Fort Knox

The tale of a military family's escapades, told from the military brat's point of view.
Recent Work
About
The Fort Knox comic strip by Paul Jon chronicles the life of a military family: Dad, Major Joe Knox; Mom, Jane Knox; and their two boys, Donald and Wesley. The family has picked up and moved — again — thousands of miles from family and friends to take up residence at Joe's new assignment at Fort Lincoln. Donald and Wesley have moved before, but that doesn't make it any easier on them. They must face down new bullies, master a new school system and new teachers, and navigate a new community. Added to these pressures is the distance the move puts between them and their beloved grandmother, who's a known troublemaker if not a known felon (yet). On top of all that, there's the strain that military life puts on their parents' otherwise happy marriage.
About the Creator

Fort Knox cartoonist Paul Jon Boscacci is, of course, a military brat himself. "The downside was that every time we moved, I gained a new bully. Eventually, I had to give them numbers to keep track," he jokes. "In many ways, they were like terrifying personal trainers: Thanks to all the running away I did, I was able to overcome my childhood asthma."


"In 2005, Paul Jon created Fort Knox to help him tap the well of his childhood experiences — the frustrations and embarrassments and angst — the way Charles M. Schulz tapped his own childhood for 50 years," says Washington Post Writers Group Comics Editor Amy Lago. "Cartooning no doubt has been cheaper for Paul Jon than a team of round-the-clock therapists. The Writers Group is pleased that the cartooning, at least, has paid off."


"Paul Jon is the son of an Army colonel whose tours of duty included Fort Leavenworth, Fort Jackson and Fort Knox, and who, every morning, liked to say to his fellow soldiers, "It's a great day to be in the Army." Paul Jon understands his dad's attitude, and feels that being a military brat "made me understand the sacrifices that military families make for our country, and also made me a better person for having to deal with new people all the time." Luckily for Paul Jon, he had an eccentric red-haired brother and his trusty inhaler to keep him company through each change in location.


"In addition to his daily and Sunday Fort Knox duties, Paul Jon leads brand strategy for a variety of software companies, and his artwork has appeared in newspapers, magazines and online publications across the country. He earned his B.A. in journalism from the University of South Carolina. He is married to his long-suffering wife and has a newborn named Leo, who is now making him suffer through insomnia and never-ending diaper changes.


Meet the Characters
Joe
Husband to Jane and father of Donald and Wesley. Joe's job has moved the family many times, and it sends him away on assignments while everyone else stays home. He knows that a strong bond will keep his family together through these tough tours of duty. But his attempts to strengthen that bond tend to fail with his sons, who, despite their dad's dreams of reliving his years as a college athlete, appear to be allergic to sports. Although Joe is a little macho and old-fashioned, deep down, this stern officer is a big softy.
Jane
Wife to Joe, mother of Donald and Wesley. Jane has sacrificed a lot for her family, though she rarely acknowledges it. Military life means frequent upheaval, often just when she's making new friends. And since the Army sends Joe off on lengthy assignments, she sometimes feels like she's running a single-parent household. Whenever Joe is home, he's sometimes as much or more trouble than their sons.
Donald
Megalomaniacal older son of Jane and Joe, and brother to Wesley. Donald is fearless, more confident than is wise, and is currently creating a long-term strategy for complete and total world domination. Because domination begins at home, his first plan is to overthrow his father. Donald believes in dressing for success, so he has worn a tie and carried a briefcase to school since kindergarten. His Achilles' heel is Fidel, his teddy bear, who he is convinced is out to get him.
Wesley
Anxious, asthmatic younger son of Jane and Joe, brother to Donald. Wesley is afraid of spiders, snakes, monsters under the bed, sports, girls and, well, everything. The question is, do the fears manifest because of the constant changes he must face? Or do the constant changes cause his fears? In either case, at least he knows he can rely on his brother's protection, as long as he makes it worth Donald's while.
Fidel
Donald's plush bear and henchman. Fidel is the strong, silent type. He has survived getting lost in the mall and being attacked by Betty's dog. Donald believes Fidel is a dangerous fiend who needs to be shown who's boss.
Mr. Boggs
Wesley's guinea pig that has used up eight of his nine lives. He has a rich imagination that helps him escape his cage and his egg-shaped body.
Pearl
Mother of Joe, tormentor of all. Pearl lives at the Happy Trails Senior center, although she's a frequent visitor at the Knox household. Her paranoia drives her there, and then away again. She trusts no one, not even her grandchildren. But this is not an age-related phenomenon. She's always been like this, which may explain why Joe entered a profession that would send him far from home so often.
General Wickum
Commander of Fort Lincoln. A Vietnam vet who has made the Army his life, the general is a rather fatherly superior officer to Joe. He offers kind, thoughtful advice, much of it useless. He's a widower and a bit lonely, but he's never attracted to women who would make good general's wives. He is attracted to Pearl, though. Like a moth to a flame, he usually gets burned.
Major Frank Tucker
Joe's fellow officer and friend. Frank has been in the Army longer than Joe and has the emotional scars to prove it. Joe looks to Frank for help in coping with the demands of military life, which may not be a smart decision on Joe's part. Joe also has trouble keeping Frank's numerous ex-wives straight. So does Frank, actually.
Kurt the Bully
Schoolmate of Donald and Wesley. Like a shark, he's attracted to the sick and weak (see Wesley). Wesley, at least, understands that like most bullies, Kurt's swagger belies his self-esteem issues and problems at home. But that knowledge doesn't help Wesley's wallet at all.
Betty Wu
Classmate to Donald, love interest of Wesley. Betty's father is a dentist who expects her to become one, too. She is American-born Chinese and will, no doubt, rebel against her parents' strict traditions. She is tough and doesn't put up with Donald's Napoleon complex, despite the fact that she kind of likes him.
Hank
Jane's Marine father who visits from time to time battle Joe and his Army ideals. He's divorced (not by choice) and is actually a good person inside... if you look really, really deep.
Mondo
The General's loyal and bird-brained dog who was found during Desert Training. He's always open to chewing up a chair, a sofa, a car - whatever's handy.
Norman
Betty Wu's cousin who's visiting for an unspecified length of time... or when the Martians finally decide to take him home. Norman is a genius who can create anything. Except a door to reality.
Uncle Herman
The brother of Pearl and great uncle to Wesley and Donald. He runs a ranch where Donald is often sent to sow his oats and shovel manure... neither has helped change Donald's snarky attitude.