Friday, December 28, 2001

Censored Comics

It will attract my attention when other people decide what I may be allowed to see. Don't get me wrong, though: Newspapers have a right to choose what they publish. (Freedom of the press belongs to him who owns one.)

But when a headline reads Albuquerque Journal pulls comic strip for sexual content, who would suspect that the strip in question is Funky Winkerbean?

Les and Lisa Moore have decided that the time is right to have a baby. So far, so good. It worked for Gasoline Alley, Blondie, and For Better or For Worse. But Les and Lisa are having, er, fertility issues. The center of the controversy is a three-day sequence beginning on December 20, where Lisa coyly informs a nervous Les that "I took my temperature like the doctor said to, and I think I'm at my peak." On the 21st, they are shopping for a mood-setter, a romantic video. "You like *her*? Since when?" Les responds, "You know, this isn't turning out to be one of your better ideas."

Ah, but on the 22nd, the strip opens with Les and Lisa in bed, covers drawn, shoulders bare, with a sated Lisa asking Les, "That wasn't so gruelling, was it?" Suddenly I think I know what the Albuquerque Journal is nervous about.

Fortunately, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer is not so shy, and the strips can be read on their web page -- even if you live in Albuquerque. (The official site is ten days' delayed, but these strips should be coming up there next week.)

Personally, I found the strips in good taste, and captured a feeling I know from experience. Sex is scary, even with one's loving partner, when you know you're making a baby -- even if you intend to get pregnant. Perhaps especially so. Is it out of bounds to say so in a comic strip?

So, what did they think Sally Forth was talking about that day she told her husband, "We were putting beans in the jar: Now we're taking them out"?

So, given that these strips are viewable on the web, is there any point to the Journal's decision not to run them?


Anonymous said...
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scrobin said...

Do you have any more of the funky winkerbean strips from Janury 2001 to february 2004. I was wondering if you had them saved online, if maybe you wouldn't mind emailing me a copy of them or maybe you could put them up online, I would really appreciate it. I've been trying to search for them forever and they're no longer online.

Please let me know. You can email me at

Thank you