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The Cat and the Bag

posted on October 29, 2011

A number of people at last weekend’s Mid-Ohio Con put on by the folks at Wizard World (major digression: the con was an absolute blast. Whether you’re a fan or a pro, Wizard World knows how to treat you well. If you haven’t been to one in your area, you really owe it to yourself to check it out) I’m sorry, where was I? Oh, yeah… a number of fans all had the same question and it echoed a lot of the emails that I’ve been getting lately.They all want to know if there’s ever going to be a compilation of Funky Winkerbean in its entirety. Until quite recently, I’ve never had a happy response for them, but at the convention last weekend I finally had an answer for the Funky faithful.

So  since I let the cat partially out of the bag at the con, (why would you keep a cat in a bag anyway?) let’s just go ahead and debag the entire feline. Next March will mark Funky’s 40th anniversary and in conjunction with that The Kent State University Press, under their Black Squirrel imprint (gotta love that), will be bringing out Volume One Of The Complete Funky Winkerbean. The book will encompass the first three years of the strip during which the major players from the dawn of Funkydom take their first turns on the stage. You’ll find out things about the characters that you never knew before, and I know this for a fact because I did. I discovered that Fred Fairgood was married and divorced (I hope) long before he met his current wife Ann. As I say in the foreword, there’s some serious retconning coming up down the line here. Speaking of the foreword, the copyeditor referred to it as schizophrenic, 70s high school kid, aging hippie, elegant sophisticate, and Sam Spade all rolled into one. Touchdown! I actually think she meant that as something bad, but, frankly, I’d like to use it as bullet quote on the back cover. For my money, she really nailed it. There’s also an absolutely wonderful introduction by R.C. Harvey who brings all of his erudition and encyclopedic knowledge of comics lore to the task as he places Funky in context with its predecessors. And, as those of you who picked up a copy of Lisa’s Story already know, the Press puts together absolutely beautiful books, so Funky and the gang will be getting the best treatment possible.

So there you have it. The hopes, dreams and unspoken prayers of the Funky faithful are about to be answered. More info on the book will be forthcoming shortly, and suffice to say book signings and appearances will begin being posted in the “events” section as they get confirmed. Perhaps the best thing for now would be to lie down, maybe put a cold washcloth on your forehead to calm yourself, and contemplate the fantastic and Funky future that awaits you.

Lisa’s Legacy Run Redux

posted on October 13, 2011

I’ve been busy playing catch-up since the Lisa’s Run, but I just wanted to jot down a few impressions from this year’s event. With rain leading up to it and then immediately following it, we were all holding our breath that it wouldn’t turn out like the race did in Funky this year. I had deliberately made it ran on the parade in Funky as part of a little game that I like to play with Fate. I’m not superstitious but I will cop to being just ever so slightlystitious, and thus I figured that, if I made it rain on the Lisa’s Run in the comic strip, Fate (who, when it wants to be entertained, plops down on the couch with a big bowl of buttered popcorn, puts its feet up on the hassock and turns on me) would make it a bright sunny day just to make me look like a fool. Annnnd it worked! We had a nice sunny morning between the raindrops and it made for slightly cool but beautiful running weather. After risking heatstroke with every run in this past summer’s heat and humidity, it was amazingly refreshing and many runners (*cough* me) posted their personal best times for the year.

The very best thing about this race is the people that it draws which seem to be just about the nicest people on the planet. One family brought a framed Funky strip that I had sent to their father back when he was in school. Very cool. Others I’d met on past Lisa’s Runs and it was great to touch bases with folks who are becoming old friends. The Parma-Parma Heights Kiwanis were back once again as volunteers including Susan Cash who was there from the Kent State University Press with copies of Lisa’s Story (more on them in my next post in which I get to unleash some very interesting news). In all it was a great time and all the Kudos go to University Hospitals for the hard work that goes into each Lisa’s Run. The race started and ended in front of the new Sideman Cancer Center which is featured in the Lisa’s Legacy section on this site.

It’s there that you’ll also  find a slew of pictures and some video on this year’s run. Check it out and then start putting together your training schedule for next years event.