As many of you may be aware, I also collaborate on another comic, Crankshaft, with my partner in crime Chuck Ayers. In fact, in recent years, Chuck has also been working with me on Funky. In both strips, the milieu centers on the north shore of Ohio, with a lot of local sites ending up in the strips from Crankshaft’s trips to Cleveland to see the Indian’s play to Luigi’s in Akron, the pizza restaurant that I’ve totally appropriated (with the owner’s kind permission) to create the fictional Montoni’s.
I find that using familiar locales places the characters in an environment that helps to ground the work and keep it centered. The gazebo in the Westview town square, Les and Summer’s house, and the school where Les teaches are all based on real places. This makes the stages where the action takes place in Funky very comfortable settings in which to work.
The reason I’m telling you all of this is because Chuck, in collaboration with writer Russ Musarra, has recently published a book, Walks around Akron, which features various locales in and around the Akron area. This book expands on the locales that in many cases exist just off the page in both Funky and Crankshaft. All of the places that Russ writes about are illustrated by Chuck in a truly gorgeous series of paintings. The book stands totally on its own as collection of fine writing and art, but it also is fascinating if you’re interested in seeing the larger world in which both Funky and Crankshaft exist. If you want to take a look, “Walks” can be found in the book section of this site.