Art of an airman's antics
The military lends itself to humor, with cartoons from “Beetle Bailey” to “The Sad Sack” and Reader’s Digest’s “Humor in Uniform” depicting the funnier aspects of life in the service.
Staff Sgt. Ben Schneider, now stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, discovered this soon after entering the Air Force. He then resolved to combine those humorous elements with his talent as a graphic designer to create a comic strip. It uses real-life, as well as fictional, situations to evoke a chuckle and a knowing smile on the face of readers.
“A little over half (of the strips) have scenarios I make up, but many are situations I have experienced,” Schneider says. “(But) I guess the idea (for the comic) was inspired by real-life situations.”
His creation is Airman Artless, a young airman who demonstrates the same kind of clumsiness, as well as laziness, that Beetle Bailey symbolizes for the Army.
The Oklahoma City, Okla., native drew his first cartoon of any kind while studying at Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College in Oklahoma, and continued to develop his skills while pursuing a B.A. in Graphic Design at the University of Oklahoma.
He enlisted in the Air Force in 2003 a month after graduating, and has since served at Aviano Air Base, Italy; Kadena Air Base, Okinawa; and Kunsan Air Base, Korea, before being sent to Elmendorf in February.
Schneider started to draw Airman Artless in 2005, choosing the character’s name for its alliteration as well as its meaning of “lacking knowledge or skill,” the characteristic that usually gets the hapless airman in trouble.
Artless is aided and abetted by a cast of characters that includes his friend, Airman Howser, and Master Sgt. Argent, for whom, “Artless is his biggest pet peeve,” according to Schneider, just like in the real military.
Schneider has been published in a variety of military publications, including Vigileer, Air Scoop, Kaiserslautern American, Samurai Gate, and Crimson Sky.
“I think my stuff is getting better. I am enhancing my sense of humor, inspired by “The Family Guy” and television sitcoms,” Schneider says. “If your sense of humor is too limited, so is your audience. About half of my cartoons, if not more, are verbal, while others are slapstick humor.”