(This is getting kind of scary…like… I can feel how this zany weird garbage my brain spat out is approaching Classic Act I Funky Winkerbean levels of ‘sentient-chairs-on-strike’. Am I gazing into the abyss too far? Is the abyss gazing back?!?)
92 responses to “Crankshaft: The Motion Picture.”
Brava, CBH. The only thing missing from the Sunday strip is Fred MacMurray as the insurance salesman who Pmm is having an affair with. I call it “Double Crankdemnity.”
Discovered among the abandoned manuscripts of James M. Cain:
*The Bus Driver Never Stops Twice.*
BatJerk missed a golden opportunity later in his career. He should have just let us write his strips for him, and just taken EVERY day off instead of his customary 360 a year. We could have kept it totally on the down-low, too, no one would have ever known. And who’d have believed us, or even cared, anyhow?
“MOM! GUESS WHAT? I’m writing “Funky Winkerbean” now!”
“I’m sure you are, dear.”
1. I am sorry, Epicus, but it would be totally obvious that we were writing for TB. The strips would be coherent. They would have a beginning, middle, and a climax. People would laugh at the punchlines. Crap! Damn! We might even win a Pulitzer. (If that isn’t enough, we could set a record for number of times, Les is humiliated, bludgeoned, or had his smirk removed. Plus: Funky could actually appear in his own strip and become comically successful. My brain is already thinking of a way to reveal Funky as the Pizza Monster. [I think it has to do with mirrors!])
2. CBH, I love the cattle pictures and stories. My favorite beef cattle are Belted Galloway, the Oreo Cattle. Just beautiful to see them in a pasture. A bonus to the breed: they thrive on land that may not be productive for other breeds. My second choice would be the British Longhorn. They are heavier than the Texas breed, and the Brit’s horns curve downward. I think the Texas Longhorn are a magnificent animal, but as Be Ware Of Eve Hill taught me, you don’t want any cow smarter than you are. And those horns are to die for, or to die on. Peace out! Light and Life!
We’ve had a couple Dutch Belted and Belted Galloway crosses, though it’s been a few years since we sold our last one. They’re kind of smallish squat cows, but they do okay. Good mommas. A hobby farm down the highway always has half-a-dozen.
What’s fun with them is that the strip trait gets pretty funky as you water down those genes with solid colored cattle.
We had a calf one year that had only half a belt, like someone had licked half the filling out of an Oreo.
the strip trait gets pretty funky
Hey Sorial Promise, was that you I saw at the NFL draft dancing a jig atop the Liberty Memorial, dressed liked Andy Reid?
I wish. My best moves are from the supper table back to the recliner.
Timemop brought young Act I Funky forward in time to show him what a drip he would become. Young Funky then became the Pizza Monster to drive his future self insane as punishment.
You, my friend, are a better plotter than I!
Danke schön! I take that as high praise, indeed.
Cows, Otto, cows!
Sentient chairs on strike? Now I feel even more tempted to get my hands on more Complete Funky Volumes But Only the Act 1 ones.
In a surprise to no-one, today’s Crankshaft ends this arc in the most boring possible way, with an off-stage action-less resolution (in which no character actually had to do a single bloody thing) being described out loud to no-one in particular, for no apparent reason.
Today’s CBH re-imagining of this week in Crankshaft? Actually funny! The first and last strips in particular.
Well this beats today’s strip, which I haven’t read yet.
Well how could you know if you haven’t read it.
Ha ha, oh man, what was I thinking? As if that would matter.
Great job, CBH. On the other hand, the actual Crankshaft strip, as Y. Knott has pointed out sputters to a typical Batiukian conclusion.
We went from, literally, the impending destruction of the entire Earth, to an old man reading boring stuff at his computer. It doesn’t get more Batiuk.
“So there I was, in my X-wing fighter, flying through a narrow trench. I knew that the only hope to save the Rebels and destroy the Empire was to hit a certain tiny exhaust port and blow up the Death Star. TIE fighters were pursuing us, picking us off one by one. But I finally saw the target, and I heard Obi-Wan’s voice in my head — ‘Use the Force, Luke!'”
Later, Princess Leia’s lawyers received a letter apologizing for the Alderaan incident. An amicable settlement was reached.”
“But what happened with the exhaust port and the Death Star?”
If Tom Batiuk made Star Wars, the centerpiece of the movie would be the Tosche Station deleted scene.
We all know Luke mentions wanting to go to Tosche Station to pick up some power converters, but we never see this happen. There’s a long deleted scene where he goes there. It consists of:
1. Luke takes a full minute to learn something he could have learned off-camera, and then goes to a place to tell other people about it
2. Luke talks to a bunch of his boring friends who do nothing and are never seen again
3. Luke talks to Biggs (Red 3), who talks of joining the rebellion. This is helpful exposition, because it explains a lot what happens later, and gives some emotional weight to the story. But it takes way too long, and goes into a bunch of irrelevant tangents.
Imagine a prequel of nothing but this:
Luke’s boring friends (Camie and Fixer) were later dug up so that they could get hassled at a bar during the second episode of The Book Of Boba Fett, which may be the most Batiukian show or film in all of Star Wars.
Most enjoyable, CBH. More chuckles than the comic strip I’ve been reading for the past four months.
Crankshaft sure has been a disappointment since the move to GoComics. Some of the story arcs last year were enjoyable. Did Batiuk remove the decent stories to make room for the Komix Korner Khronicles? Where did they go?
Does anyone else feel like Crankshaft isn’t as good as it used to be on Comics Kingdom? Did anyone else find it enjoyable at times?
You’re not the only one BWOEH. Though I think it’s been on pretty shaky ground, story wise, for a couple years now. With baby Mitch’s nonsensical aging being a great example. But even in 2022, I could find a few chuckles. The last four months? wat.
The laziness of the art recycling is also stifling it. It limits the expression and composition of every panel.
You know what is funny? When I see Crankshaft in black in white in the local newspaper it looks better. The horrible coloring monkeys are also doing it no favors.
Even the story arcs where Crankshaft has a flamethrower or other tools of destruction have been lackluster.
As much as I complain about the Comics Kingdom, their colorists, in my opinion, are better than GoComics. Arcamax sometimes neglects to color some strips.
It’s kind of funny. Yesterday, I conversed with a Crankshaft commenter on GoComics who is afraid Batiuk will shut down the comments because of the snark.
The thing it, both it and Funky got flamed mercilessly on CK, but he never had those comments shut off. The flaming has been milder on GoComics with a lot more, “Why do you read it?” defenders.
That was pretty much how I replied. I figure at one point Batiuk read the comments of his comics, was horrified by what he read, then decided to be blissfully ignorant of their existence, never to return.
There were some occasions in the Crankshaft discussion where the snarker/defender ratio was about even.
OTOH, a positive comment in the Funky Winkerbean discussion was usually just someone trolling the snarkers.
Does the creator have the power to do that on GC? I doubt anyone had that ability on CK.
Cartoonists on GoComics can ask for the comments to be disabled. Most prominently, Brooke McEldowney had comments turned off for Pibgorn and 9 Chickweed Lane. I don’t know if they’re also turned off for the Vintage 9 Chickweed Lane strips predating the time he went daft.
The comments for Alley Oop were also turned off sometime after the Jonathan Lemon/Joey Alison Sayers team took over. I’m not sure why; although there was a good bit of complaining, as there always is on a new creative team, it didn’t strike me as particularly vicious, and I think it was less so than the complaining on the last Jack and Carole Bender strips. I don’t know if Lemon or Sayers requested it; both had comments on for their individual strips, but I imagine the comment environment is different when you take over something long-established with a previously existing fanbase.
@Joseph Nebus listed the same three comic strips that the Crankshaft commenter on GoComics mentioned.
Grandpa Google found an article on the The Daily Cartoonist from 12 years ago discussing the removal of comments from ‘Pibgorn’ (and ‘9 Chickweed Lane’).
I went back and read your interaction with Doctor Toon. Good discussion. Other than you and
J. J. O’Malley, Toon has the most logical opinions on GC. He seems to be SOSF material.
I despise all the others. If you notice, they do not actually defend Batiuk. They just tell J. J. to leave, usually attacking him as mentally ill. To my knowledge, they have not attacked you, yet. I expect if they ever do, there will be blood.🩸 🩸
To quote Mal, “Absolutely, the most violent, most beautiful woman I have ever met!” (I yield to his greater knowledge.)
I have said it before, CK is the pits. I follow 5 strips daily. Two more on Sunday. I consider anyone that spends money on their subscription has depths of grace and charity, that I can only imagine. It is a rare day that I can read my 5 strips without getting the purple sign that I have exceeded quota. The funny thing, I just go to the next strip, and it loads perfectly. Then the original strip that got blocked may come up on a second try. It is such wasted effort on CK’s part. I can go to the Seattle Times or Washington Post and get the strip from them.
I recently lost a strip. “Break of Day” by Nate Frakes. It left GC and went to CK. I will never see that strip again.
I left off: ♥️💖❤️🫂🌺💐🌹
Trick: if you really really want to read beyond your “quota” of strips at CK, just go into your browser’s settings pane and remove the cookies that CK put there. That’s how they count how many strips you’ve read this period.
Like I said, if you really, really, REALLY want to read beyond your quota on CK. About the only thing I read there anymore is “Prince Valiant,” and that’s just once a week.
I knew I liked listening to you!😎
I don’t seem to mind the defenders as much as you, but one of these days, I’d love to see one of them answer my questions about why J. J. O’Malley’s comments bother them so much. Are J.J.’s comments disrupting their rainbows and unicorns day somehow?
I haven’t had a dispute in a comic discussion in quite a while. I ask questions rather than hurl insults and name-calling. Any arguments were usually sports-related in Tank McNamara.
Me? Violent? Pshaw. Although with all the playful shoulder punches, rib shots, and kicks to the backside, Mal takes a bit of abuse.
I used to be one of those Comics Kingdom subscribers. In 2022, I started a trial subscription as part of their April Fools’ Day sale. CK offered one free month rather than the usual seven days.
At the end of November, the CK released news about how wonderful the move to OpenWeb would be. The benefits they listed already existed in Disqus and performed better/were functional on that platform. The CK also stepped up their comment moderation and banned many long time readers for snarking. Are the discussions really less toxic? I’ve witnessed several commenters ganging up on one person and getting them banned. What good is a “less toxic” discussion if you’ve driven readers to other comic websites.
My subscription was up for renewal at the beginning of this month. Since I subscribed, the Comics Kingdom:
1. ) Lost several titles to their competitor.
2.) Moved the commenting platform from Disqus to OpenWeb. In doing so, they discontinued the COMMENTS button from my favorites page. It was a perk I enjoyed. I submitted a problem ticket for this issue. After five months, it is still in PENDING status. I guess the Comics Kingdom isn’t interested in engaging paid customers.
3.) Raised their annual price. Not by a couple of dollars, TEN DOLLARS! A 50% increase. I wrote Customer Support asking if the price mentioned in my renewal notice was a typo. They glibly said the annual subscription price was now $29.99, $10 more than GoComics.
Whomever the CK decision-makers were over the past year, they’re incompetent and need to be banned from any business-related decisions in the future.
I think the CK is getting desperate. They’re now offering 100 days free. If you’re having trouble convincing people to subscribe, you need to lower your price, not raise it. Duh.
Renew my Comics Kingdom subscription? You degraded your service and raised the price by a ridiculous amount. Are you out of your minds?! You cannot be serious!
1. I picked to read “Macanudo. It blocked me. Then I read “Sally Forth.” (Hi, JJ O’MALLEY!”) it is on the same strip line as Sally. It let me in right away.
2. All of my CK strips hit home runs today. SOSF got to start reading “Prince Valiant” last year. The artwork is gorgeous.
3. I do have a question, On “Judge Parker” are ALL the women always complete b*tches in that comic. I know that sounds politically incorrect, but am I right?
4. Liniers’ Macanudo hit the grand slam. Apparently, witches and fairies are not compatible. That must be read in context.
5. Wow!!! Without trying I am not towing the line
6. I hate every pet on “Mary Worth.
7. Eve, my final question is for you: Do you suppose that all of the CK Decision Makers also work at AB Bud Lite? (Not that there is anything wrong with that!)
Love and Light! Where did I put that recliner?
[I have complete undying respect for Mal!]
1. Here’s yet another example of the Comics Kingdom’s technical incompetence. One week after cancelling my subscription, I’m still receiving the daily comics email of my favorites. Perhaps I’ve jinxed it by mentioning it. I feel a little guilty about it, but I’m not sure if mentioning it to the Comic Kingdom support team would accomplish anything.
CK Technical Support: That’s not possible. You can’t be receiving that email. You’re not a subscriber.
Why jump through any hoops to read their comics when they’re still sending me the email? 🤷♀️
Another complaint I have about the Comics Kingdom is they don’t include one or both “throwaway panels” of some Sunday comics. Arcamax shows the entire comic. Sometimes the joke in those panels is better than the one in the comic strip.
Examples: Beetle Bailey and Blondie.
2. Ditto. I started reading Prince Valiant at about the same time. Around the time of Batiuk’s Hal Foster character assassination arc. Phil Holt is a liar.
3. I started reading some of the soap opera strips to pad out my favorites list and justify the $19.99 subscription. After I finish the current story arcs, I’m through.
I was rather unhappy how the previous arc in Judge Parker ended, so I stopped reading it. They left too many open ends. Too many questions. What happened to all those bodies from the shoot out, etc.?
Can’t say I cared for any of the characters in that strip. I thought Abbey Spencer was the worst. STFU Abbey.
4. The Comics Kingdom and Arcamax are not showing the same Macanudo comic strip today. What’s up with that?
6. The pets performing yoga with Ed and Estelle is the most cringeworthy thing I’ve ever read in Mary Worth.
Reading MW isn’t the same with the blog Mary Worth & Me on hiatus. The current story arc is stuck in the mud and seems like a good place to quit.
7. That was pretty dumb, wasn’t it? Upsetting the many to placate the few. I understand the sentiment, but you have to consider how your core customer base will react. Doesn’t anybody understand marketing anymore?
It’s similar to the Comics Kingdom losing long time readers to have a “less toxic” atmosphere. It’s a nice thought, but it’s not good business.
“The pets performing yoga with Ed and Estelle is the most cringeworthy thing I’ve ever read in Mary Worth.”
That was disgusting, wasn’t it. When I read you, I sometimes feel I am talking to an oracle. I do not enjoy “Mary Worth” “Rex Morgan M. D.” or “Judge Parker.” Thanks to BWOEH wisdom, I have read my last strips of those three. Promise me that you will only use your powers for good?
Last November, CK started “Mare Llava, Keeper of Time.” CK has not updated for 2 months. Then on GC, “WAWAWIWA” hasn’t updated for over a year. But he keeps teasing me with his twitter updates. Breaking up is hard to do.
As far as your continued use of the CK email, think of it as they save you the time of looking it up on your own.
Now I have to go check out “Macanudo” on ArcaMax.
Good night to my Grand Vizier!
go into your browser’s settings pane and remove the cookies that CK put there. That’s how they count how many strips you’ve read this period.
Wow. That is some LAZY web design. No wonder nobody’s paying for the service.
I can’t say if it was better back then, as I’ve only started reading it within the last month or so. But I can say that it’s not just you who finds its current incarnation embarrassingly bad.
There are some features on Comics Kingdom where the only thing the cartoonist is good at drawing is a paycheck (God knows how). Tea Fougner will hire anybody.
For example, the Tuesday and Thursday Chix of Six Chix. Every time I read their submissions, I mutter, “This is a bad day for women cartoonists everywhere.”
This is why I thought it was ghostwritten. It used to be straightforward and workmanlike. Once in a great while, it was even funny. But the quality really has taken a nosedive. And it’s not just that it’s not funny, it’s that it’s not coherent any more. The incoherence is the Batiuk touch.
Batiuk should hire that intern. 😂
The new Crankshaft on GoComics:
Comics that follow the formal structure of a joke, but are so wholly and unambiguously unfunny, they defy classification as “humor.”
Ruben Bolling gets us. It’s almost like he’s been reading Crankshaft for the last couple months.
Busted. I stole it.
And I wasn’t even trying to bust you! It’s just that any time I try to post an image or a link, my post gets hung up in moderation. What I’m saying is: Our posts crossed in the mail so it looked like mine was replying to yours.
Similarly, I thought that Davis was reworking the material. I definitely think that Batiuk is being more “hands on” and that this explains the drop in coherence. To be honest, arcs in the final years of FW, weak as they were, held together better.
There does seem to be a decline in the quality of the strip.
OTOH, 30 years ago I worked at a department store that was driven out of business when it was bought by the Internationally Known Incompetent Fuckwads of Montgomery Ward, and driven out of business.
CUSTOMER: “You’ll give me my money back, or I’ll report you to CORPORATE!”
“And do what, get us fired? WE’RE GOING OUT OF BUSINESS.”
(Customer, flustered) “YEA! AND THEN…” (light bulb comes on really slowly; walks away)
Maybe the CrankCrew realizes there’s only so many ways you can rearrange the deck chairs.
My theory was that TB was focusing on FW as his “awards fetish leader.” He told his “Crankshaft” guys “Here’s 30 puns. Work them into the strip. If a month has 31 days, repeat one.” And he just didn’t care what happened. Crankshaft was never going to be nominated for anything, so he didn’t care. But when FW finished, he had to do something to show he was still worthy of being paid….so he turned his baleful eye toward his other strip, and rubbed his hands together. “Let’s start with comic books. We’ll work up. They’re not ready for Les just now.”
We do live in that alternate universe where Tom was nominated for the Pulitzer, Henry Kissinger was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and Johnny the Gerbil got the Art Award for “Holding a Pencil in His Mouth Enough Time to Draw a Straight Line, Pretty Much, Okay Maybe He Just Thought it was A Carrot.”
(Bikini Models walk Tom off stage with Pulitzer. All leave him when Johnny arrives)
Sorry, but I forgot “And then Tom gives to Oscar for Best Actress to LES” as the most masturbatory story line I’ve ever seen.
The space lemon, excellent! And the parallels with “Star Trek The Motion Picture” are genius.
Domestic cats are the Les Moores of the animal kingdom. Prove me wrong.
Oh no! What did Bruce the Cat do now!?
Speaking of cats – Libby the One-Eyed Cat once relieved her bladder on Wilbur’s preferred spot on Estelle’s sofa. Team Libby! (The rest of the Worthiverse animals, meh.)
Sideways comics aren’t just for lousy tributes to comics any more. That’s because today’s thing is also a sideways mess:
And somehow it makes even LESS sense if you do rotate the strip so you can read it.
The asteroid is leaving the solar system, but also still going to collide with Earth? NASA can’t send up another craft to intercept it in time, even though they have ten thousand years to do so? (It sure didn’t take that long to send up the first craft.) And all this to set up the “Ed’s going to launch another grill into space to knock the asteroid off course”, the “joke” that most people expected all along.
I mean, cut out the part about Ed being charged with sending the asteroid to Earth, cut out the “it’ll take ten thousand years to get here” bit, cut the lines about it “leaving the solar system”. Just “Ed’s grill knocked the asteroid towards Earth”, “NASA doesn’t have time to set up another craft”, “Ed’s going to launch another grill to fix the problem”. Still dumb (we’ll ignore the very dubious physics involved, if we’re to accept a grill can achieve orbit, we can accept that the science ain’t accurate), still not funny, but at least it makes some kind of sense. (And doesn’t waste half its time trying to cause it to make less sense.)
Launching the grill will work and Ed will be lauded as a hero for saving the earth. Any acknowledgement of his incompetence that created the problem in the first place will be addressed with smirks from Pam and Jeff as they continue to allow him to wreck their home. I’m not sure what’s worse-FW characters being rewarded for doing nothing, or Ed doing plenty and not being called on it.
When I first saw today’s strip, I thought, here we go we now have comic book covers in Crankshaft. But no, it was just more of the stupid joke that ran all week.
I won’t be surprised if the plug gets pulled on this strip too.
If sideways Sunday strips are beginning to appear, can sideways Sunday comic book covers be far behind? Jff or Lillian should be about due for a trip to the Komix Korner.
My guess is that Crankshaft will not be renewed when its current contract ends. Clearly, Batiuk has learned nothing from the cancellation of Funky Winkerbean. He’s now using CS to indulge his worst habits, while denying publicly that the end of FW was involuntary.
The question I would ask is when did he know, if this was indeed the situation, that Funky Winkerbean wasn’t going to be renewed?
Because there were a lot of occasions in the last year or so of the comic where I certainly felt as if it were winding down. Lisa’s Story’s Saga finally ended with Les getting the Best Actress Oscar. Montoni’s closed down. All the characters were aged up to retirement age so they’d have the looming 50th reunion coincide with the 50th anniversary of the strip. He graduated all of the remaining children with speaking parts. Etc. Etc. Where could he have realistically gone if he had continued the strip? I suspect it would have been nothing except Atomik Komix sequences that differed in no significant fashion from the previous sequences, Komix Korner sequences that addressed the Atomik Komix sequences, Funky being a befuddled idiot about something and Dinkle going to the OMEA, which would be hampered by the fact that Becky would never be shown teaching any children since the school strips would have been discontinued.
I believe he could have gone on indefinitely, just as you described. Comic books, mundane idiocy, marching band gags a few times a year, pizza…it was pretty much all he was doing since 2012-2013 anyhow.
Over the course of Act III, BatYam always came across as somewhat bitter over the way “Lisa’s Story” came and went. He wanted it to be way bigger and resonate way more in popular culture than it ultimately did. For years on end, he just wouldn’t let it die (unlike Lisa…ZING!), then, when he finally ran out of ways to work “LS” into the strip, he visibly began to lose interest entirely. The big prestige arcs all kind of petered out, and died on the vine, and the whole thing became an even bigger trudge than it was before. You look back on those old Act II strips and you see actual (gasp) character development going on, but Act III had absolutely none of that.
Even comic books couldn’t lift him out of his lingering malaise. Oh, he had comic book-related premises to burn, including his greatest one (“Rip Tide-Scuba Cop”, of course), and he did precisely nothing with any of them. I mean, I’ve followed the “Starbuck Jones” saga since it was just an old forgotten comic book, yet by the time the strip ended, I knew LESS about SJ than when it was first introduced. And everything I thought I knew turned out to be retconned away anyhow. In hindsight, it was kind of a shame how he totally squandered what might have been a semi-entertaining sub-universe. All because of Lisa, the character that ruined FW.
Thursday — Ed is tired of being ‘grilled’ about the whole Comet BlueSpaceLemon thing, which he has clearly heard about more than enough.
Friday — Ed finds out about the whole Comet BlueSpaceLemon thing, apparently for the first time. Even though he knew about it yesterday.
Saturday — There’s no threat from Comet BlueSpaceLemon, which won’t hit earth for 10,000 years, so nothing will be done.
Sunday — The earth has been knocked sideways, so I guess now we’ll launch something at the stupid blue space lemon for some reason. Even though it wasn’t necessary yesterday.
Batiuk’s been a lazy writer for long time now, so it’s difficult to be sure. But we’ve now reached the level where Crankshaft isn’t simply something that’s badly written; it’s a potential symptom of amnestic MCI, published daily.
The exciting conclusion to the Hentai Trials will go up at the normal Bat-time, on the normal Bat-Channel Monday night! I had to get important legal opinions from my legal counsel on the legalities of the legal situation vis a vis fictional hentai crimes.
I’m looking forward to your wrap up of the obscenity trial that wasn’t. And your Crankshaft redo of this week was creatively marvelous and hilarious!
(snap,pop,crawls from bed)
I’m so old that I stopped making fun of those “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” ads because I DID.
I fell in the shower and fractured 4 ribs and a clavicle. What the fuck’s a clavicle?! No one told me I have those! It sounds like some Bach piano thing! I don’t care what you say, Johann, mine ain’t well-tempered!
So after 6 fucking weeks, I’m out of the ER/ICU/rehab clinic (for PT, not the cool kind where your roomie is Amy Winegarden), and I’m expected to
1) Buy a fucking newspaper, like Citizen Kane is real;
2) Turn it SIDEWAYS;
3) And read it like it’s a colored lithograph of the fucking Battleship Maine being exploded by the Spanish;
4) AND IT’S CRANKSHAFT?!
Then I, and my many fractured boney bits, see that DICK TRACY wants me to read about LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE–in a YEAR?!
I spent 2 months in the hospital for this?! I used to wake up from comas to Calvin and Tyrannosaurs in F15s!
OW! (pop,snap,I made nothing up in this post)
I can’t remember the last time I felt this way, I really can’t.
But seriously, Batty wants you to buy a newspaper as that is the only proper way to enjoy this strip.
He is like the two remaining elderly people in my neighborhood who get the paper. Every morning around 5:30AM a loud jalopy rumbles through the neighborhood with music blaring as he delivers the papers to two houses. Luckily I am an early riser.
Wait Skip is still around? I thought he got laid off. And The Valentine still isn’t open? Well that is what Mason gets for hiring millennials to run the place.
No, he quit the newspaper because it got bought by a hedge fund, who apparently wanted to make money or something. Skip helped the community start its own newspaper with the same name, but it hasn’t been seen or spoken of since. So who knows?
Thanks, your memory is better than mine. Ah yeah those greedy hedge funds, always trying to make a quick buck….so not sure why they would buy a depreciating asset such as a tiny local newspaper.
Yeah, that too. Newspapers are about the money-losingest asset you can own, so lord knows why a hedge fund would want to own the Shittyville Shitinel in the first place. Unless they’re trying to launder money, or take a loss for tax reasons.
Which could have been a good story if the strip hadn’t lost its way. The Act I Funkyverse was so renowned for failure, it would have been a great place for some outsiders to hatch a Springtime For Hitler plan. Even if Westview does get it right, they’ll screw up some detail and torpedo themselves anyway.
Can you imagine this happening to Act III Funky? Montoni’s is tanking, but he gets an out-of-nowhere angel investor. Funky learns the investor wants the store to fail for his own reasons, so he tells Funky to keep doing what he’s doing. This inspires Funky to stop sucking at life and start running the store well, just to spite the investor. Of course he succeeds, ruins the investor, and buys back his store for less than he sold it for. Would have been a much better story than we got.
Being new to the strip, I don’t know who any of these people are. But what an introduction! We’re off to a rip-roarin’ start on another fantastic week-or-more-long arc of people endlessly repeating information, while no action takes place!
Oh, I can help. From memory, because I don’t remember when this arc was and can’t be arsed to crawl the GC archives looking for it…
Skip Rawlings is a smug, loathesome old pinko with the fashionable left arm shoulder amputation. He used to be the main/only(?) reporter for the local Centerville bird cage liner. The unprofitable rag, which had hardly any readers, was bought by a New York hedge fund helpfully called “Mordor,” in case the mere words “New York hedge fund” didn’t evoke enough eeevil for TB’s denser readers.
Skip went to their offices, apparently waltzed right in, and confronted the boss, telling him with a smirk that he (Skip) had already stolen all the assets that had any value — namely, the archives and everything that was not a physical asset like a chair or desk. The hedge fund manager was furious and screamed that he would see Skip in court. Naturally nothing came of that, because that could have been slightly interesting.
This was all accompanied by an elegy for small-town crusading newspapers that “speak truth to power,” yadda yadda, blah blah, dead-tree papers are such an important part of civic life, etc etc.
Why couldn’t Skip start a web site for all this super-important crusading? Maybe he could even include a forum so citizens could contribute in real time. Apparently this idea didn’t occur to Tom, who wants to save Mother Gaia with Climate Damage editorials printed on pulped trees bleached with dioxin.
Today, intrepid cub reporter Skip jumps on an important scoop from about a year ago, only to find that nothing has happened anyway. God bless our local muckrakers!
TL;DR: Fuck Skip.
Just like you can’t enjoy movies unless you go to an old cinema that smells funny and has a crappy sound system.
Why watch from the comfort of your own home?
Because my VHS of “Radio Ranch” is worn out and the Valentine gets a fresh celluloid print every two weeks (since wear and tear of 24/7 showings quickly renders the prints useless).
I found the crux of the Skip Toomaloo Centerville Sentinel story line. I had a feeling I had a couple things wrong, and I did, but I got the gist right. Anyway, if your priest has told you to punish yourself in atonement, you might start around this point.
Abandon hope, all ye who enter there.
Aw crap. There’s a clog in the torso chute! LEROY! Get your ass in gear!
Batiuk’s once again fighting a battle that doesn’t exist anywhere but his own fevered imagination. Nobody wants to save their precious local newspaper from the evil hedge funds. Hedge funds want nothing to do with podunk newspapers anyway, for the reasons I said earlier.
Skip’s “institutional memory” isn’t worth a sockful of shit. Every daily copy of the newspaper is a printed record of that. As for “your word against mine,” I think he’ll find that’s not the case. Modern workplaces like this office have cameras and security systems. (Which wouldn’t have let him in in the first place, but one mistake at a time.) There would be evidence of his trip to New York. And when he went back to Shitterville to do the deed, he’d be locked out of the place before he even got back – if not before he left the building in NYC. There would be backups of any critical data, and oversight for who can access it. He would never have been left to run an entire newspaper completely by himself. Never mind that such a task would be impossible.
And if this hedge fund cares so little about this newspaper they own, why should they care if it gets destroyed? Hell, maybe Skip’s doing them a favor. Maybe this *is* the Springtime For Hitler scam. “Oh, no, anything but that. Please ‘don’t’ delete the ‘one’ hard drive containing ‘everything’ of this 500-circulation fishwrap we only own to fudge our balance sheet. I guess you’ll just escape now, past all our the guards we’ve not instructed to stop you.”
“Your word against mine,” smirks Skip. Oh, if only there were some way to ajudicate disputes that boil down to one person’s word versus another! Especially in cases like this, where a crime is alleged!
There could be specially trained advocates to defend and prosecute the relevant parties — and maybe someone to judge whether the proceedings are fair.
Oh well. Till we have such a system, there is no way to resolve disputes or make sure criminals pay for their crimes.
Skip is a typical Funkyverse protagonist . He’s a loathsome, condescending jackass, but he parrots all Tom Batiuk’s opinions so he’s the “good guy.”
Any corporate office would have sued Skip into oblivion, and/or pressed criminal charges, for destroying company assets. The town also wouldn’t appreciate their entire news archive being destroyed.
It’s a very juvenile and scummy thing for Skip to do, just for being a type of business entity he doesn’t approve of. Or understand, based on how Batiuk apparently thinks they’d just let him waltz into the CEO’s office, and waltz out after such a declaration. And, that a firm that owns something only for financial reasons wouldn’t bother to save it anyway.
Another data point for my “Tom Batiuk has no theory of mind” argument.
Right! Newspaper men =good, hedge fund managers = bad.
Even though we all know Batty probably invests in some hedge funds to fund his retirement. Or maybe not, as he seemed totally unprepared to retire Funky Winkerbean.
Wow, that is some wild, crazy stuff. Skip is about 50 years past Watergate and still thinks he’s “speaking truth to power” and “not printing phony news from Russia”. In Centerville. That’s just… wow.
I remember a running story of Ralph Meechum (not going to look up the spelling) running for mayor of Centerville a while back, which would have been an actually interesting development (complaining old man gets actual position of modest responsibility, has to explain to Crankshaft why he’s being arrested) but lamed out to no great surprise. The status quo ante is only maintained if it’s the least creative direction.
Skip’s been covered, so I won’t retread him. The other two are Max (son of Pm and Jff, and thus the grandson of Ed Crankshaft, a minor character who occasionally appears in the comic) and his wife, Generic Blonde Woman. (Her name might be Hannah, but she’s so indistinguishable from every other Generic Blonde Woman, it really doesn’t matter.)
Max and GBW used to own the Valentine Theater, where they showed nothing but old movie serials from, like, the 1940s and 50s. For some reason, this brilliant business model didn’t pan out, and they were forced to close and sell the theater. It was bought out to be a strip club, which somehow did even worse than the movie theater. (As minor character Ed Crankshaft put it, it “didn’t take off enough”. Hilarious!) That the interior was still exactly the same as it was when it was a movie theater – up to and including the popcorn machine at the concession stand and the ancient film projector – might have been a contributing factor, but we’ll never know.
Anyhoo, after movie star Mason Jarre and his wife, Generic Blonde 68-Year-Old Woman (who doesn’t look dissimilar to all the other Generic Blonde Women) attended her 50th high school reunion in Westview (where GB68YOW – despite having been the most popular girl in school, with her graduation party being covered by MTV, and who was now married to a much younger man who’s also one of the most popular movie stars in the world – said she felt like an outsider), they stopped by the former Valentine Theater, and Mason decided to buy it on a whim. (The realtor was Lois Flagston from Hi and Lois, and the aforementioned Ed Crankshaft tagged along because… reasons?) (How they failed to notice that Westview and Centerville are 10 years apart chronologically due to the machinations of a time-traveling janitor has also not been addressed.)
So Mason bought the Valentine, and since Ed mentioned that his grandson used to own the place, Mason decided that it would make perfect sense to have Max and GBW manage the business for him (since they completely ran it into the ground when they owned it themselves). So now they’re managing the theater, even though they apparently haven’t bothered to get it into shape enough to reopen in, like, eight months. (Even though, again, the interior was entirely unchanged from their previous ownership, despite it being a strip club in the interim.) AND Mason is paying them even more than they made as the owners, despite the place not even being open for business yet.
(I suppose they could be doing it deliberately, keeping the place closed while collecting fat paychecks from Mason, but that would constitute an actual plot or something, so it can’t possibly be right.)
And now you’re caught up on the saga of the Valentine Theater. It was even less interesting reading the events as they unfolded, but you probably guesses that already.
Thanks for all the info, everyone. Not sure how much of it I’ll retain — but than again, I’m not sure how much Batiuk will retain. Beyond , of course, “old theatres that play old serials are awesome, as long as it’s the right old serial THERE IS ONLY ONE IT IS PHANTOM EMPIRE”
Oh, and also, “Farrah Fawcett hair is the best hair. BLONDES MUST HAVE FARRAH HAIR”
Seriously? Masonne bought the Valentine and hired Mxx and Hnnh to run the place eight months ago and it still hasn’t reopened? How tough are those chair and carpet stains from the venue’s days as a “bitty tar” that they haven’t been cleaned yet? Somebody get ServPro on the phone!
It’s not the t!tty bar stains. It’s the placenta and several other bodily fluids from giving birth to little Skywriter
3 9 7 2a certain number of years ago.
How tough are those chair and carpet stains from the venue’s days as a “bitty tar” that they haven’t been cleaned yet?
Considering their own child was born and conceived in that theater, I dare say they made far more of a mess of the place than any strip club patrons or staff did.
Those two are more entitled than the cast of a Disney Channel teen sitcom. They run the place into the ground through their own incompetence, get handed their old TV station jobs back, the cabaret conveniently fails for them, a Hollywood star shows up to buy it back for them (even though they still have the money they got from selling it in the first place), they re-quit their old jobs almost immediately, and eight months later they’re still pissing around doing nothing. But I bet Phantom Empire is running again by the end of the week.
Well if you don’t like it why do you keep read…ah just kidding!
I get a kick out of people responding to your comments on GoComics. Wah, the little babies think snark is mean.
If your post vanishes, don’t fret. The filter is especially fussy today, that’s all.
In other news, I left a more or less innocuous comment on Krankschadt this morning. It appears to have been deleted.
I’m starting to think I should write my comments in a word processor and cut/paste them onto GoComics, so I can restore them when they’re deleted.
I’m still shadow banned over there. I think JJ is their designated one allowed snarker. Wanna keep the illusion of free speech by letting one person speak out.
Would you like to try “alternate snark days,” CBH? I could sit out Tues./Thurs./Sat. and see if you’re the “lone haranguer” GC lets pass.
Bonus points to the first person to identify where the “lone haranguer” first appeared.
The Wizard of Id , I believe.