So this is it.
Lisa Moore, who has been fighting cancer for a long time in the “Funky Winkerbean” strip, passes away on October 4, 2007.
It’s a moment I’ve been dreading. Tom Batiuk has, in the past, been very guilty of putting together some of the most ham-handedly melodramatic storylines in the funny pages. This includes having the band-leader becoming deaf in his old age, a character getting fake-killed in Iraq, and a weird Seinfeld reference.
Outside of making Lisa blind toward the end, though, I thought he handled this pretty well. So props where it’s due.
EVEN with Death looking like Tuxedo Mask.
Yes, it’s pretty creepy to me, but isn’t that the manifestation of Death after all? A little bit of fear, since you don’t know what’s exactly behind the mask … a frightening, misshapened monster or a gorgeous man? But it’s not frightening enough so you wouldn’t mind being led off into the blank, featureless unknown.
Do you know what I really appreciate? Tuxedo Mask Death could have been awfully pretentious, but he wasn’t.
And as Lisa goes off, Les is visibly distressed and he doesn’t hear her last farewell. But he knew it anway.
Now, ultimately Tom Batiuk’s goal of raising cancer awareness is a bit iffy. I don’t think it did any more than those pink robbin magnets that you see on cars. But the Death sequence, which started months ago, has been very subdued and less atrocious once Lisa stopped taking her case to Congress. It was actually more poetic than I expected.
So again, hats off to you, Tom Batiuk.
And rest in peace, Lisa Moore.
Even if you are just a fictional character.