We’ve teased you with her face at the top of the page for a full week now… but she’s finally here folks! Please welcome Ruby Lith to the climage damate/pandemic/supply chain issues story arc (now with comic book misogyny or something) in today’s strip.
Is Ruby just annoyed that all of the damate climage comic books Atomik Komix is putting out don’t feature female characters or are too muscle-bound action man violence explosions so many explosions-oriented (did she forget about The Oceanaire?.. well, she doesn’t appear to be the only one) or does she believe that these issue du jour comic books would somehow be more effective in changing the hearts and minds of the world citizenry if they weren’t so… ugh, “testosterony”? And why is she addressing Batton like he works at Atomik Komix? Unless… oh no. Surely it won’t come to that, will it?
74 responses to “Testosterony’s really neat! Hooray! For testosterony!”
Again he uses “dealing with” instead of the much more apropos “about”, and once again it turns the dialog into a big fat clunky mess. Why does he keep doing this? It’s starting to become violently annoying now, even more so than “climate damage” already was.
And if the seldom-heard-from Ruby felt the climate damage comics were too testosterone-laden, why didn’t she say anything until now? What, exactly, does she DO there? Why does she look like a bag lady now? Why is every newer FW character over ninety years old? I mean, it’s a comic book company, yet the average age of the staff has to be somewhere around seventy-eight.
So I did the calculations right now. Assuming that Flash, Phil and Ruby are all 98 years old, and assuming that Pete, Boy Lisa and Mindy are all 45, the average age comes out to 71.5, which is still pretty freaking high for a comic book company. No wonder they’re having trouble with getting young AK readers to deal with the topic of climate damage they’re dealing with.
On the other hand, Flash, Phil and Ruby learned a lot about climate damage when they survived the end of the last Ice Age. What they wouldn’t do for a side order of wooly-mammoth ribs!
“We advised the fellas to turn off the Philco when they aren’t watching their programs, you think that maybe we should advise the ladies to go a little easier on the Aqua-Net? HOW DO WE REACH THESE KIDS TODAY???”
Minor point, not that it does anything except raise that average age: Boy Lisa and Mopey have to be at least 50. They were the same year in high school, and Boy Lisa canonically MUST have been born when Dead Saint Lisa was in high school herself (it’s, like, a major part of the history). And since she graduated with Les, Funky, et. al., and they just had their 50th reunion… well, there’s no way you can mathematically make Boy Lisa any less than 50.
Well, unless you factor in them being in high school in 1980 despite having graduated eight years prior. Then all bets are off. (I also have no idea how old Mindy is supposed to be, and Batiuk ignoring the time difference between Funky and Crankshaft doesn’t help matters…)
HO. LEE. SHIT.
Batiuk’s biggest mistake was putting year dates on anything.
Batiuk’s biggest mistake was bragging that his characters age realistically, unlike all those inferior comic strips. Nobody would care if he wanted to have a 50-year high school anniversary when it’s actually the strip’s 50-year anniversary, except that he makes such a damned stink about it. Or if he just followed his own rules.
Ruby has aged horribly since the last time we saw her, which, admittedly, was a very long time ago. Perhaps her chief beef is that she’s not getting the anti-aging serum that the rest of the Atomik Komix gang is receiving. She deserves that sweet pineal gland juice as much as all the boys!
Then again, Phlush Phoppyphace doesn’t even look skeletal anymore. No human skull has ever looked like that. At least I hope not.
If anything, he looks like an Ebonite from the original Outer Limits episode “Nightmare.” https://static.wikia.nocookie.net/theouterlimits/images/f/f5/Nightmare_Ebonite.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20161008071232
Trying again–it looks like I copied the wrong link.
I hated to see the image not get posted. Hope you don’t mind.
Thank you! I was hoping someone could take care of that.
You almost had it. To post an image the link has to end in a graphics file type, like “JPG”
If you had removed the “/revision/latest?cb=20161008071232” string from the end of the link in your original post, it would have worked.
And thank you for the instructions on how to post an image.
Maybe no human skull, but what about Saelt-Marae, aka “Yak Face,” from “Return of the Jedi”?
Yeah, it’s not as bad as yesterday, as Batton’s head has gotten taller in the last day, but I’m not sure how you could look at these three people and think they’re all from the same species. Flash’s head is like twice as tall as Batton’s while not being any wider.
The “climate damage” hot-button was really about Covid, but really about how people who aren’t me don’t care about the environment enough, but really about sexism!!!!
Wednesday is Prince Spaghetti Day!
Wow….this is a minor key change away from being deeply unsettling.
Green tea through my nose. Thanks Banana!! 🤣🤣🤣
Those are potent words, coming from someone with a cockade on her hat.
“Wait, did I say testosterony? Slip of the tongue. I meant utterly, appallingly, bowles-clenchingly stupid. Make them less utterly, appallingly, bowles-clenchingly stupid.”
Huh? Too testosterony?
Somebody needs to get Ruby/Batiuk a new scorecard. By my count, the Elementals Force are two guys (Dr. Atmos and the Subterranean) and two gals (the Oceanaire and Scorch).
How testosterony can Dr. Atmos be anyway? Isn’t Dr. Atmos just a bag of gas? Can a bag of gas identify as male?
Tom Batiuk, opening up a whole new can of worms in the world of gender politics.
Way to go, Tom. I’m proud of ya.
I have to confess, after some disagreeable meals, I have insultingly called Mr. bwoeh, “a big bag of gas”.
Synapse misfire. I meant gender identity, not gender politics. With all the recent election news my wires must’ve gotten crossed.
Tom Batiuk, opening up a whole new can of worms in the world of gender politics.
Very true about Dr. Atmos. Unless he has like…chemistry powers and can change his composition to be 100% pure gaseous testosterone…
Which would mean he is also incredibly hot, as testosterone has a boiling point of over 430 Celsius.
Elementals Force pranks:
Imagine if the Subterranean rubbed Dr. Atmos on the carpet and stuck him on a wall.
Or on one of the gals:
The Oceanaire: Get off me, you creep!
Dr. Atmos: I can’t help it! Static electricity!
The Oceanaire: (on phone) Hello, human resources? I want to report a case of sexual harassment. Dr. Atmos is rubbing up against me!
How does Dr. Atmos achieve locomotion anyway?
– Float around like a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon? Does he rely on the wind? A strong push?
– Does he wish really hard? The power of positive thinking?
– Maneuvering thrusters on the containment suit?
– Does he move his energy into the body part he wants to move?
For example, walking. Move into the left foot to move the left foot. Move into the right foot to move the right foot.
– Is the suit a mechanical exoskeleton controlled by his mind? Not a gaseous bag.
It would be nice if Batiuk gave some info on these characters other than pretty covers. What are their powers? What are their origins? In the 1970s, one of my brothers had a series of books on the origins of Marvel heroes and villains. Even though I wasn’t into comic books, those books were fun to read. Sure would be a lot more interesting than this “climate damage” mishmash.
The Elementals Force comes across as a make-believe dream-come-true project for Batiuk. Why is it so incomplete? How could he believe he could write for Marvel when he can’t even flesh out the details of his own creations? He creates an opportunity to show what he can do, and he’s asleep at the wheel.
Are there any real comic book characters (i.e., DC or Marvel, hero or villain) who can only exist in a containment suit? How do they move? What powers do they have? I find it hard to believe Batiuk came up with something nobody ever thought of before.
How could he believe he could write for Marvel when he can’t even flesh out the details of his own creations?
Look at his idea of fleshing out the details of his comic book company. He’ll do that, you’ll notice. But even that gets too boring, and the story just stops after it barely began. It starts at the closing of Batom Comics in 1972, flashes back to its beginnings in 1954, and makes it to fall 1955 before it just stops. And hasn’t been updated in six years. All it did was introduce the characters. It’s his “exposition is the only thing you need” writing style taken to its logical end.
I don’t think the guy’s even trying for Marvel anymore. I think he’s just invented the fantasy world he wants to live in, and is content to stay there. He’s Mr. Silver Age and hangs out at the comics company and Stan Lee hangs out with him and asks his opinion about how to make comic books, and none of the usual business or workplace pressures exist.
It reminds me of the Twilight Zone episode “The 16-Millimeter Shrine.” He’s obsessed with consuming the media of his past, and trying to relive something he can’t have now. One day he just disappears into the comic book. And nobody’s even sad, because he got the only thing he really wanted in life.
Twilight Zone episode “The 16-Millimeter Shrine.”
Ida Lupino, whether acting or directing, rocks.
As with anything he does, Batiuk lives in his own fantasy world.
Batiuk: Stan Lee is my best friend. We hang out all time.
Person: Um, Tom, Stan Lee has been dead for about four years now.
Batiuk: I know.
The most prominent example of a “containment suit” character I can think of would be Wildfire from DC’s Legion of Super-Heroes. His body was turned to anti-matter energy, so he has to stay in a containment suit so he doesn’t disperse. His powers include flight and firing energy blasts primarily. (In his first appearance, he demonstrated a whole range of powers, but most of them were never used after that.)
As to how he moves… well, he kinda just does. The suit just moves however he wants it to; I’m sure someone offered some kind of explanation at some point, but I’m also sure it wasn’t even remotely scientifically plausible.
(Legion of Super-Heroes was also one of the books that a then-13-year-old Jim Shooter was hired to write, which is relevant here because that’s the backstory that Batiuk “borrowed” for Mitchell Knox. That was before Wildfire was introduced, though.)
My how the memory fades. Both of my brothers read comic books, and I used to read some of them when they were done with them. DC’s Legion of Super-Heroes was probably my favorite. We’re talking mid 1970s.
Mon El! Call me.🤙😘
Wildfire, the guy from the 30th century with an attitude. He used to hook up with that Native American woman with the angel wings.
We have seen Doctor Atmos firing an energy blast from his hands on one of the covers, haven’t we? Very Wildfire like.
I wonder if Mitchell had the winning bid for that autographed John Darling portrait?
And what does Ruby mean by “you guys” here? Batton Thomas doesn’t have anything to do with Atomik Komix, he’s merely an annoying, dull, sweaty interloper. And credit where it’s due…for Flash to still be oozing testosterone and machismo at his age is quite a feat.
Thank you for pointing that out, Epicus Doomus. It’s one thing to give praise and honors to non-participants (as often happens on construction projects) but blame to someone who just happens to be using your treadmill is another thing entirely!
What does Ruby mean telling these two to be less testosterony? There isn’t enough testosterone between the three of them to put a beard on a baby.
I’m sure with the way we’ve seen how things operate in this dumb business, Batton has more of a say in their direction than Ruby does.
I know that it’s just paranoia and ego centrism stemming from our own unique perspective being in a pseudo parasocial relationship with someone we constantly disrespect….
But this feels like it was written specifically to piss us off.
Wait, Batty was able to set a goal for his writing and then achieve it? I’m impressed!
No, no. The characters are just not ugly enough! Now I’ll admit, Ayers tried his best with Flash (The pencil neck and jowl flaps are truly repulsive) but the rest of the characters are practically glowing by comparison. A huge missed opportunity to go more extreme-closeup on Ruby, so we can count the pores on her nose.
Glad Batty’s keepin up the fight against climate damage, though. I think we can all agree, the worst thing about ecological collapse is having to wait longer to read our favorite comic books.
“Not ugly enough” is exactly right. These characters are depicted as ugly, without it being big enough to achieve a storytelling effect. But they’re not realistic, either. Even realistic, old, ugly people still try to have basic hygiene, especially when they’re in a workplace environment. Unless they’re Pig-Pen, and being a dirty slob is central to their whole character. But nothing about Ruby’s history suggests that.
ED said it best: Ruby looks like a bag lady. She looks like the old vagrants who live behind the convenience store and bug me for change. It’s the stringy hair and the old-lady moustache that cross the line. Does she not own a brush?
The characters in Funky Winkerbean live in some kind of uncanny valley between “unrealistic” and “unattractive.”
Unused Panel Four: “Lady, I don’t even work here! I just come by for the treadmill because I’ve too stingy to spring for a Gold’s Gym membership!”
Also, thank goodness Flash Freeman owns button-down shirts. There’s no way that Sinestro-sized cranium of his would fit through a pullover.
Uggggghhhhh……..another reminder that Batiuk is too stupid to realize that his inability to see women as real people is a problem. He’s internalized the old-timey comic book idea that a woman is either a mindless hindrance or a treacherous bitch and doesn’t see how it hampers him in the real world.
Well by the way he writes this strip it’s clear he doesn’t see men as people either. Who talks like this?
keywords: Gene Simmons, Rolanda, The Last Word
In the 1977 the Marvel special edition of a KISS comic was inked with blood from the band members. Looks like the Atomik Komix Krew wants to reverse engineer that idea. May take a while to extract the testosterony, especially since two of the characters (sorry, I cannot say “superheroes” for this group) are women, but they’ve got time since the climate-covid damage has all but stopped distribution.
This aspiring Andy Rooney did not think too highly of the KISS stunt:
Ruby’s primary purpose is to show off what a sensitive new age guy (snag) TB is. We never see her as the protagonist of an arc that’s not about gender issues and even then she always ends up in the background.
So, by the logic of Funkyworld and Batiuk’s moral compass, why not bring in Rolanda to advise the bullpen about testosterone? Give Ruby a break from being Batiuk’s symbol of his snagginess and let a new token enjoy the limelight for a strip or two until the old men take over again.
A story “dealing with” testosterony just has to be Pulitzy worthy.
Upvoted for the nod to Christine Lavin, who sings of “Sensitive New Age Guys,” and can be wistful and whimsical and hysterical and heartfelt in her songs.
Lavin has a song called “Realities,” about a difficult relationship, which reminded me of some comic-book stories I’d been reading around that time. I wrote to her to learn whether she’d had them in mind, and she wrote back, saying that she hadn’t read comic-books since she was much younger, when she’d read *Millie the Model.* (In her memoir, *Cold Pizza for Breakfast,* she wrote that she’d hoped to become a contributor at *MAD* magazine, but it didn’t happen. Frank Jacobs must have raised a fuss.)
I sent her two of the comic-books in question — *Miracleman* No. 18 and *X-Men* #233 — but she sent back no comments on them.
Part of her stage act in the early 1990s was twirling batons; she attached glowing green tips to them and then flung them at the crowd, quipping that if you ever ran into Superman in a dark alley, you could probably give him a fright, because he’d think they were Kryptonite.
She usually got a laugh with it, but at the time of the *Death of Superman* arc in the early 1990s, the audience was utterly silent, as if she’d said something blasphemous. She quickly rallied and asked:
“You don’t think they’re not going to bring him back, do you?”
Kimota to all.
I heard her perform at the Vancouver Folk Festival many years ago, and ran into her at the record booth (LPs and cassettes) afterwards, where she told me ‘oh, don’t buy that record (of hers), buy this one it’s much better.’
Can’t remember which LP it was, at this point.
Heard so many excellent musicians there.
I once acted as a guide to Lavin’s recordings for two ladies at the much-lamented Bottom Line on West 4th Street. When I noted that the *Another Woman’s Man* collection was mostly serious material, and they said: “Oh, no, we want the funny songs!”
She’s also a great champion of other singer/songwriters, and has compiled many excellent samplers, such as *On a Winter’s Night,* *Big Times in a Small Town,* *Follow that Road* and *One Meat Ball.*
Cheryl Wheeler has written a song about her called “Christine Lavin Could Do It.” Believe it, all you Testosteronies and Estrogenettes!
(Wasn’t that one of the tramps in *Waiting for Godot*? No, that was Estragon.)
Thank you, A. Sparrow! I did not even know the term was from a song. Really fun song, at that. (“Who thinks Rambo is upsetting?”!)
Twirling batons? What a hoot! I sure wouldn’t have predicted that from what I found on YouTube. Too bad about the sensitive new age audience later on!
I never had the courage to write my favorite artists. I admire that you did.
Way back in the first days of the Internet, my best friend created a blog devoted to the works of author Jim Harrison. It led to half a dozen phone calls from Harrison who was happy to talk to a serious fan.
The word is “masculine,” for Chrissakes. Tom Batiuk is really trying to make a joke out of a bunch of adult professionals not knowing a word a fourth-grader should know. And are using incorrectly anyway.
Tom’s a very jokey guy. Anyway, isn’t it typical of the womenfolk to turn nouns into cutesy adjectives? They’re so languagey.
I have several times written in this space about my credentials as a) a tree-hugging gen-x tree-hugger and b) a female person who’s been an actual comics reader since I was an insufferable teen in the late 80s (I wouldn’t bet a dime that TomBa has actually read a comic published after 1970). So lemme tell ya, I feel Qualified to weigh in on this one: the problem with AK’s comix isn’t that they’re “testosterony,” it’s that they’re preachy. Nobody likes preachy; we are all very much aware of the current shifts in the world climate; and a dumb unironic retro-Silver Age superhero comic is actively useless. Grrrr these AK “plots” make me so mad why I oughta back in my day.
Too … testosterone-y? Are the Elemental Force comic books all about people punching global warming?
… Have we *tried* punching global warming? I mean, it’s probably not going to work, but seems like it’s worth a shot?
I mean…the Subterranean cover seemed to imply he wanted to violently solve something.
Superboy-Prime punched through reality and caused *Infinite Crisis,* so you could have something there, Mr. Nebus.
It also resurrected Jason Todd.
Which really was probably the longest lasting and most impactful thing to come out of Infinite Crisis. Now even alternate universe media put in Red Hood and seem to forget the kid was dead for 18 years of real world time and was supposed to stay dead.
Thank you for informing me of this.
I thought Jason Todd’s return was something like the resurrection of Cypher over at Marvel, where a disliked character somehow found creators who wanted to work with him, not that it could be laid at the hand (or fist) of someone in-universe.
I should look into how Doug Ramsey returned to the land of the living, but as the explanation his parents received of his death was that he “died in a hunting accident” has never made sense to me (what do they hunt in Westchester?), perhaps I’d better not.
Just go for the willing suspension of disbelief.
What a great triple bill Suspension of Disbelief would make with Seduction of the Innocent and the Rock Bottom Remainders!
Tomorrow: Cayla and her lov — uh, coworker Princ’pal Nate storm in to ask why there’s no representation for POC in this high-testosterone, Covid-affected, Dimate Klamaged environment!
Tune in Saturday, when Rolanda demands to know why trans folx have been overlooked! After all, isn’t this really all about LGBTQQIA+ rights?
Sunday: The gang switches gears to tackle Islamophobia after being called to action by Adeela, Rana, and Khan’s ghost!
Yeah, nothing says TESTOSTERONE! like whining about “climate damage”.
So… did they stop publishing Wayback Wendy? That property seems like a much better fit for a preachy environmental story, especially now that Ruby wants it to be less masculine as well.
Right, she could have Wendy go back in time to the beginning of the industrial revolution when factories were all spewing black coal smoke into the air or something, or she could convince Henry Ford to produce electric cars.
A couple of days ago, there was discussion of companies in the Ukraine functioning and shipping.
🌺That Wife of mine!!!🌹
I found a note on our front door, saying immediately come to the Post Office.
I have to sign for this package my wife ordered. I have to be photographed. I have to be fingerprinted. A visit from the FBI may be necessary. I asked my wife and she had no memory of ordering a package and did not recognize the name.
Check out the address of the sender:
It’s too late, but I will remove my fingerprints from the package.
I am going off the grid. I have my son’s Kearney voting card as my new ID. If anyone from the government asks, my name is now: JAY-CsV, and you have never met me. You do not know me.
💥And yes, the package has residue of gun powder.✨
That wife of mine!!!
And bwoeh, if you doubt any portion of this tale, remember everything on FW has to be 100% true or my name isn’t Honest Jay-CsV.
I’m sorry, sir, you must be confusing me with somebody else. That name doesn’t ring a bell. I have no recollection of ever having met you.
I am in incognito mode as we speak!
A gentler, ‘feminine’ perspective it what is needed to solve a contentious issue?
HOW ORIGINAL PROGRESSIVE AND MODERN!!!!!!!!
“We were abducted by the Romans and forced to bear children for them, but that’s all in the past! Why don’t you boys stop fighting, unite and conquer the Mediterranean area, while we girls stay home and sew some nice togas to cover your naughty bits?” (From “Acta Puellae Romanorum,” by Lessus Moorivm.)
This looks like a job for Biggus Dickus, Naughtius Maximus, Incontinentia Buttocks and, of course, that naughty boy Brian!
Or else the Judean People’s Front.
Or the People’s Front of Judea…
What about the blessed cheesemakers?
Phil and Phloppy whined at work
Bitchy and a-moany
Ruby in her Commie cap said,
Ruby, shut your pie hole up
All your thoughts are bland-y
Blather with no follow-up’s your
You think Ruby could practice a little hair care or something?
No, that humblebrag style is her way of letting you know she’s much too busy creating meaningful comic books to brush out her hair. She probably sleeps in those clothes, too.