End of an era: Northeast Ohio comic artist Tom Batiuk to retire ‘Funky Winkerbean’

In this April 10, 2012 photo, cartoonist Tom Batiuk, creator of the comic strip Funky...
In this April 10, 2012 photo, cartoonist Tom Batiuk, creator of the comic strip Funky Winkerbean, inks a strip at the drawing table of his Medina, Ohio home studio. During its 40-year run on the funny pages, the characters and Batiuk have evolved and so have the story lines, from high school hijinks and awkward teen dating moments to dealing with adult issues like alcoholism, suicide and cancer. His latest hot topic story line during May: two boys who want to go to the high school prom together. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)(Amy Sancetta | AP)
Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 9:20 PM EST
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MEDINA, Ohio (WOIO) - Comic artist and Northeast Ohio native Tom Batiuk announced the retirement of ‘Funky Winkerbean.’

The comic, first appearing in newspapers in 1973, will come to an end at the end of the year, Batiuk said in an announcement on his website.

“More than fifty years ago the cast of Funky Winkerbean began their journey on the American comics pages, and as the official chaperone of these special characters, they took me with them as they traveled from the Tournament of Roses Parade to the White House,” Batiuk said. “However, nothing goes on for infinity and so this wonderful odyssey will reach its conclusion on December 31 of this year.”

Batiuk, a Kent State University alumnae and multi-award-winning cartoonist, said he will continue to post original stories surrounding the syndicated character to his website.

I still plan to post new original Funky stories at my new website tombatiuk.com from time to time along with my ongoing collaboration with Dangerous Dan Davis on Crankshaft, and also my work on the close to my heart Complete Funky Winkerbean collections (Volume 12 of which has recently dropped… just sayin’). And speaking of Crankshaft, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Funky and friends popping up every now and then in that irascible school bus driver’s strip. The two strips have always existed in a shared universe and I encourage all of you Funky fans out there to check it out. Between the blog, the books and the pop-ups in Crankshaft, it’ll be like the Funky gang never left. Which I hope makes you feel as good as it does me.

Tom Batiuk

The universe surrounding the 50-year-old comic is not stopping, Batiuk said, but it is slowing down.

“A special thanks to all of the Funky faithful for coming along for the ride,” Batiuk said.