Bowling For Imbeciles

Link To Today’s Masterpiece

So they went out and bought bowling shirts, THEN discovered that one of their teammates can’t bowl at all? Brilliant. With BanTom’s vast archives of gags like this one, no wonder has needs two daily strips, as one just ain’t enough. I’m assuming that those “Crankshaft” characters have names but please, don’t share them, OK? I think I’m happier not knowing.

Seriously though, what a shitty gag. Why even bother with doing a crossover if you’re not going to put anything into it? Like with that Dick Tracy arc earlier this year, it was so listless and so lifeless you could only wonder why he did it in the first place. I mean it couldn’t possibly be any easier for him, you have Crankshaft show up on Monday, act like a real dick on Tuesday, then repeat it four more times. Apparently you’re supposed to be reading CS this week as a sort of FW “companion piece” that helps the “jokes” make more sense but frankly that seems like way too much trouble IMO. And there still isn’t any payoff even if you do, but you already knew that.

But if you’re a glutton for punishment…here ya go.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

19 responses to “Bowling For Imbeciles

  1. For those of you who are not followers of Crankshaft, the woman pictured here is the prototypical loser of the strip. She is ridiculously incompetent in everything she does – her baked goods are only suitable as doorstops or driving in nails, so of course her bowling skills are unbelievably bad. Strangely absent from the CS bowling team is Mary, who is basically the polar opposite of Lena. What you’re seeing here this week is pretty much the entire premise of Crankshaft. All of the “humor” of this strip is based on either outlandish exaggerations or nonsensical malapropisms. If the characters in that strip really behaved the way they are depicted to behave, they would be dead, incarcerated, unemployed, or homeless (because Crankshaft destroyed their homes doing something outlandish). It has the same gags every year (Crankshaft always finds some creative way to cause a five alarm fire every fourth of July), and they are too ridiculous to be funny.

  2. Okay, I assume that, given the drop-flecked can in Funky’s hand, that this is still when he was a raging alcoholic. So how can he remember any this, sloshed out as he is on two 16-oz cans of Milwaukee’s Best?

  3. billytheskink

    From last year’s inexplicable Variety article on FW:

    He also maintains a strange connection between “Funky” and another comic he writes, “Crankshaft,” about a grumpy older gentleman. The two strips sometimes cross over, but complexity reigns when they do.

    Definition of the word “understatement”.

    After all, when Batiuk set “Funky Winkerbean” ten years, “Crankshaft” remained hitched to its original moment in time. When “Crankshaft” characters appear in “Funky” panels, they are a decade older (and the senior-citizen protagonist is stuck in a home for the elderly, unable to care for himself). Where else in the comics can readers get a glance of a where a character is ultimately headed? “It takes a little thought, but it can be done,” says Batiuk.

    Evidently, it takes very little thought.

    These ideas, the cartoonist says, “bring people back every day” in a way that a daily joke may not. “Your jobs (sic) is to chase your characters up a tree and then throw rocks at them every day,” he says,


  4. I really hate the “Lena is a terrible baker/bowler/golfer/whatever” jokes in Crankshaft They always feel like petty and mean-spirited attacks on a woman who already has enough grief, what with being Crankshaft’s boss and apparently unable to fire him for some strange reason. And today we get a double dose. Goody.

  5. Epicus Doomus

    Every Guy McAuthor puff piece interview always makes the Batiukverse out to be this complex, intertwining world full of far-reaching and well-planned story arcs that touch on “realistic” topics, like the kind you and I face every day. And if you actually read FW every day you can’t help but wonder what in the hell he’s babbling about because the actual strip bears no resemblance whatsoever to the version that exists during those interviews.

    That timeline crap is utter hokum, just total bullshit. There’s a time discrepancy between the two strips because a) the Act III time skip was way too much for BanTom to handle so he’s more or less ignored it as he sees fit and b) Crankshaft has become his dumping ground for zany “elderly people” gags and by aging Crankshaft he can do more of them. That’s it. Pretending he planned it all out that way is a flat-out lie. “A little thought” my ass. He put less thought into this arc than I did with this very sentence.

  6. Odd. A lazy, delusional artist churning out slop about a woman inept at everything she does would make for a convincing villain in the hands of a competent author.

  7. Rusty Shackleford

    Wow, what a clever gag…you read Crankshaft then Funky and it all makes sense.

    Wait, no it doesn’t. What a waste of two strips. And I thought newspaper real estate was priceless.

  8. “Your jobs (sic) is to chase your characters up a tree and then throw rocks at them every day,” he says,

    What a revealing metaphor – TB hates his characters (with the possible exception of the “O Lord of Language”, Les Moore) and thinks his fantasy job is to bully them.

  9. Jimmy

    That bowling bowl is pretty cool, though.

  10. Jimmy

    Bowling ball, not bowl. I put as much effort into writing that comment as TB out into today’s strip

  11. @Epicus – I suspect no editor, anywhere, has ever told a reporter “Son, go out and get the lowdown on this Funky Winkerbean strip. Our readers are clamoring to know the real scoop.”

    All these interviews are just press releases, sewn in to a magazine to fill copy space. Tom Batiuk probably has a standard “interview” that he sends out, and the author then just cuts, pastes, and collects his check.

  12. Jim in Wisc.

    @TheDiva: His treatment of Lena in Crankshaft is just another manifestion of Batty’s contempt for all of his characters, save for the saintly delicate genuius, Mr. Leslie Moore.

  13. Professor Fate

    And the strip today is simply “Women. Amirite?” Mailed in misogyny is not only not funny it tells the reader – I spent more time drawing the flowers on the bowling ball (women again) than I did thinking about the strip itself.

  14. The grammar in today’s strip is immaculate; the physics, inexplicable.

  15. Hannibal's Lectern

    A lesser artiste would have given Lena an enormous rear end in the second panel, so that the lines “Lena is our anchor… in more ways than one” would form a sexist joke. But Mr. “It’s called ‘writing'” would never stoop to making such a joke, so he gives Lena a small-to-normal behind. Leaving us with just the pure sexism, unsullied by such gauche adulterants as humor. Congratulations, sir. My helmet’s off to you.

  16. Howtheduck

    It’s interesting that Lena holds her bowling without using her index finger.

  17. The amazing thing about that Variety® puff piece softball interview is that it was conducted by Brian Steinberg, who was normally critical of Batiuk’s body of work for years on (click the “Comics Examiner” link to the right way of this page).

    It would be understandable if the article was written by a minor-league junior reporter for the Elyria Chronicle Telegram. But it was by a blogger who knew what of which he was writing about… shockingly inexcusable.

    Not that the target audience for Variety® would have given a crap. Batiuk played Steinberg like a violin as a “take that” trope attack towards Disney, who (wisely) turned down his pitch for a live-action “Crankshaft” TV series.

  18. I’m wondering if Dante wasn’t thinking of Hell went he wrote the Inferno, but of Tom Batiuk’s writing skills instead…

  19. Just a technical note….you might as well remove the link to Comics Casserole. They don’t want to have anything to do with Batiuk’s misogyny, fixation with shitty comics and smug, cheery despair and hopelessness.