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The Funky death watch continues

Brian Steinberg, The Examiner’s comics blogger is watching Tom Batiuk’s Funky Winkerbean carefully. The recent story-line is leading readers to wonder if Tom is killing off another major character – in this case the title character.

Yesterday Brian wrote,

We know, we know, everyone who reads “Funky Winkerbean” is on tenterhooks trying to figure out if the main character of the strip – who also bears its name – is kaput after a strange auto accident. Yet every day we’re tossed strands of death plots from any number of works from popular culture – “Lost,” “The Twilight Zone,” “The Sixth Sense,” “It’s a Wonderful Life.” But what we aren’t getting are answers.

Oh, Tom Batiuk, let us off the hook and tell us if Funky is dead or if he’s having some sort of out-of-body experience that will leave him a better person with a less cranky outlook on life and living it.

Having ended the life of Lisa, one cannot put it past Tom to do it again, but Lisa’s deathly storyline was tied to a larger non-comic purpose – bringing awareness to cancer. Killing off Funky does little for Tom unless he’s trying to build awareness for those who work in Pizza shops.

Community Comments

#1 Zachary Snyder
July/1/2010
@ 1:24 pm

I think he’s just trying to top the weird macabre creepiness of Jim Davis’s Halloween ’89 Garfield storyline… so far Garfield is still creepier…

http://www.cheesebikini.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/08/garfield.jpg

#2 Rodd Perry
July/1/2010
@ 1:28 pm

jump! jump! jump!

#3 Rick Ellis
July/1/2010
@ 2:23 pm

The comic really needs to change it’s name to “Funky Grimreaper”.

#4 Garey Mckee
July/1/2010
@ 2:33 pm

Yes, but look at the attention it’s getting.

#5 David Jones
July/1/2010
@ 3:45 pm

Hey! Maybe I should kill off a character or two in my strip! Maybe someone might read it for a change….

Thanks for the tip!

Seriously though, the guy’s a genius. Putting a little drama and mystery into a strip is awesome! I’ve followed this strip in the Houston Chronicle since as long as I can remember. I love it when a strip can grab your attention the way Funky does!!!

#6 Shane Davis
July/1/2010
@ 5:39 pm

I reread that Garfield series. I remember when it came out and I thought “What the heck?”

I still am…

#7 Alan Gardner
July/1/2010
@ 6:20 pm

Admittedly, I’ve not read Funky everyday since the Lisa storyline, so I had a bit of catching up to do.

If you’re trying to catch up on the storyline, Comics Alliance has an overview. You can read it here: http://bit.ly/dhcaKr
Be warned, the article can be a bit snarky.

#8 Thomas Overbeck
July/1/2010
@ 6:56 pm

Does the syndicated comics world really need a comic series named after a dead character? I don’t think Mr. Batiuk would make THAT bold a move. I’m guessing this is a strange dream.

#9 Jeff Stanson
July/1/2010
@ 10:56 pm

Although the Funky Winkerbean characters all died at different times, the bond between them created a purgatory-like existence in which they could all return to their high school days, the happiest time in their lives. There they would wait until all of the characters could join them, gain recognition of their lives together, reunite with their greatest loves, and face the cosmic truth that they are now dead ? only then would they be allowed to “take the next step” together. Nah, Batiuk wouldn’t be so cruel to his characters that they’d be that “LOST”, would he?

#10 Tony Kinnard
July/2/2010
@ 12:24 am

@Thomas Overbeck Well, there is Barney Google & Snuffy Smith, in which Barney Google hasn’t appeared in the comic in over sixty years. Maybe the hillbillies of Hootin’ Holler sent him up the river and made him squeal.

I’ve been hanging around the Comic Curmudgeon for too long.

#11 August J. Pollak
July/2/2010
@ 7:38 am

“Does the syndicated comics world really need a comic series named after a dead character?”

Does the syndicated comics world really need a comic series that makes you want to kill yourself?

#12 Vince LoGreco
July/2/2010
@ 8:03 am

I don’t read Funky Winkerbean that often, but I have read it practically everyday since his accident. I don’t know why it is holding my attention, but it is.

Maybe if Funky is dead it is to bring awareness to people driving while on their cell phone.

I remember that Garfield arc, that was creepy.

#13 Jeff Stanson
July/2/2010
@ 3:55 pm

Maybe he’ll meet characters from legacy strips.

#14 Kelly Carls
July/3/2010
@ 11:18 am

Read the plot synopsis of the movie “Peggy Sue Got Married.” I believe Funky is having a near death experience, and flashing back to his high school days. Eventually, he’ll wake up in a hospital bed and tell everyone what he saw. In that respect, it will also be a bit like the end of the “Wizard Of Oz.”

#15 Shane Davis
July/3/2010
@ 1:15 pm

OR maybe like the end of the VIc Morrow ‘Twilight ZOne’ movie segment, he’ll get shipped off in a cattle car to a concentration camp.

As gloomy as that strip is, that’s about what I’d expect…

#16 Bari Federspiel
July/18/2010
@ 10:12 am

My thought: Tom is going to “start over,” a la “For Better or For Worse,” and this is his segway for doing so.

#17 Tom Wood
July/18/2010
@ 11:45 am

Maybe he’ll pull a Jacob’s Ladder

#18 Bari Federspiel
September/13/2012
@ 4:43 pm

Darn. Meant “segue.” Too many rides on the little two-wheeled thingy.

#19 Bari Federspiel
September/13/2012
@ 4:45 pm

Yet another comment: Since I became seriously ill shortly after this segment of the comic strip and was hospitalized for a LONG time – I have NO idea what happened to Funky or anyone else for a couple of months after I submitted my July, 2010 comment. Apparently he’s not dead as he’s still around. Just one more piece of my life that’s missing. LOL

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