Except for his outburst of mock anger yesterday, the usually cantankerous Phil Holt has been positively gleeful about rebooting his comics career. What ever became of the one-man “hostile work environment,” who walked off the job in a fit of resentment, regarded his own work as “just junk“, and had to pay the bills working as a caricaturist at kiddie parties? All it took was a little affirmation of the meaning his work had for others. The hard feelings he engendered in his partner, and the hardship he spitefully caused himself, are forgotten, and he’s ready to return to “working in a bullpen”.
What’s also forgotten in today’s strip is that “the batty Batom bullpen” never existed, at least not as a rollicking, “fun” filled, shared workspace. From April, 2018:
Turns out that Batom Comics pioneered the “work from home” concept that has, since last year, become more commonplace. A fact that Chester, having more money than brains, discovered only after he bought the entire building in pursuit of fulfilling his Silver Age fantasies. “Emphasis on the ‘bull'” indeed.
Back when he was pursuing his useless MBA, Darin probably didn’t have time to study the ancient philosophers. However, he’s retained enough of Mr. Kablichnick’s high school chemistry teaching to have a narrow understanding of what “elements” are, and he tries to convey his point of view to the new staff. Flash leans in and glowers at Darin, showing the whites of his eyes and his bottom teeth; his towering, elongated head looms over the younger man and threatens to crush him like a toppled totem pole. “They were in Aristotle’s day,” he growls. When Darin unwisely persists in trying to make his case, Phil Holt, who’s been sporting a dopey grin this whole time, reverts to his nasty self, cursing and waving his fist. Our newly minted Comic-Con Hall of Famers are not about to take any guff from Boy Lisa.
So much for “we…and I emphasize the we“, huh? The mercurial Phil Holt is content to just sit back and let Flash lay out the Subterranean universe for the rest of the team. Pete immediately sees a crossover opportunity involving an existing Atomik property. Ruby is at her desk, clearly craning her neck to get a better look at Phil Holt’s ass (“Flash” Freeman having left his ass in his other pants). Mindy looks on, saying nothing (and, ok, spoiler: she won’t be given anything to say all week). In the middle of all this, Chester thinks “Did we order a pizza?” as he is startled to see Wally enter stage left…oh, wait, that’s not Wally, it’s Darin, wearing his nerd glasses.
Okay, so Ruby drew 45 issues of a comic book. (I can’t be the only one tired of fictional characters bragging about writing fictional comics, can I?) That doesn’t really answer the question of why the other five people with her get to cut in line, too.
When you’re reading something totally fictional, coincidences aren’t really that remarkable. Like, if these were real people and this was something that really happened, then it might be amusing if someone criticized the creator of a character on their t-shirt. But given that Batiuk can write whatever he wants, this really isn’t funny or interesting, at least to me.
I wonder if Batiuk has tried this at conventions he’s spoken at. I’m pretty sure it would have to be all in his imagination though, since I really doubt someone would be wearing a Funky Winkerbean shirt anywhere.
In today’s strip, a little man asks someone what time a panel is, and gets the answer “later”, which is not helpful at all. Also, the little man is somehow smoking through a mask, despite there clearly being no hole or any way for him to do so.
I’m very amused by Flash suddenly recognizing the little man’s cigar smoke. Unless this was what Flash was smelling as his parents were gunned down in an alley after taking him to see a movie, I’m kind of shocked that he would recognize that smell and find it remarkable enough to comment on. “I know we’re at the biggest comic convention in the world where I’m about to receive the biggest honor of my life, but what about that smell, huh?”
I’m excited to get to come back here and cover the next installment of “Comic Books: Batiuk Kind of Likes Them: The Continuing Saga”. In today’s installment, we find out that Comic-Con has lines, and people sometimes refer to it as “line-con” (I thought this was something Batiuk made up, but after a few seconds of Googling I saw that apparently it is a thing). So today’s strip is more of the same: Batiuk makes a reference to a comic book thing without adding any humor or anything interesting, yay!
Also, if people had to get badges last year, how were these six able to get tickets last week? I can understand that Ruby and Flash would get passes, but I don’t think they’d just hand out passes to four coworkers, too.
Three panels, three places, and no answers in today’s strip.
So Phil Holt created The Subterranean, demanded ownership of the property, didn’t get it, left in a Les-level huff… and then hated Flash for the rest of his life? Was it Flash that denied Phil ownership of The Subterranean? Should I submit this to CIDU? We’ve gone from classic TB “tell don’t show” to “tell, but not really”.
One assumes then that Phil took The Subterranean to Marvel, where the concept was reworked into Subterranea. The butterfly effect of this decision ultimately resulted in the greatest Spider-Man story in recorded history, so let us all be grateful for that.