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.
Tag Archives: Chester the Chiseler
Climate Damage Inc.
Filed under Son of Stuck Funky
He Also Owns Darling’s Drawers
“He likes to collect things, so surely he’ll have John Darling memorabilia!” seems like a bit of a stretch to me, even by Westview logic. I would’ve liked a line about how Mitchell’s dad was a newscaster, or that Mitchell was comforted by watching the show after he quit Batom. Just something more than “he collects stuff, so he’ll have what you want”.
And that is quite the strange looking spaceship that Phil drew. If I didn’t know that’s what it was supposed to be, I really don’t think I’d ever be able to tell.
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The 2021 Funky Awards Week! Day 4
Batton, John, you two have known each other since at least May 2019. You already talked about Amazing Fantasy #15 back in June. There is no way in this entire multiverse of madness John selling a copy to Chester hasn’t been discussed to death yet. So what the heck is today about?
While I appreciate the irony of the author avatar attending awards week, nothing about this week makes sense or stands out. And NONE of these panels from this week are Panel of the Year contenders. Two doughy-faced men blathering at each other in a boring beige room is about as visually appealing as cellulitis.
Which is sort of a shame, last year’s lovingly rendered Rexall Drug that we managed to track down via Google Street View did make my short list for panel contenders. If only to honor a day when Batiuk’s obsessive weirdness so closely dovetailed with our own.
But ultimately the Imperious Holy Temple lost out to some, (in one case literally,) stiff competition.
The following are the nominees for The Panel of the Year 2021…
1.) The Final Note
2.) Rare Flying Discman
3.) Take THAT History!
4.) Smoking Vader
5.) Les Waterboards Himself
6.) Eros Panoptes
7.) Stag Film
8.) Pizza Box Signal
And the Son of Stuck Funky winner for The Panel of the Year 2021 is….
THE FINAL NOTE
Here’s a comparison with the ‘variant’ Davis cover of the crossover event.
Though we all enjoyed a flashback of Les Moore drenching himself with water while spouting grawlix, nothing can complete with, “You guys wanna go see a dead body?”
Mr. A had this picked out all the way back on June 19 . (Sorry your nominee didn’t make it Sourbelly.)
I promised you yesterday a ridiculous spreadsheet. See, when I was trying to figure out arcs of the year, it suddenly struck me that the ratio of Les to Funky this year was skewed Funky in a way I had never seen before. Then I realized how many previously integral characters, like Wally, Cindy, or Jessica had been shoved so far into the back seat, they may as well have been tied up in the the trunk. It made me curious. Who showed up the most this year?
Below is hours of my life I could have spent with loved ones or napping. But I found it interesting, and thought some of you might too.
Named Characters by Number of Strips Appearing In for 2021.
The most baffling development from this is that, believe it or not, many of Funky’s AA meeting attendees have names. This floored me.
In October, when I was going on an CK archives deep dive for my Wally Winkerbean Pizza Monster nonsense, something caught my eye.
January 15, 2001
January 20, 2001
January 23, 2001
April 22, 2021
Why? Why when Batiuk can’t even remember the names and number of the collective children of Wally, Rachel, Becky, and John; when he can’t be assed to check who the Dinkles had for Thanksgiving LAST YEAR, would he go back in time TWENTY YEARS to resurrect these characters?
When Funky was last at an AA meeting, in 2018, it was peopled by generics. So I can only assume that working on this era while preparing his massive omnibuses for Kent State jogged his memory, and he asked Ayers to recreate these important figures of Funky Lore.
But THIS is what I’m here for. THIS is what keeps me looking again, coming back, pondering, analyzing. Some kind of weird call-back, so obtuse and strange that, as far as I can tell, no one among Batiuk’s most dedicated and educated readers noticed for months.
Join me tomorrow as I attempt to convince you, despite all evidence, that modern Funky Winkerbean isn’t universally unbearable, as we award The Best Strip of 2021.
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Those of you who DIDN’T guess that Phil and Flash would be asked to take The Subterranean to Atomik Komix, please report to the front desk for your free brain scan.
And really, Phil Holt is accusing Flash of grandstanding? Isn’t Phil the man who loudly crashed a ComicCon panel to come back from the dead, then stormed the stage to have a reunion with his former partner that ended with both of them in tears.
Since when have we ever seen Flash Freeman grandstanding? We’ve all been treating Mr. Freeman as the stand-in for Stan Lee, but he’s even less like Stan Lee than Phil Holt is like Jack Kirby.
Visually, Flash is drawn as an old guy with a weirdly long face and a receding hairline, kinda like an elderly Stan Lee. And on the surface they’ve done similar things: being a head writer, giving the writers and artists in their employ pet nick names, making up behind the scenes stories, and being blamed for stealing credit from others.
Chester’s wailing about the ‘Batty Batom Bullpen Boasts’ is an obvious reference to things Stan Lee did to drum up enthusiasm and company loyalty in kidsoomers. Things like the Marvel Bullpen Bulletins and the Merry Marvel Marching Society, which put out a record that has been BURNED INTO MY MIND.
But in personality? Flash Freeman has been presented as an affable, laid-back guy. Down to earth, level-headed, and even reserved. He’s usually drawn with a slight smile and relaxed face, like he’s bemused about everything around him.
That is not Stan Lee.
Stan Lee was a man who treated every conversation as a performance. A man who only stopped flashing his toothy grin when he was posing or playacting a ‘serious’ moment. A man who rearranged his life into entertaining stories, and if he had to sacrifice the facts to do it, so be it. This is not Flash getting wrong the street address of a diner he last visited 60 years ago. Lee was a man who told a story to a convention about how he’d gotten hired, then called a former coworker who could expose the fib, and tried to convince him to go along with the ‘enhanced version’ of the truth.
Here’s an excerpt from the transcript of that coworker’s panel at ComicCon in 1998.
Stan Lee; is Stan here? No? (laughter) Stan Lee called me about two or three years ago, and says, “Joe, I opened my convention with the story that I answered an ad in the newspaper to get my job. I answered an ad in the newspaper for a job in comic books and then I went. You hired me and I was walking in the hall and I ran into Martin.” Well, I knew Martin was his uncle; well, his relative. Actually it was Stan’s mother’s cousin, something like that.
[Stan continues:] “So, Martin said to me, “Stan, what are you doing here?” And I said, ‘I work here.’ And Martin says, “Is that right? I didn’t know.””
I said, “Stan, that story can’t be true. We only had three offices and a bunch of relatives in the building. We didn’t even have a hall.” (laughter) So Stan says, “Is that right? My memory is going.” (laughter) I thought it was a pretty good story. (laughter) I figured at that time, he’d stop doing it. He’s still doing it. A month later I read the same story in Newsday. But, God bless Stan, he’s got a good story and he’s sticking with it. (laughter) He did a wonderful job. He did a miraculous job. I’m proud of him.https://www.twomorrows.com/kirby/articles/25simon.html
Who was that coworker? Why Joe Simon, the man who hired Stan Lee. The first editor of Timely (later Marvel) comics. And Jack Kirby’s creative partner for the first 15 years of his career. Theirs was truly a partnership where credit can’t be sorted. They both wrote, they both drew, and scripted, and inked. There are covers and pages with both their names on them, where not even experts can parse out who did what.
They first met working for Fox Features Syndicate, an early comics publisher run by Victor Fox who Joe Simon characterized more clearly than any Act III Funky Winkerbean character could hope to be:
It was at Fox Comics. I guess you all know about Victor Fox. He was a little chubby guy. He was an accountant for DC Comics. He was doing the sales figures and he liked what he saw. So, he moved downstairs and started his own company called Fox Comics, Fox Publications, Fox Features Syndicate, Fox Radio, Fox this, Fox that… He was a very strange character. He had kind of a British accent; he was like 5’2″–told us he was a former ballroom dancer. He was very loud, menacing, and really a scary little guy. (laughter) He used to say, “I’m the King of the Comics. I’m the King of the Comics. I’m the King of the Comics.” (laughter) We couldn’t stop him. So that’s the task I had when I went in to start that job.
When Joe Simon left Fox comics for Timely, he took Jack Kirby with him, and there they created Captain America. Then when they felt they were getting the short stick by Timely, Joe began negotiations for both of them to move on to National Comics (now DC.) There they wrote Boy Commandos and the Newsboy Legion, both very popular at the time, even if they’re mostly forgotten now.
After the War, they worked freelance, basically creating the Romance Comic genre. All the while, they were living across the street from each other with their young families.
Their partnership more or less ended in the mid-fifties, after comics hit a huge slump. The self-imposed censorship and moral panic in the wake of The Seduction of the Innocent and the Senate hearings made it an uncertain financial field. So Jack and Joe parted ways amiably. Jack stuck it out with comics, and Joe moved on to advertising and magazine publishing; though he would occasionally dip his toes back into the comics business. In 1974 he and Kirby worked together on a relaunch of ‘The Sandman’ for DC. They remained on friendly terms for the rest of their lives.
I’ll say this for Jack–Jack went back to Marvel, he switched to Marvel from DC. We got together a couple of times in-between. But every time I called Jack I’d say, “Jack, I’ve got a project to do; come do it with me.” He was there the next day–and in those days, we were always together when we had to be, when we wanted to be. He always came back to me. I never paid him the way I’d pay the other artists; I always split with him, everything we had. We had kind of a nice relationship.
Is Flash Freeman a poorly written Stan Lee? Or is he intentionally tempered with the soul of Joe Simon?
The prosecution presents the following evidence.
Now we needed a villain for inside the comic, too. … Even sitting at lunch, I was always thinking about heroes and villains, with all sorts of ideas swimming around in my head. Next thing I know, I had a hot fudge sundae sitting in front of me, with the vanilla ice cream, and the hot fudge is running down the side. It was intriguing.
The hot fudge looked like limbs—legs, feet, and hands—and I’m thinking to myself.
Gee, this’d make an interesting villain, I mused. We’ll call him Hot Fudge … Just put a face on him, and have him ooze all over the place.
You have to be stupid to be in this business. Nevertheless, I did some sketches, right then and there. And I Iooked at them.
Nah, I thought. Who would believe anything like that?
But I looked again at the sundae, and I saw the big cherry on top. The cherry looked like a skull.
“Wow,” I said to myself. “Red Skull … that sounds good.” And it made a lot more sense.https://www.syfy.com/syfywire/captain_americas_creator
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Hail to the King, Baby.
Let me see if I’ve got this straight, Phil. You faked your own death so you could work without being bothered, and in the literal years since you’ve managed to draw and layout a single issue? Seriously? GRRM works faster than you! I swear to Galactus, if there isn’t Berserk levels of detail to every single panel of this book…
Jack Kirby would be ashamed! You know, the guy you’re supposed to be based on? Jack Kirby was a legend for his output and work ethic. He could complete multiple pages a DAY. The man was a machine. If Jack Kirby faked his death to work on a project for four years, the final output would rival Henry Darger.
But how close are you really to Jack Kirby? I took the time this week to watch a few documentaries, read a few articles and interviews. Let’s see how close Phil Holt stacks up to The King. The glorious co-creator of Captain America, The Fantastic Four, The Hulk, Mr. Miracle, The New Gods and so many more.
First of all, the physical resemblance is as close an approximation as the art style allows, especially in the earliest appearances. The poofy, swept back hair, the cigar, the squarish head and round face, all look like a caricature of Kirby. Even more, they look close to how Kirby depicted himself in comic form. The strip even goes out of it’s way to show that Phil is shorter, just like Kirby who was 5’6″.
The only difference is the glasses, and even then, the glasses seem to serve the function of giving him the boxed off square brow and deep set eyes he had naturally.
But does Phil resemble Jack in personality?
Not really. Phil is prickly, he snips and snaps at everyone. He might have depths of generosity, and hidden warmth, but twice he is described as someone whose resting state was antagonistic.
The Jack Kirby described by others, and I saw in interviews was not this person. Yeah, he was a pugnacious guy, who could hold a wicked grudge against people who he thought slighted him. He even lashed out at people he was frustrated with by creating comic villains to RESEMBLE those people.
But to anyone else, he was warm and welcoming. He had a wide circle of friends. People liked working with him. The documentary I watched talked about how random people would show up at his house and he would let them in, show them his studio, and his wife would feed them sandwiches.
Did you know he had a wife? And kids too! People he was financially supporting. Relationships that drove him to look for work and and fight for contracts that paid him his fair share of the profits he was creating, and get rights to royalties that would allow him to continue to provide for his family in the future.
And Jack Kirby never disavowed comics. Sure, in the 80’s he moved on to animation for Hanna-Barbara, but he created comics intermittently through the 80’s and early 90’s. He continued attending conventions and meeting with fans right up until the year he died. He was proud of his work, and went through a legal slugfest with Marvel trying to get his artwork back.
I might think it was petty to draw a sniveling caricature of poor Roy Thomas, and print it in the pages of DC; but I’ll give Jack Kirby this, he didn’t stomp out of an entire industry in a huff and never work again. Jack Kirby worked hard his entire life. He fought hard for his credit, and switched comics companies multiple times, because he wanted that hard work to be recognized. Not just for himself, but for his wife and kids.
Is Phil Holt meant to be Jack Kirby? Probably. But he’s a Jack Kirby that existed in a world where he had nothing to fight for but his own ego.
This was my favorite of the documentaries I watched. It’s probably more hagiography than strict history, but peeling back the veneer of eulogy you can still see that the truth of the man beneath. If you’ve got the time, and the inclination, I’d recommend.
DID YOU KNOW? Despite being drawn 24 times, Mindy has only been allowed to speak twice this entire month?
Filed under Son of Stuck Funky