*(ZZZZ)

Link To Today’s Strip

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.

34 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

34 responses to “*(ZZZZ)

  1. SpacemanSpiff85

    Even with the explanation the joke makes no sense. It’s not like all kids stars are known for using megaphones or anything. And I guess the little photo album frame things aren’t enough, now Batiuk is using sepia tone?

  2. That’s how you keep things relevant for The Kids These Days: by flashing back (at least) ten years ago so you can have a crotchety old bus driver reference a television show that went off the air sixty years ago.

  3. Nathan Obral

    First of all, the unbelievable footnote:
    *FTCA (For Those of a Certain Age) A former kids’ TV star.

    Captain Video aired in the early 1950s. And I don’t remember reading that the DuMont show ever aired in Cleveland. In fact, only one person I know of (a DuMont historian) would get the joke.

    Excuse me a minute…

  4. Nathan Obral

    Seeing Harry Dinkle in his classic full Neidermeyer mode and Crankshaft at his most… well, “cranky”… it makes you wish that they both could be propelled into that crystal the bad guys in Superman II were banished into for all eternity.

    Seriously… where’s the joke? Not that I’m asking for a belly laugh, but I would rather have seen the rejected rough sketches instead of this.

  5. billytheskink

    In fairness to TB, Dinkle does dress like Captain Video and that’s probably better than the first derisive nickname that came to my mind, “Mussolini”. You know, because of the megalomania, and the square jaw, and the desire of most well-adjusted and free people to see him hanged…

  6. Nathan Obral

    Here’s Crankshaft in a nutshell:

    1) He’s a grumpy old man.
    2) Everyone of his punchlines is a ridiculous malapropism that makes Westviewian English sound normal by comparison. (The joke today here is, he MEANT to say “Captain Obvious…” haha, it’s funny because he’s old.)
    3) He’s not even the worst character in his own strip, as that honor is reserved for Jeff’s mother, Rose.
    4) EVERYONE hates him. Literally EVERYONE.
    5) He will die in a few years anyway.

    And… that’s about it.

  7. Gyre

    Well we’ve got a new staple of FW, flashbacks so you can have crossovers. I wonder if he wishes he was still writing for the first time jump FW instead.

  8. SpacemanSpiff85

    Also from what I can tell Batiuk completely made up “FTCA”. This might be the stupidest thing I’ve seen yet in this strip.

  9. I wish I had a job where I could paid for doing nothing. Seriously, I am envious of Tom Batiuk in this regard.

  10. Nathan Obral

    ISTCSYDHT (I Saw Today’s Crankshaft So You Don’t Have To) and… wow. An Act I FW gag that completely fell flat on its face.

  11. Rusty

    Maybe Captain Kangaroo would have worked here, and people would have actually heard of him? Why does Batiuk make it so hard?

  12. Wow. Are we being insulted here? Today’s strip might have functioned if Crankshaft had simply said “that includes you!!!” and left it at that.

  13. He could have used “Captain America” instead and then, you know, comic books.

    Or maybe “Captain Boomerang” since this was a joke that he threw up and it flew around and almost hit his skull when he wasn’t watching. Also, plus, comic books.

  14. @Nathan Orbal:

    6) No matter what he destroys out of pea-brained malice or who he offends out of self-righteous jackassery, no one does ANYTHING or says ANYTHING to him. All they do is frown in impotent rage because he was on Omaha Beach and thus can never be told to quit being a full-on shitbird.

  15. Nathan Obral

    @SpacemanSpiff85: ‘Also from what I can tell Batiuk completely made up “FTCA”. This might be the stupidest thing I’ve seen yet in this strip.’

    I could think of something else ‘FTCA’ stands for. But this is a family blog.

    Why not ‘FWIW’ (For What It’s Worth)? Or ‘BTW’ (By The Way)? Or ‘IIRC’ (If I Remember Correctly)?

  16. Nathan Obral

    Continuing from yesterthread, I also want to welcome @Dave G on board.

    Today’s strips are sad to read. Act I Funky wasn’t the greatest strip ever, but it was like a Ford Escort: durable and dependable. I liked Act I Harry Dinkle because the strip was a satire and his character was ludicrously over the top. I occasionally refer to him as Harry Neidermeyer even though his character predated Animal House by well over five years (and was an exaggerated caricature of a band director in Avon Lake, Ohio back in the 1960s).

    It’s when Batom® forced Cerebus Syndrome on the strip and retconned the hell out of all the characters that it all took a major turn for me. These should be funny, but the contrived notion of whom Harry Dinkle is, and the underlying theme of the Funkyverse, makes it hard to read.

    It all goes back to my main complaint against the strip… the poor quality of the writing.

    And there’s little to defend about Crankshaft. It’s basically a version of “Dennis the Menace” where Dennis doesn’t exist, and Mr. Wilson is free to be a grump to everyone he meets. Or the sitcom “Becker” where the ensemble cast never existed.

    If Rose was the exact opposite of Crankshaft – a kind, selfless person with a fervent joy of life – and written in as his equal, a dynamic would exist along the lines of “Dennis the Menace” or “Becker” and the strip would have been much more successful. That’s where Batom® blew it, IMO (In My Opinion).

  17. @SpacemanSpiff85: It’s not like Batiuk to use an ordinary abbreviation lie “FYI” or “BTW” like we would. He’s sort of insulated in his little alcove and he tends to forget that there’s a whole wide wonderful world out there. He seems to live in one in which egomaniacs are simply left to fester unchallenged.

  18. sgtsaunders

    He could have just said “That includes you, Cap’n Crunch”, but any strip where Crankshaft gets into it nip and tuck with Dinkle is A-OK by me. FTOACA – “A-OK” is space age slang for “Everything is groovy”. FTOACA – “Groovy” means – oh never mind.

  19. Jim in Wisc.

    Like yesterday’s obscure musical reference as punchline, using a reference to a little-known TV show that went off the air 60 years ago is a huge fail.

    On top of that, actually doing a well-coordinated crossover with his other strip, L’Auteur Glorieux only reinforces the fact that his “crossover” with Dick Tracy last week was basically non-existent.

  20. Jim in Wisc.

    Nathan Obral wrote: And there’s little to defend about Crankshaft. It’s basically a version of “Dennis the Menace” where Dennis doesn’t exist, and Mr. Wilson is free to be a grump to everyone he meets.

    I’d go so far as to say it’s like DtM where Mr. Wilson absorbed the worst parts of the title character. Cranky is not only a wholly unlikeable crab, he’s also a destructive child (or in his case, man-child). He constantly backs over his good friend’s mailbox, constantly blows up BBQ grills, and once nearly burned down not only his house, but also his neighbor’s.

  21. “Why can’t they just sit there down and depressed like the football team does?” is the punch line in today’s Crankshaft. It’s uttered by the title character, lending credence to the idea that he’s not actually a human, but some sort of badly designed alien cyborg.

  22. I Googled “Captain Video” and the joke does make a little sense, but any of the alternatives suggested above would work at least as well. Anyway, I’m “of a certain age” (12 years younger than Tom Batiuk) and when I hear “Captain Video” this is the image that comes to my mind:

  23. I’ve heard of (but never seen) Captain Video. And like you, TFH, the image that comes to mind when I hear the name is a lot like…Starbuck Jones.

  24. FTCA*

    (F**k This Crossover, Already)

  25. @oddnoc: The really irritating thing is having to read Crankshaft’s backstory in which he’s given the excuse of a stillborn son, a wife who died of cancer, failed career hopes and a blighted life because he was too stubborn to actually attend an adult literacy class until he was in his sixties. It’s like he’s PVP’s Batman: “If I can’t be happy….no one else is going to be either…..”

  26. bad wolf

    I always thought Crankshaft got excused by not being racist. They’d have some flashback to his baseball days, with him not being a complete tool to some Person Of Color, and voila!, i guess he’s not as bad as he seems.

  27. Epicus Doomus

    Paul Jones: Seriously? I thought CS was the “lighter” of the two strips, but I guess he just couldn’t resist.

  28. Not only did Crankshaft’s spouse die of cancer (a thing I learned today), but Ayers’s lettering is getting sloppy. It doesn’t have the capital ells that look like minuscule aitches, but he did run the aitch and the oh in “whole” together, and he failed to close the dee in “afraid”. But that’s not his worst sin. His worst sin is faithfully transcribing the atrocious dialogue that BanTom sends him. These guys badly need an editor. Or a permanent vacation. Something.

  29. $$$WESTVIEW ONCOLOGIST$$$

    I asked my grandma about about Captain Video and even she had no fucking idea what I was talking about!

  30. Epicus Doomus

    I honestly had no idea that CS has been just as unremittingly grim as FW. Cancer? Dead wife? Stillbirths? Illiteracy? And all inflicted upon just one guy? At least FW spreads the misery around and gives everyone a chance to suffer equally.

    Why couldn’t he just be a cranky miserable jerk? Why did he need to be “fleshed-out” to that degree? I mean an old guy who’s just an angry miserable crank COULD be funny, but an angry miserable crank who got that way after a lifetime of terrible misfortune and sadness, uh…isn’t really quite as hilarious. At least to me, that is.

  31. Nathan Obral

    @Epicus Doomus: If that wasn’t enough, the saga of Lucy MacKenzie (the nicer of the MacKenzie twins who suffered from Alzheimer’s for close to a decade before dying) was without a doubt the warmup act for how Batom® killed off St. Lisa the Cancer Chew Toy.

    Those who think CS is the lighthearted part of the Funkyverse haven’t seen the strip. It’s worse.

  32. Hadda Mae Kapupe

    So BatHack has to explain the “joke”… then explain the totally obscure acronym he used in explaining the “joke.” Cool beans. Let’s just go over this again from the top until EVERYBODY’S laughing! Oh HO! Oh HO! Oh HO!

    Meanwhile, exactly what is this arc? Is it a Crankshaft crossover? Is it a Dinkleberry flashback? (I’m sure Ol’ One Arm just LIVES for her retired-but-not-retired predecessor’s endless tedious stories!) Not that I’m eagerly awaiting the “Mason Jarrrr Visits Taj MOORE Hal to Read Comic Books” train wreck, but is Hollywood Movie Actor Boy riding his bike from California to Ahia? Taking a helluva long time for him to get there.

  33. Yes, Crankshaft is definitely the lighter of the two strips. Or at least it used to be until somewhere around the last decade or so. Especially NOW. The two strips are somewhat the same these days, gloominess and bad/lazy writing and all. In fact, you could say that Crankshaft is a very “bipolar” strip. Funny one week, Funky the next.