first time.

    • Epicus Doomus

      And it isn’t even cool garbage, like radioactive waste or discarded chemical weapons or an old Soviet submarine. It’s just plain old junk, mundane boring crap. You’d never see Rip Tide picking up litter alongside a shipping lane, and he’s not a superhero but a mere scuba cop.

      • Hannibal's Lectern

        At least it’s not the most toxic kind of garbage–barge-loads of unsold AtomiKKK KomiXXX “books.”

  6. Y. Knott

    Issue 1: “Mistress Of The Maelstrom!”
    Issue 2: “Duchess Of The Debris!”

  7. J.J. O'Malley

    So, the Oceanaire’s super-power is that she can bob on the surface of bodies of water as long as she’s surrounded by glass, metal and plastic debris? Meh, it’s still a more impressive ability than Matter-Eater Lad’s.
    I’m just glad she’s not a New York City-based character like most of Marvel’s, otherwise she’d be floating in the East River alongside Mafia victims’ corpses and “Coney Island whitefish.”

    Also, is that can with the stripes and diamond pattern located near her right hand meant to be a disguised Plastic Man?

    • sorialpromise

      Man! Do I ever regret googling “Coney Island whitefish”!!!

      • Hannibal's Lectern

        You mean the National Lampoon’s music-publishing company? (Seriously: most of the songs on their albums were owned by “Coney Island Whitefish Music.”)

        Roger Zelazny had a more poetic description for them: “mute testimony to the urge to continue the species but not tonight.” Of course, he was talking about the whitefish that washed up in Tokyo Bay.

      • Suicide Squirrel

        I learned that term a looooong time ago. So long ago, I was still in high school.

        There’s a track on Aerosmith‘s album ‘Night in the Ruts’ (1979) titled Bone to Bone (Coney Island White Fish Boy)

        Oh, those Bad Boys from Boston.

  8. sorialpromise

    First of all, just rating the cover as art, it is beautiful.
    Yet compared to the other Elemental individual and group covers, it is pointless. She is against trash in the ocean. As Epicus Doomus writes, “Please don’t litter.” But she’s not even picking up the trash. I imagine the storyline in this comic is that she is assigned community service from her battle with Pion. It is not really a great idea for a plot, but it is more than Mr. Batiuk exerted. This is how SOSF improves my life: I see plot lines.
    All I ask for my effort is for CBH to give someone, anyone a ‘Semper Funk’!

    • Epicus Doomus

      Plenty of people might have an opinion re: climate damage (I’m never going to stop saying that now), but no one has a dissenting opinion re: littering. And it really is well-drawn, but it’s just so achingly dull and mundane. Why isn’t she unleashing the power of the seas against an illegal dumping fleet or something? She could force the fleet to beach itself, at which point it’d become Subterranean’s problem. Then Scorch could incinerate the trash, and Atmos could render the ash chemically inert. I really should be working at Atomik Komix.

      • Bad wolf

        The draftsmanship and overall appearance is fine, as an attractive super-person glaring out of a pile of trash goes. It could have worked the background/foreground trash a little better, maybe coming ‘around’ her as if to engulf her. As it is it kinda looks like she’s a corpse floating to the surface which is an unpleasant thought.

  9. erdmann

    It IS well drawn, but I agree it’s unexciting and hardly appears to be the work of an old-timer such as Phil.

    In the ’70s, when comics took on pollution, the artists knew how to play up the drama. You would have the Sub-Mariner (drawn by Gil Kane) or Aquaman (by Neal Adams or Jim Aparo) standing on the ocean floor, surrounded by barrels oozing viscous black plumes of poison, cradling a seemingly dead Atlantian child in his arms. His face contorted with anguish and rage, the character would shout, “By Neptune, the surface world is responsible for the outrage — And so the surface world shall PAY!” A blurb would add “Namor’s [or Aquaman’s] fury unleashed AT LAST! You must read ‘Death be not Proud!'”

    The Aquaman story would wrap up in one issue and would show the hero joining forces with a nondescript surface-dwelling scientist to save the child and mitigate the damage to the sea. At the end, everyone would vow to do more to protect the environment.
    The Sub-Mariner story would stretch out over four issues and bring him into conflict with the Fantastic Four (Reed would save the child), the Hulk (inexplicably) and a snake-haired synthazoid created by Roxxon Oil that would appear in only three panels in the fourth issue despite being prominently featured on the cover of the third issue. At the end, everyone would vow to do more to protect the environment and Namor would storm off snarling that everyone damned well better or he’d be back. Watching him go, the Thing would wonder “The good guys won this time, Stretcho, but what about NEXT TIME?”

  10. Dood

    It’s recyclin’ time!

  11. Banana Jr. 6000

    Shouldn’t she be mad? Or sad? Or fighting someone, since the whole point of this week was to create new villains who could threaten the earth? Shouldn’t the villain be on the cover? It’s so aimless.

    As others have said, the art is fine. It’s the direction that sucks. This is what Tom Batiuk told his artists to draw. And Mr. Comic Book Expert has no clue why it doesn’t work. The cover doesn’t need more trash; what it needs is a point.

  12. Gerard Plourde

    The static portrait style of this cover resembles a number he has featured in his “Cover Me” posts. The difference is that the subjects of those covers tend to be well-established ones, like members of the Fantastic Four or, most recently, the introduction of the next generation Superman,

    • Those “Cover Me” posts on Batty’s blog drive me nuts. At least, for the latest post, he’s taken the time to write a little blurb about why he’s featuring it, although as usual, he doesn’t attribute the artist…

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        “mid-week pilgrimage to my comics emporium”? Ugh.

      • Bad wolf

        Lol at “looking at you here Dynamite”. Dynamite is a fun company that seems to put most of their efforts on their covers, frequently very attractive and well-drawn/painted, featuring one of their very attractive heroines—Dejah Thoris, Red Sonja, Vampirella? Anyway, Tom sounds disappointed that you can’t get J Scott Campbell or Lucio Parrillo interiors, sad.

        Not recognizing Mike Mignola means he hasn’t kept up with comics for 25-30 years.

  13. robertodobbs

    So there’s the whole “climate change” thing that’s evidently been set aside, then there’s “pollution” which I associate with smoke in the air and chemicals in the ground, which has been set aside, and now we’re approaching the hot topic of littering.

    • Hannibal's Lectern

      The world is littering, and the Oceanaire is loitering.

      Both should receive a ticket and an appropriate fine from Rip Tide, Scuba Cop.

  14. be ware of eve hill

    Lying on her back, covered in empty bottles. This cover reminds me of one of my first college roommates.

    Party Hearty Blotto Brandi wherever you are.

  15. batgirl

    According to some scientific studies, about 20% of plastic waste in the ocean is from commercial fishing (nets, lines, floats etc.) and 80% (roughly) is land-based, arriving via rivers. There’s been research on which/how many rivers are the major contributors, but the conclusion is clear:
    The Oceanaire must battle … RIVERINE!!

  16. Hannibal's Lectern

    Random thoughts on today’s fiasco…

    1) Do ya think Batty ever worked as a used car salesman? Because this week was a classic bait-and-switch. We watched as the Cadillac of “socially relevant issues affecting young people” was stealthily replaced by the rusted Yugo of “please don’t litter.”

    2) Glass bottles, aluminum and steel cans are profitably recyclable (which is why you don’t see that many of them in the ocean) and relatively benign if they escape into the environment (glass physically breaks down into the sand it was made from, while metals eventually corrode or rust back into the mineral compounds they were made from; both are things nature is quite used to). If plastic remained in the form of bottles and similar packages (with the exception of six-pack rings, of course), it too would be relatively tolerable; the problem is that sunlight breaks it into tiny particles that the organisms at the base of the ocean food chain mistake for food. And so those organisms get clogged up and die, as nothing can digest plastic. Point being, the plastic garbage patch doesn’t look like this cover; it just looks like a murky soup in the water.

    3) But not for long: researchers have found bacteria who can digest the most common plastics. They talk about using these bacteria (or the enzymes they produce) to recycle plastics, but of course that won’t affect all the plastic goo that makes up the ocean garbage patches. Since the researchers found plastic-eating bacteria in the wild, it’s only a matter of time before we have a new problem of vast bacterial mats feeding on the ocean garbage patches. Odds are the bacteria will emit lots of climate-affecting CO2, as plastic is mostly carbon and hydrogen.