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About the Author: Tom Batiuk

Tom Batiuk is an American comic strip creator. His best-known comic strip is Funky Winkerbean.

Batiuk attended Kent State University, from which he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, majoring in painting. He went on to teach art in junior high school. He put his experiences to use in his gag-a-day Funky Winkerbean, which first appeared in print in 1972. With the success of the strip, he abandoned his teaching career, occasionally returning to the classroom to refresh his sources. He authored two spinoff strips, John Darling, which ran from 1979 through 1990, and Crankshaft, which began syndication in 1987. These strips sometimes experience crossovers.

Over the years, Batiuk's strips have taken on an increasing narrative continuity. Starting in 1986, Funky, and to a lesser extent Crankshaft, sometimes abandoned humor to explore serious, even tragic subject matter.

His stories often involve strong drama elements combined with generally rosy outcomes. They also show a strong belief in God, as well as sympathies for the American military. On the other hand, Funky Winkerbean dealt very critically with Intelligent Design, and two students in the strip even did a pro-evolution take-off on Johnny Hart's BC.

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Goodreads rating: 3.00

Paperback, Published in Jan 1992 by Andrews McMeel Publishing

ISBN10: 0836218892 | ISBN13: 9780836218893

Page count: 128

Mailboxes beware: Crankshaft's just around the corner!

Ed Crankshaft, the lively creation of Tom Batiuk and Chuck Ayers, stars in this "Crankshaft" collection. It's a hilarious depiction of an irritable but endearing school bus driver and life with his daughter Pam, son-in-law, Jeff, and grandchildren, Mindy and Max.

With cynical wit and biting humor, Crankshaft sees the world in absolutes. Although he comes across gruff and grumbly, Ed's really an old softy with a keen sense of humor that sometimes surprises even himself. The crafty curmudgeon isn't always tough-relationships with his grandchildren, his cat, Pickles, and the problems of growing older in a rapidly changing world show Crankshaft's more sensitive side.

Batiuk (creator of "Funky Winkerbean") and Ayers's unique portrayal of life at the wheel of a school bus has delighted readers since the strip began.

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