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FunkyWatch: November’s Most Depressing ‘Funky Winkerbean’ And ‘Crankshaft’ Strips

FunkyWatchNov

Over the past 40 years, Tom Batiuk’s Funky Winkerbean has transitioned from a gag-a-day comic strip about a high school to an ongoing chronicle of pure, abject misery. Thanks to the commentary on Josh Fruhlinger’s Comics Curmudgeon, I am now completely obsessed with it, which is why I spend a little time every month rounding up its finest examples of crushing despair.

I've been doing these monthly roundups of Batiuk and Ayers's particular brand of smirks and sorrows for over four years now, but this month, I actually forgot I had to do it. I'm not sure if it was just the post-Thanksgiving food coma or the hectic transition into December, but for a few days, I was free. And then I remembered, and it all came crashing down. Which, coincidentally, is exactly what happens in this month's strips, so take a deep breath and read on for October's most soul-crushing newspaper strips.

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Holiday Gift Guide 2014: Deluxe Edition Comics And Art Books

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If you’re like some of the ComicsAlliance staff, you have a great affection for deluxe edition books that offer historical overviews of various pop culture topics, reprint the great works of the comics medium, and/or collect classic storylines (and supplement them with all kinds of bonus material)… And with the gift-giving season now in full swing, you're likely looking for the perfect gifts for your follow geeks (or possibly, wanting to give your relations some suggestions for things you'd like this year, in lieu of another ill-fitting sweater). So as a public service, we've compiled this list of some of the best expensive, large, and mind-blowingly ornate titles that you can find at your local comic shop or from online booksellers.

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Funky Dick: ‘Funky Winkerbean’ And ‘Dick Tracy’ Are Crossing Over In January

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For some reason, Variety, the Hollywood newspaper known mainly for a tendency to go hard on pun headlines, did a piece today on the endless march of depression that is Funky Winkerbean and how the creeping despair that infests every inch of Westview is actually something of a blessing for the floundering newspaper comics page. It's an interesting take on a brand of misery that we've become pretty familiar with over the years here at ComicsAlliance, but buried towards the end of the article is one of the most exciting announcements I've seen all year:

"In January, Funky characters are slated to meet Dick Tracy, who is published by a different syndicate, the result of a meeting with Dick Tracy artist Joe Staton at a comics convention."

Please, Santa Claus, if you're listening, let this be a story about Dick Tracy being called in to investigate the murder of Les Moore.

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FunkyWatch: October’s Most Depressing ‘Funky Winkerbean’ And ‘Crankshaft’ Strips

FunkyOct

Over the past 40 years, Tom Batiuk’s Funky Winkerbean has transitioned from a gag-a-day comic strip about a high school to an ongoing chronicle of pure, abject misery. Thanks to the commentary on Josh Fruhlinger’s Comics Curmudgeon, I am now completely obsessed with it, which is why I spend a little time every month rounding up its finest examples of crushing despair.

A few days ago, I wrote a little about how there aren't a lot of characters that I hate as though they were actual people, but let me tell you: After October's Funky Winkerbean strips, There is not an amount of money in my possession that I would not give for a chance to punch Les Moore right in his stupid, smirking face. I've been doing this column long enough that even the most harrowing depths of the Funkyverse don't really depress me, but last month, I learned that his self-satisfied smirk can still provoke a white-hot rage. Join me, won't you?

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Ask Chris #218: The Scariest Comic Of All Time Is A ‘Garfield’ Story From 1989

Ask Chris #218, art by Erica Henderson

Q: Is Garfield: Alone the best horror story in comics? -- @discord_inc

A: Even though I usually try to do an entire month of spooky questions every October, this is, I believe, the first time an installment of Ask Chris has ever been posted on Halloween, and it wasn't surprising that a lot of readers asked me about stories that scared me, or what I thought was the single most frightening comic of all time. To be honest, it's not a difficult question to answer, either. The comics I love are full of scary stuff, from the grotesque horror of Alan Moore and Rick Veitch's swamp thing to the horrific imagery that you'd get in manga like The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service.

But if you want to see something really scary? No question. There are six days of Garfield from 1989 that'll turn your hair white.

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Spotlighting Three Awesome Cartoonists On Patreon: Lauren Monger, Austin Holcomb & Drew Weing

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If you've not heard of Patreon yet, it's a service not dissimilar to Kickstarter, in that it allows you to donate money to projects and artists you'd like to support, sometimes for rewards, but largely because it's something you're invested in and would like to see continue. It's also different in that you can pledge ongoing support; giving a certain amount of money each month- say a dollar- although there's the option available to cancel at any time. As you can imagine, these factors make Patreon better tailored for those working and producing art online, as evidenced by the number of more established online artists doing well on there- KC Green, Anthony Clark, Meredith Gran, Ryan North, and more.

With so much projects and content to sift through, it's easy to miss some perhaps lesser-known, but equally excellent comics worthy of wider attention, so I thought I'd spotlight three of my favorites here. Regardless of whether you choose to support them or not, at the very least hopefully you'll be introduced to a few great comics that you may not have been aware of.

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New York Times Says Offensive Cartoon About India’s Space Mission Was Not Meant To Be Offensive

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Comics can be a very powerful medium, either as a catalyst for change or as a way to--even inadvertently--uphold stereotypes.

A New York Times cartoon about India's recent, successful mission to send an orbiting spacecraft to Mars fell into the latter category, angering so many people that the newspaper had to openly apologize.

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FunkyWatch: September’s Most Depressing ‘Funky Winkerbean’ And ‘Crankshaft’ Strips

FunkyWatch

Over the past 40 years, Tom Batiuk’s Funky Winkerbean has transitioned from a gag-a-day comic strip about a high school to an ongoing chronicle of pure, abject misery. Thanks to the commentary on Josh Fruhlinger’s Comics Curmudgeon, I am now completely obsessed with it, which is why I spend a little time every month rounding up its finest examples of crushing despair.

After last month hit rock bottom with the worst Funky Winkerbean strips on record, I was dreading diving into September's offerings even more than usual. That said, it seems like Batiuk has decided to take the month off from pure despair, instead taking a hard left turn into a set of comics that make absolutely no sense. Unless you count the one where an elderly woman is so frustrated with her neighbors that she literally renounces God, I mean. That one could really go either way.

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Venezuelan Cartoonist Rayma Suprani Fired After Criticizing Hugo Chavez

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Sometimes we comics fans can get so bogged down in the minutiae of whether characters we like are being treated the way we think they should that we forget that some cartoonists actually risk their livelihoods -- and occasionally their lives -- to make comics.

Trouble can arise even over seemingly innocuous points. Consider the case of Venezuelan cartoonist Rayma Suprani, who was fired from her job at the El Universal newspaper over a cartoon about health care.

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Chris Ware’s Very Chris Ware New Comic ‘Last Saturday’ To Be Serialized Online At The Guardian

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Chris Ware has tested a whole lot of different formats for his graphic novels, including massively over-sized books, joke books, and craft sets. Now, he's sort of going back to the early roots of comics, publishing a weekly strip on the website of British newspaper The Guardian, titled 'The Last Saturday'.

The first installment of the strip was published Saturday, Sept. 13, with a brief introduction. The apparent premise is that the comic will follow the lives of six characters, all from the town of Sandy Port, Michigan, and presumably all riddled with self-deprecation and insecurity. It is a Ware work, after all.

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