Strips like today’s really just make Batiuk’s habit of writing his strips so far in advance extra hilarious. Not only is nobody wearing a mask and everyone is basically touching, you have a roughly hundred year old man on oxygen right in the middle of them. And it’s not like the global pandemic just sprung up in the last week when it was too late to tweak the strip. Batiuk’s had nine months where he could’ve had the artist at least draw masks on the characters to make it look like it reflected reality.
Les blatantly ogling Funky’s ass with both of his hands in his pockets while his Lesser Wife is standing right next to him is extra awkward.
When did Crazy Harry’s wife die from cancer/get murdered by him/starve because his part time job at a comic shop couldn’t feed them both? It’s especially sad when you’re a Funky Winkerbean character whose tragic untimely death doesn’t even merit an arc, or Les silently staring at your obituary in the paper.
Tag Archives: Crankshaft
So they left an hour after the fair closed…and then drove a funnel cake to the Bedside Manor? How late is it? Our county fair closes at 10:00, and I’m guessing that is about standard. It’s got to be approaching midnight. What kind of nursing home lets people just wander in at midnight?
And poor old Gramps has been abandoned alone in his wheelchair, completely clothed, in the middle of the night. Where’s the nurse on call? The only reason he’s calm and smiling is from huffing the cheap nitrous oxide they slip into his ‘oxygen’ tanks to keep him passive and pliable. What kind of cut-rate elder warehouse is this? The kind where the miserable staff hide from the patients in their break room snitching jello snacks and swapping pills.
I mean, look at the heavy lidded eyes of the lady in panel one and tell me she isn’t baked out of her mind on a delicious cocktail of the nursing home specials, oxycontin, seroquel, vicodin, and Miralax. Dinkle could come marching in with an entire rock band, and she would barely be able to blink.
Well Mindy has not only annoyed all the exhausted carnies cleaning up the grounds by sticking around an hour after close, she’s now terrified them by randomly shouting into the darkness.
And we’re supposed to be touched as Mindy waxes all nostalgic about a fair trip where they stood in one place for upwards of five hours and blew several hundred dollars on a Tawny the Not-Talking Tiger rip off?
I just realized that the Tiger is Mindy. They were both handed out as a prize to someone who hadn’t really done anything to earn them except hang around too long being pathetic. Pete was just as enthusiastic to get Mindy as she was to get the tiger. Both are pretending they’ve won something great when in reality they’ve been given a cheaply made air-filled squeeze toy by a bored uncaring carnie clown who is tired of waiting for his shift to end.
Comic Book Harriet back again. And I want to thank Beckoning Chasm for taking one for the team. The last slot was an absolute void of material, even when the strips were available, and he filled it up with snark like only an inviting ravine extending into nothingness knows how.
And what a treat for me! We have Mopey and Mindy! A sad sack of a man only defined by comic books, and a carbon copy of every other blonde in the strip, only defined by the men around her.
I mean, seriously, can you be more of a non-character? Not to get nerdy, but we are dealing with some serious replicative fading. Each Cindy clone gets less and less viable. Cindy at least has a detailed history of independent action. And she used to have an actual personality before the Westview blandification virus infected her and turned her into the same neurotic depressive as everyone else, like an insidious hive-mind of wryness.
Jessica is less interesting, has never had a personality, and also is partially defined by her father, John Darling, who was murdered. But at least she attempted a career for a while separate from her husband. She also occasionally has conversations with other women that pass the Bechdel test.
But Mindy is like a box of expired No-Doz. Perky, yes. But completely flavorless and kind of nauseating. She wandered into her boyfriend’s office one day and he gave her a job because she was good at coloring in the lines. What did she do before other than work at the Valentine? What does she like? Did she ever have any kind of dream that wasn’t being handed a job by a man she knew? The only things we know about her inner life is that Cranky is her grandpa. Pete is literally dating the memory of an elderly man.
Still we’ve got a real buffet of monsters in the background here! From left to right. We have man presumably unironically wearing a Cincinnati Reds shirt. With a projected 7.9% chance to make the playoffs this year, and an average home game attendance of 20,000, nearly filling up half their ballpark, their future is definitely so bright they’re gonna need shades. His landwhale wife in her pointy sunglasses looks like she could have walked to the fair straight from the Far Side. And her terrifying tiny wig may have been stolen from a pediatric cancer patient.
Between Pete and Mindy is either an escaped convict in a hat or a construction worker on break. Right of Mindy’s head is the reincarnation of King Tut, complete with sloping forehead, elongated skull, slim body, and slight gut. Mindy’s arm is blocking his feet, so we can’t tell if he was cursed with a club foot in this life too. Next to him is a poor shoulderless woman who either has prominent rounded ears or a horrifyingly unfortunate nose.
Then we have the return of the dickhead! He even has a nice little coronal line where the shaft of his neck meets his glans, I mean face. He is drinking a refreshing beverage from a reusable cloth cup and straw he has fashioned from leftover fabric from his shirt and hat.
His wife looks like an extra from Planet of the Apes trying to pass. Lucky for them two of their three children look relatively normal. The poor kid in the stoller though. Pull that sunshade down! No one needs to see that! And it’s child abuse to let your lumpy potato child roast in the sun until he’s nice and crispy brown.
There’s Ed’s name…right there on the wall next to his door. Who’d have thunk it? Talk about wrapping things up with an anti-climactic thud. I get the feeling that they could have given Ed a Chinese restaurant menu or an old orange rind and it’d have made no appreciable difference (and it might have saved Funky a nice chunk of change too but that’s just speculation). Normal people might be amazed that a nationally-syndicated comic strip creator needed TWO daily strips to spin a yarn about an old gardening catalog but regular FW readers know this is more or less par for the course. In fact I’m sort of surprised that John Darling wasn’t somehow involved too.
Coming soon: A health aide at Bedside Manor mistakes Ed’s precious life-affirming gardening catalog for garbage and tosses it, prompting Mort to convince Dinkle to hijack a WHS school bus and take “the gang” to the local municipal landfill for a good old-fashioned scavenger hunt.
Crankshaft’s fondest-ever possession and the one thing he secretly pines for the most…an old gardening catalog from the 1950s. Such a deep and complex character, no wonder BatStrips felt he merited an entire spin-off strip to himself. I like how Mort and Funky are completely indistinguishable from one another now, which will make things a lot easier for Batom in the long run, continuity (guffaw) be damned.
One can easily imagine a young Ed huddled in the attic with his catalog, some cookies and a glass of milk, engrossed in comparing rake prices and marveling at the innovations in wheelbarrow technology that made the entire post-war boom possible. Or one could continue to ignore Crankshaft, as I prefer. Whose heart is warmed by this drivel? Who’s been waiting years to see Ed crack a dreary dying grin? Do people who read Crankshaft but not FW even know that this is supposed to be Future Ed? Are FW readers who don’t read Crankshaft trying to figure out why Funky is in a nursing home and/or what the f*ck is going on here?
One can safely assume that Funky is eventually footing the bill for this idiotic gesture, probably without even knowing about it too. Funky essentially paid for the SJ collection Cory later pawned (and he’ll be paying for and hosting the wedding too, bet on it) for Rocky’s engagement ring, then he financed the Dick Tracy collection that’s keeping the Korner afloat. And now he’s buying Chester’s already-flailing comic book company some time via his dad’s impulse purchase which also impacts Pete, Darin, Jessica and little baby Skyler. Plus he supplies the town folk with pizza. The guy is the backbone of the entire Westviewian economy and he doesn’t even know it.
At least demented, Alzheimer’s-ridden old Morty had a unique FW personality all his own, uninteresting and un-entertaining as it may have been. Now, alas, he’s just like the rest of them. Sigh.
Note to Tom: “Grandpa Google” is never, ever going to catch on, mainly because it doesn’t make any f*cking sense whatsoever. Perhaps it’s almost time to stop carrying on as if The Internet is some sort of newfangled marvel and just allow the characters to use it without acting all incredulous about it.
Coming tomorrow: Mort’s three-hundred pound box of old catalogs arrives and is unfortunately dropped on Ed’s oxygen hose. It crimps and he dies. Entire generations of comic strip readers shrug and/or say “what the hell is a “Crankshaft”?
The single dumbest FW/Crankshaft crossover arc ever continues today, as the Power Couple Of The Century continues to drone on and on about some old catalogs in front of a decrepit and slowly dying Crankshaft, as an increasingly aware and mentally sharp Morty eavesdrops and schemes in the background. It’s difficult to believe BatWad needs TWO daily comic strips to spin this yarn but then again it’s difficult to believe he has two daily comic strips at all.
Springtime…a time of rebirth, flowers blooming, leaves sprouting (as opposed to falling), sunshine, mailboxes full of junk mail…yep, a time when a psychotic old bus driver’s fancy turned to the ol’ mail order catalog. No wonder everyone hates him and/or can’t ever remember his name.
Then there’s Pete, who understands ol’ Crankshaft all too well (and has to make the conversation all about himself and comic books, of course). Apparently HE sat on pins and needles waiting for the new “Starbuck Jones” to drop even though it may or may not have already run its course ten or thirty years before he was even conceived. WHY are these two talking about old mail order catalogs at a nursing home? What prompted this completely random old memory? Why is Morton lurking suspiciously in the background? Is he going to buy Chester’s old catalogs for his ol’ pal Crankshaft?
Of course he is. Crankshaft sold his catalog collection to Chester who’s going to sell his catalog collection to Morton who’s going to give them to Crankshaft, because that’s how things always work in the Funkyverse. Then Crankshaft will die and some cold unfeeling health aide will unceremoniously toss his life’s work into the dumpster and the circle of junk will be complete. I mean just look at ol’ Cranky…what the hell is he going to do with two hundred pounds of old catalogs? No one sentimentalizes old garbage quite like BatNut does. Just look at how he keeps re-packaging that stupid old Lisa story…ZING!!!!
So, he stole them! He’s a terrible thief. But he saved them from destruction–he’s a saint!
Surely, in Tom Batiuk’s world, Chester’s scheme makes him an awesome hero. I seem to recall reading something in Batiuk’s blog where he talked about taking comics from somewhere–I think it was a barber shop?–because they weren’t appreciated there anyway. Chester’s going a step further–he’s saving these books from destruction, not just neglect.
Now, I’m not going to condone Chester’s petty thefts, but the strip is sending mixed messages here. I know, I know, Chester has to be the bad guy, because he’s not noble, pure (and poor). He looks down on the people who
collect and preserve comics aren’t like him. He comic book obsession hasn’t caused him to suffer in any way we’ve seen, not like John or Harry, so he’s just gotta be bad.
But he’s saving Bantom comic books from the flames. Something no other character here (other than the creator-hated Funky) has ever done. Not even Les.
He’s using his resources to preserve beloved comic books. Meaning, it’s actually people like Chester who keep John’s store in business. It’s certainly not idiots like Chullo and Glasses, who show up to read comics and play video games, but never buy anything. You’d think John would do his best to woo Chester as a customer, but no, the purity of fandom is never tainted by the coin of commerce.
I’m also thinking that ties into my next comment. We’ve seen that the drug store has stacks of comics that it can’t sell–meaning, in my world, that these comics aren’t popular. Yet it is implied that Chester was able to sell these same comics to amass a fortune.
Look. These comics can’t be simultaneously obscure, neglected masterpieces as well as the storied beacon of a generation. I strongly suspect Tom Batiuk has a variant of the anti-popular syndrome–if it’s well-known, it’s shunned, while the more obscure something is, the more obviously superior it is (as well as its appreciator…well, that’s only natural, right?). After all if everyone liked it, you wouldn’t be special for liking it too. It’s a pretty despicable kind of fandom, but it definitely exists.
Things I Like Dept: panel one’s a nice perspective shot, and the figures are well-posed. Good chair drawing too. Pity this good stuff is wasted on such awful characters.