Funky's In The House

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

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"Funky Winkerbean" — say it 10 times fast, and by number 6 you'll have to earmuff any nearby children. A comic strip with a title as quirky as that is sure to be a barrel of laughs. That's how it started out, back in the 1970s, when it was first created by cartoonist Tom Batiuk (rhymes with "attic"). But over time, Funky Winks, as I've taken to calling it, has tackled some weighty themes, including abuse, alcoholism, and guns in schools. And last week, one of Batiuk's main characters, Lisa Moore, died of breast cancer. What do you think, TOTN bloggers? Should comic strips be funny? Or is there room for seriousness in the strip? Mull it over. And in the meantime, check out Lisa's Legacy Fund, which was created in the character's memory, to support cancer education and research.

Comments

 

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I think that the topic of cancer is entirely appropriate for the "funnies." Why should this genre of writing be any different from other forms of literature? There is only one story to be told in all literature, and that is to explore what it means to be human. "Funky Winkerbean" does that as well as any form of fiction.

Sent by Leslie Whalin | 3:57 PM | 10-11-2007

There is nothing wrong with showcasing a serious topic such as cancer on the comics pages. Several cartoonists, Lynn Johnston (For Better or For Worse) and Garry Trudeau (Doonesbury) come to mind, have done just that, and got as much flak for it as Batiuk has. Lisa's story had to be told, and Batiuk did a fantastic job with it. Though it's sad that she had to pass on (and I shed my share of tears), what a legacy she leaves! Not only for her daughter Summer, but for everyone who knew her. She touched our lives in a very real and very personal way. I look forward to the "new" Funky Winkerbean when everyone ages 10 years.

Sent by Stephanie Pera | 10:55 PM | 10-16-2007

Although I am very sad that she died, I think this topic needs to be discussed. So if this situation happens in real life people can explain breast cancer easier and find ways to help stop and prevent it.

Sent by Matthew Bucholz | 8:32 PM | 10-27-2007

Inasmuch as comic strips are meant to be a diversion from our everyday lives, I appreciate that some writers/artists choose to address real-life issues to remind us that life isn't a comic strip. One other submission mentioned 'For Better or Worse' and I recall when Farley died in 1994; that was a genuine reality-check for me. Lynne Johnston went further with the story recently, with the characters perusing old photo albums and reminiscing - and there was Farley. I'm grateful for artists like Tom Batiuk and Lynne Johnston who put a healthy dose of human experience into their work. It's been said that humor is funny because it is based on an element of truth. So, too, is tragedy, the other mask in the picture. Thanks for all your efforts.

Sent by Tom Henkel | 8:16 AM | 11-2-2007