Our Bios

Tom Batiuk

Tom Batiuk

Okay, here we go, gang, biography lite. I was born in Akron, Ohio, in 1947. After graduating from Kent State University in 1969 with a BFA and a certificate in education, I taught art in Elyria, Ohio at Eastern Heights Jr. High.

In 1970, while I was teaching, I began drawing a panel for the teen page of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram. Those strips led to the creation of Funky Winkerbean in 1972. Funky is syndicated by King features Syndicate to more than 400 newspapers nationwide. I skipped over a lot of hard work in the middle there, but that’s basically the gist of it for those of you doing term papers.

In 1979. I launched John Darling into syndication working with Tom Armstrong, Gerry Shamray, and Bob Vojtko in that order. Great artists all. John Darling was a talk show host who first saw the light of day in Funky, and who was quite literally killed off when his strip ended.

Another character from Funky, Ed Crankshaft, soloed in his own strip in 1987, for which the inimitable and talented Chuck Ayers has been the artist from the git go.

Like I said, biography lite. I’m saving the rest for my tell-all memoir. If you just can’t live without knowing more, head over to the Funky web site and check out the interviews section.

Chuck Ayers

Chuck Ayers

I’m a cartoonist because I pretty much don’t know how to do anything else. I’ve been drawing since I could hold a pencil. I began cartooning in high school doing posters for our football games (we almost never won). 1971 graduate of Kent State University with a degree in graphic design. Worked as an artist at the Akron Beacon Journal for more than 25 years, 13 of those as the paper’s editorial cartoonist. Taught cartooning for several years at Kent State and the University of Akron. Since 1987, I’ve been working on Crankshaft with former KSU classmate Tom Batiuk (he writes, I draw) and since 1994, I’ve been penciling Tom’s other strip, Funky Winkerbean.