The ‘Funky Winkerbean’ Comic Will End Later This Year

While the comic will be leaving the papers after 50 years, Batiuk says he will always write new stories on his website and continue with his “Crankshaft” spin-off.

MEDINA, Ohio – After 50 years in newspapers across America, the journey that Tom Batiuk calls a “wonderful odyssey” is coming to an end.

The northeast Ohio native, Batiuk, has announced that he will be retiring his long-running comic book “Funky Winkerbean” at the end of 2022. The 75-year-old made the news official with a message on his website, writing that “nothing happens to infinity.”

“The carousel doesn’t stop,” Batiuk added, “it just slows down a bit.”

According to Batiuk, he will continue to post “New Original Funky Stories” on Additionally, the comic book spinoff “Crankshaft” will remain, and readers should expect to “see Funky and his friends popping up in this cantankerous school bus driver’s strip from time to time.”

“Between the blog, the [‘Complete Funky Winkerbean Collection’] books and Crankshaft pop-ups, it’ll be like the Funky Gang never left,” Batiuk said. “Which I hope makes you feel as good as I do.”

Born in Akron before attending Kent State University, Batiuk began writing “Funky Winkerbean” while teaching middle school students, and in 1972 made his first “funnies” appearance. The strip centered on the title character “Funky” and his friends at fictional Westview High School, with several northeast Ohio references sprinkled along the way.

The characters underwent two separate “time jumps” that ultimately put them in their mid-40s, and “Crankshaft” and the since-discontinued “John Darling” emerged as long-running spinoffs. As “Funky” evolved, it became notable for its willingness to tackle darker, more serious themes, including teenage pregnancy, dating violence, alcoholism, and the wars in Iraq. and in Afghanistan.

Perhaps the most notable storyline surrounded Lisa Moore’s battle with breast cancer, which began in 1999 with the character undergoing chemotherapy and a mastectomy. Seven years later, the disease would return with greater force than before, and Lisa’s battle ultimately ended with her death in October 2007. The tapes before and after her death dealt with the community’s grief over her loss , especially her husband Les.

Batiuk says he was inspired by his own experience with prostate and thyroid cancer. While the decision to bring her into the comics proved somewhat polarizing (he received countless emails asking him to spare the character’s life), “Lisa’s Story” nonetheless garnered critical acclaim. review, and a book chronicling the entire arc was nominated for a Pulitzer. Price. University Hospitals also established Lisa’s Legacy Fund to raise funds for cancer research.

Batiuk still lives with his wife Cathy in Medina, where his comic book studio is located. The latest “Funky Winkerbean” comic will appear in newspapers (including The Plain Dealer) on December 31.

“Special thanks to all the Funky devotees for coming along for the ride,” Batiuk said Thursday. “Boon mates all.”