Comic Strip Character Dies of Breast Cancer

by Mitzi Loera
NewsWest 9

Odessa - If you are a comic strip reader you may be familiar with the strip "Funky Winkerbean," and if you read it in Thursday's comic strips, you know that one of the female characters died of breast cancer.

Many of us when flipping through the newspaper have our favorite sections; some go straight to the sports section, others to the local section, but some of us go directly to the funnies.

"Seeing the cartoon it was very shocking to me that it was in a cartoon type format, because to me there is no humor in it whatsoever," said Barbi Jones.

Barbi Jones is the community manager for the American Cancer Society in the Midland/Odessa area, and knows how important it is to get the word out about breast cancer, but what she didn't know is what to think of Thursday's Funky Winkerbean comic strip.

"It's making a very big statement of that, it happens to everyone, there is not anyone that is immune from cancer," Jones said.

Including in cartoon form, Thursday's Funky Winkerbean's comic strip cartoonist Tom Batiuk's main character Lisa Moore died of breast cancer. It was her second bout with the disease, her first was in 1999.

"To me when I read a funny paper, it's because there is something in it I feel I can relate to or its just mindless humor, but that cartoon obviously is not a mindless humor comedy and people actually relate to that character, so I'm sure there is quite a few people who have been touched by that character at this time," Jones said.

A touching tale with a strong message; A message that the American Cancer Society would like to get out to everyone this month as a part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

"Breast cancer is something we didn't talk about, early detection is the key," Jones said.

Cartoonist Tom Batiuk has made the comic strip story into a book, and even has a place where people can donate to the Lisa's Legacy fund.