With the teen pregnancy story arc, Funky started on its path to becoming an outlier on the comics page. I was moving from a very safe position to one that courted failure, but there was an exciting side effect to the whole thing—freedom. There would be praise and condemnation. On the condemnation side were those who felt I was betraying a trust to only provide something funny. One reader even went so far as to state that I was negligent in my fiduciary responsibility under my contract to produce a funny strip. My contract says a lot of things, but it never said that. Others just abhorred any kind of change and wanted me to go back to the way the strip was in the beginning. What they failed to grasp is that the beginning strips were just that, only a beginning. From the majority of my readers, however, I received a wonderful gift—their trust. They gave me the space to grow and change and trusted that I wouldn’t let them down, at least this time. Someone once said that you have to challenge your audience a little. You can’t give them what they think they want, because that’s not what they really want. You have to give them something they don’t know they want but will once they see it. I think that’s true, but that’s a very thin and a very high wire to walk.
From The Complete Funky Winkerbean Volume Five