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Match to Flame – 40

posted on March 22, 2017

Characters suddenly began proliferating in Funky like aunts at a family reunion. There was the black cheerleader Junebug Jones; Melinda Budd, Holly Budd’s ambitious stage mother; Jerome the drum major; Nancy the school librarian; Ron the tennis pro; Irma, Rita Righton’s tennis partner; Senator Noah Vale; Neal, the director of the Lighthouse, a home for status offenders; Channel One reporters Brenda Harpy and Minnie Cameron; news anchor Charlie Lord; Phil the Forecaster; talk show host John Darling; and program director Reed Roberts. This along with numerous inanimate forms suddenly achieving sentience, such as the talking trees and leaves, talking clouds, talking school desks, talking video games, a talking jack-o-lantern, and even a talking tennis ball machine that goes on to play at Wimbledon. It seems I managed to ignore Flash Fairfield’s thoughtful and well-intentioned advice on almost a weekly basis.

From The Complete Funky Winkerbean Volume Three

Match to Flame – 39

posted on March 8, 2017

It disappeared sometime in 1978. “It” was the note that Flash Fairfield, the manager of the comics art department at the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA) syndicate, had sent to me. In it, he had briefly outlined some of the points about comic strip characters and their care and feeding that he and I had discussed when we first met. [*The scintillating details of which appear in Volume 1 of The Complete Funky Winkerbean.] It was a generous act on Flash’s part because it arrived after NEA had turned down my strip and I had signed with a rival syndicate, Publishers-Hall. One of the things that Flash reminded me of in his note was that comic strips work best when there are only two or three major characters whose personalities are clearly defined and constantly reinforced. Peanuts, of course, was his gold standard. Made all the sense in the world. I had kept the note taped to my drawing board for several years, and it had survived a couple of apartment moves and was still in place when my wife Cathy and I moved into our new house (a.k.a. the Cartoon Castle). It was always there as a constant reminder of Flash’s sound and considered advice. And then one day it wasn’t, and after that, as my piano teacher Mrs. Bemis used to say when trying to describe my playing, everything just went all higgledy piggledy.

From The Complete Funky Winkerbean Volume Three

Match to Flame 37

posted on January 31, 2017


It wasn’t long before the Scapegoats went national and marched off to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade as seen in the week of November 22, 1976, starting on page 314. This was followed eventually by Harry marching into real life and lending his name to the Harry L. Dinkle March, a line of Dinkles band shoes, actual band candy, and a series of books collecting his exploits. He even showed up on scoreboards at college football games. A little further down the line, an actor dressed like Harry would march in the actual Tournament of Roses Parade next to a float that was the same as the one appearing in that New Year’s Day Funky Winkerbean strip.

From The Complete Funky Winkerbean Volume Two

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