Set in our present day, “AMCBF” is about an unusual little family. It consists of a human mom and dad and their three sons: Cam, Ben and Chuck, who happen to be teenage dragons adopted when they were just wee eggs and needing protection from various ne’er-do-well relatives. In the parallel universe of dragons that can be reached through a portal in the family home, the “Boys” learn to interact with their own kind and they live lives quite similar to ours; all the while being taken care of by their loving and very patient parents and being financed and watched over by a mysterious relative.
Cameron Lipsnarl, or Cam, is the youngest of the three, and also the largest. Actually he is larger than most of the other dragons in the cartoon. Despite his great size, he is quite shy, non-confrontational, and quiet, leaving whatever talking and action needing to be done to his best friend and adopted brother, Chuck, or his half-brother, Ben. He can be quite insecure at times, and sleeps with a stuffed toy penguin (named Fleetwood) at night.
Cam has pain issues because of his huge horns, which are heavy and make his neck and head hurt. He has to take occasional naps and various remedies for this condition.
Although generally a reserved and peaceful dragon, Cam occasionally can show the extent of his tremendous brute strength and power if his loved ones, especially his adopted mother, are threatened. He has a terrifying set of teeth and a ground-rattling roar that can send even the nastiest bully dragons running.
Charles Smoggs, or Chuck, is slightly older than Cam and younger than Ben. A huge personality packed into far too small of a body, Chuck is both brave and compassionate, as he will not back down against any foe and cannot stand seeing the weak and helpless be abused. He also very protective of Cam, although he picks on him good-naturedly just as much as he defends him.
Chuck suffers a bit from overconfidence and is a fearless athlete, but he tends to end many of his daring stunts flat on his face. He is notorious for pulling pranks and has temper fits if one gets pulled on him, especially if Cam gets the better of him. Still, he has a heart of gold and great love for his “Big Buddy”, and will defend Cam at all costs, although Cam really doesn’t need defending.
Benjamin Lipsnarl, or Ben, is Cam’s half-brother and older than him by two weeks. Having hatched first and being of great intelligence, he was already beginning to figure out walking and talking when Cam was hatched, and instantly took responsibility for his baby brother. Needless to say, it frustrated him to no end when his tiny brother began to grow bigger and bigger and eventually much larger than he did.
Ben can be impatient and irritable, mainly from dealing with Chuck all day, and is very OCD, liking things predictable, neat, and orderly–a trait which Chuck cannot resist exploiting. While he may be seen as humorless to the casual observer, he does have his sparkling moments in which he can show great kindness; usually when his beloved brother is feeling ill or troubled.
Ben and Cam have different fathers, and the reason that they came to live with their human family has to do with a feud between the two of them, various unsavory relatives wanting financial gain, and the babies’ mother caught in the middle.
Her fate is unknown.
Chuck was brought to the human family at the same time, not needing protection from evil relatives but because both his parents died at the same time, leaving his egg orphaned.
Trivia and Fun Facts:
I make no bones about the fact that as a big Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers fan for most of the time I’ve been alive, the band members have inspired me in many ways. Since I don’t play music anymore (but learning the guitar again at my own pace!) they crop up in other forms of expression—my art and cartoons— from time to time. Cam, Ben, and Chuck were inspired by Mike Campbell, Benmont Tench and Tom Petty respectively, their faces and personalities being terrific springboards for the resulting characters. Of course, there are many traits the Boys have that are certainly my own invention—Cam’s massive size, for instance, but the three real people truly were my muses in creating three individual personalities.
Even at eighteen years old, Cam still sleeps with his favorite childhood toy—a stuffed penguin named Fleetwood. This simple toy is directly modeled on my own favorite toy from when I was a kid–a 1970s beanbag penguin called Waddles (shown here).
The name “Fleetwood” is also a nod to Fleetwood Mac, who have used penguins as their mascot and logo, and who Mike Campbell became a member of after Tom Petty’s passing.