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Comics archive! Crankshaft

Body humor Sunday

Crock, (panels) 7/19/15

Say there, Crock Narration Box, I believe this is your very first appearance — congratulations, and welcome to the comics page! I hope you won’t mind a little constructive criticism from a long-time fan of Narration-Box classics like Phantom (“In the Bandar tongue!”), Apartment 3-G (“On the street, at the Tribeca Grill or maybe in their apartment …”) and — the Shakespeare of Narration Boxes — Amazing Spider-Man (Irony, anyone?):

  • First, credit where credit is due! The Lost Patrol’s gimmick is that they’re, well, lost, so good job maintaining the “fruitless search” narrative.
  • You’re new here, but it’s “Narration Box,” OK? The panel frame doesn’t count — put a border around yourself, for decency’s sake.
  • Finally show a little sympathy for your characters — when the joke is about them tripping over camel dung, “hot” and “steaming” are just twisting the knife.

Edge City, 7/19/15

Like Hi Flagston, Greg Wilkins, Frank DeGroot, and other stuck-in-time comics Dads, Len Ardin poses as a Gen-Xer, but his choice of music outs him as a Boomer. His music and, of course, his grotesquely swollen prostate.

Crankshaft, 7/19/15

Descending into madness, billionaire Howard Hughes grew obsessed with the spy drama Ice Station Zebra, watching it over and over. Here, Rose obsessively watches two Irish guys slug it out in a coal mine, scouring every scene for hidden clues that will help her make sense of her petty, vicious, empty life. She’s thaaaaat close to insight, she just knows it — but the answers just slip away every time. Of course it upsets her stomach — have a little compassion for the crazy old bat, you jerk. And take that damn hat off in the house.


Hi, everybody! I’m filling in until the 28th while Josh visits family and friends back East. Reach me at uncle.lumpy@comcast.net if the site gives you any trouble. Enjoy!

– Uncle Lumpy

What if it’s not even a house? What if it’s just an actual stone wall

Apartment 3-G, 7/18/15

The “Stonewall” Margo is talking about here is not the legendary Greenwich Village bar where the modern gay rights movement began, but rather some sort of English country house that fake psychic Diane was pushing as a setting for Margo’s parents’ wedding in a plot point from five months ago that you probably already forgot. Like everything else that’s happening in the current “baffling dreamscape” iteration of Apartment 3-G, this plot twist makes sense so long as you don’t think about any of the details in any way. Like, the UK isn’t exactly one of the cheaper real estate markets in the world, so I’m pretty sure a manor fancy enough to be on “that British show about some Abbey” would go for a lot more for $50,000, or even £50,000. Also, would just the prospect of Martin and Gabriella renting this place for their wedding suddenly cause it to quintuple in value? I mean, I know Martin is supposed to be super-rich, but, uhhhhhh.

Crankshaft, 7/18/15

Sure, Crankshaft’s whole thing is that he’s a loathsome asshole and that’s why this strip is unbearable, but I admit I kind of like it when he’s a loathsome asshole during his son-in-law’s attempts to bond with him. “That’s for the theater. Jesus Christ, I can’t believe I let my daughter marry a guy who makes theater comments at sporting events. You’re repugnant and you sicken me.”

Heathcliff, 7/18/15

Ha ha, Heathcliff made an extremely transparent medical marijuana joke! You know, this could explain a lot about this comic’s specific brand of low-grade, vaguely surreal whimsy.

Hey y’all, I’m off on an east coast trip to see friends and family! Your Uncle Lumpy will be here for some non-fundraising fill-in action for a week and change. See you on Wednesday the 29th!

“Fore”-play, ha ha, get it, it’s about golf

Crankshaft, 7/13/15

Golf is one of those things that I simply don’t get. I don’t get the appeal of watching it or playing it. Which is fine! I certainly don’t object to anyone else enjoying themselves watching or playing it. It’s just one of those things, like S&M and Mad Men, that I’m happy so many people derive enjoyment from but that isn’t for me.

The somewhat irritating thing, though, is that, unlike S&M (but like Mad Men), a lot of people who are into golf think that everyone is into golf, that golf is a universal cultural touchstone, and that anyone who isn’t into golf is weird or suspicious. This is certainly true of syndicated newspaper comics, where golf jokes abound and presumably sail over the head of most of the children who are the ostensible targets for a lot of comics, along with non-golf-mad adults like me.

This is an overly wordy way for me to set up the fact that it took me a while to remember, based on my one or two visits to actual golf courses, that those big white spheroids are things that mark where you’re supposed to tee off or something, and the joke is that Crankshaft needs new glasses. I’m still not sure about this, actually, because I can’t figure out what to Google other than “big white spheroids that mark where you’re supposed to tee off” and that’s not producing useful results, but I’m pretty sure I’m right. But before I figured that out I was a pretty baffled as to (a) what was going on and (b) what “prescription” Crankshaft’s friend was talking about. Was it a metaphor for … testicles? Does Crankshaft need a new prescription because his testicles are all swole up, and about to hurt like someone just hit them with a golf club? Is this an old man thing? Is this what I have to look forward to as I age, testicle-wise? You can see why I’m pretty invested in the interpretation of the joke I eventually settled on.

Beetle Bailey, 7/13/15

With gay people now allowed to serve openly in America’s military, the transgressive thrill is gone from Beetle and Sarge’s relationship, and Beetle has moved on to something new that makes him feel sexy and dangerous: bed-fucking.

Family Circus, 7/13/15

I don’t know what I find funnier here: how irritated Big Daddy Keane looks or how smug Billy looks. You kids won’t be smirking once your dad narcs you out to LucasFilm and you find yourself on the receiving end of a massive trademark infringement lawsuit!

Herb and Jamaal, 7/13/15

Life is violent and uncertain! You could die horribly at any moment! Why not reveal your repressed erotic feelings to the ones you love the most? There’s no time left to lose!

Lockhorns, 7/13/15

Please tell me there’s literally a line of greeting cards you can send to your enemies where you wish the eternal damnation of divine punishment upon them! “Some theologians say that the true torture in hell is separation from God/ Well here’s God/ and here’s you/ Look how far away you are/ Writhe in the eternal darkness/ Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha”

Marvin, 7/13/15

I was going to question the credentials of a doctor who goes around wearing bunny ears, but this guy seems to believe that Marvin has a severe and possibly fatal medical condition, so let’s hear what he has to say!