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Humor

The Last Leaf

| Filed under: Black Squirrel Books, Humor, Recent Releases
Batiuk-Last Leaf cover

To be published simultaneously with Prelude, The Last Leaf is the sequel after Lisa’s death from breast cancer in Lisa’s Story: The Other Shoe. The Last Leaf recounts how Les and family cope with Lisa’s death and continue their lives. Creator Tom Batiuk brings Lisa back in Les’s imagination, and she helps him work out difficulties and decisions in his life and in the life of their daughter Summer. Fans will recognize Batiuk’s gentle mix of humor and more serious reallife themes that heighten the reader’s interest.

 


Prelude

| Filed under: Black Squirrel Books, Humor, Recent Releases
Batiuk-Prelude Cover

Prelude is a collection of the early comic strips that bring Lisa and Les together. Introduced to readers of Funky Winkerbean in late 1984 as she experiences SAT test anxiety, Lisa becomes Les Moore’s best friend and a pivotal character. Les and Lisa go to the prom, begin steady dating, and then break up. Over the summer, Les realizes how much he misses Lisa. When he gathers his courage and goes to her house, he is stunned to discover Lisa is pregnant with a child fathered by a jock from Walnut Tech. Lisa asks Les to be her coach in childbirth classes, and their friendship explodes from there. Prelude takes fans from the early days of their deep friendship through the birth of Lisa’s baby and the baby’s adoption.

 


The Complete Funky Winkerbean, Volume 6, 1987–1989

| Filed under: Black Squirrel Books, Humor, Recent Releases
Batiuk Funky 6 Cover

In this sixth volume, we see the changes in tone that now characterize Funky Winkerbean. The story arcs increasingly intertwine to mark the shift from the simple sitcom mode to a more complex narrative with subplots. At this point in its evolution, Funky Winkerbean is resonating with readers and its popularity is growing. Ed Crankshaft, the irascible and curmudgeonly school bus driver, has become a fan favorite—so much so that cartoonist Tom Batiuk spins off Crankshaft into his own comic strip. Westview High School band director Harry L. Dinkle, the World’s Greatest Band Director, takes the band to New York City for a gig at Carnegie Hall, and drum majorette Holly Budd performs her acclaimed flaming baton trick with catastrophic results for the hallowed hall.

 


The Complete Funky Winkerbean, Volume 5, 1984–1986

| Filed under: Black Squirrel Books, Humor, Recent Releases
Batiuk cover

By this point in its evolution, Funky Winkerbean is resonating with its readers and its popularity is growing. Crankshaft, the irascible bus driver, and Betty, Westview High School’s secretary, are introduced. Crankshaft quickly became a fan favorite, with many readers responding to the trauma-inducing, surly old curmudgeon. Not since the introduction of band director Harry L. Dinkle had a new character received such a positive response. Betty soldiers on at Westview until Batiuk finally sends her off to the cartoon character’s retirement home.

 


Roses in December

and | Filed under: Art, Humor
Batiuk cover

Roses in December is a touching collection of two Crankshaft storylines of characters who find themselves dealing with the incurable condition of Alzheimer’s disease. First, Ed Crankshaft’s best friend Ralph is confronted with the trauma of his wife Helen’s worsening Alzheimer’s. He never knows if the love of his life will recognize him on those days that he visits her at Sunny Days Nursing Home. Ralph and Helen’s love story unfolds with humor and heartbreak.

 


The Complete Funky Winkerbean, Volume 4, 1981–1983

| Filed under: Art, Black Squirrel Books, Humor
Batiuk Funky 4 cover

By the 1980s Batiuk’s talent for character- and story-driven work comes into its own. Harry L. Dinkle, the World’s Greatest Band Director and Funky’s first breakout character, is still marching along happily. He makes the first of two visits to the Tournament of Roses Parade, and his ego grows even larger. Harry proves a good match for the sitcom style of writing into which Batiuk’s work on Funky is developing, and Crazy Harry thrives as the repository for the more outré ideas and situations. Whether it is living in his locker and playing frozen pizzas on his stereo, battling the Eliminator at Space Invaders, announcing that he is an air guitar player, or inviting Carl Sagan and ET to the Star Trek Convention that he and the school computer would host, Crazy becomes Funky Winkerbean’s natural-born outlier. Meanwhile, Les Moore continues his angst-filled journey as the leader of the school’s out crowd. He’s still at his machine-gun-fortified hall monitor’s post, trying to avoid getting beaten up by Bull Bushka, and generally dealing with school life as best he can.

 


The Complete Funky Winkerbean, Volume 3, 1978-1980

| Filed under: Art, Black Squirrel Books, Humor
Batiuk Cover

In this third volume, award-winning cartoonist Tom Batiuk continues to chronicle the lives of a group of students from the fictitious Westview High School. Funky Winkerbean fans are introduced to a host of new characters, including black cheerleader Junebug Jones; Melinda Budd, Holly Budd’s ambitious stage mother; Jerome the drum major; Nancy the school librarian; Ron the tennis pro; Irma, Rita Righton’s tennis partner; Channel One reporters Brenda Harpy and Minnie Cameron; talk show host John Darling; news anchor Charlie Lord; Phil the Forecaster; and program director Reed Roberts. Batiuk also features a troupe of inanimate forms achieving sentience, such as talking trees, clouds, school desks,video games, and a talking tennis ball machine that goes on to play at Wimbledon.

 


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