United Features Strip "JumpStart" Celebrates 20th Anniversary This Week

By: E&P Staff This Friday marks the 20th anniversary of the syndicated comic "JumpStart," Robb Armstrong's iconic strip about a close-knit African American family.

"JumpStart" offers an authentic, upbeat representation of middle-class African Americans to whom legions of fans can relate. The stars of the strip, Joe and Marcy Cobb, are a hardworking couple trying to balance the demands of their careers -- he's a police officer, while she?s a nurse -- with a loving marriage and their four children.

?I?m drawing about my life; about a black couple because I?m black,? Armstrong said in a statement. ?Nearly every married couple I know is like Joe and Marcy. The image of young blacks is so skewed, so false. Joe and Marcy and the characters I?ve developed are deep and based on real life.?

?Words cannot express my gratitude for JumpStart,? Armstrong added. ?I would call it a dream come true, but I never dreamed of this phenomenon ? never imagined this kind of longevity.?

In addition to his cartooning, Armstrong works as a motivational speaker, especially for children in crisis. He speaks regularly to groups such as Congress? Government Outreach, and has also given speeches to such institutions as the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institute and the University of Pennsylvania. Armstrong has a long history of community service, as well, having been recognized by the Governor of Pennsylvania, the U.S. Senate, the House of Representatives, the Department of Justice and Nestle?s ?Men of Courage? program.

Armstrong recently moved from his native Philadelphia to Los Angeles so that he could focus on additional creative pursuits, including painting. He credits his daughter Tess and son Rex with being the biggest inspirations for his comic strip's characters and stories.

Syndicated by United Features Syndicate, "JumpStart" appears daily in more than 400 newspapers across the country, including the Los Angeles Times, New York's Daily News, The Boston Globe, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Miami Herald and the Chicago Sun-Times, in addition to running on www.comics.com.


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