Curtis details the day-to-day life of a close-knit contemporary African-American family living in the inner city. It is a comic work that does not fit easily in any category. Though it mainly features children, it is not necessarily “child-themed.” It can be humorous, thought-provoking, topical in subject and have bursts of pure zany fantasy.
Sometimes falling victim to censoring, Curtis is best welcomed by those modern free-thinkers who appreciate it for the work of art it is. It is often called "The Thinking-Man’s Strip,” for its witty approach, satire and use of storylines with an unexpected twist.
Veteran cartoonist Ray Billingsley uses his own childhood of growing up in New York’s Harlem in a tight-knit family as the template for Curtis. Some of the experiences and featured characters throughout are directly influenced by real people and happenings the author has known and experienced.
At the end of each year, Billingsley celebrates Kwanzaa with a completely original fable that is always completely different from any Curtis theme. Anti-smoking gags, along with gentle teasing of the hats the church ladies adorn themselves with, are always eagerly anticipated. Even the superhero genre is satirized through Curtis’ favorite hero, SuperCaptainCoolMan, which is a strip within a strip. Curtis has been long praised by community leaders and educators for its sensitive portrayal of urban life and family values. Billingsley is eagerly sought after by up-and-coming artists who are inspired by his style and craft and seek his advice and guidance.
Awards and Distinctions:
The President's Award from the American Lung Association
Humanitarian Award from the American Lung Association
Society for Public Health Education
NAACP Arts & Entertainment Achievement Award
"Who's Who in Black America," "African-Americans in the Visual Arts," "Garfield at 25:In Dog Years I'd Be Dead," "Blondie's 75th Anniversary," "The Great American Comic Strip," "Mort Walker's Private Scrapbook," "Cartoon Success Secrets," "The Comics Since 1945," "100 Years of American Newspaper Comics," "Will Eisner/A Spirited Life"
*Especially proud of the first two Curtis collections that can be found at www.thecartooniststudio.com when mainstream tried to prevent these anthologies from ever seeing the light of day. He is also proud of the wonderful line of merchandising in connection with King Features Syndicate’s DailyINK.