NEW YORK, March 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- When the Funky Winkerbean gang gathers at Montoni's to celebrate the pizzeria's 40 years in business, newspaper readers will have fun recalling key events in the history of the comic strip as Tom Batiuk's award-winning comic strip celebrates its 40th anniversary on the newspaper comics pages. The strip is syndicated internationally by King Features Syndicate to nearly 400 newspapers.
Ever since Funky Winkerbean first appeared on March 27, 1972, Batiuk has been treating his readers to an inside look at the lives of rich cast of quirky students at the fictitious Westview High School. From his initial gag-a-day format, the cartoonist moved his characters forward in their fictional lives as he himself matured through the years. Believing that the comic art form is capable of carrying weighty subject matter, Batiuk has continued to stretch the creative boundaries of narrative humor, introducing real-life issues such as dyslexia, teen suicide, guns in the classroom, racial discrimination, teen-dating abuse, alcoholism and post-traumatic stress disorder into Funky Winkerbean.
The Kent State University Press Publishes The Complete Funky Winkerbean, Volume 1
On the 40th Anniversary
As part of the 40th Anniversary celebration, The Kent State University Press is publishing The Complete Funky Winkerbean, Volume 1 (March 27, 2012, $45), which encompasses the first three years' worth of strips. Subsequent volumes will be issued every year. Batiuk, who is a graduate of Kent State, donated a collection of his artwork to his alma mater, so it is particularly fitting that the University Press would undertake this massive publishing project to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of his strip with him.
With a Foreword by comics historian R.C. Harvey, the 486-page Volume 1 introduces Funky Winkerbean (whose name was suggested by Batiuk's students), along with his friends Crazy Harry Klinghorn, Bull Bushka, Livinia Swenson, Les Moore, Holly Bud and Roland Mathews. Principal Burch, counselor Fred Fairgood and band director Harry L. Dinkle also appear for the first time. In an autobiographical introduction, Batiuk reveals his early inspirations in his quest to become a cartoonist and discusses his teaching career and how it affected the genesis of the comic strip.
SOURCE King Features