dreadedcandiru2 (dreadedcandiru2) wrote,

The death of John Darling

As promised, here's my look at the most interesting part of Batiuk's career; as we know, there were two strips spun off from Winkerbean: Crankshaft and John Darling. The latter was an accounting of the day-to-day life of John Darling, local media figure and total flake; just as Funky was about high school life and Crankshaft about a malapropism-spouting curmudgeon, the third was about a broad parody of the blow-dried brains that bring us our evening news. Also like Crankshaft, it was a collaboration between Batiuk, who wrote the damned thing and Tom Armstrong who did the artwork. After the end, Armstrong would go on to write a strip about a malevolent toddler who resisted toilet training because he liked how having a load in his diapers felt: Marvin. The interesting thing was how the strip ended; from what I understand, Batiuk and the syndicate were in a dispute over who owned the characters so when the strip got the ax, he decided to render him unusable by having him get shot in the second-to-last strip. The last strip, of course, featured his casket being lowered into the ground. The odd thing is that Batiuk was content to leave the matter unresolved for years; the only reason that he did decide on a killer and motive was as a special storyline celebrating the twenty-fifth year of Winkerbean. He had Les Moore play investigative reporter in an attempt to position him as a junior-grade Ann Rule; it turns out that someone named the Plantman killed Darling because he got on his nerves or something. The other odd thing is that Darling's daughter Jessica was folded into the cast of the parent strip; this tells me that when Crankshaft disappears, the characters with the closest connection to Cancerview will do likewise. I'm looking forward to that 'cause I want to see what Mooch did to Mindy Murdoch.
Tags: badnews, cranky, helmet hair

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