As promised, today begins a series of short features about some of the creators that were at TCAF this past weekend. My methodology for choosing them was highly personal; let’s just say they are all people I took a shine to, whether I had just met them, been recently acquainted, or known them for years. Follow the links in the text for more information and for ways to look at Sam’s art.
Today’s feature is Sam Logan. I first met Sam at last year’s Camosun College Comics Conference (4C) in Victoria, where he gave a talk about his very successful webcomic, Sam and Fuzzy. I was quite new to comics at the time, having just graduated from the comics and graphic novels program, and everything he said about webcomics was a revelation to me (thanks, Sam!). Sam’s a genuinely friendly guy, and has been very generous with sharing his knowledge when I’ve asked him questions about the technical end of webcomics and the mysteries of selling via a gadget called the Square.
Sam and Fuzzy is also available in books, and because I like having an actual book in my hand, I bought the first book in the series at 4C. I was hooked. I wished I had bought them all! So this year I bought the other two, and when they ended, I continued reading the story online. Sam has just released a beautiful omnibus volume that I would recommend to anyone who wants to get started reading this in print — or if you read it online and find that you must have the physical object in your hands, that’s the one to get.
The story features (to start with) an amnesiac, small, fuzzy bear-like creature; a daring, mysterious, and highly competent female thief; the new (and somewhat accidental) emperor of the Ninja Mafia crime syndicate who has turned the organization into a business to help people with out-of the ordinary troubles such as hostile hamster hordes and the unwanted attentions of vampires; a young woman who stumbles into a job at Ninja Mafia Services; a former ninja who is obsessed with projecting hypochondriac conditions onto his goldfish, and so on. It’s brilliantly inventive, and the characters develop as the intricate plots and subplots intertwine, with just about everyone constantly having a little bit of mystery about them that you just know is going to be revealed around the next page or two…
The black and white drawings in Sam and Fuzzy are bold and stylized, with lots of contrast. Detail is kept to just what is needed to tell the story (not an easy thing to do, I can tell you!). The action is well-timed and the storytelling is clear and convincing (I believed in those hamster hordes!). Are you burning with curiosity yet? Want to read it for yourself? Good! Here’s where you start.
I’m looking forward to volume 4, even though I’m reading them online. Which brings me to a point about creators who are putting their work online. For free. It’s a very generous thing, to put your work out there for free, so you might ask, “how do they make a living?” This is a case of being able to count on the love and support of your fans. If you’re making something good, people will want to own it in a tangible form. So Sam (and many other artists who are doing this) not only has books, but he sells other things featuring his art, such as t-shirts, posters, and, as you can see from the photo above, custom original drawings, some of which you can see on his Tumblr. You can also follow Sam on Twitter, and he posts artwork there as well.
So if I have all the Sam and Fuzzy books, what did I buy from Sam at TCAF? Well, you see that t-shirt he’s wearing? OK, OK, I actually bought one from out of his boxes (I don’t think we wear the same size anyway). Here’s a close-up of it. Dinosaur pirates, how can you go wrong?
And speaking of dinosaurs, it’s time for a little news about my day. I am still touristing, after all!
The Royal Ontario Museum
Today I took the subway, all by myself, three whole stops, and met up with my friends and comic mentors Ken and Joan Steacy at the Royal Ontario Museum. We stayed pretty much all day, and oh my were we tired, and full of artistic inspiration! I ran down my phone battery taking pictures before we even got to the mineral room (shiny, sooooo shiny!)…
I’m only going to post a few pictures here tonight; I took a zillion, and it will take me a while to go through them and edit them. When I get them done, I’ll post them on my facebook artist page in an album and put a notice here on the blog.
Soon after this, our tired crew decided it was time to call it a day. But then we found the room with all the minerals. Oooh. Ahhh. So many forms and colours, so sparkly! After about an hour we tore ourselves away, despite having only covered a fraction of the museum’s collections, and that rather faster then needed for an in-depth look. Someday I’ll come back again, buy a membership, and go live in the museum for at least a week! And take a camera with lots of extra batteries…