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Thanks

posted on July 5, 2007

I’m trying as much as possible to keep up with all of the e-mails that have been coming in, but for those that I may have missed, I wanted to try to acknowledge them in a blog.

First, for all of the heartfelt e-mails that have come in in regard to Lisa’s story, I just wanted to thank all of you for your kind comments and thoughts. I truly appreciate your taking the time to share your stories. For all of you who wanted Darin to prove to be a bone marrow match for Lisa, I only wish I was as clever as you guys. As for Darin and Lisa getting together… keep reading.

Thanks too for all your comments, prayers and concern for my personal health. Just had a test this week and I’m doing well.

Hey everybody!

posted on April 3, 2007

Okay, gang… even I’ll admit that it’s been a little too long between blogs, so before I start answering any questions, a brief explanation. I had some surgery in January and between the recovery and catching up on both Funky and Crankshaft, I just wasn’t able to get to this. Your e-mails have been wonderful and I really appreciate the thoughtful comments. Since there are way too many e-mails to deal with on an individual basis, and since many speak to the same point, I’m going to bundle them by subject matter and hopefully answer as many questions as I can that way. Wish me luck.

First out of the mailbox, I appreciate all of the kind comments regarding Harry setting his uniform aside and moving on in his career. Many of you are obviously in the same place in your careers, and I’m glad to can still relate to Harry’s life changes. Those wanting copies of the recent (or not so recent) Mid-West Clinic strips are going to have to wait until the next band book collection and that may be just a little while yet.

Regarding the questions about Becky, Wally and the kids… with the Christmas holidays, apparently some of you missed the fact that Becky had her baby. Wally Jr. was born on Christmas Eve and he, Becky, Rana and Wally are all doing fine. Yeah, I had the baby sitting up a bit soon, but cartoonists make mistakes too, and besides, he’s a very strong kid. Wally didn’t get blown up in Iraq, it just seemed like he did for a couple of days. It’s called writing.

The comments regarding Lisa’s story have been especially gratifying to read as I recuperated. To all of you who asked about a book collection, the entire story arc will be collected in a book by The Kent State University Press that will be published in October. There will be much more information on the website as that time draws closer. For those of you wondering if there were posters and T-shirts available of the March 4th Sunday, thanks for asking and we’re working on that. If something like that happens, it’ll be posted here as well along with any other news.

Will Darin and Lisa finally find out about each other? Inquiring minds want to know. All I’m contractually permitted to say on that one is… keep reading.

For those of you who have unfortunately moved to a culturally deprived area and can’t follow Funky in your daily paper anymore, check in at Dailyink.com where you can find both Funky and Crankshaft.

And finally, for those wanting prints of specific strips, go to Kingfeatures.com and nose around there a bit. They can help you get what you’re looking for. It’ll really help them if you know what you’re looking for. That keeps them from calling your humble cartoonist and asking; “Did you do a strip about pizza back in ’82 or ’83?” Life is too short if you get my drift.

Well, I think that about covers things for now. Hope it helps a little. Until later.

Harry L. Dinkle

posted on January 15, 2007

It was a warm July evening in 1973 and I was lying on the bed in our apartment doing some writing for Funky. As is my custom, I was grousing to myself about having to write when I could’ve been goofing off, with little inkling of what the Muse had in store for me that night. Now lying on a bed is pretty conducive to letting your mind drift off, and, since Funky and the gang were about to head back to school in the strip, my mind was drifting back to all the things you associate with the start of school… football games, homecoming preparations, the usual stuff.

However, when I was in school, I hadn’t been on the football team or the homecoming committee. What I did do was play trombone in the band.

Now I know what you’re thinking. You probably figure I’m going to say I jumped up off the bed at that point and ran around the room shouting “eureka!” Well not exactly. What I did do was begin to jot down memories of long cold bus rides with wet feet and itchy wool uniforms… of singing “A hundred Bottles of Beer on the Wall” until the bus driver turned his hearing-aid off… of selling band candy to all of my relatives. I also jotted down the idea for a new character… a band director named Harry L. Dinkle. Harry L. Dinkle the World’s Greatest Band Director. Even then the “eureka” didn’t come.

The fact of the matter is, it really came later in a whole string of retroactive “eurekas”. First, as the mail began to come in… followed by invitations to speak at band awards banquets… and then the honorary inductions of Harry (and sometimes myself) into various state band organizations… the penning of the Harry L. Dinkle March… watching Harry march in the Tournament of Roses Parade… a line of Harry L. Dinkle band shoes and so much more.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been more than thirty years since that summer evening. Frankly, it seems like only yesterday that Harry first marched onto the comics page and started selling band candy. And could the first band camp we attended together really have been that long ago?

Much has changed in the world since then. And now it’s time for Harry to change too. Time to put aside the uniform that has served and identified him for so long and move on into administration as so many have before him. All the characters in Funky have grown over the years and Harry is no exception.

Does that mean that Harry and the band are going away? Not by a long shot. Harry has some new challenges ahead, as will Becky as the new band director. And someone has to be there to launch the new Harry L. Dinkle Performing Arts Center. As much as the arts and music belong in a school curriculum, so Harry, Becky and the band belong in Funky. Recently, at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago, I drew my last public picture of Harry in his uniform. This week inaugurates the new look Harry, and I’m looking forward to drawing him in the strip for, hopefully, a long time to come.