Funky Winkerbean features inter-racial relationship

The latest Funky Winkerbean story-line is taking widowed character Les into a bi-racial relationship. Les lost Lisa to cancer a couple of years ago in a multi-month story-arc that sparked a national dialog on the appropriateness of death on the comics page. So far, the inter-racial story-line hasn’t generated much discussion aside from a blurb in the St. Louis Today web site. Most of the comments for that article echo a “no big deal” attitude. I believe perhaps a decade or so ago, the story-line would have raised a few eyebrows.

82 thoughts on “Funky Winkerbean features inter-racial relationship

  1. Having grown up in the ‘Deep South’, I can tell ya, the area I live in is still very much entrenched in your ‘decade or so ago’ mentality. Even a cartoon strip about inter-racial stuff would go over like a whore in church. There’d be folks screaming at the local editors and cancelling their subscriptions to the local papers….if it even made it in. A lot of the editors in this part of the south wouldn’t even run the strip. It would just be quickly and quietly snatched out of the paper and replaced with as little fanfare as possible.

  2. I’ve been in an interracial relationship myself for eight years, I took a look at the article and said to myself “Meh, no big deal” but reading about places like the “Deep South” always brings me back to reality. Yes, there are people who are very opposed to the idea of interracial dating, but exposure is the way to overcoming that. The more we see these kinds of relationships, the closer society is to accepting them and Funky Winkerbean is doing its part to spread the word.

  3. Yawn.


    It’s not that it’s bad, it’s just…well, who cares anymore? I wanna see it be funny again, like when Les would sit with a Gatling gun as the hall monitor in school.

    Now it just seems to wobble between being morbid, tired, preachy or just flat out washed out and listless.

  4. It’s been many years since Kirk kissed Uhuru. For the majority of people in the US, interracial relationships are no big deal.

    That said, I’d be happier if this story had emerged from established characters, and if I didn’t get the feeling, as RS so delicately puts it, that there was a sense of self-righteous crusade going on here.

    When Lynn Johnston had Lawrence come out, that was a crusade. Given the time, it was wonderfully courageous, and it also followed a logical, tasteful line — he was an established character and it didn’t require him to make a lot of changes in how he conducted himself. Anyone who had a problem with it had a problem with the topic, not the way it was handled.

    But this story arc is forced and self-conscious. As a divorced guy, I’ve tried dating widows a few times, and, yes, there is a ghost in the backseat of the car, but J-F’ing-C, I never got the sense of a deathly blessing. That is simply puke-worthy.

    This arc reminds me of being back in the Sixties, when the “liberals” were producing “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner” and “All in the Family” and Sammy Davis Jr was shucking and jiving with his rat pack buddies to show how well WE all get along with THEM.

    Barf. And that was 40 years ago.

    Here singeth one:
    “The people of old Mississippi
    Should all hang their heads in shame
    I can’t understand how their minds work
    What’s the matter don’t they watch Les Crane?
    But if you ask me to bus my children
    I hope the cops take down your name
    So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal”
    — Phil Ochs

  5. “Seriously, when is Batiuk going to finally run out of â??AHHH! LOOK AT ME! I DRAW DEATH! CANCER!I.E.D.â??S RIPPING OFF BODY PARTS! TEEN SEX! CAR WRECKS! RACIAL MIXING! SMIRKS! LOTS AND LOTS OF SMIRKS!â? cartoons.”

    When they give him that pulitzer.

  6. “in the â??Deep Southâ??…a cartoon strip about inter-racial stuff would go over like a whore in church.”

    they go over fine in my church

  7. The purpose of the Civil Rights movement was to create a color-blind society and while not perfect by a long shot, no where has that been more successful than the South (capital “S). Black / white dating, marriage is met w/ one big yawn. So is this strip.

    To #2 post Mr. Beckom: The “Deep South” you described is called South America.

  8. “To #2 post Mr. Beckom: The â??Deep Southâ? you described is called South America.”

    No, I believe that would be Antarctica, Mike. And see how well integrated the inhabitants are there? They’re all black and white!

  9. I’d like to respond to Mike Beckom. I’ve lived in Alabama and Georgia since 1963, and I currently do the comic strip “Kevin & Kell” which features the marriage of a rabbit and wolf. Their relationship reflects every difference that divides humans, including racial ones. It has been carried by The Atlanta Journal Constitution since 2004.

  10. ok, knew I was opening a can o’ worms when I made my post so let me answer yours….

    to Bill Holbrook, congrats on your strip being so popular! Honestly though, the rabbit and wolf can and will be overlooked as ‘just a cartoon’ whereas the mixing of two different races of people will not be.

    to Julie Rivera,’exposure’ will not make much difference in people’s opinions as evidenced by the comment made by Miss California. “Cali’ is arguably one of the most liberal places in the US and yet, this young lady stood her ground and spoke her convictions about ‘gay marriages’. I don’t pre-judge anyone else’s relationships but I don’t support inter-racial relationships myself.

    To Mike Lester and Wiley Miller,

  11. sry, to Mike Lester and Wiley Miller, to make comments like yours does nothing to change anyone’s mind other than to add to the idea that YOU are the one’s who are close-minded. While integration happened when I was little, the races are still very much divided down where I live in South Carolina….not South America. I have grown up knowing nothing but integration and yet still to this day can go anywhere in SC and see evidence that segregation is alive and well. I don’t support segregation ….but I also don’t support Affirmative Action, hiring quotas, the Miss BLACK America pageant or Black Entertainment TV. And yet, they still exist. I ask you both respectfully not to ‘bad-mouth’ the place I live or prejudge those you can’t presume to know.

  12. “sry, to Mike Lester and Wiley Miller, to make comments like yours does nothing to change anyoneâ??s mind other than to add to the idea that YOU are the oneâ??s who are close-minded.”

    My “comment” was something commonly referred to as “a joke” in response to Mr. Lester’s post. What’s really sad is that I have to explain that on a board called “The Daily Cartoonist”.

  13. Wiley, I got the joke. It WAS funny. However, I find it sad that I have to defend having an opinion or defend the people who live in this state who are the ‘butt’ of jokes to people who don’t know ’em and have never lived here. I’ve traveled all over the US, met all kinds of folks. I CHOOSE to live in SC because I like it. I like the people….heck, I even like the weather. I was born and raised here and will probably kick the bucket here. I don’t make fun of other folks because of where they live or because they have buttheads living there. There’s some in ALL the 50 states! Jokes are mostly about timing. While I don’t pretend to give advice to one I consider to be a personal tooning hero…I will offer that maybe your timing was off just a bit with this ‘joke’

  14. Boy do I feel like a “whore in church” being lumped w/ my favorite chowder headed liberal, Wiley but I felt you were the apologist running down the South. Everybody on this blog knows my Southern temperament and aversion to the double standards of stereotypes by now.

    My point was simply that at least in the South as well as the rest of the United States you have the opportunity to read about social injustices. Unlike say…Venezuela.

  15. Garfield dating a Southern Dog with the swine flu would be a lock for a Pulitzer

  16. Leading the post with:

    “Wiley, I got the joke. It WAS funny.”

    Ending the post with:

    “Jokes are mostly about timing. While I donâ??t pretend to give advice to one I consider to be a personal tooning heroâ?¦I will offer that maybe your timing was off just a bit with this â??jokeâ??”

    I submit that perhaps it’s not me or my timing with the problem here.

  17. I’m still struggling to find what Wiley said that was offensive to Mike Beckom. Is there a penguin epidemic in South Carolina that I’m not aware of?

  18. “I donâ??t pre-judge anyone elseâ??s relationships but I donâ??t support inter-racial relationships myself.”

    Wow. Yeah, and I don’t judge birds. Stupid feathers with their flying and all, pooping on my head ….

  19. Didn’t Bloom County cover the inter-racial thing back in the 1980s? I seem to recall Binkley having a huge crush on a black girl.

  20. I am in a inter-racial marriage. I am white and my wife is Filipino, but for some reason that isn’t as taboo. Go figure….

    I spent several years in North Carolina in the mid 80’s and fell in love with the south. There were LOTS of B&W couples then. I don’t ever recall them being chased out of malls or churches for that matter.

    Sure, the south has a black eye, but all parts of this country have done something that they would rather put away deep in a closet. I for one don’t appreciate all of the picking on southerners get. They seem fair game because they aren’t represented by some loud mouth spokes person, ready to sue and defame if there is something ill spoken about them.

  21. “I donâ??t pre-judge anyone elseâ??s relationships but I donâ??t support inter-racial relationships myself.”

    I don’t support people like you speaking for the south.

  22. “Didnâ??t Bloom County cover the inter-racial thing back in the 1980s? I seem to recall Binkley having a huge crush on a black girl.”

    Bloom County covered everything, and it still the greatest strip off all time.

    I wish Bill the Cat would bite Les Moore’s head off….

  23. Funky Winkerbean hasn’t been intentionally funny since 1982, but it is fascinating to see just how progressively dark, miserable and weird is has become. It’s like watching a train wreck, or one of those shows about plastic surgery disasters. Creepy, but fascinating. Batuik seems to approach every strip with the intention of heaping misery and adversity on his characters in the cruelest manner possible.
    The latest storyline with the ghostly wife coaching him is like Charlie Kaufman meets Chuck Palunhuik.

  24. “Bloom County covered everything, and it still the greatest strip off all time.”

    … for you. There is no such thing as “the greatest strip of all time”.

  25. @Mike Beckom

    There are buttheads in every state – TRUE!

    But your state’s newspapers won’t run a bi-racial comic strip? Oh. Well, do you think SOME states might, maaaaaybe, have just a few more buttheads in ’em? 😉

    ‘Cause I live in California, home to a vast number of buttheads and our papers run biracial stuff all the live long day and nobody even notices, how ’bout that? Probably the buttheads are too busy struggling to pay their mortgages and buy food to butt in about other people’s decisions of who to marry and why…

    Oh, and I agree about bussing and affirmative action, by the way, which have NOTHING to do with infantile concepts like, “racial purity” or “mudbloods” or any number of other discredited ideas latched onto by vast numbers of angry white and black folks who seem all too angry and envious of someone else’s idea of a good time…

  26. in this great land of ours, it’s considerd to be ‘anti’ something if you’re not saying or thinking what’s thought to be politically correct. I am not now, nor do I ever anticipate being, ‘politically correct’. However, I do not belittle, degrade or make fun of any race or sexual orientation of people because of their beliefs or lifestyles. I simply choose not to indulge or support those choices that go against my core family beliefs. I find it uniquely ironic that I am not ‘accepted’ because of my beliefs and ideologies, by the same folks who scream for acceptance FROM me. Do as I say, not as I do, kinda thinking, I guess. I bid you all a good night and sleep well….I will.

  27. “â?¦ for you. There is no such thing as â??the greatest strip of all timeâ?

    Sure there is, but like all artistic measurements it’s somewhat subjective and a matter of taste. However it is possible to put things on a scale and have something to close to universal agreement about what belongs on the top end of that scale and what belongs closer to the bottom. The biggest disagreements come over the order of things in the middle.

    Top End : Calvin and Hobbes, Bloom County, Far Side

    Bottom: Jim Davis’ Mr Potato Head strip.

  28. Hey Mike,
    I don’t deny you the right to have “core beliefs”, and I don’t think you’re belittling. It’s just that the thought of you not joining us for dinner because of Pigment Acceptance Disorder is frustrating because we’re really quite nice.

    My cousin in deep south Mississippi married a person of a different race, now that I think about it. If they’re cool with it down there I think Funky Winkerbean is going to have a hard time covering new territory for anybody.

    I think comic strips have to be at the top of their game right now and if anything going on in Funky is considered cutting edge, it’s by people who haven’t turned on a TV or watched a movie in the last 40 years. And if that happens to be the group reading newspapers we’re in trouble.

  29. “â?¦ for you. There is no such thing as â??the greatest strip of all timeâ?

    I thought that fact was clear when I said that. I don’t presume to preach to people about what is or what isn’t when it comes to issues regarding comics.

    On this board that job seems to be taken by yourself, anyway.

  30. “Sure there is, but like all artistic measurements itâ??s somewhat subjective and a matter of taste. ”

    That was my point, Pete. But apparently Mr. Davis takes this as an opportunity to make a snide personal attack out of it.

    The point is, for many people, your “top end” list would be more in the middle, depending on what era of comics they grew up in. The nonsensical comics polls clearly show that. We all have our preferences, which is why I said there is no such thing as a consensus best. You’d be hard pressed to come up with a consensus of the 10 or 20 best over the century span of comics. So, yes, Mr. Davis, I figured you were talking about your personal favorite. It’s simply that you made a universal declarative statement of what was the best of all time, as though there was no argument about it.

  31. >>>I simply choose not to indulge or support those choices that go against my core family beliefs.

    Your “core family beliefs”, that people with different levels of melanin in their skin shouldn’t conjugate the verb together, and that being the only criteria to prohibit such conjugation is patently racist and pig ignorant. It doesn’t warrant respect or tolerance.

    >>>I find it uniquely ironic that I am not â??acceptedâ?? because of my beliefs and ideologies, by the same folks who scream for acceptance FROM me.

    Just as the beliefs of George Lincoln Rockwell, David Duke, George Wallace and the KKK are not acceptable because they are discriminatory and destructive.

  32. If Winkerbean wants to go true cutting edge he should get into a threesome with the African American woman and the ghost of his dead wife. Now THAT’S Funky!

  33. O.K. Jim, that made me laugh and after gay marriage becomes law, that and countless other cluster f***s won’t be far behind.

  34. “I donâ??t pre-judge anyone elseâ??s relationships but I donâ??t support inter-racial relationships myself.”
    “I find it uniquely ironic that I am not â??acceptedâ?? because of my beliefs and ideologies, by the same folks who scream for acceptance FROM me.”
    –Excerpts from “The Genius of Mike Beckom

    I find it uniquely ironic that you can say you don’t judge something, and then turn around and say you don’t support it. To not support it requires a judgment.

    In your twisted view of logic, nobody is judging you either. They just don’t support your antiquated beliefs.

  35. to Stephen…don’t be too upset or frustrated. I’d eat with you and your wife and not have one problem with it. I like food and I like nice people! My not supporting that life-choice comes from personal experience. As I said, I am a child of the 60’s. I grew up with segregation and mixed-race kids. I was their friend when nobody else was and I saw and heard from them….how they never truly felt acceptance from either race. They have lived for many years, a painful life of flitting back and forth and trying to ‘fit in’. (Their words, not mine). As a parent, this is simply not an existence I’d like to see my kids or grandkids endure.
    That having been said…invite me to lunch…heck, I’ll buy!

  36. to Rick…what a shame that someone who so eloquently and wonderfully illustrates children’s books should choose to venomously and hatefully attack someone else over their belief system. What a dichotomy you are. I wonder….can you drink water with one mouth while you simultaneously spew curses with the other? Name-calling is the last resort of a simple mind. I expected that to be beneath you. Your artwork shows you to be very creative, imaginative and intelligent. Your words show something and someone else entirely.

  37. I know several people that are, as you refer to it “mixed-race”, I even voted for one in the last presidential election (and he won! talk about acceptance). I’ve never heard them lamenting their lack of acceptance from a particular race. Most of us that aren’t children of the 60’s and several of us that are don’t base our acceptance of a person on race.

    In short, your reasoning is a sorry back-pedaling excuse for what is quite obviously a racist opinion.

  38. “Name-calling is the last resort of a simple mind. ”

    I agree. So just what name-calling did Rick resort to? I only saw analogies to your position in his post.

    “Your words show something and someone else entirely.”

    You mean accurate?

  39. and lastly to David….
    (Excerpts from â??The Genius of Mike Beckom)
    thanks for the compliment!
    The whole thing is simpler than you make it out. I don’t judge people who like brussels sprouts….I simply choose not to eat them. There, is that easier for you? If you haven’t figured this out by now…I don’t CARE if you judge me or support me or accept me or my ‘antiquated beliefs’. I have mine, you have yours. No big deal to me. I don’t pretend to speak for anybody other than myself. My original post was about the way things ARE down here in Sunny SC where I live and I added my personal beliefs. If it makes you happy, judge away! I needed anothe giggle anyway….

  40. Wiley….as stated before, you are a personal tooning hero of mine. As such, I’m trying NOT to engage you in this as to me, there is NO argument here. However, after reading your posts on this site about this and numerous other topics, it occurs to me that you LIVE for an argument. I CHOOSE not to engage you not because I CAN’t but because there is nothing to be gained from it. I won’t change you any more than you can change me….which pretty much sums up the way this entire post should end.

  41. “However, after reading your posts on this site about this and numerous other topics, it occurs to me that you LIVE for an argument.”

    No, actually, I don’t. In fact, I hate arguments. It’s just that I have a very difficult time letting b.s. pass uncontested. That’s the nature of a satirist, and this is a cartoon board.

  42. “I don’t judge people who like brussels sprouts…I simply choose not to eat them.”

    Wow, now your logic is getting really screwy. You see, in your comparison, the brussels sprouts are thing you are judging, not the people. I assume you don’t like brussels sprouts.

    Are you saying that having a relationship with someone outside your race is akin to liking brussels sprouts? (Careful, it’s a trap…)

  43. “I donâ??t judge people who like brussels sproutsâ?¦.I simply choose not to eat them. There, is that easier for you?”

    This is a false analogy.

    Would you prevent your kids from eating brussels sprouts?

  44. >>.to Rickâ?¦what a shame that someone who so eloquently and wonderfully illustrates childrenâ??s books should choose to venomously and hatefully attack someone else over their belief system.

    I was taught to always confront bigotry and racism whenever it rears its ugly head.

  45. Beckom doesn’t need my defense and you can call his position/beliefs many things but he is not a hypocrite. (This is Miss California redux.) He’s being lit up by the “tolerant” “inclusive” yet somehow exclusionary left. That position would appear to be logically indefensible but logic plays no roll in these bouts.

    I’ve got a $20 bill sez that this thread would have lasted 5 posts if he’d said the same things and that he was a Muslim.

    btw: Speaking of Miss California, where’s the women’s movement that came to Vanessa Williams defense in the 80’s? (crickets)

  46. …David is setting a trap….comic GOLD! I see now, why you’re a cartoonist. A lotta people think that because I speak with a slow southern drawl and come from a lil town in Sc that most have never heard of, I’m some country bumpkin with the IQ of a peanut.
    For you David…let me clarify one thing…I’d endeavor to engage you in a battle of wits, however, it’s against my principles to take unfair advantage of an understaffed opponent.

    (Careful, itâ??s a trapâ?¦)…I’m telling y’all…this dude is a comedic GOLDMINE! I’m a FAN! I’m gonna start going on his site just to see if he’s this funny ALL the time.

  47. to Mike Lester…..couldn’t (and didn’t) say it better myself!

    BTW, saw your site….yours is a very cool style that will demand further scrutiny for possible tidbits to be included in my own constantly evolving style….another tooning hero is added….

  48. to Guy….
    Love your toons as well. Would LOVE to pick your brains sometime on how you got Andrews-McMeel to publish your stuff. That rocks.

    As to the ‘brussle sprout’ question…no…there are NO brussel sprouts allowed in my house. Nasty lil things with the flavor of the bottom of your shoe. People of ALL races, however, ARE allowed. Most folks on here would probably be stunned to know that my family and I live in an apartment complex that is predominantly BLACK! We CHOSE to live here for no other reason than because we like it and it’s close to my aging mom and my kids school.

  49. I could eat brussels sprouts all day long. Although, I prefer fresh over frozen. Steam ’em just tender and green-goodness heaven follows.

    Thanks everyone. I now know what the side-dish for dinner tonight is.

  50. I also meant to say to Beckom: I suspect you’re eating the wrong kind of brussels sprouts.

  51. So, Mr. Beckom, was that a “yes”, “no”, or “I don’t know what to say so I’m going to lapse into veiled insults”?

    Not that the answer really matters. I think that everyone has a fully informed opinion on where you stand.

    As for Mr. Lester, there is great difference between disliking someone for their bigoted beliefs (which they can control) and disliking someone’s choice of mate based on their race (which they can not control). If you can’t understand that, it’s in your court that logic is playing no role.

  52. David…I wasn’t ‘insulting’ you. I was making fun of you. If I truly wanted to insult you, I’d go on about how silly it seems to me to give your toons away for free on the internet when folks could pay good money for ’em. I wouldn’t because frankly, they aren’t that good. I GET PAID real money for mine. It’s a lotta fun…getting paid to draw funny pictures. GOD bless America!

    one last thing….Mr.Beckom was my dad. I’m just plain Mike. We’re a lot more laid-back down here than most folks think. I’ll take the ‘Mr.Beckom’ as a show of respect and return it with a ‘good luck with your toons, Mr.Emerson’. :0)

  53. What’s all the dang deal over inter-racin’ couples, anyway?

    My wife’s a Nascar fan and I follow NHRA an’ we ain’t had any pro’lems.

  54. So, option “c” then? Way to deflect.

    I used your surname to distinguish you from the other Mike who was commenting.

    As for your opinion of “my” “toons”, to each their own. I’ll take credit for the writing only, though. We GET PAID real satisfaction of not having to worry about selling them to someone or target them to a specific demographic and just tell the stories we want. Thank GOD I don’t have to worry about selling them!

    By the way, I just looked at a bunch of your “toons” on your site for free. I feel silly now.

  55. I come to Daily Cartoonist for the news posts and to read the positive comments and thought-provoking commentary from people who obviously care about cartoons and the industry. This back and forth crap from individuals is embarrassing.

  56. David, I am an award-winning EDITORIAL cartoonist. The only group I target is folks/issues in the news. My ‘free’ site is put up by one of my nephews who is majoring in Graphic Design and minoring in Web design. He asked to do it for his portfolio. By the time the toons make it onto the site…I’ve already sold em many times over to many of the 35+ papers I draw for here in SC. Some have been published in (Best Editorial Cartoons of the Year)….many years in a row. That site is mostly for ‘promotion’ to land new clients. If people wanna ‘steal’ em off there….big whoop! More free publicity for ME!…translation…more money from more clients. I ENJOY being an inkslinger as well as a businessman. Life is GOOD here in sunny SC!

  57. When melanin has veered too far
    Colliding with your southern drawl
    Damning those who have the gall
    To love without a judgement call
    On skin that’s darker, overall,
    On that, I have to say, “Pshaw!”
    Mix ’em good, that’s great! Hoo RAH!
    ‘Cause the suffering of years gone by –
    Not fitting in – that’s old – goodbye!
    Now say ‘Hello’ to modern times!
    Where skin that’s somewhere in between
    Now has a much more robust sheen!

    In fact, I’d say it really shines,
    Reflecting this world’s paradigms.
    Post racial, yes, by God’s designs
    Who chose so well to mix us all.
    “Multiply!” is God’s loud call –
    He never mentioned melanin,
    Never spoke of colored skin,
    But praised the strength of Love so Strong,
    Small thoughts of race are banished – gone.

    The proof? Just look around you now,
    America’s melting pot ‘reality show’!
    All colors mixed in a lumpy pot
    Even in the South, Mein Gott!
    A few raised eyebrows, yes, it’s true,
    Like in the past they were raised to you
    Who had a crazy dream of drawing
    Funny pictures for a living!
    Success won’t cure contempt, but hey!
    At least less eyebrows raise today!

  58. “Maintaining” by Nate Creekmore is based on an interacial couple and their two sons (“Halfricans”, as the main character calls himself). I think “Maintaining” has brought racially mixed marriages out in the open in a very thought provoking and humorous way. I have no idea of the exposure of “Maintaining” vs. “Funky”, but I suspect it is not nearly as widespread. A pity.

  59. Wiley,
    Dude! Call me by my first name Shane, not ‘Mr. Davis,’ that sounds so cold & formal…

    Anyway, my statement wasn’t intended to be a snide personal attack. It was simply a joke at your expense! Basically, I was engaging in a subtle satire of your robust, substantial presence on this board. I’ve taken some pretty good shots on this board and tried to accept them simply as being made in the spirit of a passionate discourse (whether they really were or not) so all I thought I was doing was hitting the ball at the same speed as you and many of the other posters here frequently do.

    Frankly, after some of the rather hefty remarks you made a few weeks ago satiring the Lord as ‘Thor,’ I was sure you would recognize satire and know what I was doing when I basically said you had the job being the omniscient oracle of comics wisdom.

    Seriously, I was just having fun with you, Wiley – it really wasn’t personal. If it was, I’d have called you the ‘All Knowing Trash Heap’ or something – but that’d be personal and rude and I wasn’t trying to rip on you like that. And besides, I’m not sure if you ever watched Fraggle Rock so that reference might not have made sense to you anyway.

    I read your strip daily and know you can launch a pretty devastating salvo of editorial artillery when you want to – your satire can have a pretty sharp blade. Now, I don’t agree with many of your cartoonsâ?? points at all (surprise, surprise), but I think itâ??s done very well and I think Iâ??ve come to recognize the difference between when youâ??re being seriously harsh and when your simply having fun poking someone in the eye. Well thatâ??s all I was doing. I just figured that being a successful satirist, you’d recognize when someone was doing that with you. Maybe it came across as an elbow foul â?? no harshness was intended.

    I meant no offense, so I therefore offer the following in hopes of peace:


    Yes, that is an extremely lame ASCII olive branch. I offer it AND the promise that I’ll never call you the Dalai Lama of the comics page again. Iâ??ll even throw in the vow to never bring up the subject of webcomics.


  60. Ok, got it. Thanks, Shane. And I called you Mr. Davis because I didn’t know your first name and I didn’t want to call you “RS”.

    Hugs and kisses everyone!

  61. Comic strips include a wide variety of strips that tell stories and aren’t meant to be funny, Dan. Funky apparently has evolved into that category. I don’t see what the problem is.

  62. I know. There’s no problem Wiley. If Batiuk wants to draw tear jerking soap operas that’s his business and if folks want to read them that’s their business. My business is funny business. I prefer to laugh not cry. So I’ll go my way and they can go theirs.

  63. If all the comics on the comics pages were funny gag comics, it would be boring. I don’t read the soap opera strips, but I like the diversity being there.

  64. Dan, what’s so funny about a COMIC book? 🙂

    Comic strips are bound to evolve as their cartoonist gets older. For example, look at For Better or For Worse … It essentially began as a “gag-a-day” strip, and then evolved into more of a “soap opera” strip. And yet, I don’t think anyone would succeed in arguing FBOFW is not a comic strip.

    What I find funny is the fact that we’re in the year 2009, and people are concerned about biracial relationships on the comics page. *SIGH* … Some things take longer to evolve than others!

  65. You’re absolutely right Stacy. There is room for all strips in the comic world. I don’t mean to put it down. It was a classic, history making strip series! I admire Tom for doing it, not just for that fact but also I have my own personal experience with serious illness. Thankfully mine had a happier ending.

  66. I enjoyed FBOFW for the most part when it was a soap opera strip. It dealt with real issues without going over the top. On the flip side, I constantly feel like issues are being shoved down my throat when reading Funky Winkerbean. It’s a very uncomfortable feeling.

  67. “Hugs and kisses everyone!”


    As for ‘Funky,’ I think the problem for me isn’t that it’s serious now or unfunny, per se.
    I think it’s the “Lou Grant” effect.

    Remember when Ed Asner (hoo! there’s a big lefty!) departed from the excellent and hilarious ‘Mary Tyler Moore Show’? His character was an over the top grouch that was a perfect balance for Moore’s shiny faced, bushy tailed naive optimism.

    Then he went off to his own show and became an uber-serious melodramatic Woodward & Bernstein wannabe. Frankly, I doubt many of the fans that followed ‘Mary Tyler Moore’ closely were the same people watching ‘Lou Grant.’

    Funky Winkerbean kind of pulled this same switcheroo. It USED to be funny, but sometime in the last 10 or 20 time jumps it tried to become ‘Arthur Miller: the Comic Strip.”.

    I don’t think there’d be that many complaints if it hadn’t changed format like it did.

    Batiuk might have been better off to start a separate strip if he wanted to slowly torture his characters to death physically and emotionally, instead of ones that used to make people laugh.

    If Calvin and Hobbes had followed this path, Calvin would have climbed a University tower by now and shot 47 people, contracted West Nile Fever, lost 30 feet of intestine in a bar fight stabbing, murdered his parents in an arson for the insurance dough and sold Rosalyn into white slavery.

    Hobbes would probably have attacked and eaten Seigfried at the Mirage just to finish the job the other kitty started on Roy.

    Is this what America needs?

    Why do I get the feeling some of you are nodding your heads ‘yes’?

  68. Les Moore lost his wife Lisa 12 years ago, in 2007– the Funkyverse is now happening in 2019 after the ten year time jump.

  69. So shouldn’t Les and his new girlfriend be shown in a FLYING car? We’re all gonna have flying cars by then ya know.

  70. I don’t think it should have raised any eyebrows. At this point everyone should be accustomed to seeing and hearing about interracial relationship, even in something as small as a cartoon. I saw on a blog how people would take something as innocent as this completely out of context. Whether they’re xenophobic or prejudice is left up to interpretation.

  71. “Didnâ??t Bloom County cover the inter-racial thing back in the 1980s? I seem to recall Binkley having a huge crush on a black girl.”

    Yes– but Bloom County didn’t hit you over the head with it, and call that “the joke.” They made it PART of the joke of how Binkley didn’t even NOTICE she was black, until he described her to his dad, and how her skin was “like creamy chocolate pudding.” And even then it doesn’t really register with Binkley, though his dad is shocked.
    THAT’S funny.
    And it wasn’t a one-note story either; like he took her to the movies, and went through an angst-ridden debate about whether he should pay for both, or they should pay separately, and whether it would be insulting to her etc. (She ended up paying for both, after getting tired of waiting for him to make up his mind). In other words, Berke Breathed knew that the main word in comics, is “COMIC.”

    There’s a fine line between being funny, and just being PREACHY… just like there’s a fine line between the Atlantic and Pacific ocean (or a small brick wall in China).

    I think comic strips get “preachy” as a weak way of compensating for the fact that they’re not witty or creative; i.e. they try to “fake it” by being high, mighty and pretentious.

    For example, Bautik thinks that “courageous and brilliant humor,” is having every character cleverly and coyly “smirking sidelong” at the moral point of a tragic sermon. Which is like saying that Osama Bin Laden is a “courageous and brilliant soldier–” i.e. taking underhanded cheap-shots is NOT brilliance OR bravery, but stupidity and cowardice.

    Also, they say “brevity is the soul of wit;” so what’s that tell you about a preachy story-arc that covers months, or even years?

    Then there’s the strips that make you barf with their syrupy preachiness– “Rose is Rose” is probably the queen of these, since every strip is either about 1) Rose’ kid doing something cute, 2) her CAT doing something cute, 3) her kid talking cute to angels, 4) angels doing something cute to save her family, or 5) her various “cute” personalities, or 6) Rose making a “cute” statement about her mediocre life (e.g. “it’s a cage, but it’s a GILDED cage!” etc).

    “Waitress Can I have a larger barf-bag, please? Indutrial-size?”

    The trend seems gearing toward SELF-INDULGENCE, i.e. the creators are obsessed with indulging their own delusions of brilliance, by preaching down to their audience “because they need to open their minds” etc– ala Carlos Mencia.

    Seriously, now “Funky Winkerbean” is introducing a mixed-race relationship– in 200-fricking-9?

    HELLO, “The Jeffersons” was in the SEVENTIES, back when they introduced the “Zebra” concept of Tom Willis and his black wife, and their “Zebra” daughter who married his son Lionel….AFTER Lionel dated Archie’s niece etc. What’s next: a GAY character? Oh my heavens! “Roseanne” was in the 90’s, bub! (And let’s not forget “NOT THAT THERE’S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT! SHRINKAGE!”)

    There’s a psychological manfestation called “anti-conformism,” i.e. they simply go against the mainstream current in order to say “I don’t go with the flow.” Which is like driving the wrong way on the freeway in order to make the same statement– and probably, some group of idiots will call you “brave” for doing it.

    Forgive me if I’m not one of them?

  72. @ Tonya,
    Heaven above! Thank You!!


    Like me, there is finally there is someone else on this
    board who…

    writes really big posts.

    So, see! See! It’s not just me!!

    (BTW Tonya, yer dead on about ‘Bloom County’ IMHO.)

  73. I just have a pet peeve about preachy comics, even political ones. And “Preachy Winkerbean” is one of them. Originally it was something like Bull Bushka making Funky do his homework for him, and now it’s how Bull Bushka’s the overweight football-coach at the same school, who was a bully because his father used to beat him. This sort of sappy, touchy-feely topic belongs in “Mary Worth” or “Judge Parker” or any of those other comics I never read.

    These preachy comics which pretend to be “intellectual” and “philosophical” etc, are simply pretentious proof that it’s easier to depress people than to be truly humorous.
    I stopped reading FW when I got tired of seeing a bald chick talking to a chick with only one arm– if I want to see a cue-ball and a slot-machine I’ll go to the bar.
    Meanwhile there’s a “now-adult” Funky breaking up with his girlfriend for some reason they apparetnly explained in past weeks that I apparently missed (I just got knew that she was a self-indulgent character when it was supposedly “funny” that all these smirking guys were trying to impress her at the gym).
    Finally, don’t they know what “Funky” means now? it used to mean “crazy,” but now it means “stinky.”
    I guess the shoe just fits.

  74. one day at central park with my boyfriend, we were on the blanket, lying in the sun, this was in the summer, now im black and he’s white, quite fair skinned. i wanted so badly to lie back on the blanket and cuddle with him, bu t something wouldn’t let me, i felt like i’d be seen as “loose” or something even though i was in love. he is very touchy feeling as am i, and there were a few other mixed couples around too.

    i asked myself why did i feel that way? i had no reason not to be happy, was it some kind of unconscious guilt or memory for the past about former relationships between black women and white men. i did end up lying my head on his chest and saying hell with it, we drank wine and ate cheese and you know what, it was great

  75. Latinos will riot because there is no hispanic girl involved. Of course the recent comic show Les drinking champaine with a woman in his kitchen with a woman looking in the back door window.

  76. The only thing more irritating than the racist comments of Mike Lester and Mike Beckom is all the pseudo-liberal ideas that interracial marriage is so passe and that there is a massive acceptance of it now.

    If you, a white person, ever got into a relationship with a black person, believe me, people will say and do racist things even in 2012. The ONLY people that say interracial dating/marriage is old news are people who have never been in one and have never experienced the hate that is thrown at them whether overtly or covertly.

    As a girl who is a product of interracial dating, born in 1989, I can attest to the lack of acceptance by both whites and blacks because to white people I am considered too black and to black people I am considered too white.

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