'Winkerbean' Enters Culture Wars with Same-Sex Prom Storyline

HARRISBURG, Pa., April 30 (UPI) — American cartoonist Tom Batiuk’s “Funky Winkerbean” comic strip has begun a storyline about a same-sex couple looking to attend a high-school prom.

The 40-year-old strip, which appears in about 400 newspapers, previously has dealt with controversial subjects such as teenage pregnancy, capital punishment, cancer and alcoholism.

Batiuk told the Harrisbug (Pa.) Patriot-News, which runs “Funky Winkerbean,” he was inspired to write his latest series of strips by a news story about parents who opposed a high school’s decision to allow a same-sex couple to attend the prom.

Batiuk said he was careful not to “proselytize” in his comic strip, which follows a couple of gay teenage boys as they plan to go to the prom together, sparking controversy among some parents, but finding support from the majority of their peers.