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Match to Flame 159

posted on September 18, 2021

Okay, that little hometown time anomaly aside, let’s move on to our discussion of big-city time. Without the element of time moving forward, omnipresent predictability is a constant in a comic strip. Every day the comic strip returns to “go” and starts anew. However, once time is introduced, everything suddenly opens up, and your options increase exponentially. The future of your characters goes from “there is no future” to a future of endless possibilities. The uncertainty can be daunting. As Yogi Berra noted, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” There are no physical limits to what you can do with time, so it was an ephemeral cosmic moment in the Funkyverse when all at once everything was possible. Suddenly I was able to be less linear and more digressive. I was no longer stuck in time but could begin to imagine things in anytime I wanted. Because Funky now had a future, it meant that it also now had a past. A past that I could begin to revisit whenever I wanted to tweak things a bit. I could go back and do a director’s cut, as it were, and add material that I hadn’t previously used or write completely new material that would add new levels of depth to a narrative, which I did with the piece about Lisa’s pregnancy in high school on more than one occasion, each time revealing more closeted aspects of the story. I could retcon (a comic book term for going back and retooling a previous continuity . . . like, Bucky was killed and now he’s better) to my heart’s content. Play God if you will (hey, if you’re going to identify, go big). 

From the introduction to The Complete Funky Winkerbean Volume 10

Match to Flame 158

posted on September 7, 2021

There are, in fact, two crossovers between Funky and Crankshaft that occur in the initial year of this collection. The first one is my all-time favorite crossover and in all modesty one of the best FunkyCrankshaft crossovers ever. It involves the Montoni’s little league team from Funky playing the Roughriders little league team from Crankshaft. The stories covered the game from both sides of the field, and when the two strips ran in the newspapers, there was one day when you saw the Montoni’s fans in Funky in the bleachers on one side—the same time that the Roughriders fans in Crankshaft were in the bleachers on the opposite side. The fact that Chuck Ayers worked on the art for both Funky and Crankshaft helped make the whole crossover process seamless. The twelve-year-old in me was, of course, thrilled. 

From the introduction to The Complete Funky Winkerbean Volume 10

Match to Flame 157

posted on August 31, 2021

Permit me a slight digression here because it’s relevant to some of the work collected in this volume. A question I get asked a lot, and I mean A LOT, is why I didn’t do a time-jump in my Crankshaft strip at the same time as Funky. I didn’t do that because, if you think about it, a comic strip with a senior citizen as the eponymous lead character isn’t going to weather a time-jump with the same facility, shall we say, that a high school student will. Granted, my first time-jump only covered four years, but, even so, Crankshaft didn’t have even that kind of time to spare. However, I have always enjoyed writing those stories where the two strips would cross over with one another. It was great fun when I read comic books as a kid to see the Flash show up in Green Lantern or vice versa. Somehow knowing that the Flash and Green Lantern shared the same universe heightened my enjoyment of the stories. That innate crossover thrill carried over to my adult work on my comic strips. So how was I going to deal with this? Well, since the Funky time-jump covered such a short span, I decided that the Funky gang would jump forward four years and arrive at . . . now (or, more correctly, the then now). Since now happened to be where the Crankshaft characters lived, I was still good to go with the crossovers. Yes, I know; I fudged things. It was a clear breach of temporal law, but I figured that if Einstein can have a “fudge factor” for his Grand Unified Theory, then I can have a fudge factor for my crossovers.

From the introduction to The Complete Funky Winkerbean Volume 10

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