When Jason Funk was in first grade, he picked up the book “Adventures in Cartooning” and immediately developed a passion – and a rare skill – for drawing comics and telling stories.
Now a 16-year-old junior at Hamilton Southeastern High School, Funk has published two comic books since the start of the year.
In March, he self-published “The Bus Seat,” which chronicles the lead character, who has autism, on the path to independence. The character, Funk said, is a representation of himself and his own struggles with autism. His mother, Julie, said she didn’t realize the story was about her son until she finished reading it.
“It was a really cool comic because that’s how Jason sees himself in the future,” Julie said. “So he thinks of himself as independent, going to a comic book convention by himself, riding the bus by himself, and then he ends up living by himself, somewhere in the future.”
The comic ends by revealing that the main character had dreamed about his future life on the bus, Julie said. She also said that reading the comic was how she and her husband, Adam, realized Jason’s daydreams were what inspired his comics.
“We discovered that his daydreams are actually what form his comics,” Julie said, noting that the comic also gave them insight into his world and how he sees himself.
“He was always just in his own world, and he was thinking and doing comics in his head,” Julie said. “So, it’s cool that he can tell us that (through the comic).”
Jason said he constantly creates comics. He never creates drafts but draws them on paper or on his tablet. He said his stories came from the world around him, but most of the ideas came from his head.
That’s why his seventh-grade art teacher suggested he enter the annual Nickle Plate Arts Comic Book in a Day contest. When he first went there in seventh grade, he was one of a handful of children surrounded by adult performers. The contest lasted all day and the artists had time to draw, write and submit their comics. The deadline was 9 p.m. He delivered his comic in black and white at 2 p.m.
Jason won an award that year for his comic and caught the eye of comic book artist Yuri Duncan, who told his mother that even though Jason’s comic was not in color or as professional as some entries, he had a knack for storytelling and layout. comics.
“He’s going to be the greatest thing in the comics,” Duncan said. “People just have to be careful because he’s going to be a game changer. He’s 16 and he’s already published and done more work than many adults. He’s so far ahead of the curve and he’s learning to use his autism as a superpower.
Duncan quit judging a few years later to become Jason’s mentor and helped illustrate his final comic, “Merchant of Misfortune.” Duncan said that unlike some comic book artists, Jason draws and writes at the same time. For “Merchant of Misfortune” and “The Bus Seat”, Julie sent her photos of Jason’s drawings, and Duncan illustrated the drawings digitally.
“He’s like my mentor and we’re really good friends,” Jason said. “He helps me draw my comics and make them look really good.”
Jason has stated that doing comics is something he wants to pursue as a career.
“Yeah. I think that’s what I want to do for the rest of my life,” Funk said.
Jason gave a talk about his work on August 2 to nearly 4,000 HSE teachers and staff and visited elementary schools to give demonstrations of how he does his job.
Funk publishes new work on its website, funkworldhq.substack.com, and its two books can be purchased online at funkworld.onlineweb.shop. “The Bus Seat” is available for $5 and “Merchant of Misfortune” sells for $10.
In addition to creating comic books, of which he has a moderate collection, Hamilton Southeastern High School junior Jason Funk also enjoys video games and reading.
According to his mother, Julie Funk, her son could read before he could speak because he was non-verbal until he was 3 years old. He underlined the words his parents skipped when they read him stories.
Now Jason is a fast reader. His father, Adam, said he finished the last Harry Potter book, which is over 600 pages, in less than a day when he was 12. Jason said he doesn’t have a favorite comic. Julie suspects it’s because he’s read so much he can’t choose from such a long list.