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Funky’s Fortieth

posted on April 26, 2012

Things are a little crazy here in the Funkyverse as the serious book signing season gets underway. If you check out the events page, you’ll see that the San Diego Comic Con International has been added in July. The San Diego con is truly the preeminent comic con experience in the world. I was fortunate to be there a few years back and it’s only gotten bigger and better since then. I’ll be looking forward to not only geeking out in the dealers room, but to meeting Funky fans from the San Diego area and seeing if they’ve downloaded our free 4oth anniversary wallpapers. Colorist Alex Sinclair, who colored the Lion’s share of the Sundays in Lisa’s Story, will be joining me on my panel so it will be fun providing an insider’s look at how that work came about. And along with that, we’ll be taking a walk down memory lane and 4o years of life in the Funkyverse.

Speaking of which, I just wanted to thanks all of the kind and generous emails that have poured in concerning Funky’s 40th anniversary. I even heard from several students that I had in art class at Eastern Heights Junior High way back when. They all seemed to have turned out okay, so I’m not going to worry about ’em any more. It was great to hear from one and all. When I was starting out, I remember reading that Red Ryder had run for forty years and thinking I’d give a small nonessential body part to have Funky run that long. In hindsight, I probably should have made my deal with the devil for fifty. It’s as if I sat down at my drawing board, shifted into the Funkyverse, and, when I shifted back out and looked at the clock,  it was forty years later. I think there’s something seriously wrong with the space time continuum, but it will have to wait for this book touring year to be over before I can sit down and figure it out. For now, that’s about the size of it.

A Couple of Things

posted on March 14, 2012

I gotten a number of inquiries about an apparent discrepancy in my basketball story line. The trophy that the team is holding up in last Sunday’s strip says that they are the Division III champs. The very next day, however, they are congratulated for being the Division I champs. Frankly, I don’t see a problem here. It’s obvious that the team simply got a lot better over the weekend. See how simple that was? I would like to caution my loyal, and perhaps slightly beady-eyed readers, that they’re going to ruin their eyesight  squinting to read things that small. So just be careful out there.

I’ve also been getting a lot of questions about Fred and Ann and their position in the Funky firmament, so here’s a little trip in the wayback machine to bring new readers up to speed. Fred Fairgood appeared in the strip from day one as the counselor at Westview High. Ann joined the faculty as teacher a few years into the saga. When the faculty went on strike, Fred and Ann were partnered on the picket line, and, as a result, got to know each other a lot better. So much better in fact that they became engaged and were later married even though Fred neglected to get a marriage license. It all worked out when the Eliminator hacked the courthouse records and obtained a license for them. The wedding reception, of course was at Montoni’s. Still later, they adopted the baby that Lisa gave up for adoption in high school and who is now their son, Darin. As I mentioned in the intro to Volume One of The Complete Funky Winkerbean, in going over the early strips, I found that Fred had actually been married before, and so some serious retconning is currently under way.

This will all be so much easier when everyone has Volumes two and three in their hands and can just read all of this for themselves. Speaking of which, the first book signing at the Ohio Music Educators Convention was a total blast and I want to thank everyone involved for the royal treatment I received. It felt good to be a part of that again.To find out if a signing is coming up near you, just check out the Events section on this site. New signings are being posted as soon as they are confirmed. For now, that’s about the size of it.

Duets

posted on February 15, 2012

I’ve been receiving some nice comments to the website the past couple of days about the recent February 12th Funky Sunday featuring one of my Silver Age comic book pastiche/homage’s to a favorite old comic book character and the artist who drew it. I’ve talked about this before and why I enjoy doing it, but watching the Grammy Awards that same Sunday provided a new perspective on why it’s such fun. Tony Bennett received a Grammy for an album of duets that he had done with a number of contemporary singers, and I suddenly realized that with my old comic book recreations, I’ve been doing something similar. Once I have the idea for one of those tributes worked out and know what my characters are saying and doing, I take the art from the old comic book and re-ink it, sometimes inserting my own characters into the older cover. When I was preparing the very first comic book homage, I was talking with comic book artist John Byrne about it and he suggested blowing up the old art and  inking over it. He said it would be a lot of fun and it is. In a way, it’s like getting to do a duet with some of my old artistic heroes and the process only increases my respect for their talent. Inserting my own characters along side the older ones simply completes the duet. It’s a chance to work alongside artists with whom I would never have the opportunity to work. A lot of these older artists dreamed of doing a syndicated strip, and I always dreamed of doing superheroes, and, in our duet, we both get our chance.