So does he feel even a slight bit of relief to find out that this apparent potential bridge jumper is merely a stranded motorist? Nope, Crankshaft is pissed. This is what he gets for being a nice guy. For someone who’s having the “worst day of her life”, Susan’s demeanor has brightened until she’s as chipper as Crank is cranky.
Tag Archives: flimsy guardrails
October 20, 2022 at 12:49 am
Is tomorrow’s strip going to feature Ms. Smith saying to her would-be Clarence the Angel (Second Class), “Oh! You thought I was going to jump? No, I just stopped here because I have a flat tire!”?
Close enough, O’Malley, close enough. A flat tire can happen to anyone, though; a driver of today’s cars would have to be pretty damn hapless to run out of gas. Guess Susan’s still so distraught over having to say farewell to Les (and to her teaching job) to see the “low fuel” light through her tears.
This “Susancide” arc that wraps up tomorrow has been particularly pointless. Batiuk brings back from an eleven year absence a long running, albeit secondary, character who starred in one of his early prestige arcs. But we catch up with her here mere hours after we saw her last. Where is she now?
And where was Ed Crankshaft then? Susan split the scene in July 2011. Less than a year later, Les and Summer were training for their Kilimanjaro klimb when they spotted their old bus driver:
“How do you know that decrepit old man in the wheelchair is Crankshaft, Mr. All-Smart?” Because in ’09, Batiuk & Ayers gave us a week where Crankshaft becomes unstuck in time, flashing forward and back through his life.
Come to think of it, inserting Ed Crankshaft into this flashback gives Ayers an excuse to draw the character the he drew for thirty years: the classic Ed Crankshaft that everyone knows. Not Mindy’s feeble “Gramps,” or that Hector Salamanca lookalike that Rick Burchett turned him into. Even Batiuk himself never drew Crankshaft very well. Dan Davis draws the strip these days, and does a creditable job currently, but only Chuck Ayers could render Cranky’s contemptuous scowl in panel 3!
(link to today’s real strip).
So today’s what, Thursday? So two more days for this dramatic, life-and-death setup to take an appealing, wacky twist! Did you really think she was about to kill herself over Les Moore, old man? That douchey English teacher over at Westview? You’ve had him on your bus at some point, I’m sure. Yeah, that guy.
I was not so intrigued by Susan Smith’s reappearance yesterday, neither by today’s cameo by a…younger? Ed Crankshaft. Nope, what set these beady eyes to nitpicking was Ed’s peculiar POV in panel one. That angle and that distance just seem impossible on that narrow bridge. My curiosity compelled me to construct the scene from the opposite perspective:
Weird camera angles aside: so it looks like Batiuk’s gonna play the suicide card again, and for the second time on the same female character, and over the same leading man. Unbelievable. At least he knows better than to have Les come hastening after her to talk her down. Unless he’s about to leap out of Crankshaft’s bus. Speaking of old Ed, if indeed this strip is happening eleven years ago, he really went downhill between June 2011 and this cameo in June 2012!
“Several years ago…? Could “several” equal eleven years ago? Because this gal looks a lot like Susan Smith. Her hair and attire even match Susan’s when she said her goodbyes to Les and Westview in late June of ’11.
For anyone who’s just picked up reading Funky Winkerbean (or this blog) within the last decade, here’s a quick recap: Susan Smith was one of Les’ students. Susan quite understandably developed an insane crush on Mr. Moore, and her suicide attempt was thwarted by Les himself. Susan surfaced again in Act II, as the abused girlfriend of Matt Miller (again to be rescued by Sir Les-a-lot); seven years after that she showed up at Westview High as a student teacher. Early in Act III, she returned to the WHS faculty. She was greeted there by school secretary Cayla, who would become her rival over, who else, Les. Susan bestowed on Les an impulsive kiss that led to a small scandal that led to, as we see here, her boxing up her belongings as smug Les looked on. So yeah, I’m guessing that this is the same woman. And given her past, the fact that she’s parked her car on a bridge does not bode well.