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Match to Flame 98

posted on March 23, 2019

That being said, after going through the three years of strips in the volume, it seems those sentiments may have been something of an overreach and it appears I have to walk things back a bit. True, I did deal with the topics of dyslexia and steroid abuse, and my adult and student relationships with others were starting to leave the surface jokes on the surface and beginning to dig down to the strata where a more natural and interior behavioral humor resided. These weren’t huge reaches, but significant nonetheless. However, along with that we still have things like a talking scapegoat, talking leaves and watermelons, a Star Trek convention being held by a school computer that accidentally invites Dr. Spock instead of Science Officer Spock (actually, that’s kind of cute), along with me not only breaking the fourth wall but doing a complete demo of it on some days (I’m thinking here of the Halloween watermelon arc where I’m being investigated to see if I actually use watermelons for jack-o’-lanterns and the daily strip where I’m hiding in my studio as Mike Wallace from Sixty Minutes knocks on my door), and, yes—even Les still getting stuck on the cursed rope in gym class. The strip seemed to be running on two tracks and was kind of schizophrenic at this point. So it raises the question that you were about to, you clever devil—is there a real Tom Batiuk in these pages somewhere? Yes, there absolutely is. To para-song-check Pete Townshend, my dreams weren’t as empty as my conscience seemed to be. What we’re seeing in these pages is an artist in transition, and it’s called a transition for a reason, people. It’s, to quote my Aunt Merriam, “the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.” What my dear auntie is saying is that these things don’t happen overnight. You necessarily have to travel through a period of flux to get there. One foot planted where you were, and one planted where you want to go. Thus what we have here is Funky the flux years, but it wasn’t only the strips that were in flux. Back then as far as my work and career were concerned, everything was in a state of flux.

From The Complete Funky Winkerbean Volume Six 

Match to Flame 97

posted on March 22, 2019

Running to Daylight

Okay, my Good and Gentle Readers . . . we’re going to pick up the journey right where we left off at the end of the introduction to The Complete Funky Winkerbean, Volume 5. This is what’s known in the book biz as being totally anal rock-solid intro writing (note to editor—be sure to remove all strikeouts before publication). We left off with my discussing the story arc about Lisa’s high school pregnancy and saying that “after having been Lisa’s confidant and birthing partner, it was going to be impossible to go back to things like having Les being stuck up on the rope in gym class and ending up being repurposed as a decoration for the homecoming dance. A line had been crossed, and my characters now were going to have to grow up.” These thoughts were even echoed by the assistant managing editor of the Calgary Herald, who sent me a very kind congratulatory letter on the Lisa pregnancy story concluding with: “One final thought—Les really was a brick throughout all of this. I think he can now be excused from climbing that damned rope in gym class.” Even Murray Ball saw that I now had created for myself the option of taking the work to another floor and was encouraging me to do just that.

From The Complete Funky Winkerbean Volume Six


Old Hollywood.

posted on March 20, 2019

I thought I’d share some of my research for a story arc coming up in Funky a little later this year. Cindy Summers and Jessica Fairgood will be working on a documentary involving, as you no doubt can tell, old Hollywood.

Comic strips make it a lot easier to do something like this because there are no old looking sets that need to be built and no old cars that need to be rented. All you need is your imagination and some reference photos.