Happy new years from Faceplant! May your year be full of enough movies, video games, comics and books to drive a man insane. What? You want more than that in 2011? Food? Absolutely not! Get back to your computer screen and start searching for something awesome THIS INSTANT. Okay, well, you can read this first. See? Compromise is what 2011 is all about.
I was going to bust in the new year by doing something a little out of the ordinary for me: reviewing a movie. I’m not much of a movie watcher, but I figured a new year means to get into new things, so I plopped down in front of the tube and browsed my Netflicks ques for something worth reviewing. To make a long story short, I ended up turning off GI JOE about 22 percent of the way in, because it was awful. So instead I’m going to review Sam and Fuzzy, a long running comic by creative mastermind Sam Logan, which chronicles the adventures of a sociopathic bear-thingie, and the sad sack, weakling twig of a man who is stuck with him. Which is totally what GI JOE should have been like.
In terms of writing, artwork, and scope, Sam and Fuzzy has come a long way. Officially launched on the internets in May of 2002, Sam and Fuzzy is actually the result of several years of doodling and comic attempts by Logan over the years. From reading the weekly Q&A sessions in the news of the site, Sam Logan shares a first name with the comic’s title character due to some early self-referencing comics he had done, though by the time Sam and Fuzzy went live, Sam had developed a personality of his own.
At the beginning of Sam and Fuzzy, Sam is a sad sack of a man. Lonely, depressed, and working as a taxi driver for X-Per-S, which is run by the intimidating but kindly Mr. Ackerman. Sam’s life is going nowhere, and fast. Unfortunately, while Sam’s a pro at complaining about the way things should be, he doesn’t have enough of a spine to actually go out and fix his life. The only thing out of the ordinary at all in his story is Fuzzy, a three-foot tall walking, back sassing teddy bear creature with poor ethics and business sense.
I’ll mention this right here. This comic has nothing at all to do with any upcoming projects by Seth McFarland. The similarities are definitely uncanny (especially in the current story arc) to his upcoming film Teddy Bear, though if this is because of coincidence or rampant theft, no one seems to know. Logan doesn’t seem too concerned about it though, so we’ll leave it at that.
Anyway, the comic starts off with a basic, four panel joke-a-day format. Most of the early comics revolve around Sam’s life, his job and romantic life, all the while trying to deal with whatever problem Fuzzy has dug up (more than likely by setting it on fire). The early comics are there to make you chuckle, so don’t be surprised at unexplained phenomena like a sombrero-wearing version of Fuzzy traveling back in time from 24 hours in the future, or about references to Sam’s mysterious supercabbie coworker, Carlyle.
The early jokes are good for a chuckle, and they are pretty consistently funny, which is something I find surprising in the early years of a comic. It usually takes an author quite some time to actually land the timing on a joke, but there are definitely a few gems hidden in there.
You don’t even really notice it happening at first, but slowly, ever so slowly, the weirdness in Sam and Fuzzy’s every day lives starts to build up. Before you know it, things start to get a little nuts and the duo’s lives are changed by an ancient (probably) order of ninja mafiosos, which open the door for more weirdness to wander in. You’ll try to guess what happens next, but that way lies wild speculation and conspiracy theories, and you’ll quickly degrade into madness.
From ninja mafia hit men to genetic horrors gone awry, you slowly begin to learn more and more about the world Sam and Fuzzy live in. There’s an entire shady society living in the underground, which is where most things that don’t fit in above ground gather, and the most hardcore band on the planet, Noosehead, has a ridiculous number of band mates. To be fair, most of those are drummers, and bands can never have enough drummers.
I’m not sure exactly when Sam and Fuzzy started moving away from the joke-a-day format and into huge, sprawling storylines, but if I had to guess, I’d say it all started with the refrigerator.
Two other points of interest about this comic: It employs the work of Rikk Estoban, the premiere alternative comic artiste of our generation, who is totally a real person and not just a character that appears in Sam and Fuzzy. Totally. If you believe that Rikk, and his master work comic series Skull Panda are all just constructs of Sam Logan, well, I would be quick to point out that while Mr. Logan is a bit more of the laid back sort, Mr. Estoban is the kind of guy who would leave a dead horse in your bed. Then probably take pictures of it and try to sell them to an art gallery.
The second point of interest is that for many years, Logan has been involved in a somewhat friendly feud with Jeph Jaques, of Questionable Content fame. Originally crafted in an attempt to increase traffic between both of their sites, I have never seen a spontaneous feud turn so ugly and hilarious in such a quick amount of time. In both the QC and Sam and Fuzzy archives, you’ll find several comics dedicated to what a complete and utter bastard the other artist is, usually accompanied with a news post warning everyone on the net not to believe a word of it. I’m letting you know this so we’re all on the same page when you stumble across these gems, and also to let you know that if you haven’t started reading QC yet, you should. That one’s more down to earth (sorta) than Sam and Fuzzy, but still has a solid plot and interesting characters.
Sam and Fuzzy is currently updated every Monday, Wednesday and Friday without fail, and is in the middle of a sweet, kinda worrying storyline, so now might be a good time to get on board for when things start to get out of hand.