Family Reunion


Voting will continue through January 21.

If we do not get enough votes, I will do nothing but post current Crankshaft strips and describe what is happening in each panel in mind numbing detail! This is a very real threat I am more than prepared to follow through on.

For Example.

In panel one, Rocky Rhodes, wearing sunglasses and a teal salad bowl, asks a hitherto unseen new Caucasian character “Sup, Dawg?” They appear to be sitting in the all-white, repurposed set from the famous 1985 children’s video ‘In Search of the Wow Wow Wibble Woggle Wazzie Woodle Woo.’

Don’t. Look. In the closet.

In panel two, the new Caucasian character, let’s call him Dany, gives Rocky the hard facts about the illicit trade they’re in. And in panel three Crankshaft, feeling blue, shovels piles of ‘white powder’ out of his vehicle.

I would like to take this moment to commend Universal Press Syndicate for providing important job opportunities to the disabled by hiring a color-blind artist to put the finishing touches on their newly acquired strip, it compliments greatly Dan Davis’ impeccable stolen artwork.

You can’t fool me by cropping the panels and adding sunglasses!
I’m on to your little game you hack fraud!

Do you want more of this? DO YOU!? Or would you rather learn more about this entire community’s new favorite hero, Frankie Pierce?

Nice timing on that “I’m a big-shot dot-com salesman” bit. April 2000 is almost exactly when that bubble started to burst. Lisa actually had the more stable employment at that point.

Banana Jr. 6000, literally yesterday.

What an astute observation wise Banana Box. Indeed, the next time we see Frankie, in August of 2002, his bubble has definitely burst.

And Les still looks like an eraser-headed moron.

Some background to this next encounter. Lisa Moore, at eight months pregnant, has given Les, Funky, and Crazy the okay to go on a guys camping trip.

Please, Les, I already have one giant, exhausting parasite clinging to me right now…

This being Act II Les, The Chosen One, with precognitive powers and empathetic reasoning beyond mere mortal senses, he feels that something is rotten in the town of Westview.

Wait, who is that pointy-nosed blonde kid talking to Becky?
The More Montoni’s is Exactly the Same….
Do you remember Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Do you remember when Bull Bushka was a contestant in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
Bottom Feeding? Montoni’s? Makes Sense.
Ooooooh, I wonder!?! (Yes, Darin was working at Montoni’s, because everyone works at Montoni’s at least once.)

I’m pausing this recap of Frankie being AMAZING for one minute to clarify something to the people who haven’t spent hours pointlessly combing the Funky Winkerbean archives. The fact that Fred and Ann Fairgood adopted Lisa’s baby, and thus that Darin Fairgood was Lisa’s biological son, was never a secret from the reader.

The microfiche failed to render Les Moore’s eyes in the hopes that blinding his image would blind the malicious demon that powers him.

Over and over and over again over the course of Act II, the situation is mined for dramatic irony. Sometimes it is done passably well. Sometimes it’s like a brick to the face. Sometimes it goes from one to the other on a dime and it makes the internal editor in me want to scream.

Cute. Subtle. (Donna is pregnant with Maddie BTW)
I cringed so hard my spine slipped out my ass.

Darin always knew he was adopted. Lisa never made it a huge point to keep her high school pregnancy a hush hush secret. Why didn’t anyone put two and two together?

Lisa, at one point, almost did, but then she learned Darin’s birthday was a week later than her son’s.

Funky Winkerbean closeups are always just cursed.

Of course, this was just a dramatic fakeout, a Chekov’s monkey wrench to throw Lisa off the scent.

Someday, I will meet Batiuk for real, and I will have many many many questions about Darin’s nose.

I will say that it puts adult Darin’s fondness for the memory of Dead St. Lisa, and his genuine mourning of her, in a more understandable light when set in the context that he’d known her for years as a mentor, coworker, and family friend. But yes, as we read the rest of this scene, we are supposed to know what the characters don’t.

Now! Back to the Frankie drama!

First sign of physical abusiveness.
Oooh, but he is family! Dramatic Irony Meter level 6.
Did you know that when Oedipus killed his father, he didn’t actually know the dude he was killing was his father? Because he’d been adopted?
Freud would have a field day with this one.
‘I can get you there quicker myself!’ strikes again.
Do ya get it? Because he has done this before!
Dramatic Irony Meter Level 8. Cringe Level, High.
Dramatic Irony Level, 9. Cringe Level, Low. Continuity Issues, MANY.

Now, you may wonder, did Frankie yelling and grabbing Lisa’s wrist cause her to go into early labor? Was he the reason for Summer nearly dying of respiratory arrest as a neonate? (Even though at only 4 weeks early she would barely be considered a preemie.)


Lisa Moore made the tragic mistake of entering the Montoni’s Pizza building in her eighth month of pregnancy. Though the pattern was not yet clear, we now know that labor for the Westview female invariably begins in the Montoni’s pizza building: basement, main floor, upstairs, it doesn’t matter.

Darin is the only Westview Male to be physically present for the birth of his biological child, btw.

Frankie fleeing from the scene of Lisa’s labor was the last time he would ever see Lisa in the flesh…but not the last time we’ll see him.

Join us tomorrow.




Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

36 responses to “Family Reunion

  1. Green Luthor

    Wait… who is Lisa giving birth to? She said she had a child in 1986, but that was late Act II according to the history Batiuk’s established. I mean, Summer could have been born in 1986, since that would make her about 14 at the start of Act III (though the character guides say 15, but it could be a rounding error). So if Lisa is referring to giving birth in 1986 in the past tense, WHO WAS THAT CHILD?

    Unless Batiuk completely screwed up his own timeline, but… nah.

    (WAIT! Maybe this mystery child disappeared into the timestream, and Timemop made everyone forget about them. Then they returned to haunt Montoni’s, the place where their mother went into labor. Haunt Montoni’s as… the PIZZA MONSTER!)

    (Of course, if Lisa gave birth to Darin in 1986, she really shouldn’t have been in high school in 1980 during Crazy Harry’s time travel shenanigans, but, really, I think Batiuk’s yet to give a timeline in which that date DOES fit.)

    And seriously, did no one give the new colorist on Crankshaft a style guide? They make those things for a reason…

    • none

      I was hoping someone would take notice of the 1986 mention there, glad to see it addressed right away.

      But, really, if it wasn’t for the whole Timemop thing that handwaves all continuity yet again and for perpetuity, keeping that straight is a lot to ask for strips to which now will change people’s colors and races at a whim.

      • William Thompson

        Just wait until Batiuk is introduced to the basic problems of time travel. Grandpa Google, meet Grandfather Paradox!

  2. William Thompson

    If Oedipus had a family like this, it’s amazing that he waited so long to rip out his eyes.

  3. Epicus Doomus

    Fabulous work, CBH. This is the Frankie retrospective SoSF has been crying out for since forever. Eternal gratitude. You should do this for EVERY FW character. But not “Crankshaft”. And not Les, and definitely not Dinkle.

    Seriously though, this is fantastic stuff. Some of this took place during one of my lengthy FW hiatuses ( they used to run FBOFW right on top of FW in my local newspaper and it just got to be too much), so it’s great to get up to speed on FW’s premier villain, Frankie. Frankie f*cking rules. I love his callous disdain for Lisa and her well-being, and how he cares not for her precious, delicate feelings. Having him rough up a pregnant Lisa and send her into labor is prime Act II Batiuk, just classic stuff. It’s easy to forget how totally batshit insane Act II was, but man.

    There was always something really weird and disquieting about how he used Frankie and Boy Lisa to always keep the embers of Lisa’s darkest secret shame alive in order to wring every molecule of pathos from that ancient teen pregnancy arc that he just never stopped patting himself on the back for writing. “YOU got pregnant and YOU gave up a baby for adoption”…he just had to keep bringing it up, over and over again, like she always had to carry the weight of her sin. I always found the way he used Darin’s adoption for cheap shock value plot twists to be kind of offensive and ham-fisted, and after seeing some of these strips, the “Darin officially becomes Boy Lisa” arc is even more offensive and ham-fisted than I previously believed, which shouldn’t even be possible.

    And it’s likewise pretty weird how an incorrigible scumbag and confirmed cad like Frankie would keep coming back to a mousy nebbish girl he seduced and attacked back in high school. I mean, he’s an incorrigible scumbag and a confirmed cad, so one can assume that it wasn’t just a one-time thing, and that he probably has kids scattered all over mid-Central Ohio. So why does he keep showing up to break her balls, specifically? It only adds to his intrigue if you ask me. That Lisa was one special lady, though. That much we know.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Frankie had no reason to bother Lisa, and every reason to leave her alone. He’s there because the universe revolves around Lisa. He’s just another straw villain in a world full of them. Another hapless antagonist, so Les can indulge his hero complex and Lisa can indulge her victim complex.

  4. billytheskink

    Ah, everyone works at Montoni’s at least once with ONE notable exception. Pete.

    In fact, Tony once gave Komix Korner a break on rent (one of the odder recurring plot points in this strip) so Pete could keep his part-time job there… presumably because Westview law would have required him to hire Pete had Komix Korner klosed and Tony wasn’t having any of that.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Good one. It was always being implied that Komix Korner was barely hanging on by a thread, which was odd in a town where comic books are in such high demand. John was constantly buying everyone’s old comic books, too, which doesn’t really add up either. And why he would need to employ help in his 12×12 attic shop is anyone’s guess. The place always looked like a lethal fire trap to me, with that narrow staircase and piles of old decaying comic books and all.

      And John was quite the odd duck himself, even by FW standards. He had a child’s haircut, never changed his shirt, and spent his days lounging around reading comic books while his one-armed wife toiled away, waving her band directing baton arm into complete exhaustion for nine months out of the year, not including band camp. I mean, why did Becky put up with this? She used to be married to a freaking war hero, for God’s sake.

      • billytheskink

        DSH and Lefty were an especially odd couple, even by the standards of this strip, because TB had each character in a well-established groove (DSH at his store and Lefty as Dinkle’s right hand) long before he made them a permanent couple. TB never took the time to give them any kind of characteristics as a couple because he gave almost all of the time he was willing to give them to stories set in their established grooves at Komix Korner and the band room.

        The only thing they were ever depicted as having in common was a love of golden age Hollywood movies and once TB got bored with Rana and every other high schooler not named Summer or Keisha, he almost entirely stopped depicting Lefty and DSH as a couple at all. No couple in this strip appeared together less, Lefty may as well have been married to Dinkle and DSH to Crazy given how often these two appeared with their respective work spouses.

        I’m 99% sure that DSH and Lefty only wound up married in Act III because TB just had to do that big dumb reveal gag in early Act III where Lefty calls for Wally Jr.’s dad ad DSH walks through the door while Wally’s long-time MIA status was not yet explicitly stated.

        • ComicBookHarriet

          Would you like a retrospective at some point? DSH was on my shortlist.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Also, they both have the personality of dry rot. They’re both obsessed with their narrow, juvenile interests, and have zero passion for anything else, including each other. What made that relationship even work?

          And Lefty has called out DSH John for not being a source of household income, even relative to her public-school teaching salary. There’s no reason at all they should be together, or need to. But Tom Batiuk can’t perceive any life style other than his own, so he can’t let anybody be single.

          • Perfect Tommy

            When Chief Tyrol settles for Callie after Boomer is revealed to be a Cylon, it drove a plot point. With those two, it was just a creepy Michael Jackson/Lisa Marie vibe.

          • Green Luthor

            Of course there was a reason for them to be together. It was so that when Wally returned from being a POW for ten years, he could find out his wife had him declared dead, moved on, and married another guy who was raising Wally’s son as his own. Because the Universe (i.e., Batiuk) hadn’t crapped on Wally enough by that point.

            It’s called writing!

          • be ware of eve hill

            @Green Luthor

            The plot reveal of a man “missing for several years only to return home to discover his widow/love of his life is married to another man” was better handled by Too Many Husbands, starring Fred MacMurray, and Castaway, starring Tom Hanks.

            It’s not called writing. It’s called copying.

            Skunkhead John Howard as husband material is a joke.
            Good provider? Nope.
            Good-looking? Nope.
            Caring? No evidence seen.
            Reliable? No evidence seen.
            Thoughtful? No evidence seen.
            Supportive? No evidence seen.

            How many times have we seen DSH at one of Becky’s concerts or halftime at a football game? Chaperoning a band trip? Zero.

            As for Wally, when Batiuk discovers a new “chew toy” it’s hard for him to let go. It’s like trying to pull a rawhide bone away from a Doberman.

            Huh… On my phone, the lowest level of comments is only 7 characters wide. Yuck.

        • ian'sdrunkenbeard

  5. Paul Jones

    How about a new category? It could be called “Most Cringe-Inducing Event At Montoni’s.”

    • ComicBookHarriet

      You mean this year? Or every year? Or of all time?

      I’d say Lisa and Les getting married dressed as Batman and Robin might take the prize.

      • billytheskink

        Yeah, we’re definitely not topping that, though I would be curious to see if drunk Funky nearly driving his car into the building and then getting out and claiming that someone moved the sidewalk would rank in or around the top 5.

      • Paul Jones

        What really sold it is that they had to explain to her who Robin was in the first place.

        • none

          “Yes, honey, I know it’s our special day, but you need to do this – for me. Yes, I know that this makes an implication that you’re being male and this is a homosexual wedding. Even though it’s not. No, nobody will be uncomfortable with this. You won’t either. Yes, yes, hush, trust me. I want this. I need this. You will do this. For me.”

  6. ComicTrek

    The Crankshaft cringe BURNS!!! Please vote — you won’t regret it!

  7. batgirl

    I voted! (do I get a sticker?)

      • mrvy

        Is Holly the election judge?

      • Andrew

        You know it’s a Batiukian moment when everyone’s smiling slyly at the prospect of voting. Who the heck is excited for that, it’s a chore (an important one meant to have far reaching implications, but a chore nonetheless), you have to get through with it, and a lot of people don’t even bother. Nobody would really be all that gleeful for that unless it’s about the smug superiority of doing your duty or whatever.

  8. hitorque

    Krankenschaaften: Well, can’t say we didn’t see this one coming… Although I am oddly curious to know exactly HOW MUCH glitter the average Ohio schoolkid wears on their holiday clothing…

  9. be ware of eve hill

    Today, in Crankshaft, Ed is wearing his trademark red windbreaker and cap. I guess GoComics isn’t outsourcing the colorization of the strip to Elbonia after all.

  10. Jimmy

    I will say, I kind of appreciated the strips. We celebrate my son’s adoption day as well as his birthday.

  11. be ware of eve hill

    Well done, CBH. I just got it. The new Caucasian character “Dany” is an anagram of “Andy”, the African American character’s actual name. I’m slow, but I get there. Eventually.

  12. hitorque

    I voted, but some of those choices were really really difficult and I wanted to vote for more than one. Maybe if we were allowed to choose three entries from each group category and then have a runoff?

  13. Yes! More corrected versions of Crankshaft please! That’s the most interesting Crankshaft I’ve ever read!

  14. Andrew

    I recognize that Wow Wow Wizzy Wobble reference lul