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Profiled: Ray Billingsley on 25 years of Curtis

Ray Billingsley is profiled in The Stamford Advocate.

Walker, 88, passed the moniker on, and still refers to Billingsley, 55, as “Kid.” The tag carries some baggage for Billingsley, who says his emergence as a wunderkind artist did not make him the most popular kid on the block or with art teachers whose own aspirations he had already surpassed.

“It sort of isolated me,” he said. “I gave up part of my childhood.”

Ray was one of the speakers at this last NCS Reuben Awards weekend. He talked how his prodigious skills (he started drawing professionally while in his early teens) came to isolate him during his teen years instead of making him an inspiration to kids around him. Interesting personal history.

Community Comments

#1 George Ford
August/6/2012
@ 11:15 am

That was a great article on a man who is one of my own cartooning inspirations. My mother, who is a retired school librarian, provided me with my first glimpse of Billingsley’s work by having one of his “Curtis” collections stocked in her library.

This was back in the day when most schools only had super-mainstream comic-books like Family Circus and Peanuts. But, I vividly recall the thrill of reading comedic tales featuring characters that I could personally identify with as a young African-American male.

#2 David Jones
August/6/2012
@ 11:58 am

Ray is a great guy and an amazing talent. I hope to one day be just HALF as good as he is!!!!

#3 Michael Pohrer
August/6/2012
@ 12:15 pm

WOW! Eerily similar circumstances. Congrats on the upcoming 25th Anniversary.

#4 Darryl Heine
August/6/2012
@ 12:16 pm

The Stamford Advocate now carries Curtis although the New York Daily News has stopped carrying the strip since March 2011?

#5 John Hambrock
August/6/2012
@ 2:22 pm

Ray is undoubtedly one of the biggest talents in the comic strip biz.

#6 David Jones
August/6/2012
@ 3:49 pm

@ John… Yeah, isn’t he like 6′ 2″?

#7 Dave Astor
August/6/2012
@ 5:55 pm

Excellent story about an excellent cartoonist! And Ray — like Mort Walker, who’s also in the Advocate story — is a great guy.

#8 Jimmy Delach
August/6/2012
@ 8:24 pm

Curtis has been in the Tampa Bay (nee St. Petersburg Times) almost as long as the strip’s existence. It joined the Times in April 1989 (replacing the new Pogo strip which had only been in the paper for three months) and has been in the paper ever since.

The interesting thing is when the Times added Pogo in January 1989, it replaced Beetle Bailey.

#9 Larry Levine
August/7/2012
@ 3:31 pm

Great article on a great guy (and very talented cartoonist)

#10 RYAN BROWN
August/9/2012
@ 11:40 am

Congrats Ray! Always enjoy Curtis!

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