Savvy newspaper comics readers know that Funky Winkerbean and Crankshaft inhabit the same universe (and same Ohio town). Funky, however, likes to skip forward dramatically in time ever so often, aging its characters a decade or so. Crankshaft, not so much, which is a good idea if only because its titular character is really really old. A ten year skip into the future likely means Crankshaft-the-guy wouldn’t be around anymore. This leaves newspaper comic strip nerds like me wondering how the two strips still relate, chronologically.
Well, today cartoonist Tom Batiuk took a short break from depressing everyone by giving us a pretty big clue. In Crankshaft, Pam and Jeff (Crankshaft’s daughter and son-in-law) are in the audience of a Battle of the Bands. In Funky Winkerbean, retired Harry Dinkle is writing his memoirs, and flashes back to when he was still the band director, specifically on a day where he attends that very same Battle of the Bands. Same yellow foldup chairs, same stage, same band! Oh, and of course, Pam and Jeff are sitting right there.
So Crankshaft is now set in the past of Funky Winkerbean.
Man, I bet this means Crankshaft is dead in “current” Funky time. (There were some really odd non sequitur strips a while back showing a very aged Crankshaft on his deathbed…)
See? Sometimes Batiuk gives us fun things to piece together, rather than teaching us about how we’re all going to die and everything is worthless and doomed.
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