Wednesday, March 21, 2012

On the Beat with Tom Batiuk

Last year, I had the pleasure of interviewing cartoonist Tom Batiuk.  I have been reading Batiuk's stories for over 30 years.  His many characters have made me laugh, cry and think many times over the years.
Batiuk could not have been any nicer.  He gave me ample time and thoughtful answers.  This really was a special moment for me and I greatly appreciate his hospitality.
Recently, I was pleasantly surprised when I received an email from Tom notifying me about his latest project, The Complete Funky Winkerbean Volume 1 (1972-1974).  This first Funky compilation will be available on March 27 and will be followed every year by another volume covering three years of Funky-ness.  Aside from all of the great Funky strips, there is also an autobiographical intro by Tom.
I took the opportunity to ask Tom a few questions.

Q-Did this book project bring up any memories or new thoughts on the origins of the strip and the characters?
TB-In a way, yes. I discovered some situations that I had forgotten about and would like to revisit. The most obvious one is that Fred Fairgood, Darin's father, was apparently married before. Totally didn't realize that.

Q-Volume 1 contains an autobiographical intro. Will subsequent volumes have extras like that?
TB-Yes, that's the plan anyway. I'll keep doing that as long as I have something worthwhile to contribute.

Q-What has been the best part of this book project?
TB-The best part was being able to write the autobiographical piece and help to put the work into context. Bob Harvey's piece was a lot of fun too.

I also asked Tom if he ever found himself talking to any of his characters.  He said he didn't, but I am pretty sure I have.  I know I have found myself in many situations which reminded me of stories from his strips.  To me, that is one of the great things about all of his strips, stories and characters.  They seem so real, like they are my friends!
I will be purchasing Funky Winkerbean Volume 1 (and bringing it to a future convention to be signed by Tom.  I encourage everyone to check out this great book.  Also, go to to learn all about Tom, his books, Funky and the rest of his characters!
Funky Winkerbean Volume 1 (1972-1974)-Photo courtesy of Tom Batiuk


Alfie said...

I am a Funky Fanatic. Great news on the book!

Contrary Guy said...

The spinoff, "Crankshaft" was pretty hilarious too.

Cleveland Mike said...

Add me to the Funky Fanatic list. I, too, will be buying this book. Glad to hear he is so nice.

Emmy said...

It is nice to hear that Mr. B is so nice. I am looking forward to the book and the series.