Funky Winkerbean: The Death of Lisa Moore

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.


5 thoughts on “Funky Winkerbean: The Death of Lisa Moore

  1. A: Deal with them.

    But in a way that makes them comprehensible. Using characters we know (and hopefully love). With a level of humor that discharges the macabre or the morbid. And sensitivity. But shy away from them? God no! That mocks the purpose of humor, which is to reduce tension and de-stress anxieties. We wouldn’t criticize Doonesbury for dabbling in reality. Why shouldn’t Funky Winkerbean take a sensitive subject and treat us to a loving, if sad, resolution. Remember how CTW handled Mr. Hooper’s death — if a kid’s show could deal with the topic, and win Emmy’s for doing it well — why should we criticize Tom Batiuk? Yes, even comics, funny papers, sometimes need to show life as it is.

  2. Oddly enough, Mr. Hooper’s death was one of the first things I thought about with regard to Lisa Moore’s death… mainly because kids are a major audience for both Sesame Street and comic strips.

  3. I posted this on the Funky Winkerbean 10 tears later blog; I figured I’d post this here as well…

    I’ve been an avid reader of the Funky Winkerbean strip (and Crankshaft) for years and seen the changes, topics, storylines whether light or dramatic, issues and growth of characters. I’ve seen the format changes, from when time stood still until 1992, when time was fast-forwarded to having Funky and the gang graduate Westview High in 1988, skip the college years and having the cast enter the real world in the year 1992 (the change-over time), where the strip had been in real-time ever since.

    A major storyline and subject of controversy is Lisa’s Story, where character Lisa Moore unfortunately battles breast cancer, where it has advanced and spread and it was announced it will lead to the character’s untimely death, which occured on October 4, 2007.

    I have a burning question regarding this storyline: After Lisa’s death, it was said that the story/format is to advance ten years hence. Does this mean that the year it will take place is 2017, the near future, or will it still be in 2007 which would have Lisa’s passing take place in 1997? The latter would be similar to Funky & crew graduating, storyline written and released in 1992, the changeover year, but the graduation revealed to have taken place in 1988. Another reason I question this is because current events within the last 10 years have appeared within the strip, such as September 11, 2001 tragedies with Cindy Sommers-Winkerbean (pre-divorce) reporting on those, and Wally Winkerbean in the armed forces (two times) and serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, even adopting a young Afghanistan girl who’s family was lost in a tragic terror-bombing.

    I just was curious how the format would be, along with many other readers, I gather. Also, I understand that Lisa Moore will still appear through flashback scenes and via video she prepared prior to her anticipated death to she can advise her daughter.

    I Thank the creator Tom Batiuk for all the decades of entertainment through the powerful strip and I’ll anticipate much more.

  4. Sorry, the top line should have read:

    I posted this on the Funky Winkerbean 10 years (not tears) later blog; I figured I’d post this here as well…

    That was one weird typo 😦

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