T.C.I.F. Twisting Crankshaft Into Funny

Though you Beady-Eyed-Nitpickers have done a bang up job with your Cranky commentary this week, I promised you a weekly Crankshaft Post. So here it is!

I hope all the authors attending, (and yes, I mean ALL,) have a safe, fun, and profitable Ohioana Book Festival.

With all these authors of bibliophilic, feline adjacent, murder mysteries in attendance, Lilian McKenzie has a lot of competition in that apparently massively popular genre.

Olivia Matthews

Olivia Matthews is the cozy mystery pseudonym of national best-selling author Patricia Sargeant. Patricia’s work has been reviewed in national publications such as Publishers Weekly, USA Today, Kirkus Reviews, Suspense Magazine, Mystery Scene Magazine, Library Journal and RT Book Reviews. Her mysteries put ordinary people in extraordinary situations to have them find the Hero Inside. For more information about Patricia and her work, visit PatriciaSargeant.com.

Abby Collette

Wall Street Journal bestselling author Abby Collette loves a good mystery. She was born and raised in Cleveland, and it’s a mystery even to her why she hasn’t yet moved to a warmer place. As Abby Collette, she is the author of the Ice Cream Parlor mystery series, about a millennial MBA-holding granddaughter running a family-owned ice cream shop in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and the upcoming Books & Biscuits mystery series, starring a set of fraternal twins who reunite and open a bookstore and soul food café. Writing as Abby L. Vandiver, she is the author of the Logan Dickerson Mysteries, featuring a second-generation archaeologist and a nonagenarian, as well as the Romaine Wilder Mysteries, pairing an East Texas medical examiner and her feisty, funeral-home-owning auntie as sleuths. Abby spends her time writing, facilitating writing workshops at local libraries and hanging out with her grandchildren, each of whom are her favorite. Find her website here: http://www.abbycollette.com

Alex Erickson

Alex Erickson is the author of both the Bookstore Café and the Furever Pets mysteries. When he’s not writing, he enjoys spending his time gaming or playing music. He lives in Ohio with his wife, son, and their three crazy cats. He can be found online at alexericksonbooks.com/



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

69 responses to “T.C.I.F. Twisting Crankshaft Into Funny

  1. sorialpromise

    If I was going to give up my crush (unrequited) on ComicBookHarriet, it would be for Charles Dance.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      If I was going to give up my senior crush (unrequited) for Harrison Ford, it would be for Charles Dance.

      SP, I’m sure you’re on the list somewhere, right underneath Ben Cartwright and Transformers Animated Ratchet.

      • If I was to give up my unrequited crush on crushing the entire planet between my extended ichor-soaked claws, I’d definitely…hang on, why is everyone looking at me like that. Is my fly open?!

      • sorialpromise

        My top choices:
        ComicBookHarriet, Ursula Andress, Elke Sommer, and Lilo Pulver. There’s 4 of a kind.
        1. Ursula got me into the medical field. I watched “the Sensuous Nurse.”
        2. Elke won me over with that sultry, German voice. It’s just like yours, CBH, that won me to SOSF.
        3. Lilo from “One…Two…Three” with Jimmy Cagney. Lilo wears a white polka dot dress. Not many know this, but if any woman wants to appear attractive, they only have to chose ONE of two accessories such as:
        A. As you constantly prove, a girl only has to wear cowgirl boots, and she lights up a room. The boots go with any outfit.
        B. A white polka dot dress with any shoes and she owns the room.
        C. Of course, there is a third, very limited option. She could be Be Ware of Eve Hill. ‘She Who Must Be Obeyed.’ She’s funny, witty, well read, obvious good sense of humor ( she laughs at my jokes), and an excellent source of Merlot.
        (To the edjumacatible BWOEH: I recommend you to Henry Rider Haggard, or beg our dear Anonymous Sparrow for an explanation of She who must be obeyed.)

        • Jeff M.

          Funny, I feel the same way about Hanns Lothar and polka dots.

          • sorialpromise

            Oh! You guys make me want to watch “One…Two…Three” again. Hanns Lothar is perfect in the role. AND yes…he rocks the polka dots in a special Russian POV sort of way. Hanns really knew how to click his heels. It is so sad that he lived such a short life. I believe he and Robert Woolsey died from the same ailment. We discussed the hilarious Mr. Woolsey earlier in the week.
            That movie was my first introduction to the “Sabre Dance.” It makes me thirsty for a Coke. I would enjoy seeing CBH and BWOEH doing their version of the “Sabre Dance” wearing spangles. I saw a book title that said, “Spangles Never Go Out of Style.”

        • Anonymous Sparrow

          Don’t forget the umlaut.

          There is another She Who Must Be Obeyed, on “Rumpole of the Bailey.” She is Horace’s wife, the incomparable Hilda, nee Wystan.

          Rumpole once said he was a Q.C., in the sense that he was a “Queer Customer,” not a “Queen’s Counsel.” With the Q.C. now a K.C. with King Charles III, would he be a “Kinky” Customer today, or a “Kooky” one?

          Perhaps Mr. Byrnes will lend us his comb and provide an answer…

          • sorialpromise

            My sister had a huge crush on Kooky Byrnes. There were even comic books. One had Kooky with a broken arm, but not his hair combing arm, if I remember correctly.
            Thank you for edjumacating BWOEH. It’s a difficult job, yet rewarding.

          • Edd Byrnes of “Mankillers.”

          • sorialpromise

            Edd looked pretty good in that film.

          • Anonymous Sparrow

            Edjumakation continues:

            Kookie’s real name was Gerald Lloyd Kookson III.

            He had a habit of referring to people as “Dad,” much as Maynard G. Krebs called his friend Dobie Gillis “good buddy.”

            (The “G.” in Maynard’s name didn’t stand for “Gerald,” but for “Walter.”)

            There was once a list of Kookie’s expressions: I remember that “mushrooms” were “night people” and “a Washington” was “a dollar bill.” Kookie, as far as I know, never expressed any opinions on solo car dates, but I suspect that he consumed vodka and oranges occasionally.

            Edd Byrnes turns up as himself on an episode of “Married…with Children,” and the show ends with the band Anthrax singing the “Kookie” song.

            It is, truly, the ginchiest, Psycho Dad.

          • sorialpromise

            In my opinion, as also held by BWOEH, the world’s greatest comedy is “Married….with Children.” Perfect casting. Great writers. If you would have given me 100 chances to win BWOEH’s $109, I never would have guessed you watched Married. You surprised me. Life is good!

          • Anonymous Sparrow

            Well, I guess I’m just full of surprises, aren’t I?

            Sort of like Ed O’Neill, who’s as adroit as Al “Hercules” Bundy (as a beauty in one of his fantasies dubs him…more hair-pulling, ladies!) as he is as Eddie Carbone in a production of Arthur Miller’s *View from the Bridge.*

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      I’ve been a Charles Dance fan since I saw him as Guy Perron in “The Jewel in the Crown.”

      Guy’s middle names were Knightly — Lancelot and Percival — which makes it amusing that Dance went on to play the decidedly devious Tywin Lannister on “A Game of Thrones.”

      Raj on if you can’t Rock on.

      • sorialpromise

        You make me feel like I am in an episode of “Bill and Ted. “Raj on, Dude!”
        I have much affection for “Rumpole of the Bailey.” My 2 favorites are when he defends a Brit soldier in Germany. Also, he defends a fellow in Africa. Great twist ending.
        Have you read, “Planetary” the WildStorm graphic novel by Warren Ellis? It is powerful.
        I hope you are having a great weekend.

        • Anonymous Sparrow

          The episodes you cite are “Rumpole and the Bright Seraphim” (the British soldier) and “Rumpole and the Golden Thread” (Africa). The latter has one of my favorite observations from John Mortimer, creator and scripter, in which Rumpole’s client tells him that “tribalism is our curse, as the British class system is yours.” Fittingly, there is an episode about the British class system in the series in “Rumple and the Old Boy Net.”

          Like “Columbo,” the series sometimes turns into less a “Rumpole” episode than a notion of a “Rumpole” episode, but at its best, it’s extremely powerful: an early episode, “Rumpole and the Honourable Member,” still haunts me — our favorite barrister defends a Member of Parliament accused of rape, and his defense leads to a breach with his son and daughter-in-law. At the show’s end, Hilda (She Who Must Be Obeyed) asks him, a la Pam Murdoch, what he’ll be doing, and his response is:

          “Oh, go on asking distasteful questions, I suppose.”

          Leo McKern, who portrayed Rumpole, was also “the new Number Two” in three episodes of “The Prisoner”: “The Chimes of Big Ben,” “Once upon a Time” and “Fall Out.” And he’s Clang, the villain in the Beatles’s “Help!” (For some of his more serious work, watch “A Man for All Seasons” and “The French Lieutenant’s Woman.”)

          I haven’t read *Planetary.* Warren Ellis basically lost me midway through the run of *Transmetropolitan,* where I was a lot less interested in the fact that Spider Jerusalem had had sex with one of his filthy assistants than his other filthy assistant was.

          Thank you for your good wishes about the weekend. I send the same to you.

          • sorialpromise

            Another note on Leo McKern. He was also in a brutal war film, “Yesterday’s Enemy” with Stanley Baker from Zulu fame. Haunting. Crushing.
            I loved McKern in “Help!” Although I enjoyed Eleanor Bron more. I always think she is the woman on the stage coach in “Duck you Sucker” with Rod Steiger and James Coburn. I have never seen all of that movie. I loose interest after her scenes.
            I see “Help” is getting a bad wrap from the progressive crazies lately. Jerks.
            When my daughter was little, I always sang to her, “You’ve got to hide your love away.” I didn’t remember the source of this Beatle song. Then my wife recorded Help for me. When I watched it at midnight, after coming home from work, I woke them up yelling, “That’s the song!” Good times. Good times.

          • sorialpromise

            That downvote was accidentally put there by me. I have tried to remove it, but to no avail. I am very sorry.

  2. Hannibal’s Lectern

    Re this morning’s Krankus: I like the way Davis evolves the setting from a conference room in panel one to a theater in panel two to a comedy club stage (complete with spotlight) in panel three. Don’t so much like the way Batiuk gives him a “joke” that wouldn’t make it into the opening teaser of a bad “Seinfeld” episode.

    (Comment also posted at GoComics under the name I use there. We’ll see if I get any comments about my mental health from the folks who believe Batty’s a genius.)

    • Y. Knott

      Today’s installment of Crankshaft can be viewed here, assuming you’ve got nothing better to do: https://www.gocomics.com/crankshaft/2023/04/22

      While yesterday’s strip was incomprehensible, today’s strip is merely lazy. We’re back in familiar territory, in other words.

      The ‘joke’, as Hannibal’s Lectern correctly points out, certainly wouldn’t have made the cut at Seinfeld. But it’s hard to think of where it would have made the cut — it would have been an unfunny groaner in Milton Berle’s heyday. Or Gallagher & Shean’s. Or possibly Aristophanes’.

      It makes sense, however, that Lillian’s booth was so devoid of action (we saw a total of three people), she got bored and wandered over to the empty lecture hall hours before anyone else got there.

      • I think the only place it would have made the cut would be in Pluggers.

        • Hannibal’s Lectern

          Which leads to the inevitable question: does Lilliopsaurus, like a Plugger, celebrate Earth Day by not showering for a week?

          Trick question, of course. Lillian, being a wicked witch, is destroyed by contact with water.

    • Place your bets! How long will it take before someone replies with “Why do you read this if you hate it?” or “Do you have your own comic strip?”

      • Hannibal’s Lectern

        Interesting… as of 7:53 pm, I cannot find either of my comments on today’s strip. Batty threw a tantrum?

        • Some whiner probably flagged it. Although considering how mild the criticism was I can’t see how anyone could have reviewed it and said, “delete!” Wonder it it’s auto-remove?

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Based on Lillian’s arm poses in this comic strip, I think Tom Batiuk is literally giving himself a handjob.

  3. Y. Knott

    Talk about spinning gold from straw, CBH — excellent job on the parody strips! I think the Sunday strip is especially well done, due to the level of difficulty on keeping that one going for all those panels. But they’re all funny!

  4. Five stars for “I almost didn’t recognize you, Ed!”

  5. Rusty Shackleford

    If CBH is still interested in going on a FW vacation to Ohio:

    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

      DO NOT ask for the cheese side salad as the plain side salad has more than enough cheese for any normal human being.

      Otherwise awesome itinerary, will keep trying to get my family out on a road trip this summer. Maybe take in a game of the Toledo Mudhens while i’m at it?

    • Andrew

      Mike’s Place is also nice for a good dose of the old “turn your antique collection into restaurant decor” aesthetic along with a slew of tongue-in-cheek humor (the menus are as dense as Batiuk’s speech bubbles, too). Also they got a homemade X-Wing outside the entrance which is always fun.

      Couldn’t tell you where to track down Ayer’s art on campus. As I’ve said before, the one lounge where specially drawn KSU-themed Funky/Crankshaft scenes were plastered is gone, and the only other thing I remember was the CS 2000 May 4th story strips being put up on a display at either the library or the memorial museum. Though there may be some non-Funkyverse art that Ayers drew that’s still up somewhere that I missed during my terms.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        Thanks. Forgot about Mike’s Place. Yeah, I haven’t been on campus for years so perhaps all the art is gone now.

        Thanks also to Bad Wolf for the Mudhens suggestion.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Don’t forget, while I’m Elyria I absolutely must visit the alley across the street from Batty’s old apartment!

      I am serious in my intention to do this sometime in the next couple years. Like the world’s most sarcastic pilgrimage. And don’t worry Ohio crew, I’ll let you guys know if I do! It would be so strange to meet another hardcore comic snarker in person, I wouldn’t pass that opportunity up.

  6. Comic Book News: –

    Note: You will want to keep this news from Tom Batiuk. We cannot be held responsible if you ignore this order.

    The Worst Cat in the World (TM) damaged a vintage comic book, to wit, E-Man #1, from 1973. It need not be noted that this was published 50 years ago.

    Said cat, who should be killed, bit and scratched the cover so that it went from “pretty good” to “no one would buy this” in mere moments.

    This, despite the fact that said Horrible Cat has multiple scratching posts, pads, and other outlays for *cough* scratching necessities. Said cat is only a few more infractions away from “should be murdered.” The only question is “how painfully.”

    So…who wants a cat?

    • batgirl

      I had that issue. Sad news indeed.
      Have you tested the cat’s response to volumes of The Complete Funky Winkerbean?

      • ComicBookHarriet


  7. Y. Knott

    Today in the increasingly misnamed Crankshaft: https://www.gocomics.com/crankshaft/2023/04/23

    Lillian’s back home, I guess. Wow, is Batiuk just capital-B Bad at writing arcs. Although I guess that’s a function of being bad at writing, period?

    Today, Batiuk’s ineptness gives us another six-panel extravaganza that meanders its way to a badly constructed punchline. And the ‘gag’ is basically a convoluted retread of an old, old saw credited to Alistair Cooke: “I prefer radio to TV because the pictures are better.”

    And hey, did you for some reason want further proof that no-one at the syndicate reads, let alone edits, Batiuk’s crap? Well, there are a number of different ways to translate the German title “Die Walküre”. In no language, however, is one of those ways “D’Valkurie”.

    • The Duck of Death

      Y. Knott, thanks for the Crankshaft report.

      “D’Valkurie” isn’t even in the ballpark. It’s not even in the franchise. Nowhere close. Looks like some French rapper’s name.

      If Batiuk is such a culture vulture, can’t he look at his LPs or CDs to figure out the spelling? I’d ask why he doesn’t look on the internet, but it’s pretty obvious that he simply refuses to spend literally 5 seconds to check spelling or any other information.

      All the knowledge of the world at our fingertips, and he’s not even interested.

      • The Duck of Death

        Oh, and… once again, the strip starts with a wasted question. “Is that opera you’re listening to?” Alas, Al Jaffee has left this earthly plane, but if there were ever a Stupid Question that called for a Snappy Answer, it’s this one.

        • Anonymous Sparrow

          What would have avoided Mr. Jaffee:

          “Is that an opera you’re listening to?”

          “Is that one of Wagner’s operas?”

          “Is that part of the *Ring Cycle*?”

          Joey LaMotta, after you demonstrate how easy it is to fall down, could you please tell Mrs. Murdoch how to ask a question properly?

          (Why, yes, I saw “Raging Bull” again on Saturday. How did you guess?)

          • The Duck of Death

            Or, even better, no question at all.

            “That sounds like Wagner. I never knew you liked opera!”

            “German opera, eh? Who knew* you were such a culture vulture?”

            One thing that sticks out on rereading this strip: Who the hell listens to Die Walküre softly? What would even be the point?

            *I know — “who knew” is technically a question but idiomatically it’s a statement.

          • Anonymous Sparrow

            I like your suggestions even better!

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        D’Valkurie looks like some French rapper’s name.

        No, Batiuk would never come up with a rapper name that plausible. D’Valkurie would refuse to work with Hershey Barr and Vuvu Zela.

        What language is that even supposed to be? D’ is a French construct, but it’s used before vowels, not consonants. It also means “of”, not “the.” It’s like Lillian is trying to use the French spelling of the German title, and getting it completely wrong. Maybe she saw it in Montreal or Cameroon?

        • The Duck of Death

          It’s clearly French, even if the word is a little unfamiliar.

          On the pattern of pâtisserie and boulangerie, a valkurie is a place where valkyries are prepared, sold or served. D’, of course, as you said, signifies “of.”

          D’Valkurie = of or from the place where Valkyries are sold.

          I had no idea there was an opera about such a place. Perhaps it’s one of those country-music operas by Waggoner. Porter Waggoner.

        • Gerard Plourde

          The correct name for the opera is Die Walküre (in English – The Valkyrie). It is a German opera by Richard Wagner part of his opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Nibelungen Ring).

          We can add opera to the list of things TomBa does not research.

          • Gerard Plourde

            Pronunciation note – Die (the article “the”) is pronounced “dee”, not like the English “die”.

          • bad wolf

            I almost think he heard it verbally and thought “Dee Valkury? D. Valckuree? D’Valkurie?”

          • The Duck of Death

            That’s an excellent attempt to make sense of this, bad wolf.

            However, in German, “Die Walküre” would be pronounced roughly “Dee Valkoorah.”

            Even a lip reader couldn’t get D’Valkurie out of that.

    • anneki

      Things that bug me about Sunday’s Crankshaft.
      Or, “Opera-tion Annoyance.”

      “Is that the opera you’re listening to?”
      A normal human being might say, “Oh, what opera are you listening to?” or “Is that the Met Opera broadcast?” or “What’s that you’re listening to, opera?”

      “I like to have it on softly in the background while I’m writing.” Thanks for being specific, Lillian. I wasn’t sure what “in the background” meant before you clarified.

      “It reminds me of how my sister and I went to the opera one time in New York City.”
      This is much more like a Mad Lib statement than an actual human reminiscence. A English speaker who is not a chatbot would be more likely to say “I got to go to the opera in New York City once with my sister.” Or “My sister and I went to the opera in New York whenever we had a chance.” Or “One of my best memories is when I went to the Met with my sister.”

      “We saw D’Valkurie….” I am going to hazard a guess that this opera is the tragic story of Marie Curie’s younger sister, Valerie, who lived in the Bronx and sold radioactive hotdogs from a cart.

      “The sets onstage were magical.” The sets offstage were even better, but we couldn’t see them, of course.

      “Of course, the sets have been changed to something more modern-looking now.” How would Lillian know this? The opera Da Val Curie is so rarely staged these days, due to concerns about the radioactive props.

      Also, why is it “of course” the sets have been changed to something more modern-looking? If anything, the sets for an opera as staged in 2023 are more likely to be historically accurate than when Lillian was young, given advances in technology, electronics and lighting.

      “When I listen on the radio, I can still hear the old sets.” This only makes sense if she’s referring to “the old sets” of Da Val Kurie she saw as a young woman in New York City. There aren’t any other “old sets” in the conversation. So that means she only tunes to the opera when Da Val Kurie is the program of the day.
      Perhaps if she only writes when she can listen to Da Val Kurie, that might explain why she’s such a terrible writer.

      I guess this is the punchline we’ve been building up to. Call me underwhelmed.

  8. ComicBookHarriet

    A note from the trenches: Work issues mean that the next installment of DCH John Saga (This Time with Hentai!) will go out a day late.

    I’ve just been so overwhelmed by the depth and artistry of the ‘Lillian goes to Ohioana” arc, that the limited time I had set aside for writing was taken up in slack-jawed awe.

    • The Duck of Death

      It’s them cows agin, ain’t it?

      My slack-jawed awe over the Ohioana arc is: I really expected those other beloved, highly acclaimed authors to be there. You know, Les and Dinkle. I’m slack-jawed with gratitude that they seem to have stayed home.

      We haven’t even seen Holly there promoting her HYE-larious book, “Teenagers With Third-Degree Burns: Is There Anything Funnier?” or whatever it was called.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        Yes, it is odd that he passed up the opportunity to shoehorn Les into this arc.

        Then again, this arc was written before Batty knew FW would be canceled.

  9. Paul Jones

    The problem with gushing about her sister has to be what she did to her because she has the IQ of a crayon. It doesn’t matter in the real world that Baby Sister has a boyfriend first but, man alive, did it matter to that dimwit Lillian Lizard. The whole grand tragedy that is the ‘doomed and tragic romance’ saga is more like a grand travesty as all the parties involved have the brain power of a slab of Formica.

  10. Y. Knott

    Today, a Crankshaft with Crankshaft in it! (Is that an exclamation mark of excitement, or of warning? You be the judge!)

    I like to think today’s opening line was said by the melty-faced woman, who just simply runs the conversation all by herself. Anything to keep Crankshaft from making one of his stupid malaprops!

    Not that she’s much funnier than Crankshaft in the end. But she’s aware that the goal is to keep Ed Crankshaft from talking … or from doing anything except standing there dumbly. Yes, keep talking, melty-faced woman! Mesmerize Crankshaft with your words! Because you know that a silent, motionless, inert Ed Crankshaft is the only Ed Crankshaft that won’t inadvertently blow up or bash down various pieces of property — or perhaps even people — that are dear to you!

    Yes, MFW — talk as if your life depended on it! Because in a very real sense … it does!

    • The Duck of Death

      LOL, Y. Knott. It’s “Lena,” if memory serves, but “Melty-Faced Woman” suits her just fine.

      I don’t understand the joke, though. “Rehab” is generally construed as meaning treatment for drug or alcohol addiction. Did the driver develop an out-of-control addiction in only a week?

      I proposed a while back that Crankshaft was ghostwritten, because it was too coherent. Now I’m starting to wonder if, as suggested by BJr6K, it was being ghostwritten but has been taken over by TB.

      Because there hasn’t been a truly coherent entry in about two weeks.

      “Not funny” is one thing. Hi and Lois is funny maybe once a year, if that, and there’s no snark community for that. But it’s coherent. You see what was leading up to the “joke,” it makes sense, and then the punchline, which happens not to be funny.

      Crankshaft lately has fallen victim to the FW curse. It’s disconnected gibberish, produced by a broken mind.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        I don’t think that observation was mine. But “D’Valkurie” and “rehab for driving to Washington D.C.” were definitely both Batiukisms. Before this year, TB’s signature style was previously a lot less prominent in CS.

      • Gerard Plourde

        I think I commented that Davis had a freer hand with scripting (altering) dialogue while FW was still running because the latter consumed most of Batiuk’s time and attention. The portent of things to come is embodied in this January 20, 2023 post from his blog.

        “ Even though my plan to bring Funky Winkerbean to a conclusion was a long time coming, nevertheless there was still a bit of trauma about saying goodbye to all of those characters after 50 years of hanging out together. And then one day I was typing up a Crankshaft script where Lillian goes to the Komix Korner to sell her copy of Black Raven no. 1. As she entered the comics shop I typed: “where she’s greeted by Crazy Harry”… and, when I did that, I realized that everything was going to be ok.”

        This raises the question how long Davis will be able to evade micromanagment. Yesterday’s and today’s strips are likely only the beginning.

        • Y. Knott

          This is an interesting theory. Davis was previously able to surreptitiously tweak/improve/correct Batiuk’s earlier Crankshaft scripts because Batiuk didn’t really care … but now that Crankshaft is the ONLY strip Batiuk’s writing, he cares.

          Again, as a relative newcomer to all this, I’m not seeing much qualitative difference between 2021/22 FW and 2023 Crankshaft. Both strips fail badly when they try to be funny … but when they attempt to do arcs, you somehow end up wishing they’d just go back to trying to be funny.

        • ComicBookHarriet

          I honestly don’t even think Davis is at the helm in terms of the art. I rag on him for the rampant art swipes, but even the art swipe/art has fallen off a cliff from the first few years of the Davis Era.

          My current theory is that the creation of the art has been outsourced to a team of cheap photoshop-for-hire interns with access to the archives. We know the weekday coloring of the strip (and many other strips) is handled by people like this hired by the syndicate.

          Dan Davis is just a name to slap on the product. He serves the same function for Garfield.

          • Gerard Plourde


            “My current theory is that the creation of the art has been outsourced to a team of cheap photoshop-for-hire interns with access to the archives.”

            I think that’s definitely possible. Do you think that Batiuk will exercise more control over story arcs, though? It seems to me that he needs something to occupy his time.

  11. “It reminds me of how my sister and I went to the opera one time in New York City.”

    The way that statement is phrased is really terrible. Because “How” would be “We took a cab from the bus station.” “When” would be a better choice, especially for a paid writer.