Tom Batiuk was born in Akron, Ohio, in 1947 and graduated from Kent State University in 1969 with a BFA and a certificate in education. In 1970, while he was teaching, he began drawing a panel for the Teen Page of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram. Those strips led to the creation of Funky Winkerbean in 1972. In 1979, he launched John Darling into syndication with Tom Armstrong. Another character from Funky, Ed Crankshaft, soloed in his own strip in 1987. Tom’s collaborator on Crankshaft was Chuck Ayers and is now Dan Davis. Batiuk was honored with an Inkpot Award from Comic-Con International in 1999, and in 2008, the Lisa’s Story arc from Funky was a Pulitzer finalist.