Archive: Crankshaft

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Mark Trail, 5/22/18

Wow, Rusty sure looks mournful in that last panel, doesn’t he. “Yeah … he does that kind of stuff. Pushing whales back into the ocean, I mean, instead of leaving them on the beach where certain kids had lured them because they had planned to spell out ‘I THINK YOU’RE NEAT, MARA’ in 20-foot-tall letters made of strips of rotting blubber on the sand. He’s, uh, [suppresses a sob] pretty cool like that.”

Crankshaft, 5/22/18

One of the less fun running jokes in Crankshaft is about how Lena, Crankshaft’s wholly pleasant co-worker, is held in cruel contempt by everyone she works with for no discernable reason. You’ve probably enjoyed the fun stylings of “Lena is belittled for her failures as a bowler,” and so now buckle in for “Lena is belittled for her failures as a golfer,” which is exactly the same as the bowling thing except somehow even less interesting.

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Crankshaft, 5/20/18

I’m not a baby boomer, so I thought that maybe the incredibly banal sentence “I’m sorry to say the band has broken up” was uttered mournfully by Paul McCartney at a famous press conference or something, but turns out nope! Turns out that this is just a sad attempt to build a joke a backwards from a possibly real-life incident in which a FitBit — wait, sorry, “Never-Quit-Bit” — band broke, and the only band (in the group-of-musicians sense) that came to mind to make the joke specific was the Beatles. Which, I get it, know your newspaper-comic-reading-audience, but … couldn’t we come up with a more contemporary reference? One Direction? Didn’t One Direction just break up? (I’m not a baby boomer, but I’m also not, like, a young person, so I don’t actually know.)

Mary Worth, 5/20/18

Sorry, guys, I won’t apologize for just cackling in cruel delight whenever Wilbur overcomes some pathetic life drama and claws his way back up to the level of mediocrity he’s comfortable with and then just spasms with delight! The classic example of this is obviously “I shouldn’t be alive … but I am!”, but also let’s not forget the time that Wilbur used his Ask Wendy column to advise a lady to dump her husband, and when she did and regretted it, she sued him, but the case was thrown out on a technicality, leading Wilbur to literally vibrate with relief like a tuning fork. The penultimate panel here is great on its own, of course, but what really makes it special is the context, which is that Wilbur is talking to his editor in the panels before and after it, and there’s no indication that he’s muted the call in between.

Rex Morgan, M.D., 5/20/18

The last time Heather entered the Avery International board room, of course, it was to prop up her dementia-striken husband, hoping against hope that he could hold it together long enough to fool the board into thinking he still had control of his faculties and could therefore legitimately block a corporate merger that would’ve probably benefitted company shareholders. She committed this fraud for no reason beyond spite against Milton’s son. But bringing in a baby would obviously be beyond the pale!

Dick Tracy, 5/20/18

I sincerely hope that the narration box in panel four is meant to indicate that, here in the back room of Bank Mazuma, a mysterious robotic voice from nowhere suddenly announced “Lights out! Everybody dance!” and then the rest of this gunfight is scored to extremely aggressive techno music.

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Mary Worth, 5/16/18

“Doctor, I have some things to get off my chest… I want to talk about the women in my life! Iris … Fabiana … Dawn, who it will probably squick you out that I put her in the same category as the first two but you ain’t heard nothing yet … and Wendy, the elusive Wendy. I want her, I need her wisdom, but she’s always … just out of reach. Is it possible to love a woman who doesn’t exist? To make love to a syndicated advice column persona? Will I have to quit writing the column in order to consummate my life, and also purchase some elaborate VR equipment?”

Crankshaft, 5/16/18

Very briefly I thought that Crankshaft’s adventure in this mysteriously hostile and empty bank was supposed to be taking place in some kind of empty parallel dimension, like the Upside-Down from Stranger Things, and that he had been exiled from our reality as part of a twisted science experiment gone actually right, for once. But then I spotted the little triangles in the corner of the first frame, denoting that we should be thinking of it as a photo in an old-timey album, an affectation that used to call us back to the distant past in this strip when Crankshaft was young, but now just means “time that took place at some previous to the current narrative, perhaps as little as a week ago.”

Mark Trail, 5/16/18

Oh, wow, I apologize for saying yesterday that Mark was going to brutally pummel this poor schmo with nature facts. Nope, our hero will just sassily waggle his weirdly tiny index finger at him and get on with the business of whale-saving. Still, I’ve got to imagine that some day — he won’t know when, but the day will come — this gruff tourist will awake and find himself strapped to chair, forced to watch Mark Trail Sunday strip full of nature facts after Mark Trail Sunday strip full of nature facts, his eyelids pried open Ludovico Technique-style.

Spider-Man, 5/16/18

Oh, boy, it’s Spider-Man vs. the TSA, that recurring Newspaper Spider-Man plot point beloved by everyone somebody, somewhere presumably. Anyway, Peter is nervous about his secret identity being blown, as usual, but presumably they’re just about to pull out something really embarrassing, like a canister of cotton-candy flavored vape juice that’s over the legal 3 ounces.

Dennis the Menace, 5/16/18

The only thing menaced by Dennis is the oppressive machinery of the modern state. NO GODS NO MASTERS