Curtis. The strip is usually filled with light-hearted tales of a Black family in the city. The stories typically follow a familiar pattern: Curtis tries to get his Dad to quit smoking, Curtis tries to get Michelle on a date, Curtis encounters some Gunk voodoo, Curtis tries to avoid an encounter with the rougher kids. But that all changes one day in July of 2007, when Curtis and his friend Gunk come face to face … WITH HORROR.
It all begins innocently enough, as Curtis arrives at Gunk’s place for advice on flowers to give to his girl, Michelle. Just a typical Curtis storyline, right?
We get our first inkling that all is not as it seems when Curtis chips his tooth on a banana. One can almost hear the sinister music cue up during Curtis’ double entendre in panel three. (A banana that’s “hard as a brick,” indeed.)
Curtis’ tour of Gunk’s House of Horrors ends here, at the so-called “Bird of Paradise.” Anyone who’s ever seen Gremlins knows that the last panel can’t possibly end well.
Curtis soon discovers that his foolish actions have caused the plant to multiply…
… and it’s developed a taste for HUMAN FLESH.
At this point, we might as well call this “Little Shop of Horrors,” only without the kicky musical numbers.
At the mercy of the plants and its blood-curdling screams, Gunk and Curtis are forced to murder their monstrous creation.
And like every good horror story, Gunk sets us up for the inevitable sequel: Curtis Versus The Sand-Beast.
But, in all seriousness, Ray Billingsley, the creator of Curtis, does seem like a pretty awesome guy. Check out this interview on Mr. Media, where he waxes nostalgically about his old mentors, Will Eisner and Charles Schultz.
And if you can’t get enough of Curtis horror: Curtis Versus the Puppet Balloon Creatures From Hell.