Updated on 16 October, 2021
The Boondocks is a daily comic strip drawn and written by Aaron McGruder which ran in Weekly Planet from 1996 to 2021. Launched by McGruder in August 1996 it was first published in the now defunct online music magazine The Source. It's comedy centered on the "westie" or native American life and the strip depicts their life from small town (and not very much of it actually) small town (and not so much of it actually) and then big city. Yes, from Los Angeles to Kansas City to the big apple (anyone who has ever lived here can tell you this). It's an amazing journey and you can see so much in just a couple years.
Like other comics of the past, the main characters are those drawn from a "comics code", a set of unique rules which defines the type of comic they are. For the most part, the artists were allowed to draw as they pleased (they had to follow the rules but they could draw what they wanted to) and change things whenever they felt like making the changes. These changes were usually done in form of retouches ( edit out an old page or add in a new one) or re-plotting stories. They also had the freedom to be original in their work, drawing something totally different than what anyone else did. This was all in good taste, given that the strip was not profit driven (there wasn't even a writer).
For someone looking for a way to get into cartooning, The Boondocks is probably the easiest way to get started. It's a cartoon that anyone can easily identify with. There's even a real "voice of the strip" with Brion Brinkman (voice of Dedication Kelly) and Kristen Cavalari (voice of Princess Clarice), giving the cartoon a real human quality to it that makes you laugh. It's truly a wonderful comic to enjoy.
The strip is set in a small rural town called Boondocks. The name is actually derived from a curse word used by some of the characters, namely, Dedication Kelly (Dedicated Kelly is a character in the strip whose only purpose is to give inspirational and funny speeches to boost people's spirits) and his wife, Dedication Penny (Penny is a main character and the mother of Kelly, who often gives him inspiring words and speeches). They are both constantly trying to improve their family's reputation, which is a problem given the fact that people often consider the two to be selfish. They are the comic's main characters.
The comic takes place in a small rural town where people still live the simple life. Kelly's mom works long hours away at a factory, and Dedication Kelly is always spending his time at home, watching cartoons on TV and chatting with his friends on the internet. One day, they decide to have a "pooch night". Everything goes well until one night, Dedication Kelly accidentally trips over a bucket of manure in the back yard, and begins to suffer from a case of animal poisoning.
Although it isn't explained how he got this particular brand of manure in his system, Dedication starts to become very ill. His body gets stiff, his voice is hoarse, and he suffers from memory loss, depression, and irritability. He doesn't seem to remember anything else. In fact, he doesn't remember much of anything after that.
Eventually, his wife shows him the contents of their piggy bank. It contained fifty dollars, which is obviously a lot for them to be spending on a man like Kelly, who is working long hours away from home. Because of this, the couple decides that they will go to the bank to try and withdraw more money to pay for Kelly's medical bills, but they stumble into a mystery when the bank clerk suddenly falls dead. The police are called in, and the couple is quickly suspects in the death of the woman, who they are sure knows a lot about.
Boondocks is a light-hearted comic book, written by acclaimed comic writer Steve Orlando and illustrated by him. It has a great sense of humor, and is not too complicated. It doesn't try to be taken too seriously, despite the fantastical elements of the story, and it's certainly not lacking in the drama department either. It's one of those stories you shouldn't miss. It will make you laugh, and might even make you cry.