The Other ShoeArt, Literature & Medicine
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A story from the comic strips that will make you laugh and cry
Tom Batiuk spent several years as a middle school art teacher before creating the comic strip Funky Winkerbean in 1972. Originally a “gag-a-day” comic strip that portrayed life in high school, Funky has evolved into a mature series of real-life stories examining such social issues as teen dating abuse, teen pregnancy, teen suicide, violence in schools, the war in the Middle East, alcoholism, divorce, and cancer.
In 1999, Lisa Moore, one of Funky’s friends and a main character, discovered she had breast cancer. Batiuk, unsure about dealing with such a serious subject on the funny pages, decided to go ahead with the story line. He approached the topic with the idea that mixing humor with serious and real themes heightens the reader’s interest. Lisa and husband Les faced the same physical, psychological, and social issues as anyone else dealing with the disease.
After a mastectomy and chemotherapy, Lisa was cancer free. She finished her law degree, opened a practice, and had a baby daughter, Summer. Then, in the spring of 2006, the cancer returned and metastasized. Lisa’s Story: The Other Shoe is a collection of both the 1999 comic strips on Lisa’s initial battle with cancer and the current series examining her struggle with the disease and its outcome. Additionally, it contains resource material on breast cancer, including early detection, information sources, support systems, and health care.
Tom Batiuk is a graduate of Kent State University. His Funky Winkerbean and Crankshaft comic strips are carried in over 700 newspapers throughout the U.S. In 2006, he was honored by the American Cancer Society and presented its Cancer Care Hall of Fame Award for his sympathetic work in highlighting the experiences of those with cancer.