Skin Flakes, Phlegm and Excrement for Color

Link to today’s strip.

So, everyone wanted to see Crankshaft, probably in the futile hope that his demise would be depicted onscreen.

Well, here’s Crankshaft.  He looks like a plastic bag filled with pus trying to decide if gravity is worth resisting any longer.

Tom Batiuk keeps trying to shove Crankshaft down our throats.  And it never works.  No one cares about Crankshaft, it has never generated any interest in anyone to watch it unfold.  I suspect it’s a very low performer, newspaper-wise, and perhaps Mr. Batiuk is trying to shovel his legacy over there now that he has destroyed Funky Winkerbean.  But that’s like trying to choose between a burning building and a sea full of sharks.

And to be honest, the fact that Mindy seeks the approval of the Old, Unplaceable Odor makes her a truly terrible person.  At least Pm N Jff recognize that Crankshaft is something to be tolerated, not cultivated.

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18 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

18 responses to “Skin Flakes, Phlegm and Excrement for Color

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Oooof-ahhh…where to begin? “A long distance deal”, what, like one of those late 1990s phone cards where you’d buy a thousand minutes for $19.95? It’s a “deal” they “might be looking at here” like it’s the weather or something. Yep, it’s just a hand the always-fickle and ultimately disappointing The Universe dealt them and now there’s nothing to do but sit back and wait patiently to see how it unfolds. They’ll just leave things on a really vague and wry note for now. I hate every single one of these people so, so much.

    “Oh yeah! It’s that horrible infamous school bus driver who nearly killed me a thousand times back in high school! How sweet that I got to touch base with him as he sits there oblivious and dying! Yep, this Mindy sure is the girl for me!!!”. Maybe they could swing by the ol’ cemetery before she drops him off at the airport, so she can introduce him to her great aunt Mildred too. I mean seriously, is BatNik so completely out of touch that he thinks this is something any normal human being would do in this situation? Does he really think this is cute or adorable or poignant or something? I man I realize Pete is pretty desperate and all but this is just downright pathetic.

    Well it isn’t, it’s mostly just creepy, confusing and stupid. Regular “Crankshaft” readers (har) must be thrilled to get a glimpse of where that strip is heading, while regular FW readers (us) are wondering if we’re supposed to be observing the time jump again (I guess so) after years and years of pretending it never happened. The guy takes Pete and Mindy from cutesy-wutesy wry banter straight into existential dread and the inevitability of death in the span of two dates. Like I always say, this Batiuk must be a real hoot at parties.

    • Gerard Plourde

      Wow, you’ve covered just about everything I find objectionable about today’s strip. I do wonder whether Batty assumes that all old people suffer senility. While many do, it’s not a forgone conclusion. There are many octo- and nonagenarians who not only posses full mental faculties but also continue to engage in work. Warren Buffett, Mel Brooks, and Carl Reiner come to mind as examples.

  2. Pete’s just standing there awkwardly, doesn’t say hello or offer his hand or take a step closer. Meanwhile ol’ Crankshaft’s been morphed into Vincent “The Chin” Gigante.

    • Epicus Doomus

      How many FW readers will even know who Crankshaft is supposed to be? Why isn’t Bedside Manor giving Ed the same cigarette treatment that turned Morty Winkerbean around? It’s nothing short of miraculous.

  3. After reading these recent strips and with all the goings on in the world I really needed a good laugh, so I read the latest Batty blog. Wow! Is this guy totally delusional. Lisa was his superhero creation?!! Poor man never recovered from his car accident and a major knock on his noggin

    • Gerard Plourde

      That blog post explains why the strip has been rudderless for all of Act III. It’s hard to carry on when you kill off your central character and have not put in any effort to flesh out the rest of the cast or develop any new storylines.

      • And his idea of the most terrible thing happening in the early sixties? The fact that DC rotated in a new writer-artist team for the Flash!!! The man, as Malcolm Tucker would say, is fucking mental. Him, he’s like a defective coffee maker….from bean to cup, HE FUCKS UP!!!

  4. billytheskink

    “Gramps, I want you to meet Pete… I really like him… for all of his admirable qualities, like… uh, like… well, uh, his willingness to visit you for one thi- no, wait, I tricked him into coming here by offering to drive him to the airport.”

    Hard to really blame Mindy, though. It’s not like her father or grandfather had any admirable qualities either.

  5. Spacemanspiff85

    I really don’t get how Batiuk consistently portrays Crankshaft as an absolute asshole who would’ve been in jail a long, long time ago for a multitude of reasons, and then pulls crap like this where I think you’re supposed to feel sorry for him, or fond of him, somehow?
    This is a guy who joked about the fact that he gave schoolchildren PTSD, and here we’re supposed to be thinking “Aww, how sweet, she’s visiting her ‘Gramps'”?

    • He thinks that tormenting the Mackenzie sisters for years on end was comic gold. Understanding what right and wrong are is something he sucks shit at so we’re supposed to love the malicious piece of trash author avatar.

  6. I think that Ed Crankshaft might be his real avatar. Reason: Cranky’s a destructive, malicious, sanctimonious and oblivious old coot who delights in tormenting people to avenge imaginary wrongs and self-inflicted calamities.

  7. Charles

    Man, how awkward would this encounter be for Pete? Here he’s only been on a couple dates with Mindy and thinks that maybe it might be going somewhere. (Let’s just ignore the fact that they went to the prom together in a larger group, since Batiuk seems to have forgotten that) So she invites him to meet her grandfather. Turns out Gramps is in an assisted living facility and is about as close to death as you can get without being, you know, dead. He’s wearing a shitty bathrobe and an oxygen tube, undoubtedly because they’ve got him cath’d up and/or wearing a diaper because otherwise he’d be pissing and shitting himself. I can only imagine how Crankshaft smells.

    And this is Crankshaft! This isn’t some kindly old guy who’s really gone downhill but who’s well-loved by his community and his family. He’s Centerville’s Ur-Asshole. Everyone hates this prick! There is no combination heartwarming/heartbreaking sentiment here! He was hated in life and now he’s going to be hated in death.

    Which is a shame, because it’d be really funny if Crankshaft were lucid and turned his prick nature up to 11 upon meeting Pete.

    “Ok kid, let’s meet this new clown you’re glomming onto now… Figures. You’re beautiful, kid, so why are you always picking losers? So pitiful and sad-looking, too. He looks as if he hasn’t gotten a good night’s sleep in years because he’s been too busy crying. I’d be crying all the time too if I was pushing 40 and still cared that much about comic books. I’ll tell ya, there’s not a guy under 90 in this damn wing and I bet every single one of them could kick his ass, even the guys in wheelchairs. We saved the world, you know. Anyway, Benny down the hall’s got a grandson who you should meet. He’s a real man who doesn’t dress like some pubescent shithead. So let me know when you get tired of all the whining and pissybaby crying.”

    Of all the times for Crankshaft NOT to be an asshole. Sheesh.

    • Gerard Plourde

      The encounter you’ve envisioned would be a redemptive act making up for all of Crankshaft’s past boorishness.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Ed Crankshaft: the deranged maniacal bus driver whose antics terrified entire generations of WHS students who everyone just vaguely remembers, if they remember him at all.

  8. Rusty Shackleford

    Crankshaft was funny back in the old days of this strip. But then, Batty wanted to milk this cow and Crankshaft and his antics were played out ad nauseum like the “I didn’t do it ” boy on The Simpsons.

    I know every strip can’t be a laugh riot every day, but I am amazed by Batty’s inability to do anything interesting or entertaining with any of his characters.

  9. bobanero

    Where’s Hector Salamanca and his pipe bomb when you need him?

  10. The Dreamer

    hey wasn’t Crankshaft the Westview bus driver when Pete was going there? wouldn’t Pete know him anyway?