Crankshaft is framed as the “fun” Funkyverse strip, but of course the infinitely dark singularity around which all matter in Funkyspace/Funkytime orbits absorbs fun like a hate-sponge. This leads to weird tonal mismatches in the strip in plots like the current courtroom drama. Crankshaft’s wildly unsafe grilling practices have been a mainstay of the strip for years, and while originally these plots were depicted as cheerful, cartoonish slapstick, over time they’ve slowly morphed into episodes that are genuinely terrifying for Crankshaft’s neighbors, family, and local first responders, who seem genuinely afraid that they might lose everything in a fire or be burned to death.
Now Crankshaft is on the jury of a man who’s actually been charged by the local legal apparatus with similar disregard for the safety of his neighbors, and of course his sympathy is fully with the accused. This seems to be written to be played for laughs, but today’s art, in which Crankshaft veers wildly from furious indignation to terrified cringing and his fellow jurors look at each other with genuine concern, makes it read more like a man alternately angry at the world’s rules and wracked with guilt over violating them. It’s definitely not “funny,” I’ll say that.
Dennis the Menace, 7/31/14
Speaking of inappropriately intense emotional displays, I want to point out that while Henry is merely cradling his face in his hands in mock despair, Dennis appears to be emitting actual tears, or at least copious amounts of sweat. Either he can’t go ten TV-free minutes without having a genuine meltdown or he’s really mastering emotional manipulation. Either option is plenty menacing.
It’s true! Take a look:
Ed Crankshaft: democracy’s downside.
Curtis wishes he could mass-murder these helpless animals, by neglecting them.
Likkered up on palm wine, the Phantom prepares to give Chatu a savage, untraceable beat-down.
Edge City, 7/25/14
Obsessive neurotic Abby Ardin and husband Len are only ever one minor inconvenience away from tearing each other apart — beneath the merest tissue of propriety and shame, they are the Lockhorns. Let’s watch as their terror of Nature’s implacable power drives them to consume one another in acts of savagery. Hey, maybe we could pop some corn and make an evening of it!
Six Chix, 7/25/14
It’s funny because … Oh what am I even saying it’s not funny at all.
Once again, no Comments of the Week on my watch. However, Novelist Joshua Fruhlinger will be back with a big steamin’ batch of them plus lots more comics fun on Monday.
– Uncle Lumpy
Herb and Jamaal, 7/19/14
As a former center for the NBA’s Phazers and part-owner of a local restaurant, you’d expect Jamaal J. Jamaal to be comfortable in the public eye, and specifically with attention from the ladies. What’s more, he and Rajni met cute when she retrieved his underwear for him Thursday, and he spent all day yesterday checking out the contours of her “Single and Looking” T-shirt. But here he is again paralyzed by self-doubt — just like the poor, forlorn, rejected characters Angelina Jolie plays in all those movies.
Hey, remember how Crankshaft doesn’t know how to use a remote? Yeah, well, forget that.
Mark Trail, 7/19/14
RRRRRMMUMBRUMBBLLE, and Mark cuts short his halting exigesis of Lori’s ladyfeelings to Get the Hell out of Dodge. It is the mighty Cape Buffalo, fiercest among the bovines! Of unknown ancestry, the Cape Buffalo is unpredictable and highly dangerous to humans, as anyone would be who grew up a bastard cow.
No more speculating on feminine ways today! I bet Mark is every bit as grateful as we are.
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 7/19/14
In the annals of nephewism, the relationship between Jughaid and his Uncle Snuffy stands out as a particularly sweet example. Equally ignorant and lazy, they share interests in shif’lessness and petty crime, and seem to get along pretty well. Jughaid even looks a little sheepish about his cosmic arrogance. Maybe God will cut him a break come smitin’ time.
– Uncle Lumpy