Medina County resident Tom Batiuk is the award-winning creator and illustrator of the syndicated comic strip Funky Winkerbean, which debuted in the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram daily newspaper in 1972. Today, the strip is syndicated in more than 400 newspapers nationwide. A character from the Funky series, Ed Crankshaft, soloed in his own strip in 1987. Tom writes and Chuck Ayers illustrates the Crankshaft we know and love for more than 300 newspapers nationwide. Tom has tackled a number of sensitive subjects in his strips including teen pregnancy, reading impairment dyslexia, teen suicide, teen dating abuse, breast cancer and Alzheimer’s. Lisa’s Story was a Pulitzer Finalist in 2008.
1. The Inkpot Award was given to me at the San Diego ComicCon in 1999 for achievement in the comic arts.
2. This is the design for a Crankshaft bobble head. In the strip, Crankshaft is a former baseball pitcher for the Toledo Mudhens who has always been disappointed because his major league dreams fell apart. This July, the real Mudhens are retiring Crankshaft’s jersey and the bobble head will be available for sale that night.
3. These are some of the books I’ve published from the strips, including the Funky Winkerbean series, Lisa’s Story, Crankshaft’s Strike Four and Roses in December. I’m releasing Volume 5 of the Funky Winkerbean series in April, 2017, and a trilogy of books about Lisa in October, 2017, on the tenth anniversary of Lisa’s Story.
4. While we were cleaning out my mom’s house, I found my box of crayons from third grade.
5. This is a Cintiq, a 3D drawing board. I’m actually more comfortable working at my old drawing board, which I bought in junior high school for $25. At the time, it seemed like a lot of money. It’s where I do most of my work.
6. A friend made this sculpture of Les and Lisa. In the Funky strip, Lisa died of breast cancer. That storyline led to Lisa’s Legacy, a fundraiser for cancer research and education at University Hospitals. Secure.UHGiving.org/Lisas-Legacy-Fund