A native of Akron, Ohio, Tom Batiuk (rhymes with “attic”) spent several years as a high school teacher before creating Funky Winkerbean, the celebrated comic strip distributed by King Features Syndicate to more than 400 newspapers nationwide. Batiuk has been recognized for his bold yet sensitive approach to real-life issues. Batiuk’s comic strip began in 1972 as a laugh-a-day look at high school life and has matured into a series of real-life stories, highlighting such sensitive social issues as alcoholism, cancer, teen-dating abuse, teen suicide, guns in the school and teen pregnancy. These groundbreaking series have placed Tom Batiuk at the forefront of a new genre in comic art history. Among the numerous honors recognizing his work, Batiuk is a past winner of both the Ohioana Citation and the 1996 Governor’s Award for the Arts.