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Robb Armstrong Cartoons [on deposit]

An description of the collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: [Summit record]
Date: 1995-10-11

Biographical History

Robb Armstrong (1962- ) is a Black American cartoonist, author, and speaker, best known for his long-running daily comic strip Jump Start.

Armstrong cites Peanuts cartoonist Charles Schulz as one of his early inspirations; he and Schulz eventually met and became close friends. While a student at Syracuse University, Armstrong created a popular comic strip for the student newspaper, the Daily Orange. His daily strip Jump Start, originated in 1989, is syndicated in hundreds of American newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Sun-Times. Armstrong is one of the very few Black syndicated cartoonists in the United States.

Jump Start centers on the daily lives of the Cobbs, a middle-class Black family -- Joe, a city police officer; his wife Marcy, a nurse; and their children Sunny, Jojo, Tommi and Teddy. A large supporting cast of extended family, friends, and co-workers make regular appearances, including Joe's mother Dot (a retired English teacher), Marcy's mother Maureen (whose second husband Clayton is a tiny man with twelve very large sons), and Joe's colleague "Crunchy." The cast also includes a mixed-race couple, Clarence and Charlene. Although Armstrong does tackle serious issues, including homelessness, racism, and violence, in the strip, he does so with humor and compassion rather than anger: "That's not what this world needs. My friends don't need to hear how outraged I am. I have to be part of the cure."

Although best known for Jump Start, Armstrong has also written children's books as well as Fearless: A Cartoonist's Guide to Life. He has received numerous awards and accolades for his work, including a Distinguished Alumni Award from Shipley University, an honorary degree from Holy Family University in Pennsylvania, and the Wilbur Award from the Religious Public Relations Council. He is active in encouraging young people to set high goals, serving as a visiting professor at the Savannah College of Art and Design and speaking at numerous colleges and universities as well as the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution.

[Sources: "'Peanuts' first black character Franklin turns 50", NPR, 29 Jul 2018; "Robb Armstrong," African American Literature Book Club; and "'Jump Start,' one of the first comics about Black Americans, comes to the Sunday Star Tribune," Minneapolis Star Tribune, 27 Jul 2020.]

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Robb Armstrong Cartoons contains original artwork for Jump Start, Armstrong's syndicated cartoon strip.


Access Restrictions:

ON DEPOSIT: The collection is on deposit, therefore unprocessed and not open for research at this time.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

Special Collections Research Center has the papers of more than a hundred editorial and strip cartoonists. Please refer to the SCRC Subject Index or search our collections for more information on our other collections.

Subject Headings


Armstrong, Robb.

Corporate Bodies

United Feature Syndicate.

Associated Titles

Jump start (comic strip)


African American cartoonists.
African Americans -- Comic books, strips, etc.
American wit and humor, Pictorial.
Caricatures and cartoons -- United States.
Cartoonists -- United States.
Comic books, strips, etc. -- United States.

Genres and Forms

Cartoons (humorous images)
Comic strips.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Robb Armstrong Cartoons,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Placed on deposit by Sherry and Robb Armstrong, 1992.

Table of Contents


An inventory has not yet been created for this collection. Please contact the Repository listed above for more information.