With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, we decided it was about time to talk about our favorite unrequited crush: the adorable Chutney, from CURTIS. Ray Billingsley, the creator of CURTIS, was kind enough to drop in and tell us a bit about Chutney:
“Curtis and Chutney have been friends from the very beginning. They were formally introduced in the school hall, near the student lockers. Curtis found a note that was slipped into his locker and when he opened it to read it, there were only two words, “Turn around.” When he did, she gave him a kiss!
Chutney likes Curtis, but Curtis likes Michelle, and Michelle loves only Michelle. I thought it would be a good idea to have them be part of this awkward three-way relationship. It brings a little tension to the strip that might have never developed with just the basic boyfriend-girlfriend theme. Plus, it brought an added dimension to all three characters, giving them direction and room to grow in personality.
Over the years, Chutney has mellowed a bit on her “boy-crazy” days with Curtis, although she is still very protective of him. When he messes up in school, she will always be there with words of encouragement. She stands up for Curtis when the school bullies pick on him. She has a strong constitution for the crush Curtis has on Michelle, and while she tolerates it, at times she can get fed up with it. When she does, she is a little fireball. She will and has become angry at Curtis and has no qualms about letting him know. This usually makes Curtis feel guilty because deep inside he does really like Chutney and he goes to great lengths to say he’s sorry.
When Curtis goes too far, either verbally or in his actions, she will surely stop him in his tracks and read him the riot act! She can bear a lot, but when she is pushed, she will push back. She is no lightweight. She only pretends to let Curtis think he’s in charge, when it’s really she who is the stronger-willed of the pair.
Chutney was actually the third character I created after Curtis and Barry. She is inspired by a real person from my younger days. I had a real crush on a girl from my church who was very talented (like Michelle), had beautiful big eyes and was the type most guys would go for. There was another girl, who had a crush on me, and would always go out of her way to be beside me. She even used to stand outside my building, waiting for me to come out. I saw her only as a good friend—one I could talk to and go to have a pizza with—not as my “girlfriend” girlfriend, which, when I look back on it, was a mistake on my part. She was very smart and determined and the last time I heard about her, she was a big-shot lawyer in Washington, D.C.
Chutney comes from a single-parent family. She lost her mother to ovarian cancer when she was quite young, which made her the woman of the house. She watches over her dad, and she has two aunts, who visit on holidays. She was young when her mother passed but not so young as to not remember her, and she misses her deeply. Her father seems to be a good role model for her.
I like to write stories with Chutney that expose some of her strengths and sensibilities. Sometime she may appear mild and meek when in actuality she is not. She is a problem-solver and has a strong voice and personality, but you don’t always see these sides expressed until it is truly needed. She can be quite unpredictable, which is just the way I like her to be.”
Thanks, Ray! Enjoy these recent strips featuring Chutney:
Every Friday, we put the spotlight on a supporting character from one of our comics! If you have a favorite secondary (or even tertiary) character whom you’d like to see profiled, please leave a comment here or in our forums.