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Depression

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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FunkyWatch: August 2014 Was Funky Winkerbean & Crankshaft’s Most Depressing Ever

FunkyWatch: August 2014

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.

This month... oh brother, this month. Tom Batiuk's offerings over the past few weeks have made August 2014, without question, the single worst and most mind-bogglingly bizarre month on record. If you haven't been reading my recaps of the strip over the past few years, this is the one you're going to want to start with, if only to see how completely irate one man can get over a newspaper comic strip about a man trying to write a made-for-cable movie about his dead wife.

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Don’t Draw The Darkness: Scott Snyder On ‘Zero Year: Savage City,’ Part Two [Interview]

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If there's one thing we've learned from our series of in-depth reviews and interviews about Batman: Zero Year, it's that the creative team of Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Danny Miki and FCO Plascencia set out to do a lot more than just re-tell Batman's origin for a modern audience. That might've been the stated goal, but along the way, it became clear that the team wanted to use that bombastic superhero background to tell a story that was incredibly personal, using the trauma that made Bruce Wayne a hero to explore feelings of isolation, fear and, eventually, triumph.

In our final Zero Year interview, Snyder tells us about the interactions with other Batman creators while it was coming out, how he identifies with both Batman and the Riddler, and how much of the story was inspired by his own very personal experiences with overcoming panic and despair.

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Take Care Of Yourself: ‘Batman’ Mastermind Scott Snyder On The Psychology Of Heroes, Villains And Writers [Interview]

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Writer of ComicsAlliance favorites The Wake and Batman, Scott Snyder is enjoying a kind of imperial phase of his comic book career, where everything he releases is met with commercial popularity as well as critical success. A long form collaboration with artists Greg Capullo, Danny Miki and FCO Plascencia, Batman has been the unquestionable leader of DC Comics' "New 52" line of superhero titles, routinely appearing in the #1 spot of monthly sales charts and just completing a wild and operatic revision of the Dark Knight's origin story in "Zero Year" -- an arc that CA's resident Batmanologist Chris Sims suspects may go down as one of his favorite Batman stories of all time.

But beneath Batman's twisty plots and memorably big moments lies the true trademark of Snyder's work; a conscious, almost intuitive sense of his characters' psychology and inner lives. It's Snyder's fundamental understanding of his heroes and villains that drives all the occasionally over-the-top action of his series, and of Batman especially.

Dr. Andrea Letamendi is a clinical psychologist and co-host of The Arkham Sessions -- the ComicsAlliance feature focused exclusively on psychology as expressed in Batman: The Animated Series -- and she sat down with Snyder at Comic-Con International in San Diego for a chat about the themes of mental health in not just his work, but in his own life.

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

FunkyJun00

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.

This month, Batiuk took to the page to chronicle a few things that, if you weren't familiar with how this strip actually worked, would seem to be a few of life's happier moments: There's a marriage for Wally and Rachel, a trip out west for Les to work on the movie based on his most successful book, and in Crankshaft, it's summertime and the bus drivers are off on vacation! If, however you are familiar with how this strip works, then you'll know that this is all pretty much just setup for misery, hatred, and the actual wrath of God Himself. In other words, it's business as usual in Westview.

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

FunkyWatch for May 2014

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 the interesting things about the FunkyVerse -- well, interesting to me as someone who obsesses over this endless march towards oblivion to a truly unhealthy degree -- is that there seems to be a sort of tradeoff between the two strips. Crankshaft has traditionally been the more lighthearted and pun-based experience (relatively speaking), but whenever Funky dips its toes out of the miasma of despair and decides to do a little slapstick comedy, Crankshaft takes up the slack so that the total amount of depression remains unchanged. And that's how you get three-panel gags about drone strikes. Seriously.

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FunkyWatch: May’s Most Depressing ‘Funky Winkerbean’ Strips

funkywatchmain

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.

Read More

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

funkymar

Thanks to Josh Fruhlinger at the Comics Curmudgeon, I started reading Tom Batiuk's long-running newspaper comic strips, Funky Winkerbean and Crankshaft. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, what started as a strip full of wacky high-school hijinx

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

funkyjan

Thanks to Josh Fruhlinger at the Comics Curmudgeon, I started reading Tom Batiuk's long-running newspaper comic strips, Funky Winkerbean and Crankshaft. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, what started as a strip full of wacky high-school hijinx

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FunkyWatch: The Most Mind-Bendingly Depressing ‘Funky Winkerbean’ Strips of July

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Over the past few months, thanks largely to Josh Fruhlinger at The Comics Curmudgeon, I've become increasingly obsessed with Tom Batiuk's "Funky Winkerbean." For those of you who aren't familiar with it, it's a newspaper comic strip that

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