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Archive for June 26th, 2007

History of da union

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

snake sandwhich

The Union of Novelty Costumed Performers as you know it today, a genuine comic book published by Silent Devil Inc and soon to be available wherever funny books are sold, has two parents – me and Jerm. This comic is our baby. Jerm, on art, has been living and breathing these characters for what seems to be an eternity… so I guess that makes him the mother. I’m more of the deadbeat dad who sends a card a week late for the kid’s birthday. But there was a third, oft unmentioned contributor to our epic of costumed proportions. To continue this uncomfortable birthing analogy, he was like the midwife reminding us to breath during labor, or the smooth Barry White sounds that put us in the mood to conceive, or… actually, you know what, I’m gonna stop. He was Peat. Still is Peat. Just Peat.

The three of us had been working together in different departments of a small medical publishing company for about a year. Bored from spending his days checking production specs, Peat was eager to bring in his unemployed friends when the opportunity arose. It arose twice in 6 months. I was first, landing a job in editorial, while Jerm came on a few months later on the IT side. It was only a matter of time before goofing off took precedence over actual work. During a lull in writing his novel (more on that later) and plotting out Dungeons & Dragons campaigns (us = huge nerds), Peat suggested that we start a jam comic (see previous comment re: nerds). We didn’t call it a jam comic, though. In fact, we still refuse to label our masterpiece anything but THE COMIC (I guess we also label it “our masterpiece” though).

Since most of the hits on this site until the comic hits stores will be from our families and co-workers, let me explain what is meant by a jam comic: Basically, it is a comic created by passing it person to person, one panel at a time, with no plan or discussion in between. It encourages spontaneity (and also plenty of dick and fart jokes). This was something Peat and Jeremy practiced with glee back in high school, and having known me for almost as long – since we worked together in a comic shop years earlier – Peat knew I’d be up for it too. I definitely was. In fact, I probably deserved to be fired over it, as I spent more time on it than I did on actual work. (Did I mention I’m writing this at the office?)

Anyway. Peat and Jerm were fairly responsible employees, always making sure their desks were clear before doing a panel, and sometimes even bringing the comic home lest they neglect their professional duties. But not me, man. I would drop everything as soon as the comic hit my in-box. At the time, my job was essentially proofreading junk mail for doctors, so you can’t blame me for jumping on a creative escape. I was forever setting up gags, only to have Peat and Jerm, refusing to deliver my punchlines, do complete non-sequitur panels just to shut me up. (If I had had my way at one point, a machine-gun-toting Gumby and his vengeance-starved sidekick Pokey would have been the stars of the comic!) It was in one of those moments of serendipitous frustration, when the book was veering off in a dozen new and more ridiculous direction with every panel, that Peat and Jerm gave me the perfect setup. Snake, Lou, Tony, and “The Novelty Costume Performers Union” were born.

The union is born!

From there, we went on for another two years, 60+ pages, and an unacceptable number of hours “on the clock” cranking out some of the most juvenile, offensive, and poo-flingingly ridiculous comic book action you could imagine. And no matter how far off the original thread we went, I made sure Snake and the rest of Division 18 found their way back into the story. Apparently, my muse is a guy in an 8-foot-tall snake suit. Since our adventures in insubordination, Jerm and I decided to REALLY do a comic, hooked up with Silent Devil, and here we are. Peat had bigger fish to fry, and decided to focus on fantasy writing. Apparently the kid’s got talent, because he just recently scored a 3 book deal with one of the biggest Fantasy/Sci-fi publishers around, Del Rey. Jerm and I like to think he couldn’t have done it without honing his craft on angry drunken Scotsman and diaper-wearing cyborg chimps.

But where we were, where we are, and where we’re going aren’t important. Our goal with the comic has always been to help each other laugh our way through another otherwise mind-numbing dull day of work, and it was a blast. Peat has moved on to biggers and betters, but Jerm and I haven’t changed that goal. We’re just expanding the audience. Hope you enjoy it!