Around this time, years of running and playing tennis began to take their toll on my body, and I found that it was necessary for me to have some surgery on my foot because even walking had become rather painful by that point. The surgery and convalescence led to Chuck and me losing some ground on our year’s stockpile of strips. Rather than submitting once again to the grueling prospect of doubling up on our workload to regain what had been lost, I decided to bring another artist on board to cover that gap for us. I had long admired the work of comic book artist John Byrne, who worked in a more realistic “adventure strip” style. I became friends with John who, at one point, drew Ed Crankshaft into one of his Next Men comic books. Except that it was an “adventure strip” style depiction of my bad-tempered bus driver. I realized that I’d found something very close to what I had been wanting to do with the art. While his work was different from the artwork in Funky, I saw the same kind of drawing ability in John that Chuck possessed. I figured that I could take John’s pencils and simply back them off enough when I inked them to turn them into the Funky Winkerbean look I was going for. I thought it would be an interesting one-off experiment. I thought it would be fun. I unexpectedly got a lot more than that.
From the introduction to The Complete Funky Winkerbean Volume 11