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Funky Winkerbean feature battles cancer again

If you’ve seen today’s Funky Winkerbean, you know that the story arc regarding Lisa’s battle with cancer just got more complicated as it’s revealed that the earlier lab tests were mixed up with another patient and instead of being in remission, the cancer has progressed. From a Houston Chronicle story, Tom Batiuk says that this new story arc will “test all the Funky Winkerbean characters.

Will Tom kill off Lisa? It’s looking that way to me.

Community Comments

#1 Cindermain
May/9/2007
@ 1:20 pm

I used to really LIKE Funky Winkerbean before it turned into an emo version of ‘Dawson’s Creek’ (at least in my eyes). I can’t read it anymore, it’s all too depressing.

Here’s a good commentary on it;

http://www.shortpacked.com/d/20070416.html

#2 Becky
May/10/2007
@ 6:48 am

I followed this strip through AA, the band, Afganistan and sometimes found strength and ideas of how I could help others. What wasn’t mentioned in the article is that Lisa’s out of wedlock son is looking for her. Well, is she going to die and leave another child or can you make her well but o mightily suffered. I am rethinking my daily read. I have enough suffering in my life and family with similar issues. Sometimes a little humorin the morning is a good place to look forwad. Please make Lisa well; this time you can play GOD.

#3 Sam
May/10/2007
@ 8:49 am

I think what you are doing is awesome! I know so many people who think it happens to everyone else. But someday you might come to the very harsh and painful reality, that its YOU it is happening to. Everyday people are diagnosed with a type of cancer. And its now a part of sooo many peoples daily lives. Just because it may not have hit your home yet, dont ever take for granted that it cant or wont. Maybe this comic dosent help you now, but it might someday and its now when you should step back and look at it the way others might who do need this comic and this man in their lives Now. And dont critize it, appriciate the fact you’re reading it from the outside for now. Please keep writing the comic, as you do help so many people. I hope your fight with cancer is sucsessful and you win it. Keep your head high and always believe there is hope. My family and I are doing our part by walking in the Relay For Life,And raising money for research and a cure . I lost the most important person in my life, my Father, And I’m gonna fight so noone else looses their fight.Thank you for your comic. And good luck to those who dont like it! Sam

#4 Andi
May/10/2007
@ 8:49 am

Come on people…as a BC survivor I can assure you that there was plenty of humor before, during and after my diagnosis and subsequent treatments. It’s just a part of life…just like substance abuse, unwed mothers and wars. I guess for some people there will always be a dark cloud for every silver lining.

#5 Ellen
May/10/2007
@ 9:51 am

I also want Lisa to live. Perhaps she could in some way follow Elizabeth Edwards – cannot be cured but can live with treatment for the indefinite future. I don’t expect or want an unrealistic fairytale ending since the story has gone this far with Lisa getting worse. Our hope is always that in the real world there will be a cure discovered any day now, and then we can all truly have our happily ever afters.

#6 Cindermain
May/10/2007
@ 7:25 pm

Hey Becky.

I agree with your sentiment. It’s one thing to have trauma in a character’s life and show it’s development that deserves respect.

However, it’s quite another to make life traumas the only subject of a strip. It’s not that I don’t appreciate what the characters are going through, but SOME hope must shine through or it becomes an exercise in wallowing in misery.

Strips must entertain as well as inform. I miss the old Funky, it had a good balance.

And Sam, my father was diagnosed with cancer. Please do not presume that I don’t appreciate the severity of the condition or that it isn’t a factor in my life just because I don’t appreciate Batiuk’s gloom-laiden take on it.

You talk about the hope this comic instills…how can anything in this strip be seen as HOPEFUL? She seems to recover, but the tests were mixed up and she’s actually WORSE?

To quote Comixpedia;

“Its characters have suffered loss of limbs, cancer, abuse, unwanted pregnancy, dyslexia, alcoholism, suicidal tendencies, hearing loss, post-traumatic stress disorder, divorce, heartbreak and more. Frankly, it’s a wonder any of them are still alive.”

#7 Lauren Conte
May/20/2007
@ 11:11 am

I enjoyed Funky back when it was just the kids in high school, with my favorite being the band director Mr. Dinkle. All these years later, I began to notice that the strip turned to more social problems and now very personal ones. Comics and cartoons are supposed to be funny and make you laugh or at least make you see the humor in the human condition. These strips are nothing but depressing and filled with irony. This latest turnaround with Lisa’s cancer seems like a cruel joke. Ok, we get it, cancer is horrible and I would venture to guess that every person, including myself, is relatedd to or has known someone who has suffered or died from it. Doonesbury is a social/political commentary strip and has been taken out of the “funnies.” Maybe this one should be put into the obituary section and far away from Snoopy and the Peanuts gang. A good strip that covers day to day life and it’s many twists and turns is For Better or For Worse. One of the characters has Alzheimer’s and each strip with him leaves you with a good feeling and a smile on your face even if it’s bittersweet. You can identify with the family and other characters and feel comfortable reading it. I was looking forward to Lisa meeting her son, but now I’m sure it’s not going to be a pleasant event. Sorry, Mr. Batiuk, I think I will pass on your idea of comic.

#8 Anne
May/20/2007
@ 1:01 pm

He doesn’t have Alzheimer’s. He had a stroke and has Aphasia.

#9 Lauren
May/24/2007
@ 9:39 am

Of course, you are right, I apologize for the mistake.

#10 Andrew
July/6/2007
@ 12:00 pm

Ive grown up with funky,crankshaft and even john darling, and ive never skipped them. Every single story arc has something i can personally relate to in some way, if not through personal experience,then through relationships through others. Comics have always been there to be a social commentary. Peanuts delt with issues about WWI and II, Sally Ford delt with over eating and over dieting. Spiderman is a daily commentary on the ills of society.I can respect your decision and i to wish there was some more humor, but the comic has touched hundreds of people at least, and i personally think, that if you can help just one person to change through a comic, then youve accomplished something in your life.

#11 Jodi
July/7/2007
@ 6:05 pm

This comic strip is killing me!! Hasn’t Lisa been through enough! As a breast cancer survivor,I am very unsettled and upset over what Lisa and Les are going through.I can’t imagine how she will tell Summer. I have followed Funky and friends since the eighties. They are in the same age group as I am and I seriously wish this did not have to be. On the other hand, this is life and horrible things happen. I’ll be hoping for a miracle!!!

#12 Debra
July/12/2007
@ 9:17 am

I hope Lisa and Darin find each other and Darin can give Lisa a bone marrow transplant.

#13 Eleanor Wagenseller
August/10/2007
@ 10:42 pm

As the mother of a daughter with stage four breast cancer and as the grandmother of her three young children who read the “comics” daily I am upset, disgusted and angry that anyone could be so unfeeling and so stupid that they would actually publish this kind of thing for children to read. I know from personal experience how this affects families. Once having allowed this comic into the home and once the children are used to reading it–short of quitting the newspaper it is impossible to stop then from following the story. I have and will continue to protest to publishers, the Cancer Society, the Breast Cancer support grourps and anyone else I can think of about this. How can one keep hope in the hearts of children who know that their mother has breast cancer when this so called “comic” tells them every day that mothers will die from breast cancer? How can a mother with breast cancer keep from crying while reading this? This does not belong in a family paper. It is not funny–it is not helpful and it causes pain in those who have enough pain in their lives already. Think about it. Please protest. Do those who shrug this off have any idea of the pain involved when a family is trying to deal with breast cancer in a young mother? It devastates every one of us. If the plan is to kill off this character then we must stop buying the daily paper, and soon.

#14 Susanne
August/11/2007
@ 12:48 am

If it’s truly realism we’re looking for in the comic strips, perhaps Crank Shaft should back over a few innocent children waiting for the school bus –instead of taking out the usual mailboxes. Or maybe one of the moms chasing the school bus with her child’s lunch could suffer cardac arrest and die in the street as Crank Shaft speeds up and watches her in his rear view mirror. Let’s face it: what (other than the judgment of the comic strip’s creator) is limiting the victims of his poor driving skills and dislike of people in general to mailboxes? That there hasn’t been a victim in all these years as a result of an unfit operator driving a school bus is truly unrealistic. I, along with most of the strip’s fans, would be horrified if that happened. Why, then, does Lisa have to die? She’s already taught us enough about suffering, strength and acceptance. If Mr. Batiuk’s goal is to be realistic and to teach his readers, then the Crank Shaft strip is truly an enigma to me. I think Lisa’s story would make a great novel, but I just don’t believe such a tragedy belongs in a comic strip.

#15 Lillian Hanson
August/24/2007
@ 3:47 am

I have been reading Funky on and off for the past several years and was even trying to compile a collection of the breast cancer episodes during my OWN breast cancer experience this past two years.
To hear that Lisa’s character will die is very sobering and sad, indeed. Does Tom Batiuk know about another cartoon based-on-a-true-story, “Mom’s Cancer” by Brian Fies? In it, a cartoonist relates of his mother’s experience with breast cancer, but
she dies eventually. Lisa Moore is a fictional character, so as the above poster said, “he CAN play God” and make Lisa live. Nonetheless, as a
current cancer survivor, I probably WILL get the book, as I’ve missed many strips of Lisa’s story.
My heart is saddened by this latest development.

#16 Nancy
September/22/2007
@ 7:15 am

First, for those who are angry because your young children are reading this comic, well, this is a comic about teens, young adults and adults. Your young children should not be reading it. You have control exercise it. Read Stone Soup, Jump Start, and For Better or Worse. But even these comics, bring in social issues.

There is book Lisa’s Story dealing with the early stages of her battle. Yes, it’s sad, that she will die, that the story is reaching the end of the Arc. But, in real life this happens. There is no magic cure, and there are people who survive and go on to live long lives. Then there are others, who battle it on and off for many years. I have lost 5 members of my family to various types of cancer, and what needs to be addressed, is quality of life, and dignity when one is dying. This story showed that one can live with cancer, have a quality of life, but in the end die surrounded with love and dignity.

Those who are against this story, don’t read it. If you are angry about her dying, then do something to help the real people who have this disease, find the cure, make sure you, your mothers, daughters get a mammo, tell our gov’t to stop spending money on useless things and support cancer research. If you can voice your anger about a cartoon, then you can voice your anger for real life.

Maybe to purpose of Lisa dying is show us Life is not easy.

#17 Ken Cowan
September/23/2007
@ 2:43 am

I side with those who feel a comic strip is for lifting our spirits, not dragging us down. I see that at least one felt that people often think it’s someone else who has to deal with cancer. I tend to think that the statistics will show that there’s not many who are not touched by cancer somewhere amongst their family and friends. I know I’ve certainly seen my share. FOr reality I have the news, and newspapers, and histories…when I turn to the comics I don’t want tragedy. I agree, it’s a great story, and well suited to a movie, novel, TV show, or article in a magazine. I worry that FW is just going to become darker…the author has already rewarded a family who aided Wally during war, by killing them off in a suicide bombing. Yeah, yeah…I get it…like I wasn’t aware of all that going on over there. Guess what…I’m aware. That was just sick. If Mr. Batiuk is going to continue in this vein, why doesn’t he just save time, and kill the main character like in his other strip, and close the whole thing down?

#18 Sandy
September/29/2007
@ 3:41 pm

hello, this is a comic strip on the FUNNIES pages

maybe Popeye can bring Lisa a can of spinache, or her fairy godmother can wave her magic wand, and this comic strip will be funny happily ever after

#19 Darrell B
October/2/2007
@ 9:09 am

Funky appears in the ‘comics’ section, not the ‘funnies’ There are lots of comics that are not happy / funny all the time. Anyone ever read a comic book? There are dark comics out there along with of course funny ones.

I personally think it’s fine for something like this to be published. At least it’s telling a story of some sort, and the characters actually age and change.

As others have said, if the story arc offends or upsets, then DONT READ IT. It’s the same as when something offensive is on TV or the radio.

We dont need anymore political correctness, or the dont offend anyone side.

#20 Linda
October/2/2007
@ 11:40 am

I am sad to Lisa dying and Les about to lose the love of his life. But I am glad to see the strip dealing with this totally human situation. I believe Les and Summer will laugh again. I look forward to reading the strip each day, even though I know that one day will be Lisa’s last — just as it will be one day for all of us.

#21 Jake
October/3/2007
@ 12:20 am

Last time I checked comic strips are supposed to be funny. Todays world is miserable enough, and you don’t need to be adding to it by publishing a very sad series on cancer. I read the comics to take a break from the world’s heartache, so stop making sad comics and make it funny again.

#22 Jody
October/3/2007
@ 6:47 am

Okay, enough is enough….!!!!I realize that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and all things have a pink cast in the eyes of those whose lives have been touched by this terrible disease. On one hand I applaud Mr. Batiuk for making Lisa Moore’s breast cancer story so very real, and obviously as a regular reader and long time fan of the strip I am glued to each daily chapter. Nevertheless, there is a point at which I have to say this has perhaps gone too far, and I reached this point the other day when Lisa suddenly awoke in a frantic state in her hospice bed lovingly laid out in the Moore livingroom because she could not longer see. Life is sad enough ya know…..When I read a comic strip and weep uncontrollably I know that the story has either encompassed me so completely or the author has crossing some invisible comic line…..I believe that in the case of Lisa Moore’s death both must surely be the case. However, perhaps we should change Lisa’s name to Camille????? This should have been put to bed some time ago.

#23 Dawn Douglass
October/3/2007
@ 7:19 am

That’s the way cancer is, Jody. It’s a slow, sad death.

Nothing can get that point over like a daily comic strip can.

As for “putting this to bed,” perhaps you’ll be happy to know that Lisa dies tomorrow.

#24 Pab Sungenis
October/3/2007
@ 10:48 am

I hate to come off as misogynist and uncaring here, but I really wish that just once prostate cancer awareness got one TENTH of the hoopla that breast cancer awareness gets.

#25 Mirie
October/4/2007
@ 12:41 pm

This response is not to downplay prostate cancer, but rather to explain why breast cancer garners so much more attention. This is not an effort to justify the inequity.

1. Breast cancer can kill young women (by this I mean less than 45 years old), leaving behind children who still need care–and the way US society is, let’s face it, the mother is still the primary caregiver. Young mothers have a terrible fear of breast cancer, because they see this as the biggest threat that could interfere with them taking care of their children. Prostate cancer, in contrast, generally strikes men over the age of 50 and usually has a slower-growing course–thus, the masses feel less of an emotional wrench.

2. Breast cancer has a higher incidence in the population. It occurs in 1 out of every 8 women. Prostate cancer occurs in 1 out of every 11 men.

#26 Jerral Burrus
October/10/2007
@ 12:20 pm

Not all comic strips are funny just as life is not always fair I have followed Funky from the start and I think that a strip that shows real life issues is needed. If it makes just one person stop think of real life it is doing it job. All I can say is thank you and keep doing the strip the way it is.

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