Heavy Medal

[I]n 2008 [Tom Batiuk] was named a Pulitzer Prize finalist. Only three other newspaper strip creators have achieved this distinction in the award’s 100-year history: Garry Trudeau (Doonesbury), Berkeley Breathed (Bloom County) and Lynn Johnston (For Better or For Worse). Pulitzer judges cited Batiuk’s controversial story line in which his Lisa character battles cancer – a subject not typically covered in the funny pages.

“That sort of validated my career for me because there are only four … Trudeau, Breathed, Johnston … and Funky,” Batiuk says with a smile. “I’ll take that company. That’s not bad.”

From the Interviews page at funkywinkerbean.com

Today’s strip…Who wouldn’t admire a guy who creates three hugely successful (in their day) daily comic strips? The main difference between Tom Batiuk and two of those other three famous cartoonists is that Trudeau and Breathed won their Prizes. Now, being a Pulitzer finalist is nothing to sneeze at, but this does put Batiuk in the lower percentile, alongside Johnston, creator of the only long-running, “serious” comic that engenders even stronger love/hate among its faithful readers.

Not having that Pulitzer on his shelf alongside his Flash maquette has to sting a little, for a storyteller who likens himself to Charles Schulz and Woody Allen. Despite the considerable success and fame that Batiuk’s earned over nearly a half century, he’s still “never won a medal.”

C’mon man. Even Skyler‘s won a medal.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

52 responses to “Heavy Medal

  1. batgirl

    Isn’t that Funky with a medal furthest to the left in the Skyler strip? Sure looks like him.

  2. SeaCountry

    Wondering if this leads up to Funky getting a “most improved” medal or something. Then he can stop torturing himself.

    Speaking of which, no wonder we never stop hearing about Lisa and the saddest widower in the whole wide world.

  3. William Thompson

    Do they give medals for crossing the finish line first in a charity race? If they do, wouldn’t it make more sense to give the medal to whoever raised the most money?

  4. Count of Tower Grove

    No participation medal? I want my money back!

  5. Epicus Doomus

    Funky doesn’t really care about Les’ stupid Lisa charity, he’s in it strictly for his own personal gain. You kind of gotta admire that, you know? In any other strip he’d be the asshole, but in this one it sort of makes him the hero. It’s very Batiukian.

  6. J.J. O'Malley

    “And this year the Mentor Rotary is pleased to announce that the 2020 Lisa’s Legacy Fund run earned a grand total of $17.45 for cancer research. It would have been more, but some desperate-for-validation local pizzeria owner demanded that medals be awarded to every single participant, no matter how badly they performed in the race. Those cheap made-in-China medals are surprisingly expensive, folks.”

    Also, why couldn’t Les have just said “The real winner is the fund” in panel two. Most readers start with panel one and already know it’s the Lisa’s Legacy Fund. Conversely, why didn’t TB go for the hat trick and have Funky mention it yet again in the third panel?

    Also also, a footrace had an “age one and under” category, and the winner just happened to be the grandson of the race’s namesake? Sounds suspicious.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      The whole point is to give Batty yet another excuse for keeping Lisa around after he killed her off in his desperate pursuit of a Pulitzer.

      So we have Lisa Tapes, Lisa’s tapes being made into DVDs, Lisa’s book, Lisa’s movie, Lisa’s fun run, Lisa’s PB&J…all cheap gimmicks to keep her in the news on a daily basis.

  7. Olive McSweeney, LLC

    So….no Cayla running in the race? Ha! Shocking.

    • SeaCountry

      I’m still hoping she’s wrecking the Moore house with a baseball bat and getting ready to leave for good. I’m an optimist like that.

    • batgirl

      No Summer, either. And she doesn’t seem to be in the Skyler strip, though Darrin and Jessica are there with medals. Wonder which one was running with Skyler’s stroller?

    • newagepalimpsest

      Maybe her vitiligo is acting up. Google tells me that this isn’t necessarily painful, but the pamphlet that Cayla gave to Les clearly explains that the only treatment is to lie down in a dark, cool room with an entire bottle of red wine, and a good novel.

  8. billytheskink

    I’d say Funky’s earned a medal for staying friends with Les… but he’s got to know he won’t be winning any medals running at Les’ pace.

  9. Gerard Plourde

    Is Funky channeling The Author’s disappointment at not having been awarded a Pulitzer?

  10. Charles

    Jesus Christ, those silhouettes, Funky’s about three times the size of Les. I think it’s time to fire your damn trainer, Funky. Either she’s not doing anything for you or you’re so uncommitted to what she’s doing that you’re wasting her time and yours.

    Also, can’t these two fuckfaces tie their shoes?

  11. none

    By the way, today’s banner is the true victor.

    Skunky, the word balloon, Les running the bases. That’s a good hat trick.

  12. William Thompson

    By all means, hang a medal on Funky’s neck. Let’s see Mr. Healthy collapse under its weight.

  13. Banana Jr. 6000

    Product placement again. You say the product’s name as many times as many times as possible, no matter how forced it is.

    This whole week has been nothing but an infomercial for Lisa: The Official Cancer Sufferer of the Newspaper Comics Page. When you need to mourn a cancer victim, insist on Lisa!

    • comicbookharriet

      For the less discerning customer interested in heart disease, we also have a few spare Marians from For Better or For Worse.

    • Maxine of Arc

      And as has been discussed here at length, Lisa HAS no damn legacy.

      • Hannibal’s Lectern

        I thought The Tapes were Lisa’s “legacy.” And the Fund exists to assure they will be properly taken care of in perpetuity. What? You thought the “Lisa’s Larceny Fund” was collecting money for cancer treatment? Silly you!

  14. William Thompson

    Okay, Batiuk, why are any of those background people in the race? Why not put some of them in the foreground and let them describe their experiences with cancer? Because all you have now is a generic fund-raiser with no emotional impact, with a generic loser joke that’s as stale as your “chemo-sabe” chestnut.

  15. Professor Harlan Grankle

    365 days in a year.

    365 of those days someone in the Funkyverse has a complaint, an insult, or an it’s-me-against-the-world meltdown.

    Batiuk must get up on the wrong side of the bed every morning, and after channeling Faye Dunaway in “Mommie Dearest”, we get our daily feed.

  16. Banana Jr. 6000

    [I]n 2008 [Tom Batiuk] was named a Pulitzer Prize finalist. Only three other newspaper strip creators have achieved this distinction in the award’s 100-year history

    That’s because there is no Pulitzer Prize for newspaper strip creators. The award in question is for Editorial Cartooning. It’s for the fat clown at your local fishwrap who draws strawman caricatures of the president from whatever political side he (and it’s always a he) comes from. And when Breathed won in 1987, they made a stink about it. They said it “belittled their craft”, as if that were even possible.

    Garry Trudeau (Doonesbury), Berkeley Breathed (Bloom County) and Lynn Johnston (For Better or For Worse).

    Not Charles Schulz, Not Bill Watterson. Not Gary Larson. Not Scott Adams. Not Jim Davis. Not Al Capp. Not Walt Kelly. To say nothing of Jeff MacNelly, who won it three times for his editorial cartoons. Or Doug Marlette (Kudzu) who won one.

    Pulitzer judges cited Batiuk’s controversial story line in which his Lisa character battles cancer – a subject not typically covered in the funny pages.

    Well of course they did. It’s the only thing that qualified him for the category. It’s like nominating Mike Trout for the Major League MVP award because he plays baseball.

    Batiuk shoehorned his way into an ill-fitting award category, and has spent the last 13 years hyping it as proof of his greatness.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      He along with Lynn Johnston brought a lot of death and misery to the comics page, they both consider this some kind of great accomplishment.

    • newagepalimpsest

      “It was an honour just to be nominated,” is a cliche, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not true. Look at that all-star lineup!

    • Hannibal's Lectern

      It’s also possible to argue that “Doonesbury” and “Bloom County” could be considered editorial cartoons, because (a) they were often openly political, and (b) a fair number of newspapers ran them on the op-ed page. Neither “Funky” nor “FOOB” meet those qualifications.

  17. Today’s banner is perfect.

  18. Jim in Wisc.

    Trudeau, Breathed, Johnston, Batiuk. Two of these things are not like the others.

  19. newagepalimpsest

    So, do we think that COVID-19 will hit the Batiukverse next year?

    On one hand, it’s become clear to most that this thing isn’t going away at the stroke of midnight on January 1st, 2021. On the other hand, Batiuk has been wary in recent years of actually saying or doing anything that has more than a lick of controversy (still thinking about those gay prom decorations.)

    On one foot, if I recall correctly, Pete and Mindy are supposed to be hearing wedding bells soon! Imagine how beautiful the hospital will look when everyone and everything are all decked out for an emergency deathbed wedding! Awwww…

  20. As Rusty pointed out yesterday, the URL for Lisa’s Legacy Fund that is displayed in every strip (except the one where he shills his books) goes nowhere.

    The link here in the sidebar also goes nowhere.

    Batiuk’s really on top of things, huh?

  21. Hitorque

    You’d think that Dr. Funkenstein should be much more interested in working to win awards for his offerings at Montoni’s Pizza, since that’s, you know, his livelihood and all…

  22. Westview Radiology

    Shouldn’t Funky’s heat-stroked cheeks be depicted with red blotches rather than grey crisscrosses?

    • batgirl

      I think grey is the heart-attack colour. If I remember, it’s how he looked before his collapse in a previous year.