Creator of popular comic strip tackles gay rights

The Chronicle-Telegram
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April 23, 2012

The creator-writer-illustrator of the long-running “Funky Winkerbean” comic strip got his latest dose of inspiration from — of all things — a newspaper.

“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,” Batiuk said by phone Wednesday from his studio.

As he sat pondering the story and its impact, Batiuk, 63, gradually got the idea to create a “Funky” storyline about a gay student couple who cause a flap when they want to attend the prom at the strip’s fictional Westview High School.