Tag Archives: drafting table

Meta-mucil

TB goes full on meta in today’s strip… could this be a preview of what we’ll see over the next few weeks? Is everything else from here on going to be bizarrely (and blandly) self-referential? Are we in for even more unnecessary acknowledgements that these characters all of a sudden know they are in a comic strip? I suppose we will have to wait and see, though the wait won’t be too long now.

Meta references can certainly work, but are not inherently interesting or funny, nor are they funny in the context of this strip and story arc, or in the context of TB’s real life partial retirement for that matter. What is funny, however, is that Ruby joined Atomik Komix over 3 years ago to much fanfare, specifically to draw Wayback Wendy I might add, and she’s peacing out after drawing the cover of issue #4! And we all thought Phil Holt was a slow worker

And that’s a wrap for my latest and possibly last time blogging here at Son Of Stuck Funky. No goodbyes here, but I do want to thank some folks. Thank you to TFH and Epicus for running this place for the past 12 and a half years and for trusting me as a guest writer here over the past 8 years. Thanks to my fellow guest writers for keeping this site reliably humming for years and much thanks to all of you SOSFers for coming back and reading day after day in spite of my silly wonderings and regular typos. I’ve written over 500 of these things, believe it or not! But for me these posts are mostly a glorified header, the best content generally comes from you all in the comments. I can only hope that you have enjoyed reading some of my words even 1/100th as much as I have enjoyed being a part of this community.

And so, I will close this post the same way I wrote my entire first week of posts…

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Re-haiku-ment

Are we STILL on this?
More on Ruby's retirement
Here in today's strip

Batton butts right in
Again, he does NOT work here
Who asked him to speak?

Batton's questioning
A reflection of TB?
Is the strip's end near?

Or is this resolve?
Tom writing his thoughts in strip
Eff-ing ponderous

A warning haiku
The link above has cussing
That's NSFW!

With Dinkle, Linda
And others who fake retire
Do we believe this?

We probably should
Not like TB gave Ruby
Anything worthwhile

Chester looks depressed
I mean, he's just despondent
In his sad jacket

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Pencil droppers, eh?!

Wait, is today’s strip taking place on the exact same day that Ruby drew Sunday’s Scorch cover?! Ruby drew a whole cover in a matter of hours?! Maybe that’s not at all surprising for a real life comic cover artist at a real life comic book company, but at Atomik Komix it sure is. These folks make “Turtle Thompson” look like AJ Foyt.

I mean, Batton is still there treadmilling and everyone is wearing the exact same things they were wearing in last week’s strips, give or take some colorist’s liberty… ok, scratch that, Mindy is wearing a skirt in today’s strip and clearly has on pants in last Saturday’s strip. Different day, I guess. In either scenario, though, we’re left to note how ridiculous it is that Batton spends so much time in the Atomik Komix bullpen. He, ostensibly, has a job drawing a comic strip, but we’ve never seen him do it. Heck, we’ve never even seen the strip-within-a-strip… and it’s not like Funky Winkerbean is above that kind of thing. He likes comic books and frequents Komix Korner from time-to-time (SUCH a unique trait in the Batiukverse, I know), but he doesn’t appear to be a regular there like he is here at the Atomik Komix bullpen. He likes or feels obligated to jog. And that’s it. That is everything we know about the guy. I don’t necessarily care to know more, but if TB insists on having his author avatar hang around places where it makes no obvious sense for him to hang around then Batton needs some purpose and motivation.

Oh yeah, also… Ruby is old, water is wet, and Chester now wears the look of someone clinically depressed.

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With a capital ‘D’ and that rhymes with P…

Oh, we’re sticking with Ruby this week, huh… at least in today’s strip we are. Can’t you see the excitement on my face?

*staring noises*

Looks like Ruby is ready to start living off her social security checks and some meager and infrequent Miss American residuals. That or she’s dying (to start living off those social security checks and meager and infrequent residuals…). Either way, a blow for feminine editorial oversight at Atomik Komix, but what women’s lib doesn’t know won’t hurt ’em!

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Scorched Earth

Well, at least today’s strip made it easy to choose a post title. I don’t feel like I had any other choice.

As far as the strip goes, is this really more feminine and more hopeful than Atomik Komix’s previous climage damate covers? (Eh and Eh are my answers) More importantly, is this the kind of cover Chester can be deadly serious about? Yeah, probably. Chester, introduced as an unscrupulous and unpleasant wheeler-dealer, is pretty much the most laid back boss ever these days.

Pete should leave the snark to us. For one thing, baked potatoes are delicious and this strip suffers greatly in comparison to them. For another, all this damate climage comic business was Pete’s idea in the first place. And above all, Ruby’s given him some prime snark ammunition by drawing some planet that does not appear in almost any way to be earth and he just completely misses it. Leave the wisecracks to the professionals in our comment section next time, Pete.

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Nix Chix Fix Comix

Ruby has got to be regretting speaking up a few days ago because, as we see in today’s strip, she’s being told to… do her job?!

EGADS!

I know, I’m as shocked as any of you that someone at Atomik Komix is even suggesting the idea of doing work. Granted, Phil is suggesting that someone other than himself work, but still… This will probably work better for the deadline anyways, Phil is not known for his speed. Flash being kind of a jerk and everyone else standing around like this place has no editor in chief, or leadership of any kind – now that is the Atomik Komix we all know and love.

Anyways, we’re back from “the climage damate comics aren’t optimistic enough” to “the damate climage comics aren’t, uh, something about women I think”. Are we supposed to see these two complaints as the same thing?

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I’m Aware Of His Work

Link to today’s strip

Today’s strip is a lesson in how Tom Batiuk’s sloppy writing is undone by his sloppy writing.

Phil’s remark feels like a passive-aggressive insult. The name Phil can’t think of is John Cullen Murphy, the artist who took over Prince Valiant when Hal Foster retired in the early 1970s. He remembers the names of brief fill-ins Wally Wood and Gray Morrow, but not the man who drew the strip for the next 30 years. These were all real-life people who worked on the real-life Prince Valiant comic strip.

When you’re making a list of something and intentionally leave off the most prominent example, it looks like you’re trying to make a point. You’re saying “The New England Patriots’ last few quarterbacks were Mac Jones, Cam Newton, Drew Bledsoe, and some guy whose initials were T.B.” It looks like you’re trying to downplay the person for some reason.

But the joke fails because… he got one of the names wrong! It was G-R-A-Y Morrow, not G-A-R-Y Morrow.

When the joke is “I forget the important one,” you have to remember the unimportant ones. Forgetting them too makes the intent unclear. This is why “beady eyed nitpicking” matters. I’m not being a spelling pedant here. I’m pointing out a problem with the execution of the joke that makes it fail. And because we’re supposed to believe comic strip characters are speaking aloud, it’s not a trivial error. If it was incorrectly spelled G-R-E-Y, it would be less bad, because it’s said the same.

The intent is unclear for another reason: What did John Cullen Murphy do to deserve being snubbed like this? This story doesn’t involve Murphy at all. Batiuk’s never mentioned him on his blog either. Murphy could still be introduced, but bringing real (and deceased) people into the story would get into some thorny areas. Is he going to be the villain?

I do like Phil’s description of “your mind playing charades with you” when you get older. I recently turned 50, and I can relate to this feeling.

The other day I was trying to remember the name of a college hangout from decades ago. I said “it was something like ‘Thirsty Turtle.'” I remembered later it was Purple Porpoise. I couldn’t remember the name, but I remembered Adjective Marine Animal, and also that it was alliterative. That helped my brain find the right answer. I figure this is just how your brain works when you get older. Your mind can’t make the direct connections it used to, and you have to take roundabout paths to find pieces of information.

The real problem is that Phil Holt has never been depicted as having memory loss. He needs it for today’s joke, so suddenly he’s always had it, and has a mechanism for coping with it. Tune in tomorrow, when Phil remembers the precise details of things that happened 50 years ago.

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Together Again For The First Time At Last

Link to today’s strip

And there’s Atomik Komix’ lead art forger Darin, looking like a cat who’s just heard someone open a tin of Fancy Feast. But Phil Holt’s reaction is much more interesting.

“Slumming again?” Phil, you only joined Atomik Komix ten months ago. How often does this woman visit that you can say that? It can’t be that many times, because she buys comic book art, and Tom Batiuk didn’t obsessively catalog every step of the transaction process. The contract signing alone would take a week.

Kitch’s playful response suggests that she knows Phil, too. But how? From 2017 to 2020, Phil was pretending to be dead. Before that, he was doing caricatures for kiddie birthday parties. He was also shown to have a home somewhere that clearly wasn’t Ohio. Flash Freeman, Phil Holt’s closest companion as far as we know, hadn’t seen him since he stomped off with The Subterranean in the 1950s, and spoke of Phil rather negatively

But Kitch seems to know how toothless Phil’s “grumpy” act really is. And she’s right. There are at least five old people in the Funkyverse who are much worse than Phil. Harry Dinkle, Ed Crankshaft, Lillian McKenzie, Mort Winkerbean, Melinda Budd.

To make another movie comparison: this is the “you two know each other” scene. A new character enters the movie; an existing character greets them in overly familiar way; and someone says “you two know each other?” One of them says “yes, we were in the Army together,“ and exposition is achieved. This interaction appears to be setting that up. But it probably isn’t.

Tom Batiuk is just filling the word balloons with whatever meaningless drivel he thinks will let him get on to the comic books, which is the only thing he wants to talk about. But he’s inadvertently implying that Kitch and Phil have a history, and that this is going to be relevant to the story. 98% of the time in Funky Winkerbean, it’s not.

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Cities On Flame With Batton, Holt

Link To Sunday

“Done something about” what, exactly? Smoldering futuristic cities? And how does Atmos hovering in the air help the situation in any way? Why didn’t he act BEFORE his planet was consumed by climate damage? Why doesn’t he ask Oceanaire to splash some water on it? What the hell do the other The Elementals do, anyway? They’ve been working on this for months and THIS is what they came up with?

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The Trilogy Of Tedium

Link To This One

It’s called a “tetralogy”, you nimrods. Or a “quadrilogy”, if you prefer. It took me all of three seconds to learn this. But BatYam felt he really needed to drive Flash Freeman’s general imbecility home, again, so here we are. It would appear that once again he’s done the impossible and discovered something even more tedious than that “Elemental Force” arc from a few months back, and that “something” is watching Flash and Phil talking to Batton about it. That BatHam, always pushing his artistic boundaries.

That “Elementals” arc was absolute hell to get through and I really hope we’re not revisiting that fiasco again, because I am totally out of sub-atomic particle puns. It really is remarkable how quickly Flash Freeman became one of my most despised FW characters, as he wasn’t even in the strip until a few years ago. And it was better that way. Marginally, yes, but nevertheless.

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