A few months ago, I was introduced to LUNARBABOON – a half man, half moon monkey with a web based comic series. I expected to explore galaxies, stumble upon undiscovered planets, and perhaps even meet some other monkey space people. Instead, I met a man rooted less in a galactic nature but someone truly down to Earth. His name is Chris Goldfinger and he has a loving wife and imaginative son who inspire and support him. He is the crazy-talented creator of one of the most thought-provoking yet feel- good comic series I have had the pleasure to read in a very long time. Lucky us, he landed here, in Toronto.
It all began over a conversation at dinner with his partner, Danielle, who suggested that they each make a comic. Chris had been experiencing a lack of focus in his life and agreed to do the comic as a hobby. With a background in Studio Art, it was easy for Chris to get started, creating memorable characters loosely based on his family. The comic can be dissected into three main personas as the Lunarbaboon: “Me as a father, Me as a husband and Me as myself”, Chris explains. Within this trio, we witness the rewarding challenges of parenthood, the complexities of marriage, and the inner struggles and social interactions that nestle in our minds to form endless inner dialogues. “When I started, I couldn’t focus on anything. What I love about the comic is that it gives me a place to put my thoughts. It’s like art as medicine.”
Although Lunarbaboon sounds like a full-time job, Chris states that the comic is just a hobby. During the day, he teaches at an elementary school in Toronto’s east end – a job he claims to LOVE with great enthusiasm. Thus, most of his comics are conceived late into the evening after his son has gone to bed. Chris reveals that he’s had a hand in illustrating workbooks and even dabbled with a children’s book, but it’s his interest in film that has been a driving factor. “Comics are essentially movies to me. I view a lot of my comic as short films. It’s all very cinematic…frame by frame.” As Lunarbaboon continues to grow, it has evolved stylistically with more pops of colour and small animations – again, taking a cue from film. But, what is most admirable and refreshing about the comic is that you can see Chris’s fearless exploration with different illustrative styles and subject matter including more serious topics like body image and mental health.
Lunarbaboon celebrates a one-year anniversary on June 1st, and Chris notes how still surreal the success of the comic has been. After starting off with just 10 subscribers – including his mom and grandmother – his daily views and subscribers have grown astronomically since then, getting him thousands of views on readitt.com and translations of some of his classic comics into a variety of different languages. Whether he’s from Earth or truly a half moon monkey one thing is for sure, Chris is simply a star. Let us all look forward to another year with Lunarbaboon as he continues to win over the hearts of his readers, all the way to the moon and back.
WORDS: JONATHAN BRODERICK
COMIC: CHRIS GOLDFINGER