Dumpster Diving

Link to today’s strip

Hal Foster himself shows up at the King Feature Syndicate offices, and fishes Phil Holt’s unsolicited submission out of the trash.


Hal Foster was auditioning people to take over for him. So he would know who the candidates were, and who submitted what pieces of art. This drawing being in the trash implies its worth clearly enough.

Why is Hal Foster even going to the publisher’s office? Like a lot of cartoonists at the time, he lived in small-town Connecticut, not Times Square. It’s Tom Batiuk’s tired “bullpen” fantasy again, where all cartooning is done in person for no reason. And he doesn’t even get that right. Cullen Murphy, the son of Hal Foster’s successor John Cullen Murphy, spoke of the community of artists who had all moved to Connecticut and worked with each other in person. It was a real-life bullpen, it’s relevant to this story, and Batiuk just ignores it.

This portrayal seems unbecoming of a real person who was known for being formal and proper. The one quote about Foster on his Wikipedia page says he was “a very stern gentleman, very stern, no nonsense. You could never call him Hal or Harold, it’s Mr. Foster… you don’t see that kind of people anymore, the ones that really command your respect.”

It doesn’t feel like he commands much respect from Batiuk. Though he did get the “Mr. Foster” bit right.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

37 responses to “Dumpster Diving

  1. Epicus Doomus

    It’s the ol’ “busy comic executive notices masterpiece in the wastebasket” gag. It’s amazing how often FW is like a really, really bad old 1930s-1940s movie. Laughably predictable, full of ancient tropes, sepia-toned, he nails it just perfectly. If there was any sort of market for that, BatYam would be worth tens of dollars, at least. But there isn’t, thus he’s still working the Con circuit.

    But anyway, yeah, this one is another great example of BatWad slowing things down to a sub-glacial pace to pad the story. Half the strip literally consists of a piece of paper in a wastebasket. How could you even imagine slowing it down more than that? Act III has devolved to a point where even Fridays are just total throwaway days now. And does anyone seriously believe he’ll wrap this up with a quick zippy Saturday strip? No chance in hell. He’s going to chew up the entire rest of the summer with this, you watch.

  2. Rusty Shackleford

    Ok, I’ve tried to get into PV, viewing it online is much much better than viewing it on crappy newsprint, but I just can’t get into it.

    I will keep trying, but not sure how much longer I will last. Then again, I’ve lasted this long with FW so who knows.

    • Maxine of Arc

      Fair! It’s certainly its own thing. I love it but I can see where it’s tough to get into.

    • The only time I’ve ever read it is on the very rare occasion when Josh features one of the strips on Comic Curmudgeon. I just never had that much interest in medieval stuff.

  3. So Hal Foster is going to garbage-pick Phil’s garbage-worthy cover and rip off the eternally aggrieved Phil? Makes sense, I guess. Philled Hole is one of our heroes, and his lack of success must be attributed to bad people doing bad things to him, right?

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Right, it’s a typical Batty theme. Here we have someone stealing their way to the top. I guess that crumpled up wastebasket art is still good enough to present. Those stupid fat cats at the syndicate don’t know any better.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      This story doesn’t really fit Phil’s personality, does it? He’s way too warm and fuzzy about not getting a job, and having his work thrown into the trash.

  4. KMD

    As he is so fond of great cartoonists, TB should once again look over Thurber’s famed story about Walter Mitty. Despite what TB thinks, Mitty is not an admirable figure. Yet TB keeps sharing his Mitty-like fantasies with the world. What if I was a famed writer with Hollywood friends? What if Bill Clinton pulled strings for us? What if Jack Kirby pretended to die and became friends with Stan Lee again? What if Hal Foster liked my work? TB no longer cares about the world. He only echoes his own voice. Once he might have been Orpheus or Homer, telling tales of the world as it is. Now he is a mere Cassiopeia, staring in the mirror instead of looking out on the world and other people.

  5. William Thompson

    So Mr. Foster steps in and snatches defeat from the jaws of victory. There’s only one question here: how will this make Phil Holt even more miserable?

  6. You guys, #SDCC2022 is underway!

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Yeah just saw a video on YouTube about CC. Didn’t realize they were back. Aren’t they afraid of getting Covid? I hope everyone masks up!

    • Jimmy

      “60 years”??? Did I miss another time jump?

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Who on earth is the target audience for a Funky Winkerbean Comic-Con panel? It’s a widely despised, retrograde, absurdly self-indulgent comic strip about senior citizen characters, in an obsolete medium. Tom Batiuk has no online presence, no online fan base, doesn’t allow fans to communicate with him on his own blog, hates the Internet, and bashes it at every opportunity. According to these tweets, the panel name is a lie, and apparently one former artist has ashamed of it. I can’t believe Comic-Con even gave him a space.

      • Y. Knott

        Were I attending this year, I’d simply have to go see this panel — which is pretty much the definition of ‘morbid curiosity’, I suppose.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Part of me would like to interview Batiuk, just to ask him the questions his interviewers always seem to avoid. There’s a lot of overlap between “questions Tom Batiuk would find insulting” and “questions that are perfectly acceptable to ask a creator at Comic-Con”.

    • Dood


    • Green Luthor

      I have no idea if he kidding about John Byrne or not? (Like, I could believe Batiuk would make a joke like that, but I can also believe Byrne would say something like that for real. Byrne is rather well-known for being… well, kind of an asshole, to be blunt.) (No idea what could have happened to cause him to turn on Batiuk, but he quit drawing X-Men when writer Chris Claremont added a sound effect that Byrne didn’t think was necessary. It was really a “straw that broke the camel’s back” thing, but that didn’t stop Byrne from putting a snippy reference to it in an issue of Fantastic Four that came out THREE YEARS later. Basically, whatever slight could be something Batiuk did, or could be something entirely in Byrne’s head…)

  7. Y. Knott

    So, 8 minutes after the Funky Winkerbean panel is scheduled to start, no-one’s there yet?

    This tracks.

  8. billytheskink

    Check out the forehead on Mr. Foster. I think we know now where that skull in the 4th Indiana Jones movie came from…

  9. Cabbage Jack

    Is this whole craptastic arc just so he can do a “Tip of the Funky Felt Tip!” knock off Prince Valiant Sunday strip?

  10. J.J. O'Malley

    Oh, for the love of…. What difference does it make if Hal Foster saw The Late Phil Holt’s sample art or not? Phil already said he didn’t get the job! Everyone knows he didn’t get the job!

    Whatever reason Batiuk presents at this point in the story to explain WHY he didn’t get the job will probably be as ridiculous as the Crankshaft arc when Mud Hens pitcher Ed lost his chance to pitch in front of major league scouts because a jealous teammate told the illiterate Cranky his name wasn’t on the line-up card, and no manager or coach noticed the difference.

    Please tell me this ends on Sunday; between this storyline and the nationwide heat wave I can feel my brain melting.

  11. Hitorque

    1. I don’t get it… Why Connecticut? Why not upstate NY or Long Island or Rhode Island or New Jersey?

    2. I’m starting to wish we’d stayed with that bullshit “sword in the bar” story instead…

    3. I refuse to believe Kitschy Kitschy Kook isn’t bored out of her mind by now and really regretting this utter waste of her time…

    • gleeb

      1. The New York, New Haven, and Hartford railroad is my guess. It made it possible to easily get to New York when you had to. And it gave them a chance to buy into what was still less-expensive real estate than NJ or LI.
      2. Same.
      3. She deliberately went to talk to a dead guy. She got herself into this.

  12. gleeb

    Well, the woman at the desk (who in 1969 would have been called a girl) is saying it’s nice to see Mr F. Would she do that if he was there every day? Maybe Mr F likes the anonymity of an office to do his interviewing, or just thinks it makes it easier on those being interviewed who don’t live out in Connecticut.

  13. annekillheffer

    There was a book out on 2017 about growing up in that cartoonists’ enclave, Fairfield County, Connecticut. The author was Cullen Murphy, son of PV artist John Cullen Murphy.

    • Rick Brooks

      Cartoon County is a well-written and interesting book about the lives of mid 20th century syndicated cartoonists. I would recommend it to all ‘Winkerheads.’

  14. be ware of eve hill

    I suppose Hal Foster will now call Phil and say he was overqualified anyway. 🙄

    Hal Foster: Phil, you’re a comic book legend. The comic book industry needs you. Don’t pittle away your incredible talent on a mere comic strip.
    Phil Holt: Gee, thanks Hal ol’ pal. You’re right. I just lost focus. Being a comic book artist is the greatest occupation in the whole wide world. *sob* I love you, man!


  15. be ware of eve hill

    Today’s Last Kiss comic seems to have been guest written by a certain comic strip creator with a one-track mind.


    Thanks to
    Tom Batiuk
    Medina, Ohio

    • Y. Knott

      Ha! Good find!

      (It’s funny and self-aware, so it can’t be Batiuk. But it’s still a good find — thanks for posting it!)