Hoppy Easter!

This is more brief announcement than a post. The next installment of the Animal Headed John series will go up tomorrow night, as today I was busy hiding old Valentine’s Day candy in little plastic eggs in my house for my housemate to find, and greedily drinking in all the cookie baking compliments I could wring from my family members. We’re talking Les Moore levels of smug every time someone bit into one of these bunny shaped bad boys.

For those of you reading who celebrate the season, I pray your day was joyful. For those of you who don’t I hope you still had an awesome day, too.

All of us, no matter our beliefs, can together enjoy the mad rush of Half-Price Mini Eggs day tomorrow.

Crankshaft celebrates Easter like a California Millennial with a Catholic grandma across the country. About once every 10 years, just for the cameras, to make the old lady shut up. This year was an off year for him. So enjoy these reprints of prior celebrations.

I feel like this is a decent set up lacking a good punchline. Something like, ‘Too much candy is bad for him.’ ‘What about you?’ ‘The sacrifices we make for children…’
Classic Crankshaft as it should be. Part of me thinks the final panel should be silent, but other than that, a solid strip.
(Oh, do NOT remind Tom that Jeff is part Ukrainian. I do not need him to use another war as a soapbox.)


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

39 responses to “Hoppy Easter!

  1. sorialpromise

    Man! When TB hates a family member, he goes all in! I don’t know if mamma ever came back into the strip. Did TB ever revisit her? If he did, I bet he poured it on her again. I have to bear in mind, that TB hates the females he actually likes: Holly, Dead St. Lisa, and CauCayla. Does Funky’s ex get a pass? Has he always treated Cindy with respect? I know he has since 2020. I read those strips. How about before? (I didn’t really need to invoke Funky’s name, but it might be the only time it is used this week.)

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Jff’s mom, Gramma Rose, was a major character up until her death in May 2016, and still is occasionally mentioned. She’s a very tempting topic for a deep dive, but I don’t have access to early Cranky material to learn when she first showed up.

      Jff and Rose’s relationship was incredibly complex, as she rides that line where you can’t tell if a relationship is abusive or just not very good due to a clash in personality. In that uncomfortable place where Rose hasn’t been awful enough for Jeff to completely cut her out of his life, but they will never really be able to connect or understand each other.

      There are so many things about the way Gramma Rose is portrayed that remind me of my own Grandmother. Even in the way she had trouble bridging gaps to people not flexible enough to meet her where she was. But my Grandma tried her best to be fair, and only admitted her favorites privately. And she was worlds warmer and more loving than the way Rose is shown.

      Lots of people hate Gramma Rose, rightfully so, since she’s written as a bitter, spiteful, harpy hell-bent on making everyone else as miserable as she is until the moment she dies. I was in the minority for enjoying some of the comedy her misanthropic vibes could achieve.

      • sorialpromise

        Thank you, CBH.
        That last strip from 2/8/2012 was perfect. I doubt that it was a continuing story. Probably, just a one day zinger. That would be TB at his best. It had more humor than the last 2 years of FW. Someone with more knowledge could explain why TB leans almost exclusively into smirky, insulting humor. He rarely, except with Ed Crankshaft, gets into funny.

      • billytheskink

        Moving Rose Murdoch in with Jff, Pm, and Shaft was actually one of TB’s shrewder moves as a writer. She gave Ed a kind of foil that he had never had before, someone who could dish out cantankery as good as she took it. For a time, this added some much-needed variety to the strip that had exhausted most of the “important” ideas (Alzheimer’s, Kent State, old tyme baseball, the Roughriders) TB could think to toss into it and was back to peddling malapropisms and dumping on Lena’s brownies.

        Rose was awful and she was supposed to be, and I didn’t hate that (though I didn’t often enjoy reading it)… No, what I hated about her is that TB didn’t seem to realize that by making her in instrument of torture for Jff he had essentially done the same for his poor sister Jan. Granted, outside of the infamous murder of her husband, John Darling, pretty much all of the indignities Jan suffered through are inferred by the reader. But how could they not be?

        – With her husband murdered (in front of her eyes no less!) and a young daughter at home, Jan had to raise Jessica as a single working mother… and then watch as her daughter, son-in-law, and grandson regularly visited the Winkerbeans and the Moores instead of her.

        – She had to endure Les reopening the wounds of her husband’s murder so he could write his stupid book, and had to endure the same when her daughter decided to kinda sorta make a documentary about John Darling who was murdered, and then again when Channel 1 dealt with Russian hackers by playing a multiday marathon of Darling U-matic tapes without telling her (much less paying her, a producer of the show).

        -At one point she was producing for the Today show in New York, only to later be back slumming at Channel 1 and having to listen to Phil the Forecaster sob about being let go after a 40+ year career of getting paid to be bad at being a weatherman.

        Of course, I’m completely projecting with how I see all of these things affecting Jan, including Rose’s verbal abuse (maybe it was just directed at Jff… but Rose is portrayed as hating pretty much everyone who isn’t her dog), but I’m not making up any of the plot threads TB has left lying around that reasonably lead me to these projections.

  2. be ware of eve hill

    Harriet, I pray your day was joyful too.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      It was pretty great until the sugar crash hit. Too. Many. Cookies.

      ❤ Happy Easter, BWOEH!

      • be ware of eve hill

        Someone certainly didn’t skimp frosting those cookies. It looks THICK. 😄

        • ComicBookHarriet

          But that frosting is sooooo good! It’s a handmade buttercream. Powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, evaporated milk…DELICIOUS!

  3. Banana Jr. 6000

    Wow, that last strip is pretty insulting. “My mom used to decorate eggs in the traditional Ukrainian style… with my mom, I never knew where her beautiful artistry came from.”

    Uhh…. from Ukraine?

    Having an ethnic tradition passed on to you in childhood is enough reason to be good at it. Some kids I grew up with inadvertently become great cooks, just by having an Italian or Greek or Polish grandma. It’s fair to wonder how people with such a background and no formal training became so skilled. But Jeff doesn’t frame the question that way. He frames it as an insult. “How could my mom possibly be good at art?”

    Fuck you, Jeff. You’re just mad your mom wouldn’t let you have your goddam comic books. Grow up already.

    • The Duck of Death

      In fairness to Batiuk, I think what he’s trying to say, via Jeff, is not that Rose had no opportunity to learn pysanky (aka Ukranian/Polish egg decorating), but that only those with Deep Souls can become True Artists. With all respect to skilled pysanky practitioners, the designs tend to be similar and it doesn’t take a wild imagination to execute them.

      What great artistic achievement has Jeff accomplished that allows him to judge his mother’s Artistic Soul or lack thereof?

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        But, again, he doesn’t say that. Panels 2, 3. and 4 all say absolutely nothing; these could have been used to say what you said, and make the strip’s intention clear.

        • Y. Knott

          Well, yeah. But, c’mon, if you catalogued every instance of Batiuk’s inept writing failing to convey any meaning, you’d probably have to establish some sort of daily blog to handle it all —

          Uh, never mind. Carry on!

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            Batiuk’s writing is so uniquely bad that it warrants further study. It’s not in-your-face bad, like The Eye of Argon And that kid was only like 15 when he wrote it, so he could have been instructed rather than mocked. Batiuk is 76 years old and still writes like he’s 15.

            Sometimes, people in a story simply have to say what’s going on. He thinks all writing has to be cryptic or elusive. At the same time, he’s got nothing to say 90% of the time, so he fills panels with meaningless drivel like the stuff I listed. Saying someone has “flair” is so empty and corporate-speaky it that was a punchline in a movie that’s now almost 25 years old.

            And, he insists on writing things that should be depicted visually. Cut that “intricate and artistic” drivel, and draw a picture of it instead.

            “If someone is intellectually there and sensitive….” Whaaaat? “Sensitive” is another empty, vague word, and the rest makes it sounds like this is about dementia all of a sudden. Is he implying his mom is “not intellectually there”? It’d be in character, I’ll give him that.

            So many Funkyverse strips leave me wondering “what the hell was the point of this?” Which happens, even to good artists. Occasionally you get a “Cow Tools” or a “how many black players in the NHL?” where your intent backfires. But I can’t even tell what Batiuk is *trying* to say.

  4. The Duck of Death

    A saner person would have said, “… so I know there was sensitivity and beauty in there somewhere. I’m just sorry that for whatever reason, something hurt her so badly, made her so hard, that it smothered all the good that must’ve been inside her.”

    OR… you know, just keep beating that dead horse.

    I came relatively late to Crankshaft, so I have to ask: Was Jff ever beaten or neglected? What exactly was the abuse he had to endure, beyond having his comix collection disrespected? Oh, hell, what am I saying? That’s the worst abuse anyone can ever endure, clearly.

    Anyway, CBH, happiest of Easters to you and yours. And to everyone else and everyone else’s, too!

    • The only time I remember Jff’s mother was when she stabbed a coloring book. And I wonder if it was originally supposed to be a comic book, but Batiuk just couldn’t bear to do it.

      • The Duck of Death

        I don’t think I ever saw that panel but “stabbing a coloring book with a knife” is the most bizarre concept ever to show child abuse. It’s a sort of childlike idea of the world. You can imagine a little kid in a safe, secure home hearing about “child abuse,” trying to piece together what it means, and deciding that the meanest thing you could do to a child is… wrecking their favorite stuff… by… uh, stabbing it.

  5. KMD

    Hope you had a great Easter CBH. You’ve done some excellent work in keeping the fire burning here in the first quarter of 2023. I am with you on Ukraine. I am not going to get into a debate on the merits of bringing politics into pop culture. I will simply say I have no desire for TB to wade into those deep waters. “Climate damage” and the assorted third tier Captain Planet ripoffs were bad enough.

  6. Paul Jones

    People who get in his way or criticize him or keep him from doing things don’t have inner lives or see things he won’t. They’re just bad people who aren’t lit inside and want things they aren’t meant to have. It’s not that he’s a cloddish little boy with an entitlement problem who gets pissed off when people want him to see past his nose, she’s just mean.

  7. The Duck of Death

    The good news is: Today’s Crankshaft has nothing to do with comix. And it also has nothing to do with Crankshaft.

    Jeff answers his office phone and the caller says he expected to get a machine. Jeff says, “We always answer our phones personally on Analog Monday.”

    There’s a few puzzling things about this, but the most puzzling is: WTF is Analog Monday? I searched Grandpa Google and Twitter hashtags and, although there are mentions of the phrase, it doesn’t seem to be a “thing.”

    Has anyone heard of Analog Monday?

    • Gerard Plourde

      Has it ever been established what Jfff does for a living? And since he and Pmmm went to Kent State in the 1960s and are older than Funky & Co, shouldn’t he be retired?

      • be ware of eve hill

        If Batiuk had any sense of humor, he would have made Jff an insurance salesman, possibly specializing in Crankshaft umbrella coverage.

        A few years ago in Funky Winkerbean during the Great Los Angeles Fire/Bronson Canyon story arc, a gray-haired Jff Murdoch appeared to be much older than in today’s strip. Pm was completely gray-haired too.

        Batiuk obfuscated the timelines of his comics with the Timemop nonsense. Maybe I’m giving Batiuk too much credit, but he now has a built-in excuse against any timeline related questions.

        I imagine Batiuk could also weasel his way out with the excuse he never claimed Crankshaft was a quarter-inch away from reality (like Funky Winkerbean).

        • sorialpromise

          Bah-da bah-da-da-da
          Bah-da bah-da-da-da
          Bah-da bah-da-da-da

          Analog Monday (bah-da bah-da-da-da)
          So funky to me (bah-da bah-da-da-da)
          Analog mornin’, it was nothing like I hoped it would be
          Oh Analog Monday it sucks to be me,
          Analog Monday i couldn’t define thee
          (bah-da bah-da-da-da)
          That Analog evenin’ it sounds foolish to me.

      • Gabby

        I was an MA student in California when the Kent State massacre occurred and I think Pmmm was supposedly a student there. I’m happily not retired.

    • The Duck of Death

      Six o’clock already, I can tell by my wind-up clock
      Should I ride my horse to work, or should I save on hay and walk?
      If I get to work late the overseer will dock my pay
      I’ll just grab my wooden bowl and gulp down my curds and whey
      It’s just another Analog Monday

      • Y. Knott

        Wish it was Sunday (whoa-oh)
        Or a lame Crankshaft Pun Day (whoa-oh)
        Or hire-a-comic-book-artist-to-paint-a-sideways-cover-and-I’m-done day (whew!)
        Just another An’log Monday

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      It’s probably something Batiuk wishes were true, because he’s so cut off from the world he doesn’t realize it already is.

      A lot of banks and other customer service business emphasize that when you call the number, a real person answers. They use it as part of their marketing, trying to give you a reason to choose them over their competitors. My own company’s website has customer testimonials that say this. So yes, Tom, businesses already know you don’t like using voicemail. (Or more correctly, people your age don’t. Most people Gen X and younger don’t mind.)

      Analog Monday is a poor implementation of this concept anyway. I have to hope the pharmacist answers if it’s Monday, and press 2 any other day I want a prescription refilled? That’s even more annoying.

      Let’s see if Analog Monday is a one-off gag or if he tries to explore this concept further.

  8. I see from the cookies that the mola mola shaped ones are making a comeback.

  9. The Duck of Death

    Something was teasing the back of my mind… Rose reminded me of someone… I finally figured it out. It’s the grey-haired, cranky old crone of “Crabby Road.”

    Now is when I try to paste in a jpg and pray that it doesn’t get stuck in the torso chute.

  10. The Duck of Death

    I had been trying to think what other comic strip character Rose reminded me of, and I finally remembered: Maxine from Crabby Road.

    I tried to post a comment with a jpg and it got caught in the spam filter, as happens at least 80% of the time. But a quick web search will turn up about a thousand examples of the curly-haired crank.

  11. Speaking of talented people who made some wonderful work, RIP Al Jaffee.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Oh, that’s terrible news. MAD magazine practically shaped my entire world view when I was a kid. 102 years old, Al certainly got his money’s worth.

    • be ware of eve hill

      Aw, that’s sad. Somebody here mentioned MAD magazine the other day. I almost posted a comment that the MAD fold-in was my favorite feature and that Al Jaffee, who created them, was still alive at 102. I think Jaffe was the last of the artists. Paul Coker Jr. died last year.

      • The Duck of Death

        That was me, mentioning MAD. It was to me what Flash #123 was to Puffy.

        “The Usual Gang of Idiots” were my idols. And it irritates me that with all TB’s high-minded bleating about “The Seduction of the Innocent” and Frederic Wertham and Estes Kefauver and the Senate hearings, somehow it slipped his mind that Bill Gaines was really the guy who got raked over the coals and defended the comics industry.

        My theory is that he never liked or appreciated EC or MAD because EC dared to show ugly things, scary things, things that weren’t at all reassuring to a cloistered suburban kid.

        Their war comics weren’t glamorous; their horror comics were often graphic and, well, horrifying. And MAD was just plain subversive. Its underlying message was that nothing is quite what it claims to be and the government and media are manipulative liars. And that nothing should be considered to sacred, too dignified, to mock.

        To little Duck, this was reassuring. (“Oh, wow, someone else noticed this too!”) To little Tom, it was probably scary and intimidating. He liked his simple childhood world. Hell, he’s an old man and he still wants to live in that world.

        • be ware of eve hill

          My husband grew up in Great Britain and always bragged about how great their comics were, i.e. ‘Beano’ (not to be confused with the antigas pills) and ‘The Dandy’.

          A couple of years ago while waiting for a prescription to be filled at the pharmacy, I killed some time at their magazine rack. I saw the MAD Stocking Stuffer and had to buy it for him. I told him that is what my brothers and I enjoyed. He loved it.

          Dad liked MAD too. I remember when I was little a couple of neighborhood boys pulled their wagon over to our house and Dad gave them all of his MAD magazines.

        • be ware of eve hill

          You’re right. Batiuk was a big fan of the comics code shield. It’s on every sideways Sunday cover.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          MAD resonated with me too. I think the greatest lesson it taught children was in how the adults in their lives reacted to it. My parents had no problem with MAD, but my fundamentalist primary school did. They barred it from school because it wasn’t “Christian.” A few students (us being 4th graders at the time) asked what the problem was. They couldn’t give us an answer. Just that it wasn’t Christian, and having one was grounds for being in trouble, and that was that.

          But you said what the real problem was. MAD taught children to not believe everything they were told, even from well-meaning adults. And it did this with no advertisements, no dirty words, nothing that would be removed from a PG movie, and no greater agenda. As I got older, it became obvious why they feared it so much.

          • The Duck of Death

            Yes, and even though MAD wasn’t political — it skewered all sides — those kinds of reactions are what made me a fierce opponent of all types of censorship, especially “for my own good.” It always turns out it was for the censor’s good, not mine. MAD was teaching me even beyond what was in its pages!

          • Paul Jones

            Dumb parents reject and fear it for the same reason. Critical thinking is ‘bad’ and ‘leads to trouble’ and ‘promotes anarchy’ because it makes the panicky adult afraid that he or she spent his or her life pounding sand down a rat-hole for no reason other than being too stupid to question why Things Are What They Might Not Actually Need To Be. The fear of having lived in vain is mighty strong, you see.