Today, we hear from Compu-toon creator Charles Boyce. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Compu-toon reminds us that technological innovations haven’t necessarily made our lives any easier – maybe just more funny.
I started cartooning while serving in the U.S. Navy. I became the staff cartoonist for a naval newspaper, The Cascader, on the USS Cascade AD-16 that was stationed in Newport, Rhode Island. I had an opportunity to write and produce a daily comic strip for the ship deck bulletin board and the newspaper. The strip was called Pudgy & J.B., which was about two sailors adjusting to the Navy life and the ups and downs that came with it. I enjoyed watching the crew’s reactions as they read it every morning. This is when I knew what my future would be about.
I began my professional career as a cartoonist while working in the production department of the Chicago Tribune shortly after my tour in the Navy. The paper was going through a lot of changes, and the digital age was upon us. An in-house newsletter called Trib News was looking for a humorous concept that would be fitting for its format. I was asked to create something for the publication. This is when Compu-toon was born.
My flow of inspiration stems from several things -- from my childhood adventures to watching Saturday morning cartoons in my earlier years, to getting to know talented artists who helped me mature in my craft. Some such personalities were Chester Commodore, Johnny Hart, Morrie Brickman and more.
My immediate family members were strong supporters during my earlier development. Some of the recurrent characters in my comic Compu-toon were inspired by certain siblings. Everyday living is my biggest inspiration.
I have been recognized for a few awards and mentionings. I am affiliated with BCAC (Barrington Cultural Arts Center), National Cartoonists Society (NCS), Youth Communication Chicago, The KeyPad Kid Project and others.
My favorite childhood comics were Blondie, Beetle Bailey, Hambone, Pogo and The Phantom. Comics I read now are limited. I try not to get involved in other comics too much for fear of possible unintentional plagiarism. I respect the late Morrie Turner’s Wee Pals immensely.
I am presently celebrating the 20th anniversary of Compu-toon. I started the panel back in 1994. We have been involved with several events and gatherings during 2014. A collectable book about the strip is in the works. I will hold a cartoon showing at the Barrington Area Library in Barrington, Illinois on September 21, 2014. I am also working on preliminary works for animated shorts about The KeyPad Kid.