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So ends the Comics Curmudgeon Spring 2017 fundraiser — thanks one and all for your attention, patience, and generosity. This is a uniquely agreeable little corner of the Internet, and it’s a privilege to help keep it going. If for any reason you just missed your opportunity to contribute, you can sneak a late one in here — I won’t tell anybody, promise.

Crankshaft, 5/6/17

Remember how Andy Greenhat there got this story started with, “Ed has had a passengerless school bus for years”? You do? Hey, maybe you should be producing Crankshaft — can you draw bricks?

Judge Parker, 5/6/17

Well, it’s pronounced “bomb,” but let’s not quibble.

Mark Trail, 5/6/17

Baldy and Billy committed a heist, but a guy shot Billy so Baldy took off his mask and kicked the guy. The getaway driver (who was not happy about the mask thing) dropped Baldy off at the airport so he could go in, take a woman hostage at gunpoint, and recruit Mark Trail to rent a car and drive them out to the country.

To Baldy, it seemed so simple at first: grab a ride, evade capture, get the hell outa Dodge. That was before hours spent struggling to stay awake in the over-warm SUV, crawling across the Black Hills moonscape five miles per hour under the posted limit, to the drone of Mark’s honeyed baritone and Blondie’s endless snoring. By now, Baldy’s plan had disintegrated into a waking fever-dream of disconnected fragments — unload the money, sure, or was it drugs? Put it in the camera bags, that was the ticket. But wait until you’re at the ranch, where the light’s better. Litter the car with lenses, filters, and mounts. Claim you’re part of a strange new crew who can’t operate the equipment, won’t open the bags, and keep their hands mysteriously out of sight. Pick up yet another hostage. Count on Mark to announce the cover story to rental clerks, bunkhouses full of old pals, service station attendants, anybody really. Rescue Billy, maybe — who was he again? Count the ferrets — sweet, endangered, mink-sized. But also solitary, nocturnal, constantly on the verge of extinction — how would he find them?

Mark turned the heat up a click and ran on, “… mustelid … habitat collapse … viviparous quadruped … sylvatic plague ….” Look, a deer has fallen asleep — how Baldy wished to join her! Careful, little prairie dogs, there may be predators about, vicious cousins of Asia’s steppe polecat — no one can possibly know how many! What was that thing they called polecats? And criminals like himself? Ah, yes … “varmints.” Good night, good night, sweet varmints everywhere.

Gil Thorp, 5/6/17

Ryan van Auken reaches out with his feelings, and Barry “Darth” Bader Force-catches a line drive. Two days late and a couple quatloos short, Milford.

Oh come on, of course I know that!

–Uncle Lumpy