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Prepared by Robert E. Maisch, November 25, 2002
1 slim document case, .16 cubic foot, 12th floor
Writer Tom Batiuk was born in 1947 in Akron, Ohio and had his first cartoons published in his elementary school newspaper. He won a national scholastic art award in high school and, after graduating from Kent State University with a B.A. in Fine Arts and a certificate in Education in 1969, Batiuk taught art a junior high school. During this time he created the popular comic strip "Funky Winkerbean" based on his teaching experiences. The debut of "Crankshaft," the hilarious depiction of an enduring, but irascible school bus driver only heightened the cartoonist's interest in classrooms and school cafeterias. Batiuk still occasionally sits in as a substitute teacher at his old high school for inspiration. Batiuk currently resides in Medina, Ohio with his wife Cathy, and their son Brian.
Like Batiuk, Chuck Ayers, who draws "Crankshaft" was also born in Akron, Ohio in 1947 and graduated from Kent State University in Graphic Design. Ayers launched his cartoon career working as a staff artist and later editorial cartoonist at the Akron Beacon Journal. He taught cartooning at Kent State University for a time, and is currently a part-time instructor for cartooning classes at the University of Akron. Ayers received a first place award for Editorial Cartoons from the Ohio Associated Press in 1986. His cartoons have been reprinted in The New York Times, Washington Post, Forbes Magazine and school textbooks.
The 34 original art comic strips within this April 3 through May 6, 2000 collection stand as a thirty-year remembrance of the events of May 4th, 1970 at Kent State University when National Guardsman fired upon and killed four students during an anti-Vietnam War protest. The strip revisits the campus and the individuals who populate the strip today, as well as portraying them as they were in May 1970. Representing the many points of view of the students, the protestors, National Guardsman and the strip's title character as a concerned father and grizzled veteran of the second World War, this story portrays the turbulence of that time in American history.
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