Amplify Black Voices: Syndication

AMU syndicates three strips by Black cartoonists for print. JumpStart by Robb Armstrong and Heart of the City by Steenz are currently available. Crabgrass by Tauhid Bondia is launching March 28 and has been on GoComics as a web comic since April 2019. You can find strips from all three currently on GoComics. Later this month we will be sharing web-only cartoonists. Keep reading to learn more about this week’s featured strips and creators.

JumpStart by Robb Armstrong

Packed with humor and heart, JumpStart is a modern comic strip with a classic feel. At the core of the JumpStart family is Joe Cobb, a big-city cop, and his wife, Marcy, a nurse in a bustling Philadelphia hospital. Their jobs are easy compared to the challenge of raising four kids. At the end of the day, Joe and Marcy want what we all want: a good night’s sleep. Their oldest, Sunny, is an avid reader who can answer your questions before you have time to do a Google search. Her brother, Jojo (aka Joseph Cobb, Jr.), has aspirations of being president. In fact, he already is president — of his second-grade class. Joe and Marcy’s newest surprise additions are the twins, Tommi and Teddy. This talkative pair began conversing in the womb and are still going strong. Imagine what they’ll say when they actually learn to speak! Rounding out the cast is Crunchy, a grouchy but warm-hearted police officer who is Joe’s partner, and a host of extended family members and friends. You’ll enjoy the wit and wisdom of this colorful, unpredictable cast, which includes the antics of in-laws, co-workers, a 6-year-old doctor, and a texting dog named Snoog-A-Boo.

Heart of the City by Steenz

Heart is a girl with big dreams and a love of drama. She lives with her mom, Addy, in Philadelphia, and has always had the support of her best friends Dean and Kat. Heart of the City follows Heart into a new phase of her life, filled with new challenges, new milestones, new friends and new adventures.

Christina ‘Steenz’ Stewart is a St. Louis-based cartoonist, editor and professor. She’s the co-creator of Dwayne McDuffie Award-winning graphic novel Archival Quality from Oni Press and is featured in several short story anthologies such as Eisner and Ignatz Award-Winning Elements: Fire, Mine!, and the horror anthology Dead Beats. Steenz launched and edited the popular RPG periodical Rolled & Told.

She participates in and creates community building comics related programming and is a frequent panelist at several comic cons. Steenz currently teaches cartooning at Webster University while editing titles from Tapas Media and Mad Cave Studios.

Crabgrass by Tauhid Bondia

Crabgrass is a strip about childhood friendship and its peaks and valleys. The main characters, Miles and Kevin, are charming examples of the resilience of the bonds we form when we are young, and why we remember those times fondly. It is also a thrilling exploration of the adventures (and mischief) that children can get into when allowed to roam. Set in an ambiguous time before cellphones and the internet, the strip finds a way to connect to the old and the young without alienating either.

Tauhid Bondia grew up in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. A budding young artist and an early fan of comic strips, he spent many hours at the local library reading comic strip collections. His first serious attempt at drawing a serialized strip would come in 1993 when his comic “High School Daze” was published in his high school newspaper.

Tauhid briefly attended Murray State University on a Fine Arts Scholarship and went on to become a graphic designer. His days were spent designing logos for local companies and events while his nights were spent working on a variety of comic projects that were published on the web. These webcomics remained a passionate hobby for him for the next 20 years, however, he would become most widely known for his strip “A Problem Like Jamal,” which first appeared on in July 2018.

In 2019, Tauhid decided to end “A Problem Like Jamal” and (with the help of his wife) developed the idea for Crabgrass. His hopes of finally becoming a syndicated cartoonist were fulfilled as the strip was selected for development by Andrews McMeel not long after. Over the course of its development, Crabgrass has enjoyed a devout following on Instagram and other social media platforms.