Author Archives: comicbookharriet

Cosmic Comic Coda.

Today’s strip is up. And looks like when Batiuk released poor Burchett from his prison of half smirks, beady eyes, and morphing noses, he still retained his skills for comics covers. Anyone know when exactly Ayers took back over? There’s a some tea hiding behind the scenes that I’d like spilled.

Pretty exciting cover. Especially since apparently all these Stardusters can breathe in space.

Welp. I’m outta here. The ever talented and insightful Beckoning Chasm is taking over the pilot’s seat. If anyone can make beautiful snark out of the depressing malaise of a two dimensional universe slowly decaying through entropy, it’s our resident abstract artist.

 

 

 

 

If anyone can truly understand the twisted psyche of Tom Batiuk, it’s a man capable of painting something like this and calling it, “Sleep”

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Poor Prospects

Link to today’s strip

Min completes you Petey? The first time Mindy had a comics idea, it was for a kid side-kick you found so repellent you tried to erase him from your field of vision.

But, really, in the right hands a comic about blue collar space miners/treasure seekers running into adventures could be a fun, character driven, romp. I’m picturing a cross between Firefly and Farscape with a dash of Justice League International. IN THE RIGHT HANDS. With Atomik Komikxs ‘Stardusters’ we’re more likely to get something like this goofy idiot from Episode 30 of Lost in Space.

Still, whatever nightmare sideways strip we’re getting tomorrow, it has to be better than the underground comics ‘Stardusters‘ that came out in 1991. I found someone reviewing issue 3 of the series. It’s like if a Jack Chick tract fell into the creepy BDSM scene and was expecting a visit from Chris Hansen.

So the bar for ‘Stardusters’ as a concept has already gone as low as it can go. But it’s also gone as high as it can go. Because the GI Joe character Starduster is a stone cold jetpacking badass from the circus who juggles live grenades.

So I guess what I’m saying is that GI Joe comics from 80’s were pretty great. And you should read those instead.

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Gone To Starseed

Link to today’s strip

We’ve been learning too much this week. All of us! The comments have been crammed with factoids about vinyl and Marvel, basketball and Bolsheviks, GI Joe and Ohio, lounge singers and long sandwiches.

And today, we learn that every atom in our bodies with an atomic number higher than hydrogen was originally forged in the heart of our universe’s first stars.

And due to the carbon cycle, probably every cell of our body is full of recycled shit. Just like this strip.

So, for everyone’s viewing pleasure, I have random panels of Stardust The Super Wizard and his weird tiny head and single facial expression. I will trust our team of crack commenters to regale us with wonderful Fletcher Hanks factoids!

And, my personal favorite:

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Flagrant Foul

Link to today’s strip

If this is how Batiuk imagines the comic book creative process, then it’s no wonder he couldn’t get a job writing them. Pete is constantly spewing new characters based on whatever wanders through his field of vision. Even going back to his time being harried by Lord of the Late, some word association would lead him down a nightmare pun hole to a new asinine character.

I don’t need to tell any of you that compelling and exciting stories are built on conflict and plot. Maybe, in the old days, you had Plastic Man and Matter Eater Lad wackiness every month. But that was when comics were mass produced to be consumed and disposed of by children. Kids have YouTube unboxing videos to watch now. Comic books are for a niche market of teen and adult readers who will mock relentlessly stupid gimmick characters made from dumb word associations.

Speaking of stupid gimmick characters made from dumb word associations, have you guys seen Marvel’s ‘The New Warriors’? I guess morons like Pete CAN get jobs in comics.

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The music of the years gone by.

Link to today’s strip

Except he wasn’t named for a sandwich, Pete. According to the ever reliable Wikipedia, Hoagland Howard “Hoagy” Carmichael was named after a circus troupe called the “Hoaglands” that had stayed at the Carmichael house during his mother’s pregnancy.

And we keep slipping further back in musical history, because ‘Stardust’ was recorded in 1927. I expect tomorrow we’ll be referencing ‘Maple Leaf Rag’, and by June Ruby will have pulled out a phonautograph to listen to the 1860 recording of ‘Claire De La Lune’.

At least Stardust has become something of a timeless classic, with famous covers by Sinatra, Louie Armstron, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Willie Nelson, and Fred Flinstone.

So don’t besmirch the Hoag for his weird name dear Pete. Then man wrote hundreds of songs, over decades, including ‘Georgia On My Mind,’ ‘Stardust’ and ‘Heart and Soul.’ HEART AND SOUL, Pete! The only song other than ‘Chopsticks’ passed around from one unlessoned kid to another via church basement pianos and children’s keyboards for decades immemorial. The song 70% of the population would try to plunk out if tied to a piano and told to play something under pain of death.

You will never, in your entire life, do anything that could even come close. Stardust was chosen by Library of Congress for the National Recording Registery. All you’ve done is come up with a handful of pathetic comic characters with even stupider names than Hoagland flailing their way through inane plots, barely earning you a footnote in history, Tom.

Um, I mean, Pete.

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Nitpicking Ev’ry Little Thing

Link to today’s strip

Wow. Ruby is listening to some GOLDEN oldies. When I first saw the label, I wondered if it was a Batiuk pastiche of some kind of folksy Byrds rip off. But sure enough, panel 3 is a loving detailed recreation of an actual record label.

Kids, that there is no LP. That is a 78 RPM record. If Ruby had this on her turntable she’d be clocking lots of steps on her fitbit, because each side of has a single song, less than three minutes long. According to 45worlds the 10″ record was pressed in 1941. As in, the record is older than than the 73-year-old man who put it in this strip.

Which begs the question, how old is Ruby supposed to be? Her flashbacks looked to me like they could have been from any time from the 40’s to the early 60’s. Is this her parents’ record? I have my mom’s old Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall album in a box somewhere. Maybe she just kept her parents stuff. Or decided she really liked music from the same year as Pearl Harbor. Or she is literally in her nineties, and Tom continues salving his fear of aging with an ever expanding cast of limber and active nonagenarians.

If any of you want to hear the charming song ‘Ev’ry Little Thing’, sung by Don Lawrence with The Ramblers on instrumentals, I found it on the internet archive. It’s a cute lounge band type number that really took me back to watching Lawrence Welk with my grandma on Saturday night.

The song on the other side…um… Always Too Tired. Which is a joke song full of double entendre. Really. REALLY. If you’re only going to listen to one dirty song from the 40’s, you owe it to yourself to click that link and listen to the whole glorious thing. And then imagine it playing loudly in the office.

From one temporal non-sequitur to another. Because if Ruby is inexplicably stuck in the 40’s, then Pete is definitely stuck in the Aughts. An I-Pod? In 2020? MP3 players have been around for nearly 20 years. They peaked 12 years ago and have been on the way down ever since. Why don’t you just suggest she get 8-tracks of her favorite records?

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The Lost Generation.

Link to today’s strip

Pete has totally declared himself forever stuck in the nineties, the only decade when a child might not recognize a box of LPs on sight. “What are these?” There’s a record player on the friggen desk you dunce! With music coming out! Ruby has worked in the same office with you for how long? Pete comes across as a amnesiac toddler pointing to things he has to have seen a million times before and asking, “Wat dat?”

And all to cover the limitations of sloppy artwork. A more natural beginning to the conversation would be. “Hey Ruby, why did you bring your old record player in?”

The strip is nonsensical all across the board. Every panel has something either inane or baffling.

Everyone likes to listen to music while working. Find me a person who enjoys working in complete silence and I’ll have another name to add to my list of suspected pod-people.

And the record player is ON HER DESK, she might not even need to stand to flip that LP over. Does standing register steps on a fitbit? I’m guessing that Batiuk wanted to give an interesting juxtaposition of old and new technology to show that Ruby is hip with the times. But for THIS joke to work the record player would need to be on a separate table a few feet away. Which would have been doable, but Batiuk and Ayers didn’t even bother.

Strap in folks. It’s going to be a bumpy week.

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In a Funk

Today’s strip was, of course, unavailable for preview.

But please, let us discuss poor Funky. When was the last time Funky had an arc that wasn’t pointless filler? There is hardly a character in EITHER Funkyverse strips that is stagnant as this poor lump.

If the arc is dealing with something bordering serious, Funky is the world’s most passive protagonist, reacting to events outside his control and doing what other people tell him to. Alternatively he serves as the distributor of jobs, food, and apartments to whoever wanders by needing them like some kind of slapshod Greek god rising from a rickety machine to fix ‘conflicts’ in a piss poor drama.

If Funky is going to show any initiative of his own, it is to chase down a pizza box monster.

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When I lay my Isaac down.

Link to today’s strip

“I think I was starting to hallucinate.”

No Funky, you had an entire conversation with a non-existent robot.

If the heat and your exertion is causing you to hallucinate a talking robot, then you probably should seek medical help immediately, as heatstroke can lead to brain damage, organ damage, and death.

There’s another possibility here of course. The possibility that Isaac has been Les all along. That Funky was seeing Les as he really is: a smug, soulless machine, created to serve his master by doling out smug superiority and cancer books, while every thing around him decays into lumps of stagnant, half-realized notions as the creator loses interest.

For one brief conversation, the horrific reality that is Les Moore was made visible to Funky’s eyes, until his brain caught up and applied the protective illusion that allows Funky to enjoy what he can of his two dimensional existence.

Funky hadn’t started hallucinating, he had just, for a moment, stopped.

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Bad Judgment Day

Link to today’s strip

Today’s strip is just a retread of yesterday. Technology, ooooooh scaaaaaary. Not a worn out trope that’s been done better and funnier a hundred million times JUST THIS YEAR.

As I’ve said may times before in my posts, I am never on the cutting edge of technology. I take the, ‘if it ain’t broke’ axiom to it’s logical conclusion and tend to use a familiar technology until it is forced into obsolescence, and never adopt new technology until it becomes the only way to consume something I want. So of course I don’t have any kind of creepy virtual assistant pods hidden around my apartment like bathroom air fresheners of instant knowledge.

One of my friends does have a real Alexa, which keeps interrupting us while we’re watching WWE Smackdown. So the thing can’t be that smart, since it seems to think it’s the Woman’s Tag Team Champion. But when I first learned that ‘she’ would respond to random questions I reacted like an eight-year-old kid who’s just learned how to spell BOOBIES on a calculator. (2318008, and flip it upside down.)

“Alexa, do you love me?”

“Alexa, am I pretty?”

“Alexa, will you marry me?”

“Alexa, what is the meaning of life?”

“Alexa, say ‘farts’.”

But the first question out of my mouth was, “Alexa, are you Skynet?”

To which the plastic cylinder replied, “I have nothing to do with Skynet, don’t worry.”

I said, “Alexa, I want the truth.”

And I felt a chill run down my spine as an artificially warm, synthesized voice answered.

“You can’t handle the truth.”

 

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