After F*U*N*K

I haven’t posted since the heat death of the Funkyverse. Special thanks to TFH, everyone who’s contributed, and, of course, CBH, who’s exceeded my already lofty and unrealistic expectations with her special brand of Batiukian madness. I’m mildly surprised and definitely pleased to see SoSF still more or less chugging along. I genuinely had no idea what to do or what would happen, but it’s all just kind of worked itself out. And how many things can you say that about, eh? Thank you, Harriet, and by all means, carry on. I wouldn’t even attempt to try and stop you at this point. You don’t want to fool around with farm people, they have wiles.

Anyhow, I still don’t read “Crankshaft”, as caving and starting to read it every day would be a defeat, and would sully my 0-0-1 record vs. BatYam. I’ll continue to follow it from, uh, “afar”, let’s say. Here’s a question for you Crankheads out there: was “Crankshaft” fully formed with its current cast of characters from day one, or did it begin as a gag-a-day strip that slowly morphed into a dreary monstrosity like FW did? I find it strange how he appears to like “writing” for “Crankshaft” more than he liked writing for FW. I mean, I don’t even know if that’s true, but it does seem that way at times. And, generally speaking, people (not me but other people) don’t seem to detest it as much as everyone hated FW.

At least ol’ TomBan is still interested in something, I suppose. He put less than nothing into FW’s ignominious end, and that blog of his is an annoying boring eyesore, so he has to let that creativity slowly dribble out somewhere, I guess. I still find it hard to believe that “Crankshaft” is still standing, though. I mean, ewww. If he had never killed off Lisa for cheap shock value, I bet FW would still be going, and it’d be almost entirely Lisa-centric. So with that in mind, perhaps it all worked out for the best.

Anyhow, carry on, everyone. It’s already mid-March and SoSF still lives, so my draw vs. Batiuk feels like a bit more of a moral victory and less like a boring old tie. Hopefully he’ll deliver some sort of new FW-related content that DOESN’T involve comic books, but betting on that would be extremely foolhardy, at best.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

36 responses to “After F*U*N*K

    • Epicus Doomus

      Well, my last official post title was a M*A*S*H reference, so there you go. It’s been weird adjusting to life in a post-FW landscape. I really don’t miss the strip itself at all, but I do miss that daily challenge. I miss that moment when you’d first see the following week’s strips and think “dear God man, you have got to be f*cking kidding me”. But most of all, I miss the laughter. Does anyone remember laughter????

  1. ComicBookHarriet

    Epicus! The Grumpy Goat G.O.A.T.!!! Your post makes me SO HAPPY! Even if you are still stubbornly not on the Crankwagon.

    You haven’t missed much in Cranky these last few weeks. Batty seems to rotate between weak week-long attempts to integrate FW crew and topics, and basic unconnected and recycled Crank gags.

    To answer your question, judging from the early strips I’ve read in my ‘Strike Four’ book, most of the main Cranky cast has been there from the beginning. Pam, Jeff, Max and Mindy, Lil and Lucy, some characters have rotated in and out, like the Roughriders who were a gang of punk kids that hung around in the 90’s through to 2007. They crossed over with Funky a few times.

    The strip also would switch between gag a day, to a week of connected gags, to serious plots from the very beginning. I mean Cranky’s big angsty literacy arc, and the Kent State Shooting arc were all fairly early.

    I think of Crankshaft like the less loved sibling of a toxic narcissistic parent. Funky Winkerbean was the Golden Child, and because of Tom’s intense focus on it, it suffered. He put almost everything on FW’s shoulders, and let Cranky coast on iterations of repeat gags for most of the year.

    And iterations of repeat gags, told by a comparatively narrow cast, made Cranky good to tolerable much much much longer. Repeat gags build the characters up in the reader’s mind. That’s why we still remember Charlie Brown and the football, or Linus and The Great Pumpkin. And it’s why I don’t actually get mad when Cranky buys too much from Bean’s End, or uses a flamethrower inappropriately, or backs over Keesterman’s mailbox. YMMV.

    Now that all of Tom’s focus is on his remaining strip, I fear for it.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Same here. Crankshaft survived because it was inoffensive and occasionally funny. In that form it could continue for years a la Blondie, Beetle Bailey, etc.

      But with FW gone, I fear Batty will destroy Crankshaft, maybe deliberately, so that it can’t continue on. There are things that Batty cannot let go of, like comic books, Dinkle and the OMEA, and more comic books.

      I’ll know Batty is intentionally destroying this strip the day Adeela appears.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Crankshaft isn’t worth hating. Yes, it’s full of awful people and has a lot of the same storytelling problems as Funky Winkerbean did, but it’s harmless. Openly detesting it seems petty. There are things in the comic page more worthy of bile. Like Dustin. Or Pluggers.

    • The Duck of Death

      That’s such a f’in brilliant analogy, CBH. You never want to be the Golden Child in a dysfunctional family run by a narcissist. The Scapegoat is actually the luckier one. And Crankshaft was the luckier strip, by virtue of its sticking fairly closely to its role as a simple, gag-a-day strip.

      BTW, yesterday, Max and Moritz both gave the heavy-lidded, fourth-wall-breaking look at the reader that Bats said he wasn’t going to do any more. I can’t remember his exact words on the topic, but it was something to the effect that having characters look at the viewer was too much of an author insert or some similar incomprehensible gibberish.

      Me, I don’t think it makes a difference either way. Peanuts did it occasionally, for example. It’s about the writing and the gags, not whether or not the fourth wall is broken. Typical for Puffy to fixate on some extraneous detail as he ignores what’s truly important.

    • Epicus Doomus

      I suppose your point re: repetition is true. Your point about repetition is true. Repetition. I mean, we all remember the talking leaves, band turkeys, and Les being stuck on the rope in gym class FAR better than we remember, for example, Becky’s relationship with her mom or Wally’s nine years in community college.

    • Gerard Plourde

      I’m actually wondering how much day to day input Batiuk has on Crankshaft at thos point. He may be working on Atomik Comix and Dinkle arcs that will occasionally appear, but I suspect he may not be able to do things on a daily basis.

  2. Y. Knott

    Crankshaft appears to be slowly morphing into Funky Winkerbean without Les Moore. Surely this is some sort of improvement? Discuss.

  3. Paul Jones

    What I find interesting is that longish-term arcs involve characters from Winkerbean while the day-to-day, tepid and weary almost-gag-a-day strips rotate around Crankshaft characters.

  4. gleeb

    One of the important characters in earlier ‘shaft was Jeff’s mother. She provided a much-needed role as a foil to Ed Crankshaft. Whereas he was irritable, dangerous around fire, and muddle-headed, she was downright nasty. She had nothing but complaints and insults to contribute to the script, which made Ed look pleasant in comparison. If Jeff, her son, seemed kind of noodle-spinded, it was clear that she had made him that way.

    Without this charchter (who didn’t even get a masked headwaiter when she died), Ed is just a jerk who talks funny and spends all his money on gardening supplies. And who is still dangerous around fire.

    Maybe Dinkle will become Ed’s foil, but I doubt it. The strip as it now is has it’s little round and hits the points it wants to year in and year out.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      We know Dinkle will appear at least once a year in February for the OMEA convention. But I would not be surprised to see him a lot more…Batty just can’t let him die already.

    • gleeb

      Wow, my typing is worse than usual this morning. Sorry, folks.

  5. Rusty Shackleford

    Does anyone know who is in today’s strip? Is that one of the old yuppie neighbors that used to appear years ago?

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Yes. Morgan and Chase Lambert. (GET IT?!?)

      They actually appeared relatively recently, when Crankshaft was electrocuting his tree.

    • Pretty sure that’s Summer.

    • J.J. O'Malley

      Well, whether that’s a Morgan or a Chase, whoever it is is contributing to CLIMATE DAMAGE!!!

      Batiuk should have had them divorce and then let the husband marry a younger, buxom trophy wife named Silicon Valley.

      • The Duck of Death

        Yep, he’s back on the ol’ Climate Damage high horse. I’m sure he never drives when he could walk, never uses a clothes dryer, never showers more than 2 minutes (in room temp water), keeps his house at a Gaia-sparing 58° all winter and a balmy 85° in July, etc etc.

        I for one am glad he once again took time out of his busy day to let us know he’s on the Right Side of History.™️

  6. be ware of eve hill

    Read this Far Side comic the other day and almost instantly thought of our Comic Book Harriet.

    How is Comic Book Harriet able to write the blog when she’s so busy on the farm? She has the model with a built-in laptop.

    • ComicBookHarriet


      That Far Side ALWAYS cracked me up, because my dad was actually one of the earliest guys in the county to get a bag phone. So I remember riding around in the pasture as a tiny Harriet with a big black brick in a bag plugged into the cigarette lighter.

      Because he had a bag phone before most people had cell phones, and kept the same cell company ever since, his cell phone number is about as easy to remember as the combination to Dark Helmet’s luggage.

      Also, in the midst of a very busy day, with rain forecasted tomorrow. So I’m swapping my weekend lazy post and my monster John manifesto tonight. Sorry folks!

      • be ware of eve hill

        You’re actually familiar with that particular The Far Side comic? Sweet! Something told me you’d like it.

        While reading yesterday it struck me that Larson rarely if ever wrote a clunker. There are so many comic strips nowadays that are poorly drawn and never hit the mark. All they are good for is snark fodder. I fear for the future of comic strips. It’s going to be all legacy comic strips and crap.

        Aw, man! Why do you have to drop the bad news on my post? 😆

        • Larson only wrote clunkers when he revised his strips. There was one with a vampire watching TV with an ad “When you’re out of A positive, you’re out of blood.” The caption was something like “Channel 47 – The Vampire Channel.”

          He decided the caption was unneeded, and to me, that ruined the joke. The first was “We’re in the world we live in, and there’s a TV channel devoted to vampires.” The second was, it’s an entire vampire world, and there’s television. I don’t know, to me it just softened the impact. It went from “Whoa” to “So what?”

          • be ware of eve hill

            Ha! “When you’re out of A positive, you’re out of blood.” was a takeoff of a beer jingle that was popular when I was a kid

            Our backyard neighbor always had a can of Schlitz in his hand. Whether sitting out on his deck or checking out his garden, there’d be the ever-present can of Schlitz in his left hand.

          • be ware of eve hill

            Oops. Wrong video. Here’s the jingle.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      That cartoon was a big one in my life, too. I kept it in my cubicle for years. Why? Because I worked for (and still do work for) an ag data company. My first duty was doing phone support for internet doo-dads that told ag companies when to buy to and sell grain; when they needed to spray pesticides; sent marketing messages to their customers; ran their own weather stations, and things like that.

      And some of them really lived up to it! One day, I got this scratchy-voiced old coot on the phone telling me about how he had installed his own wireless network so he could have wi-fi on his tractor (in a rural area 10 years ago, which was amazing). And asked me all these technical questions that showed he knew what he was talking about.

      When I first saw that drawing in high school, I was amused by such a silly concept. As an adult, I had a 9-to-5 job making the cowphone work. Life is pretty cool sometimes.

      • be ware of eve hill

        That is pretty cool. Real life can be more remarkable than invented tales. Not many folks correlate tech with agriculture. Makes perfect sense the way you explain it.

        I wish comics were more inspirational in my field. The representation of accoutants and business managers is not the most inspirational or even flattering. I witness Dilbert and Farcus comics posted in the breakroom or on cubicle walls. Did they find the comic humorous in general, or is it a dig at me? Oh well, life’s what you make it.

        Readers initially thought Gary Larson missed the mark with “Cow Tools.” Now the comic is a classic that quite a lot people remember.

  7. billytheskink

    Seeing this site alive and well in mid-March brings warm feelings to my heart.

    Sorry, watched some Star Wars the other day. Not on Betamax…

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