Comics Kingdom and Black History Month: Billingsley, Gant, Bell, Xunise, and Shearer

Current King Features cartoonists Ray Billingsley, George Gant, Darrin Bell, and Bianca Xunise plus, from the past, pioneering Black cartoonist Ted Shearer are gathered to help celebrate Black History Month.


Veteran cartoonist and comic artist Raymond Curtis Billingsley is an African American cartoonist best known for creating the comic strip CURTIS. Debuting in 1988, Curtis was one of the first nationally syndicated comic strips to feature a mostly black cast. 

Now the strip is distributed by digital platform King Features Syndicate and is widely read in print with more than 250 newspapers worldwide. However, it was difficult for a young Billingsley as a black cartoonist struggling to get a chance to portray his people through his work…

2. GEORGE GANT (Beware of Toddler)

In June 2022, on Father’s Day, Beware of Toddler made its debut on King Features Syndicate on the Comics Kingdom platform, and in early 2023, began appearing in print media. Gant who has been drawing webcomics way before his self-published series, was inspired by the likes of The Boondocks, and Penny Arcade.

… The strip includes topics drawn from his experiences with black parenthood. The popular strip has gained a loyal following over the years and has been nominated for three Glyph Awards, a Webtoon Canvas Award, and a Ringo Award...

3. DARRIN BELL (Candorville)

Darrin Bell, the Pulitzer prize-winning American editorial cartoonist known for the syndicated comic strips CANDORVILLE and Rudy Park, is the first African American to have two comic strips syndicated nationally. In 2019, he became the first black person to win the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning, and his beloved series Candorville has marked its 20th Anniversary. In 2022 Candorville joined KFS.

Candorville, launched in 2003 by The Washington Post Writers Group, features young black and Latino characters living in the inner city. The insightful comic strip with edgy dialogue and modern situations presents social and political commentary and the stories of its protagonists…

4. BIANCA XUNISE (Draws Tuesdays Six Chix)

Another new addition to the Comics Kingdom family is Bianca Xunise, a self-described “goth of color” and illustrator and cartoonist based out of Chicago, Illinois. Her work is nationally syndicated through the SIX CHIX collaborative comic strip. In 2020, she became the second black woman contributing to a nationally syndicated comic strip, and she became the first black nonbinary cartoonist to be nationally syndicated.

Bianca’s distinctive style is classic simple pencil sketches with a little splash of color. Their strips sometimes continuous are full of very dry humor, honest and sarcastic jokes with primarily a focus on the plight and daily struggles of a young black feminist weirdo in modern society…

5. TED SHEARER (Quincy)

A very significant strip from a very different time was QUINCY, written and drawn by pioneer black cartoonist, Ted Shearer (1919-1992) … His vintage series QUINCY was one of the first mainstream, big syndicate strips created by a black cartoonist and was also one of the earliest mainstream comic strips to star an African-American in the lead role. The newspaper comic strip published from 1970 until his retirement in 1986.

…His heavily stylized comic strips featured an almost Noir-ish look with his emphasis on heavy deep shadows in his black and white layouts, and his creative use of the ziptone shading technique (alternative to hatching). His strong backgrounds and designs jumped right off the pages…

Read the full profiles and hear the voices of the above five cartoonists as

Comics Kingdom Celebrates Black History Month: Spotlighting Influential Black Voices in Comics.