Tag Archives: Phil Holt

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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No Country For Old Comic Book Men

Link To Today’s Strip

That’s right, BatYam, it’s the readers who are wrong. This attitude sure explains an awful lot. “Crappy serialized stories that plod along for weeks on end and never go anywhere are what comic strip authors choose to publish!”…yep, they sure do. It’s one of American popular culture’s most enduring and vexing conundrums.

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Hot Button Issue

Link to Today’s Annoying Vertical Strip

“Rapping Around”??? Oh…I get it. “Rapping” meant something else in those days. Way to date yourself there, Batton. Sigh. Obviously the gag here is how Batton was tackling these timely, topical issues way, way back in the 1970s, when everyone started giving a hoot and not polluting. And Batton is all wistful about it as he realizes that his “art” made no difference whatsoever. And it’s all very hilarious, in that patented unfunny way of his. I’d like to throw the whole lot of them in that river, preferably with cinder blocks chained to their ankles.

Why is this an annoying vertical strip? Panel one, the fake strip, panel two, word balloon one, panel three, word balloon two. How hard was that? Something about that pseudo-Funky font really irks me, too. “Rapping Around” my ass.

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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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Smell That Oceanaire

No prizes for anyone who saw this coming: a Sunday Sideways Comic Book Cover, the Oceanaire’s second and James Pascoe’s third in three months.

For this one, Pascoe’s softened the character’s looks, compared to her first cover and especially compared to the Elementals Force cover, where she appears to be throwing up. As clumsily composed as that cover was, at least it depicted action. While her posture is one of repose, her fists are clenched, and the Oceanaire gazes intently at the viewer. For an artwork created by a nonagenarian cartoonist, on a drawing board under a floating fluorescent lamp, this sure looks…digitized. Everything surrounding The OC’s face is soft and blurry. Is she standing underwater? Or mostly submerged, lying on her back on a vast bed of garbage?

To answer Phil’s question: the cover doesn’t need more trash, just for the trash to be realistically drawn. These floating bottles and cans are rendered in such odd shapes and sizes, so generically as to be almost abstract. And I don’t even wanna know what those white blobs are floating around her collarbones.

Billytheskink takes over the reins with Monday’s strip. Thanks for reading! Stay Funky and stay tuned for news about a couple special events!

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A Funky Thing Happened on the Way to Flash’s Forum

beckoningchasm
March 2, 2022 at 10:35 pm
When Pete says “You addressed climate change in that column” it sounds like either 1) the column only ran once and was sensibly discontinued, or 2) every single column that appeared was about climate change. Because that’s how that sentence reads.

But wait, BC, there’s a third option: reprint that eco-sermon from 1972 in every ish of their new comic. That wouldn’t be too preachy, would it? Many of you have pointed out that the Stan Lee “quote” was addressing pollution, not climate change. While both topics are of course related, climate change has only more recently been regarded as a threat. By characterizing it as “climate damage,” Pete’s making Flash and Stan sound like they were ahead of their time.

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We Deserve No Pity

Link to today’s word zeppelin.

“[French director] Alain Resnais…was a student of American culture who had learned much of his English from comic books. He was a huge admirer of the Marvel Universe and of [Stan] Lee…Their first project was The Monster Maker, a pop-art parody about a frustrated movie producer who seeks creative and spiritual redemption by making a film about pollution. With gentle direction from Resnais, Lee wrote a full script…The Monster Maker‘s protagonist, Larry Morgan, is an apparent stand-in for Lee himself. Morgan produces schlocky horror pictures that make money and are popular with kids, but he can’t help but feel that he’s reached a dead end. He is despondent about his life and his job, and what he craves more than anything is recognition from an adult audience [emphasis added]. Through a series of story twists, Morgan embarks on a ‘serious’ film project to expose the evils of pollution. There’s some violence, a fire, and then a climactic montage sequence in which a monstrous wave of pollution descends upon New York City, choking the sky, the waterways, and the streets. The true horror, it is revealed in less than subtle fashion, is the accumulation of garbage that we so callously resign to landfills, mindless of the terrible price that we might pay in the future.

“The movie closes with a voice-over:

We deserve no pity, for we have done this to ourselves. We were placed on this Earth, this veritable Eden, with all we could ask for, all we could desire, ours for the taking. We were warmed by the sun, nurtured by the soil, and sheltered by the trees. The life-giving waters flowed pure and clear, and the air that sustained us would sustain us forever. Or, so we thought. So we thought...

“…At one point in the movie, Larry Morgan tells his ex-wife, Catherine, about his new, meaningful work. She glows with pride: ‘Larry, you must have known how I always felt about those shallow horror films of yours. I always wondered how you could bring yourself to keep grinding out such juvenile, unintellectual pablum. But now, to think of you tackling a worthwhile theme like pollution—to think of you turning your back on commercialism in order to say something that must be said—Oh, Larry—I can’t tell you how thrilled—how proud of you I am.‘ Unlike Morgan, Lee wasn’t exactly turning his back on commercialism. He and Resnais sold The Monster Maker in 1971 for $25,000. The script gathered dust and was never made.”

Raphael, Jordan and Spurgeon, Tom. Stan Lee and the Rise and Fall of the American Comic Book. 2003

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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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The Last Inaction Heroes

Is Pete eating an invisible apple or clutching an invisible oxygen mask? Discuss.

I actually like Flash’s misconstrual of Pete’s concept–in which the Elemental Force use their mediocre superpowers to punish humanity for climate crimes–much better than what Pete’s actually proposing. I’d even rather see a Captain Planet ripoff, which is where a couple snarkers have suggested this was going. “They should battle human inaction!” What’s that going to look like in a comic book? Probably less like Cap’n Planet and more like Woodsy Owl.

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Legion of Dume

ComicBookHarriet
February 27, 2022 at 11:00 pm
You just introduced the Strong Force. Four villains that need to be fleshed out and differentiated. That can get you through an entire 12 issue year, if not more.

Suicide Squirrel
February 28, 2022 at 4:56 pm
New villains for the Elementals Force? Already?…Has the mighty ‘Strong Force’ already been dispatched? Were they defeated on that comic book cover before the story even started?

Pete’s eyebags threaten to engulf his prominent nose.

One of the “contemporary issues affecting young adults” that Batiuk depicts “in a thought-provoking and sensitive manner” is climate change. Jim Kablichnick has long been Batty’s go-to mouthpiece, while more recently, Funky and Les each have held forth on this important topic. Now barely three weeks after they’ved developed a personal, subatomic foe for each of their four elemental heroes, Pete hijacks the newly created franchise with a climate change angle, even leveraging his wildfire survivor cred to make his point.

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