Tom Batiuk (rhymes with attic) was born in Akron, Ohio, in 1947, and his first cartoons were published in his elementary-school newspaper in Elyria. He won a national scholastic art award in high school. After graduating from Kent State University with a bachelor of fine arts degree and a certificate in education, Batiuk became a high school art teacher.
Batiuk's teaching experiences inspired him to create Funky Winkerbean in 1972. What began as a gag-a-day comic strip about high school life evolved as Batiuk himself matured. Through the years, he has stretched the creative boundaries of comic strip narrative humor, introducing real-life issues such as dyslexia, teen suicide, guns in the classroom, racial discrimination, teen-dating abuse, breast cancer, alcoholism and post-traumatic stress disorder into Funky Winkerbean. Batiuk has won accolades and awards from his peers, as well as from educators and professional and civic organizations across the country, for his outstanding treatment of serious social issues. In 2009, University Hospital's Ireland Cancer Center in Cleveland, Ohio, established the Lisa's Legacy Fund, named after one of Batiuk's main characters.
Batiuk has created other strips as well. In 1979, he launched into syndication John Darling
, the adventures of a fictional talk-show host featuring celebrity caricatures. In 1987, he created his third comic strip, Crankshaft
, based on the irascible school-bus driver in Funky Winkerbean
. For more information, please visit www.funkywinkerbean.com