Tag Archives: traveling green shirt

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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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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Sentencing The Construct

Link to today’s strip.

I think the original intent here was that Mason would say the production survived various disasters, and Les’ remark was meant to categorize his cameo among said disasters. It’s typical of this strip’s style of “humor,” which is either self-depreciation or a dreadful pun. It’s also typical in that it turns real life suffering into a moment for a horrible person (Les, in this case) to smirk about how he sure suffered too.

But the way Mason’s sentence is built, it sure looks like Les is claiming his cameo is “stellar work.” In which case, ego much, douchebag? Your cameo took take after take, frustrated and angered everyone involved, and actually drove up the budget.

If that’s not the case, then once again Tom Batiuk is taking overweening pride in that which does not exist: his writing ability. He could have taken an extra five minutes and constructed Mason’s dialogue to fix the “joke.” Conversely, I suppose his editors could have fixed it for him, but they’re too busy having a picnic with Bigfoot and Mothman.

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The Mindy Projection

Mindy may be front-and-center in today’s strip, but we all know she isn’t the real star. The real star is…

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The Pub-Lush-ing Industry

I think a considerable amount of time has passed between yesterday’s strip and today’s strip, because I’m pretty sure everyone today is three sheets to the wind and that Chester is holding the group’s 17th bottle of color-changing champagne (Also, Durwood changed his shirt). The only other explanation for “hobnailing” is that Flash is going full Crankshaft-mode here, and I refuse to believe that because the mere thought makes me physically ill. There is no explanation for everything Pete is doing regardless of the circumstances.

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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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