Blankshaft

Link to today’s strip.  (link corrected)

Greetings, folks, BChasm back in the slammer.  Thanks to Epicus for a typically stellar hosting job; now you guys get to have the B team!

As Epicus noted yesterday, Dinkle is my least favorite Funky Winkerbean character.  While Les is technically worse, with him, he will occasionally cough up some “writing” and one can see that his talent is as elusive as Funky’s wrecking bar whenever Les comes to visit.  He can at least have the word “pathetic” spat at him; he provides all the evidence that makes the word apt.

Dinkle on the other hand is treated like a minor god in the Funkyverse.   His every idiotic utterance is greeted as if it’s divine wisdom.  And, unlike Les, he is never brought down to earth.  Remember when the school computer was going to be a prop in Starbuck Jones, and Les started to bloviate, and Jim Kibblesnbits just shut him down with a “TMI”?  That sort of thing should happen to Dinkle all the time, and yet it never does.

In today’s episode, for example, Becky ought to reply, “Wow, where did that boring little nugget come from?  Does that rotten old hollow excuse for a brain just fire out this random garbage?  I don’t even see a bus around here, so there’s not even a context you’re reacting to.  How about shutting up some?”

But no, I’m sure a fourth panel would show her laughing uproariously. Because Dinkle.

I’m also sure the bus driver in the original “anecdote” would have answered something different, like “Strauss, huh?  Well, how about that.  Why don’t you sit in your seat and be quiet?”

Speaking of Strauss…I know some of the folks here played in the band in high school.  Did any of your bands ever play Strauss, or any other waltzes for that matter?  I can’t remember.  My recollection is that the band tended to play marches and rah-rah-rah music at sporting events, but, like Tom Batiuk, my high school days are long behind me.  Unlike him, I’m perfectly happy to keep them there.

PS:  I think I’ll apply for a job writing Crankshaft.  Here’s a sample of my work!

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21 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

21 responses to “Blankshaft

  1. DOlz

    Your writing sample for “Crankshaft” was stellar and should receive universal acclaim.

  2. spacemanspiff85

    I don’t think anyone, ever, has said “back in high school” to refer to the time when they were working in a high school, rather than attending one.

  3. Epicus Doomus

    You know what’s really annoying? Every time BatHead does another “Crankshaft” cross-promotion nostalgic flashback sequence the FW characters having the flashbacks always refer to this legendary school bus driver as “the bus driver” or “that one bus driver” even though they apparently remember every interaction they ever had with the guy. Why the need to pretend to be all coy about cross-promoting? I mean seriously, who the hell would even notice or care?

    And let’s say you aren’t a daily reader and you don’t know who Crankshaft is. Batty’s weird refusal to use his name would just confuse a (hypothetical) reader like that. Is he some sort of idiot? Is that supposed to be the joke? See what I mean? Once again FW finds an entire new way to fail at something, the painstaking attention paid to ensuring that not one single element of FW makes even a little sense is just incredible.

    Damn, a band convention arc with Crankshaft and Dinkle…oh, and the one-armed woman who’s always following Harry everywhere. I guess she’s his wife or girlfriend or something. Seriously though, how many semi-regular characters bring less to the table than Becky does? Her singular character trait is something she’s missing, I mean how sad is that? IMO the whole Dinkle saga was maybe the dumbest misstep in the history of the strip. In his zeal to bring his warped version of reality down on the Dinkle character he once again wrote himself into a hole, as he had no earthly idea how to keep doing band-related gags centering around a female character with one arm instead of his zany insane old Harry character. So now he’s forced to cop out and do pathetic band-related junk arcs like this one when he could have just left the damn character alone and kept doing those daffy band arcs into infinity. Again, no one would have cared and it’s not like he cares about continuity either.

  4. Epicus Doomus

    BC: It’s that cackle and the way everyone behaves like they’re being graced with words of wisdom from a certified legend and not stupid wisecracks from a demented old retired music teacher everyone hated and feared. At least that’s it for me.

  5. billytheskink

    Beady-eyed nitpicker moment here: Crankshaft didn’t wear glasses until well into the run of his own strip, sometime in the early 2000s as I recall. Shaft hasn’t driven Westview’s buses since Act I, so he should not be wearing glasses in this sepia-toned fever dream. In fact, it is unlikely Dinkle has seen Crankshaft in 30 years, so he wouldn’t have any reason at all to imagine him with glasses.

    Also, did you know that Crankshaft was illiterate until well into the run of his own strip as well (and thus throughout Act I)? I hope not, because the list of things your brain could remember instead of this fact is practically infinite.

  6. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    “Soused? Nah – I only had a nip to take the edge off. Here – (proffering a flask). You look like you could use a belt.”

    The artiste, chuckling at his drawing board: “Vietnamese waltzes” – heh, heh… God, that’s hilarious! I’m on fire today! Heh, heh…How to fit it in, how to fit it in…Ah crap! I’ll just throw it in on a Monday. It’s not like it’s going to interrupt the continuity.

  7. Jimmy

    A few things (sorry):

    1) I read the Crankshaft comic before reading BC’s copy and thought, “That’s actually not bad.” But Jeff probably needed a hug. I don’t even hate read Crankshaft, so I’m just vaguely aware of the strop from what I get here.

    2) Good point about “back in high school”. I long left high school behind, but I will admit to occasionally dropping my college exploits. Yeah, I was kind of a big deal (Barney Fife sniff), I say to myself, as eyes glaze over.

    3) Billytheskink’s point is perfect. How the heck does a so-called illiterate man know all about Strauss’ waltzes? Hell, I attended one of them Eastern universities and took music history courses (see point 2), and I can barely recall Strauss and Brahms.

  8. Jimmy

    Also, yeah, aren’t most waltzes heavy with the strings? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a marching band with a string section, though that would be great if they could mic them up.

  9. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    “Strauss? Which Strauss? Johann, Sr., Jr., or III? Richard Strauss? Did you ever conduct ‘Ein Heldenleben’? That’s one of my favorites! I once heard Birgit Nilsson as Salome at the Met. It was exquis- Hey! Tell yer band brats to pipe down or I’ll go back there and crack some skulls!”

  10. Meanwhile, where he can be named, Ed is dismissing weather reports that they’re in for a round of lake-effect snow that day because it was sunny and warm when they left. As soon as he says that, five inches of snow shuts down the downtown core. This is the thread that connects the strips this week: Ed Crankshaft’s refusal to listen to weather forecasts.

  11. This being Ed we’re talking about, wouldn’t it be the CONSTIPATION prize?

  12. Where is Hinkle’s hand in that first panel?

  13. Panels one and two are possibly the clunkiest setup ever for this strip, and that’s saying something.

  14. $$$WESTVIEW ONCOLOGIST$$$

    —Where is Hinkle’s hand in that first panel? —

    Why, he’s grabbing onto Becky’s …….not existent left arm???

    Maybe we have this wrong, maybe’s Lefty’s arm isn’t missing but just INVISIBLE! I’m pretty sure Batiuk could come up with a shitty retcon to make that work. He does it all the time.

  15. Hey, remember that story arc I did over a year ago where Dinkle and Becky spent a week at some obscure state band convention and we just listened to Dinkle spout terrible jokes and be a general prick? I’ve got a great idea! I’m going to do the same story arc again, but with even more terrible jokes, and a crossover with a character from another comic strip who is an even bigger prick than Dinkle! (Imagines hitting the ball out of the park and trotting around the bases).

  16. Gerard Plourde

    Also, what teacher would say “One time back in high school” and be referrring to his teaching career? Even worse, he’s talking to Becky who was one of his students in that high school. The way most people would start that kind of story would be by referring to the year. Of course, Batty can’t do that because that would establish an actual frame of reference to all of his inconsistent time jumps.

  17. DOlz

    @Jimmy,

    “How the heck does a so-called illiterate man know all about Strauss’ waltzes?”

    I really hate having to defend TB, but illiterate doesn’t equal stupid or ignorant. I for example am illiterate in all languages except English, but I still know bits and pieces of other cultures. I learned some thru reading, but also thru documentaries and conversations with other people.

  18. I have a feeling that Crankshaft’s illiteracy was pulled out of a hat just to have a “very special” storyline. I wouldn’t be surprised if, in the early years of the strip, Crankshaft would say “I read in the paper this morning” or some such, implying that he could read just fine. Consistency of character has never been a strong suit of these strips.

  19. Professor Fate

    You know what really galls is that the Author thinks you should like these people rather than wishing them being tied up to tree and left for the zombie hordes so the rest of the town could escape .

  20. Charles

    the FW characters having the flashbacks always refer to this legendary school bus driver as “the bus driver” or “that one bus driver” even though they apparently remember every interaction they ever had with the guy.

    Now now, it’s very easy to not remember Crankshaft’s name when taken in context of all the hilariously-named bus drivers, like Rocky Rhodes, Mint Chip, Earl Steeringcolumn and Joe I’mastupidbusdrivername!

  21. bigd1992

    A revelation I had in traffic: in professional wrestling parlance, Dinkle is a heel. People hate him, and long for him to get his comeuppance. We watch/read in the hopes we see Dinkle humbled. The problem is that Batiuk thinks of Les as the “babyface in peril,” a character with whom the fans empathize and get very emotionally attached to, rooting for him to overcome the obstacles placed before him. Batiuk thinks of Les as this lovable babyface, while the audience has no empathy for him; rather, many in the audience hate Les and cheer when he fails (such as Cayla kicking his ass in football).