Funky Winkerbean logo

Groundhog Day

posted on March 4, 2013

It appears that this year’s hibernation is just about over. I’ve already ventured from the cartoon castle for a couple of great book signings and if they were any indication, this is going to be a fun year. So a quick shout out to the folks at the Ohio Music Educators Association for hosting a wonderful signing at their convention last month in Columbus. They not only treated me with great cordiality, but have invited me back for next year as well. Also, this past Saturday I got up well before the crack of noon to talk with the nicest bunch of Funky readers at the Columbia Branch of the Lorain Public Library. It was a sharp, friendly, standing-room crowd and I frankly can’t think of a better way to spend a wintery Saturday morning.

There are a bunch of new signings about to be posted and one correction I need to make. The signing posted for the Elyria Public Library has been changed to June 15th at the otherwise same place and time. Hope to get this corrected shortly. The signings range from Freehold, New Jersey to Chapel Hill to San Diego so it’s time to shake off the winter slumber and get moving. Here’s hoping our paths cross somewhere down the road. Cheers.

Tom Batiuk

The Comic Book Sundays

posted on January 31, 2013

Red-skull        Captain America

Questions continue to come in about the comic book covers that I use from time to time in the Funky Sunday strips. It seems that there are a lot of folks in Funkydom who enjoy seeing the comics of their youth and the artists who created them paid homage in this way. So I thought I’d let you in on some of the thinking behind their selection.

When I arrived as a freshman at Kent State University, I experienced the usual traumas of being away from home and living on your own (more or less) for the first time. Once I was settled-in, I went looking for a place that sold comic books in Kent. Even though I had the vast resources of a university at my disposal, I needed to continue my comics education because I was still basically being home-schooled by Stan the Man Lee. There were only a couple of places in Kent that sold comics and both were quite a hoof. Making the journey often required the cutting of a class or two. The first place I tried was called the Kent Kozy Korner. It was the kind of small little drugstore/lunch counter establishment that was already fading from the scene, and was probably a year or so from closing at that point. It had one of those old fashioned comic rack/magazine stands, and when I walked in and saw the comics there, it was like encountering some long lost friends. While the place stayed open, it remained my source for all of the magic that was pouring out of Marvel Comics at that time. None, however, was more magical than this Jack Kirby/Don Heck cover showing the Red Skull becoming the master of the cosmic cube. That it’s a Kirby pencilling job there is no doubt, although the inking looks more like Dick Ayers or Syd Shores to me, but who am I to argue with the Grand Comics Database. What it certainly is is a masterful piece of work that exploded in my brain like a small thermonuclear device. The image never left me and was one of the first I thought of when it came time to give my due to the comic creating gods of my youth.

Sadly, instead of being designated a historic landmark, the Kent Kozy Korner was razed not too log ago to make way for a Speedway gas station… which doesn’t sell comics. However the memory of the Kent Kozy Korner does live on as the Komix Korner, the comic shop in the Funkyverse.

I’d like to close by thanking the Ohio Music Educators Association for the royal treatment this past weekend. It was the kick-off book signing for Volume 2 of The Complete Funky Winkerbean and I had a great time meeting with a lot of old friends and making some new ones as well. We’ve already made plans to do the kick-off for Volume 3 there next year. You should be able to order Volume 2 from this website in short order or you can go to Amazon right now where it’s already listed (and at a very nice price I might add). Also, some new book signings have just been added in the events section on this site. Check ’em out.