The Annotated Funky – I Chong

Mar 20, 2024

When this strip ran late in 2022, Funky’s final year, I was in the process of looking back over my shoulder at things that had taken place in the early days of the feature. So when Funky finds a copy of the I-Chong in his attic, it brings back memories of reading it when he was a high school student. Funky Winkerbean hit the comic pages in the midst of high hippydom as it were, and the strip was intended as the antidote to the then current crop of teen strips which were still stuck in the fifties. So reflecting what I had just experienced in college and what I was seeing around me, led me to satirizing the I-Ching, a book of philosophical writings that had once again become popular and which people were using as a guide to making moral decisions. Hence the I-Chong, which I thought was a nice relevant touch for the times.

In a footnote to this, some thirty years later, I discovered to my astonishment that Sidney Smith, the creator of The Gumps, had created a second comic strip (oh those insecure cartoonists) called Ching Chow back in the twenties, some fifty years before I showed and invented the trope all over again. 

 

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