The Child of Inattention is Forgetting.

Security has given us the all clear to continue. We thank the audience for their patience.

We’re also thankful to the first responders on hand who offered assistance to Mr. Thomas, as well as the ATF negotiator in the crowd who convinced Mr. Chaers to give himself up peacefully. We are confident that Chaers will receive back his Golden T-Square, once the proctologist at the hospital has retrieved it.

On with the show!

With a combined 86 years of continuity between Crankshaft and Funky Winkerbean, keeping the Funkyverse accurate and consistent was bound to be a battle. A battle it was impossible to win.

A battle Crankshaft lost again this week, when Ed purchases a flamethrower despite already owning one.

Some goofs were so minor only the trained eye could spot them. Some could be swept away with Janitor Harley Davidson’s phase shifting broom.

But some were truly mind boggling. Inexplicable even in a year of time bubbles and temporal phase shifters.

And so, your nominees for:

The Chrome TimeMop for Most Baffling Continuity Issue

1.) Who’s Your Daddy?

2.) Blame the Woman or the Workplace?

3.) A Forgotten Getaway?

4.) Eliminating a Couple Grade Levels?

5.) Planning to Forget?

6.) What’s in a Name?

7.) Downgrading the Format?

And the Winner of the Chrome Time Mop Is…

What’s in a Name?

It was a real close race, this one. For a while there I was sure Lisa’s Tapes would win again. But forgetting a character’s name, especially when he’d been referred to correctly less than a year earlier, just had to take the prize.

So here you go Flash Freeman/Fairfield! A Chrome Time Mop for a Silver Age superstar.

Tune in tomorrow as we deal with contemporary issues affecting young people in a though provoking and sensitive manner.

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83 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

83 responses to “The Child of Inattention is Forgetting.

  1. I want to say something about the artwork in Tom Batiuk’s strips, and the kerfluffle about the various borrowings, reusings, and outright stealings that have been a focus here for a while.

    Decades hence, people will still talk about the wonderfully evocative artwork of Bill Watterson, the elegant simple line of Charles Schulz, the forceful presence of Ernie Bushmiller, the startling surrealism of B. Kliban, the wonderful warm dark of Chas Addams, etc etc etc.

    No one will ever talk about any of the artwork in Tom Batiuk’s strips. At its BEST, and I mean BEST, it rose to the utilitarian level of something like “Hi and Lois” or, if you want to rise a bit higher, “Pearls Before Swine.” It allowed the text to be presented to the reader, and did absolutely nothing more.

    This is not an excuse for Davis’ stealing of Ayers’ work. What this is, is saying that the person hanging the wallpaper doesn’t matter. Some do it with skill and efficiency, some do it by watching and copying. The end result is that the room is wallpapered, and again, nothing more.

    If you think that Ayers has been cheated, I would agree. However, I wouldn’t point to Davis as the cheater. Davis is just putting up the wallpaper the best way he knows.

    The cheater is Tom Batiuk, who didn’t credit Chuck Ayers for drawing Funky Winkerbean for around twenty years. If you want to excoriate Davis for refusing to touch excrement longer than necessary, go ahead, but he’s just the henchman.

    • Bill the Splut

      I haven’t been on Facebook for over 2 years (YES, am I like your kid’s new vegan SO who won’t shut up), but on the Readers of CC group, I said that I knew there was a new artist on FW when Then-2-Armed Becky went flying off a cliff, driven by Soon-To-Be-POW For 20 Years Guy. That strip had detail! The underside of a car! I have no idea what my engine looks like, let alone its panties!

      Wow, there really are Funky stans. I got dogpiled. The argument was “But the byline said it was by TOM BATUIK! There’s no ARTIST but HIM!” Even though before this, everything looked like a scan of a scribble on a cocktail napkin.
      This was YEARS after than the strip’s publication. Like what, 10, 15? I don’t know. Car flying Sunday strip one. I’ll bet these people believe that there was only one employee at Disney, named Walt, because that’s who signed everything.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      I would like to speak on defense of Ayers. Because I guess I stan him now. Respectfully of course, and in agreement that the draftsmanship of much of Act III was serviceable at best. But I couldn’t let this comparison to HI AND LOIS stand.

      You asked for the best, so I pulled the best I could think of. These are Sundays. Many of these are single panel Sunday Splash pages. They are all, of course, Crankshaft.

      The best Crankshaft approaches things at angles, looking into the corners of rooms, looming above the characters. It is full of tiny rewarding details. A lot of love is given into rendering the features of an entire area.

      Even the best Hi and Lois Sunday still takes place in a world that is flat and horizontal. Everyone, save cubes or houses, is a two dimensional cutout.

      And yet. The National Cartoonist Society still considered Mort Walker Golden T-Square material.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        (Oh and obvs that’s best ART, some of those Crankshaft word bubbles are filled with lead dialog.)

      • be ware of eve hill

        I recall being impressed by one Sunday Funky Winkerbean comic that took place in an ophthalmologist’s office. The detail of the instruments was quite impressive.

        Whatever happened to Homer the dog, and Pickles the cat? Were their “departures” ever mentioned in the comic strip?

        • ComicBookHarriet

          There was a single strip where Jff and Cranky are standing by Homer’s doghouse and the chain is broken. They make a terrible pun about doggone. I don’t know if it was supposed to just be a joke or if that was actually the intended exit, but he was showing up very sporadically at that point.

          As for Pickles, they did talk about the cat being a wanderer who would leave sometimes for up to a week. But the final departure was never mentioned.

          The way Homer was kept, as an outdoor dog chained to a doghouse, wouldn’t be palatable to most readers now. Pickles is a big question mark. The cat had a lot of personality.

          • be ware of eve hill

            With all the dog and cat lovers who read the comics, Homer and Pickles never seemed to acquire much of a following.

            I performed a web search to possibly discover their final fates but didn’t come up with very much.

            There’s a comic strip Wiki. There was no entry for Homer. Its listing for Pickles was…

            Gee, thanks. Cut and pasted directly from the crankshaftcomic.com ‘Meet the Cast’ page.

            One of the results listed was from SoSF. I thought, “That’s great. There are many very knowledgeable readers in that discussion. Surely somebody there knows.” Nope. Turns out it was me asking the very same question last June. (headdesk)

            be ware of eve hill
            June 10, 2022 at 5:35 pm

            Whatever happened to Crankshaft’s dog Homer and Cat Pickles? They must be living on the farm upstate.

            *sigh* Oh, well.

            —————————-
            One story arc I remember about Pickles was another one of Batiuk’s tasteless fake-out arcs. It was similar to when Wally Winkerbean was shown getting blown up in a minefield, only to be revealed it was in a video game.

            One of the Murdoch kids notified Crankshaft that they found the remains of a cat matching Pickles’s appearance in the street. The readers were led to believe that Pickles had been hit and killed by a car. A sobbing Crankshaft had dug a grave and was about to inter “Pickle’s remains”. Out of nowhere, Pickles sidles up to Crankshaft and mewls, “Meowr?”

            The translation of that from cat is most likely “What are you doing, Dad?”

          • be ware of eve hill

            Strange. The end of the quote is delimited, but the style of text and background didn’t reset to the default.

            WordPress has it against me. Where’s my lawyer?

      • Rusty Shackleford

        I agree, there has been some nice artwork in Crankshaft, especially some of the county fair scenes and the autumn scenes.

      • Gerard Plourde

        I fully support your defense of Ayers’ talent. I would submit as Exhibit A the book “Walks Around Akron: Rediscovering A City In Transition”. It’s a collection of articles about the changing cityscape from the Akron Beacon Journal which were illustrated by Ayers. The renderings are beautiful.

        Ayers was also the Beacon Journal’s editorial cartoonist.

        Given that for years Batiuk didn’t acknowledge Ayers’ contribution to FW, I wouldn’t begrudge Ayers saving his best efforts for Crankshaft (although there are FW strips that do contain exquisite detail).

    • be ware of eve hill

      Funny you should mention Pearls Before Swine. The other day I was thinking, if any strip could be accused of cut-and-paste clip art, it’s Pearls Before Swine. Day after day, it features the same mouthless characters holding conversations with a near-featureless background behind them.

      Don’t get me wrong. PBS is one of my favorite strips. Its strength is the writing and humor of Stephan Pastis. Even when PBS is not trying to be funny, it can be inspirational. Luv ya, Pig. 🤟

      —————-
      I’m still baffled by the day when a margin of a Funky Winkerbean strip read “Batiuk and Ayres“. What was that all about? Was Batiuk trying to tell Ayers something?

      • sorialpromise

        BWOEH,
        Like you, I read PBS every day. You are correct. Pastis does mostly cut and pastes every day. But like you said, Pastis spends his time on characters, personalities, and humor. Today’s strip is perfection by Pig: “Sentences that are never uttered.” That will probably be a one and done, but it is comedy gold.
        Pastis can also be deep. He did an early tribute to Charles Schultz that made me fall in love with PBS. Then he did a strip that gripped my emotions. It was a weekend strip in 2003, if I remember correctly. Each panel had no characters. It was just the sideways view of a TV. It talked about little kids getting on a bus in Israel, and getting goodbye kisses from their moms. The last panel: that exploded in downtown Jerusalem.

        Bwoeh, it always touches me when you mention your parents. My Dad had 4 boys. When he wanted one, he called all 4. The last one named was who he wanted. Miss you, Dad!

        • sorialpromise

          PBS Jerusalem bus December 28, 2003.

          I am not a Crankshaft fan. But I have to admit. This flamethrower arc is funny. It gets better every day. It is also creative. TB uses a time shift in every strip this week to perfect use. It might not end on a high note, but as of today, it is the best thing I have seen TB write, since Les got tackled.

        • be ware of eve hill

          Stephan Pastis has the remarkable humility to make fun of himself. My favorite Pearls Before Swine story arc is when Bill Watterson (yes, THE Bill Watterson) came out of retirement to create a week’s worth of artwork for the strip. The joke was about how the artwork of a second-grader (Watterson) was so much better than Pastis’s work. Despite all that talent, the little girl got bored and quit. The final strip of the sequence was a wink at Calvin and Hobbes.

          Can you imagine Batiuk doing something like that? Me neither. He lacks both the humility and the sense of humor.

          I mentioned Pearls Before Swine can be inspirational. Back in mid 2020, it seemed as if there was nothing but bad news. My niece had a miscarriage, one of my coworkers was involved in a hit-and-run accident while bicycling to work, layoffs were mentioned, I had health issues. It went on and on.

          Then one day I read this comic.

          Screw you life, I’m going to be happy just to spite you. It brought tears to my eyes. Still does. I’d buy a print of that comic if it didn’t cost over $200.

          The
          Sunday comic strip you mentioned about the Israeli schoolchildren.

          —————-
          sp, that’s a good story about your dad. Didn’t it annoy you when you weren’t the one he wanted?

          My dad would use our names individually if he wanted only one of us. If he wanted my brothers, he’d use “Boys”. If he wanted all of us, he’d use “Kids”.

          My son’s name and my name are very similar. He was named after his late uncle, not me. When Mr. bwoeh wanted one of us, to avoid confusion, he used our family titles.
          Mr. bwoeh: Son! Why aren’t you mowing the lawn?
          Mr. bwoeh: Wife, where are my blue socks?

          • sorialpromise

            Thank you, Eve, for including the PBS strip. My Dad was pure joy. When I compare myself to him, I think that I am mildly humorous. Dad was genuinely funny. If we were in person, I could tell you stories, but print does not do his jokes justice. I will try. My Dad asked my teenage cousins to count to 500, and ask if he was a giraffe. They did the full count. “Are you a giraffe?” “No.” They did not mind because he included them in the joke, and they loved it, and loved him.
            You and Mr. Bwoeh are loved.

      • be ware of eve hill

        Thank you to the individual who inserted the link into my comment. 🙏

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      There’s nothing wrong with the art in the Funkyverse. It runs the gamut from mediocre to adequate to serviceable. The problem is Batiuk’s writing and direction.

      And the comic book covers prove it. Batiuk hired real comics pros to make them, and you can tell. The linework, coloring, and style are pro quality. Now, without looking, try to remember any comic book cover. Any one. You can’t do it, can you?

      Despite the high-quality execution, they’re all instantly forgettable, because there’s zero substance to them. They don’t support a story, not even a meta-story about comic book publishing. Every single one is “let’s argue about the cover for a week” and on Sunday, there it is.

      Now… try to remember the introduction of Deathtongue. Or one of the Keane kids’ Sunday dotted-line maps. Or an educational wildlife soliliquy in the pre-Jules Rivera Mark Trail. Or any photorealistic Calvin and Hobbes fantasy sequence. You remember those, don’t you?

      • Hannibal’s Lectern

        I was going to say I remember a very few of the Sideways Sunday komix “book” covers. But this is only because I snarked at them. And what I remember is not what the covers actually looked like, but the words I said about them, from which I reconstruct what I think they looked like.

      • Bill the Splut

        My jaw flat-out dropped when I saw “TYRANNOSAURS IN F-14S!” This guy can draw anything, I thought.
        You want bad ctrl-c art? Dilbert. Or Cathy. Bill “Zippy” Griffith: “It’s like she throws string on the ground and photocopies it!”

  2. Green Luthor

    Minor point: shouldn’t that “combined 86 years of continuity” really be 97, with the extra 11 years for John Darling Who Was Murdered?

  3. Y. Knott

    Maybe it’s me, but I wasn’t baffled by these continuity errors.

    “Batiuk is lazy, forgetful, unfocused, and simply doesn’t care” seemed to be the fairly straightforward explanation.

    • billytheskink

      Given that Batiuk has created an incredibly large number of comic strips over the years (30,000+ across his three titles, at least), it would be shocking if there weren’t some continuity errors from time to time.

      But most of these mistakes aren’t things that are decades in the making. They are things we can find in mere minutes of research, if not just recall off the top of our heads because of their recency. The name changes are the most egregious, as they occurred after years of established use of Pete and Flash’s original last names. It’s not a Butter Brickle/Brinkel situation…

      Your assessment is spot on.

  4. Epicus Doomus

    I voted for this one too. Great minds and all that. They were all egregious and totally inexcusable, but changing Flash’s name like that, while he was still a relatively new character, was especially intelligence-insulting. Also bear in mind that he’s the SECOND Atomik Komix employee whose name suddenly and mysteriously changed out of nowhere.

    The way I always saw it, you can’t do a serialized drama-type comic strip that unfolds in chronological order and also just blithely ignore continuity, as it exposes you as being little more than a talentless hack who just doesn’t give a damn. In most of these cases, all he had to do was go back and review his own work for a few minutes, but I have to assume he either didn’t want to or didn’t care.

    To me, the irksome thing about it is how it really doesn’t punish “beady-eyed nitpickers” as much as it insults the intelligence of regular FW readers, who over the years have been asked to remember a whole lot of shit that ultimately meant nothing. BatHam has no problem with trotting out long-forgotten characters that only hardcore FW readers would remember, but he can’t be bothered to remember Flash’s name or get Boy Lisa’s nose right. It’s another example of his disdain for his readers.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I can see “Roberts” and “Reynolds” getting mixed up, like the Holt/Hunt example BWOEH gave. An 11-month lead time and an editing process should have caught that mistake, but we’re all human and these things can happen.

      But “Fairfield” isn’t that similar to “Freeman”, and he used it twice. That HAD to be intentional.

      • Green Luthor

        The main issue with the “Roberts”/”Reynolds” thing is that the “Roberts” name came from a character in the John Darling strip, who was Mopey’s father. And when his name was mysteriously changed to “Reynolds”, it remained that way for the rest of the strip’s run. So it also had to have been intentional, but at the same time it screws up the continuity; is Mopey still Reed Roberts’ son? Who even knows?

        Whether the “Freeman”/”Fairfield” thing was intentional is tricky; I don’t think Flash’s last name was ever mentioned after that storyline, so it could have been a one-off mistake done if he wrote the strips at the same time. (Also, I believe it was mentioned somewhere that one of Batiuk’s first editors was named “Flash Fairfield”, so it’s certainly plausible he just had the wrong name pop into his head. Especially with characters named “Fairgood” in the strip already.)

        Either way, Batiuk should have had someone proofread these things.

      • Bill the Splut

        Who the hell sits on a few words of dialog for ELEVEN MONTHS, and doesn’t even proof it? And then shoves it off to a capable artist with only 2 weeks lead time?
        A power-tripping egomaniac maybe?
        TV’s Frank: “I’M THE GOD, I’M THE GOD!!”

  5. RudimentaryLathe?

    Wow, I’m 3 for 3 🤩. I almost went with the “downgrading the format” option; but Flush’s name inconsistency felt more egregious since Batiuk is so obsessed with that comics bullpen wankery. If there was one detail he should have remembered…🙄

    • ComicBookHarriet

      See, what I wonder is if the name change was intentional on Batiuk’s part and he just hoped people wouldn’t notice.

      Flash Fairfield was a real guy that Batty has mentioned several times in his Burn This Dreck blog posts. He was an manager at a syndicate who saw promise in Tom’s work and offered him some advice. Tom speaks of him very affectionately, as just the mentor he needed at the time, but also is smug as shit when he eventually throws the advice out the window years later.

      https://tombatiuk.com/komix-thoughts/match-to-flame-16/
      https://tombatiuk.com/komix-thoughts/match-to-flame-18/

      “I met with the manager of their comic art department, the guy with the coolest name in the newspaper business, Flash Fairfield. Flash was a lanky character right out of a Hollywood B movie. The only thing missing was an eyeshade and garters on his shirtsleeves. Flash was also the perfect guy for a budding young cartoonist to run into. He sat down with me, I showed him my samples, and we spent the rest of the afternoon not only talking about the work I’d brought in but about comics in general and about how a good comic strip was constructed.”

      My tinfoil hypothesis is that Batiuk created Flash as an amalgam including Fairfield, and at the very end regretted that he hadn’t name dropped the guy in full to honor him. So, screw you canon, gonna change it now! Gotta stick in more sweet sweet references to my own history!

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I had that mental battle as well. It’s a tough question whether Batiuk’s stupid Lisa tapes or his stupid comic books bullpen were more central to FW by that point.

  6. be ware of eve hill

    I’m surprised TB never slipped up on Phil’s surname, too.

    My Mom’s favorite evening newscaster was Lester Holt. No matter how many times I corrected her, she always called him “Lester Hunt“. Somewhat understandable as both are four letter surnames that sound a bit similar. (Miss ya, Ma).

    It’s shocking to me that TB never made the same error and used “Phil Hunt“.

    Fairfield and Freeman aren’t as much alike as Holt/Hunt, IMHO.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      My father used to hate this Detroit Pistons basketball player he called Bill LeBeers. I tried correcting him. “Dad, his name has an M in it, and no S. It’s pronounced Lamb-beer.” Never made a dent. He said similar names right, like “Cameron.” It was just inexplicable. (Miss ya, Dad).

      • The Duck of Death

        Is there anyone whose parents didn’t do this? Is it just something that happens when you become a parent? “Oh, your mother and I just love that ‘Waking Dead’ show, you know about the zombies? And ‘Law and Order’ with that nice Marissa Harkness.”

      • be ware of eve hill

        😂 Parents get so set in their ways.

        How can anyone forget Bill Laimbeer. What a dirty player.

  7. Green Luthor

    Changing Flash’s name is pretty inexcusable, although in this case, I had to vote for “Eliminating a Couple Grade Levels”, because the “Eliminator” was a recurring bit originally, that he then went back to when introducing “Donna” (including, at the time, referencing both her and Crazy Harry’s ages), AND that he revisited EARLIER LAST YEAR! So either Batiuk forgot something he had covered fairly extensively in the past, including the very recent past, or he just didn’t care how badly he was messing up his own continuity. (That he called Timemop an “elegant” solution is the funniest thing he’s written in years…)

    Though I personally would have picked Crazy Harry’s Bogus Journey had it been an option. Batiuk made it a point to specify the date Harry went to (April 15 1980), and not only had anachronisms, but it also can’t fit any timeline he’s established. The gang graduated in 1992 (real time), but that led right into the Act II time skip, so that was pushed back to 1988. After the Act III time skip, it was suggested that they now graduated in 1978, and then the 50th reunion placed it in 1972. There’s no way any of those graduation dates are compatible with the gang being in high school in 1980, and yet… there they were. That’s a new level of “he just didn’t care”.

    Though there was also the “time in Westview is out of sync” thing, which was directly contradicted by TWO instances of simultaneous events in Funky and Crankshaft (Cindy and Mason buying the Valentine and Channel One playing the John Darling Who Was Murdered Show). Man, the continuity was a complete mess the last year…

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Batty choosing to date the time travel adventure to 1980 and then in the same year say that the Funky Crew graduated in the 70’s was hed asplode stupid, totally.

      I decided for the most part to pick tangible things that no amount of timey wimey ball stuff would explain. Changing names, mistaking one person for another, forgetting events that had taken place.

  8. Paul Jones

    I would have bet money that the most baffling continuity issue was his forgetting what Mopey Pete’s last name was.

  9. The Duck of Death

    Once again, I must step up and defend Davis (pace CBH, a far greater Batiuk scholar whose opinion I respect).

    Partly because of Wally Wood’s dictum, “Never draw anything you can copy, never copy, anything you can trace, never trace anything you can cut out and paste up.”

    But mostly because I see this kind of work for hire as working for a corporation of sorts.

    Let’s say you were working for an ad agency that handled some Disney business. And let’s say you were asked to create some ads for a new 4K DVD of “Beauty and the Beast.” How might you do it?

    You wouldn’t take a new photograph of the package; you’d choose from among a set of photographs Disney had already commissioned from a specialized photographer. You wouldn’t redraw any logos; you’d use .pngs supplied by Disney. You wouldn’t likely even write much copy; you’d adapt or simply lift whatever already-existing copy for “Beauty and the Beast” suited your needs.

    Your job in this case would be to speedily assemble existing assets into a good looking file in a size and format that publishers can use. You’d be responsible for quality control, of course. The product should look clean, colors should be correct, necessary copyright notices should be there, house style should be maintained, and all that.

    Disney knows that their assets are being used and reused. They don’t care. They’re being charged accordingly. All they want is a consistent and usable product, fast.

    I view Davis’ work in the same light. For him, the comic is a product he’s being paid to put out. He’s assembling it in the swiftest way possible. My guess is that this is how he keeps it profitable. If he had to draw every strip by hand, it might not be worth what he’s getting paid for it. And once Davis calls it quits, it seems unlikely Batiuk will be able to replace him (ie, willing to find someone who’ll do it for what he’s willing to pay). For that reason, I doubt Batiuk cares about the cutting and pasting — and I doubt that he notices it at all, to be honest. He doesn’t even remember characters’ names or ages, let alone specific poses of DSHJ that were used a year ago.

    I don’t excuse any crappy work Davis does, like reusing art that isn’t appropriate for the action being shown. But it doesn’t bother me at all that he reuses art, even if he does it every day. After all, Crankshaft keeps reusing the same jokes and situations. Cut-and-paste art is pretty much the level of creativity Crankshaft deserves.

    • The are a number of different kinds of creative work. One is actually creating something, a painting for example. Another, as you note, is arranging existing elements into a new form. In the latter, nothing is drawn or painted but the elements are combined in an aesthetic way.

      I’m a member of a PhotoShop group and a lot of the members do the second form. Their work is often exceptional, but they never claim to create the various things they arrange (in fact, they’re meticulous about crediting sources).

      • The Duck of Death

        Not to belabor the point, but my thought process is: Work for hire (as opposed to the work your friends are Photoshopping) belongs to the person or entity that paid for it, in this case Batom. If Batom wishes to allow that work to be reused, he is presumably contractually allowed to do that as the work’s owner.

        I understand that it rankles people that Davis signs work that is really rejiggered Ayers drawings. It doesn’t bother me particularly. I look at the signature as almost a contractual formality. In the context of comix, how many people sign their names to work that is ghost-pencilled or even ghost-inked and ghost-colored? It’s really about what the artist and client agree to.

        It’s possible I’m way off base and this is totally unacceptable according to established convention in the comic world — that if you reuse franchise assets that were drawn by another artist, you’re supposed to credit them. I really don’t know enough about comix to know what the conventions are. I’m just drawing on my experience of other creative fields. Clients generally make their assets available to everyone working on the account, because it’s faster, cheaper, and more consistent that way.

        Another question is: How much Ayers exactly would there need to be to credit him? What if it’s just one figure, and it’s redrawn rather than pasted? There are a lot of borderline cases because comix tend to feature the same poses again and again. What if Ayers hates what Davis has done with his drawings and doesn’t want his name on the work? And finally, could this open up a legal can of worms, in which Ayers demands some part of the pay because he did some part of the work?

        I have no idea what the answers to those questions would be, since I’m neither a comics creative nor a legal expert of any kind. But if anyone here is either of those things, it’d be very interesting to hear their thoughts.

        • ComicBookHarriet

          Ducky, I think that you’re right in that the art swiping is both legally in the clear, and perfectly in line with comic art culture as it has always been.

          And I think the art swiping in Crankshaft is done to keep the style consistent, which is an understandable goal. I wouldn’t want Crankshaft to go though a Burchett era of horror.

          As someone who has photoshopped her fair share of nonsense. I also agree that reusing assets is a form of art. A person making a collage is still doing something artistic.

          And there is a long history of a collaborative effort, or a repurposed collage, being signed only by a single name. Going all the way back to Master painter workshops of the Renaissance and beyond.

          My personal grudge against Ayers name being removed is a combination of a modern sensibility that demands everyone is credited for their effort, and the history major part of me that wants every source cited for clarity to be cross referenced and compared.

          The art in Cranky today is a little off due to the copypasta. The Cranky they chose to have standing at the top of the ladder in panel two is positioned in a way NO HUMAN would stand a the top of a ladder. And then in panel one I guess Cranky has broken his wrist since he’s swiveled completely around (this is a less annoying error) I remembered where the first Cranky came from.

          Also, Ducky, YES INJECT THAT SWEET SWEET RESPECTFUL DEBATE RIGHT INTO MY VEINS AHHH YEAH THATS SOSF GOOD STUFF!!

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            The art being re-used doesn’t bother me a tenth as much as the story being re-used. It’s exactly the same plot.

            By the way, a flamethrower doesn’t emit flame when the trigger’s not being squeezed. There needed to be a space between the flame and the thrower, suggesting Ed previously started the fire and it’s spreading now. Which would still set up the oh-so-wacky roof burning we all know is on deck.

            Once again, Batiuk’s writing is in the Unfunny Valley: too extreme to be realistic, but not extreme enough to be funny.

          • The Duck of Death

            “Unfunny Valley.” I’m stealing that.

            And while I do defend Davis’ plundering of Ayers’ work, I don’t defend the crappy misapplications, like putting Ed on a ladder in a position, as CBH pointed out, that defies both physics and common sense.

            I’m also wondering what these gutters are made of, that a man of about 250 lb hanging by one hand doesn’t even bend them an inch. Presumably Pmm and Jff had the roof rebuilt with military-grade flameproofing and the gutters redone with thick, rolled-edge 440 stainless steel.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            Also, Ed’s very strong for a 103-year-old man.

          • The Duck of Death

            And you know what I just realized? In the panel CBH used from earlier this week, when Ed’s flamethrower arrives, he’s doing a quarter-inch pinch. That’s totally an Ayers-ism, isn’t it? I suspect that means that the art of Ed emerging from the door to see the box on the porch was also swiped repurposed from Ayers.

        • Green Luthor

          I suppose the first questions we would need to be answered are: does Batiuk know that Davis is recycling Ayers’ art, and does he/would he care?

    • be ware of eve hill

      Curious. I wonder if Ayers had to sign an agreement surrendering all ownership of the artwork he created for Funky Winkerbean or Crankshaft to Batom.

      If so, Dan Davis can use whatever artwork he chooses from the CS/FW vault as long as he gets the official okey-dokey from Batom.

  10. robertodobbs

    I remember from my French Lit classes that Honoré de Balzac had counless recurring characters in his many works but there were never any contradictions or discontinuties when they showed up. But maybe I shouldn’t be comparing TB to Balzac.

    • The Duck of Death

      Our comments crossed in the ether, roberto, but your comment is an example of what I mentioned: Authors keeping notes on their characters’ histories and characteristics. Take out a damn notebook, write the character’s name at the top, and add to it whenever necessary. Then refer to it before you call back that character. It’s not rocket surgery.

      • robertodobbs

        I think it’s just contempt for readers, comics as commodity instead of art. I’ve been reading through the Complete Dick Tracy volumes lately and it’s amazing how much effort Chester Gould put into each and every daily strip.

        • The Duck of Death

          “Commodity instead of art” definitely sums up just about 100% of current newspaper comics.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          I think Batiuk has contempt for having to do comic strips at all. He thinks it’s beneath him, and that he should have been working for Marvel or DC all this time.

          Batiuk’s behavior is very reminiscent of “quiet quitting.” Remember that COVID trend, where on-the-clock employees blew off their job assignments to do work for another employer, or even took a second job for that purpose? It lasted until corporate America realized they can justifiably insta-fire anyone caught doing that.

          Batiuk did the barest minimum of work for Funky Winkerbean, and only because he got paid to do it. And he made every single part of his “day job” about comic books. He writes comic book stories into FW and CS, hires comic book artists to create the needless Sunday covers, used the (probably job-mandated) Funky Winkerbean blog to ramble about comic books, and goes to comic book conventions as his only method of fan engagement. The only other things he puts effort into are feeding his ego, and selling his crappy books.

          King’s Feature Syndicate didn’t seem too upset when he folded FW and took CS to another publisher.

          • The Duck of Death

            Great analogy, and “quiet quitting” could also potentially apply to Ayers, and Davis. Impossible to say without knowing the full story, but also hard to rule out….

      • ComicBookHarriet

        A lot of modern writers make private wikis now to keep track of things. Brandon Sanderson is an example of that.

        Other authors, such as in the Transformers or Star Wars fandom, sing the praises of the extensive fan made wikis that they openly use to fact check. (Seriously the Transformers Wiki is a work of obsessive genius.)

        Batiuk really could have used a Winkerpedia. But while I am crazy. I am NOT THAT CRAZY.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      When he was dying, Balzac called for Bianchon, the doctor in the *Human Comedy.* He would save him!

      Batiuk seems to think that his characters are as real to him as Balzac’s were to him. Let’s send a lawsuit his way and see whether he calls out for Amicus Breef, where others would (better) call Saul!

      Emile Zola killed off his great doctor, Pascal Rougon, so he didn’t call for him after 1893.

  11. The Duck of Death

    Re: The voting and the winner… Once again, I was with the narrow majority, though every contender was strong.

    The frustrating thing is that any decent creator would be keeping notes on their characters as they go. It’s a thing actual authors and writers do. Then there wouldn’t be wild changes in names, ages, hair colors, histories, etc. I don’t fault Batiuk for not remembering 50 years of work, but I very much fault him for bragging about his continuity while doing ZERO work to maintain it.

    Then he’ll be irrationally proud of the tiniest blips of continuity that he half-assedly maintains, or bringing back some obscure character no one remembers to do nothing of consequence (eg, Susan Smith/Crankshaft’s flying school bus arc from this year). He thinks he’s clever.

    It’s the equivalent of the captain of the Titanic bragging about how neat he kept the bridge of the ship and how the brass buttons on his uniform were shined every morning.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      There’s really no wrong choice for any of these awards. Every nominated strip richly deserves the prize it’s nominated for.

    • Andrew

      Susan’s weeklong return was the most baffling moment of the final months. No point in the narrative besides teasing further suicidal thoughts and also letting Ayers draw Ed one last time.

      I figured that would be followed-up at some point, but it didn’t in Funky, and I’m doubting anything in Crankshaft at this rate. Was it a remnant of how sudden the strip was actually cancelled?

      • Green Luthor

        Best I can figure, if that was written when Batiuk knew he was ending the strip and had already come up with his “elegant” Timemop solution, he thought he would need to remind readers of Susan before referencing her in the Timemop story.

        Of course, he didn’t do anything to remind older readers or inform newer readers just WHO she was, and what her role in the previous stories was, but, y’know… that’s entirely consistent with Batiuk’s writing, too.

  12. The Duck of Death

    Has anybody been reading the comments on Crankshaft over at GoComics? If you’ve been looking to find nonironic Batiuk fans in the wild, that’s where they are. Comments like “Uh-oh, Crankshaft! Careful with that flamethrower” and “Ha ha! Typical Crankshaft! He’ll never learn!”

    Good ol’ JJ O’Malley is there holding down the snark-fort, but pretty much alone.

    • Gerard Plourde

      I have noticed. I am waiting to see if TomBa decides to do a “Very Special” arc now that he can use the FW cast, but I suspect those days may be in the past.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Billsplut recent poster here has also slipped through.

      The shadow ban is real. I suspect I am not the only victim.

      • The Duck of Death

        Well, that’s typical. I looked at their TOS and there’s nothing any of us write here that would fall afoul of them. But as you know, most mods shadowban or outright ban anyone they just plain don’t care for, regardless of stated TOS.

        That’s why I love it here. No capricious bans; few bans at all that I know of. And I know no one gets banned for disagreeing with the mods, or for defending the strip (if indeed that’s ever happened).

        • be ware of eve hill

          GoComics has the “Flag tool”. I’m guessing that’s somehow involved too. So many “flags” get the comment deleted. Too many flags overall will get you a time-out.

          That seems to have happened to DSSS a couple of weeks ago. DSSS annoying other commenters and getting flags? Wow, who’d a thunk it? /s

      • be ware of eve hill

        Have you tried writing to the moderator? moderator@gocomics.com.

        I’ve read in the GoComics comments that sometimes accounts have been auto-moderated into suspension. They sometimes say a simple email to the moderator can get you reinstated.

      • Bill the Splut

        I recently posted here that I said something about Bill “Zippy” Griffith and Cathy.
        I mentioned it in a talk he was giving at Real Art Ways in Hartford CT. He gave a wry smile and said “I don’t remember writing that, but it sounds like something I’d say!”
        I…might have something on Crankershit, but wow do I not remember it. It’s f’ing CRANKSHAFT, why would I?

      • gleeb

        I can comment over there, but no one, I suspect sees the comments. I was at one time very agressively snarky about Dick Tracy, Annie Warbucks, Lum & Abner, and especially the traditional role of railroads and railrod cops in US society.

        I no longer read Dick Tracy, though, so every day in every way, I’m getting better and better.

  13. The Duck of Death

    CBH, thanks for the “Ayres” showcase. I was one of the ones who was hard on him. But who knows what the extenuating circumstances were? Illness, old age, diminishing energy, feeling forced into continuing to work because of guilt-tripping by Tom? Or perhaps just echoing the half-assedness and lack of quality of the source material?

    It’s clear that he was capable — at least at one time — of high-quality work. We can only speculate as to the reasons the quality declined so sharply.

  14. hitorque

    I thought it was already a given that Krankenschaaften had another flamethrower(s)?

    Since this is America, you know that person in your family or circle of friends who goes out and buys a new handgun every few months? Even though this friend or relative already has like a dozen relatively new handguns that work perfectly fine and to the untrained eye are mostly indistinguishable? And you don’t dare say it out loud but you wonder what the hell is the point since handgun #13 does the exact same function of shooting bullets as handgun #1 and no matter how adept your friend might be, everyone knows that nobody can fire thirteen freaking guns at the same time??

    I figured Edd was that way about his flamethrowers and grilles and lawn mowers and whatever else is filling up his garage…

    • The Duck of Death

      Well, hitorque, you certainly have an… interesting group of friends. I don’t think I know anyone with even one handgun (except for the ex-cop I mentioned last week).

      Regarding Ed, it’s canon that he’s constantly buying gadgets he doesn’t need, or “new and improved” versions of things he already has, so I guess I can let it slide.

      • hitorque

        I’m in Virginia which means me and my mom are pretty much the only unarmed people in the entire Commonwealth

        • Bill the Splut

          Ha ha! Here in CT, I knew this guy. He sawed off a 12 gauge, loaded it, put it in his mouth, and
          Anybody who has ever said “Suicide is the coward’s way out!” has never put a loaded gun in their mouth.
          The cowards are the ones who kill 10 people and then shoot themselves when the cops are closing in. Murder-suicide? SKIP A FUCKING STEP YOU COWARD AND GO TO THE LAST ONE, YOU’RE NOT GONNA BE LOOKING DOWN FROM HEAVEN WHILE GLOATING

          I don’t remember that guy’s name, but I will say that gun barrels taste bad.

          • Bill the Splut

            Before anyone asks, that was 30 years ago and that guy’s OK now.

          • The Duck of Death

            Please inform that guy that we are very gratified that he’s okay and that gun barrels taste bad. Please let him know that we hope he continues to stick around here (interpret “here” as broadly as you like).

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        I’m from Floriduh originally, so I know a lot of people like the ones Hitorque describes. Many of whom are in my own family. In the interest of avoiding politics, I’ll say only this: gun people are telling me how extreme the gun culture has gotten.

        • The Duck of Death

          As a person who is not interested in gun culture, and is also middle aged, I can tell you that everything has gotten more extreme. Extreme views get eyeballs. Eyeballs generate money. And that’s what it’s all about. Every aspect of politics and culture has fallen victim to this. Even snark itself. What did people do 25 years ago when they didn’t like Funky Winkerbean? Probably just skipped it. Maybe, if they were passionate about it, they wrote a letter to the editor saying the strip was low quality and should be dropped. Today we have a long-running conversation where we pile on the strip daily. That’s the internet for ya. It allows like-minded people to congregate… often for the express purpose of excoriating that different group of like-minded people, who are of course evil and wrong. I’m glad we don’t do that here. We’re even nice to unironic fans, and to Batiuk/Ayers/Davis as human beings.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            The Internet has definitely made it easy for people with niche interests to find each other. This has its pros and cons.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      “I have more flamethrowers than I need, but not as many flamethrowers as I want,” said Ed Crankshaft.

  15. Andrew

    My vote aligned with everyone on the first two, but not here. Donna’s aging mixup was one of the few things that was missed in trying to explain the full time cop retcon, and it was just so glaring at undermining the premise. The Fairfield/Freeman mixup was equally glaring though, so i do understand how that got the votes. Just lousy all around, I suppose.

    • The Duck of Death

      You know what put the Flash thing over the top for me? The sheer punitive, endless, repetitious, drooling hero worship of Flash Freeman, the Stan Lee avatar. The great and exalted Flash Freeman. The greatest living writer of Silver Age books. Pete and Durward are Not Worthy! All hail Flash Freeman and his turgid Turtle Thompson anecdotes!

      And after all that, he forgot the guy’s name. Or changed it without a thought.

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