Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Why do the Funnies Have to be Serious?

Two of my personal quirks have to do with the daily newspaper. I buy a Beacon Journal on my way to work every morning. I never take the top paper on the stack. I figure someone has messed with the top one, so I take from the middle of the stack.

The other quirk I have is the first thing I read is the comic section, or the funnies.

Two comic strips I read everyday are Crankshaft and Funky Winkerbean. Both are creations of Tom Batiuk, who lives in nearby Medina, Ohio.

This Thursday one of the main characters, Lisa Moore, will succumb to breast cancer. It seems that through the years that Lisa has suffered the most in this strip. She was introduced as the girlfriend of Les, the class nerd. They broke up and months later, she reentered the scene pregnant. Les stood by her during this pregnancy and she gave up her son after he was born. Les and Lisa were driven to the hospital by Tony Montoni in the pizza delivery van.

Lisa moved to Seattle and came back on the scene when the class had their 5 year reunion. a long distance romance blossomed and eventually Les and Lisa married. But not after a misunderstanding due to a student of Les' having a crush on Les and intercepting the proposal tape then Lisa spending a year in Paris.

When she got back, Les was in the middle of writing a book. Lisa took part of the manuscript to the post office when a car bomb went off, rendering her unconscious for days. Les and Lisa finally got married on Halloween. The wedding was also a costume party.

Next thing to happen was Lisa's first bout with breast cancer, which,was a 6 month story line that was also made into a book called "Lisa's Story." Tom Batiuk was awarded for the story line.

After Lisa was declared cancer free, she and Les decided they wanted a child. She was doing this while working part time at Montini's Pizza and going to law school. About the time she was about to give birth, Frankie, the father of the son Lisa gave up, came into the restaurant and demanded to know where their son was. Teenager Darin Fairgood(who unbeknownst to them was the son Lisa gave up) stepped in the middle and was almost punched out by Frankie. Lisa then went into labor, and Darrin drove her to the hospital in the pizza delivery car.

Their daughter, Summer, was born premature and extremely underweight. Summer eventually gained the weight she needed, and went home. Lisa started a law practice and it was thriving when cancer strikes again.
This time the prognosis wasn't good. Lisa went through chemo and was told before Christmas last year that her cancer was in remission.

But this was to be short lived. A few months later it was found out that the results were switched with another lady. After being told she had only a few months to live. Lisa decided to stop her chemotherapy because she wanted to be able to live her last few months without the side effects of chemo. Another development was when Darrin and Lisa finally found out that they were mother and son.

We readers saw her go to Washington to speak before congress, discussing her mortality to her friends, and making arrangements. The last two weeks we saw Lisa confined to bed, and her father making peace with her. This week Lisa will depart her life. But we have been promised that Lisa will be part of future story lines as part of memories and videos.

After this story line is concluded the main characters will age ten years, bringing them, in my estimation about 5 years within their real age had the gang progressively aged from their debut in 1972.

Can anyone say dark comedy.

Seriously, I hope the books will raise a significant amount of funds for breast cancer research and raise awareness of a serious problem which affects most families today.

For those unfamiliar with the strip visit the archive page.

Tom Batiuk has graciously granted permission for me to use his images in this post. Thank you Mr. Batiuk!


Frasypoo said...

That sounds so sad,I know its a comic strip but man you had me reach for the tissues.I hate it when people die.

On the music front:My step kids keep me updated with the latest music on all fronts.If it was not for them,I' d be listening to the oldies !

Pilgrim said...

I'm hooked on Funky Winkerbean just reading your post WIXY. Now I have to find it.

The Curmudgeon said...

I've been reading along every day, too, even though it's no longer in a Chicago paper (I use the Houston Chronicle site).

This latest story line has been difficult to stay with, but anyone who's ever known anyone who's gone through any cancer will see elements of truth in it.