The Art of the Steal

Good, bad, pointless, or punchable, Batiuk and Ayers provided us with no shortage of material this year. For an artist who preached so stridently on the environment, Batiuk turned out a lot of junk.

Many talented beady-eyed nitpickers in the SOSF comments crew took it upon themselves to upcycle that trash into treasure. Following in the grand tradition of Wally Wood, they cut, copied and pasted themselves to some beautiful masterpieces.

For example, this collaborative gem, written by Sorial Promise and pasted up by yours truly.

Not all of them could be nominees, even though they were all guaranteed to be better than whatever strip they’d been based on. I picked the best from our prolific local artists, but it was agony trying to pick the final cut. In the end, I couldn’t narrow it down to less than these eighteen glorious strips.

So your nominees for,

The Best ‘Funky Winkerbean’ Strip of 2022

1.) Batiuk Batiuk

2.) What Good Are You?

3.) Garbage Day

4.) Windswept Graves

5.) Microscopic Effort

6.) Give Me a Reason

7.) Clear Headed

8.) First Issue

9.) CSI Marianne

10.) Kingly Jest

11.) Rapping Around

12.) High Expectations

13.) Chicken Winner

14.) Gentle Lies

15.) Soundproof Glass

16.) No, It’s Westview

17.) The Terminator

18.) The Watcher

And the Son of Stuck Funky Award for Best ‘Funky Winkerbean‘ Strip of 2022 is…

Give Me a Reason.

Our glorious leader, TF Hackett, walks away with the prize! Congratulations, boss.

For your prize I made you an epilogue.

This was a close race, with a VERY divided vote. Even the winner only got 18% of the vote. The pie chart looks like a pizza cut by a madman, so I won’t bother posting it here. I’ll just list the top few runners up.

15% Windswept Graves

10% Soundproof Glass

9% Clear Headed

7% First Issue

6% Batiuk Batiuk

5% What Good Are You?

There was nothing more fun than scrolling down the comments and seeing one of these pop up. It was like opening a box of stale Cracker Jack, digging through the sticky, glue-flavored gunk, and finding a real honest-to-goodness, 3-D plastic prize. What a creative bunch! The creative work this year wasn’t just visual. We’ve got poets and story writers lurking around down there, with beautiful rhymes and haunting dystopian horror. Comments like that are what made this place grow, and comments like that have kept this place creeping along an entire month after Batiuk’s final futuristic book plug.

It seems fitting that our final award for the 2022 Funky Awards is one we give ourselves. Is it self-congratulatory? YES. We have learned so much from our jester, clown, nemesis, scapegoat, and dark muse.

Join us tomorrow for the Closing Ceremony.




Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

56 responses to “The Art of the Steal

  1. Epicus Doomus

    I voted for this one too. It really captured the essence of what “Crankshaft” is all about, and Susan Smith was killed, and I never much cared for that character. If you go back and re-read her character arc, you quickly see that Susan was one of Batiuk’s icky-est creations, this fanciful vision of a woman who couldn’t possibly exist in real life. You could say the same thing about Lisa, which is kind of the point, as absolutely no one was clamoring for more of that.

    And how could anyone possibly have any sympathy for a character who attempted suicide over her unrequited love for Les f*cking Moore? Bringing her back in 2022 was just so self-indulgent and pointless, as she was best left buried and forgotten in BatYam’s massive landfill of terrible ideas.

    • Green Luthor

      I can see what might be Batiuk’s reasoning in bringing Susan back, although… it’s not exactly *good* reasoning.

      I figure by the time he wrote that week, he already knew the strip was ending. He had already planned the Timemop nonsense. He decided that Timemop had “nudged” Susan to tell Les about the tape.

      And then he realized that long-time readers might not remember Susan, so he threw her into a week of strips as a reminder. Of course, it likely didn’t occur to him that long-time readers might not remember much about the story, so he didn’t bother to put any of those pesky “details” in. And he didn’t consider that more recent readers (if there were any?) would have NO idea about any of her story whatsoever, so the entire thing would be meaningless. (Or it did occur to him, and he just forgot by the time he got around to actually writing the comics?)

      Of course, it had to be a full week, because of those pesky “unwritten rules”, and it had to have Crankshaft, because… um… trying to get people to read the other strip?

      I can’t prove any of that, of course, but it certainly feels like the kind of thought process Batiuk would go through.

  2. Green Luthor

    Another category where any winner would have deserved it. (But one of the few categories where I don’t feel the need to put “winner” in quotes, so… there’s that.)

    My personal vote went to “Soundproof Glass”, simply because when reading the nominees, that’s the one that made me laugh the hardest. Seemed the best way to decide.

  3. Y. Knott

    What a gallery of work! C’mon — how often do you like the remix better than the original? And how often does a remix turn a terrible track into a hit? Almost never!

    “Windswept Graves”, “Kingly Jest” and “Gentle Lies” would be my 1, 2 and 3 picks … but there wasn’t one of these that I didn’t enjoy.

    The Complete Funky Winkerbean isn’t complete without the remix album!

  4. Mela

    I voted for Clear Headed because Dinkle face down in the snow made me snicker every time I read it. But all the strips were fine candidates!

  5. sorialpromise

    I am so grateful to you to reprint our golf story. Thank you. We published a high quality strip that was much better than whatever arc TB was publishing that week. So we join a narrow short list of creators consisting of TB, Ayers, Byrne, and maybe Davis. We never had a bad day. The others can’t match that.
    You are the best♥️💖❤️🌺💐🌹🫂🫂🫂

  6. Quite an honor indeed, CBH. I am most humbled. I’d like to thank my fellow nominees, as well as the early comix snarkers whose remixed strips inspired me. And who’d have thunk Batiuk’s surviving strip would itself become a remix of old FW strips?

  7. Gerad Plourde

    When I saw the “Soundproof Glass” remix I couldn’t help but think that Cory’s response was the one TomBa had actually provided the set up for in the original strip’s actual panel 1. The situation, Holly’s line, and the expression Ayers put on her face leave no other possibility.

  8. ComicBookHarriet

    My vote went to “Batiuk, Batiuk,” because that was some high effort remixing there. The way ‘Rapping Around’ was cut and pasted to say ‘Batiuk’? Genius. So genius I stole and reused the idea earlier this week. And in doing so developed a new appreciation for how long all those Batiuks must have taken.

    • bad wolf

      My own experiments showed that yes, trying to incorporate his font (by diligently copying/pasting/moving single letters) was the real sticking point of the process. You get halfway through and it’s just… ah, this wasn’t as funny as i thought, forget it.

      It’s a real shame–he uses an electronic font someone made for him but it’s not commercially available. For, uh, obvious uses.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Coming from you, that is high praise indeed. Thank you.

      The hardest part was actually putting Batton Thomas’ face on Flash Freebird’s Moai head. I feel like it looks out of place with the others, but there wasn’t any other way.

  9. Paul Jones

    When you remember Susan’s stupid backstory, you end up having to face how little Baituk knows about women. She was a pale rehash of the OG wan hysteric with entitlement issues, Dead Saint Lisa.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Batiuk writes women like a 13-year-old boy would. There’s just nothing to them other than who they’re married to. And even that is so stunted and imperceptive you wonder what kind of home life that 13-year-old boy has.

      • The Duck of Death

        Bechdel Test failure all ’round. The Bechdel Test is one method of determining whether a work portrays women as human beings, or relies on shallow stereotypes. To pass, a work

        must feature at least two women, these women must talk to each other, and their conversation must concern something other than a man.

        It’s an overly blunt instrument, but a useful general guideline. FW fails again and again and again, over the course of 50 years. That’s more than enough time to develop female characters with their own inner lives, the same way the men have their own inner lives.

        But instead, we saw multiple inexplicable obsessions with Les, and eventually ended up with shadowy wives who are basically glorified cheerleaders for their husbands.

        Even Lillian, who isn’t paired with a man, is an author avatar. She wrote a book! It became an instant hit! She did a faux-modest “Who, little old me?” schtick!

        Women are the most disappointing feature of the entire Funkyverse.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          The Bechdel Rule makes its point effectively. There are few acting roles for women outside of playing love interests.

          The females in the Funkyverse have a bigger problem: they’re all moms to their husbands. (Not that there isn’t a little truth to that.) But it’s just so pervasive, and it’s the only role they ever have in the relationship. Again, it all sounds like it was written by a 13-year-old boy with some issues.

      • Paul Jones

        As I’ve said before, his issue is that for some reason that’s probably bad, cruel and selfish and totally irrational, his mother resented the Hell out of being thought of as someone whose function was to feed him milk and cookies while his brain stagnated reading about Flash running at Moronic Speed.

    • Green Luthor

      “My editor suggested I try to win back readers by finally giving Cherry Chipmunk – the girl – a line of dialogue.”

      • billytheskink

        Ronan reiterating that Cherry Chipmunk is “the girl” after having noted it just minutes earlier makes that part of the routine work so so well.

  10. The Duck of Death

    ‘Mornin’, all you Crankshaftidudes and Crankshaftettes!

    Today, Lillian et al are arriving at the OMEA. They see a large group of what I assume are high school students. Lillian quips, “I’m starting to feel like we’re at the wrong end of the generation gap!”

    [pause for laughter]

    You sure are, Lil, since you’re canonically the Greatest Generation. Between you and these Gen Z/Zoomer high school kids, there are 3 generations: Baby Boomers, Gen X’ers, and Millennials.

    Mind the gap, Lillian! It’s quite a drop off.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      It’s a common comic strip conceit, because the funnies page is made by and for baby boomers. They love to present baby boomers as the parents of current young people, when they’re more like great-grandparents. Like the dad in Curtis who hates rap, even though he would have grown up with it. Or whatever the hell Pluggers is about. It’s all this:

    • Bill the Splut

      Jiminy Christmas, I haven’t hear the phrase “generation gap” since I was a kid during the

      Who is this strip for? Dead people? And when is JFK going to address the Missile Gap?

      • The Duck of Death

        It would have been used originally to refer to the gap between the Greatest Generation — WWII vets — and their kids, the Baby Boomers. Now, as mentioned, the Baby Boomers themselves would be the grandparents or great-grandparents of the high school kids at OMEA.

        Which puts Lillian in great-great-grandparent territory.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Also, not everyone in the choir is as old as Lillian. About half of the women look early 50s at worst. Ricca looks more like 28. Typical Funkyverse character, assuming everyone else is the same as her.

        • Bill the Splut

          Hasn’t it been clearly stated that Crank was born in 1920? How many 103 year olds drive a school bus that’s in accidents every day? “Oh, look, another group of children with neck injuries after he deliberately drove over another mailbox! Get out the checkbook, it’s ‘out of court settlement’ time again! Guess we’ll need another fundraiser! Ha ha.” (turns and whispers to other town council member) “Cut his brake line before his next route. Do not fail us!” Frankie nods, smiles. His moment has finally come.

          Yeah, “exaggeration for comic effect,” got it. But this is all a quarter-inch from insanity.

          • The Duck of Death

            I seem to recall that Cranky was scouted for MLB at the time of DiMaggio’s famous hitting streak (1941). That would put his birth year around 1920. Anyone know more, or different?

          • Bill the Splut

            Fire Dept, calling Pam: “Your father’s bus is on fire! Don’t worry, it was just him in it! What? Oh, he’s doing well…WELL DONE!” (hangs up phone, responders laugh and high-five)

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            Ed Crankshaft said he played for the Toledo Mud Hens in 1940. In real life, the youngest player on that team was born in February 1919. His involvement in stories about baseball integration would also fits this time; integration started in 1946. This is the basis of my belief that Ed is over 100 years old.

            Then again, he also said he rooted for Rocky Colavito as a kid, which would put his birth year after WWII. So who knows?

          • Green Luthor

            The dates given for Crankshaft’s life may not line up (ya beady-eyed nitpickers), but if not, it’s all because of Timemop causing temporal anomalies while “nudging” history onto the path it presumably would have taken anyway without him.

            When in doubt… TIMEMOP.

            (Or “it’s called writing”. Take your pick.)

      • Anonymous Sparrow

        RE: JFK:

        When is he going to use one of those pens he’s always sent and end discrimination in federal housing with a stroke?

        (It took twenty-two months, if you’re wondering.)

    • be ware of eve hill

      Dinkle at the OMEA without Becky?! She must have finally filed a restraining order.

      • The Duck of Death

        Don’t get your hopes up. Dinkle’s not in today’s Crankshaft. I’m sure we’ll see him soon enough, perhaps with Becky in tow, perhaps with the whole town as moral support. Because you know Bats is just itchin’ to get Les, Batton, and all his favorites into Centerville so they can muscle out the titular character.

      • Perfect Tommy

        Maybe this is the year they’ll rescue that class trip from a few years ago. Meanwhile, They’ve gone feral and have been subsisting on band candy and leftovers from last years “Disney on Ice” production.

  11. The Duck of Death

    I voted for the first runner up, but as usual, all were worthy, and in this case, we were all the winners, because we were the ones who actually got a laugh out of FW at last.

    I stand in line for every single brilliant individual who wrung satisfying comedy out of dull tripe. Thanks to every one of you for brightening so many days.

  12. Rusty Shackleford

    I chose garbage day. Seeing Lisa’s Story on the trash pile made me laugh. But they were all excellent and it was a difficult choice.

    The “Give me a reason” strip is the most relevant given what’s happening in Crankshaft these days.

  13. Banana Jr. 6000

    Regarding “Microscopic Effort”: I thought this was the funnier version of that joke:

    The delighted reactions really sell it.

    • The Duck of Death

      That’s the superhero Philled Hole was working on all those years when he hid from the world after faking his death.

      You know, so he could finally escape the paparazzi and ceaseless public attention and demands on his time. As a caricaturist at kids’ parties. Whom no one recognized.

      This is it. His magnum opus.

      And he’s decades too late! MAD, 1953, “Flesh Garden!,” drawn by the aforementioned Wally Wood, already introduced the Air-Men!

    • ComicBookHarriet

      I also really loved this one! Since it was from 2021 and not this year I didn’t nominate it, but decided to honor it by nominating it’s sequel.

  14. Banana Jr. 6000

    I voted for Rapping Around. I don’t know why, but “Look at my eyes, man” cracks me up every time I see it.

  15. be ware of eve hill

    Um… I forgot which one(s) I voted for. 😖😳

    I guess that reflects upon the excellent overall quality of the nominees. A lot of them made me laugh so hard I cried. Well done, folks.

  16. Banana Jr. 6000

    I’m glad “What Good Are You” got a decent number of votes. I thought it drove home the problem with the arc: how useless Cayla was. I can get that she might be weary of fighting the world at her age (whatever age she is). But a couple of college-bound 18-year-olds wouldn’t be. They’d be angry. And being patronized by this condescending woman who longer has any authority over them, would make it worse.

  17. CBH – I appreciate all the great work that you put into these awards. For me, that last week of the strip pretty much drained me of any snark energy, and I pretty much didn’t read much of the posts or the comments, and I totally missed on voting, but I’ve enjoyed reading the results, along with the collection of “Funky Winkerbean” “fan” comics in today’s post. I’m still reading Crankshaft, but I’m not sure how much more I can take. Komix Korner and OMEA arcs are bad enough, but if he throws in a week of Flash and Phil I might just throw in the towel.

    Unrelated to FW.. I’ve continued to read some comics on Comics Kingdom, and because I refused to give those ****ers a red cent, I’ve been using an alternate firefox browser to look at the site and clearing my cookies before I get to the ten strip limit. This has been working for me for a few months, but today all of a sudden I tried to look at Rex Morgan right after clearing the cookies, and I get the message that I’ve exceeded my maximum free strip views for the month (and it’s only Feb 2nd!). Am I the only one who doesn’t pay for a subscription to CK? If not, has anyone else experienced this yet, or know another way to get around it?

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Thanks bobanero! That ending seemed to have drained the snark from quite a few people. Woof.

      I’m currently paying my pound of flesh to get into CK. Though it’s only because I paid for an entire year at once. I don’t expect I’ll renew the sub, Mary Worth notwithstanding. So I can’t help you with any devious tricks to get your Rex Morgan fix. Some newspapers might still be offering their syndicated strips online for free. Might be work trying to find one.

      One thing I’ll say about King’s though, their coloring slaves were miles above whoever they’ve got splashing color on Crankshaft for the weekdays for GoComics. The color palette is all off, and everything is chosen completely at random. Plus almost all colors are in the muted, almost pastel, range. It’s like the thing was colored with leftover wall paint from the Home Depot.

      That’s when things are colored at all. Backgrounds have been left completely white on numerous occasions. Like an awful coloring book no one bothered to finish.

      I mean LOOK at today. First of all the younger choir. The girl’s dresses are identical, and it’s a CHOIR, they should all be the same color.

      Second of all, I know NO ONE who would wear a lemon yellow scarf over a plum jacket.

    • ian'sdrunkenbeard

      ATTN CK HACK! When you are on the CK comic you want to read, scroll down to “buy a print”. Right click on the thumbnail, open it in a new tab, and Voila! – A full size strip!
      That’s how I’m able to find the six differences in Slylock Fox.