Funky Winkerbean Character Lisa Moore to Die This Fall

From a story out of the Cleveland Free Times comes news that Lisa Moore, a leading Funky Winkerbean, character will die this fall ending speculation as to whether Tom Batiuk would kill off one his main characters. The story suggests, however, that Lisa’s death may not be from the re-emergent cancer that the current story line is grappling with, but from an “accident.”

The story also hints that there will be other big changes in the strip. Apparently all the characters in the comic strip will age as the feature’s timeline jumps ahead about 10 full years.

It’s an interesting read that will take you back through the history of the feature and some if it’s major plots twists and turns. You’ll also read about Chuck Ayers who does the pencil drafts on Funky and is the artist behind Crank Shaft.

It’s rare for a major character to be killed of on a comic strip (unless you’re Sam Roland, the Tom the Dancing Bug character that has been killed off 17 times now). The last major character to be “offed” was Mort Park from the Rudy Park strip and that garnered a press release from the syndicate last January. I suspect Lisa’s death will generate more than a press release.

Now the only concluding question for Winkerbeaners is if Lisa is Darrin’s biological mother. Might 8-ball says, “yes.”

83 thoughts on “Funky Winkerbean Character Lisa Moore to Die This Fall

  1. Is it me, or is this strip moving about as fast as a Jack Benny monologue? A more recent comparison might be – moving about as fast as a Dragon Ball Z episode? My short attention span must be fed!

    What were we talking about? 😉

  2. On 7/4/07, wrote:
    As a long time reader of your comic strips, and a long time oncologist and the long time spouse of a breast cancer survivor, I am very sad that Lisa’s story seems to be drawing to a close. I find myself wishing that there might be one more treatment regimen that could enable Lisa to stay with us a while longer.

    This might be a good opportunity to introduce the concept of participation is a clinical trial of a leading edge therapy, by having her seek another opinion at a NCCN (National Comprehensive Cancer Center Network) member center. She is in Ohio, and there are several centers in her area, with the closest located at U of Michigan and at Ohio State.

    Also, it wouldn’t hurt to take a look at the NCCN guidelines for the treatment of breast cancer, and for the ones that relate to supportive care, if you have not already done so. You can reach them via Google, just enter “NCCN Guidelines”.

    I think you are performing a fine service by introducing the problems faced by real people in your strips. I look for Crankshaft and Funky wherever I happen to be and if they are not locally available, my day is not complete.

    Dale E. Fuller, M.D.

  3. I am so sorry to hear that Lisa’s character may be taken off due to her death – I’ve read this script for so many years (as I have Doonesbury, For Better or Worse, and may others) – and Lisa seems like a member of an extended family (as dumb as that sounds) – this news has made me very melancholy – I was hoping the story line could introduce some sort of regimen that would make her birth son a donor of some type for his mother’s recovery –

    Connie Owens
    Dallas, Texas

  4. Hints have been dropped for years regarding Lisa being Darrin’s mother. I figured it out years ago! Regarding Lisa’s illness, never in my wildest dreams would I expect to feel grief over a cartoon character’s demise. But I find this so sad and it affects me. A little bit of real life has made it’s way in to the funny papers.

  5. Isn’t life already hard enough? Do comic strips need to be depressing too? I just do not understand much of anything anymore…

  6. Art should reflect life … forcing a happy ending is cowardly and cheap. Again, I salute Batiuk for having the nerve to be bold on a page where that rarely happens.

  7. I don’t think it wouldn’t be such an issue if Lisa’s cancer story hadn’t first been described by so many people as “inspirational.” Now that Batiuk’s going to kill off Lisa, all those people who were once inspired now instead will be depressed.

    If that hadn’t been the previous characterization of the story, I don’t think it’d be as much of an outrage that he was going down this road.

  8. I am really saddened that Lisa’s fight will end, but I respect Batuik for bringing the arc to a natural conclusion instead of doing something weird. Funky Winkerbean has replaced For Better or for Worse as my favorite daily strip — as well as my mother’s with the writing and artifical story lines that have plagued that strip in the past year. If you knew how different my mother and I are in our tastes, you would know that this shared opinion is more than generational!

  9. I am a 3 year breast cancer survivor. I have been trying to keep up on Lisa, but some days I don’t even see a paper. I got back in touch a few weeks ago when her son started talking about his birth mother. I just knew it was Lisa (or at least I hoped it was). I cried so hard that day – cried for joy, that they connected before it was too late. I cried for Summer. My sister in law passed away with breast cancer, her kids were 2 & 3. That is very hard on the adults, as the children do not grasp the whole of it yet.

  10. While I enjoy and respect this particular strip and the sensitivity and intelligence of its creator, I find myself becoming more and more depressed over the impending outcome of Lisa’s battle with breast cancer. The newspaper is full of disturbing and heartbreaking stories, and the comic strips have always provided a brief respite from all the pain and suffering going on in this world. Until now, that is. Over the years, I’ve watched Lisa blossom from a shy and awkward teenager to a confident adult who became a wife, a lawyer and, after being told that she had beaten cancer, a mother. There was always an edge of sadness in her life because as a teenager, she had given up a son at birth and never had the opportunity to know him. Now that she’s found him, they’ll be lost to each other forever. Some will say, “Well, that’s life. Deal with it.” But I can’t help but feel that this is wrong. Almost all of the other pages of the newspaper bring me in touch with the cruel realities of life. Now that the line is being crossed, it will never be the same.

  11. I’ve read FUNKY since the day it came out in the early 70’s. I’ve alway been somewhat upset with Tom Batuik with the way Lisa’s been treated. And yet, as a published novelist myself, I’ve greatly appreciated what her trials gave brought to the strip. Now that she’s going to die – it still brings a tear to my eye – I find myself giving even higher regard to the strip; seemingly impossible, considering the level at which I already hold it. I’ve alway been a fan of the happy ending, but EVERY ending must have a natural and believable path and resolution, and sometimes that precludes a happy ending. And yet, the ending to Lisa’s story will not be sad. It will be bittersweet, for, as heartbreaking as it will be, it is the correct one.

  12. As a breast cancer survivor I am extremely disappointed that Lisa is being killed off. I am reminded enough as it is that things can go wrong, I know people personally who have died from their cancer. I read comics to laugh (it is the best therapy!), not to cry, read of death or someone’s political view. Sadly, Funky has now joined the list of “comics” I won’t be reading anymore.

  13. As I went through my cancer regimen in the last year and a half, I followed Lisa and found it hard to believe that Tom Batiuk was not writing this from personal experience. There were many strips that I cut out and hung over my desk, so my co-workers would understand what I was experiencing that I could not adequately express to them.
    To hear that she will probably die is upsetting, but not surprising. I commend Tom for the way he has dealt with this subject, and I will mourn her almost as much as I would a real person, as she has told the story of so many of us “real people”.
    Too all of you who read and identify with Lisa, my prayers to all.
    Thank you Tom.

  14. I am a two-time breast cancer survivor, and I found the incidence of Lisa’s recurrence more than a little disturbing, as my recurrence came about and knocked me on my butt at the same time Lisa had her world turned upside down…so this strip has taken quite a scary turn for me..and I’m sure for many other people whose lives have been marred by this disease. True, this strip does reflect real life and not all stories are tied up in pretty endings, but I must say this particular story line hit way too close to home for me. I am not happy, obviously, about the evenutal demise of Lisa, but I do admire her determination to live her remaining days the way SHE sees fit.

  15. OK…after giving this a lot of thought…maybe I am being too squeamish about this…after all, death IS a part of life. And many endings aren’t happy. This is the real world. The best thing to do is to face it.

  16. As a breast cancer survivor I have mixed feelings about this. Although I still have regular checkups, as the years of surviving increase I feel more secure about my “cure”. This “comic” brings back those terrible feelings that I could once again face this dread disease. As an adoptee I can understand the feelings of losing my birth mother again. This is a comic strip…anything could happen….why not make it a happy ending? There are some of us that NEED IT.

  17. I’m the chaplain of a hospice and a former pastor. I’m also a long-time reader of Funky, and have resonated with many of the issues that Tom B has raised through him. I’m finding that Lisa’s story is of a different quality than the others. It combines “end-of-life wisdom” with soul-searching insight, and humor and grace.
    I believe that Lisa’s story – and the considerable reader grappling with that story that “The Daily Cartoonist” invites – is a significant cultural event that is making our lives more human, and I’m grateful to Tom Batiuk and Alan Gardner for the conversation they’ve begun. Thank you both.

  18. I thought the story line for Lisa would lead to a Stem Cell transplant from her newly found son. Disappointing ending!

  19. My husband died of cancer last year right here in our home with me and our two kids by his side. At the time, I was battling Stage 3 breast cancer myself. Maybe my body still is, who knows? I like that Batiuk isn’t copping out with some unrealistic cure.

    Society today is so shielded from the realities of death that we’ve become very weak about it. My father used to talk about how when he was growing up, you knew that some of the kids in your class this year would be dead by next year. Now most of us aren’t taught in childhood how to deal with death and the dying.

    When a comic strip “hits home” like this one is, I think that will help prepare people for when it *truly* hits home. And it will, sooner or later.

  20. Depends on your definition of realistic I guess. My mom is now cancer free after a bout with level 3 ovarian cancer, as is my sister-in-law. While these seem like miracle cures in a way, they are happening more commonly now than say 10 years ago. Where the cartoonist takes his strip is his call, I’m just not enjoying it.

  21. I am a 7 years survivor of breast cancer. Mr Batuik is scaring me to death with Lisa’s story. I pray that my breast cancer does not recur. How must other women feel who may have had a bad mamogram and think they may have breast cancer. YOU CAN BEAT IT. He is dashing away all hope. Great strides are being made everyday. WE WILL BEAT this horrible disease. I will not look at Funky Winkerbean anymore. I can’t handle it.

  22. Barbara, I don’t think he’s taking away all hope. I think he’s being realistic. Yes, we’ve made great strides, but about 20% of breast cancer patients still die from it.

    Frankly, I think you’re over-reacting. I’m only a one year survivor, and I had the most aggressive kind of breast cancer and was Stage 3. My oncologist rates my chances at 50/50, even after mastectomy, chemo and radiation. But I’m certainly not “scared to death” about it, with or without a comic strip. It is what it is.

    Your chances are very, very good at 7 years out, so calm down. Cancer loves stress. Eat lots of green vegies and dried blueberries and don’t worry about it. I figure, if this does come back and kills me, why would I want to spend the time I’m feeling good worrying about it! 🙂 You said you pray. Then trust Him and get on with your life. One way or the other, He’ll see to it that you’re okay.

  23. What to say about this impending ending to Lisa’s story. I know that it a comic, but I find myself close to tears when I think about what is going to happen. It is amazing how close we feel to these lines on a page. We root for them, we laugh with them…. and yes…. we are going to cry with them this fall. At first I was mad when I read about the reccurence. Those two characters have been through so much… the recurrence just seemed to be cruel…. but in the end- it always is. I think that is what Batuik is trying to convey. Bad things happen to good people and the measure of a life is how you deal with it. I will continue to read and I will hold the characater of Lisa Moore close to my heart.

  24. I’m just depressed about Lisa dying. Lisa’s daughter will be motherless, her husband will be a widower, her newfound son will be motherless. I was never a HUGE fan of the Lisa character, but man…I sure as HECK didn’t want to see this storyline. Today’s comic, seeing her lying there in bed sleeping and looking so frail was awful. I am dreading Oct. 4.

    I don’t agree that Tom Batiuk had to draw attention to cancer. Maybe 15 years ago, but not now. We ALL have lost someone to cancer and by now, many of us know someone with breast cancer. There are pink ribbons on everything. Lance Armstrong had the yellow wrist bands. Stars are dying from cancer. Cancer is all over the place. What is the point of drawing attention to cancer in a comic strip?

    I don’t think ANYONE is inspired by this storyline….if anything, it’s depressing and I’ll bet that there are a lot of readers who resent Mr. Batiuk killing off one of these characters.

  25. I’ll have to be honest,I only read your comic strip once in awhile. But after I noticed the topic of cancer I started keeping a closer watch.I have had close friends and a grandmother pass with cancer.What got my attention was the love her husband Les has for Lisa.The comic strip is like anything else in life,you have the chose to read it or not.Life and death are things you have very little control over.I think that even small children should have a little knowledge of going to the angels.I wish Lisa did not have to die either but if it is to be at least it is with LOVE of her husband and family.

  26. Deb White September 27, 2007

    ok- an updated comment from NE Ohio..
    I only get the paper on Sunday.. so I have a bookmarked site where I read â??Funkyâ? online everyday. As I sit in front of my monitor, at times my heart wrenches down to my gut- at other times I crack a wry smile..
    Been there- done that. Breast cancer survivor of 7 years. Met Tom in Akron after Lisaâ??s Story was first out.. As the story of her life continues, I want to say, or maybe shout out loud that her story has been told with unfortunate accuracy, through the evolving tale and through the artistry that Tom has of making a simply drawn expression tell so much.
    Soap operas in the funnies?? hmm.. I think there are a few classics out there that aptly fit that description. Nothing new, and certainly not out of place.
    Tying up the storyline of Lisaâ??s son Darrin, her videotaping her wishes for Summer as she grows- these things were brilliantly done, not to mention her brave trip to Washington DC as a research advocate and spokeperson…

    The â??superheroineâ? glimpses are right on- indeed- the friends and caregivers are truly deserving of the title. â??Live with HOPEâ?- thatâ??s what a local said to Les and Lisa on their last vacation after noticing her freshly bald head shortly after her recurrence and second bout with chemo.
    That particular Sunday strip hangs in my office- a reminder to me and in honor of the friends I have made around the world via online breast cancer support;

    Hope is all we have. You donâ??t have to be a cancer survivor to know that. It applies to us all. Lisa and Les have portrayed that all along. Lisa totally took control of how she wanted to live her life- right up to the end..
    I can really identify with some posters who have mentioned feeling so emotionally connected with a cartoon character!! Never expected it- but it just goes to show you how a well-done story can affect you.

    After Lisa leaves this world for the next, we will see how Les, Summer, and their family and friends all cope. Les has been solid and supportive- I suspect he will have it pretty rough when itâ??s all said and done. ( ok- now I know that the time frame will move up 10 years.. another interesting twist..
    Don’t forget- these characters are in the control of the writer. Period.
    The rest of the storylines will still be there- and I will continue to enjoy them.
    As for now- I truly thank Tom Batiuk for showing the world of â??cartoonsâ? a look, and a gifted look at that, of not only showing what Lisa and others endure with cancer, but showing how that changes lifeâ??s perspective.

    Live with Hope.

  27. Sep 28, 2007

    Re: Bobby Brantâ??s Article â??Does cancer belong in the comics?â?

    Cancer. The very word strikes fear in most people, especially if youâ??re the one waiting for biopsy results of any kindâ??-even if itâ??s for a moleâ??-youâ??re a little uneasy until you get the letter in the mail with the â??negativeâ? block for cancer checked.

    I stopped reading â??Funky Winkerbeanâ? a long time agoâ??-yet, sometimes, itâ??s hard for me not to look at her bald head. I know she isnâ??t real, but it reminds me of other people with cancer who are. And cancer is a family disease. My brother and mother were diagnosed with different Stage 4 cancers three and two years ago, respectively. My best friend from high school, who Iâ??ve known for 30 years, is a two-year cancer survivor, and a girlfriend of 20 years just finished chemo and radiation. There are othersâ??-friends, neighbors, co-workers, and worst of all, childrenâ??-who are fighting itâ??or not. Itâ??s probably safe to say that weâ??ve all lost someone to cancer.

    So, does cancer belong in the comics? I would say no. My heart goes out to the children whose mother has breast cancer and now are afraid that sheâ??ll die because of the â??Funkyâ? comic strip. Itâ??s hard for me to believe that Mr. Batiuk intends to spread fear and gloom and doomâ??-yet, he is. Iâ??m sorry that he had cancer; it must be terribly frightening, but isn’t there a better way for him to get his message out–even if I disagree with his message?

    In the above article, Mr. Batiuk said grief is the price we pay for love. Yes, it hurts a great deal when we lose someone we love. But for me, and I hope for most of us, love makes life worth living. The joy, peace, and bliss it brings me far out-weighs the pain. And, we are remarkably resilient. We may not â??get overâ? our losses, but we learn to accommodate them and feel joy again.

    To me, the real miracle of cancer is that it has brought me, my brother, mother, and best friend closer to God. For many, itâ??s helped us reassess whatâ??s really important in our lives. My hope is that I can continue to encourage my loved ones who are still fighting the good fightâ??to bolster their hopes and faith, to make the most of the time we together, and to love them as best as I can while theyâ??re still here. Perhaps thatâ??s Mr. Batiukâ??s intent; but, I believe the story line is too harsh.

    But because we do live in the best country in the world, I will write my local paper and tell them that I donâ??t like the â??Funkyâ? strip. Iâ??ll also pray for Mr. Batiuk. I’ll pray that our glorious God will give him the healing he is most in need of. May the peace of the Lord be with you all.

  28. It’s a comic. It’s supposed to be interesting and enjoyable. WTF is with this guy putting in a story arc of someone suffering from cancer.

    Yep, just what i want after a full day at work dealing with problems. Sit down after dinner, grab my evening paper and be entertained by death.

    Maybe this guy Batiuk needs to go join some altruistic religious commune, take a long vacation or get out of the business.

    People like him, the lady who draws Lynn Johnston and many others simply have lost their creativity and have become fat and lazy by milking the readers with their lazy art, stories and rehashed or ridiculous topics.

    Kill her off already & stop taking yourself as an “comic artist” so seriously. You draw little comics, it’s tomorrows recycled waste.

  29. to make this comic strip actaully entertaining, maybe Popeye could jump in just in time with a can of spinache, feed Lisa and she’ll be good as new!

    Any more ideas readers? Batiuk is not funny at all, and needs serious help.

  30. These people who are posting here are saying that this morbid subject matter does not belong in a gag-a-day comic strip. However, in my opinion, this strip has not been a gag-a-day strip in ages. Many years ago, I would say, it went from being a gag-a-day to a melodramatic soap opera strip. For anyone who is only reading “Funky” recently due to this cancer storyline, trust me, typically the other material in recent years has not really been much comedy. Batiuk routinely subjects his characters to horrible things, from amputation to rape to murder (in the case of John Darling) to almost getting blown up in the Middle East. Whether he does these things to make it more realistic or simply as publicity stunts is up for debate. Personally, I think that this cancer storyline is very depressing and does not really belong on the comics page. But to say it doens’t belong in the “Funky” universe because it isn’t funny is making the comic strip into something that it isn’t.

    I know that the melodrama of Lisa’s cancer story has pretty much eliminated the possibility of anything else happening this fall, but I for one am missing Batiuk’s trademark Westview Marching Band strips. Those are the best part of “Funky Winkerbean,” or at least I think so.

    By the way, this is the “Chris” who usually posts on on the Daily Cartoonist; the comment above by “Chris” is not me.

  31. Because I have the opening, I’d like to remind visitors leaving comments to use both your first and last name as it goes a long way in avoiding confusion.


  32. And to respond more directly to your comment Chris (the last one), while the strip is getting very heavy, I think it is completely appropriate and Tom should be applauded for taking his strip to places where the art form rarely goes. It proves that this art is very versatile and has great capacity to impact and engage readers. If we only confine the art to silly gags in 3 boxes, we lose a great opportunity to be meaningful to a much larger audience.

  33. Full disclosure. I’ve been Tom Batiuk’s friend and neighbor for a couple decades. But I’ve also been a comics industry professional (writer, editor, columnist, etc.) for 35 years.

    My thoughts on Lisa’s Story:

    Sometimes entertainment rises to the level of art.

    This is one of those times.

  34. Even though this is long–please, please, please read it.

    Chris H: You’re right, “Funky” hasn’t been funny in a while.

    Alan and Tony: Cartoons have always been an art. I was a journalist over 20 years ago and then pursued another career. Cartoons can be heavy. When I was in high school (I’m in my late 40s now), I saw a cartoon that said if you don’t remember the past, you’re doomed to repeat it. That stuck with me for years. I tried to give Tom Batiuk the benefit of the doubt–maybe he’s trying to teach us how to love and die–but he said, “Grief is the price you pay for love.” However you look at that, it’s negative, and in my opinion wrong to focus on it. I also look at my behavior and the behavior of others. If my behavior or how I package my message isn’t getting through, it’s up to me to change it. Mr. Batiuk also said “Funky’s” a love story. But, if his message is love, his behavior (how he’s packaging the message) is not working. Too many people see it as spreading fear.

    As a former journalist and retired military officer, I will defend freedom of the press–as long as it doesn’t jeopardize national security or the security of overs involved in a conflict. But, I’ll defend my right and the rights of others even more to disagree with him, to not read his comic strip, and to do whatever I can to get it out of the newspaper where I live. Why? Because I don’t want him spreading fear–we have enough of that in the news. I don’t advocate burying your head in the sand, but a steady diet of anything is bad for you. Where’s the balance? And most of all, children are reading the comics–it is also my opinion that it’s not his place to teach kids about death. That’s their parents’ job.

    If you think cancer is personal to me–it is! And it started 3 years ago when one of my troops–a good man in his early 40s with 2 teenage children–died of a terrible death of colon cancer. Now with 2 family members fighting against the odds, it is even more personal. (Yes, it way more personal for Mr. Batiuk, and it seems to me that he is still living with the fear of it.) We fear what we do not understand–and we do not understand cancer. Doctors don’t understand it. Some people’s cancer goes away, some people are cured without any treatments, and some people beat it once, only to have it return again.

    I pray that Tom Batiuk is reading this blog and will listen (not just hear, but listen) to what message he is spreading.

    And to others–please don’t do what I’ve been doing since this cancer theme started–just sit back and take it. I have written my newspaper to tell them what I think–and I hope they’re publish my letter to get more people to write to them. If you truly do not like “Funky” and the message it’s spreading, tell your paper so that they can unsubscribe to the cartoon. That may be the only way Mr. Batiuk “hears” our message.

  35. Cathy Scott, you wrote above:
    I stopped reading “Funky Winkerbean” a long time agoâ??-yet, sometimes, itâ??s hard for me not to look at her bald head.

    So you want to get rid of a comic strip that other people are enjoying because you can’t control yourself?

    This time last year, I was running around with a bald head. Want to get rid of all of us bald folks so that you don’t have to face your own fears? Maybe you’d like a law that would force cancer victims to wear a hat or a wig.

    I’m sorry, but I find your reaction completely absurd.

  36. “So you want to get rid of a comic strip that other people are enjoying because you canâ??t control yourself?”

    This imperious sentiment has always confounded me. I read the comics (obviously), but I don’t read all of them. This is why there’s a wide variety of comics in the newspaper. I read the ones I like and pass over those that don’t. If one of the comics I usually read goes in a direction that I don’t like or just plain bores me, then I stop reading it for a while. If I think the feature continues to go downhill (in my taste), then it joins the others I don’t read.

    My God, this a comic strip you’re talking about here, involving FICTITIOUS characters.
    It’s not like Tom Batiuk is advocating the spread of cancer. And, yes, comics are allowed to be serious and profound, not just limited to “being funny”. If that’s too much for you, then skip over it and move on. But don’t be so presumptuous in trying to dictate what others should read and enjoy.

  37. Not reading Funky is simple enough. What gets me with my local newspaper is that in it’s place could be something funny like The Far Side, The Lockhorns, BC among others that my paper no longer has. Thankfully other carttonists aren’t following this morbid trend. Could you imagine Blondie or Hi and Lois dealing with tragic issues instead of giving us a few laughs. The real news is often bad enough.

  38. Well, the Far Side is no longer in syndication …

    And I don’t think kids should be exposed to the Lockhorns’ constant bickering, if I could help it. Talk about depressing …

  39. Dawn: If you read my notes you would see that I have faced my fear about possibly getting cancer. Any of us can die suddenly from a car accident or whatever. As far as my mother, it’s not so much about death–I know where she and I will go–but, it’s about how much she will suffer. I know that it’s not my decision, but I don’t want that for her.

    Wiley: Of course, comic people aren’t real–but people with cancer and their families are. I actually think bald is beautiful and many male bald actors are incredibly sexy. You miss my point entirely. I believe in democracy. And if enough people don’t like it, then let’s get rid of it. Of course we can choose to not read the paper even. Did you not read about the kids who read it and are afraid that their mother will die? Life-threatening illness is hard enough on adults, much less kids. But, I know most people won’t both to write about something unless they become passionate about it. And most people don’t respond to surveys. It’s just how it is–neither good nor bad. As I mentioned, I don’t mind serious or profound, but I do object to spreading fear. My brother is bald and looks great! BTW, he will be victorious over his disease.

    My brother told me the American Cancer Society recently published the number of people who died from cancer because they had no life insurance. The number was incredible–I don’t remember it exactly and can’t find it that quickly on the webs site right not, but it was in the thousands.

    Actually, my husband reminded me that the first time cancer had an impact on my life was when my best friend’s father died of it when she and I were juniors in high school. She took it very hard, and neither of us were equipped to deal with it.

    It appears some people aren’t hearing me, so I’ll try to explain myself better.

  40. If I were a kid, gag-a-day strips would suffice. But I’m not; in fact, I’m 57 years old and recall Day 1 for Funky, along with For Better of Worse and Doonesbury, both of which have tastefully and delicately dealt with death and other major life issues while still being humorous and entertaining. For the comics writers and artists, this is not a mere work-a-day job – it’s art, and art is the imitation of life, the expression of the artist’s thoughts and soul.

    Kiddie comics can live in the three-fingered netherlands without change or any acknowledgement of the real world. Contemporary art cannot. And in our day-to-day, dealing with issues the way Batiuk, Johnston, and Trudeau have done, and, hopefully, will continue to do (except Lynn Johnston, who recently wrapped up all her strip’s storylines), is exactly how I have dealt with my own situations – see them through, end-to-end, but without losing my ability to occasionally smile.

  41. I do not look to comics for art. I look to them to make me smile. I did, however, find more of Mr. Batiuk’s quote about grief being the price we pray for love and how you do that. Do what? Grieve? He also said we live in a rather cold and indifferent universe. That is his perception–and for him it is real. It is not mine. He also said Lisa’s Story is a celebration of the miracle about how the love she and her husband share has endured and how even death can’t diminish it. I’m thankful that I understand better where Mr. Batiuk is coming from–but to me, he comes from a negative place. And as we learn to accommodate the death of those we have loved, it is diminished or we don’t move on to feel love and joy again. (This has happened to people I know and they are unhappy souls.) We don’t forget them.

    Writing in this blog has helped me understand why “Funky” has bothered me for so long. It seems to me there are more positive ways to celebrate true love than to focus on the death and grief it brings us.

    But, if Mr. Batiuk chooses to focus on the negative, there are numerous twists the Lisa story could take. For example:
    – Lisa could be denied a procedure because her insurance won’t cover it. And why? They may think it’s wasteful since her odds are so low.
    – Her husband could become her full-time caretaker, lose his job (or lose it because of the grief he feels even before she dies), and she could lose all her insurance.
    – Her husband could go into a depression over his grief and they could become homeless.
    Do these things really happen? They do.

    – On the other hand, she could be that medical miracle that still occurs, or other miracles could take place.

    From where I sit, God’s Word tells us how to love and how to grieve. It also says there is a time to be silent and a time to speak. I thank you Mr. Gardner for the opportunity to speak, but after this blog, I will be silent. And although I don’t understand why some things happen, I trust that all things work for the good for those who love God. Peace.

  42. Kill her off already. The strip has never been funny, not even close to funny. Not even all that interesting. Strips like this are what gives comics a bad name.

    Kill her, bury her and make it all go away.

  43. There’s nothing new about death in the daily cartoons (perhaps the term “comic” strips is, and always has been, misleading). I remember the car accident death of Kit Burns, who was engaged to Steve Roper (or was it Kerry Drake) more than 50 yrs. ago! It was sad (and obviously memorable for me!) but even as a child I could deal with it.

  44. OK, it’s Tuesday and she has not assumed room temperature yet.

    Getting close, she’s playing the solitary version of 3 blind mice.

    Dibs on the the contents of her change purse!

    What a ridiculous story arc.

    It’s plots like this and FBOFW reruns that are killing off comics.

  45. Today’s strip isn’t coming up on any of the web outlets…must be incredibly high viewership today.

  46. I, too, feel that comics are an art form, especially when they are well-drawn and well
    thought out. My three favorite strips, Funky, Doonesbury and FBOFW are the ones that tell continuous stories and all three have dealt with difficult subjects in a very tasteful way.

    The artist-creator has chosen this medium as a vehicle of expression. It is no
    different than looking at a painting or hearing music. The reader/viewer/listener will
    perceive the work according to his/her own life experience and world-view.

  47. As a breast cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy, I am receiving lots of cards, notes, and emails encouraging and supporting me. I am expecting to live a long life as it was discovered fairly early. But I want to thank Tom Battiuk for his sensitive depiction of the illness and death of his character Lisa. We all need to confront our feelings about loss of ones we love and our own inevitable death. None of us expects to die today, although we could be hit by a bus or choke on food. So therefore, we think of death as something that will happen in 15, 20, or 50 years from now. We all need to look at our priorities and figure out how we want to spend whatever time we have. There is a wonderful motto from the Shaker religion, “Do your work as though you had a thousand years to live and as if you were to die tomorrow.” Thank you, Tom Battiuk, for making us think about our dying tomorrow.

  48. Wednesday update. Still thinking this strip is lame. Lisa has not yet assumed room temperature but alas, the face masked tuxedo clad grim reaper has arrived to take Lisa away from that goober pansy husband of her’s obviously to make her Queen & master of hell.

    While I appreciate the gravity of the situation for those who have survived a major illness, at what point do you stop being a victim? Creating a plot line so “survivors” can preach to others is a bit arrogant and and is at best condescending. Ever think that maybe people don’t need reminding on how terrible an illness is and just because you lost the role of the health dice doesn’t give you brownie points for a pity party?

    I still call dibs on her change purse.

  49. I have never contributed to this message board before today, but i find it fascinating to see the different opinions expressed about the current arc of Funky Winkerbean. I, like many of the people who have already written, and like most of society, have been touched by cancer. I lost my wife to cancer 9 years ago and remarried a woman who lost her sister to cancer about 10 years ago. Thus the arc of Lisa dying has hit home in our household. I have found it brutal to read the strip each day, finding myself remembering the horror that my family faced when my wife was diagnosed with cancer and eventually died. Yet i still read the story each day and think that it is remarkable that Mr. Batiuk has chosen to end Lisa’s life in the midst of “the funny papers.” I realize that many people don’t want to find “real life” intruding into their comic strips, but what is happening to Lisa has happened and continues to happen each day to many people, and sometimes a message can be sent and this is an appropriate forum to bring that message. The mere fact that people are discussing the strip helps to bring cancer eradication into discussion,

  50. It appears that For Better Or For Worse may kill off a main character the same day that Funky Winkerbean kills off Lisa Moore.

    In the FBOFW comic strip that appears on October 3, 2007, Grandpa Jim’s new wife, Iris, comes in and asks Jim what he wants (as he can’t speak properly since his stroke in 2006). The last panel, since Jim doesn’t respond, shows Iris screaming in horror, “JIM!”

    Apparently, on October 4, 2007, Jim and Lisa Moore will both pass into comic strip history.

    For links to these strips, use these links (the first one is to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the second one is to the official Funky site, and the third is to the official FBOFW site):

    Bill near Philly

  51. Leaving it open with a dream sequence. Smart move! Makes it possible to bring her back from the dead. Maybe she can come back healthy as a horse because she went thru some new experimental treatment that was top secret, so they staged her death. Hey, they bring back the dead in TV soap operas all the time, so why not do it in this newspaper soap opera.

  52. Bill, since I read about how Lisa was certainly going to die this fall so long ago on this site, I was not especially surprised by the recent strips’ content. Today, however, the unannounced (apparent) death of Grandpa Jim in FBOFW was a huge surprise to me. Part of it also might be that I’m more invested in the characters of FBOFW than those of “Funky,” but still…
    It was a very unexpected development, to say the least.

  53. Iknow it will sound silly to some, but I’m 62 year old male, I have never cried over a comic strip before.
    It’s like a good book, you get to know the people in the story.
    If you deal with life, you must deal with death one way or another.
    Mr. Batiuk is teaching us about both.
    I have lost loved ones and each of us deal with greif in our own way. I hope the yours will be easy. Take care!

  54. Uh oh…..Hagar’s doctor is concerned that he gained weight. I hope he doesn’t get killed off too.

  55. Thank you for the gifted and sentimental story line about Lisa. I lost my mom a little over a year ago to cancer and a lot of the segments brought back many memories. My dad in particular became a little teary eyed when Les had to get Lisa out of the wheelchair and he called it the wheelchair mumbo. Dad often said to mom, “Now I get to dance with you and hold you in my arms.” You have lifted the calliber of the “funnies” to a new level. Bless you

  56. I have read this strip since Funky and Les were in school and maybe when I was in High school at the same time some 25 years ago or more.

    I think in life it is important that art should imitate it. We all know what can happen in life and this is a reminder to live it the best you can and to appreciate the ones you love that you share it with. For some, this character was personified either due to their attachment with the strip, or due to an event that occurred in their lives. For me, it was both and the way Lisa passed reminds of my own mother whom I lost to cancer when I was 5 years old. There is redemption in this of course, an end and a beginning.

    I applaud the artist in actually making us all think, and to some degree, feel.

  57. Congratulations you have killed Lisa off. How pitiful of you to continue on with this story line when you knew it would HURT and offend so many who have gone through this hell. Well Mr. whatever you are I am no longer interested in your Funky Winkerbean “Comics” and I don’t care what cause you are going after now. I am not and will not be interested in any further reading of any of your work. To tell you the truth, there is something seriously wrong with you. I can tell by the way Crankshaft’s comics are coming along. They are totally BORING and hold no interest for me. Crankshaft does the same thing over and over and states some dumb sayings. He really used to make me laugh before but now, forget it. Maybe you will have some gruesome story for that particular “FUNNY” soon also. I think you need help and I think you have lost a lot of respect in continuing with the Lisa cancer story. You should certainly seek help for yourself because there is something sadistic or self-serving in you, especially that you took the “laughter and fun” out of our newpapers. If we wanted to read a sad story there are plenty in the newspaper and also if we wanted to know about Lisa dying we would have bought your book. I guess that isn’t enough for you. Someday our newspaper will have a vote if we should keep your comic strip going and believe me I think you will not continue on in this town.

  58. I would like to thank Mr. Batiuk for his hard work and this story which has opened my eyes a bit more. I may be only 20 years old but this sort of thing can happen to anyone at any time. I’ve enjoyed these comics since I was a child, I am sadden by Lisa’s death and the coming of the last days for Grandpa Jim in FBorFW. Just remember everything can’t have happy ending death comes and sometimes in it’s place great things come.

  59. 24 hours into eternity and Lisa is still dead.

    Where’s her kid been? Did her goofball husband toss the kid out on the street? Was she stuffed in a closet to spend years chained to the floor eating flies that wandered in? Will the FBI be digging up the yard all the while they are investigating and looking into the medications Goffball gave his wife?

    Will the next arc involve some jail time and an cell-mate named Bubba who now has a new sock washer?

  60. I haven’t ready Funky in a long time, just started reading it again recently with the Lisa storyline and I have a few comments for some of the naysayers out there that believe that this comic has gone too far.

    I lost my best friend nearly two years ago to breast cancer and her life story very closely resembled a number of things that happend in this particular story arc. Did I find the “humor” in this strip insensitive? No. Did I think he went too far? No. Did I think this was inappropriate for the comic section? No.

    Let me explain. When dealing with a life-altering situation, such as this cancer, one must always find the humor in the situation. There were many times when my friend and I (and others) would make pointed comments about her disease – at the end she had a tracheotomy and was on oxygen full time. Her biggest fear was not that the cancer would kill her, but that something else – infection, a fall, etc. – would. Many times over the past month I have smiled through my tears as I read the daily strip – I had lived most of the emotions and had been in many of the same situations. Tom portrayed Lisa’s final journey with the mixture of sadness, humor and love that we all felt when my friend was on her owne “journey.”

    In real life there are no miracles when the cancer is as advanced as Lisa’s was. The “dream sequence,” as it was referred to by a prior post, was hit especially hard for me since the last social contact I had with my friend before her death was to attend a performance of the play “Phantom of the Opera.”

    Somehow I think that Tom was looking over our shoulders and relaying our experiences. I am sorry that many of you were offended by this story arc and I hope that you never need to feel any of these emotions or experience any of this pain. If you do, the archived strips will have an entirely new meaning for you. It is unfortunate, but all of us at some point will most likely meet a Lisa, a Funky or a Les.

    As far as the strip tackling other “less funny” issues, my response is still the same. No matter how difficult the situation might be, handling it with humor, be it dark humor or slapstick, makes it easier to get through the days.

  61. I have been a faithful reader of Funky Winkerbean since it first appeared. Eerily the events of Les Mooreâ??s life have paralleled mine.

    A little more than a year and half ago I lost my wife to (brain) cancer, two weeks before what would have been our 9th wedding anniversary.

    The last several weeks of Funky have been as if Mr. Batiuk had followed me through my wifeâ??s illness. The events portrayed – seeing the leaves one more time, the care giverâ??s mambo, the visit from helpful neighbors and friends, even the teddy bear in bed with Lisa – mirrored our â??journeyâ? nearly two years ago.

    Todayâ??s strip with Lesâ?? comment about going â??â?¦nonstop because if I stopped even for a second Iâ??d start wondering if Iâ??d done everything I could have.â? address the same demons that have continued to haunt me for the past year and a half.

    Thank you, Mr. Batiuk, for treating this awful disease in such a tasteful and sensitive way. Thank you also for helping me see that these emotions are universal, and for reminding me that I am â??normalâ?.

    I will miss Lisa.

  62. So Lisa died (in the comic strip) yesterday and I was dreading having to read today’s (Oct. 5) strip. Thankfully, Les has now aged 10 yrs. and we don’t have to see him immediately after Lisa’s death (I had pictured some really sad scenario we’d have to endure for a week). Looking forward to seeing what happens next. The Lisa death thing was hard for me as a long-time reader even though I was not a big fan of that character. Every day it was hard to read the strip but yet I couldn’t tear myself away. I’m just glad it’s over.

  63. I had never really paid much attention to the whole Funky Winkerbean or Crankshaft comics. Both were rather pointless in the sense they were repeat comics. Year after year the same material. Until he added parts about the war and Lisa’s fight against cancer. I watched cancer take my grandfather way and the comic hit home for me. I was glad he did not take the cheesy way out ie the miracle cure. So for me the comic expressed Lisa’s joy for life and her fight to survive and then her acceptance of things that cannot be changed.
    I however feel really sad for the woman who cried out that is was terrible and that if the newspaper in her town took a vote it would get rid of that comic. I mean grow up. People like you are a lot of the problem with the world today. If its “bad” dont print it. If its “bad” I dont want to know about it.
    Then again my two favorite comics were Doonesbury and Bloom County. If it gets you to respond if it makes you think isnt it worth the bother and the inconvenience, and yes the sadness?

  64. I want to thank Mr. Batiuk for this comic strip. My brother-in-law passed away 9/29/07 after a six month battle with a rare, incurable brain cancer. The doctors said that he would have 1-2 years to live and the cancer took his life after only 6 months. My sister picked up the paper one day to read the comics and was hoping to have a couple of laughs, in turn she found this comic. My whole family feels that Mr. Batiuk wrote this comic strip after the short battle my family had to go through. My sister told me one day, that every time she opened the paper and to read this comic it went along with everything that my brother and sister went through. When I opened the paper this morning to see what was going to happen today, I broke into tears. Because I have been trying to convince my sister for the past month that she did do all that she could do. She was with Paul right up to the last breath he took and she feels that she should have done more.

    I would like to thank Mr. Batiuk for this comic once more. I hope that it makes people realize that everything that Les went through is exactly what all of the families of cancer patients go through.

    Thank you on behalf of my whole family.

  65. I have been reading the “Funky” strip for probably 31 years now. I have always enjoyed the fact that Mr. B used real life experiences and I could relate to certain of his characters. Now I am 41 and have lived through teenage to adulthood circumstances and I always looked to the Comic Section of the local paper to pull me through whether it was serious or hilarious a combination of a sense of humor and my Faith has proven to be a great prescription for survival.

    11/01/06 was the hardest day of my life. My Father was in a Nursing Home but had been on Hospice Care for a better part of 7 years. The last couple of weeks has really been comforting for Me and My Mother because we sat by his bed his last week of life and truly this comic strip has revealed the distance a loved one will go and the deep devotion that one feels for their spouse that is hurting. I understand my Parents more watching the looks on each other’s face as my Father slipped away from my Mother, me and my

    When we received the death certificate, we were not shocked but at some point had a feeling that he was suffering from Cancer of some sort. He had a lot of ailments that contributed to the Angels coming for him but until it was in print and confirmed by the Dr. could we really understand all he was going through.

    My Father was a fighter and a very helpful Man–be believed that if you needed help, then you were to do everything you could to help someone. He became an organ donor when we signed him up for Hospice and when he died about the only thing that was useful was his EYES. The were the prettiest Blue and could look at you straight to your soul. My Mother received a letter that the day after my Father passed away someone was seeing again through those eyes and in a way, my Father was alive again.

    She has been a “Funky” follower too over these years and we applaud the author for not revealing a morbid, finality to Lisa’s story, but to those of us who have lost loved ones and are moving now with them watching over us…..That is how my Father would have wanted an ending to be written in his memory and I am glad that we have this strip.

    This should not be taken as a Ending..It is a beginning for the next generation!

  66. I’m very sad that lisa dies becuz of her breast cancer. here is a slient moment ………………………………………..:(

  67. Love the column, and as a 22 year survivor of Breast Cancer, I love the story line, and could not wait to get the paper each day. Except for the grace of God, I could have been her. Thank you again for helping us, all of us, remember how precious everyday with your family is!!!

  68. How wonderful and touching. If it saves one life by brining awareness to the battle of cancer, than it is worth it. If you don’t like it don’t read it. Thank God for free speech. There is no way the true plight of the cancer battle could have been completely portrayed, the pain, anguish, and many times tortures fight. We need the real deal, too often we get lost in make believe that has no value. Wake up! Cancer is real, death is real, whom are we protecting by always telling sweet, funny antidotes. The story and its author did well. It was tastefully told and well received. God Bless! Keep up the great work.

  69. I stumbled upon the comic strip and it’s story by accident. I thought it was very tastfully done with some humor. My father passed away in July, basically from old age. It helped me through that time and although the character is fictional I felt the saddness of the loss to a family that cancer brings. Yes it’s a though issue for the funny pages, but again I felt it was well done.

  70. As a breast cancer survivor I totally support Tom in how he portrayed the life and death of his character who also had breast cancer. Although I do not focus on the thought daily, with any cancer, we must be honest with ourselves and know that death is always a possibility from cancer, as is a full life with cancer in remission. For me, every day is a gift, every moment to be cherished. Each oppurtunity I am given, I try and leave a good memory with my family and my friends. To quote Tim McGraw, I “live like I was dying” because if you think about it, is there really any other way to live? For anyone. Death is always painful no matter what the situation, nor the cause. But death always follows life. No matter what, it comes to us whether we are ready or not, sick or healthy, young or old. Instead of focusing on the negative, why don’t we try and see that what Toms is trying to say is really positive. I think her “death” was handled with diginity and compassion. I can only pray that mine, one day and one way or another, will be the same.
    Thank you for bringing awareness to breast cancer and the struggle it brings to all involved. May we always fight on!

  71. I believe what Tom did with this comic strip was wonderful. He showed what some people have to go through in life. Comic strips do not always have to be funny they can be about serious things in life. This is a good way to educate people. I never read this comic as much as I did until I found out Lisa’s cancer was worse. I cried each day that I read it. I have had family members die with cancer. I wish she could have lived to raise her little girl but, in real life that doesn’t always happen. And to the people who do not approve of this type of real life events in a comic strip DO NOT have to read it.

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