The Wheels On The Bus Fall Off And Off

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What? I’m staring at this thing, trying to see if maybe I’m missing something but I can’t for the life of me figure out what the joke is supposed to be here. Did he mean to say “hearsed” in panel three? I mean yeah, that’s awful but at least there’s a logic to it. If this is how he meant it to read, well, he’s got bigger issues than stupid boring pointless crossover arcs to worry about because this one is troubling-ly terrible.

Until this week I honestly had no idea that Crankshaft was just as full of contrived drippy pathos and attention-seeking melodrama as FW is. And here I thought it was all gags about the elderly and dumb malapropisms, but it turns out that’s merely half the story. It’s just like FW except instead of constantly whining about getting old, the CS characters already ARE old. It all makes such perfect sense now.

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Killing Ed Softly With Baton

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Few people remember how this legendary Act II arc ended up playing out. Dinkle did indeed stab Crankshaft, causing the bus to plunge into one of Ohio’s many ravines. A guilt stricken Dinkle rendered first aid to Crankshaft who managed to survive, but the entire band died of exposure while awaiting rescue. In one of the strip’s most harrowing twenty-two week sequences, Harry and Crankshaft resorted to cannibalism to survive long enough for Les and Lisa to rescue them.  Some of TB’s most chilling (pun intended) work.

The fact that Dinkle is the one reciting this retconned story makes it pretty creepy if you ask me. He’s flat-out admitting that he once threatened to kill a school bus driver for refusing to drive children through unsafe conditions. While that sort of thing was considered hilarious back in 1976, now it’d probably result in that weirdo Dinkle being banned from the school for life, at least. And he’s telling this story to a woman who lost her arm in a car crash, no less. Surprisingly tone-deaf stuff from a guy so in tune with the issues facing young people today and (zzzzzzzz).

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*(ZZZZ)

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Wow, what a listless outing. It’s hard to believe there’s an entire comic strip devoted to this grating, annoying and unfunny moron (Crankshaft, to be clear), but the mysteries of comic strip syndication are lost on me, so there you go. I’d also like to know how BanTom defines “a certain age” because his “Captain Video” gag* is totally lost on me too. A tad before my time, as they say, and I’m guessing yours as well. Way to pander to the prized “over-85″ demographic. At least he didn’t reference an old comic book this time, thank God. **

* It’s bad enough when you have to explain the joke, but when you have to explain the acronym that explains the joke you MIGHT be better served by just starting over from the beginning. In cases like this, the wastebasket is the comic strip author’s friend.

** Also, f*ck Les Moore. It just needed to be said.

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This. Weak.

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What could be worse than another Dinkle band convention arc? Ordinarily the acceptable answers would be “Les” or “nothing”, but today BanTom has a wild card up his sleeve in the form of that stupid f*cking bus-driving asshole Crankshaft, once again in retcon form. He JUST DID one of these horrible Crankshaft retcon jobs and it’s WAY too soon for another one now. I really hate Crankshaft and not in a fun “I can’t believe this still exists” kind of way, but like I hate yellow jackets at picnics and garbage juice dripping from the bottom of a full trash bag and pus seeping from an open wound. I try to encounter it as little as possible and when I accidentally stumble across it I’m instantly disgusted.  I’m never going to read it so stop trying to make me, OK? Nice “punchline” too, by the way.

As far as Becky goes, the sleeve is doing all the talking for her today. I told you, he never, ever passes up a chance to draw that sleeve. The Arm…never forget. Poor poor Becky, definitely one of the strip’s more downtrodden characters. She doesn’t really like her job, she’s married to a comic book store owner and she’s still always being overshadowed by Dinkle and his interminable stories. Plus there’s her mother, Wally and the arm thing too. She can’t even really smirk correctly either. It’s really quite a brutal legacy.

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Fine And Hand-y

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Hand-y…LOL. She’ll probably have an arm-y of supporters there, too. Perhaps the band could do a rendition of “Greensleeve” at the convention. So it turns out that this convention will indeed be held in Cleveland, which I guess is huge exciting news for the three Ohio music educators this strip and Harry’s woeful “joke” are aimed at. As for the rest of us, I think I’m speaking for at least some of us when I say we’d almost PREFER going back to the Mason Jarr arc than having to slog through a week’s worth of Dinkle’s incessant cackling and tiresome bullshit. I said almost, but still, that’s how much I despise New Old Dinkle and his idiotic “band director for life” routine.

I almost missed it but look carefully through the glass in panel one and you’ll see it. BanTom NEVER lets a Becky appearance go by without reminding the reader that she only has one arm. See it there, all pinned-up and missing? The Arm…never forget. I will, however, do my best to forget that can opener-like schozz Harry is sporting in that horrific panel two profile shot, which is a wordless representation of everything I hate about Dinkle. Blech.

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Take The Long Box Home

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Oh brother. DT and Sam are actually using a WPD vehicle to deliver comic books? Another example of Westviewian tax dollars at work. Nice jawline on DT in the last panel, you could chip ice with that profile. I don’t have a protractor handy but that looks like a 90 degree angle to me. And Holly looks like the world’s worst female impersonator today, especially in that last panel. Yikes.

But as shoddy as the artwork may be, it’s nothing compared to the incomprehensible dialog, which makes no sense whatsoever. First of all, Holly isn’t selling the comic books, Komix Korner is. Second, I don’t recall Holly “learning” anything at all during the Comic-Con arc, as all she did was stand around confusedly while looking stupid. And I’m 100% certain she knew how to do that long before she went to San Diego.

The best line of all, though, is DT’s bit about the “shadiness” of comic book geeks. For a guy who loves comic books as much as BanTom does, he sure has a negative opinion of, well, pretty much everyone else into or involved with the hobby. I guess what he’s trying to say here is that even though they may look and behave like a bunch of filthy disgusting morons, it’s the comic book memories in their hearts that truly matter…or something. I’m not really sure and at this point I’m WAY too sick of comic f*cking books to ponder it for even a millisecond longer. And anyhow, if the guy writing the story has no idea what it means what chance do I have of figuring it out?

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No Good Deed Goes Un-Comic Booked

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So Holly somehow topped Chester The Chiseler’s $50,000 bid in order to repay John for helping her to acquire a bunch of Starbuck Jones comic books for nothing? And now John owes Holly at least $50,001 for the favor? Welcome to BanTom’s whacked-out comic book-centric fantasy world, where happiness is bagged, slabbed, tagged and longboxed. There’s no need to point out the gigantic logic holes here, as the entire thing is a huge logic hole. I don’t mean this story specifically, I mean the entire strip.

Get a load of Skunky’s unbridled joy upon learning that he now owes Holly a cool fifty grand. Why, he’s just like a kid whose parents put themselves into crippling debt to buy him a candy store! I certainly hope Holly hides the vodka and firearms BEFORE she informs Funky about this rather implausible development, or we’ll be re-visiting Act II before you know it.

And, uh, what happened to Dick Tracy? It’s like the big crossover never even happened, which in a way it kind of didn’t, now that I think about it. Oh well, at least it didn’t involve Les in any way, thank God.

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