About Funky Winkerbean

I was teaching Junior High arts and crafts in Elyria, Ohio when I dropped by the local paper, The Chronicle-Telegram one afternoon looking for a part time job. My thinking was that I might get a job doing freelance spot cartoons for them. I was ushered to the to the desk of the managing editor James Dauble. I had taken my sketchbook filled with drawings of kids at school and Dauble liked what he saw. He asked if I’d consider doing a cartoon for a new page they were starting called the Teen-Age Page. I jumped on board and began doing a weekly panel called Rapping Around.

I did that panel for a couple of years and was getting a good reaction to it. Deciding that I’d like to take a shot at getting it syndicated in newspapers, I worked up a bunch of strips based on that material and took it to the various syndicates in New York. As luck would have it I succeeded on the first try as Publishers-Hall offered me a contract. I need a name for the strip about high school kids, so I had my art classes write down any names they could think of, and somewhere in that pile of suggestions were the words “funky” and “winkerbean”. I decided to call my new strip Funky Winkerbean. One newspaper editor, upon buying the strip, said that I had come up with either the best name ever for a comic strip, or the worst. The jury’s still out.

As it traveled through time, Funky became one of those rare comic strips where the characters age through the years. So the readers and the characters who started together as high school students can now enjoy each others company in late middle age.

The Complete Funky Winkerbean, Volume 13: 2008–2010

This latest installment of The Complete Funky Winkerbean presents the comic strips from 2008, 2009, and 2010 and ushers the original Funky characters into middle age. In true Funky fashion, the characters have to grapple with very serious issues: nearly fatal car crashes, a war abroad, and a tanking economy at home. These years also mark the first appearance of Cayla, and her arrival on the scene is where cartoonist Tom Batiuk’s new time-jump era begins to coalesce and take on its unique identity.

The Complete Funky Winkerbean, Volume 12: 2005–2007

Volume 12 covers the story arc dealing with Lisa Moore’s heartbreaking battle with breast cancer, which became a finalist in the cartooning category of the 2008 Pulitzer Prizes. Other stories include Lisa defending comic shop owner John Howard in an obscenity lawsuit, Wally’s struggles with PTSD upon returning from the war in Afghanistan, and his return to Afghanistan with his wife Becky as part of a project to clear landmines. Marriages, graduations, births, and even the building of a new school all weave around and through Lisa’s story.

The Complete Funky Winkerbean, Volume 11: 2002–2004

Since its debut on March 27, 1972, Funky Winkerbean has chronicled the lives of a group of students from the fictitious Westview High School. Relationships move to the front of the stage in this eleventh volume of The Complete Funky Winkerbean as the lighthearted dalliances of the past segue to the more mature partnerships of the adult world.  

Check Out Covers Featured in the Funky Winkerbean comics at our Komix Corner

Funky’s wife Holly was looking to complete her son’s comic book collection while he was stationed in Iraq. I needed a comic book hero so I reached back to a hero I created in the fifth grade… Starbuck Jones from Batom Comics. I had so much fun that I went back for more of the characters from my youth and asked a number of the artists who were my comics idols to create the covers for me. Not wanting to stop there, I created my own comics company, Atomic Komix, in Funky so I could keep on doing them. You’ll find the covers and the stories behind them on the comics spinner racks the Komix Korner.

More About Funky

For more on Funky Winkerbean and the rest of the crew from Westview High School and beyond please check out the Komix Thoughts blog and the Media section.

Latest Funky Winkerbean Post

Lisa’s Legacy

As time passed, Funky Winkerbean evolved from a “gag-a-day” comic strip that portrayed life in high school to a mature series of real-life stories. In 1999, Lisa Moore, one of Funky’s friends and a main character, discovered she had breast cancer. Learn more about how Lisa’s battle with cancer became a story of its own and led to the foundation of the Lisa’s Legacy Foundation for Cancer Research and Education.