If there’s one thing that redeems Crankshaft for me, its the fact that the title character really does live up to his name. He’s always angry about something — or about everything — all the time. Take today’s strip, for example. Most people in this situation saying this word would be making a light-hearted little joke. You might expect them have a smile on their face — or, in this context, the patented Funky Winkerbean/Crankshaft gentle smirk. Not the ’Shaft, though. He’s regarding that feeble little sapling with the same look of unbridled hate and rage that he also uses on his yuppie neighbors, the children who ride his bus, his friends, and his own family. When he says “timberrr!”, he’s saying, “Hey, little tree, I know you didn’t get to choose where your seed landed. I know that you’re an example of the magic of life, of that genetic code that orders everything alive to reproduce and to grow, even the harshest of circumstances. I know all this and I don’t care. You’re in my gutter and I’m going to kill you. Fuck you, little tree.”
Mark Trail, 8/10/07
Did you ever notice that Mark never punches rich people? His fists of fury seem almost exclusively aimed at low-life hillbillies like Buzzard, occasionally deigning to sock out a lower-middle-class striver like Diver Dan. I used to think this was part of some ugly class-based agenda in the strip, but today we see the real reason: rich people are cowards. I’m guessing Mark is starting to ever so gradually clench his right fist just below the bottom of the first panel, leading to Leo’s terrified sweat balls and eventual confession. “He did it! Him! Punch him, not me!” The poor either aren’t afraid to get a facefull of Trail knuckles, or aren’t perceptive enough to recognize the incipient fisticuffs and surrender in advance.
Gil Thorp, 8/10/07
Speaking of punching, the next time Mark decides to punch someone, could we see him winding up looking through the undercrotch of the punchee? Failing that, could every comic in every newspaper just be replaced by today’s Gil Thorp, forever? Thanks.
Hi and Lois, 8/10/07
Hey, look, kids, it’s a ghost! That is, if you think “some dude being paid minimum wage to wear an old-timey miner outfit” is some sort of acceptable substitute for “a ghost.” Considering Hi ruined his family financially to go on this vacation, this is a pretty poor showing.
Mary Worth continues to be ludicrous, of course, but nothing I say could match t.a.m.s.y.’s Mary Worth/TDIET mashup.