‘Crankshaft’ Shifts To King

By: Dave Astor

“Crankshaft” will move to King Features Syndicate, which is now adding three well-known comics on Jan. 1.

The other two are “Mother Goose & Grimm” by Mike Peters, from Tribune Media Services; and “Bizarro” by Dan Piraro, from Universal Press Syndicate — the distributor also losing “Crankshaft.”

Tom Batiuk, who does “Crankshaft” with Chuck Ayers, said he’s moving to King because he’s happy with the job it’s doing with his 30-year-old “Funky Winkerbean” strip. “They’ve increased my client list [to almost 400] in difficult times, and they’ve supported the direction I’m taking,” Batiuk told E&P Online, referring to the way “Funky” deals periodically with real-life issues.

Batiuk did praise Universal, and said deciding to leave “wasn’t easy.” But he added, in a malapropism reminiscent of crotchety senior citizen Ed Crankshaft: “I’m bringing all my eggs home to roost in one basket.”

“Crankshaft” began in 1987 with Creators Syndicate, moved to Universal in 1991, and now runs in about 320 papers. It recently spawned an Andrews McMeel Publishing book collection called Your Favorite — Crab Cakes!

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