What are comic strips

I was reading The Comics Curmudgeon. There is comment for one of his posts that said "You might be able to get away with that in a Funky Winkerbean strip, but never of Popeye"

Of course this made me think about Funky Winkerbean. When I was young Funky Winkerbean was a gag strip. I remember my sisters in the band loved it. There were a lot of Funky Winkerbean strips about the high school marching band.

When I was in college everything about Funky Winkerbean changed. It stopped being about high school and caught up with some of the old characters. It not only stopped being about high school, it also stopped being a traditional joke strip. It started to be a strip about people trying to live their lives. It became drama with jokes instead of just straight comedy.

The wikipedia entry does a good job covering the the 1992 Reboot. I noticed this change when I was back in Philadelphia in 1994. I really loved the new strip. One of the most famous plot lines is the Land Mine Story Arc. It is the story of one of two of the characters in Afghanistan doing aid work. I am amazed that you can read this whole plot line on the web site. It is worth checking out.

I heard about this story line and most people described it like Tom Batiuk had lost his mind. People do not want this kind of story when they turn to the comics page. They want to get away from the reality that is in the rest of the news paper. They do not want that reality on the funny pages also. Even if this is only 1 of 30 strips.

I read the Land Mine Story Arc and was amazed. Tom Batiuk is someone who really understands comic strips and wants to move the art form forward. This strip made me feel so much for these character. I think that this is what comic strips should be. I would much rather read this than a Garfield strip that is just redoing jokes from 15 years ago. I am not saying every strip should be like this, but there is room on the comics page for strips like Funky Winkerbean.

Also check out comic books artist John Byrne's run on Funky Winkerbean. It is also a good read.


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