Archive for August, 2011

Mayoral message


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Posted 8/27/2011, 12:00:AM, by steve york | Comments Off


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Posted 8/20/2011, 12:00:AM, by steve york | Comments Off

Anniversary celebration


And I’d like to especially thank all the loyal Captain Zero fans! Thank you so much for reading.

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Posted 8/13/2011, 12:00:AM, by steve york | Comments Off

More ink spilled on Captain Zero!

Jeff Bonty wrote a wonderful tribute in his column.

And the whole newsroom surprised me with this Page 1 story written by the ever-versatile Dimitrios Kalantzis.


Posted 8/12/2011, 11:08:AM, by steve york | Comments Off

Q&A time!

Steve York answers a bunch of questions from Jeff Bonty

Jeff: How did you come up with Captain Zero?

Steve: In 2001, just a few days before the launch of our new Think section, I

was surprised with the news that the plan to have my weekend editorial

cartoon appear in color on the front of the section had been

drastically changed.  Due to layout limitations, I was now being given

a space running along the bottom of the page. Rather than try to

reformat my editorial cartoon to fit this space every week, I

suggested that I be allowed to do a local comic strip, instead. They

agreed (with a certain amount of skepticism, I think), but it was

already Friday, August 3. The page was being preprinted on the 8th,

which meant I had 3 work days to develop a strip from scratch, create

the characters, and have the first strip written, penciled, inked and

colored. This on top of my usual daily editorial cartoons, I might

add! I remember sitting out in my backyard that Saturday doodling and

skimming through old sketchbooks. Since goofy superheroes were a

recurring theme in my drawings, I hit on the idea that Kankakee needed

its own superhero. A few days later, the first Captain Zero was


Jeff: Was it by design that Captain would have a side kick?

Steve: No, it didn’t occur to me. But thankfully, a wonderful coworker (a Mr.

J. Bonty) suggested early on that CZ get a dog. So Sparky was

initially introduced as a robot dog. That only lasted a handful of

weeks until I redesigned him as a full-fledged robot sidekick.

Jeff: Who is you favorite character other than Captain and Sparky?

Steve: There’s not many other regularly recurring characters, really. There’s

CZ’s dad (Doc Derringdew), and the pessimistic villain Gloomy Gus. But

my favorite is Chelsea, the scrappy 8-year-old girl who’s from a

thoroughly dysfunctional family. She is based on a couple of girls my

own children knew several years ago. At some point in the strip,

Chelsea started attending church and is now a faithful Christian,

which is something of a rarity among comic strip characters.

Jeff: Did you have aspirations to draw a comic strip?

Steve: Absolutely! It’s something I’ve wanted to do since my grade school days.

Jeff: Do you get suggestions from readers/fans?

Steve: Occasionally, but I try to do all the writing myself. But I love

getting drawings of Captain Zero and Sparky from fans, so please keep

sending them in!

Jeff: Is it hard to believe its been 10 years already?

Steve: It’s been 10 years? Are you serious? Wow, it make my head swim to

think that I’ve been doing this for a decade now. I should probably

get Sparky in for a tuneup really soon!

Jeff: What is in store for Captain Zero?

Steve: I never know week to week what he’ll be up to. But I’d like to see his

dad make more appearances, and CZ may have some more villains to face,

as well. Recently he’s had to battle The Weathernator (who is

convinced he controls global weather patterns) and Miss Skeeter (who

plagues Kankakee County with a horde of trained mosquitoes). I’m sure

there are more bad guys out there waiting to take on CZ!

Jeff: Does your family suggest story lines?

Steve: Certain incidents (and accidents) involving my family have found their

way into Captain Zero, although I change enough details to protect the

innocent and embarrassed. Last year I introduced CZ’s new pet, Domino

the Wonder Dog (a mere 9 years after Jeff first suggested it), and

Domino closely resembles our own dog, Coconut. We have another dog,

too, and the kids have been after me for some time to find a way to

get Luna in the strip, as well. Maybe Gloomy Gus could use a dog?

Jeff: How close are the characters to you or others you are close to?

Steve: They didn’t start off this way, but both CZ and Sparky are essentially

me. Sparky is a sarcastic yet amiable die-hard Cubs fan, while CZ  is

suave, handsome, famous and heroic; so yes, they’re me in a nutshell.

(OK, actually Captain Zero is a real dweeb. But surely I don’t

resemble him in THAT way!)

Posted 8/12/2011, 12:00:AM, by steve york | Comments Off

Captain Zero: The First Decade


From 2001, this is the original drawing used to present the strip to management. Although originally named Citizen Man, I enlisted the help of my brother, Don, who quickly came up with a list of around 50 names (all of them better than “Citizen Man”!), from which the name Captain Zero was selected.

Posted 8/10/2011, 9:25:AM, by steve york | Comments Off


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Posted 8/6/2011, 12:00:AM, by steve york | Comments Off