The demon Wikipedia* tells us that Tom Batiuk first started publishing Funky Winkerbean in 1972. Many have remarked that the early Funky was a funny, irreverent comic dealing with the trials and tribulations of several high-school students and their teachers. I believe each strip ended with an actual punchline. The comic also contained larger-than-life elements that added to its humour. The characters did not age; they remained eternally in high school.
In 1992, Batiuk jumped the comic forward ten years, now portraying the same characters in adulthood. The characters started to age. At the same time, the story began to get more serious as the comic fell victim to Cerebus Syndrome.** The demon Wikipedia mentions the following issues as prevalent in the strip during these years: teen pregnancy, suicide, censorship, dyslexia, gun violence, steroids, capital punishment, bullying, child abuse, teacher-student relationships, alcoholism, breast cancer, and land mines in Afghanistan. Wikipedia forgets to include hearing loss and amputation in this list, but I think you probably get the picture.
In 2007, the strip jumped forward another ten years. Now the original high-school students are fat, balding failures with rebellious teenage children, and the Cerebusity of the strip is more apparent than ever. It is not a terrible comic--I would choose it in an instant over some of its more stagnant little friends--but Batiuk really does seem to have forgotten the meaning of the word "comic." Funky Winkerbean has evolved from an enjoyable gag-a-day comic to a seething cauldron of soul-deadening despair. If you enjoy witnessing a world from which all hope has been erased, read Funky Winkerbean.
This view of life as difficult and rife with the fickleness of Fortune is, of course, quite medieval. The comic does an admirable job of portraying the bleak day-to-day life that one must bear if one wishes to float happily up to Heaven in the end. Note today's strip: even just in the first panel, we have a one-armed woman watching as a man who has lost quite a lot of his hearing while conducting a high-school band lectures a bunch of teenagers on earplugs. In the Funkyverse, it is important to crush the younger generation as quickly as possible; Harry Dinkle here hastens to disabuse his audience of the notion that playing music in a large group can be fun. We must not have fun! We must save the fun for Heaven, which probably isn't fun at all! This makes perfect sense! Despair, little Funkies...despair!
*May it be cast forever into a fiery pit of perdition, obviously.
**Click on this link at your own risk. It is safe for work, but it is not safe if you want to work; TV Tropes is the sort of site on which one can happily spend hours and hours and freaking hours.