Back-to-back single panel strips in a garbage dump arc…for shame, Tom, for shame. More wry self-deprecation AND a malaprop, too, plus, as an added bonus, Batton Thomas just inexplicably standing there, grinning stupidly. Maybe his dumb comic strip wouldn’t be in “the last row” if he’d go home and, you know, work on the damn thing instead of loitering around a comic book studio all day.
Climate Damage Inc.
Filed under Son of Stuck Funky
47 responses to “Climate Damage Inc.”
“I think the climate damage stories you’re doing are what people should be reading right now! And that’s why we won’t bother to actually SHOW any of those stories, just a generic-looking cover! But people should DEFINITELY be reading your stories!”
It’s almost as if Tom Batiuk is congratulating himself for the brilliant and important (and Pulitzer-winning) content that he can’t be bothered to actually create. Nah, couldn’t be.
“How can I express my opinions regarding climate change without actually expressing my opinions regarding climate change? Hmmm. Maybe I could call it “climate damage”, as that’s not really a thing. OK, that’s a good start. OK, all finished.”
“Climate damage” doesn’t even make any sense. Climate just means “prevailing weather conditions”, whatever they may be. Climate isn’t something that can be damaged, just changed. What happens if the climate is fully damaged? We don’t get any more climate? Is that it?
I guess you could mean that in the sense of “the atmosphere will cease to exist.” But “climate damage” is a very weak way to phrase it, and it isn’t the author’s intent anyway. It’s another one of Batiuk’s nothingisms; phrases that sound lofty and writer-y but convey no meaning.
Translation: “I think what you’re doing now is exactly what you should be doing now.” Chester really cracks the editorial whip over this muleheaded troika, doesn’t he?
To his credit, TB usually writes what he knows. “Editorial input” is not on that list.
Correction: He writes what he thinks he knows.
I’m not sure Chester realizes one of the three doesn’t even work there. (But then, I’m not sure Batiuk does, either.)
This strip earning TB a cease-and-desist from Mount Rushmore in 3… 2… 1…
Yes just keep saying “Climate Damage”. That’s totally the same as actually doing something. Batiuk probably thinks natural gas is better for the planet than nuclear energy (or even solar energy) because it has “natural” in the name.
“Climate damage” is such a classic BatYam cop-out. He avoids getting all tangled up in that whole climate change kerfuffle by calling it climate DAMAGE instead, thereby making it more vague and meaningless. And Chester keeps stressing the importance of doing stories about it, but never actually says whether he’s for it or against it. I mean, I assume he’s anti-climate damage, but who the hell really knows? Maybe the Atomik Komix stories actually endorse climate damage.
“The CO2 gas I trapped in the Earth’s crust after destroying Dr. Dioxide has to be released soon, Dr. Atmos!”
“Don’t worry about it! Everyone knows that greenhouse gases are good for plant life, Subterranean! Now, help me throw this radioactive waste into that ravine!”.
It’s almost like he’s mimicking the behavior. Batiuk doesn’t actually care about the environment, but he has a notion that he should. So you get this “climate damage” word salad, and an avalanche of empty comic book covers that don’t even take a position or state what the problem is.
It’s the same thing with his Batton Thomas “I’m so folksy and grateful” act. He knows this is how he should act, but he can’t relate to it at all. And his own blog writings prove he doesn’t feel this way. So he tries to mimic it, but it comes off as false and self-contradictory. He stopped dead in the middle of a week of it to go straight back to his comic books, and find an excuse for yet another Sunday cover.
This is another autistic behavior. Some people on the autism spectrum are skilled at mimicking the social interactions they don’t understand, and can pass as neurotypical. I think Batiuk tries to do this in Funky Winkerbean, but he’s bad at it. And he’s doing it twice this week.
The one flaw in your argument about TB being autistic is that the autistic folks I’ve known have all had an area of focus or fascination. And within that area, they are very exacting — near-obsessive about accuracy and detail. Other tasks or areas are not likely to be executed excitedly but half-assedly; they’re more likely to be ignored as much as possible.
I can’t think of a single aspect we’ve seen of TB’s life where he displays the dedication and exactitude you’d expect to see. He gets details wrong more often than he gets them right.
The one behavior that does seem to point to a form of autism is his recounting of comic book stories. It’s always just a poorly written point-by-point rundown of the plot. No thoughts about what it means or why it’s so great, or how it supports the characters or canon. Just a synopsis like a 5-year-old would give: “Then the Flash did this, then the Flash did that, and oh, the Flash did this other thing too.”
I think that’s just one form of autism. It is a pretty wide spectrum. In my life I’ve known three people who were VERY obviously on the spectrum. Two men, one woman. Of the three only one of them had anything like that kind of expertise with an obsessive interest. He could recite all of the area codes for New Jersey and most of the bus routes. But he didn’t seem to do it for fun and he didn’t always bring it up in social situations and not want to talk about anything else. The woman did not really have any obsessive special interests, she was very into science fiction books, TV, and movies, but only in a very childlike way. And it was obvious that she couldn’t really understand them. She would try to write her own episodes of TV shows when she was well into her 40s and they were something that you would have expected from a fifth grader. She, like Batiuk, only seemed to be able to see the most surface aspect of whatever story she was following. The other man, who I still know, Is very interested in military history and war games. But again he doesn’t bring it up all the time or bore you to death with it. He can discuss other things and do other things. What they all had in common was that none of them could take care of themselves and struggled with poverty and even homelessness until they were old enough for social services to take over.
All this to say that I have also sometimes wondered if Batiuk maybe on the autism spectrum. I don’t think you can rule it out by saying he doesn’t fit a particular type.
No argument here. It is a spectrum, and a wide one. Just pointing out one of the potential upsides of autism, and noting that TB doesn’t seem to show any evidence of it.
In fairness, what some of us see as autism could also be creeping dementia. Act I didn’t display any of the “I’m an alien. This is how Earthlings act, right?” qualities of Act III.
It could also just be the good ol’ Dunning-Kruger effect in action. He can’t discern what makes good comics good, so he has no idea how much his own work sucks.
@Duck Oh, I agree, it’s far from a perfect diagnosis. Batiuk isn’t obsessive about how comic book publishing ACTUALLY works – that could actually be interesting. He’s applied his obsession to his very childish fantasies of how he thinks it SHOULD work. No boss, no creative oversight, no business pressures, no deadline pressures, gigantic salary, endless praise and awards, unlimited free time to talk to your friends about comic books, and make comic book covers to the exclusion of all other tasks.
Dan Aykroyd turned his interests in blues music, police, and the paranormal into two of the best movie comedies ever made. Tom Batiuk can’t channel his obsessiveness into anything but his own fantasies. And nobody stops him from publishing this junk in Funky Winkerbean, where it just bores and confuses people.
I think that’s the key factor. Batiuk wrote at great length on his blog about his past editors Ted Hannah and Jay Kennedy, and how they supported his Act II ambitions. (And presumably reined him in when needed.) But both these men died unexpectedly, in 2002 (at age 58) and 2007 (at 51). After Kennedy died, he was never meaningfully replaced. Barely six months later, Lisa was dead; Les’ grief went unresolved; ten years of loose ends and potential stories were thrown away; and the self-indulgent slog of Act III began.
This sucks. Chester Bestertester sucks. Flush Floppyhead sucks. Dead guy sucks. Buttock Thomas sucks.
This strip sucks. Lectures in comic books suck. Lectures in comic strips suck.
Tom Batiuk sucks.
A clear argument from A to Z! ☄️
100% Preach it, brother!
No lies detected!
Heh. Philled Hole channeling Crankshaft. It is to laugh. Ever so droll.
Batton. Smirking like the animatronic little bitch that he is. His passive-aggressive self-deprecation is a thin mask covering his seething hatred of an audience of dolts who can’t appreciate his genius. Truth is, his comics have always sucked shit. Because he sucks shit, both as an artist and as a human being. His laughable failure is well-earned. I just hate him so!
Can you imagine if the quality of the art in this strip matched the quality of the writing?
Would you only be able to view the strip in some sort of lead-lined chamber, while wearing smoked-lens safety goggles?
1. I misread the comic. Initially, I was put off by Chester’s philosophy. “This is what they should be reading.” I hate agenda stories in anything especially comics. I don’t care if pushes political agendas, sexual agendas, gender agendas, racial agendas, special interest agendas, religious agendas. I hate them all. None of them focus on telling a good story. They have to check off items on a list. This may be the main reason TV, Films, Books, and comic books lose money. They aim at a very small segment of the audience, but are mystified they are not getting big numbers.
2. Phil criticized Flash, Barry Allen? Wow did Mr. Batiuk have a stroke? It took me a minute as I questioned ‘predictable’. Oh! He means Flash Freeman. Once I got on the same page as TB, I realized the joke was actually alright.
R. I. P. Judy Tenuta.
A colorful name I haven’t heard in a long time…
No, Flush… I’m pretty sure Philled Hole was right the first time.
“I think the climate damage stories you’re doing are what people should be reading right now… Because, let’s face it, none of the crap you guys have written so far have sold enough copies to cover the cost of paper, let alone what I’m paying you goldbricks to hang around the office and let random strangers run on your treadmill. If we don’t move a whole lotta copies of this next book, AtomiKKK KomiXXX is out of business!”
LOL nobody is EVER getting ‘fired’…I’ve been trying to tell y’all that the entire AK operation is nothing more than Chester’s playtime set and the employees are his real-life action figure collection… Chester is ALREADY running AK at a loss just from the outrageously lavish salaries he had to dangle just to entice them to join. And he’ll continue to run AK at a loss because for him it’s worth the price of admission to hang around these old fossils all day and stroke his nerd boner, and as he’s already proven he can easily make up the shortfall elsewhere by short-selling some derivatives or wheeling and dealing some of his comics/memorabilia collection or whatever…
And yes, this is exactly the kind of “business” Masone Jarre is setting up at the Valentine Theatre… Batiuk seems to have an affinity for independent businesses that have the freedom to do whatever the hell they want while never having to worry about silly things like surviving in a competitive marketplace, or profits, or evolving to change with the times, or budget cuts or bankruptcy or anything because they’re being backed by a literal bottomless source of unconditional funding.
Must be nice…
I’m so glad I decided to skip this week…
That’s a colorful name I haven’t heard in a long time…
May I remind moneyman Chester Festerbester that the comic book cognoscenti said the same thing about Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams’ ultra-relevant “Green Lantern/Green Arrow” series from 1970 that won major awards, received write-ups in the media, and was cancelled after two years and 13 issues. Giving readers a steady diet of what you think they “should be reading,” a la the current “woke” editorial staff at DC and Marvel, is a major reason the American comics industry is in dire straits.
Can’t wait for Sunday.
The penultimate issue of the O’Neil/Adams run (#88) is a reprint issue and doesn’t feature Green Arrow. I wonder how well it sold compared to its predecessor, which introduced John Stewart as Space Sector 2814’s alternate Green Lantern and set up the possibility of Oliver Queen running for Mayor of Star City (something he’ll rule out in the 1970s but actually do decades later).
It’s a funny thing about EC: in house ads, they declared themselves proudest of their science-fiction magazines, but *Weird Science* and *Weird Fantasy* weren’t profitable…and merged at the end of 1953 into *Weird Science-Fantasy.* That wasn’t profitable, either, despite its slightly higher price. (Fifteen cents! Readers apparently protested, and Bill Gaines returned it to the industry-wide dime. Comics wouldn’t cost fifteen cents until 1969.)
Or look at the war titles! These really did give people “what they should be reading,” solid, historically accurate tales of wars beyond World War II (“The Good War,” to use Studs Terkel’s phrase) and the Korean War (raging from 1950 until 1953, most of EC’s heyday). But *Frontline Combat* was cancelled when the title’s sales dwindled after the Armistice in Korea, and *Two-Fisted Tales* eventually returned to its original “He-Man Adventure” format. Even so, its sales were still poor, and its cancellation had little to do with the arrival of the Comics Code, which doomed *Tales from the Crypt,* *The Vault of Horror,* *The Haunt of Fear,* *Crime SuspenStories* and *Shock SuspenStories.*
The moral? Well, you can do the prestigious, but you can’t make a shrine out of it (excellent as *Shock’s* preachies were, they generally only appeared one per issue). If you build it, they might not come, or they might not appreciate it. (EC adapted Ray Bradbury stories and a lot of their readers were lukewarm to them, if not outright hostile.)
I’ll leave you with the lyrics to a Garland Jeffreys song, which contains some very good advice:
Here comes Victor Hugo
He follows me wherever I go
I’m walking Paris streets
Feeling like I’m at home
And here comes Les Miserables
It’s one of my favorite novels
But it’s so serious
Hope I’m not too rude
But I’m not in the mood
Let’s make the great escape
All due respect to art for art’s sake
We’re gonna have some fun
For you and me and everyone
To the rock ‘n’ roll Rimbauds
To the poets and verse
To the Venus de Milo
To the ones who came first
Here goes the ghost of V. Van Gogh
He follows me wherever I go
We pass Notre Dame
So much history
So much bigger than me
And here comes another museum
They pass so fast we hardly can see ’em
There goes a Claude Monet
And a Paul Cezanne
And I always been a fan
Today is World Smile Day, and I want to thank everyone at Son of Stuck Funky for giving me cause to smile today and every day.
Well said. Producers of any entertainment product just can’t predict mass tastes. Much less dictate them, like Batiuk thinks he has the power to do. One of his many Mary Sue characters arrogantly proclaims this: “I think this is what people should be reading right now!” That’s now the free market works, Chester.
This points to another symptom of autism: lack of theory of mind. Tom Batiuk simply does not understand that other people can have different tastes and preferences than him. Batiuk very forcefully decrees that anyone who enjoys comic books differently than him is wrong. The end.
His stupid Batman rant is a perfect example of this. He can’t laugh at the show, or simply ignore it if he doesn’t like its style: he had to declare it a “horror show” that the world was wrong for daring to enjoy on any level. And bitterly retains this opinion for 50+ years.
I recall an interview (I forget who was interviewing whom, and whose show it was on) between Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, who do a lot of political stuff and have definite positions and beliefs. They discussed the Prime Directive of doing political comedy, which was THE JOKE COMES FIRST. If it ain’t funny, then it doesn’t make the show. If they can deliver a message while telling a good joke, great. If they can tell a good joke without any message, equally great. If it looks like a message without a proper joke, it gets cut.
Not to say that Stewart and Colbert always succeeded at this (humor is personal and therefore variable), but they both seemed to connect more than they whiffed, and both had (and still have) big audiences.
This is a thing Batty doesn’t seem to get: komix are entertainment first, message second or third. If you want to deliver a Serious Message via this medium, you have to wrap it in entertainment.
Yeah, I know. “Funky Winkerbean” and “entertainment” are things not normally found in the same paragraph. Sigh…
Be Ware of Eve Hill told us yesterday that Mr. Batiuk read science fiction. I wonder the quality of his books. I am sure he started in comics. TB is 7 years older than me. My oldest brother was 6 years older than me, so TB and I read the same comic stories. In the 1950’s, DC used sci-fi to set up goofy stories. Batman is captured by aliens. Superman turns into a giant insect by red kryptonite. That sort of stuff. I can see TB loving those stories in the 50’s. But even then, before their super heroes, Marvel skewed older, more mature stories. Their sci-fi had a point. Ditko and Kirby drew stories written by Stan Lee. Such as: a guy is dirt poor. He needs surgery, but only one guy in the world can do the surgery. To get the money, he robs, and accidentally kills a guy. He goes through the wallet. He finds out he just robbed and killed the surgeon.
Another: Humans are exploring a planet, looking for a place to land. They attempt one landing and discover it is overrun by wolves. Farther away, they find a landing spot that has herds of sheep. The astronauts land, and discover too late that the sheep are the apex predators on this world. I don’t think TB liked those stories.
As TB got older, I doubt that he read Heinlein, Ellison, Niven, or Pournelle. I am sure he liked Star Wars over Star TrekTOS. There is nothing wrong with either branch of sci-fi. One just puts more mental gymnastics in their stories than the other.
If Mr. Batiuk is normal, he wants to be taken seriously. Be recognized as a quality creator. Maybe receive an award or 2. To be fair, he does get recognition. But the type he gets does not satisfy him. e.g. Dinkle marching in the Rose Bowl Parade. He believes better awards will come his way. They won’t because he puts minimal effort into his stories. (Even that remark is generous!) Do you believe in 5 years, FW will be remembered? All of the greats have books that represent their work 20-30-50 years later. (I can barely remember the first 2 weeks of Epicus Doomus’ shift.)
In some ways I feel sorry for TB. His goals and rewards are beyond his reach. But he has no one to blame but himself. (SP signing out. 12:59 CDT Oct 7)
If Mr. Batiuk is normal
Let me stop you right there.
Untreated autism, combined with editorial indifference since Jay Kennedy died in early 2007, would explain so much of what we see in Funky Winkerbean Act III.
Tom Batiuk’s narrow, obsessive fixations; his fantasy world about how comic book creation works; his focus on irrelevant details; his need to follow arbitrary and pointless rules; his inability to approximate neurotypical social interaction, or even recognize behaviors that most people would find off-putting; his awkward use of language; his aversion to criticism and conflict; his repetitiveness and avoidance of anything new; his tendency to come off as aloof and arrogant, possibly without realizing it; and his fixation on meaningless objects are all autistic traits.
And I mean this as clinically as possible. I know it’s not nice of me to make amateur medical diagnosis. But I know about this stuff because… well, I don’t want to get into that. But this man checks off a lot of boxes.
May I remind moneyman Chester Festerbester that the comic book cognoscenti said the same thing about Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams’ ultra-relevant “Green Lantern/Green Arrow” series from 1970 that won major awards, received glowing write-ups in the media…and was cancelled after two years and 13 issues.
Can’t wait ’til Sunday’s big reveal.
It’s kind of no wonder Jffffff’s mother stabbed comic books if these are the people creating them.
And here I seem to recall that Chester wanted to start a comic book publishing house because he wanted good old black and white, good vs evil stories, with none of the hectoring that went on in modern comics.
Story points in Funky Winkerbean just get thrown away when Batiuk doesn’t need them anymore. Remember when Jessica wanted a souvenir of her father? Where did that plot point go? But he sure spent a lot of time telling us Mitchell Knox’s comic books history, didn’t he?
‘Climate damage’ Lord save us. It’s hard to know sometimes what is the most annoying tick the Author has but his tin eared wordplay “Grandfather Google” “Solo Car Date” that has the irritating sense of someone elbowing you as you are reading saying ‘get it?’ ‘Get it?’ is right up there. That along with Les being the most repulsive character in comics, his weird nostalgia for frankly junk, the huge difference between the strip he writes about and the strip the rest of us read.
‘Climate Damage’ – mother of god.
Force ghost says what?
When Batton Thomas says he stands in line, he really does. Right there, unnecessarily in this panel.
I was starting to have some empathy for Tom this week, as it looked like he was starting to get introspective about his comic career on Wednesday, but it all evaporated on Thursday and Friday when he once again dove head first into Subterranean Climate Damage®. Just the sight of Phil Dolt and Flush Fairgreen’s smirking faces is enough to push me to buy a coal rolling diesel F250, drive to Medina, Ohio, and run over TB’s mailbox. This whole “Chester fills the Atomik Komix office with fossils” plot could be the worst plot development that has been introduced to FW, but that’s a pretty high bar.
plus, as an added bonus, Batton Thomas just inexplicably standing there, grinning stupidly.
Quite often we used to see Mopey Pete just watching the proceedings and grinning like an idiot. For some inexplicable reason, Batiuk has decided to use Batton Thomas in that role this week. He even appears to be wearing one of Mopey Pete’s traveling plaid shirts.
Let me check my playbill. ♫La ta tee da ta bup bup ba♪… here it is. The role of ‘Gormless Idiot’ will be played this week by Mopey Pete’s understudy, Batton Thomas.
This story arc, as I’m sure most of you are aware, is the third of four “climate damage”
storiescovers featuring the Elementals Farce (Collect ’em all!). In March, we suffered through The Oceanaire’s cover, and in May, we slogged through the cover featuring Doctor Atmos. Apparently, it’s The Subterranean’s turn this month. The Subterranean is going to stomp anyone he sees littering. Ooo, what a mess.
For some reason, this is the second time in a row Batiuk has felt compelled to trot out cosmic treadmill exerciser Batton Thomas to witness the comic book codgers’ “climate damage” creative process.
Is this some sad attempt to shoehorn himself into the “comic book bullpen” experience? (Everyone knows Batton Thomas is you, Tom.)
Is there anybody out there who can stand Batton Thomas? He’s an entertainment black hole from where no fun can escape. After reading today’s strip at breakfast, I awoke from a daze and discovered I had been staring at the stove for several minutes. I can’t even remember what I was thinking about. Funky Winkerbean, the only comic strip responsible for the “missing time” phenomena.
Batton Thomas is a comic strip vampire. He not only sucks, he sucks all the life out of this strip. 🧛♂️
How do you folks post here all day every day? Am I the only one with an 8 to 5 office job?
Mr. Moderator! Can you please help out a fellow American down on her luck? I have a post with the dreaded Your comment is awaiting moderation. message embedded. 😥