Funky Winkerbean Comic Strip To Feature Gay-Teen Storyline

The long-running comic strip Funky Winkerbean will be tackling a gay storyline, reports the Chronicle-Telegram, one of more than 400 papers that caries the series.

“I was reading a story over breakfast about a protest by a parent group at a school in Hilliard, Ohio, that seemed to be about tolerance toward gays,” says Winkerbean creator Tom Batiuk, 63. “…My overall impression is that the younger generation’s attitudes toward gays is more open and accepting than their predecessors. It’s not perfect, but it shows promise for an emerging generation that will bring [intolerance].”

The storyline, beginning April 30, is about a gay-teen couple that wants to go to prom together at Westview High School. Over the past 40 years, Batiuk has covered teen pregnancy, suicide, alcoholism and breast cancer, the subject of a Pulitzer-nominated series in 2008.

Photo: King Features Syndicate

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  • newportxwhore

    Cool . Time to goolge comics

  • Danny

    Great that someone is using their talent in this way to entertain and address contemporary topics.

  • Hyhybt

    But “teen pregnancy, suicide, alcoholism and breast cancer” are all bad things.

  • Jason

    Oh God. If reading this strip (or more accurately, reading the highlights on Comics Curmudgeon) have taught me anything, it’s that Batiuk will be putting whatever poor saps star in this arc through the wringer.

    Lemme make a quick prediction of how it’s going to go down: they’ll go to the prom, have a good time, get run off the road by some jock who’s angered by their existence, and one of them will be beaten to death. The other (who’ll be beaten only halfway to death before the cops show up) will turn out to have cancer. And he’ll get the diagnosis either at or immediately after the funeral for the dead guy. The grim and terrible gods that rule the Funkyverse will be satisfied with nothing less.

    Oh, and someone, probably Les, will make a terrible pun while half-heartedly smirking.

  • Steven

    The comic strip Funky Winkerbean already dealt with LGBT issues and had a gay male character in it decades ago.

  • Stewie

    @ Jason
    OMG another Comics Curmudgeon fan! And your description of the Funkyverse is right on.

  • Hyhybt

    @Stewie: It’s “right on” in the sense that it agrees with the Comics Curmudgeon’s spin on the strip.

    The real thing isn’t that bleak. It’s far from the most upbeat strip around (particularly considering its former self) but it’s not the constant doom and gloom it’s portrayed as, either.

  • Mike

    I just hope nobody dies like in the infamous “Funky Cancercancer” arc.

  • Hyhybt

    I’m curious how this is going to work. It’s pretty much that time of year *now* and plot moves slowly in comic strip time. Surely the two who were just fighting over the same girl wouldn’t take each other… or, if they did, that wouldn’t count as gay? But introducing totally new characters would be out of character, so to speak, and there aren’t many options.

  • David O


    I am pretty offended by this whole comic arc. It was NOT a parent group at Hilliard High, it was the Westboro Baptist Church. By mentioning Hilliard specifically it makes the parents over there look intolerant when in fact for all we now nothing could be further from the truth.

    The two gays kids are stock cardboard cutouts that we’ve never met before. I’m not sure if one is wearing a Village People shirt but he might as well be.

    The artist is just fishing for a Pulitzer again by using a storyline ripped from 2007.

  • Hyhybt

    @David O: If the story is not going to be about them anyway, but about nutty lady causing trouble, then it makes sense that they wouldn’t be particularly developed characters.

    It also mades sense in other ways. There are no existing gay characters in the strip to use for this, and developing new ones would take time. Months, probably, if tried all at once, which would drag out the story too much even for Funky Winkerbean.

    On the other hand, there’s nothing particularly stopping their being fleshed out in a more natural fashion once this story is over. If they’re received well (and remember who mostly reads especially the soap-type strips) then one or the other will probably turn out to be Harry Dinkle’s grandnephew or something and they’ll wind up in the semi-regular cast.

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