Friday, December 29, 2006

Heroes (Jerry Craft)

If you believe in your work, then you owe it to yourself to get your product out there.

I'm not talking about blowing your life's savings, but if it's a choice between investing money in your dream or a week in the Bahamas, then it's something you really should consider. To me, it's better than wondering "What if?" says Jerry Craft, who has just released Mama's Boyz: As American as Sweet Potato Pie!, a 96-page collection of his popular comic strip featuring a special foreword by cartoonist Lynn Johnston, creator of the immensely popular For Better or For Worse.

But even with his increasing success as a self-publisher, Jerry admits that life as a cartoonist is not all fun and games. Especially for African-American cartoonists. "It amazes me to think that you have to go back 25 years to Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids to find really popular black characters," says the 34 year-old cartoonist. "And it's not like you can find 'US' in Disney cartoons. Hunchbacks, Beasts, Mermaids ... everything but African Americans!"

Mama's Boyz is currently a part of the KING FEATURES WEEKLY SERVICE - a collection of comic strips and columns that is distributed to more than 1,500 newspapers around the world - making Jerry's comic one of only 6 African-American comic strips that are distributed by a major syndicate. That's only 6 out of a total of approximately 300 syndicated comic strips!In addition, the Mama's Boyz characters act as national spokespersons for the American Diabetes Association, which presented Jerry with its Outstanding Supporter Award. Mama's

Boyz strips also appear regularly in NY Daily News supplements for special occasions such as Kwanzaa and Black History Month.

My Mama's Boyz book was named in "Great Book For African-American Children" (Penguin/Putnam 1999). In addition to the write up in "Great Books," Mama's Boyz has also been featured in "Chicken Soup For The African-American Soul," "The Idiot's Guide to Comedy Writing," "100 Years of American Newspaper Comics" (Gramercy Books, 1996), and the college textbook "Facing Difference; Race, Gender and Mass Media" (Pine Forge Press, 1997). Plus I did a great segment in a video series called "Media Literacy and Communications Skills," put out by Harcourt.

Check him out at

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