Robb Armstrong is one of the lucky ones. One of a handful of African-American artists to have a comic strip nationally syndicated in more than 300 publications, he gets to draw for a living. He works at home, so he can spend more time with his wife and two kids. He travels around the country, teaching drawing and sharing stories about his life with young people. He’s even met his share of famous people, including his idol, Charles Schulz.
But his life wasn’t always so charmed. Born and raised in a rough neighborhood in West Philadelphia, Robb was one of five fatherless kids living in a cramped apartment where the electric bill didn’t always get paid. When he was six, his older brother was killed in a gruesome subway accident. Soon after, his remaining brother was severely beaten by the police for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Then, his mother died of cancer.
How did he get through all of these tragedies to the happy life? By drawing funnies. Life is not so different from the comics—the challenges, tragedies, and triumphs. Comics poke fun at our everyday routines and our universal motivations. They show us a lot about ourselves and the people around us. So as a cartoonist, Robb Armstrong has drawn a few lessons from life that he shares in this moving memoir. Weaving together his personal stories with simple drawing tutorials and original illustrations, Fearless is both a compelling read and an inspirational lesson on how to live well, through the good times and the bad.