By Andi Berlin
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, November 3, 2005
Cartoonist Aaron McGruder may be at the pinnacle of his career, but he doesn't seem to give it much notice.
With a successful comic strip and a promising television deal with Cartoon Network's Adult Swim program, the creator of “The Boondocks” doesn't want to be thrust into a role he doesn't belong in.
Although his political and social satire in the comic strip touches many serious subjects like race, Hurricane Katrina and the incompetence of President George Bush, McGruder insists that he isn't a valid political leader; that people should look to real politicians and heroes like Martin Luther King Jr.
“I don't really have much to say anymore,” McGruder said. “There isn't anything I can say that would make a difference.”
McGruder considers himself a satirist and puts humor ahead of anything else. If what he's doing isn't funny, he doesn't think people will care enough to watch it even if it is true.
Although he will be on television for a bit to promote his show, he has chosen to stay out of the limelight as much as he can.
But that doesn't mean that he isn't busy. McGruder has written almost all of the 15 scripts for the show. He was just a solitary cartoonist, but now he has had to learn to command a huge staff and work with big television producers and executives.
“The learning curve was brutal to say the least,” McGruder said. Possibly the hardest part for him was learning how to work with other artists who didn't consider the show to be their creative vision, but their job.
Still, he considers the format of cable television to be liberating. It allows him to do things he couldn't before and tell more involved, in-depth stories than he ever could in three boxes.
With the comic strip, McGruder had to worry about a seven-day “read time.” Every comic strip he wrote had to wait a week before it came out in the paper. This forced him to stay away from changing events and tailor his writing toward less dated material. The television show will get a chance to tell stories that are 30 minutes long, so he can focus more on characterization.
McGruder said that the television show fits in a lot of different categories. It contains social commentary on racial politics like “Chappelle’s Show,” but also takes on a less serious cartoon role like “King of the Hill” or “Family Guy.”
“We're hoping for the best,” McGruder said.
“The Boondocks” debuts Sunday on Adult Swim on Cartoon Network at 11 p.m.