Brian Boychuk, Ron Boychuk and Ronnie Martin, Creators of Chuckle Bros

April 20, 2007

    Ta dum! A new cartoon has burst onto the Canadian comics syndication scene. A great feat in itself, a second interesting accomplishment worth noting is that the intriguing creators are not fresh-faced humourists, but experienced men, seasoned in the funny stuff of life. In the race for syndication, mature hilarity won out this time. Created by Brian Boychuk, his brother Ron and their "honorary brother" and illustrator, Ronnie Martin, Chuckle Bros is a single-panel comic built for belly laughs.

     The Boychuk brothers were born in Regina, Saskatchewan. While both had interests in common, such as puzzle-solving, they took very different directions on growing up. Ron Boychuk stayed in Regina, forging a solid career in retail grocery management. His brother, Brian, took on a creative lifestyle, choosing the alluring call of music. A professional violinist, he joined the prestigious National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa in the 1970s, in a position he holds still.

    Obviously a pair of jokesters, the brothers wrote out hundreds of funny comic ideas, but were unable to pen the art needed to give their humour visual life. Searching for an artist, the brothers placed internet ads and toured art and animation classes, but came up empty-handed. In one of those tales of happy coincidence, Brian Boychuk met an illustrator drawing sketches at their daughters' choir performances.
The search was over.

   An award-winning visual artist/illustrator/sign painter, Ronnie Martin was set for semi-retirement when the Boychuks came along. Originally from Pennsylvania, Martin came to Canada in 1972 and became a Canadian citizen two years later. His work has appeared in magazines, album covers, signs and more. With his wife, he started a design and decor business, called "Envision This". Martin took on the challenge of transforming the Boychuk brothers' imaginative ideas into comic art.

     But first, Martin had to take the "beauty" out of his characters. As an artist, Ronnie Martin was adept at creating beautiful, attractive faces. Martin told the Ottawa Citizen that "Brian and I went through a big process about making my guy ugly, because I have a history of drawing pretty people." He now comfortably draws the "bigger nose, dropped chin, really kind of roly-poly people."*(1)

ChuckleBros2a
© 2006 Bronnian Comics

     Finally, after years of consideration and hundreds of ideas, Chuckle Bros was born.

     Doing business in their own way, the trio didn't attempt syndication right away. Instead, they published Chuckle Bros in book-form in December 2005. Self-published, they used " On the Road - First Edition Collection" as entry to the comics realm. In the meantime, the cartoons were entertaining readers in Presto!, the NAC Orchestra's newsletter and in The Low Down to Hull and Back News.

    Their strategy worked. Chuckle Bros stepped into Torstar syndication in November 2006. One of the biggest Canadian cartoon launches, Chuckle Bros is enjoyed across the country.

    Already in the Charlottetown Guardian, Ottawa Citizen, the Regina Leader-Post, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal and Victoria Times Columnist, the comic took a big leap in readership through Osprey Media. The comic is raising laughter in the Kingston Whig-Standard, the North Bay Nugget, the Sudbury Star, plus well over a dozen other markets. With such a good start and positive feedback, Torstar Syndication Service expects the comic will catch on in US markets, too.

ChuckleBros1a
© 2006 Bronnian Comics

    With loose, sketchy lines and bulky bodies drawn by a confident hand, added to the freedom of the single-panel format, the creators are able to take the strip in any direction that humour takes them. Reminiscent of Gary Larsen's "Far Side" comic strip, Chuckle Bros also reminds readers of "Speed Bump" by Dave Coverly and "Rubes" by Leigh Rubin. But there is no fear of mistaken identity, Chuckle Bros has its own well-developed sense of humour. The comic's creators hope the comic will soon mark its place in greeting cards, cell-phone screens, calendars, t-shirts and more books.     

Good luck to Brian and Ron Boychuk, and Ronnie Martin, for a long and successful run with Chuckle Bros. May syndication be as enjoyable for them as their comic is for us.

Sources:
Can't get enough of Chuckle Bros? Buy the book for a great giggle-fest:
http://www.chucklebros.com/

*(1) http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=553feacc-a836-461f-84b2-5c12408969c5

Read more about Chuckle Bros and its fine creators (and perhaps encourage your newspaper to order it):
http://www.tsscontent.ca/comics/content__1/all_canadian_catalogue/comics/chuckle_bros

© Susanna McLeod 2007
TheCartoonists.ca