And In The End – Tom Batiuk on Funky Winkerbean

What started as the humorous misadventures of the teens from Westview High School eventually morphed into a serialized drama tackling issues such as cancer awareness and teen pregnancy.

After 50 years Tom Batiuk will end his Funky Winkerbean comic strip at the end of this month. 

I like to describe it as starting out as a gag-a-day, which is sort of like doing stand-up comedy. And early on it turned into what I refer to as sitcom. There’d be a little situation, say the band director and the football coach wanted to use the football field at the same time. Boom, you’ve got a week of little strips telling that story. That continued on for a fair amount of time. Even well before the 20-year mark, I wrote a story about a girl in high school who was pregnant…

Lisa first opened the door for me, then she disappeared from the strip for a while … She showed up again, opened the door and took me to a new place. And when Lisa comes back into the strip, I’m a young adult and my characters were young adults, because I had done a time jump after the teen pregnancy story…

Ideastream Public Media’s Kabir Bhatia interviews Tom Batiuk.

Bhatia: Explain the decision to draw things down.

Batiuk: Basically, it’s because “Funky” doesn’t have a succession plan. The strip is either going to end in a train wreck, or it’s going to be scripted properly and with a little bow tie. I really wanted to do that because these characters have been so good to me for 50 years. They deserve a proper ending to their story. It wasn’t an easy decision to step away from “Funky,” but it makes a lot of sense…

© Batom, Inc.

Bonus: Tom annotates some recent past was prologue strips.

One thought on “And In The End – Tom Batiuk on Funky Winkerbean

  1. Thanks, Mr. Batiuk, both for the years of enjoyment and for ending the strip humanely. But did you not have an understudy waiting in the wings, ready to be called in to fill your role?


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