Billingsley draws from real life, and the strip has the fresh quality of situational humor, mixed with melodrama, comedy and pathos. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Curtis is read in more than 250 newspapers nationwide. Inspired by Morrie Turner's (the first black cartoonist) Wee Pals, and Will Eisner's The Spirit, Billingsley credits them for his success. Because he finds inspiration for the strip in his own childhood memories, conversations with friends and life at the local barbershop, where the folks talk everything from small-town gossip to big dreams and problems; he encourages youngsters reading Curtis to try cartooning themselves, and spends a great deal of time answering his fan mail.
Educators and community leaders have praised Billingsley for his thought-provoking and honest handling of such serious social and health issues as smoking, drug abuse, crime and asthma. Billingsley has received numerous awards and recognition from the American Lung Association, as well as the Humanitarian Award from the American Lung Association of Southeast Florida in 1999.