A Boy Named Curtis created by a cartoonist named Ray! PODCAST INTERVIEW

A Boy Named Curtis (The Curtis Chronicles by Ray Billingsley, Volume 1)
Order A Boy Named Curtis: The Curtis Chronicles by Ray Billingsley by clicking on the book cover above!

There are a number of daily newspaper comic strips that we tend to take for granted. “Cathy,” by Cathy Guisewite, is one. Mort Walker’s “Beetle Bailey” and “Hi & Lois” are two more.

And then there is my friend Ray Billingsley’s strip, “Curtis.”

Ray Billingsley, cartoonist, Curtis
Ray Billingsley, cartoonist, Curtis

“Curtis” shares the adventures of a young African-American boy whose age I’d put at about 10 or 11, dealing with life in his community. He’s chasing—unsuccessfully—girls, being chased—successfully—by bullies, struggling with his dad’s cheapness and smoking… in other words, all the stuff boys his age do.

RAY BILLINGSLEY podcast excerpt: “The strip is a lighthearted tale about a boy. That’s all it is. It’s just that one little factor that turns publishers off. I still go through, ‘Well, blacks don’t really read this stuff and whites don’t get it.”

Dagwood Bumstead meets A Boy Named Curtis
Dagwood Bumstead meets A Boy Named Curtis

But because the character is black, it sometimes seems like his creator, Billingsley, doesn’t always get the opportunities or recognition that other men and women in his field do.

One example: publication of his collected works.

The last time Billingsley was a guest on my show, back in April 2007, he revealed his frustration with the cartoonists establishment and book publishing. Today, there is a new development on that front: publication of the first “Curtis” collection: A Boy Named Curtis.

Ray Billingsley WebsiteFacebook • WikipediaComics Kingdom

Will Eisner: A Spirited Life by Bob Andelman, Mr. Media Interviews
Order Will Eisner: A Spirited Life (2nd Edition) by Bob Andelman, available from Amazon.com by clicking on the book cover above!

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