GoComics Is Still So Down That Funky Winkerbean Looks “Up” to It


GoComics is still suffering from being incredibly knocked out. This doesn’t require me to postpone my Mary Worth plot recap. Mary Worth runs on Comics Kingdom, which had an ordinary-for-it glitch Monday where the non-vintage strips didn’t update. That cleared up, though, and it didn’t affect the archives anyway. No, I’m delaying Mary Worth partly to share what I know about GoComics and partly because I figured back on Thursday to write a rough draft and make things easier for myself, and then I sat down and watched a cartoon for a while, and then it was Tuesday afternoon.

Anyway. GoComics has been weirdly reluctant to share information about what’s going on. Once again D D Degg, at The Daily Cartoonist, has some information. According to the Arizona Daily Star, GoComics company Andrews McMeel is having “apparent cybersecurity issues” and they’re working on fixing it, but don’t have word on when that will be. When I just looked at GoComics it offered this not-quite-reassuring notice.

Screenshot of a web page error message reading: 'We are updating the site for you and will be back shortly. In the meantime, how about playing a game on our sister site.' Underneath is a broken-image blank icon.
So something I should explain, since you and I aren’t paid professional user-interface designers. You might think that the question “how about playing a game on our sister site” should be punctuated with a question mark. No. Proper user interface design has learned that if you put a question mark on something, then you’re asking the user a yes-or-no question. And that means the options you need to provide are, for something that involves only the user’s computer, “OK” or “Cancel”. If it’s for something that transmits information about the user back to a server on the Internet, the professional options to provide are “Let’s start already!” and “I’ll answer later”.

Anyway if it is a cybersecurity issue, that could mean anything. But it likely is a good time to change the passwords on any accounts that share the one you use for this silly low-priority web site you use to say nice stuff to the person who draws Amanda The Great on. (Also Amanda The Great is a sweet strip and you should say nice stuff to her.)

And I’m not saying that Tom Batiuk is the problem, but have we ruled out that Tom Batiuk is the problem? Because Degg also reports that Tom Batiuk and Dan Davis’s Crankshaft is to move to GoComics with the start of 2023, as the strip changes syndicates again. I assume this means Comics Kingdom will take down its Crankshaft archive. I don’t have any information what it means for the Funky Winkerbean archive on Comics Kingdom. If you’ve got a favorite strip you’ve been meaning to download or have printed on a mug, maybe do that sooner rather than later.

What My Very Dumb Reason for Being Angry at Crankshaft This Week Is


There are a lot of reasons to be annoyed at Tom Batiuk and Dan Davis’s Crankshaft right now. Let me set up the background: the Valentine was a failed sidewalk movie-palace theater in Centerville, Ohio. After it closed it got reopened as a strip joint that, somehow, failed even faster. Now, movie star Mason Jarre and his partner Cindy Summers have ventured over from Funky Winkerbean and it sure seems obliterated the ten-year gap between the events of Funky Winkerbean and of Crankshaft. (Since 2008, both strips have taken place in “the present”, but one was ten years behind the other. So characters from Funky Winkerbean are ten years younger when they’re in Crankshaft, and Crankshaft characters are ten years older when they’re in Funky Winkerbean. Until now.) Jarre gets the idea to buy the Valentine and reopen it as a movie theater which, luckily, it’s still basically okay for. And he calls the real estate agent on the sign.

Outside the Valentine theater, Jarre says, 'Here's the real estate agent now! Thanks for coming over so quickly ... I'm Mason Jarre!' Lois Flagston: 'Lois Flagston! Pardon me for being starstruck ... but you're Mason Jarre the actor, right?' Jarre: 'In person!' Flagston: 'I've never worked with a movie star before!' Jarre: 'Well, you're the first cartoon real estate agent I've worked with!'
Tom Batiuk and Dan Davis’s Crankshaft for the 11th of September, 2022. I have strong angry feelings about things that aren’t comic strips too but we’re better off sticking to these. Anyway, have you been following Funky Winkerbean this week and if you have, have you ever seen a funnier panel than Mitchell Knox’s face in the last panel of Monday’s strip? No, you have not.

So, look, fine. The Funky Winkerbean and Crankshaft timelines are unified again and we’re not going to ask nosey questions about character ages and when events took place. (This after Cindy just went to her 50th reunion in Funky Winkerbean, a strip which earlier this year showed Crazy Harry in high school in 1980, a date not fifty years ago yet. Fine.) And Lois Flagston isn’t so comfortable selling a commercial property since she’s always been about selling houses. Fine. And for some reason Crankshaft is hanging around while Lois shows Jarre around a place he’s already clearly decided to buy. And Jarre is acknowledging that Lois Flagston is a fictional character, existing as she does in the comic strip Hi and Lois. Fine. I will take all that for the sake of doing a story.

But by God and Rube Goldberg, Hi and Lois is set somewhere in New England, it feels like probably Connecticut, and there is no excuse for her having a listing in Ohio, and there is no possible way she is in a short driving distance of someplace that’s a day-trip to Cedar Point. I do not accept it, and shall not accept it, good day sirs.

Statistics Saturday: Comic Strip I Most Wanted to Slug This Week, by Day


Day Slugging-Ready Comic Strip
Sunday Mary Worth
Monday Funky Winkerbean
Tuesday Funky Winkerbean
Wednesday Funky Winkerbean
Thursday Funky Winkerbean
Friday Funky Winkerbean
Saturday OH FOR CRYING OUT LOUD CRANKSHAFT

Reference: When You Were A Tadpole And I Was A Fish: And Other Speculations About This And That, Martin Gardner.

How Angry Should You Be About the _Crankshaft_ and _Funky Winkerbean_ Stories Not Being Done YET?


I’m not sure if I’m more angry or exhausted by both of Tom Batiuk’s comic strips. In Funky Winkerbean we’re entering the 412th week of a story where Holly Budd Winkerbean tried to do her old flaming-baton-trick at homecoming, only to get injured. Unlike in the classic wacky days of the comic strip, where she’d get set on fire, this time she slipped on the rain-slicked grass. So she’s being treated for all the fun injuries you get when you fall and are 300 years old. That thing where it turns out if you did slapstick in reality it would hurt. Great revelation there.

Meanwhile in Crankshaft a reporter we’ve seen, like, once before is asking the vulture capitalist firm that took over his paper sold off all the assets while laying off all the employees, leaving behind something unable to function. This story of a reporter unaware of what vulture capitalist firms are for is being treated like it’s this era-defining story in which the thing we’ve all known is wrong finally gets a name and a face.

I try and read the comic strips I like, and stop reading the ones I don’t. And I just don’t know how these stories are still going on. I’m having a hard enough time. If they want to do stories I don’t like they can at least get done faster, so we have more of them.

Anyway so, without knowing anything specific about you, I recommend being angry at some level between 4.75 and 5.45. I’d like to think either story will be finished soon. But the ending of any Funky Winkerbean opens a chance for a Les Moore story to start.

In short, harrumph.

Why Do Crankshaft and Funky Winkerbean Look Different?


They have some new artists. Tom Batiuk recently announced that Chuck Ayers, who’d done the art for Crankshaft and pencils for Funky Winkerbean, is leaving to do “other things”. I haven’t seen anyone say what those things are; I hope they’re personally rewarding things. Also, I had no idea that Ayers was doing the pencils for Funky Winkerbean. I had thought that Batiuk drew the whole strip, except for well-publicized guest-artist events or when he’s had to focus on medical care instead.

Dan Davis, who’s worked on a bunch of comic books and pencils for Garfield, took over the art on Crankshaft starting with this Sunday, the 2nd of April. Rick Burchett, who’s won two Eisner awards, is to take over penciling for Funky Winkerbean starting with the Sunday, the 25th of May.

Ayers is, according to Batiuk, not leaving the Crankshaft world altogether: “Chuck and I will still be working on selected story arcs down the line. This is one of those rare examples in life of being able to have your cake and eat it too, and I couldn’t be happier as I move forward on Funky and Crankshaft with these titanically talented artists.”

King Features’s press release about this consistently spells Ayers’s name “Ayres”, which seems like the kind of joke we’d make about Crankshaft and Funky Winkerbean.

'Tom Batiuk Picks New Artists for His Comics', announcing the retirement of Chuck Ayres [sic], whose name has been spelled 'Ayers' on the comics page for years now.
King Features’s press release on the new artists for Crankshaft and Funky Winkerbean. I know this wasn’t the snappiest title I’ve ever given a piece, but I know what people look to me for, and it’s explaining that sometimes a comic strip gets a new artist.

In still more comic strip talk, my mathematics blog etc you know the rest. Thank you, won’t you?

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The index rose eight points which some analysts are crediting to the traders remembering for once to say “rabbit, rabbit” first thing the 1st of the month. Some even said “rabbit, rabbit” the first thing Monday as the start of the working month, which started the usual squabble about what they’re doing on the weekends, then. Good question. It fully deserves an answer.

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