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Background about Darrin Bell

From the pen of cartoonist Darrin Bell comes two comic strips Candorville and Rudy Park as well as editorial cartoons.

Bell was born in South Los Angeles in 1975. His parents, both teachers, soon moved to East Los Angeles. At a young age, he remembers going along with his mother while she attended classes at Cal State Los Angeles. Darrin would sit in a corner with some art supplies, quietly drawing. During most of his school years, a time when urban school districts were being desegregated, he was bused to schools as much as an hour away.

"We were always minorities in every neighborhood we lived in, which I think opened my eyes a bit more to the rest of the world," he says. "I've always had friends who were different from me, so I have a lot of respect for diversity."

Bell attended the University of California, Berkeley and this is where his editorial cartooning career began. His first sale was to the LA Times, which subsequently assigned him a cartoon every other week. He also sold his cartoons to the San Francisco Chronicle and the former ANG papers, which included the Oakland Tribune. Since then, his editorial cartoons have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times and several other publications, as well as on MTV, CNN, CBS, NBC and ABC.

At Cal, Bell refined his cartooning skills and honed his outlook. He became the editorial cartoonist for the Daily Californian and his work won several California Intercollegiate Press Association awards and an SPJ Mark of Excellence Award, and he was a two-time runner-up for the Charles M. Schulz Award as well as a runner-up for the Locher Award.

Muslim students protested Bell’s 9-11 editorial cartoon and brought him to national attention.

“Muslim-Americans were understandably fearful of being profiled and persecuted. When faced with that fear, it’s inevitable that some will grossly misinterpret a cartoon,” he says. “But you can’t let the fear of irrational reactions—or the knowledge that many will say ‘it’s too soon’ for anything other than comforting images—stop you from saying what you believe to be true. I believe it’s never ‘too soon’ for candor.” As this suggests, the concept for Candorville was developed during this time.

All of Bell's comic strips and cartoons come from a black/minority perspective but comment on a wide range of issues. "I believe there's no issue of relevance that doesn't also affect minority communities just as it does the white community," Bell says. According to Darrin, “I cast against type to tell dynamic stories, of people who’re bold enough and secure enough to challenge preconceptions. I depict that as the true legacy of America, in everything from its explorers, to its democratic-republican form of government, to its civil rights struggle, to its injection of mankind into space, to its musical innovations. There’s nothing more fundamentally all-American than a square peg that insists on filling a round hole.”

Bell's comics and cartoons are syndicated by the Washington Post Writers Group.

E-mail Darrin Bell.


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Darrin Bell Editorial Cartoons
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Rudy Park
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