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Volume 8 Drops

posted on February 14, 2019

Volume 8 of the complete Funky Winkerbean dropped today on Valentine’s Day, which is appropriate because romance, unrequited and sortaquited, definitely infuses the collection . This is the work that starts to flow from my getting editorial control of my writing and creations (see volume 7). Without a strong editorial hand on my shoulder, it was left up to me to decide where to take the strip… and this book contains the decisions I made. It’s where the work starts to transcend my influences and sources.

Plus, quite frankly, I think it’s my most danceable book yet. Check it out!


Match to Flame 96

posted on February 13, 2019

At the end of the teen pregnancy story, I had Lisa leave the strip to go live with her grandparents in Seattle. To have her continue on in the strip as if nothing had happened just didn’t feel right. Likewise, 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. The philosopher Immanuel Kant reasoned that, if you have sequence, then ippso pippso (my words, not his) you have time. Comic strips always had sequence, but then somewhere along the way they slipped into the habit of circling back at the end of each day’s strip and restarting the clock. However, inherent in their genetic code was the ability to take that sequence and just keep on going like, oh, I don’t know, life does. I wanted that for my characters and I wanted it for me. From the teen pregnancy story forward, I would slowly begin moving them toward graduation and beyond. What that “beyond” was exactly and how I would get there was still a project under construction. Like they say on those little magnetic aphorisms that you stick on the fridge, sometimes you just have to jump off the cliff and build your wings on the way down. I don’t recommend this, by the way, unless there are no other options, and Lisa had left me with no other options. In the end, what really happened was that Lisa and the teen pregnancy story opened a door for me and invited me to walk through. But opening doors can be scary, because there’s always something on the other side.

From The Complete Funky Winkerbean Volume Five.

Match to Flame 95

posted on February 12, 2019

With the teen pregnancy story arc, Funky started on its path to becoming an outlier on the comics page. I was moving from a very safe position to one that courted failure, but there was an exciting side effect to the whole thing—freedom. There would be praise and condemnation. On the condemnation side were those who felt I was betraying a trust to only provide something funny. One reader even went so far as to state that I was negligent in my fiduciary responsibility under my contract to produce a funny strip. My contract says a lot of things, but it never said that. Others just abhorred any kind of change and wanted me to go back to the way the strip was in the beginning. What they failed to grasp is that the beginning strips were just that, only a beginning. From the majority of my readers, however, I received a wonderful gift—their trust. They gave me the space to grow and change and trusted that I wouldn’t let them down, at least this time. Someone once said that you have to challenge your audience a little. You can’t give them what they think they want, because that’s not what they really want. You have to give them something they don’t know they want but will once they see it. I think that’s true, but that’s a very thin and a very high wire to walk.

From The Complete Funky Winkerbean Volume Five