Karmic Dread Mill

Link To The Strip

Special thanks to TFH, and everyone else really, but especially him! Lucky me, I’m back just in time for the unholy alliance of Batton Thomas and Atomik Komix, perhaps the second or third most sickening development of 2022 so far. Les getting that Oscar is gonna be tough to top.

So this Batton guy just “started coming there”? He just showed up at random local businesses looking for gym equipment he could use? Did someone invite him? How did he even know about the treadmill? This was the only way a guy with fifty years of writing experience was able to work a character based on himself into the story? Why not just use “magic” next time? Would it really be that much more ridiculous?

Batton is in the strip all the time now, yet Batty is still explaining who he is, which means that either a) he thinks his readers are forgetful dullards or b) he has no confidence in the character and probably shouldn’t be using him at all. I’m kind of surprised that Batton doesn’t already work at AK, as everyone else even loosely associated with the comic book business (turns and glares at Mindy) does. He could write and illustrate “Apathy Man”, whose superpower is that everyone forgets interacting with him immediately. He could use that ability to solve crimes or save the planet or something, or he could just half-ass it and milk it for fifty years. Either or.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

41 responses to “Karmic Dread Mill

  1. Banana Jr. 6000

    And heeeeeeeeeere we go.

    • RudimentaryLathe?

      In the words of Crow T. Robot: “Oh boy! Back to the REALLY unappealing characters!”

  2. William Thompson

    I’m surprised that Mopey Pete and Chester Molester are talking about . . . uh, is there somebody in the room with them? (Looks again) Oh, yeah, it’s that ineffectual guy who, uh, has something to do with, uh, comics, right? Maybe I’d better take a look at him and see if anything looks familiar about . . . uh, were those two Atomik Komix klowns talking about another of their first-issue characters? An invisible wombat, maybe? Yeah, I can see them doing a Sideways Sunday panel about a character like that.

    • William Thompson

      Damn, ED, Tommybats is so forgettable I forgot I read your “Apathy Man” comment!

  3. Sourbelly

    Cosmic treadmill? “Batton” down the hatches, mates. It’s going to be another maelstrom of weak-assed, filler-laden, low-concept garbage this weak.

  4. Epicus Doomus

    I know Batton hangs out at Komix Korner, but does he have some past history with Pete I’m forgetting about? I mean, it’s certainly possible that I’d quickly forget about such a thing, if it ever really happened. It still wouldn’t explain why Batton showed up at Pete’s job and started running on a movie prop treadmill, but it might explain why they didn’t immediately call the cops.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      I think that Batton was first introduced on a Free Comic Book day event at Komix Korner? And he would have met most of the Atomik Komix crew then. Of course…that was years ago both in and out of strip.

  5. none

    When the pandemic hit and he couldn’t go to the gym, it was May of 2020. That was two entire years ago. And we’re talking about this now? Okay.

    The fuck is Chester’s smile in P3 about, anyway. “Oh, huh, OK, he’s been doing this for 700 days and nobody ever said anything and I never noticed. Tee-hee!” What?

    • Epicus Doomus

      And if the pandemic is still raging in Westview, is it really wise for AK to allow some random comic strip creator to wander in off the street and sweat and wheeze all over everything? There are three elderly people there, for crying out loud.

  6. billytheskink

    “Batton Thomas, the creator of the comic strip Three O’Clock High” is the new “John Darling, my father who was murdered” isn’t it?

    Man, how much better would it be if it was “Batton Thomas, the comic strip creator who was murdered”?

    Only slightly better… because people would still be introducing him every time they mentioned him.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Meanwhile, Maddie was gone for like nine years and got no introduction at all when she suddenly resurfaced out of nowhere. Does he believe his readers won’t remember who Batton Thomas is? And if so, does he believe that mentioning “Three O’Clock High” is the key to jogging their memories? If they don’t remember Batton, why would they remember that? Has he actually created a character so forgettable he has to be re-introduced every time?

      • be ware of eve hill

        A few days ago, I posted the question of why Maddie the Mad Hatter always wore a hat. You answered, It’s like Becky and her arm. Without it (or with it, as the case may be), no one would know who the hell she is.

        Maddie most likely doesn’t need an introductory phrase after her name because of her signature hats. May I suggest Batton start wearing a signature hat, like Maddie, so we can easily identify him? That would end the irksome “Batton Thomas, the creator of ‘Three O’Clock High'” claptrap.

        How about something in the way of a quaint propeller beanie? A jester hat? Dare I mention a chullo hat like Owen’s.

  7. erdmann

    “What is Batton Thomas, the creator of the comic strip ‘Three o’clock High,’ doing here?”
    “He’s here because we couldn’t get Jess’ dad, John Darling, who was murdered, to stop by… on account of his having been murdered.”

    Geez, Chester! The gyms closed down two frickin’ years ago and you just now noticed that this clown has been using the treadmill in the middle of your place of business?

  8. Gerard Plourde

    Let’s count the problems with this strip.

    1. The pandemic started over two years ago and this is the first time Chester has seen Batton Thomas.

    2. If the gym was closed, why was Atomic Komics open? At the very least, the two employees, Flash and Ruby who were in a vulnerable population and should have been working from home to avoid infection. (While we’re at it, Darren shouldn’t have been there either since Skyler was ineligible for vaccination. Ditto for Mindy due to Crankshaft.)

    3. Was the Department of Health hoping Atomik Komics would become a superspreader event that would wipe out out Westview and Centerville?

    4. Outside of the occasional mention in the “Funky takes the AA meeting hostage” strips, Westview was unscathed b the pandemic.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      All because he wasn’t hired at a real comic book studio.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Yep, we all know exactly where this is headed. And “Batton Thomas is just randomly using our treadmill 2 years after the major COVID lockdown ended” is the round hole he’s made to jam this 7-sided peg into. It’s amazing that Batiuk thinks he has to invent narrative reasons to justify his comic book wanking. Narrative reasons that fit perfectly into one-week blocks. Nobody cares what he puts in the strip, and nobody has for years.

        If Tom wants to give himself a job at the comic book company, he can just do that! Hell, he can just do that in real life! He’s got the money and industry connections. He can stop writing stories about Chester Hagglemore and be Chester Hagglemore.

        • Rusty Shackleford

          It is very telling that he doesn’t write his own comic books. He certainly has the means to do so.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            I don’t think Batiuk really wants to make comic books. He wants the approval of the comic book industry. That’s why he’s so fixated on working for DC or Marvel (and nobody else). Besides, Funky Winkerbean lets him do all the parts he wants to: think up cliched concepts, direct lame covers (and not even draw them), and talk in circles about how the writing should go.

          • none

            I’ve made this assertion before: He just wants to be the Ideas Guy for comics. He wants to do as little work as he wants on any given day, have other people fill in the blanks, and take all the credit.

  9. ComicBookHarriet

    “Apathy Man”, whose superpower is that everyone forgets interacting with him immediately. ”

    Okay, I’m stealing that idea. Like, I’m picturing a combination of The Silence from Dr. Who, Saitama from One Punch Man, and that one Booster Gold episode from the Justice League Unlimited. But the whole thing written with the same pathos and existential dread, mixed with weird humor, as Tom King’s Mr. Miracle…

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Apathy man, Apathy man
      Doing the things that apathy can
      What’s he like? It’s not important.
      Apathy man.

      • Gerard Plourde

        I’ll just leave this here. It seems to be a singularly appropriate rendition.

      • Epicus Doomus

        “Look, Apathy Man! It’s the Apathy signal!”

        “Yeah, I see it, Ennui Boy. What’s the point?”

        “To the Apathy cave!”

        “Meh, I dunno, I guess.”

    • hitorque

      Justice League Unlimited was awesome… That more than anything kinda-sorta pulled me back into the comics world as an adult…

  10. sorialpromise

    We get Batton Thomas instead of another week of the time traveling helmet. Gosh! I miss that cat already.

    To batgirl, and to Y. Knott:
    After reading your comments the other day, I have purchased and awaiting the Greenwich Trilogy including the Unicorn Girl. Thank you.

  11. Hitorque

    I told y’all he’d be a regular fixture in the Atomikkk Comixxx office… I was a year early in my prediction but so what??

  12. Hitorque

    God damnit, Batiuk… I can’t even get mad at that trademark awkward dialogue in the first panel because a tiger ain’t changing his stripes this late in the game.

    1. This is the first time we’ve ever seen him in the office.

    2. The pandemic started damn near two and a half years ago…

    2a. Gyms and rec centers have been long since reopened…

    3. This is at least on paper supposed to be a *workplace* even though folks don’t work… IT’S NOT A FUCKING GYM! Who wants to work in a place where some strange dude is huffing and puffing and making the office smell like stale sweat?? And who in fuck’s name gave him permission to do this in the first place?

    4. I honestly don’t know what’s more outrageous here… The fact that Batton Thomas just barges in and feels entitled to get his free workout on in front of everyone, or…

    4a. The fact that Batton Thomas magically knew there was a free-to-use treadmill in some random office, or…

    4b. The fact that Batton Thomas didn’t think of some alternate method of exercise in the ensuing two and a half years, or…

    4c. The fact that Batton Thomas is making a pretty long drive into Cleveland’s gentrified old industrial district just to exercise, or…

    4d. The fact that Batton Thomas has clearly been fired or laid off or forced into early retirement and he’s too ashamed to admit it to himself so he spends his 9-5 working hours roaming the Greater Cleveland area like he’s some half-assed Michael Douglas in “Falling Down”? Or…

    4e. The fact that Pietro Rattabastardo isn’t way more overprotective over his enchanted mystical fantasy treadmill from the Wally West museum, or…

    4f. The fact that Chester the Molester Hagglemore instantly recognized Batton Thomas instead of presuming him to be some homeless meth head off the street? Or…

    4g. The fact that Batton Thomas doesn’t just skip to the chase and quit pretending this has anything to do with cardiovascular health. We all know damn well he’s about to sheepishly approach Chester like he’s a runaway teenage mutant showing up on Professor Xavier’s doorstep — “They say you are a good man… I hear this is a safe place for AARP comics lifers who were discarded and forgotten by their employers yet only wish to relive the good old days in the twilight of our lives… They say no old cartoonists ever die here — That this place is like that swimming pool in “Cocoon” for people of a certain age. I also hear you’re paying damned good money; top dollar just for the special privilege of having us around so you can listen in while us fossils trade old war stories…”

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      4h. Batton didn’t just buy a treadmill for his home. They’re not that expensive.

      • hitorque

        I’m pretty sure Batton Thomas has no home, no job, no kids, no wife — He lives out of his car and he bathes himself in the bus station bathroom but still likes to “keep up appearances”… So let him join this group of All-Star senior citizen comics nomads and outcasts — At least Batiuk will now have them all in one place.

        Batton Thomas is a cheap knockoff of Gil Gundersen from “The Simpsons” except he doesn’t have the wit, humor, humanity, indefatigable boomer “CAN DO!” attitude, or a proper source of pathos…

        I just want to remind folks that this is a goddamn comic book publisher and only ONE employee is under the age of 35 (and she only got hired because she’s fucking the editor/lead writer) and with the imminent addition of Batton Thomas, Atomikkk will soon have FOUR(!!!!) employees over the age of 75… Exactly which demographic are they supposed to be targeting again??

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Batton Thomas is a cheap knockoff of Les, Funky, and Dinkle. They’re all author avatars in some way. They all get success, wealth, respect, awards, women, comic books, and everything else in life handed to them. But we’re supposed to identify with them as some kind of downtrodden, hard luck underdogs. Barrrrrf.

  13. Rusty Shackleford

    From today’s Crankshaft we learn that Batty travelled to Flagstaff last year.

    At least we done with that book fair nonsense.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      What is really depressing is that Vintage FW gave me a genuine LOL today.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        You can see the Doonesbury influence on that one, but it is pretty good.

      • erdmann

        Ok, FW historians, who were Frank and Elinor?

      • hitorque

        Reminds me of an old (likely false) statistic I read once — Independence was only supported by about 25% of the colonists while another 25% remained steadfastly loyal to the King… The other 50% didn’t care too much one way or the other…

  14. Maxine of Arc

    Oh, this just makes me feel sad.

  15. hitorque

    In other news, Scott Adams has achieved peak Scott Adams:

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Ha, that’s hilarious. Batty would never have the courage to do something like this.