Tag Archives: Flash Freeman

Big Sack of Something, All Right

Link to today’s strip.

Pete was a guest at Comic Con? When was that? Because my failing memory tells me that the Starbuck Jones panel was the actors, the director, and…Holtron. Along with a moronic Conan O’Brien, who was probably persuaded not to bring a lawsuit because “he’s just doing it so you’ll give him some free publicity. Calm down, Conan.”

I’m not saying he couldn’t have been a guest, rather than an attendee like everyone else, but I’d think that would be memorable. Even for this remarkably unmemorable comic strip. What would he talk about at his panel? How to get ideas from other people’s random conversations? That seems to be his special talent, after all. And I guess there was a time he wrote for Superman comics. BillytheSkink, please let us know what fantastical adventures the Man of Steel suffered under Pete’s hands.

But anyway, what does Mindy think Pete can do? Does Comic Con give out awards? That’s certainly a Batiukian goal. I don’t know myself but I kind of doubt Comic Con does this.

Or maybe he could set up a panel for them? “Old comic book creators who never got any attention.” One that would be attended by ancient fans who would gush, “You did what superheroes do–you saved me.” He’d better arrange to have barf bags provided.

A panel that will end with the two of them announcing their engagement. I’m almost willing to put money on it. My reasoning is this:

Mindy just spent a week listening to Ruby tell about how she felt harassed and unappreciated. It would be a natural thing for Mindy to suggest to Pete that something be done for Ruby. Instead, she chose to highlight both of them, saying that both were unappreciated. But it seems to me that Flash Freeman has definitely been given lots of recognition in this strip–examples escape me, but in the comic book industry here he’s regarded as a legend. So why would she include both in her plan, unless there’s something that happens when couples get together?

I probably have put more thought into this than I should have, but there’s so little to work with…

Note: Banana Jr 6000 made a similar observation–“Why does Mindy care about Flash?”– in yesterday’s comments. I’d already written the above, but I want to acknowledge the synchronicity.

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Flap Goes the Yap

Link to today’s strip.

Well, the perspective shifts in today’s strip seem noteworthy as an example of terrible artwork, as Dullard’s desk seems to scoot across space so he can…uh, weakly comment on dull things. I’m surprised the force of his motion didn’t knock Flash and Ruby, happily reminiscing, into the next building. That would have tied up their stories nearly, and they wouldn’t have to stand there smiling at each other.

–Wait–

Oh God. I think I foresee what’s in the wings.

Flash and Ruby are going to get married.

Tell me I’m wrong.

Please, tell me I’m wrong.

For the love of God, Montresor, please tell me I’m wrong!

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The Fewer the Better

Link to today’s strip.

“Wordy? Yeah, I do a rough sketch of what it should look like, including the word balloons, a year before it has to go live. Then I send it to the art guy to do the final drawing–making sure he draws the word balloons just the way I like ’em. I like to draw ’em big, because there’s important stuff to go in there. Heh, who’s he going to complain to?

“Then it goes into a drawer until about two weeks before it goes live, and then I have to remember what I was going to say in those word balloons. And here’s where it gets difficult, because I look, and a lot of times it’s a bunch of space I have to fill, and it’s hard to remember it all, especially when I can’t even remember a character’s last name. Heh, Pete Rigamarole. So there tends to be a lot more words than needed, just so it doesn’t have a lot of blank white space. I hate blank white space, it reminds me of clam chowder.

“I think using a lot of words makes me look smart, what do you think? And only answer that if you think I’ll like your answer.”

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The Zeppelin’s Graveyard

Link to today’s strip.

Good grief, look at the size of that folder, is Pete writing a novel or a comic book?

I admit I have no idea how comic books are written, other than what is known as “Marvel Style.” This is where the writer gives the artist an outline of what should happen in the issue, the artist goes off and draws the pages, and the writer then fills in the dialogue and needed descriptions. I don’t think “Suddenly he turned and saw” would be anywhere in that outline.

It also occurs to me that unless you’re a beady-eyed nitpicker, you have no idea who these people are or what they’re doing. That could be an actual movie script, for all the casual reader knows. And who’s the old guy? All it would take is Pete saying, “Flash! Good to see you!” And then, “I’d be honored if the great Flash Freeman read my script!” Done and done.

If there are any people out there who “enjoy” this strip, they’d have to have an encyclopedic knowledge of characters, places and occupations for it to make any sense. It would help if they also had a fanatical devotion to continuity–something Tom Batiuk has demonstratively been shown to lack.

One thing that he definitely has, though, is a bristling reaction to any criticism, and he’s certainly imbued Pete with that characteristic. Ouch.

By the way, a quick web search for “dangling subject” brings up lots and lots of entries for dangling modifier, but nothing at all for “dangling subject.” But I suppose the Lord of Language knows what he’s talking about. And quite honestly, I don’t know what Freeman is talking about.

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In Space, No One Can Hear You Repeat Yourself

Link to today’s strip.

Hi folks, BeckoningChasm back in the center seat. First of all, many thanks to TFH, Comic Book Harriet, Epicus Doomus and the others who are willing and able to try and rip some sense out of this…thing. Hat tip: it’s never an easy job. Tom Batiuk seems to be obstinate about refusing to put actual content into his strip, so the hard work must be done by others.

And for the next two weeks–that’s me. And when we look at today’s thing, we can see that once again Tom Batiuk has dredged out one of his golden floaters, Flatus Freeman, to appear in the strip and advise the young striplings. Although, as always, this episode makes the case that Pete Retardo has never, ever, come up with an idea on his own. Everything crucial has come about because someone else has made an off-hand remark, and today, the tradition continues.

Despite the fact that, you know, Pete mentioned nothing at all about space. But who cares, right?

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Frisket Business

Whew! I am so very happy to report that today’s strip doesn’t take place at the optometrist office, we’ve instead moved to a world where two Northern Ohio-based nonagenarian comic book legends are somehow meeting for the first time. It is, remarkably, a welcome respite.

Are we really supposed to believe that Flash and Ruby Lith, alleged fans of each other’s work, are meeting for the first time? Ruby Lith (hired in September 2019) wasn’t in the office during Flash’s last visit, when he dropped by to kvetch about “Turtle Thompson” (wait, was “Thompson” part of the guy’s nickname?) back in December 2019? Yes, Ruby Lith’s Miss American was a Capitol Comics title while Flash worked at Batom, but these two have both presumably been alive since the Coolidge administration working in the same industry in presumably a similar geographic area… they never met at a convention? Trade show? Art supply store? Comic book store? 3:30 PM dinner buffet?

While the plot seems a stretch, the puns today, however, are… well, they certainly are present. Though I incorrectly guessed her relation, I knew Amber Lith was coming. Really, I think we all knew Amber Lith was gonna be a gag in a Ruby Lith strip at some point. Didn’t see the dog’s related punny name coming, but it feels incredibly uninspired and unsurprising nonetheless.

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Talkin’ “Turtle”

Epicus Doomus
December 1, 2019 at 11:34 pm
The sad thing about this is how [Batiuk] seems to think a story about a comic book artist who’s always behind schedule is an interesting and relatable premise.

We get it. “Turtle Thompson” was a real pain in the ass to work with. Luckily for him, he was surrounded by enablers who let him get away with being lazy and unreliable. Maybe his artwork (which we’ll never see, unless tomorrow’s strip is a sideways Sunday comics cover) was so good, he was worth the aggravation. Maybe capable comics illustrators were hard to come by in those days (doubtful). At any rate, years later they are reminiscing fondly about ol’ Turtle. He, and Flash and Phil Holt and all those comics legends created entire worlds, and their work was consumed by legions of devoted fans. Though Darin and Pete imagine themselves to be in their same league, their work will never have that kind of impact. It’s no wonder that Darin’s quip, referencing a supervillian who exists nowhere outside of his and Pete’s imaginations, falls a little flat:

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Flash in the Dark

comicbookharriet
December 3, 2019 at 12:55 am
…[I]f he ever wanted to vacation at Easter Island, the locals would probably worship (Flash Freeman) as a god.

Lest we forget which “Turtle Thompson” we are speaking of: it’s “The artist.” Props to commenter Scott J Lovrine, who yesterday cited Silver Age comics inker Frank Giacoia as a likely inspiration for “Turtle Thompson.” A number of readers have suggested that this arc might be a dig at the mysteriously departed Rick Burchett; I’ll give Batty a little credit here and say that he wouldn’t throw a former partner under the bus like this. We don’t know how about Burchett’s ability to meet deadlines, but his work on Funky was just terrible, and I for one was happy to see him go. But his replacement, the formerly reliable Chuck Ayers, has rendered a grotesquely misshapen head on ol’ Flash here, making him look in rear view like a Q-Tip with ears.

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Deadline, Schmeadline

Like pulling teeth without any anesthetichow, exactly? For the one pulling teeth, or for the one whose teeth are being pulled? If they’re your teeth being pulled, well, that’s literal torture. It can’t be a picnic for the tooth puller either: extracting teeth takes a fair amount of strength, especially from a flailing, un-anesthetized subject. Anyway, yesterday Flash said that “Turtle” had “gone to the well once too often,” implying that he pushed things too far and was finally let go, yet the cajoling continues.

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Fare Thee…Well…

In what line of work, particularly in a publishing company, would a contributor get away with repeatedly pushing back deadlines?  Especially without an explanation or excuse aside from “Well…”  And what’s the reason that Flash has to speak to him by phone? Why is “Turtle” Thompson not chained to a desk like everyone else we’ve seen in the Batom salt mines? Why does the “sepiatone” flashback image have hints of yellow and green? Well? WELL???

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