When Missouri native William Fortune (Bill) was baptized in 1972, he never imagined he would be drawing missionary cartoons. Now, 43 years later, he has launched a website that offers humorous cartoons about the unique aspects of the missionary experience.
The site, Eldertoons.com, is a result of cartoons being created for Meridian Magazine, an LDS oriented web publication. They started appearing in 2011 but have an earlier history. Originally Bill, an advertising art director, (retired) and cartoonist, drew them at the bottom of his letters to his son, Doug who was serving a mission in Tampa Florida in 1982.
Doug would write home of his “adventures” and Bill would illustrate a cartoon strip based on the story. He decided to call the strip Elders D & C because his son was named Doug and elder ‘D’ was a characterization of him and his first companion’s last name was Carroll. The ‘C’ in the title. “I never knew what Carroll looked like so I made him up for contrast.” said Bill.
Sadly, the Fortunes lost their son Doug about 16 years ago and the cartoons sat on the shelf for years. Then in 2011 Meridian Magazine put out a call for cartoons and Bill decided to revive the cartoon strip and reformat it to fit the web as a tribute to his son and to see if he could keep it going by coming up with more gags. Five years later he is still creating the strip for Meridian.
Looking at the collection of cartoons he decided to categorize them and put them on a web site and offer them (for a nominal fee) to friends, parents or anyone who has a favorite missionary. You can download them as a file or print a hard copy and include it in letters to missionaries who are serving.
Originally the cartoons were done as a gag on the web magazine but Bill has observed that people often use cartoons to empathize with funny or difficult situations that every missionary faces. Sometimes missionaries write about having trouble with a dog or having a bike stolen. Well, there are cartoons about all the funny situations missionaries find themselves in. Bill’s hope is that the cartoons will serve as a moral booster to the missionary that receives them.
Currently, the strip focuses on a male missionary team because of the tribute to his son but he is also working on adding sisters to the strip.
Bill welcomes comments and stories from sister missionaries about their missionary moments – anything from a day in the life of a sister missionary. If you are the parent of friend of a sister missionary who is serving now, feel free to send him ideas (bill.fortune2