The Finals Countdown

Link To Today’s Strip

Now I’m officially (even more) confused. I thought Wally and Rachel were in that group Santa-hat photo yesterday but apparently I was mistaken, as it appears that I was actually seeing a younger Funky and Holly…I guess. Maybe it’d be easier to tell who these characters are supposed to be if he’d bother to differentiate between them somehow, like by giving them different noses or something. And now Bull…who looks exactly the same as he does now, BTW…is involved too. And HE always make things funnier…right? RIGHT? Sigh.

And that school bus parked outside can only mean one thing…it’s Crankshaft Crossover time again. Sigh. You can kind of see him there in panel two, along with anon-o-characters who are probably “Crankshaft” regulars although I wouldn’t know as I never read that strip. And I’m certainly not going to start now, either. In fact I usually totally forget Crankshaft even exists until he does these crossovers. And I prefer it that way, as “Crankshaft” blows. Sigh.

(And speaking of FW-related comic strips no one reads…get your fill right here!)


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

24 responses to “The Finals Countdown

  1. I’m confused who the woman is too. I thought the young Holly was blond. And did Bull ever work at Montoni’s? The way that the Crankshaft cast is dropped in without any apparent change in age makes it appear that Crazy Harry’s time pool actually exists in the Funkyverse (when it’s convenient, that is).

  2. SpacemanSpiff85

    I have a feeling that tomorrow the team will consist of Funky, Cindy, Khan, and Mason Jarr, because who cares.

  3. Rusty

    That’s Rachel the waitress, unless it’s some other waitress I can’t remember. It’s strange he can no longer draw a younger Funky.

  4. Rachel the waitress was a redhead from her introduction until she married Wally, at which point she turned blonde for no apparent reason.

    Actually, this is the first appearance by Rachel since the wedding. Too bad it is coming during a potentially very shitty Crankshaft crossover that absolutely no one wants or needs.

  5. All the other teams died in the multi-car pileup on the main road through town. Cell Phone Lady was probably involved somehow.

  6. Epicus Doomus

    So how far back in the strip does Rachel go? I thought she was strictly an Act III character, was she around before that? And how many “years back” is this supposed to be? Does he do crossover arcs the other way too, where a FW character visits the Crankyverse?

  7. billytheskink

    Barry Balderman, from shoulda-been Westview High valedictorian to working the counter at a decrepit bowling alley in Shaker Heights… Still, easily the most successful Scapegoat grad of all time.

    I have to admit, Jim Nabors joining the Montoni’s Rollers in panel 3 was an unexpected twist.

  8. I know it’s late and all but, if the Crankshaft crossover is in the present and Funky says the bowling match was years ago doesn’t that mean the, ummm, current Funkyverse is in the future? WTF???

  9. A HREF

    After reading the linked John Darling strips I think John Darling, father of Jessica, whose father John Darling was murdered, … wait. I think that John Darling was murdered because the strip sucked and no one cared. TB story that he killed JD to keep it from being revived by the syndicate is freaking bogus. Nothing easier in comics than to bring back the dead or make it all a dream. That is if it were ever a strip anyone cared about with characters that anyone cared about.

    Also TB needs a freaking editor or webmaster or something fro his blog. When one clicks on the strips to embiggen them, then half the strip is hidden.

    Also is that Holly or Rachel? Does anyone care. And younger Funky now has young Durwood’s nose in panel three.

    • My Father John Darling Who Was Murdered was pretty much a strip with topical humor not unlike “Family Guy…” but because Batiuk made it into such a topical strip (JD interviewed pop celebrities and all that) newspapers, even his flagship Elyria Chronicle-Telegram ran the strip in the TV listings section. No one ran it in the comics section.

      As the universe of cable channels exploded in 1989-1990, that crowded out JD entirely. The C-T was not immune, although it was an afternoon paper until 2005 or so.

      Batiuk has claimed that he killed off the strip so he could have time to pitch a Crankshaft TV series to Disney. And he’s also claimed that “editorial control” excuse, too. Frankly, I don’t know the real reason, and I don’t care.

  10. What Batiuk loses sight of in situations like this is that most newspapers only carry one of his boring strips about tedious, antisocial people no one cares about. It’s par for the course, though. He also doesn’t realize that no one cares if these unlikable ciphers win because they’re so blasted dull. Crankshaft is a bitter old grump no one will do anything about and Funky is a greedy, whiny bucket of lard who gets a weekly nutshot from a sadistic God and he isn’t even the star of his own strip and no one cares if he wins or loses either.


    Now is this Drunk Funky or Sober Funky? Is that Bully Bull or Not Really a Bully Retcon Bull? Is that Rachel the Waitress or color mixup on Holly by the artist? It’s really sad when the only consistent character is Super Mario Bros Montoni over there.

  12. Jim in Wisc.

    The really sad thing about this crossover, is that Batty is using the exact same dialogue in both strips today. Talk about the heights of laziness.

  13. Today’s Crankshaft and FW strips are basically identical, except for a few notable exceptions:

    1. A school bus is parked in front of the bowling alley in Crankshaft, but the Montoni’s delivery van is parked in front in FW next to the school bus.
    2. The MARGO sign is red in FW and blue in Crankshaft
    3. Panel two is pretty much identical for both strips, and each of the FW and Crankshaft teams are standing there with the same empty stares.
    4. FW frames have the tell tale photo corners to indicate that we’re looking into the past.
    5. Panel 3 is also pretty much identical in both strips.

    I’m expecting this trend to continue through the week. Each of the strips will be identical except for the characters depicted, until something really stupid happens on Saturday to wrap the whole thing up in the most anticlimactic way possible.

    I know that bowling is an activity that is regularly depicted as happening in Crankshaft, but I don’t think it has ever been referenced as an activity that any of the Montoni’s people (or anyone else in Westview for that matter) ever engage in for the entire time I’ve read the strip.

    Perhaps the bowling match this week will end in a stalemate, and they’ll meet next week at Lois Lanes for a rematch.

  14. As a placeholder toward getting to that magical 50th anniversary, this one isn’t that bad. I like the way the “Margo Lanes” sign is drawn, and the footprints leading from the van are nicely placed and give a good sense of distance.

    The rest of it…well, it exists.

  15. billytheskink

    As I recall, Rachel O’Connor (yes I had to look up her maiden name) was introduced in Act II as a college student, working at Montoni’s to help pay her way through. She was one of the four waitresses Montoni’s had for a notable length of time during Act II: Rachel, Becky “Lefty” Blackburn-Winkerbean, Cindy’s kid sister Sadie Summers, and… (sigh) the one and only Lisa Crawford-Moore. I think, collectively, they were TB’s attempt at a Greek Chorus. I don’t recall anything ever coming of Rachel’s college classes. She still works at Montoni’s, so we can reasonably infer what happened there.

    As far as crossovers working the other way, with FW characters visiting Crankshaft, yes that does/has happened. Off the top of my head I recall Crankshaft watching college-age Cayla play softball for Akron University and getting advice from then-homeless Ann Apple on one of his trips to New York to visit the daughter lucky enough not to live with him. Back in Act II, Darin and Pete’s pal Mooch Myers dated Crankshaft’s granddaughter Mindy Murdoch, presumably because TB thought alliteration was all the rage.

    It’s healthier not to think about it, but if you really want a fair stab at explaining the timeline of the Batiukverse then keep on reading…

    When Crankshaft was launched in 1987, FW was still in its original “Act I” timeline with the main characters still in high school. TB moved Crankshaft from his original role as a Westview school bus driver over to the same role in Centerville to give the strip its own space and lineup of characters. When FW jumped 4 years into the future in 1992 (Act II), Crankshaft’s timeline was essentially, though not explicitly that I remember, retconned to parallel Act II FW. When FW jumped another 10 years to Act III in 2007, Crankshaft remained parallel to the Act II timeline. So, yes, currently-running FW time is in the future for currently-running Crankshaft.

    But there’s more, and here’s where it gets messy. Because FW and Crankshaft have always been depicted as present day (they are not period pieces despite all of the Lisa VHS tapes), TB has continually retconned his past strips to move them further back in time to accommodate the years he’s skipped. This first happened at the beginning of Act II in 1992, in which the primary cast’s just-occurred graduation was said to have happened in 1988. One immediately apparent Act I anachronism that resulted from this is that MTV’s Karen Duffy, who did not become a VJ until 1990, covered Cindy’s graduation party in a strip published just one week before the Act II time jump occurred. Early in Act III, the main cast’s graduation was pushed further back, to 1978, in order to accommodate a 30 year reunion story line while still keeping the strip set in 2008. This means about 70% of Act I was published after it “happened”, resulting in countless continuity issues with the older strips. One of note is Donna/The Eliminator’s proficiency at video games (still mentioned in Act III), particularly Space Invaders. Space Invaders did not see wide release until some months after a 1978 high school class would have graduated.

    So we are left with a present in which Crankshaft and FW both happen in a time somewhat near the present day, but Crankshaft is also 10 years in the past, and FW’s often drawn-upon past is 14 years further in the past then the time period it reflects, and Darin graduated high school in 2007 but was born to high school-age Lisa in 1987, who was close to if not part of a high school class that graduated in 1992 but really in 1988 and then really in 1978, which means Darin was born in… Ugh.

  16. Crankshaft engenders reader loyalty with its engaging storylines and Crankshaft’s muddled aphorisms. The strip is a spin-off of Tom Batiuk’s immensely popular high school comic, Funky Winkerbean.

    Now that’s funny. Gotta love a spin-off that engenders loyalty and also has muddled aphorisms.

  17. billytheskink,

    So the bottom line is that by doing all of this stupid time jumping, TB has managed to thoroughly mess things up. If Darin is now believed to be born to DSL in the 1970’s based on a graduation date of 1978, he should be nearing or in his 40s, as should Jessica “my father John Darling who was murdered”.

  18. @Gerard Plourde: There’s only one way to fix the messy convolution Batiuk has made of his continuity: get an angry Glaswegian in a blue box to start shooting people.

  19. @billytheskink – The thing is, Batiuk keeps messing up his own continuity (or, conversely, displays more evidence that he just doesn’t care). I remember when Bull was getting the football team picture, he specifically said “it’s time for the 2014 team picture” instead of the more vague “this year’s.”

    When your only goal is a 50th anniversary, nothing else matters but putting out one strip after the other.

    Hey, you know how Batiuk could really deal us a blow? If he ended FW before the 50th anniversary. He’d sure show us then! I’d suggest the 44th anniversary, myself.

  20. ComicBookHarriet

    With Batty’s longstanding love of comics history is it any wonder his own continuity is a muddled mess? Anyone remember when Captain America was thawed only fifteen years after World War two? Or how Pres. Bill Clinton showed up at Superman’s Funeral? Which was still a canon thing that had happened up to 2012, but had always happened less than five years ago?

  21. Jim in Wisc.

    Epicus Doomus wrote: (And speaking of FW-related comic strips no one reads…get your fill right here!)

    The entry for November 25th is a full on confession explaining Batty’s hatred of comic book editors. Even if that guy at DC Comics was being a complete asshole, I give him major props for putting this hack in his place. Actually, I would love to see those mock-up drawings Batty did. I can’t for the life of me believe he ever possessed the time or the patience to create drawings of the quality and detail expected by comic book publishers.


    “Crankshaft engenders reader loyalty”

    Reader loyalty!!?? I challenge someone to find an actual loyal Crankshaft reader that isn’t a snarker.

    I will pay a Starbucks Jone’s #1 mint condition copy to the man that finds such a human being.

  23. Epicus Doomus

    Thanks billy, the Darin timeline is especially baffling as now BanTom seems to be ignoring his time as a Big City MBA, which was supposedly where Boy Lisa was during the nebulous “time jump”. Now, all of a sudden, Darin & Jessica are “young kids just starting out” which is, of course, totally wrong.