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Crankshaft, 8/31/14 (panels)

I over-edit. Even on deadline, I’ll find a weak verb, unnecessary adverb, or clumsy subordinate clause and go back to the edit screen to tune it up, repeating the process many times until I start changing the same things back and forth or grow embarrassed at how many revisions WordPress says I’ve racked up. So even though I poke fun at some of the bizarre sounds-like-English dialogue in Crankshaft and Funky Winkerbean, I’m sympathetic, see? I know how staring at a handful of words too long makes you doubt readers will understand them, and after that it’s a quick trip down the hall of mirrors.

But c’mon. This is an old joke based on a familiar phrase. Nobody is going to misunderstand you if you leave out that second “wee.” And your audience is not Beavis.

Funky Winkerbean, 8/31/14 (panels)

And here’s Crankshaft‘s companion strip on the Centerville-Westview axis, all done up in its trademark Sunday Murk-O-Vision — because what Funky Winkerbean needs is more gloom.

The narrative challenge here is that the easy gag “hurry-up offense ends a bad game sooner” is undercut by the team’s recent improvement. Doesn’t bother Les, though – he’s like the guy who ruins a good meal out by complaining about the food he got on a previous visit, making damn sure the chef’s wife at the hostess station can hear him loud and clear.

Judge Parker, 8/31/14 (panels)

Neddy shamelessly sucks up to Rocky Ledge to get her deal approved as the randy entertainer takes a long, approving glance down the dress she chose for exactly that purpose. Sam beams: “My daughter, the closer — check please!”

“No, not you, Maurice.”


Westward Bound! Day Five



On the Road Again, as sung by country music legend Willie Nelson and acted out in real life by Josh and Amber. No stopping in Luckenbach, though – it’s time to press westward, ever westward!

– Uncle Lumpy

Phoning it in

In the last full week of August, attention spans and expectations are low. Time for a week-long ‘theme’ series to fill up the queue without too much annoying work.

Apartment 3-G, 8/26/14

Oh hey it’s Tommie’s cavalcade of boyfriends, going back to 2007! Sure, Lu Ann and Margo get all the attention, but it’s boring old Tommie who gets all the action. Here’s the Swain o’ the Day:

Apartment 3-G (panel), 2/4/07

This is Neil Flynn, a small-time community-theatre lothario who played a one-shot role in 2007, mostly to humiliate IT Security Studmuffin Gary, shown in silent lamentation there on the right.

Neil kissed Tommie once, and was never her “boyfriend” in any reasonable sense of the word. So “arrogant, cruel, and a cheater” is apparently Tommiespeak for “I totally let him kiss me — and no proposal, not one! Can you believe it? I would be a grandmother today if not for that bastard — the nerve of the man!”

Crankshaft, 8/26/14

All week long, bitter old Ed Crankshaft daydreams about delivering his incoherent petty spite globally, at industrial scale. But in a run of bad luck, his bus is beset by gremlins, hijacked by convicts, overrun with snakes, and crashlands on a mysterious tropical island somewhere in the South Pacific Ocean.

Judge Parker, 8/26/14

Dude, if you’re gonna do the waxed moustaches, use the little grey cells, too: “Hi, Sam” just won’t cut it. Repeat après moi: “Ah, M’sieur Drivair! I ‘ear zat M’selle Nedday, she ‘as retourned, wiz zee radiant skeen, and zee fairm, rounded … ‘ow you say … accoutrements. M’sieur Drivair iz M’selle Nedday’s step-fazzair of course, but none of zees is creepaiy, n’est-ce pas? Non! We are Franch, zat iz why!

Mary Worth, 8/26/14

Mary Worth wraps up the “Bad Doctor” loose end. Say, have you noticed that all Mary ever does at the hospital is peer at blank sheets of paper and eavesdrop on gossip? It’s almost as though patient care somehow isn’t her top priority. Go figure.

And wouldn’t you just love to see Nurse Bluehair on your medical team? Sure, it’s all grins watching her try to work out the relationship between “the ones you don’t suspect” and “the ones you don’t bother to keep an eye on” until you see her standing at the foot of your bed with a catheter, an I.V., an oxygen cannula, and a baffled look on her face.

Baby Blues, 8/26/14

Any parent ever born just switches the plates. Any parent ever.


–Uncle Lumpy

Nature is also red in tooth and claw, so that’s two strikes right there

Six Chix, 8/24/14

Pluggers II — Ascension

The Change came faster than anyone could have imagined. Proto-pluggers, still in animal form, quickly learned to operate the machines left for them as the humans devolved. Seduced by simple sense-pleasures, their former masters abandoned the responsibilities of economic life, cleaning up after themselves, and caring for their — what did they call them in the Before Times? Oh, yes — pets.

Mark Trail, 8/24/14

It’s good to see that despite the change at the helm, Sunday Mark Trail is sticking to its time-honored themes. Take it from NOAA: whether by tidal wave, lightning, flash flood, or this tornado here, Nature is an implacable monster and will stone cold kill you — probably by blowing up your barn or throwing a tractor at you or some shit. We oughta global-warm the hell outa that bitch.

Sally Forth, 8/24/14

Faithful readers, summer is on the wane. Think of the pops. You know Ted has. The pops! Soon they will be but a memory.

Crankshaft, 8/24/14

If you’re looking for humor, try “the food is terrible — and the portions are so small!” But if you’re in the mood for mean, pinch-lipped, incoherent spite, you can’t go wrong with Crankshaft.


Ohmigod, Josh — just two days until you hit the road! HURRY HURRY HURRY!

–Uncle Lumpy