Charles Richard Johnson was born on April 23, 1948, in Evanston, Illinois, to Benjamin Lee and Ruby Elizabeth Johnson. While quite young, Johnson demonstrated a talent for drawing and wished to pursue an artistic career, but his father strongly disapproved of the notion. It was only after the younger Johnson sought and won the support of Lawrence Lariar, an established writer and cartoonist, that his father relented. At the age of seventeen, Johnson began working as a cartoonist, and throughout the years he has contributed his work to publications such as Ebony, Jet, Black World, and Players International. His cartoons and drawings were also published in book form in Black Humor (1970) and Illustrated Anatomy of Campus Humor (1971).
As a student at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Johnson was an editorial and comic-strip artist for several college publications. In 1969 and 1970, he worked as a cartoonist and reporter for the Chicago Tribune, and he was a member of the art staff of the St. Louis Proud from 1971 through 1972.
While working successfully as a cartoonist and journalist, Johnson also attended to his academic studies. By 1971, he had completed work for his bachelor’s degree in journalism at Southern Illinois.
In 1970, Johnson had branched into a new endeavor by creating, coproducing, and hosting a television show on cartooning called Charlie’s Pad. Fifty-two shows were...
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