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

FunkyWatchJan

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 ongoing 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.

For most people, a new year represents a fresh new start, but for Batiuk, 2014 is apparently the year he gets down to friggin' business in his flagship strip. After letting Crankshaft handle the majority of the despair over the past few months, January marked a return in force to Funky Winkerbean being the single most depressing thing in the newspaper. Not just the comics page, you understand, but the entire newspaper. Seriously, this month is all bankruptcy and land mines. Don't say I didn't warn you.

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Morrie Turner, The First Nationally Syndicated African-American Cartoonist, Passes Away

Wee Pals

Morris "Morrie" Turner passed away on Saturday.  In 1965, Turner became the first African-American cartoonist to have a nationally syndicated comic strip when he created Wee Pals, which itself was the first strip syndicated in the United States to feature an ethnically diverse cast.

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Filed Under: , Category: Comic Strips, Culture, News

New Documentary About Washington Post Cartoonist ‘Herblock’ To Premiere On HBO

Herblock The Black and White

If you've dug into the world of political cartooning even a little, chances are you've heard of Herbert Lawrence Block, who signed all his cartoons under the name Herblock. Block worked as the cartoonist for the Washington Post for 55 years, during which he won four Pulitzer Prizes.

Block was easily one of the most influential cartoonists of the 20th Century (The Herblock Foundation even awards a Herblock Prize for excellence in editorial cartooning every year), and HBO is celebrating his legacy with a new documentary titled Herblock: The Black & The White, which premieres Monday, Jan. 27. Check out a trailer for the film after the jump.

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FunkyWatch: December’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 ongoing 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.

One of my Christmas gift this year came from devoted FunkyWatch reader and radio DJ Evan "Funk" Davies, who gave me a year-long membership to King Features' Comics Kingdom website. Not only does this give me access to an archive of high-res Funky and Crankshaft strips, but it also means that I can have those strips emailed to me so that they're the very first thing I see when I wake up every single day for the entirety of 2014. Maybe "gift" is not the right word, but "Christmas horrifying curse" doesn't really sound right. Either way Batiuk and Chuck Ayers closed out this past year with all the uplifting joy you'd expect from a month marked by bitter cold and seasonal depression. Let's get to it!

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IDW Announces Silver-Age Batman Comic Strip Hardcover Collection

Batman Dailies and Sundays IDW DC
IDW/DC Comics

Back in September, IDW announced it was partnering with DC Entertainment to publish hardcover collections of classic Superman comic strips that have never been seen since their initial newspaper runs.

Today, IDW announced that Batman's Silver Age comic-strip adventures are getting a similar treatment in 2014, with the first volume collecting two years' worth of comics by creators Whitney Ellsworth, Shelly Moldoff, Joe Giella, and the late Carmine Infantino.

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FunkyWatch: November’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 ongoing 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.

Before we dive into the horrors that November had to offer, a quick word of warning. I've been doing this column for, what, three years now? It's been a long time, and I've seen a lot of pretty grim stuff from Batiuk and Ayers, but this month... This month is quite possibly the single most depressing month of theFunkyverse that I have ever seen. It is unceasing, unstoppable, wall to wall hate, bitterness and misfortune. Even more than it usually is, I mean. Don't say I didn't warn you.

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

FunkyOct00

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 ongoing 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.

You know those episodes of Buffy about how demons and vampires tend to take Halloween off because they see it as amateur night? It seems Tom Batiuk is the same way. Rather than building up to one single tragedy when we're all in the mood for horror and hauntings, he spreads the misery out, focusing on different vignettes about the slow death of joy in Westview -- and also his strange delusion about how high school marching bands are something a lot of people care about.

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‘Dear Mr. Watterson’ Trailer Features Creative People Pouring Their Hearts Out [Video]

Dear Mr. Watterson

It's almost silly to say Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, which ceased publication -- brace yourself -- nearly 18 years ago, was influential. That's beyond obvious.

But that doesn't mean it isn't enjoyable to hear a slew of actors, cartoonists and other artistic folks talk about the impact the strip had on their lives. Based on the trailer, that seems to be the thrust of director Joel Allen Schroeder's new documentary Dear Mr. Watterson, which comes to theaters next month. Check out the trailer below.

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

FunkyWatchSep

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 ongoing 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.

Usually, Tom Batiuk prefers to highlight the more existential problems of the human condition like depression, alcoholism or being Les More, but September brought an interesting new twist: Physical violence! Yes, between the multiple concussions from football injuries, an actual attempt at vehicular manslaughter and the physical consequences of attempting to care about another human being, things get pretty rough for the Funkyverse this month, even by the usual standards. Needless to say, I am thoroughly delighted by this turn of events.

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IDW To Collect Classic Superman Comic Strips In New Hardcovers Starting In December

Superman_GA_Sundays_Top

Classic Superman comic strips that have never seen the light of day outside of decades-old newspapers are getting the hardcover treatment from IDW, in partnership with DC Entertainment.

The publisher announced Tuesday it would reprint Sunday strips from the 1940s, '50s and '60s, starting with a volume covering 170 weeks from 1943 to 1946. Each book in the series will include an introduction by noted Superman lover Mark Waid and a cover by Peter Poplaski.

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Filed Under: , , Category: Comic Strips, DC, IDW

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