Tag Archives: Holtron

In The Ptomaine

Link

The laziest gag of 2022 so far? Maybe. The laziest gag in FW history? Could be. The dumbest comic strip gag you’ll ever see? Oh…no freaking doubt.

“I’m fresh out of Dinkle ideas again. Hmmmm, let’s see. Oh! Holtron! That’s a beloved character from the past too! Maybe (heh heh) Dinkle could persuade Holtron to (chuckle) order band turkeys! Off-screen, of course, but still! I’d better write this down so I don’t forget it!”

Shudder. I mean, man, there’s the bottom of the barrel, the ground underneath the barrel, the decaying organic matter under the surface, some clay, slime and ooze, then there’s this gag, sitting there stupidly grinning at you like some sort of hideous slug that’s too disgusting to bother stepping on.

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Hey! Art Teacher! Leave Them Kids Alone!

Link To Today’s

Ha, ha ha! He’s screwing with the students’ educations and undermining his fellow faculty members! Just to suit his own needs! Isn’t that HILARIOUS? Comedy f*cking gold right there, folks! What a guy! No wonder eleven or twelve Ohioian band directors love Dinkle and tape these Dinkle strips to the side of their office filing cabinets! Haphazardly, too, no doubt. Then, after they inevitably retire, those same strips are scraped away with a razor knife and become more floor sweepings, quickly forgotten floor sweepings. It’s kind of sad, really.

I’d give just about anything if this arc would just abruptly stop and suddenly go into, I don’t know, a few strips where Funky works out or Holly uses the credit card or something. Anything. Dinkle being felled by a massive coronary would be good too, but then there’d be a flashback-packed funeral arc that’d drag on for weeks, and no one wants that. And as we all know, it wouldn’t necessarily mean he was really, permanently dead, as people return from the dead all the time in the Funkyverse. So really there’s just no practical way to get rid of him, ever. BatHam likes him and he’s going to feature him twelve weeks every year whether we like it or not.

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Just Holtron To What We’ve Got

Link To The Thing

Why, back when I first started here at SoSF it was really tough to defend my turf, I’ll tell you what. That was back before the internet, when SoSF was still hand-drawn on notebook paper and passed around via the comic strip underground scene. I knew what levers to pull, though, as right after I gave TF Hackett that $20 Wawa gift card, I was in. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Yeah, yeah, Dinkle rigged the school computer to “fix” the students’ schedule to his benefit and so forth. He really was quite a character fifty years ago. Unfortunately, though, everyone hates Act III Dinkle, and everyone grew tired of his ancient marching band gags by 1983 or thereabouts. So where does that leave us? Sigh…right here.

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Flash Memory

April 22, 2018

Don’t you remember, Tom…? The comic book column that Flash wrote was called “Bullpen Boasts.” Like “Bullpen Bulletins,” which was what Stan Lee called the page that he created in Marvel Comics. I suppose the title could have changed over time, the way “Bullpen Bulletins” would become “Stan’s Soapbox” (hat tip Uncle Wikipedia).

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Time to Play Besides

Your genial host weighed in yesterday about snarkers who suggest that Tom Batiuk, who will turn 75 in two weeks, is experiencing cognitive decline. They point to the countless inconsistencies in character, plot, and overall quality of his two franchise strips. My take is that Batty works for a syndicate that’s happy just to have a fifty year old comic title to offer its paying customers, while providing minimal if any editorial oversight.

I give you today’s strip as evidence that TB has still got it, whatever “it” in his case means. Pete chimes in with the same remark he uttered three weeks ago, and naturally we hate-readers and everyone else is supposed to exclaim “got the reference!” Meanwhile, Pete really needs a new joke.

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I Want to Be More Like the Ocean

Banana Jr. 6000
December 2, 2021 at 9:16 am
They’ve already published a Subterranean book…they’re apparently working on another one, and they’re just now determining who their characters are? Going over their character roster is the only thing these Atomik Klowns ever do!

…aaaaand Mindy, “The Girl.”

Batiuk famously builds story arcs set in milieux around which his lack of actual understanding becomes glaringly evident: think moviemaking, or military service. But we all know him to be a bonafide, lifetime consumer and aficionado of comics and comic books. They are his sworn passion. Young Tom Batiuk even followed his dream to New York. “I met with an editor at DC Comics who ripped not only my work up and down but me as well for having had the temerity to show up at his office with it.” OK, it didn’t lead to his dream job, and he had to settle for being a mere “cartoonist.” Still, he knows and collaborates with people in the industry. Which industry, with very few exceptions, probably operates nothing like the way he depicts it here.

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All The News That’s Fit To Sit

“Really good news” for Ruby and Flash in today’s strip! We learned the “really good news” yesterday, of course, and Ruby and Flash will have to wait to learn it until… well, hopefully sometime this week. Please let them learn it sometime this week!

“What is the point of this strip?” is a question that could be asked about Funky Winkerbean almost daily, yes, and it is a question that is never going to lead to any satisfying answers… but let’s pontificate anyway on today’s long panel of pointlessness. Is there really any reason at all to not have Durwood, Mindy, and Mopey Pete tell Ruby and Flash in this strip that they will be honored at Comic-Con in a month? Not revealing the news to them today does absolutely nothing. There is no suspense for the reader because we all learned the news yesterday. There is no suspense or anticipation for the characters because they have barely expressed the need or even want to be recognized for their work. Ruby and Flash have been glorified props in nearly every strip they have appeared in, existing almost solely to help Atomik Komix’s hard-shirking employees shirk even harder. Why wouldn’t Comic-Con and the Eisner Awards reach out to Ruby and Flash directly instead of relaying the news to Pete? Why wouldn’t these three wait for the Eisner folks to inform Ruby and Flash even if they got the news first? Why would Ruby offer her sad-sack take on the state of the comics industry as a response to the question “guess what?” posed by a coworker? Shouldn’t everyone who works at Atomik Komix be well aware of the sales of both their titles and the titles of their competitors? And what is Flash even doing here? He doesn’t work for Atomik Komix. Please tell me he’s not going to become a fixture, the Dinkle to Pete’s Lefty…

All this is doing is padding out the week worse than I padded out the preceding paragraph by asking hopeless and rhetorical questions. Oh, silly me, the point of this strip was in front of me the whole time!

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People Like You (Dullard) and You (Jessica)

Link to today’s strip.

So Dullard was afraid that Jessica would think he was a nerd, because he was wearing glasses.

And then what? Divorce him? “Your honor, this man wears glasses. No wife wants a man who wears glasses.”

Seriously? I mean, sure there was a time when wearing glasses was considered “uncool” and perhaps a bit of a stigma…among school children, on television sitcoms. In the 1960‘s (at the latest). And I’m betting on each of those sitcoms the resolution was that it was “okay” to wear glasses.

Today, I’m not sure I know anyone who doesn’t wear glasses. It’s not a trait that really stands out anymore.

In a better comic strip, this could be the start of a “bit” that could be hilarious, as over the coming days Dullard tries increasingly bizarre ways to hide his glasses from Jessica. Because what else could his plan be?

Let me restate this: Dullard didn’t want Jessica to know he needs glasses. Since they are a married couple, and not casual acquaintances, this would be a very difficult achievement. “What are those?” “These? Nothing! Funky asked me to keep his glasses, just in case.” Later: “While we’re driving in the car, can you tell me when you see the signs for the exit for HorribleDemise Lane?” “Uh, I’ve got a better idea! Why don’t we ask Skyler, to test his reading ability?” “Oh, that’s such an awesome idea from a father! My father was murdered by the way.”

Skyler: “M-U-R-D-E-R-E-D. Murdered. Shot to death while on the air.”

This scenario, though, would require the creativity of 1950’s sitcom writer, which Batiuk can’t give, can’t even buy, and just doesn’t get.

Skyler: “A-E-O-N space F-L-U-X. Something unfathomably better than this horrible existence could ever be.”

(Sorry, I love that intro and wish I could do something half as cool.)

It’s another example of Tom Batiuk deciding that the first thing he thinks of would make a good story. “What if…Dullard had to wear glasses?” Well, what if? That’s just boring. “What if he wanted to hide this from Jessica?” What? That doesn’t make any sense! And it’s still boring!

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Krabby Petey

Banana Jr. 6000
December 4, 2020 at 12:36 pm 
…The joke is so mild and so botched, and the reaction is so ridiculously oversold, that the strip should be funny for how misguided it is.

Does anyone else think that Darin in the last panel looks like he was drawn by MAD’s Maddest Artist, Don Martin?

Tom Batiuk has frequently expressed, in his work and in interviews, that even though we call them “comics,” they don’t necessarily have to be “funny.” “I don’t see why a comic strip can’t carry the weight of substantial ideas,” he once said. But even a storyteller like Batiuk must cleanse the palate with the occasional standalone gag, or even a week’s worth of them. Everything about Pete’s “holiday joke” is lame, and the smugness with which he delivers it is just off the charts. Of course, the response is a hearty HA! HA! HA! from all but one of the Atomik staff.  At first, it looked to me as if Chester was the one admonishing Pete to “stick to writing drama,” which would make sense as he’s Pete’s boss. Naturally, as his fiancé, Mindy must come to Pete’s defense. But nobody knows better that his real soulmate, Darin, that flighty, distractible Pete needs help with focus. And anyway, his jokes suck.

Something that does not suck is the way Beckoning Chasm goes to work on Funky Winkerbean with a pair of pliers and a blowtorch, and his authoring stint begins with Monday’s comic. Stay safe and well and happy, people. –TFH

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Gone To Starseed

Link to today’s strip

We’ve been learning too much this week. All of us! The comments have been crammed with factoids about vinyl and Marvel, basketball and Bolsheviks, GI Joe and Ohio, lounge singers and long sandwiches.

And today, we learn that every atom in our bodies with an atomic number higher than hydrogen was originally forged in the heart of our universe’s first stars.

And due to the carbon cycle, probably every cell of our body is full of recycled shit. Just like this strip.

So, for everyone’s viewing pleasure, I have random panels of Stardust The Super Wizard and his weird tiny head and single facial expression. I will trust our team of crack commenters to regale us with wonderful Fletcher Hanks factoids!

And, my personal favorite:

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