Together Again For The First Time At Last

Link to today’s strip

And there’s Atomik Komix’ lead art forger Darin, looking like a cat who’s just heard someone open a tin of Fancy Feast. But Phil Holt’s reaction is much more interesting.

“Slumming again?” Phil, you only joined Atomik Komix ten months ago. How often does this woman visit that you can say that? It can’t be that many times, because she buys comic book art, and Tom Batiuk didn’t obsessively catalog every step of the transaction process. The contract signing alone would take a week.

Kitch’s playful response suggests that she knows Phil, too. But how? From 2017 to 2020, Phil was pretending to be dead. Before that, he was doing caricatures for kiddie birthday parties. He was also shown to have a home somewhere that clearly wasn’t Ohio. Flash Freeman, Phil Holt’s closest companion as far as we know, hadn’t seen him since he stomped off with The Subterranean in the 1950s, and spoke of Phil rather negatively

But Kitch seems to know how toothless Phil’s “grumpy” act really is. And she’s right. There are at least five old people in the Funkyverse who are much worse than Phil. Harry Dinkle, Ed Crankshaft, Lillian McKenzie, Mort Winkerbean, Melinda Budd.

To make another movie comparison: this is the “you two know each other” scene. A new character enters the movie; an existing character greets them in overly familiar way; and someone says “you two know each other?” One of them says “yes, we were in the Army together,“ and exposition is achieved. This interaction appears to be setting that up. But it probably isn’t.

Tom Batiuk is just filling the word balloons with whatever meaningless drivel he thinks will let him get on to the comic books, which is the only thing he wants to talk about. But he’s inadvertently implying that Kitch and Phil have a history, and that this is going to be relevant to the story. 98% of the time in Funky Winkerbean, it’s not.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

33 responses to “Together Again For The First Time At Last

  1. RudimentaryLathe?

    I don’t know or care what Ms Swoon wants with Formerly Dead Phil, but I do wonder why Darrin suddenly looks 60.

  2. Epicus Doomus

    Batom and his comic book art. While comic book art is probably pretty interesting to some people, I’m not really one of them. A comic strip story arc about comic book art, though, now that’s a much different animal. Especially when you consider how many times he’s done it already.

  3. Panel 1: Durwood is wasting away at an alarming rate. Kitsch Swoon looks like a chess piece (pawn?), once again doing that enraging finger-raising thing. And the crooked Exit sign looks like FW’s signature wall-taping job.

    Panel 2: What the hell is going on with Kitch’s face? She has two pair of eyebrows, glasses drooping well below her eyes, and a chin being swallowed by her neck wattle. Her drastically receding hairline completes the picture. At least she manages the obligatory smirk.

    As for the dialog, I couldn’t possibly care less.

  4. billytheskink

    Kitch Swoon’s name may be stupid, Durwood, but she isn’t. She knows you haven’t completed any pages since the last time you saw her.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Well she is doing business with them so she’s no too bright either.

    • Jeff M.

      So “Kitch Swoon” means she swoons over kitsch? Jeebus, at least “Amicus Breef,” albeit stupid, was clear. And is the implication that Roy Lichtenstein’s work was kitsch? I know opinions differ, but there’s no serious person in the art world who thinks Lichtenstein made kitsch. Maybe TB just thinks that his work was “making fun of” those precious “BOOKS”? Thus his work is relegated to kitsch? You know what would be a fun arc? AK inadvertently helping Kitch perpetuate fraud by creating fake Lichtensteins, and then busting them because of some arcane knowledge pertaining to Benday dots. Which will of course never happen, because it has the possibility of being interesting. I think we are in for a Phil Flash rant about his work being “stolen.”

  5. Y. Knott

    Tom Batiuk’s solution to the problem of his comic strip featuring tedious, zero-dimensional lead characters that no-one likes?

    Easy! Create HUNDREDS of tedious, zero-dimensional characters that no-one likes!

    Quantity! That’s the magic cure-all that will get people involved. Because you know what makes a comic strip GREAT? The NUMBER of characters it has!

    I mean, just imagine how good Calvin and Hobbes *could* have been, if Bill Watterson had only prudently stopped developing his small cast and just taken the time to create 250 more characters!

    • none

      Calvin and Hobbes, by Tom Batiuk:

      · Calvin would be diagnosed with Asperger’s and ADHD and both of these afflictions would come and go at any time, within the week perhaps.

      · Other children would randomly be able to converse with Hobbes as Calvin does. Other times, they’d refer to it as a stuffed animal as usual.

      · Susie would never call out Calvin for his bullshit and instead cower and cross her arms against herself during any of his outbursts and otherwise just let it all happen. She’d still continue to voluntarily spend her time with Calvin as needed.

      · Moe would eventually become Calvin’s friend for no reason but Calvin would always badmouth and distrust Moe when not together, and Calvin would never stop speaking about Moe’s past bullying.

      · Ms. Wormwood would not be portrayed as an honest teacher trying to do an honest job. One strip would lead to her screaming something hurtful out in exasperation – something along the lines of “If you were all scientists now, we’d all be DEAD!”. This panel would become the title of a strip compilation, and would become a poster that’s plastered across school rooms nationwide, and Ms. Wormwood would have her own line of school supplies, and she would become a mascot for some national teacher’s association of some sort. All of this happens for reasons completely unfathomable to logic.

      · Calvin’s Dad quits his copyrighting job and becomes a taciturn recluse in his home, rarely leaving the bedroom.

      · Calvin’s Mom only exists to bring hot chocolate to her husband and kiss his forehead. The household survives despite nobody being gainfully employed.

      · The entirety of Calvin’s school, students and teachers alike, all become avid cyclists. Field trips occur monthly and are spent to have the entire school take bike rides. Despite Tom’s crossover success with Ms. Wormwood, his constant deference to bicycling over 50 years doesn’t get him any kind of sponsorship or employment with Schwinn or Trek or the like.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        Nah, he would kill Calvin off by giving him cancer.

        Tom can’t develop characters and so he just creates what is needed for the current story. The result is a bunch of shallow characters nobody cares about.

        Batty thinks this makes his strip deep and layered, but it is just more crappy story telling. In the old days, he had well defined characters and didn’t do this, but once he started chasing awards he just went nuts and the strip became the mess you see today.

        I’d rather have Dinkle as he at least has a legitimate history. BJ6K got thrown to the wolves on his first week.

        • Smirks 'R Us

          and in the end Hobbes would of course assume the identity of Masky McDeath., there to guide Calvin onward.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Ironically, the silliness of Act I created more complex, better developed characters than all his “serious” writing ever did. And to the extent any character development does exist, Batiuk ignores it for the self-serving narrative he wants to push. Les Moore is a ball of wangst, unresolved grief, and malignant narcissism, but Batiuk refuses to let him being anything other than The Greatest Person Who Ever Lived.

      • Anonymous Sparrow

        And bats really would be bugs.

        • none

          The only way that I’m believing that news is if you present it to me in a report with a clear professional binding cover.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Hundreds of characters no one likes, and don’t pay any attention to their history. These two act like they know each other, when there’s no way that’s possible.

  6. The Dreamer

    Somebody tell TomBat that people writing/drawing comic books now don’t work in offices with ‘bullpen’ setups where they all sit around That is a scene out of the 1950s! Today everyone works out of their homes on computers. Even back in the day I once at a Con heard Stan Lee say that the guy who colored all the Marvels lived upstate and he’d send all the panels to him via UPS at his house and the guy would color them and mail them back For like twenty years he never saw the guy. Today that coloring guy would be out of work becsuse thats done online and not by hand now This idea TomBat portrays that the comic book creators keep regular office hours and sit around together is quaint and false

    • Rusty Shackleford

      What do expect from Boomer Batty, it’s the only world he knows!

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        It’s Tom Batiuk’s “Field of Dreams”, as William Thompson put it yesterday.

        All of this bullpen wanking isn’t even about making comic books. It’s about the author’s idealized dream of what being in that world would be like. All the sitting around, having middle school arguments about comic book characters, making up pointless new characters, facing no real-world business pressures, and just doing whatever you want whenever you feel like it. And Kitch Swoon showing up to give you big piles of money for no reason.

    • Margaret

      If, just as an intellectual challenge, one wanted to try to defend Batiuk on this point, you could imagine that Chester insists that Atomic Komix has to operate this way. It’s a condition of employment that everyone has to work in the same building. Considering that nostalgia (false nostalgia for something that never really existed is certainly a real thing) is at least 50% of what drives Chester’s (and Batiuk’s) obsession with comic books, it’s not far fetched.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      If I remember my sole issue of Marvelmania from 1970 correctly, Joe Sinnott, who basically inked Jack Kirby on *The Fantastic Four* for almost five years (1965-70), never met the man before he left for DC. I’m not sure whether Sinnott met Kirby when he returned to Marvel later in the 1970s.

  7. J.J. O'Malley

    You know, if someone a decade ago had told me that one day I’d read the sentence “Hey, it’s Kitch Swoon!” on a newspaper syndicate’s website, I’d have called them crazy and said that sentence makes absolutely no sense. Well, here it is 10 years later, the memory of Ms. Swoon and her previous visits to the AK “Bullpen” are still dancing around my hippocampus, and I can safely say that it still makes absolutely no sense.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      I would have assumed I was following Dick Tracey TBF.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Kitch Swoon makes no sense for a very practical reason, too: try saying it aloud. You can’t do it, can you? English speakers don’t like to put “ch” and “sw” next to each other. It’s unnatural and hard to say. Nobody would call themselves that, even if it was their name. Especially in a career where they have to introduce themselves to people a lot. The person would get creative with their nickname, middle initial, or surname to make it easier to say.

      • Epicus Doomus

        In my opinion, the worst fictional name in the Funkyverse. Dashiel Hammett is pretty bad, but it’s a real person. Kitch, though, is just plain stupid. And here I thought Chester Hagglemore was bad.

        • Anonymous Sparrow

          Actually, he was Samuel Dashiell Hammett. (My nephew is Samuel Dashiell, too, and most folks call him “Dash.”)

          Weirdly, I was watching a “University Challenge” episode this morning in which a question dealt with a Wim Wenders film based on Hammett. One of the team had looked Hammett up after learning about Chandler and had completely forgotten his name.

          They got the other two Wim Wenders questions wrong, too.

    • hitorque

      Was anybody in the Funkyverse raised with the common decency to address people as “Mr./Mrs.” when they walk into their place of business??

  8. ComicBookHarriet

    Don’t be silly. All old people know each other. After reaching 77, you enter the meta-coot hivemind. It would be all hearing and all seeing, if it wasn’t for the darn hearing aid batteries fritzing out, and the glaucoma.

  9. Gerard Plourde

    This week does reveal something about TomBa’s creative process. It very much resembles the episodic nature of Golden and Silver Age comic books and gag-a-day strips (and much of early radio and TV scripts). Stories are driven by situation, not character. Unfortunately, his desire to tell “real” stories doesn’t tolerate that form of storywriting.

  10. vince

    no one’s going to mention Phil Holt’s head has apparently become unattached from his body? That’s been bothering me since last night

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Somehow I missed that. You’re right, it looks like it’s sliding down his neck.

      • William Thompson

        Please let that mean Zanzibar the Murder Chimp has returned, but with an executioner’s ax instead of a pistol.

  11. Jeff M.

    I’m also fascinated by TB’s vision of what an “art world” person looks like – the body of Mrs. Winkerbean on the legs of Olive Oyl. But hey, a scarf and a couple of bangle bracelets, and she could be working at Gagosian amirite?

  12. hitorque

    I don’t get it… This lady “buys” comic panels from a local comics artist just to “sell” in her own gallery?? Why wouldn’t Darrin/Phillips 66 just sell them himself directly to their fans? And are these already existing panels from other comics, or is she commissioning original work? What cut of the sales is Mrs. Swoon getting for being a 100% completely redundant middleman? Nevermind the fact that aren’t Darrin/Phillips 66 big enough superstars in the industry by now that the legit asking price for their original artwork is WAY out of Mrs. Swoon’s penny ante budget?

    • William Thompson

      If this were a real story, I’d suggest that Swoon wants Phil Dolt to create works “in the style of” Lichtenstein, which she’ll claim she’s marketing as “tributes.” But some of them will be sold as recently discovered works by Lichtenstein himself, Dolt, being a pure innocent, will be absolved of any blame in the ensuing scandal, while Swoon will be arrested by her assistant Klosette Kayse, who is an undercover FBI agent.

      But this is Batiuk, so well get a week of whining from AK’s overpaid, underworked bullpen about how they’re being exploited.