Tag Archives: Crankshaft

He never knows….

Link to today’s strip, oriented correctly since you might actually want to read it

Today’s strip features one of the few things Batiuk does that actually amuses me. He owns himself.

Lillian tells Les that he inspired her to become a writer simply due to his appearance at her bookstore a quarter of a century ago, then promptly lists all the books she’s written, all of them filthy genre fiction. Batiuk links all of her novels’ titles together with the presumed joke being that they’re all derivative, insipid and absurd. He then mocks the prolific Sue Grafton out of nowhere by suggesting that that’s where Lillian got the idea.

But the fact is, Lillian’s asinine Murder-by-places-you-buy-books conceit could have been directly inspired by Les. After all, here’s Les, who’s supposed to be a respectable writer revered by his peers and his creator for his great artistry and vision, yet over the course of the last two decades, here are all the books he’s written:

  • Lisa Before She Died
  • Lisa Dying
  • Lisa After She Died

That’s an own goal.

I’m also curious about Les’s omnibus Lisa edition. I’m going to assume that “Lisa Before She Died” was the same standard non-fiction prose of “Lisa’s Story”, but “Lisa After She Died” was clearly portrayed as a graphic novel. So are we supposed to think that there are two staid non-fiction stories, followed up by a story told through pictures? How would you even format such a monstrosity?

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Oh, the inanity!

Today’s meandering

I’ve got to hand it to Batiuk. I thought when he was going to plug Les’s (and his own, as it were) latest book flogging the Death of Lisa, that he would focus on how brave and unflinching an artist Les was for writing it.

Instead, he unflinchingly examines the inane inanity of inaneness by having this week’s focus be about how Les did a book signing at Lillian’s converted attic a couple decades ago that no one attended. Way to stretch the limits of the medium, Batiuk. Let’s just try to forget that he spent a week in Crankshaft covering this book signing, so this week has been nothing more than “remember when in my other strip Crankshaft….?”

Anyway, I’m pleased that Les has gone from seemingly being charmed by Lillian’s appearance to bored indifference bordering on irritation in the last panel. That’s right, douche, right where you belong.

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Tuesday, September 26

Today’s strip

And there’s our least favorite guy, sitting there in his earnest earnestness in the Columbus Museum of Art with his latest cancer porn books. And Batiuk decides to do another damn Crankshaft crossover by bringing Lillian into the strip as Les’s lone customer. She’s got to be, what, 137 years old by now?

And then Batiuk flashes us back in what I presume is today’s “hook” that makes the strip seem somewhat less perfunctory. Les is sitting there with his hands similarly cupped, but instead of his earnest earnestness, he has his standard “oh, how jejune” face, no doubt over how debased he was to be appearing at such a crappy venue as Lillian’s attic-turned-used bookstore.

But what intrigues me the most about the throwback panel is how Burchett hasn’t bothered at all to change the appearance of flashback Lillian from today’s Lillian. She’s still the same woman, clutching the same book in all three panels, despite the fact that in panel two she’s supposed to be something like 25 years younger than she is in panels 1 and 3. After all, Lisa died 20 years ago in the Funkyverse and Les’s publication of the book about Jessica’s-father,-John-Darling,-who-was-murdered, was before even that. Hell, Lillian was old when she was first introduced in Crankshaft, which by going by the screwy timelines between the strips, was probably supposed to be around 43 years ago. Way to mail it in, Rick Burchett.

Panel 3, with its underhanded insult of Les, is pretty much par for the course.

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Skin Flakes, Phlegm and Excrement for Color

Link to today’s strip.

So, everyone wanted to see Crankshaft, probably in the futile hope that his demise would be depicted onscreen.

Well, here’s Crankshaft.  He looks like a plastic bag filled with pus trying to decide if gravity is worth resisting any longer.

Tom Batiuk keeps trying to shove Crankshaft down our throats.  And it never works.  No one cares about Crankshaft, it has never generated any interest in anyone to watch it unfold.  I suspect it’s a very low performer, newspaper-wise, and perhaps Mr. Batiuk is trying to shovel his legacy over there now that he has destroyed Funky Winkerbean.  But that’s like trying to choose between a burning building and a sea full of sharks.

And to be honest, the fact that Mindy seeks the approval of the Old, Unplaceable Odor makes her a truly terrible person.  At least Pm N Jff recognize that Crankshaft is something to be tolerated, not cultivated.

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Meh-Moore-ial Day

Big hat tip to billytheskink for a great fortnight of Funky analysis and haiku. And my eternal gratitude to the generations who’ve fought and died so that we might enjoy our liberty. We honor them today and every day.

From the FW blog:
As I discussed in a previous post, Batman animated artist Rick Burchett is coming on board at the end of this month to work with me on Funky.

So the Batiuk & Burchett era is underway, and if not for the tandem signatures on today’s strip, you’d be hard pressed to notice the transition. But let us, with our beady eyes, nitpick this panel by panel:

Les and Cayla celebrate the holiday at their wedding venue (outside the Taj Moore-hal). Les’ smug expression refuses to so much as wilt, even over a hot grill. Speaking of which, don’t those, um…burgers? look tasty?

Looks like Burchett got the memo about drawing bricks, although it’s a 2-D view and not a perspective rendering…but look how many he gets into that little space! ++++

Burchett’s depiction of outside corners on wooden siding, however, displays none of the verisimilitude of his bricks. Les retains his Paulie Walnuts hair color scheme, and is smirking hard enough to give himself dimples to rival those of TV’s Pioneer Woman.

I actually like this panel 3 tableau of the Moores looking into the distance; though if the perspective is true, Les’ giant wheelbarrow is leaning against his two-story garage. Apparently Westview and Centerville are separated by a lush, wooded shire (and of course, “ten or so years”). Notice Cayla, though: while she’s her usual, bland gingerbread cookie self in panel one, here Burchett has given her a perceptible backside and the appearance of hips. This gives me such hope.

While we can expect the draughtsmanship to marginally improve, Batiuk will still be the one “writing” the strip. So don’t get your hopes up over plotline hygiene, more humor, and less gloom: this is still Funky Winkerbean in the 21st Century. But even a little visual polish couldn’t hurt. Welcome aboard, Rick.

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Hand Of Plod

Link to today’s strip

Yep, the only thing this whirlwind of an arc was missing was a good old fashioned time-killing silent strip. This is almost as suspenseful as wondering when the highway department is going to pick up that deer carcass you pass every day on your morning commute. It’s all in the details today…Jeff’s steam line-free coffee mug (indicating he’s been at this for some time), his tongue sticking out as he works diligently on a puzzle based on a child’s toy (indicating his complete idiocy), the legal pad helpfully labeled “legal pad” (to avoid any confusion) and, last but not least, Jeff’s pencil-holding hand, which indicates he is writing. At least someone involved with FW is.

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Codex Idiotica

Link to today’s strip

Well, MY hunch was right on the money…this arc is like a vacuum cleaner. It both sucks AND blows. This annoying old Crankshaft nimrod has (sigh) found his (sigh) Starbuck Jones (sigh) decoder ring, which as fate would have it just happened to be in his attic with the rest of his (sigh) SJ junk. Who’d a thunk it, eh? I thought that perhaps it was safely tucked away in a vault somewhere, or maybe a landfill, resting comfortably among some half-eaten fifty year old hot dogs or something.

IMO it’s time for Batiuk to start killing off a lot of these useless, unpopular and un-cared-about characters of his. Not like with Lisa either, I mean REALLY kill them off. And the beauty of it is they could be SJ-related deaths too. Like Pam and Jeff. Jeff can’t find the ring and suddenly has a childhood flashback where he remembers his demonic hellbeast of a mother forcing him to swallow the stupid ring whole. Then he develops excruciating stomach pains, is rushed to the hospital and dies during an emergency ring-ectomy. After the obligatory funeral strip we cut to Pam, who falls down the attic stairs while disposing of Jeff’s old SJ garbage and also dies. Then we cut to Crankshaft, who becomes so despondent when Pam doesn’t visit that he dies too. The big punchline would be that the secret message was from Chester The Chiseler, who was offering one million dollars for the exact issues Jeff had. The last panel would have Pam lying dead at the bottom of the stairs with SJ #165 draped over her face. See, it sticks with the SJ theme AND kills off three hated characters in one fell swoop. You’d have SJ covers, funerals, childhood traumas, medical emergencies, old people and death, all in one tidy package. And if he’s (ha) reading this, he can use that idea, no charge.

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Floor Bored

Link to today’s strip

As BeckoningChasm so succinctly put it yesterday….” Mr. Batiuk, no one likes Crankshaft. No one. You cannot make people like Crankshaft by putting its terrible characters into Funky Winkerbean. No one will ever like Crankshaft. Just like people no longer like Funky Winkerbean.”

So apparently Batty will be spending A WEEK on a CRANKSHAFT character looking for a decoder ring in his attic. Twelve thousand dangling plot threads and THIS is what he’s wasting his time with. There comes a point when old 1950s comic book nostalgia stops being “cutesy” and becomes genuinely disconcerting. BanTom reached that point YEARS ago. And now, in his inimitable style, he’s absolutely piledriving it into the solid bedrock beneath the ground. Sigh.

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Swolb Tfahsknarc

Link to today’s strip

Some of you loyal SoSF readers might think it’s all fun and games here at SoSF World HQ in lovely downtown Camden (located in the heart of Camden’s Snark District, right next to the Mark Trail Building), but in reality there’s WAY MORE TO IT than that. Like today, for example, when we were forced to summon our Special Code Breaking Team away from their families, friends and parole officers on a national holiday just to decode BanTom’s mystery puzzle JUST FOR YOU! After many frantic seconds of toil, they succeeded in breaking TomBat’s secret code and, at the risk of receiving annoying letters from a hack law firm, we’re going to reveal those results RIGHT F*CKING NOW, whether Comics Kingdom likes it or not. Ready? It says…..

“IF I CAN MERGE MY TWO STRIPS INTO ONE I’LL ONLY HAVE TO DO HALF THE WORK”

Wow, a stunning revelation about the future of FW and that other comic strip he writes! You know the one I mean, the really shitty one about the obnoxious bus driver. No, really, it’s real, I’ve actually seen it a few times. Obviously that idiotic SJ decoder ring gobbledygook will come into play here, even though a) no one under seventy even knows what a “decoder ring” is and b) even fewer care. Then again, I might be biased as I lost all interest upon seeing these characters from that other comic strip, as I’m sure most of America did as well.

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No, Not! Really? Huh.

Link to today’s strip

“The Paper”…that’s real cute, BanTom. I had to double check and make sure this is actually a FW strip and, sadly, it is indeed. Although I am aware of Pam and Jeff, I know almost nothing about the Crankyverse and honestly I’d prefer to keep it that way. I checked it out a few weeks ago and saw a funeral and a woman stabbing a comic book and that was enough for me. Where is this going? What is the point? Beats the hell out of me. I’ll be moderately surprised if it doesn’t have something to do with a certain fictional comic book title. Then again I’ll be moderately surprised if it has anything to do with anything.

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