Book It!

Took me forever to realize that these lumpy headed monsters were supposed to be buckeyes. Makes Ayer’s 2021book festival art look like a a masterpiece.

As Y. Knott, Duck of Death, and our other Crankshaft correspondents have informed us, Lillian is currently at the Ohioana Book Festival, which is going on for realsies this weekend. I briefly had considered going, (seriously,) just for a wacky vacation road trip with a wacky destination. I’ve already forced my housemate, partner-in-crime, and heterosexual life partner, to promise that someday we’ll do a fun Funky tour. But we couldn’t go this year due to the very following crucial factors:

1.) Cows.

Still, probably would have been a low-key fun time. Especially since I’m pretty easy to please.

The slate of authors there is an interesting mix. Mainstream, and mainstream adjacent fiction and memoirs, of course. Plenty of YA and children’s books. But they’ve also got self-published, heartfelt stuff in a very Sorial, Pedelkees style.

You know this is a work of fiction because I’ve never met a brave possum.

All the way through to the type of hyper-focused, hyper-researched, non-fiction that I always end up gravitating toward like the unbearable weirdo I am.

Mmmm….that’s the stuff…

We’ll see if any of the Ohioana panels get put on line. So watch this space.

Speaking of spaces to watch…

I don’t know how Lisa managed her law degree with braindead thinking like this. First, a card shop? If she means a baseball card shop, then that’s a venture as doomed to failure in 2004 as DCH John’s more diversified comics and game shop. If she means like a Pokemon/Magic card type shop, then wouldn’t that be in competition with Komix Korner? Why would she wish that on her friend? And a curio shop is just a yuppie word for an antique store. I’m sure that the arthritic old ladies that frequent antique shops would love having to climb a dark stairwell to get to their precious Lawrence Welk memorabilia.

Yes, that reference was just an excuse to flex with pictures of my rare Lawrence Welk collectables.

Those of you wondering if Komix Korner doubles as a game shop, we’re given the following confirmation.

Reasons this strip is okay: I find it relatable. A couple of my old high school buddies opened up a game shop right across the street from the gas station where I part time nights. And there has definitely been an uptick in hot food sales on the weekends from packs of DnD or Magic playing nerds who descend on the place, hoovering up reheated frozen taquitos and five dollar industrially produced meat patties.

Reasons this strip is stupid: Who on Earth calls a pizza a ” ‘za “?

I rest my case.

DCH John isn’t a major player for most of 2004, and into early 2005, as plots revolve around Funky, Les, Lisa, and High School. But he does get to move a desk. In another weeklong arc that proves to me that Act II is at its most relatable when it’s at its most banal.

Four or five years ago, my mom got her heart set on moving a couple desks upstairs. They were huge, professional grade, five foot long behemoths. “Can’t you do it? After all, you’re the one who carried them downstairs.” My mom said to my dad.

“Yeah, and I was twenty five years younger then.”

Somehow, after preplanning that must have rivaled the invasion of Normandy, this 60 year old man and his near-midget of a daughter managed to man-and-woman-handle one of the desks up our narrow stairs one step at a time. Because of some of the angles we had to stand it up on one end, and shove it up like an archaic wooden refrigerator. Our sweaty fingers gripping awkwardly at the corners of drawers, scraping for purchase against the Formica veneer. It took 20 minutes, while my mom fluttered around the landing above, shouting encouragement through the bannister.

When we’d finally dragged the desk into it’s new place in the office, my mom turned to my sweaty, red-faced, dad.

“What about the other one?” She asked.

Dad went, and got the chainsaw from the shed. He marched downstairs and sawed the second desk in half. We carried it out in pieces, and burned it. I now live in fear that my mom will want to move the first desk again, and it will take revenge on us for murdering its mate.


Okay, weird tangent I know. But just wanted to remind us all that our personal experiences can make even the most lazy and pointless Funky arcs relatable.

For example,

I’m sure this one strip is relatable to the kid who wanted to go to a comics shop to pay to play a giant, new, cabinet arcade zombie game in the year of our lord 2004, rather than just playing A Fistful of Boomstick on his PS2 from the comfort of his home.

As I’m sure such a child could conceivably have existed, even if he would be a very, very, very, lonely boy.

Also, nice little mini Doom Patrol cover pasted into this Sunday Strip. All the hatchet mouthed smiles we’ve come to expect from The Byrne Ward. (Thanks for that term, neilthechiseler)

In July of 2004, Becky and Wally go from dating to engaged.

We see little hints that Becky likes to control and puppet gently. Because they picked out a ring before Wally even popped the question. Meaning before he asked, she’d already basically said yes. (Though TBF, my parents picked out their engagement ring the same way.) It also highlights how different Wally and Becky’s engagement is from what DCH was about to spring on Becky a year earlier. If DCH had gone through with the proposal, all the evidence suggests that Becky would have been blindsided.

I like John’s positioning and body language. I hate Wally’s giraffe neck, and off-kilter face in panel two. And LOOK BLONDE RACHEL ALERT!

With Becky going from Sale Pending to Sale Finalizing, John finally lets go of the engagement ring he’d picked out. I don’t know if he honestly was pulling a Wilbur at Iris’ wedding dick move, hoping they’d break up and he could pick up the pieces. Or if he just had been lazy about letting it go.

Following this, DCH John is put in the background friend rotation, earning an invite to Les and Lisa’s housewarming party.

By that droopy eyed smile, I’d say DCH John has already cleaned out the beer in the fridge.

With so much going on in the Funkyverse, and his major emotional arc as the hypotenuse of a love triangle seemingly over, what could Batiuk conceivably do with poor John? Maybe he’d remain on the back burner forever. An occasional Sunday outlet for comic or nerd related humor.


Batiuk were to set DCH up with a different Blackburn woman?

Let the Foe Yay shipping commence.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

68 responses to “Book It!

  1. KMD

    Now I adore CBH but this time she has gone too far. I hated the Byrne run on Doom Patrol. I especially hated Nudge who appears on that bloody cover. I really hated how Byrne had her running around without pants towards the end of the run, not cool since she was supposed to be a teenager. Thanks for conjuring bad memories before bed.

    • erdmann

      Yeah, Byrne’s Fantastic Four was glorious. His Doom Patrol was a disaster.
      But it could’ve been worse — just imagine if John Byrne’s “Sugar and Spike” hadn’t just been a joke. The thought makes me want to run screaming into the night.

    • Professor Fate

      You were not the only one who hated Nudge it seems. I was blissfully unaware of Byrne’s run on the book when I stumbled onto Keith Giffen’s run and admit that I was startled to see the Nudge getting riddled with machine gun bullets in the first few pages.
      Granted Doom Patrol has always had a high body count outside of the main three leads but this seemed excessive . But now learning about Byrnes run (which trashed everything from the previous books) it seems understandable if again a bit much
      I posted this in the wrong place.

  2. sorialpromise

    “But they’ve also got self-published, heartfelt stuff in a very Sorial, Pedelkees style.”
    Wow! I just got plugged by the inestimable ComicBookHarriet!!! ( I used the word before I found out the meaning. I discovered, I used the word correctly!) Thank you so much.
    Everyone should ride one time upon the Pedellkee Steamer. ♥️💖❤️🫂🌺💐🌹

  3. Epicus Doomus

    No one has ever called pizza “‘za” ever. I’d seriously consider hitting someone for that. If you can’t manage two syllables, then get the hell out of my language.

    Wait, in that last strip, Becky is trying to pawn John off on her mother? No. That’s just too weird. Act II was really f*cked up, in so many different ways.

    • Jeff M.

      I first heard of “‘za” (challenging punctuation there) via Lisa Birnbach’s “The Preppy Handbook” which came out c. 1982 and was meant to be a mockery of all things East Coast/Ivy League/Old Money and of course ended up making them more popular. But for all of the East Coast/Ivy League/Old Money people I’ve known (no judgement) not one of them has ever said “‘za.” Nor been named “Muffy” or “Biff.”

      (Did Spicoli say it in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”? All I remember is “havin’ some food and learnin’ about Cuba.”)

  4. J.J. O'Malley

    “Glx Sptzl Glaah!” I believe that’s baby talk for “No, not John Byrne! He’ll draw us as melonheaded monstrosities!”

    Also, what’s wrong with Ayers’ 2021 OBH poster, CBH? I think it’s very progressive to have the children in rapt attendance at the Village Booksmith’s first “Drag Queen Storytime,” starring–from nearby Kentucky–Sen. Mitch McConnell.

    Finally, thank goodness that one book wasn’t titled “Petelands,” or else we’d have a photo book featuring colorful views of the Atomik Komix offices, probably with a two-page centerspread of Batton Thomas (Creator of the Nationally…oh, you all know the rest!) working out on the Cosmic Treadmill.

  5. billytheskink

    So I ask my wife just now, “have you ever heard anyone call pizza ‘za?”

    “Yes, I have actually. I thought it was weird.”

    “Wait, really? Like, when you were a kid?”

    “Yeah, one of my friends back in 4th grade. Sarah G. She used to say ‘za for pizza all the time. She was from Ohio…”

    Cue me laughing hysterically and typing this frantically while she looks at me like I’m insane.

    • billytheskink

      Upon further conversation, this friend of my wife’s was originally from Cleveland specifically, and her whole family said “‘za”, parents and siblings.

      • Fan Fan

        Somewhere along the way, when perusing a list of 2-letter Scrabble words, I saw that “ZA” was on the list. Well, OK, I’ll remember that. It has come in handy, but makes my wife a little grumpy if I use it in a game, because it’s not a word that either of us would use, or remember hearing used.

        Regarding a “Card Shop”, my first assumption was that it was referring to a place that sold greeting cards, stationery, and the like. But I guess, given the strip, baseball cards seems more likely.

    • The Duck of Death

      I have often called pizza ‘za. It’s an ironic thing, like calling Target “Tar-zhay.” It’s been in common use at least since my school years back in the 70s and 80s. (Born & raised in Manhattan. Maybe this is a regionalism?)

      • Perfect Tommy

        It’s better than Lizzy Patterson calling carrots “rots”.
        Jeez, the stupid crap that lodges in your memory.

      • The Duck of Death

        Adding to my post: I married a Brooklynite who has never uttered the word ‘za and probably had never heard it before we met. So if it is regional, it might be hyper-regional. Like, borough-specific.

  6. Jeff M.

    CBH, I hope you aren’t joking about your Lawrence Welk memorabilia, because I have an un-ironic love for LW and his Champagne Music (and Myron Floren, JoAnne Castle, Norma Zimmer, Bobby and Cissy, Guy and Ralna, Joe Feeney, and of course the Lovely Lennon Sisters.) Am setting an eBay auto-search for that vase. I’m mildly concerned that it came in different colors, because if so I won’t rest until I have them all.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      I would NEVER joke about Lawrence Welk!

      Okay, I would. I would joke about it quite a bit. But all with such affection in my heart for it.

      My grandma watched Lawrence Welk every Saturday night on PBS. And I would often go over to watch with her. When my mom would come over, we would play the game where we would try to guess the year from the hairstyles and etc before they even said it.

      My mom would watch it grudgingly, and after my grandma died she joked that now she’d never have to watch it again. For me, I’ve found old YouTube episodes to put on, especially for the holidays. It’s entertainment comfort food.

      I do actually have a decent little horde of Lawrence Welk tchotchkes. Keychains, spoons, shot glasses, coffee mugs. That vase was a present I gave my grandma for one of her birthdays, 96th? 97th? I can’t remember. I put the arrangement together to fit inside. It was one of the things she took with her to the nursing home. Now it’s mine again, and when I see it I smile.

      Also, how DARE you forget Arthur Duncan? He only passed away a few months ago. He was still tapping well into his 80’s!

      • Gerard Plourde


        Thanks for brining up Arthur Dunkin. Growing up Lawrence Welk was not a staple in our household, so it was only in the ‘80s that I became familiar with the show and Dunkin’s talent. Reading his obituary also revealed something I didn’t know about Lawrence Welk.

        When Betty White died, she was rightfully lauded for the stand she took in hiring and featuring Dunkin on her 1954 show. What Dunkin’s obituary disclosed was the fact that Welk’s hiring of him for his show in 1964 was just as controversial. The fact that Welk used his show to advance civil rights at that critical time is something I didn’t expect and increases my respect for him.

        • Gerard Plourde

          And I see I consistently misspelled his name. Apologies from half-awake brain.

          Duncan not Dunkin.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Anyone who enjoyed Lawrence Welk should check out Postmodern Jukebox. It has all the elements: costume porn; very talented musicians, singers, and dancers; old-style musical sensibilities; and cheesy charm. (Wait until you meet Tambourine Guy.)

      • Maxine of Arc


    • Anonymous Sparrow

      Have you ever heard Stan Freberg’s “Wun’erful, Wun’erful?”

      If not, check it out immediately, and be sure to turn off the bubble machine!

      • Gerard Plourde

        I have. “Live from the Aragon Ballroom”.

        • ComicBookHarriet

          Okay, when the popping finger got caught in his cheek, that’s when I finally lost it.

          Truly Wunnerful!

          SNL had some hit or miss parodies of Lawrence Welk. Like Crankshaft, it was the same joke over and over and over, and it only worked about 20% of the time.

          Still, this one with Betty White got a chuckle out of me.

          • billytheskink

            I’m just glad to see Lawrence Welk’s pop culture footprint remain visible. For many many years and even into the late 2010s, Weird Al Yankovic would cue up the bubble machines while playing the closing verses of his latest pop song polka medley at concerts and I would always wonder “how many people here know what is being referenced/mocked right now?”

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            This is kinda what I was talking about yesterday with Okie From Muskogee. The Welk show was square as hell, even for the 1950s, but was proud of what it was and made no apologies for itself. It didn’t tell anyone their music was better than yours, or that you were enjoying it the wrong way. It was just so good-natured you couldn’t help but be charmed by it. Even parodies of it captured this quality.

          • billytheskink

            A Welk parody also appears in the first episode of The Flintstones‘ second season, “The Hit Songwriters”.

            Daws Butler voiced the Welk stand-in, but voicing himself in the episode was the series first big name guest star… Ruby Lith’s favorite and Pete’s muse, Hoagy Carmichael!

  7. Y. Knott

    Today in Crankshaft Minus Crankshaft:

    Having only one person within 25 feet of Lillian’s table seems about right.

    Having said person view and actually ask questions about Lillian’s book? Seems a tad optimistic … although having that person look both dubious and bored gets a check mark for authenticity.

    But having that person harbour murderous thoughts about those whose taste in literature displeases her? Well, that sure opens up some interesting possibilities!

    Say, wouldn’t it be something if Les was also attending this book festival? And if murder-in-her-heart lady found him to be smug and insufferable? And the author of a really terrible book?

    Upcoming Y. Knott Headcanon: if we never see murder-in-her-heart lady again (odds: excellent) AND we never see Les Moore again (odds: we can only hope) … I’m saying the two encountered each other off-panel at this event, and Lillian’s next book is the true life story Murder At The Book Festival.

    • The Duck of Death

      Yet another 3-panel entry that wastes the first panel with a superfluous question.

      Why not make these two panels, Tom? Or just write them less lazily? It would take so little to make them less annoying, even if it wouldn’t make them funnier.

      Rewrite that took me longer to type than to think of:

      P1: “That one’s my new book!”
      P2: “Murder at the Book Club. Interesting….
      P3: …there’ve been some members in our book club that I’ve wanted to murder!”

      The real question this raises is why you’d be in a book club, an inherently social activity, if some of the members there drive you into a homicidal rage.

      The other question this raises is: Is the Book Club a physical place, not a group? If it’s just a club, shouldn’t it be Murder in the book club?

    • The Duck of Death

      From your mouth to God’s ears re: Les.

      A couple years ago, I dove into a riff on Lillian’s future books. I was kidding, but not kidding. I actually thought we’d start seeing more of these. I’m disappointed What self-respecting bestselling author writes a series of only two books?

      Murder at the Bookbindery
      Murder at the Book Publisher
      Murder at the Book Illustrators’ Society
      Murder at the Book Distributor

      … then, for a change of pace,
      Murder at the Bookmaker’s
      … and for the conspiracy buff
      Murder at the Book Depository

      I also expected a ton of “Choir” murder books. This is apparently a real subgenre. I counted about a dozen IRL books with titles like

      Murder in the Choir Loft
      Murder in the Choir
      The Choir Director Murders
      Murder at the Church Organ
      Murder at Choir Rehearsal

      and that’s not counting “Murder in the Rectory,” “Murder in the Vestry,” etc etc, truly ad nauseam.

      I think it’s just a reflection of the audience for these types of cookie-cutter cozies; I expect it includes a lot of church ladies.

      • billytheskink

        You can tell the Baptists aren’t into murder books since there is no Murder in the Fellowship Hall.

  8. Paul Jones

    You know what? Looking back, I have the sneaking suspicion that we’re blaming Charlie McCarthy for Edgar Bergen’s sins. I just betcha that Batiuk wouldn’t have done half the stupid crap he did if he hadn’t began to hang out at the Byrne Ward.

  9. The Duck of Death

    First: Another brilliant entry. You’re outdoing yourself again and again, CBH. I don’t know how you do it.

    Second: Shower thoughts about DCH/DSH John…

    In the last SoSF entry, we discussed the arc in which he fights the yuppies to get Lillian’s world-class collection of apparently near-pristine Golden Age comics. It’s stated in that arc that such a collection could put a dealer on the map.

    So what happened? DSH acquired this unique collection at literally half the price the other buyers offered (and who knows whether even they were lowballing). It should have sent shockwaves through the whole collectible comics industry. Many of the individual sales should have made the news. (In reality, extremely valuable comics are usually sold at auction, but we’ll suspend disbelief on this one.) This collection should have made his career and the publicity should have attracted more collections like it.

    Instead, we never saw these rarities get sold and we never saw him profit off them in any way — he didn’t seem to make any money and his business remained perpetually in trouble.

    Why — how — can a writer so obsessed with the rare comics market get everything so damn wrong?

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      It’s because “the right people” must play every role in the comic
      book story, even the competing buyer. If anything in Westview ever attracted outside attention, it would require characters who don’t live by Tom Batiuk’s Code Of How To Comic Book Correctly. This is a huge problem, partially because he has no ability to write a character who thinks differently than he does (or how he thinks villains think).

      You’re right that such a find would attract buyers, but not in this universe! Only Westview people are allowed to bid on comic books. And all transactions must take place in Westview. I’ll grant that some of this is storytelling necessity. But Batiuk is always making his stories too big for the environment he insists in keeping them in.

      Lisa’s Story 2 was basically The Search For More Westview People. There can’t be Hollywood people who want to make the movie for motivations other than what Les wants (whatever the heck that was), or are simply ethical enough not to exploit a dead person (not that this ever happened anyway). No, Hollywood people are always wrong, unless they’re shown to also like Montoni’s and comic books, appreciate Les’ genius, and tolerate his rudeness, then they’re okay. The point of every strip in that arc was to illustrate that these were the “correct” people to tell Lisa’s Story.

      Then it all ceases to be a problem. Even though such “outsiders” would be highly unpopular within Hollywood. They’d never win any awards, for the same reason the Sex Pistols never won a Grammy. And Les Moore would be shot on sight after he pulled that “kill fee” stunt.

      Batiuk loves his “small town people with good morals doing things the right way” instead of going through formal processes. Which always seems to end up with one of his characters being handed something of tremendous value. Seems a little self-serving to me.

      Westview is a lot like Royston Vasey. Except League of Gentlemen was satirizing the mentality that the Funkyverse plays dead straight. The characters in LoG were all proud of being “local” and extolled others to “live local” too, despite being horrible people nobody would ever want to live near. I think that’s what really tweaks me about FW. The massive disconnect between how we’re supposed to view these people, and what they really are. Which is also why I hate Pluggers so much.

    • Andrew

      He saved the money from those sales for a rainy day, then blew most of the money in the coming years on either the Lisa Legacy fund or his 2nd engagement ring for Becky. Both for “good causes” that leave him suffering nobly, on the brink of bankruptcy but still able to encourage kids’ dreams of getting their drawings put on the wall and get noticed by a newspaper strip writer.

      • The Duck of Death

        Maybe I’m wrong, btw — I just don’t remember anything about his selling those comics.

        Let’s parse this out. We were told that this was literally a historic collection. There were at least two full longboxes of comics taken out of the house.

        Let’s take just one possible issue as an example. Say there was a copy of Flash #1 (1940). We know these comics were in good enough condition to be cavalierly hand-sorted by a kid and carted away unbagged in uncovered longboxes. Flash #1 has sold for up to $450,000. Let’s say this would sell for $200,000 (unlikely, given its superior condition, but okay). Dealers typically pay about 30%-50% of what they think they can sell an item for.

        Say the yuppies were offering 40% of their expected sale price. That means DSH John got it for 20%, or $40,000. (Where the cash for this deal came from is another matter.)

        So on the sale of that one comic alone, DSH should have made $160,000.

        Even if my figures and suppositions about the issues in the boxes are way off, given that he got it for half the other dealer’s offer, he should have made at least 7 figures off that collection.

        I don’t know why this crap bothers me so much. I think it’s just because Bats thinks of himself as the great comics connoisseur, the one who knows all there is to know about Golden Age comics and their values, and he bores us all to DEATH with the topic both in his blog and in his fictional universe, which is stuffed to the gills with comic dealers and collectors.

        And then this shit.

        • billytheskink

          The “McKenzie Collection” was occasionally referenced in Act III (it apparently set DSH up for the “long haul”). DSH sold the last book from the collection, Flash Comics #24 (mint condition value about $20K), in 2017.

          • The Duck of Death

            Thanks very much for the info, Mr theskink.

            I do wonder why, with all the Funkiverse wankage over “slabbing,” this comic wasn’t slabbed, but maybe DSH just couldn’t bear to stop touching it.

            If this is indicative of the quality of the rest of the full longboxes, why is he broke? How much rent can he be paying in freakin’ Westview of all places? Assuming Westview is Medina, a quick glance at retail listings suggests that he’s not paying more than $750/mo tops for his 2nd floor space, even if it’s a large footprint in a stellar location.

            Conclusion: DSH John has an expensive habit. Crack? Smack? Hookers? Gambling? He’s burned through more money than most of us will ever see in our lives.

            One thing we know: He’s not wasting it on his wardrobe or haircuts.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            Conclusion: DSH John has an expensive habit.

            Isn’t it obvious? It’s comic books. Drugs or hookers would be like methadone compared to that.

          • Andrew

            He’s a comic nerd, so obviously he buys some comics for himself for keeps, that he doesn’t want to sell but keep as mementos. Stuff he wants to retain even if he goes bankrupt as a business. Maybe he’s trying to track down the exact comics he bought and messed up with milk and cookie stains the one time he skipped school.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Again, it’s the maddening dissonance between what Tom Batiuk asserts Funky Winkerbean is, and what it really is. It’s a string of sloppy, ignorant, poorly told, self-indulgent stories that can’t be bothered to get the most basic details right about comic books, even as it talks about them incessantly.

          And it’s the kind of story where readers will hold poor research against you. If Tom Clancy ever half-assed a book about the military this hard, he’d have been sitting in the cheap seats at Camden Yards instead of owning the team. And Batiuk just does it over and over and over.

  10. Andrew

    Next time seems like the real popcorn moment, but the most I can think about this week is what’s already pointed out with the oddity of Harry being (I guess) crazied-out by a kid playing Violent Video Games ™ and giving him culture shock.

    Either he’s amazed by the violence higher graphic fidelity can offer in 2004, or the complexities of games from that era overwhelm him. Either way he must also be amazed that the most stunning new games are being made on arcade machines that can be bought by a struggling comic store owner in middle-of-nowhere Ohio.

    Funny enough, though Batiuk made up his own game, I’d like to think he could be watching this kid play Half-Life 2. It released that year, has “shocking violence” (blood splatters and splitting the zombies in half with well-aimed sawblades), “puzzling gameplay” (seasaw-style lifts to test out the fancy physics engine), and actually did see an arcade machine release exclusively in Japan (though it might’ve been a little bit after 2004, technically)

  11. Ray

    CBH – when you do embark on the FFT, keep us apprised so the Northeast Ohio SOSF contingent can arrange the required meet-up!

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Dinner at Luigi’s it is!

      • ian'sdrunkenbeard

        After we eat and get our picture taken in front of the hallowed FW strip in Luigi’s we’ll go 1/4 mile down the hill to Lock 15 Brewing, to check out Ayer’s work around the bar. And have a beverage, of course.

        Lock 15 shares a parking lot with Mustill Store.
        All of the things that begin with “Akron”on the list are within a 5 mile radius of Luigi’s, which is in the Norhtside District. There are several artists studios nearby. The art museum is about a mile away.

        I believe there is still a city sign on a nearby street that says:

        I grew up less then 30 miles from here and I never heard a tree lawn called a devil strip before. The strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street is a tree lawn, right?

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          This is the kind of thing the Funkyverse should have done better: genuine regional dialect. Better comic strips like Pogo and Lil Abner got a lot of their character from portraying southern mannerisms. There’s none of that here.

        • Rusty Shackleford

          I recommend CBH start her trip by visiting KSU and walking the campus. There used to be a lot of Batty/ Ayers artwork scattered around the campus. Then visit Ray’s in Kent as it is probably the only authentic KSU bar remaining.

          Then head over to Akron and visit the old Rexall Drugs on Brown Street. Arrive early at Luigi’s to stand in line and then enjoy a pizza with a cheese salad on the side.

          Next stop is Medina where you can walk the square and see the gazebo. From there head to Cleveland for dinner at Great Lakes brewery. Check out the old buildings nearby as they were the inspiration for the Atomic Comics company headquarters.

          From here, head west towards Elyria to visit Batty’s first apartment. After that, travel to Toledo to visit The Valentine theater.

      • bad wolf

        If you make it to Akron (as i did a couple of times), you may also enjoy the scenic railroad that takes you from just down the hill from Luigi’s to the outskirts of Cleveland, through a quiet national park.

        • Ray

          This will be epic!

        • Rusty Shackleford

          The tracks run behind my house near the northern part of the line. Once a year they run the old steam engine and lots of people show up to ride and take pictures.

          Lisa would have liked that.

  12. I’ve never head someone referring to pizza as “za” but I can understand the appeal in FW, as it means you don’t have to say “Pete.”

  13. Y. Knott

    Today’s baffling Crankshaft:

    Uh, is going to a signing event and presenting the author with photocopies of previously signed pages a thing? And if so, why?

    And type “Double A”? Batteries? American Airlines? Alcoholics Anonymous? What, if anything, does this have to with books? Or autographs? Or Xeroxed copies of autographed books?

    I feel like there’s a key element I’m missing here — some simple bit of book-signing lore that will suddenly bring everything into focus. A couple of posts down, perhaps I’ll read something from one of you that will have me doing a full-on forehead slap and saying “Geez, of course! How could I have not seen that tiny-but-obvious detail? It’s all so clear now!”

    Mind you, I have no expectations that today’s Crankshaft will be funny once the mystery phrase has been deciphered. But at least I won’t feel like either Tom Batiuk or I have suffered a stroke that’s completely affected our comprehension of simple words and pictures.

    • J.J. O'Malley

      Y., I was similarly left staring at the page with my head titled at a 30-degree angle, feeling like one of Napoleon’s men who had just unearthed the Rosetta Stone. How do I decipher this to understand the joke?

      In my (soon-to-be-deleted) GoComics comment, I theorized that the “fan” wants all of Lillian’s signatures to be identical in each book, and her “double A” reference is meant to suggest “Type A personalities.” That would be wrong, of course, as I think what Batiuk is going for is a certain type of retentive, but in the quiet words of Mike “My Pillow” Lindell, “Prove me wrong!”

      Also, if anyone in the Funkyverse was going to have a AA personality, shouldn’t it be Mr. Winkerbean himself?

    • The Duck of Death

      The most baffling element for me is: What were the “first three” books she signed for the guy? As far as we’ve been told, Lillian has only written two books: “Murder in the Book Store” and “Murder at the Book Club.”

      Did he have her sign multiple copies of one of the books? Why?

      And why is she delighted that he brought these photocopies? Most authors who sign books have a fairly boilerplate signature or inscription — they’re all gonna look pretty much alike. Why would she want to see earlier signatures?

      One thing’s clear. Those of us who thought Andrews McMeel was going to give TB an active editor, or pay the slightest bit of attention to what he puts out, were way off base.

      • The Duck of Death

        This is a very, very long shot, but since no other explanation makes any sense anyway, here goes.

        In my salad days — ie, when I was quite young and inexperienced — my first job was as a proofreader at a type house. This was before type was set on a desktop computer.

        There I learned standard printer’s abbreviations, like TK (to come) and FPO (for position only).

        And PE and AA. When clients sent type back for corrections, they weren’t charged if they were PEs (printer’s errors). In other words, our mistake. But if they were AAs (author alterations), the client would be charged.

        Now, the type of alterations being referenced there has nothing to do with signing a book. But technically, signing a book does alter it.

        I doubt that’s what Bats is thinking of, but it’s likely he knows the term, so…. ah, forget it. I got nothin’.

    • “I brought copies of the pages in the first three books you signed for me!”

      This is terrible writing. Does he mean copies of the signature pages? Or just random pages? Is the idea that she can sign the copies, and thus not…um, mar an otherwise pristine book?

      I’m pretty sure “double A” means “Type A, but really Type A” but there has to be a better way to phrase it. “Nice to meet another Type A whose ‘A’ is underlined twice!” That took about 8 seconds.

      Of course, I’m not a professional writer who gets paid to think up these things. If you’re looking for Tom Batiuk’s writing talent, good luck, it’s hiding right next to the Snipe.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      He’s misusing “Type A”. A Type A personality is “more competitive, highly organized, ambitious, impatient, highly aware of time management, or aggressive.” This behavior is none of those things. Nor is it anything else recognizable.

      This joke makes no sense, but it feels like it’s at the expense of this fan’s mental state. It’d be insulting if it was coherent enough to understand.

    • be ware of eve hill

      Batiuk hit the trifecta with today’s Crankshaft. I’m baffled by all three panels.

      1.) What’s going on here? Do people really do this at book fairs?
      2.) Why does Lillian think this gesture or request is thoughtful? Is she being sarcastic?
      3.) What the feckin’ hell does Lillian mean by “Type Double A”? Is she saying they’re both minor leaguers?

      I wonder if Batiuk encountered someone like this gentleman at Ohioana. He thought it would make a good comic strip. Too bad he doesn’t have the writing skills to adequately share the experience. Once again, we have Batiuk babbling in a private made-up language only he understands.

      • be ware of eve hill

        Mr. Sorial Promise, you’re a published author who has surely attended a book fair or two. What’s going on in panel #1 of today’s Crankshaft?

        Here’s your chance to “edjumakate” me. 🥺

        • sorialpromise

          I grabbed my bat. Strode up to the plate. Took 3 powerful swings at each panel. The mighty SorialPromise has struck out. It is rare that TB can obfuscate every single word in a 3 panel strip. I have failed my BWOEH. 😶😢😭

          • be ware of eve hill

            Don’t be too hard on yourself. I don’t blame you for not knowing “Batiukese.”

            I’d almost say TB used A.I. to write this one, but he has usually shown an aversion to using “evil technology.”

            TGIF. 🍷

          • sorialpromise

            A round of Merlot and a Rumpole claret for the house, especially for our own BWOEH, She who must be obeyed!

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            Struck out? Your comments on all three panels and the summary were all very on-point.

          • sorialpromise

            You crack me up! You are a joy!

    • Y. Knott

      I am so pleased and relieved to see that this wasn’t just me!

      Here’s where I think things stand.

      Panel 1: Some rando is proudly showing off pages he photocopied of an author’s signature to the author. This makes absolutely no sense. Perhaps this is something that happened to Tom Batiuk? If it did, it may reflect on the mental processes of those who are unironic fans of Batiuk’s work and who approach him at book fairs.

      Incidentally, I was not aware of the number of books Lillian has written. But just within this arc there has already been much confusion on Tom’s part between the numbers “two” and “three”. We already know that time is fluid in the Batiukverse …so, we are learning, is the ability to count past the number 1.

      Panel 2: Lillian seems to believe this is somehow a thoughtful gesture, even though it doesn’t seem to be the least bit thoughtful, or helpful. Or sane. Maybe she’s humouring the crazy person? Or perhaps she’s just excited to have a fan?

      Panel 3: The consensus seems to be that Batiuk thinks “Type A” personalities are … um, whatever this guy is? Sort of stalker-ish, sort of loser-ish, sort of OCD-ish? And also that somehow, you can intensify a description of this personality by using the completely unfathomable designation ‘Type “Double A”‘? And that Lillian also believes that this is an apt description of her own personality?

      I think that covers it.

      Conclusion: Batiuk’s off his meds, or is on new meds, or is struggling with some sort of dementia issue, or is perfectly fine but was trying to write Crankshaft while also simultaneously reading a Flash comic book and got distracted and this is what came out.

      And Andrews McMeel saves money by not hiring editors.

  14. Gerard Plourde

    Looking at Ayers’ work has given me a different view of some of the artwork in FW. I, and others, used to joke about the attention that was sometimes paid to backgrounds while the characters were badly drawn by comparison. I think what we were actually seeing was Ayers’ professionalism in the areas he could control while having to adhere to the lesser template the characters required.

  15. Gerard Plourde

    Some history of the term “devil strip” from the Akron Beacon Journal. The railroad slang origin makes sense.

  16. Professor Fate

    You were not the only one who hated Nudge it seems. I was blissfully unaware of Byrne’s run on the book when I stumbled onto Keith Giffen’s run and admit that I was startled to see the Nudge getting riddled with machine gun bullets in the first few pages.
    Granted Doom Patrol has always had a high body count outside of the main three leads but this seemed excessive . But now learning about Byrnes run (which trashed everything from the previous books) it seems understandable if again a bit much

  17. Za, of course, is the Drewish word for pizza, just as Drewish Andrews are called Drew and Christophers, Topher. The Drewish word for lasagna, however, SNL notwithstanding, is gna.