|Born||Aaron Vincent McGruder|
May 29, 1974
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Occupation||Writer, cartoonist, public speaker|
|Genre||Comic strips, television screenwriter|
|Notable works||The Boondocks|
Aaron Vincent McGruder (born May 29, 1974) is an American writer, lecturer, producer, screenwriter and cartoonist best known for writing and drawing The Boondocks, a Universal Press Syndicate comic strip and its animated TV series adaptation for which he was the creator, executive producer, and head writer.
Early life and education
Aaron McGruder was born in Chicago, Illinois. When Aaron was six years old, his family moved to Columbia, Maryland, after his father accepted a job with the National Transportation Safety Board. McGruder has an older brother.
McGruder attended the Jesuit school, Loyola Blakefield, from grades seven to nine. Following two years he left the school and transferred to public high school, Oakland Mills High School and the University of Maryland, from which he graduated with a degree in African American Studies.
The Boondocks began in 1996 as a webcomic on Hitlist.com, one of the first online music websites. At the time, he was also a DJ on The Soul Controllers Mix Show on WMUC. The Boondocks also briefly appeared as a comic strip in the University of Maryland's newspaper The Diamondback during Jayson Blair's tenure as editor-in-chief. McGruder signed a deal with the Universal Press Syndicate and in April 1999, the strip began appearing in 160 newspapers.
The comic strip's main characters are two young African-American brothers, Huey (named after Huey P. Newton) and his younger brother and wannabe gangsta, Riley, from inner-city Chicago who are relocated to live with their grandfather in a sedate suburb. In six months, the comic strip was being distributed to more than 200 publications. Five The Boondocks collections have been published: All The Rage, Public Enemy #2, A Right To Be Hostile, Fresh for '01: You Suckaz, and Boondocks: Because I Know You Don't Read The Newspaper. An animated television series adaptation of the strip proved successful on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim.
McGruder expressed interest in 2013 about filming a movie featuring The Boondocks TV series supporting character Uncle Ruckus. Gary Anthony Williams would reprise his role. McGruder set a goal of $200,000 for startup donations at uncleruckusmovie.com between January 30 through March 1, 2013, but the campaign ended with 2,667 backers and $129,963.
In March 2014, The Boondocks was revived for a new season, but without McGruder's involvement as its showrunner. The first episode of the fourth season was first broadcast on April 21, 2014. In 2019, it was announced a fifth season of The Boondocks would be produced with McGruder's involvement.
Among his other projects have been the Super Deluxe variety comedy series The Super Rumble Mix Show. McGruder also developed Black Jesus, another comedy series broadcast on Adult Swim, part of Cartoon Network.
McGruder has developed into a public speaker on political and cultural issues. During a 2003 reception hosted by The Nation, McGruder offended attendees by defiantly expressing his support for Ralph Nader's 2000 presidential bid. McGruder endured heckling and walkouts as he defended his commitment to left-wing causes, including, he claimed, calling Condoleezza Rice a "mass-murderer" to her face during the 2002 NAACP Image Awards. In 2009, Richmond, Indiana newspaper Palladium-Item reported that McGruder told a Martin Luther King Day audience at local Earlham College that then-President-elect Barack Obama was not black. McGruder released a statement insisting he was misquoted, while maintaining he remained "cautiously pessimistic" about Obama's presidency.
With Reginald Hudlin, McGruder co-authored a graphic novel, Birth of a Nation: A Comic Novel (2004), about African Americans in East St. Louis during an election. The book's illustrations were drawn by cartoonist Kyle Baker.
In 2010, McGruder worked as screenwriter in the final treatment of the feature film Red Tails, released in early 2012. Its story is based on the Tuskegee Airmen, a group of African American combat pilots during World War II.
In August 2017, it was announced that McGruder, along with producer Will Packer, will develop a series for Amazon Video called Black America which will be based on an alternative history where emancipated black Americans receive three Southern states as reparations for slavery. The series' announcement was reportedly seen as a response to HBO's in-development alternative history series Confederate, whose plot entails a history where the Confederacy won the Civil War.
- "McGruder, Aaron 1974". encyclopedia.com. Gale. 2009. Retrieved October 18, 2016.
- "Aaron McGruder". Contemporary Authors Online. Gale. February 17, 2012.
- McGruder, Aaron (November 3, 2005). "Aaron McGruder". The A.V. Club. Interviewed by Interview by Nathan Rabin. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
- Younge, Gary (December 22, 2005). "Strip Tease". The Guardian. London. Retrieved February 7, 2010.
- Astor, David (October 9, 1999). "'Boondocks' Artist Still Living on the Edge of Controversy: Aaron McGruder Comes to Canada to Talk about His High-Profile Comic". Editor & Publisher. republished excerpt online at Questia.com.
- "The Boondocks (1995)". IMDb. Retrieved October 18, 2016.
- "Outstanding Young Alumnus Award". University of Maryland Alumni Association. May 25, 2016. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
- "The Boondocks" (PDF). UClick.com. Andrews McMeel Universal. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 4, 2012. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
- McGrath, Ben (April 19, 2004). "The Radical: Why do editors keep throwing 'The Boondocks' off the funnies page?". The New Yorker.
- "The Uncle Ruckus Movie by Aaron McGruder". Kickstarter.com.
- Moore, Frazier (April 18, 2014). "'The Boondocks' Back For Final 'Offensive' Season". Associated Press. Retrieved April 23, 2014.
- "The Boondocks (2005) Episode List: Season 4". IMDb. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
- Rose, Kim (January 22, 2009). "'Boondocks' Creator Explains Obama Comment". BET.com. Retrieved October 18, 2016.
- Larnick, Eric (January 20, 2012). "Aaron McGruder, 'Boondocks' Creator, on Writing 'Red Tails' and Working With George Lucas After Making Fun of Him". Moviefone.com. Archived from the original on July 24, 2012. Retrieved January 23, 2012.
- "'Boondocks' Creator Preps Alt-History Drama 'Black America'".
- Izadi, Elahe. "Another Civil War alternate history comes to TV – but with black independence and reparations".
- "Alt-History Drama 'Black America' Reveals Premise in Response to 'Confederate' News". August 1, 2017.
- "The Uncle Ruckus Movie by Aaron McGruder". Kickstarter.com. 2013. Retrieved October 17, 2016.