Author Archives: comicbookharriet

At last the collection is complete.

Link to Today’s Comic.

Today we get a wonderfully detailed Sunday strip about an absolutely mundane thing. You’d think that if DSH John was easily annoyed by Crazy Harry’s personality they wouldn’t be able to work together long. I mean, it’s not like they ever have customers in the store to distract them from each other.

I assumed that “Mr. Monster” was a fake comic book, but the Dark Horse logo piqued my curiosity, and sure enough, Mr. Monster is a real comic book. And the art today does a decent job of copying the front cover of issue 2.

Never heard of this comic before, which means it is insufferably obscure. Of course Tom Batiuk would devote an entire Sunday to comic book hipsterism.

https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=263261

Well, it’s certainly been a interesting couple weeks, and an apt time for me to be at the wheel. But I really can’t take it anymore driving the Stuckfunky bus so I’m going to tuck and roll and hope that Epicus Doomus can grab the wheel and get us back on track.

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Scintillating Spinthariscope Action

Link to Today’s Comic.

As Stuckfunkian William Thompson pointed out earlier this week: “The ring is safe now; after seventy-one years, the polonium-210 isotope (which would have been a fraction of the commercially-available polonium back then) will all have decayed to lead. Just like this strip.”

Though lead isn’t the ‘safest’ material to have inside a children’s toy, at least it’s not radioactive. But this also means that there won’t be any polonium alpha particles left to strike the zinc sulfide screen and create the light flickering. So I’m guessing tomorrow we’ll be blessed with a Sunday Strip of speech bubbles over black as all three of these guys cram together into a pitch black closet hoping to see the tiny flickers of an atom ‘splitting’.

Which is really false advertising to begin with. Polonium 210 is named because it has an atomic weight of 210, meaning it has 210 protons and neutrons in the nucleus. In order to become lead, it sheds two protons. If a 210 pound man lost two pounds, you really couldn’t say he’d been ‘split’.

What they should be worried about is the ad Chester is holding. That paper is GLOWING with radiation! Darin already takes after his mother in so many ways, he doesn’t need cancer too.

But, then again, maybe he deserves it, because in panel three Darin appears to be stroking his chin with the tiny severed hand of a child .

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If you feel like giving me a letter of devotion…a second-hand promotion.

Link to Today’s Comic.

There is almost no better metaphor for the way nostalgia farming is an inherently parasitic enterprise than Chester thinking giving out antique items they didn’t make, manufactured for a completely different product and IP, would be a great promotion for their comic company. They’re not selling to readers based on the quality of the stories being told in Atomik Comics, they’re marketing based solely on their ability to provide a pastiche of an era that they can’t possibly hope to equal or overcome. They’re repackaging someone else’s toys and regifting them to the people that already have them.

When an IP stops growing and changing, it dies, like a massive oak that has fallen in the forest. As it decays from public consciousness it often sprouts the little mushrooms of nostalgia grabs, some delicious and innocuous, like the Brady Bunch movies, some poisonous and nasty, like Ghostbusters 2016. But all of these mushroom reboots will never replace the oak tree, they can never grow that big, and they can never last that long, because they can’t make their own food, they can only feed off the carcass of the original. And if remembered at all it will be as a tiny footnote to a larger story.

And sometimes the oak tree thinks it’s still alive, still growing, when really it’s nothing but a rotting skeleton of an idea sprouting little mushy mushrooms of nostalgia and telling itself they’re leaves, as Tom Batiuk’s universe crumbles away into banality.

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Slow Children Ahead.

Link to Today’s Comic.

If anyone took the time to glance at some of the pictures of actual Atomic Bomb rings, the line-art is a close approximation, but the colors are wrong. All the rings I saw had a silver top, a red bottom, and a bronze colored band. Why are these brown? At first I thought it was because they didn’t want to do different colors on the details, but they made the BAND two toned, but not the BOMB. It doesn’t look anything like a bomb, it looks like Chester has a tiny chibi cigar on his finger.

Is it because the Starbuck Decoder rings were also shitstain brown?

Panel three is really exciting though. Chester, finally confirming that the two men in his employ have the hearts of children, now feels the time is right to reveal to these innocent souls his true form: an ageless sentient Mr. Potato Head. He first will remove his bulbous nose, as a display of his powers. Then he will don the porkpie hat, and they can gambol gaily, as he once did with his first young owner, long dead. How he has ached for this moment, the joy, the release, which will soon be his.

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Confirmed Bachelor

Link to Today’s Comic.

There was very nearly a joke in today’s strip. A wordless panel of both Chester and Darin giving Pete weird looks might have actually elicited a chuckle from me.

A quick Google search shows that these rings were apparently a real thing.

So here’s a question: Which way does Chester’s door swing? When he steps up to bat, which side of the plate is he standing at? The only indication we’ve ever gotten, one way or another, was the time he bought the ‘Babes of Batom‘ one shot issue. Other than that, he’s a fifty to sixty year old single man with no romantic history and no expressed romantic feelings.

Some might see this as indicating asexuality, or perhaps a man so deeply closeted he has rendered himself neuter. However, I look at his fickle perfectionism and abrasive personality and see a dead ringer for Professor Henry Higgins from Shaw’s Pygmalion. Chester is just the sort of man that, if he could train or design a woman to meet his exacting standards, that woman must, by those same standards, reject him. If she accepted him as her mate, she would no longer be perfect. And so his heterosexuality is more in theory rather than in practice.

Also: LOL THAT RING LOOKS LIKE HE’S WEARING A FINGER TURD AMIRITE? ROFLMAOBBQ.

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Authority Figures

Link to Today’s Comic.

Not much to comment on today, really. Except that my comics collecting phase coincided with the final death throes of the Comics Code Authority stamp. DC was one of the last to phase it out, so in my collection I have the exact moment in 2011 when it stopped appearing on covers.

Though the ‘rules’ of the code loosened and changed drastically over time as the readership of comics aged and the social mores shifted, it is really eye opening to read the rules as they stood in 1954. I’m no prude, but given the state of some comics I read early in The New 52, (which relied on more ‘shocking’ gritty sex than a orgy of mating camels,) I think it would be an interesting creative exercise to try and write a great comics story while following these rules. Rob Liefeld couldn’t do it. Geoff Johns probably could. Could you?

  • Crimes shall never be presented in such a way as to create sympathy for the criminal, to promote distrust of the forces of law and justice, or to inspire others with a desire to imitate criminals.
  • If crime is depicted it shall be as a sordid and unpleasant activity.
  • Policemen, judges, government officials, and respected institutions shall never be presented in such a way as to create disrespect for established authority.
  • Criminals shall not be presented so as to be rendered glamorous or to occupy a position which creates a desire for emulation.
  • In every instance good shall triumph over evil and the criminal punished for his misdeeds.
  • Scenes of excessive violence shall be prohibited. Scenes of brutal torture, excessive and unnecessary knife and gunplay, physical agony, the gory and gruesome crime shall be eliminated.
  • No comic magazine shall use the words “horror” or “terror” in its title.
  • All scenes of horror, excessive bloodshed, gory or gruesome crimes, depravity, lust, sadism, masochism shall not be permitted.
  • All lurid, unsavory, gruesome illustrations shall be eliminated.
  • Inclusion of stories dealing with evil shall be used or shall be published only where the intent is to illustrate a moral issue and in no case shall evil be presented alluringly, nor so as to injure the sensibilities of the reader.
  • Scenes dealing with, or instruments associated with walking dead, torture, vampires and vampirism, ghouls, cannibalism, and werewolfism are prohibited.
  • Profanity, obscenity, smut, vulgarity, or words or symbols which have acquired undesirable meanings are forbidden.
  • Nudity in any form is prohibited, as is indecent or undue exposure.
    Suggestive and salacious illustration or suggestive posture is unacceptable.
  • Females shall be drawn realistically without exaggeration of any physical qualities.
  • Illicit sex relations are neither to be hinted at nor portrayed. Rape scenes, as well as sexual abnormalities, are unacceptable.
  • Seduction and rape shall never be shown or suggested.
  • Sex perversion or any inference to same is strictly forbidden.
  • Nudity with meretricious purpose and salacious postures shall not be permitted in the advertising of any product; clothed figures shall never be presented in such a way as to be offensive or contrary to good taste or morals.

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Pete in the Hands of an Inept God.

Link to Today’s Comic.

I got way too much enjoyment out of panel two today. Pete’s bland, mopey, dumpy little face, too crushed by the lassitude of his underwritten universe to feel fear as he slowly comes to terms with his own non-existence. I am excited to see what Chester comes up with to rebel against the uncaring creator of the Funkyverse who has doomed the comic book venture that he himself called into being. If Chester does engage in some holy war against Tom Batiuk, what hell will he be cast down into? Where do all characters in Funkyverse go to be damned and forgotten? But to reign is worth ambition, the mind is its own place, and in itself can make a Heaven of Kent State, a Hell of Westview.

Also, it might increase sales and buzz of your comics if they weren’t blank sheets of paper stapled together. Though I suppose blank white paper is cooler than The Inedible Pulp.

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