July 22, 2007
RIP-to-be, Lisa Moore

If you read the comic strip Funky Winkerbean, you were probably already pretty sure of this, but here's the confirmation anyway: The character of Lisa Moore is going to die of her breast cancer.

Despite e-mails from readers asking him to save her, "Funky Winkerbean" creator Tom Batiuk says the comic strip character Lisa Moore will succumb to breast cancer.

Batiuk, 60, himself a cancer survivor, said the miracle some readers are hoping for won't happen.

"I honestly don't think readers know what they want," he said. "They think they know what they want. But what they really want is for me to give them a surprise every now and then."

The King Features strip, which is published in about 400 newspapers, will chronicle Lisa's experience through October. It is written and drawn by Batiuk in his workshop above his home's garage in this Cleveland suburb.


Last year, Batiuk completed the Lisa saga now running in the papers. He has moved on to a different story arc, one that shows what happens to the "Funky Winkerbean" characters a decade after Lisa's death.

He laughed at what he knows is coming in the lives of his characters.

"I have a real leg up on people, because I know how cool the work is going to be and how much fun it is to see these characters as parents," he said. "I'm having a ball with it."

First, though, Lisa must die, leaving behind her husband, Les, and a daughter.

"To me, there is a miracle in Lisa's story," Batiuk said. "It's not that much of a downer. It's a hopeful story, because it shows how a loving couple treats each other under all circumstances."

I guess this means we'll see all of the remaining characters suddenly leap forward in age, as we did when Batiuk moved the strip from Funky and friends in high school to Funky and friends as young adults. (They've aged gradually since then - Funky's cousin Wally and his now-wife Becky were high schoolers when that first happened.) I have a theory as to how this story line will wrap up, which will presumably be one of the foci when the strip resumes ten years later. I'll put it in the extended entry, just in case.

This week in the strip, Darin (the son Lisa gave up for adoption after her teenage pregnancy) and his girlfriend Jessica finally had sex for the first time. I'm going to bet that Jessica gets pregnant as a result of this (you may recall that Lisa got pregnant after her first time). Despite the bad timing of Darin deciding to stop checking his PO box to see if he's heard from the adoption agency just before a response appeared, I believe he and Lisa will realize the true nature of their relationship before she dies. I also believe Lisa will learn that she is to become a grandmother. Unlike Lisa, I believe Jessica will keep her baby; whether she and Darin stay together or not, I don't know.

We'll find out if I'm right in October. What do you think?

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 22, 2007 to Society and cultcha

That is fascinating a comic stripe writer would put finality on a character like that. Although it is very true to life. I forget how Charles Schulz ended The Peanuts, but I guess that is different story.

Posted by: BreastCancerSupport on July 23, 2007 10:13 AM