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Grief is the price we pay

posted on July 11, 2007

Any chance I had of keeping up with your e-mails was buried under the tsunami of comments that I’ve received in the past week. The range and depth of your feelings has been both heartening and daunting. Sadly, given the other constraints on my time, I can’t personally answer them all. However, what I can do is this… thanks to the kind permission of James Renner of The Cleveland Free Times, I’ve posted his recent interview from that publication in the Bio section of this site. It’s a fine interview and gives a pretty nice snapshot of things in the Funkyverse at the moment as well as addressing most of the questions many of you have. No links, no muss, no fuss, so check it out.

To those of you who still feel that I’m breaking some immutable rule of the cartooning profession by striving to do something of substance, I’d like to say that while trying to entertain is certainly a worthwhile goal, sometimes you have to go a little further and try to get at the heart of things. The expectations that some readers have for modern comic strips is rather limited. They feel that the artist owes them only a certain narrowly defined style of work. In actuality, what I owe them is the very best work I can do. I think that as an artist I owe it to my readers to challenge my expectations of myself and those of my readers as well, even at the risk of offending some. I don’t believe anyone should harbor the expectation of going through life without being offended by something. On a really good day, I’m offended a half dozen time before breakfast. Expression, even when we disagree with what’s being expressed, remains our best and sanest method of understanding one another.

For those of you who want a miracle, here’s the real miracle in this story. At it’s core, this is a love story. Grief is the price we pay for love, and this is a story about how you do that. We live in a world where most love stories focus on the initial burst of emotion, and not so much on how that emotion endures after time and fate have had their say. In a rather cold and indifferent universe, the triumph this sort of loving relationship is to me one of the great miracles of our existance. Lisa’s Story is celebration of that miracle and how even death can’t diminish it.

Once again, my thanks for all your personal good wishes and especially for the stories you’ve shared.


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 where you can find both Funky and Crankshaft.

And finally, for those wanting prints of specific strips, go to 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.