By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)
It’s no surprise that Youngstown cartoonist Craig Latchaw has entered that line of work, but perhaps destiny. From an early age, he knew his love for art, cartoons and characters was something more than a mere interest, but a driving force. His early fascination with horror icons Jason and Michael Myers, as well as James Cameron’s prolific Sci-Fi saga, The Terminator, quickly turned to passion as he began his own sketches of the characters.
“My teachers thought I was insane, since those drawings had knives and blood. My inspirations besides the movies themselves would be my dad. He would draw funny cartoons at work and bring them home to show us and my mom and she’d hang his art on the fridge,” said Latchaw.
As Latchaw entered his teenage years, he inevitably fell in love with comic books, and began to take his love of art in that direction.
“As I got older I started reading comic books, Batman and Superman mostly and I would draw those characters. I did that all the way up till college where I learned painting, graphic design, sculpture even film making. But nothing has stuck with me to this day then drawing funny comic strips and I do it to this day,” said Latchaw.
After high school, he knew there was only one career path he can even fathom taking; Art.
“I realized pretty early on that I’d rather be homeless doing nothing then doing any other career that didn’t have to do with art. I was going to be an artist or die,” said Latchaw.
As Latchaw began homing his craft, his inspiration began to shift to a more introspective angle. Much like that of comic cartoonists Jeffery Brown and Julia Wertz, his art and comics reflected the mundane humor of his daily life.
“The thing that inspires my art now is my own screwed up, mostly boring life. I’ll draw anything from my anxieties to just simply sitting at a table drinking tea, there are no limits. And I do this in an autobiographical comic strip,” said Latchaw.
Currently, he is working own two of his own comics based off of his own major life experiences.
“Today I am working on a couple comics, one about my time in Alaska as a security alarm door to door salesman, and how hard it was leaving my recently married wife all the way here in Youngstown. The other comic is a mix of all my random silliness and mundane of everyday life as seen through my eyes,” said Latchaw.
He is also lending his artistic hand to fellow comic writers, including his up-and-coming brother, who is following in his footsteps.
“I am also helping my younger brother publish his comics, called the Ed shows, it’s Simpsons meets the mad rants of a schizophrenic, and I am also inking a friends comic, a pretty famous local artist name Bruce Stepan, his comic is about the whoas of awkward adolescent promiscuity, alien invasions, drug and alcohol abuse, rape and murder,” said Latchaw.
As for the future, Latchaw is looking to collaborate with more comic writer as well as to continue his own work.
“The next projects I will be working on is a collaboration artwork book with a friend and a series of collab paintings. And of course a couple more of my comic books,” finished Latchaw.