Funky Winkerbean Character, Lisa Moore, to Pass Away October 4

I’ve received confirmation from King Features that the Funky Winkerbean character, Lisa Moore, will pass away on Thursday October 4. The story-line will ultimately conclude on October 26th upon which the comic feature will leap 10 years into the future and focus on the sons and daughters of the strip’s original characters.

In addition to the conclusion of the cancer-death story arc, Tom Batuik, the feature’s creator, will also kick off a book tour to promote his book “Lisa’s Story: The Other Shoe” which consists of the entire story-line (both the story line of Lisa’s first battle with cancer seven years ago as well as the recent) and it will contain resources for “hospice, and palliative care resources.” He’s also partnered with The University Hospitals Ireland Cancer Center in Cleveland, Ohio to set up “Lisa’s Legacy Fund for Cancer Research and Education” to raise money for cancer research and education including, “the development of a breast cancer vaccine, breakthrough chemotherapy treatments, and new approaches to radiation treatments.”

I’ll post more details as they become available

47 thoughts on “Funky Winkerbean Character, Lisa Moore, to Pass Away October 4

  1. I’ve thought for awhile that she would died in October, because it’s breast cancer awareness month.

    Good for him for making it real and drawing attention and resources to this disease.

  2. I figured there would be a month or so of “afterlife” to transition the surviving cast in age. It’s going to be an interesting ride.

  3. He’s taking the easy way out. He’s wringing everything he can from Lisa’s death, and not showing anyone actually having to DEAL with it afterward.

  4. this has been the most unrealistic portrayal of how a woman with a 5 yr old child would behave if faced with cancer. get off all treatments and just die. what a pile of … this whole story line is so contrived it is unbelievable. talk about someone who should get some help..

  5. unfortunately, this is a subject that requires alot more depth than 3 or 4 blocks of a daily cartoon could possibly provide

  6. It should be interesting to see Summer, Les, and all of the others age 10 years. Since the Crankshaft characters are sometimes featured in Funky Winkerbean, I wonder if the Crankshaft characters will age 10 years, too.

  7. As someone who helped his then 12 and 8 year old daughters deal with their mother’s pancreatic cancer, I can tell you the storyline is all too real…

    Beautifully done, too.

  8. I gotta say this is the unfunniest thing I’ve ever read in the comics. Except for ‘Candorville’, yeah, that’s worse than dying of cancer.
    Does anyone else get an impression of faint arrogance in this strip? Everyone always has these all knowing smirks of ‘gooy we’re so much deeper, more sensitive and human than you bleating readers.’ Maybe I’m wrong, but having experienced a cancer death in my family I have to say this strip is portraying what Batiuk would LIKE a cancer death to be like, instead of what it is really like.
    And, to be cynical, it’s a great way to get attention for an outdated, owrn out boring strip.
    At one time, or so the legends go, ‘Funky Winkerbean’ was funny.

  9. I lost an aunt and uncle to lung cancer and another aunt to breast cancer. The cartoon brings back so many painful memories. However, Batuik has done a beautiful job with the arc. One thing I would like to add, if you pay careful attention to the arc, you will find that it often jumps several days ahead. I look forward to buying the Lisa’s Story book when it hits the shelves. Does anyone know or can anyone tell me if Batuik will be doing a book signing in the Ohio areas of Kettering or Centerville?

  10. I was disappointed in Lisa’s dying. Cancer has touched my life as a grandchild, child, and sibling, we all know people die of cancer and there isn’t anything you can do. You always think if I could just save them, somehow, someway. The reality of death is there all the time it’s the miracle that we look for. Mr.Batiuk had the power to save her something most wish for. I’ll miss Lisa. I hope she raises alot of money for cancer research.

  11. As someone who’s had to be the caregiver for a spouse with a devastating illness, Tom Batuik has been a little lax by not getting into the obvious struggle that Les is going through. Les has been WAY to calm throughout all of this, and that’s not the reality.

  12. I have been following this story avidly every day even though I know the outcome. I applaude Tom for his honesty in showing life the way it is and not with a Pollyanna happy ending. There is a lot more honesty and power in this so-called ‘comic’ strip than in most books and movies. As one who attempts to write myself, I would give anything to create a character who would touch people’s lives and imaginations the way Lisa has. She will not be forgotten.

  13. It will be interesting to see how Wally’s situation will be handled when they fast forward ten years…..

  14. As a former caregiver for both a brain cancer patient and an alzheimer’s patient, I think Les’ portrayal isn’t that far off. You tend to put on a “brave face” to the outside world and to the patient. It’s when you’re alone that you break down.

  15. I applaud Mr. Batuik’s approach to Lisa’s cancer, remission and relapse. Having battled breast cancer twice myself, I found the storyline quite human and compelling. The complaints about the strip, by and large, focus on how unhappy and unfunny cancer is. What they don’t mention is how frightening cancer is. Perhaps people are objecting to death by cancer not because it isn’t a big chuckle but because it’s chillingly frightening to contemplate. Relax. There are worse things than dying of breast cancer.

  16. I would love to be able to ignore this garbage, but unfortunately, it appears right beneath “Blondie” in my paper. Blondie incidentally is a long running funny comic, and one of my favorites. If the author decides to follow this ridiculous trend and kill off Blondie or Dagwood, then I’ll really be mad.

  17. people dont need to be reminded of cancer funky winkerbean used to be funny remember the leave in the fall? there once was a leaf from nantucket. bring back that old school funky

  18. Yeah the leaves were funny! And just a few weeks ago Funky and Crazy (I think thats the guys name) went back to school and found their old locker with a pizza in it. And Harry’s band antics. And the pizza place. That is entertaining.

  19. For someone whose spouse has undegone chemo and radiation, and still the outlook is not too good, Batuik’s chronicle hits too close for comfort. But, that’s reality and he’s done an outstanding job potraying this terrible disease’s effect on the patient and all who are part of this sad event.

  20. To advance the story line 10 years is a cop-out. By then Les will have remarried and Summer will have totally forgotten her mother. I would like to see him focus on Les raising his daughter as a single parent and trying to pay the bills on a teacher’s income. I would also like to know what’s going on with Becky, her pregnancy, her adopted daughter, and her job as band director. Especially with her crazy mother as the head of the band boosters, there could be a lot of funny story lines there.

  21. I have read the Funky Winkerbean strips for at least 20 years. Many were very funny but people forget there have been many trials and tribulations along the way…. Lisa’s teenage pregnancy and her excrutiating decision to give her baby up for adoption…Funky’s alcoholism…Wally’s wreck that left Becky without an arm (and he, by the way, is currently in Iraq). Just like For Better or For Worse, Funky has had many light sides to life while touching base on real issues. Don’t like it? Skip it.

  22. Has anyone noticed that the people angry about the content of the strip are all people who don’t have cancer themselves? People with cancer seem to be understanding of the comic and appreciate its accuracy. I think those who are offended by the subject actually have a personal, fundamental fear of sickness and mortality that really should be addressed. Fear breeds anger, and thus the anger at the comic is really misplaced fear of death–which, no matter how one tries to deny it, WILL happen to all of us. Deborah T., thank you for reminding us that there are worse things than dying of breast cancer.

  23. If you dont like it, dont read it. I think he handled it beautifully, although it saddened me more each day, and even though I know she would die today, opening the paper to that page this morning was difficult. I feel like I am mourning a real person, but realize that she is many of us.
    I also have Cancer.

  24. People people come on! Give Mr. Batiuk a break. He’s telling the story from HIS POINT OF VIEW. As the survivor of 2 cancer deaths in my immediate family (dad & brother), I can tell you this portrayal was real in the respect that everyone has a unique experience when dying with the disease, or watching someone die with it. My dad’s death was very sad, yet my brothers was from the moment of his diagnosis, a celebration of his life, his rules, his party. I believe that Mr. Batiuk’s portrayal was as real as any could be as reaction to any death is different from any other. I was left with a deep void and sadness this morning after reading it. And the man that came and took her away was, though kind of creepy, very real and fitting. Congratulations Mr. Batiuk, for stirring and awakening some reaction (good or bad) in all of us.

  25. I was saddened by the perception that Les didn’t hear Lisa say “I love you” – but on further reflection, perhaps he did hear it in his heart and the hospice worker was just letting him know she was gone already. Either way it is sad. We’ve recently lost an aquaintence who fought for many years, as did Lisa, but who also knew when it was her time.
    I haven’t read Funky for a long time, since none of my papers carried it until recently. Is there a way to “catch up” on the different stories (besides the book, which I’ve ordered)?

  26. I’ve had a few relatives unsuccessfully battle cancer (my Dad’s older brother and sister, but this was after he passed away from a heart attack), but wasn’t near them much while they fought it, so I don’t know what a loved one goes through. My wife, on the other hand, lost her Mom 17 years ago, and had to take care of her while her father (not dad…he still doesn’t qualify to be called dad) sat and felt sorry for himself. I have no idea what the victim or the survivor struggles with, and I hope I never find out, but if it’s anything like what Mr. Batiuk has written, I pray for the strength to handle what needs to be done.
    Well done, Tom.

  27. I think Mr.Batiuk did a beautiful job of portraying Lisa’s battle with cancer. Les stood by her til the very end. I have read this comic strip for years and always enjoyed the various stories prsented. If you don’t like the way a comic story is presented then don’t read it.

  28. Lisa, you were brave & wonderful. Enjoy your rest, you deserve it. You are free of your earthly, cancer-ridden, frail shell, may your spirit fly far & wide. God Bless.

  29. In response to Albert Caban’s question regarding a way to catch up on older strips and storyline arcs, I suggest you look into subscribing to, which distributes Funky, Crankshaft, Blondie, The Family Circus, Beetle Bailey, and many other comics every day via e-mail and also by login/web access.

    Once a subscriber, you have the ability to navigate back in time to view any one or all of your selected/subscribed comics. One caveat: I cannot vouch for how far back their online archives go, but I have been a subscriber for two years this month. Reasonably priced, too!

    I find it eerily coincidental that in today’s For Better or For Worse ( Elly’s father Jim has had a second (and apparently massive) stroke. Even though today’s “funnies” were not, they made me stop and reflect on all of the blessing I receive each day. Thank you, Tom Batuik and Lynn Johnston.

  30. >>

    It is not coincidental at all, as I predicted that Jim would have a massive health failure (or death) at around the time of Lisa’s death, as the two cartoons have been “competing” for the last year to see which could “out grim” the other, with Lisa and Jim.

    It was announced in the media a couple months ago that Lisa would die in October, so it figures that “For Better or For Worse” would not allow themselves to be outdone.

    Actually they got it over mercifully quickly with Lisa, as I was concerned that it might be dragged out in agonizing detail until the end of October. They didn’t show even 10% of just how bad it could be.

    My sister’s husband died of cancer a few years ago, so I am well aware of just how agonizing it can be.

  31. My father passed away this July from cancer. He stopped all his treatments also, as Lisa did. Hospice was there. I remember him losing his sight right before he passed away. One thing I will never forget is him waving bye to my sisters and I the day before he passed away. He wanted to watch the last Rocky which is something my brother and him used to make a special day of, he passed away surrounded by those who loved him in his bed. This storyline is realistic, this comic is realistic. I’ve been reading it since it’s inception and the characters and I about the same age. Life is fun of fun, antics, and craziness, it’s also full of tragedy and human emotions that we are afraid of, especially our own mortality. Huzzah to Tom Batuik!

    The last writer wrote of FBoFW. I praise Lynn Johnston for her humanity too.

    Keep it up, thank you for helping me think about what is important in life, sometimes it’s the comics that keep me in touch with reality more than CNN or other forms of the media.

  32. I cried when reading today’s strip about Lisa’s death. I was standing by my husband’s hospital bed when he died from the effects of ONE chemo treatment for metastatic bladder cancer. I also was at my friend’s home holding her hand as she died from blood cancer, having chosen to discontinue hopeless treatments in order to be home with her husband and children. I think Lisa’s choice and Batiuk’s depiction are both realistic and both helpful. As for humor, it’s subtle but it’s there; just in the last two weeks final panels have mentioned taco lasagna and loving to shop. Perhaps Les’s remark last week about how Lisa liked to lead when dancing foreshadowed her leading the dance into her new life after death.

  33. Neither of my papers carry this, so I have to catch up online every so often. The first one I saw today (10/5) was the older Les talking to the unseen therapist, so I knew… I went back to 9/16 (as far back as it went) and was crying even before I got to yesterday’s.
    I don’t have personal experience watching someone die but the storyline touched me. I think it is because of (a) knowing some people with breast cancer and (b) as a mom of young kids finding it hard to fathom leaving them.
    As for getting it online, another source is the Seattle Post-Intelligencer site (goes back 3 weeks, I think). Just google “funky winkerbean seattle” and it’ll be the first or second link.

  34. I find it interesting how he depicted Death…

    And how parts of it took place either in the heart or the mind’s eye. I haven’t read much of Funky Winkerbean but this story’s conclusion has moved me a lot.

  35. Since my comments early Oct. 4 it has been an interesting experience to read the comments of others that followed. What a group of caring and compassionate folks. The depth of the feelings expressed was generally not for the ink on paper, but the humanity the story represented and told.
    For those who prefer more “funny” in the “funnies, remember most comics over the decades have not been funny, but pretty serious stories, with interesting story lines, and pretty good art work [e.g. Prince Valiant].

    We recharge our batteries with humor, but we live with the serious.

  36. I admire Tom Batiuk for sharing with the world what watching a cancer patient die is like. My husband recently lost his battle with a rare form of sarcoma. He died at home with me by his side. Since his death occurred over a major holiday weekend, the hospice workers were not available, although they had prepared me well for what was to come. None of us expected it so soon. I cannot say enough good for hospice workeres–they were wonderful! They made my husband’s last few days bearable for both him and me. The naysayers above should have to spend a year or so watching their best friend and lover slowly waste away. Tom Bautick’s portrayal of Lisa and Les was very accurate–perhaps a bit bland in places, but accurate enough for those of us who have been there to appreciate his delivery of the subject. After you have sat with someone during weeks of 24-hour, 5 days a week intense chemo, 6 weeks of intense concentrated radiation, followed by mmore chemo, followed by the down days when the blood count is too low to take chemo, then he/she may criticize the cartoonist.

  37. My Aunt died of cancer just last year.

    The shakes at the end are what jolted me the most, I was not there first hand, and they still jolted me. Just like Lisa at the end.

    Today we jump 10 years.

    Death is a part of life, we as a people continue.

  38. The 10 year advance isn’t the first time this was done in Funky : right after graduation they all aged too, remember?What throws me a bit is the portrayal of Summer with her Dad in Central Park. How old was she when Lisa died? She looks well into her teens(like 18) in today’s strip. And I taught junior high for years, so I am not expecting her to still be in little kids clothes.

    The “I Ching” hasn’t appeared in awhile either. But all my band director friends have now retired so I can’t speak to Harry’s retirement.

    Batiuk is a local guy, and I remain a fan.

  39. The 10 year advance isn’t the first time this was done in Funky : right after graduation they all aged too, remember?What throws me a bit is the portrayal of Summer with her Dad in Central Park. How old was she when Lisa died? She looks well into her teens(like 18) in today’s strip. And I taught junior high for years, so I am not expecting her to still be in little kids clothes.

    The “I Ching” hasn’t appeared in awhile either. But all my band director friends have now retired so I can’t speak to Harry’s retirement.

    Batiuk is a local guy, and I remain a fan.And I watched my mother die of kidney cancer; there was a lot to identify with.

  40. hey..i’m confused..i read this comic EVERY day, but the ten year fast-forward was a little whacked. why is Becky all of a sudden married to the Comix guy? where is Wally, her husband? is he dead? they don’t really explain any of this in the strip. would be easier for Becks just to get a prosthetic arm tho heh. great strip 🙂

  41. On August 22 I got the lab results. Now I am a cancer patient. Before that day cancer had hit close to home but I never felt close to the word cancer. Two cousins and my father died of cancer and my mother had cancer and survived. I am going to have the da Vinci Robotic Prostatectomy in December. I am totally fascinated with the mechanics of robotic surgery. I want to see my prostate after it is removed but the doctor said he has to send it to pathology and it will be frozen and sliced up, there will be nothing left to see. I want a spinal block so I can be awake during the operation but I can’t have that either. I can’t watch it on the video monitor. I don’t my limp body laying on the operating table, me unconscious unable to know what is going deep inside of my body. I don’t want to be put under and have this done to me to remove my cancerous prostate. I have no symptoms, I feel don’t feel sick and the adenocarcinoma is not yet a tumor and cannot be felt. All I know is that my PSA is 4.9 and normal is 4.0 and 1 of 8 biopsy cores had 30% cancer. I cried when Lisa died. I would like to say that when the time comes that if my cancer is too widespread I will make the same choice as Lisa did.

  42. Danny, the great thing about unconsciousness is that you don’t realize it’s gone by. You won’t even dream. You’ll just close your eyes and wake up with the work done. Besides, this is your own body you’re talking about. Take it from me, you don’t want to watch them at work. When the reality hits you about what you’re seeing, you won’t want to see it any more.

    As someone who lost a family member and two close friends (and may still lose a third) to cancer, you have my best wishes, and I hope you have a good support structure of friends and family to help you through the healing process.

  43. To some people it may not seem important, to my wife it was. Please
    help me if you can. Since we had no computer until 2 days ago, I have been trying to figure out how i can do this for her:

    My wife saved the strip of funky winkerbean about the superhero’s coming in to stay with the lady(man), I don’t read he comic strips) who was dying. Her nieces had stayed with their dad from April until July tho he did not die of cancer it was not an easy time for them. She had tried to buy picture frames to put that particular issue in for months. (We live on SS only so it took a while) Non the less, when she went into our bedroom i had inadvertenly thrown them out. Is there any way you could help me with the dates the superhero’s (girls) came into the room and stayed with (not certain since i really don’t read comics but the girls had on capes, etc. All my wife wanted was to show these 2 girls how much she appreciated not only their love for her brother but the diligence they showed in caring for him all those months. i really messed up by accidentally throwing them away. Also my wife, her brother and I were with my brother in law the whole time, for at least two weeks at a time, trying to fill in for some respite for the girls. When she read this strip, she cried, knowing how much these grils did for her brother.


  44. I thought you wanted to know who was actually inquiring about this and tho my wife, Paulette has tried to figure out what to do, I am the one inquiring since I’m the one who accidently trashed the papers.

    Superhero girls, being there for dying person.

    Thanks again

  45. My earlier postings of 10/4/97 and 10/7/07 noted my wife’s bout with cancer and the similarities to Lisa.
    On August 22, 2008 cancer won and I lost my wife.

    In a recent strip, Lisa shows up again as an inspiration to her husband by standing behind him. Unfortunately this does not happen physically, but I wouldn’t rule it out spiritually.

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