July 11, 2009 in Washington Voices

College students’ lives serve as comic strip inspiration

Jennifer Larue

Clancy Bundy, left, and Curtis Chandler team up to produce the comic strip “The Apartment Complex,” a humorous look at the lives of college students and roommates Toby and Taylor.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

Art quote of the week

“We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth.”

John F. Kennedy

On the web

You can visit The Apartment Complex at www.spotlightonartists.com.

It is the age of information; in one way or another, books, newspapers, the Internet, television and movies inform us and shape our consciousness, our ideals, and our opinions. Even artwork somehow shapes us and might even be considered historically relevant as museum curators and art historians would argue. Art appreciators, movie buffs, even comic book readers could also argue that their taste in art represents the signs of the times in which we live.

College students Clancy Bundy and Curtis Chandler are artists who inform others of the trials of college life, drawn and colored in quirky short “stories.” “We were raised off of what we read in the Sunday paper,” said Bundy, creator of the comic strip “The Apartment Complex.”

Cedar Chateau is the name of the complex, located in what could be any college town. The characters who reside or visit there are simple yet complex, funny yet serious.

Voice is given to “food gone bad” as a carton of old milk takes its revenge, and to the poor soul whose last bag of Top Ramen has gone missing. Cedar Chateau allows cats but not dogs? What if it’s a Puma named Hobbes?

The main characters are roommates Toby and Taylor who, while taking college courses, experience emotional ups and downs with friend and potential love interest Justine, a heartless landlord, neighbors Matty Balls, Wheeze, Osh and Andrew, and Taylor’s large cat Hobbes.

In one scene, called “Matt = Misconception,” Justine, Toby and Matt are apparently heading to the homes of their youth for Sunday breakfast at 3:30 a.m. On her cell phone, Justine says “Yeah, I am fine – almost home. Thanks for the call, I’ll see you …” and to her traveling companions she says, “That was my mom. She woke up to use the bathroom and didn’t see my car in the garage. She is such a worry wart.” Matt replies “Why is she peeing in the garage?”

Bundy describes the above as a conversation he actually heard. “Proof positive that the brain’s ability to fill in gaps of logic deteriorates without sleep,” he explained.

Bundy, 22, is a film student. In his senior year, he serves as the graphics editor at the Easterner, Eastern Washington University’s college newspaper, where he began “The Apartment Complex.”

Chandler, 21, a theater major and the photo editor at the newspaper, met Bundy a couple of years ago in a design class. When Bundy realized that Chandler was a whiz at coloring, he asked him to help out. Together they brainstorm concepts and dialogue, and keep the strip going. “We want others to relate to what we do,” Bundy said. “Comic strips are a good mind exercise. We have a limited amount of space so it’s an exercise in minimalism. Each word must have value.”

Both artists drew in their formative years, even earning extra credit for their creations. “I think learning to draw during AP History has gotten me a lot farther than remembering the lineage of the Tudors. Being able to create life in four panels has helped me through some genuinely awful periods, and helped me skim through the rest like I was covered in Crisco. Cartooning is such good therapy,” said Bundy, who also creates a cartoon for an accounting firm in downtown Spokane.

Chandler does freelance photography in the sports arena. Their common goal is to entertain and subtly inform others through their chosen forms of art. Bundy plans to go into the film industry and Chandler will go into theater design.

The comic strip will grow with them as the characters will graduate and head off into the real world.

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