I Am Serious, And Stop Calling Me Deadly

Link, Please Click Here For Strip

“Bummer Batton”…LOL, I get it. Batiuk is always at his weirdest when he tries to get all “meta”. Once again he’s gently poking fun at himself in that wry, self-effacing way of his, and once again, it just sets my teeth on edge and makes my fillings hurt. Making fun of FW is OUR thing, Tom, so either do it right or stay in your goddamned lane, you big, overly-sincere lug.

It bears repeating to once again mention how, once again, TomYam deftly avoids the whole “climate change” kerfuffle by a) calling it “climate damage”, which no one else does, and b) never really taking any kind of concrete stand one way or the other. He acknowledges that it exists, but that’s it. He knows who butters his toast, and he’s not going to risk generating a tide (half a dozen) hand-written letters to the editor complaining about those damned hippie comic strips that bumped “Gasoline Alley” from the local funny page. Better to be incredibly vague, thus dodging that whole issue entirely. He’s kind of good at that, actually. In another life, I bet you that BatHam would have made quite a cunning local politician, like a state assemblyman or something, carving out an unremarkable but incredibly long-lived career by deftly straddling both sides of every issue, and that’s it.

“Assemblyman BattonTom! Channel One News. Where does your office stand with the controversial “Books For Orphans” program and the controversy swirling around it ever since the allegations were made public.?”

“It’s something I’ll need to look at. We might not have many tomorrows left, you know. I think voters should be hearing about this.”

He’d have been really good at it. And he’s real sincere and self-effacing too, in case you failed to notice. One can’t help but wonder what might have happened if BatYarn had put this unique talent of his to some kind of good use, instead of squandering it on a f*cking comic strip, of all things.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

54 responses to “I Am Serious, And Stop Calling Me Deadly

  1. William Thompson

    So this is why literary scholars started calling Hamlet “the Cheerful Dane.”

  2. Green Luthor

    “I’m deadly serious about our climate damage covers! The stories inside? What about them? Wait, do we even produce stories, I thought we only made the occasional sideways Sunday cover. Is that why that Mopey guy is here? I always wondered what I was paying him for. Anyway, keep making those covers, because that’s the really important thing.”

    I mean, really. You’re serious about the COVERS? Not, y’know, the actual STORIES, just the covers? Because there’s no way anyone would use that phrasing if the entire issue was supposed to be on the topic that’s supposedly important to them. “Stories”, “issues”, “comics”, even “books” would convey the idea that the entire comic is about “climate damage”. “Covers” implies the comic itself ISN’T, just the art on the cover.

    Tom Batiuk: masterfully undercutting his own message once again.

    • spacemanspiff85

      It kind of gives the impression that they’re variant covers that they only print 10 of and are just designed as a collectors’ gimmick.

    • billytheskink

      I’m just incredulously amazed that we live during the time in history when the sentence “I’m deadly serious about our climate damage covers!” was conceived. And I’m envious of the many many many fortunate people who are blissfully unaware of this fact.

      • none

        His and Batton’s words make zero logical sense in the world which humans inhabit and communicate in English. It’s another day where the quality of the dialogue is surpassed by AI text generation.

        Batton in particular says something which makes completely no sense in isolation nor in the context of anything else being said.

        It is indeed incredible.

    • LTPFTR

      The stories are unimportant because OF COURSE no one would ever try to turn the pages of these precious treasures–they are destined to be immediately slabbed for posterity. Even if that posterity is a luxury we can no longer afford.

  3. William Thompson

    How do “futures” and “tomorrows” differ? Where do we go to purchase them, and what’s the price range? As there’s no way to avoid their arrival, what is this supposed to mean? And who knew that Mopey Pete’s green shirt is now available in Eyesore Red?

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      If it’s already so late that we have no more futures or tomorrows, then’s the point of vaguely informing people that ‘climate damage’ exists via comic book cover? The statement undermines itself by being way too understated for the level of severity it suggests.

      • William Thompson

        “Climate damage!” screams Freddy Fanboy. “The giant rainstorms will soak my comic books! The devastating heat waves will bleach out the inks! We’re doomed, I tell you, doomed!”

  4. The Duck of Death

    How uplifting. Batton is stealing Funky’s blackpilled, nihilistic, defeatist, depressing schtick. Or is he just workshopping some killer material for Funky’s next AA meeting?

  5. Y. Knott

    Ah, but it’s not self-effacing at all!

    This strip posits that people don’t like The Author or his strip NOT because it’s a badly-written compendium of masturbatory nostalgia and wish-fulfillment that exposes The Author as a covert narcissist with no writing talent. No! This strip posits that people dislike The Author and his strip because it dares to tell The Truth! And The Truth can be harsh and uncomfortable!

    What IS The Truth? Why, that there’s no future … except that maybe comic book covers can solve that. But The Truth is also that we don’t deserve a future, unless we pay attention to comics and revere them in the proper way! The way The Author is trying to show you morons! But you don’t like him, because you are too stupid to understand his genius! Even though he was profiled in the most recent ComicCon program, and there were banners saluting him in the Tournament of Roses Parade, and everything!


    Ayers gets this. This is why Batton’s pose is especially Christ-like today.

    • erdmann

      1) All covers are necessary, Chester. The six people who buy your books every month aren’t going to pay $4.99 apiece for coverless comics… Unless you can convince them the books are ultra rare variant editions.

      2) Maybe what Batton really means is he’s not going to be able to afford food, clothing and shelter after today because he blew all his money on hog and wheat futures that didn’t pan out. Either way, his comment is a textbook example of a non sequitur.

      3) Batton, standing dead center in the strip and staring dully into the reader’s eyes as he delivers his oh-so-important message while the other characters look toward him as if they were the disciples in “The Last Supper,” has jumped over his castmates and reached a level of punchability previously only attained by Les, Dinkle, Wilbur Weston and the dad in “Dustin.” Bravo, Batton!

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Yeah, it’s like Batiuk’s responding to his criticism from 20 years ago. Though I can believe he checks his email about that frequently.

  6. [Droopy Dog voice] “Then again, maybe tomorrows and futures are luxuries that we can no longer afford. Bub.”

    Shut. The. Fuck. Up! What the blue fuck does that even mean? That we should all just give up and shrivel into the same pillbug position you assumed decades ago? And wallow smugly in our ineffectual, morally bereft laziness and ineptitude? Just…go away. And don’t come back now, y’hear?

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      What the blue fuck does that even mean?

      Nothing. It means absolutely nothing.

      Watching Tom Batiuk write is like watching bad Wheel of Fortune contestants try to guess the puzzle. He knows these words go together in some way, but has no clue what the link is. “I’d like to solve the puzzle… ‘Mark Hamill In Star Trek!'” (BZZZZT)

      • Hannibal's Lectern

        About thirty years ago I was killing time in a bar where “Wheel of Fortune” was on the TV. I noticed how the patrons always guessed the puzzle while the contestants were still buying vowels and looking clueless. That’s when I figured out the secret to the show’s longevity: when they choose contestants, they are careful to pick people who are dumber than the collective intelligence of a bar full of day-drinkers.

        Doesn’t have anything to do with Batty and Climactic Damage… or does it?

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          My favorite Wheeltrope is when someone will place 9 letters in a row, revealing almost the entire phrase, and then get the tenth letter wrong. Did they think the Song Title was “Don’t Worry, Be Heavy”? Were just they making lucky guesses all this time? Then the next player solves and wins $200. Or they Lose A Turn and the third player wins.

          “Dumber than day drinkers” doesn’t quite explain it. These are the kind of dumb people who might accidentally build a nuclear bomb if you ask them to staple something. I don’t know how the show does it.

        • Mela

          Back in college, I tried out for Wheel of Fortune when they came to town. I was smart enough to get through the written section of the audition, which consisted of a bunch of partially finished puzzles that you had to solve. But I did not make it through the contestant interview portion-I probably lacked the enthusiastic, upbeat personality they were seeking! Interesting experience though-it was definitely worth a try.

      • gleeb

        That is one dang good simile.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      Maybe it means he was re-reading his *Justice League of America” collection and had come to #98, which is called “No More Tomorrows.”

      “No More Tomorrows” is the final installment of the “Starbreaker” trilogy, which is the first three-part story in *JLA.* It may be dear to Batiuk’s heart because Julius Schwartz’s Commandments for the title stressed no two-part stories (which he relaxed as a one-off for the Felix Faust/Demons Three story in 1962 and then annually for the summer crossover with the Justice Society, beginning in 1963)…and yet here was a trilogy, and a proper one would follow in #100-02.

      I say “proper one,” because the bulk of the middle installment is the team, having had their heads handed to them by Starbreaker, the Cosmic Vampire, reviewing their origin to see if it offers any strategies. But, what the hey, it ends with the entrance of Sargon the Sorcerer, who returned to comics as a villain in *The Flash* #186.

      And, what do you know, there is a tomorrow, and as Mrs. Hamilton Kennedy Butler (nee O’Hara) noted, that’s another day. Or another time, if you prefer going up to Lexington One Two Five with the Velvet Underground.

      Finished to the Pretenders singing “Bad Boys Get Spanked.” That has to mean something!

  7. We’re all going to feel mighty foolish harping on this “climate damage” neologism when we turn our heads slightly at Sunday’s comic book panel and meet the Elementals’ newest super-villain, a continent-size space beaver who’s building a Climate Dam that’s blocking off the gulf stream or El Nino or whatever.

    Also excuse me but I’m going over to DeviantArt to file my new character, the continent-size space beaver who attacks Class M planets (copyrighted trademarked do not steal I already mailed it to myself in a certified envelope).

    • sorialpromise

      Good grief, Joseph!😜 You have gone and made me want to actually buy and read an Elementals comic. “a continent-size space beaver who’s building a Climate Dam…”
      (Per copywrite/trademark Code 404, use of said material indicates ‘fair use’ and does not imply ownership.)
      [but crap! damn! {or Climate Dam, if you prefer} Who would not want to own a continent-size space beaver!] 🦫 🦫 🦫

  8. Epicus Doomus

    Also, he used THREE single panel strips in a garbage dump arc. And all to set up tomorrow’s comic book cover (that’s hardly a spoiler), which totally sucks balls, by the way. It just doesn’t get any lazier than that.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      He seems to use them when he’s got more than four characters all talking together with minimal physical motion necessary.

      And really, would this scene improve with more pictures? Three smug Batton faces instead of one? Naw, Ayers is an old man, let him rest.

  9. Gerard Plourde

    Tomorrows and futures are luxuries?

    What does that even mean?

    • Epicus Doomus

      I THINK he’s trying to say that “climate damage” is something we need to address right now, which is like saying the same thing about drunk driving or handgun fatalities or world hunger. He’s basically taking a firm stand on the topic and saying “this exists”. And, by FW standards, this is extremely daring and edgy subject matter, and another timely issue he can pretend his strip “addressed” during his next puff-piece interview.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        And there’s no context for it. If somebody said “the U.S. is going to reduce fossil fuel emissions in five years”, and somebody replied “we don’t have an endless supply of next years”, then that would make some sense. All anybody cares about is the goddam comic book cover. The story can’t even be bothered to put Atomik Komix’ environmental activism into any kind of context, or create a story for The Subterranean. It’s just “let’s make a comic book cover!” Aaaaaaagain.

        • Mela

          I think he’s saying that all of the possessions made for own selfish luxury (gas guzzling cars, aerosol hairspray, non-recyclable plastic containers) have damaged the climate to the point where we can’t afford them anymore. But since he doesn’t mention those things specifically, it’s just an out of context blanket statement which doesn’t even fit with what the others are discussing.

          And why is he there anyway? Aren’t the actual employees trying to work (sort of)?

      • Anonymous Sparrow

        Lead a walk out, Bernie Silver!

    • gleeb

      Not a single damned thing.

  10. ComicBookHarriet

    “In another life, I bet you that BatHam would have made quite a cunning local politician, like a state assemblyman or something, carving out an unremarkable but incredibly long-lived career by deftly straddling both sides of every issue, and that’s it.”

    Has anyone ever seen Tom Batiuk and Chuck Grassley in the same room together?

    Just saying.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      A story about Martin Van Buren for SoSF!

      When Van Buren was in Congress, a vote about a tariff arose. One side of the country wanted to see it passed; another side of the country wanted to see it defeated. Van Buren had to make a speech about it, but he didn’t want to alienate his friends on either side of the fence.

      So he made a ringing but empty speech, and afterwards, two of his fellow legislators discussed it.

      First legislator: “Say. that was a pretty fine speech Van Buren made.”

      Second legislator: “Sure was.”

      First legislator: “Just one thing, though.”

      Second legislator: “What’s that?”

      First legislator: “What side of the tariff was it on?”

    • Hannibal's Lectern

      I’ve been chuckling about how some of our local political candidates have practically changed parties after winning their primaries. One Republican candidate’s put a lot of yard signs up in the cornfields west of me. In the primary campaign, she posed with a stern expression against a red background, and her slogan was about “freedom.” After winning the primary, all the signs were replaced with new ones–blue background, big girl-next-door smile, and a slogan about being a “fresh new voice.” Almost as if she’s now trying to run as a Democrat.

      I wonder if she’s related to Batty…

  11. billytheskink

    Looks like TB recently discovered the “lampshading” page at TVTropes but didn’t actually read it.

  12. J.J. O'Malley

    “Maybe tomorrows and futures are luxuries that we can no longer afford”? Dude, read the room! Three of you are Medicare recipients whose salad days were during the Eisenhower Administration, and the whippersnapper on the far left isn’t that far behind!

    Also, and maybe this has been brought up before, but the phrase “climate damage” implies that there’s one perfect climate–i.e., the one for human beings–and anything else just won’t do. The Earth has had a variety of climates over the past couple of billions of years, and all manner of organic life–from trilobites to giant insects to dinosaurs to wooly mammoths–have thrived and then died as it’s shifted. “Climate change” makes sense it that we’re altering conditions as we’ve know them, but the only “damage” we’re doing is to ourselves. Add “earth science” to the checklist of subjects Batiuk knows nothing about.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go turn my monitor on its side so I can be ready to witness Sunday’s plea to the Pulitzer Committee.

  13. Paul Jones

    On the one hand, we get a buzz word that proves Carlin’s point about how self-interested and self-absorbed some environmentalists are and on the other, a reminder that Batiuk’s slobbering envy of Big Serious People means that instead of doing people a disservice by making them laugh like he thought he was doing, he’s doing them a disservice by not cheering them up.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Saddest of all, Funky Winkerbean satirized this kind of thing in its early days. Characters like Roland were often the butt of the joke with all the causes they joined, how little they understood them, and how hypocritical their own values were.

  14. Anonymous Sparrow

    I think Herman Melville may have predicted Tom Batiuk’s positions in *The Confidence-Man,* based on this conversation between the title character and a Missourian named Pitch:

    “Slaves?” morose again in a twinkling, “won’t have ’em! Bad enough to see whites ducking and grinning round for a favor, without having those poor devils of niggers congeeing round for their corn. Though, to me, the niggers are the freer of the two. You are an abolitionist, ain’t you?” he added, squaring himself with both hands on his rifle, used for a staff, and gazing in the herb-doctor’s face with no more reverence than if it were a target. “You are an abolitionist, ain’t you?”

    “As to that, I cannot so readily answer. If by abolitionist you mean a zealot, I am none; but if you mean a man, who, being a man, feels for all men, slaves included, and by any lawful act, opposed to nobody’s interest, and therefore, rousing nobody’s enmity, would willingly abolish suffering (supposing it, in its degree, to exist) from among mankind, irrespective of color, then am I what you say.”

    “Picked and prudent sentiments. You are the moderate man, the invaluable understrapper of the wicked man. You, the moderate man, may be used for wrong, but are useless for right.”

  15. Bad wolf

    I tell you what, everyone. I’ll put a memo somewhere about this week and in 6 months I’ll throw up a reminder that this is what TB burned a week on and we can judge just how timely and relevant this was.

    After the last couple of years it’s pretty incredible to me people are still bringing it up but I have a feeling the Dark Winter ahead will push The Climate way, way down on the priority list.

  16. Perfect Tommy

    Does anyone ever update the Batiuktionary? Because if “Climate Damage” isn’t eligible for that hallowed compendium, I don’t know what is.

  17. Andrew

    I will say that I have seen some discourse that “climate change” isn’t seen as an ideal name for what’s happening anymore, mainly from wanting a term that encapsulates the urgency of the escalating fluctuations (I hear “climate crisis” a lot from my peers), and also some trying to pull out of the old phrase’s association with the counterarguments of how climate changes naturally and what’s happening has nothing to do with human activity.

    That said, “climate damage” is not something I hear much, and definitely sounds like some obscure slang from a corner of northeast Ohio nobody’s heard from (maybe the same place where Bautik got the “vendos” nickname)

  18. robertodobbs

    “Tomorrow and futures are luxuries that we can no longer afford.” For some reason I have this mental image of a Bill Griffith Sunday strip with a confused-looking Zippy repeating this line in every panel.

  19. Jimmy

    My favorite part about reading comics was to get a lecture. Every time I skimmed a new Casper, Iwas comforted to know he was talking about how he would still be alive if it weren’t for acid rain, lead paint or some proxy war in Central America.

  20. Rusty Shackleford

    What the heck is with Crankshaft today? Certainly Batty and Ayers know that Ohio State isn’t in the same football conference as Kent State? I think they meant Ohio U.