The Complete Funky Winkerbean, Volume 7, 1990–1992
Tom Batiuk Terri Libenson
The Kent State University Press
In this seventh volume, we see the changes in tone that now characterize Funky Winkerbean. Funky becomes more of a reality-based comic strip that depicts contemporary issues in a thought-provoking and sensitive manner. In 1992 Tom Batiuk did something even more radical: he rebooted and restructured the strip, establishing that the characters had graduated from high school. From then on the series progresses in real time.
Funky Winkerbean placed Batiuk at the forefront of a new genre in comic art history. His bold characterizations and dramatic plots are engaging for his readers—teens, parents, and educators alike—because they are universal stories that people can identify with. Realizing there are many comic strips for readers interested in a fantasy world, Batiuk provides an alternative by creating stories that are powerful, real, and inspiring.
“My job is to present stories that will interest and engage readers,” he says. “In doing so, I try to make the humor authentic and natural so that my characters are re- acting just as the reader might. I think that mixing humor with serious and real themes heightens the readers’ inter- est.” Following his own muse has roused a fervent following for Batiuk. Funky has “become an untouchable comic strip,” even if its creator “does do work that’s different from the other comics on the comics page,” said Brendan Burford, general manager, syndication, at King Features.
Tom Batiuk is a graduate of Kent State University. His Funky Winkerbean and Crankshaft comic strips are carried in more than 700 newspapers throughout the United States. He was recognized as one of the three finalists in the cartooning category of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize awards competition for the series of daily comic strips that chronicled the death of longtime character Lisa Moore. His Complete Funky Winkerbean series and Roses in December: A Story of Love and Alzheimer’s were finalists for the 2016 Eisner Awards.