Sam and Fuzzy Q & A: Great Expectations Edition
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"So you expect me to believe that X and Y can train and work together for years and even spend many months locked in an epic to the death fight (which neither dies from) and X cannot tell that Y has been replaced by a look-a-like?" -Benjamin
Seriously, though, I think the key things to remember are that Jess' impressions are pretty much physically flawless (incorrect arm placement aside), and that most people in the S&F universe don't even know that shapeshifters exist. So even if Y noticed something off about X, "replaced by an identical doppelganger" is probably not the theory that would cross his mind. He'd be more likely to assume that X was just up to someting, or hiding something from him, or playing some sort of crazy mind game in an attempt to one-up him as a ninja.
"What was Jess and Gertrude's relationship before Jess was hired by Sin to impersonate Mr. X? We know that Jess worked for Gertrude after her takeover of the Saucy Hippo, during which time they worked together at least occasionally on the Katts jobs due to Jess's abilities. But what is their relationship actually like? Is Jess just another employee to Gertrude (albeit one with highly lucrative abilities)? Did Gert and Jess know each other from the year that Gert spent working her way up? Are they close friends? Acquaintances?" -Dawson
Jess had already been working at the older, grungier version of the Saucy Hippo for a long time when Gert first arrived... at least ten years, since we saw her in one of Fuzzy's flashbacks! So she and Gert were coworkers at first, until Gert bought the place out, classed it up, and became her boss.
It's largely unexplored in the comic, but I think Jess would insist they were very close when they worked together! Jess thinks as highly of Gert as she does of anyone... she's the fellow performer who worked her way up and built an empire! Gert's maybe a little more reluctant to admit any sort of fondness, and I think she finds Jess' goofiness exasperating, but she also clearly has a lot of respect for her ruthless/mercenary side and her talent as a performer. (I think maybe she was a little hurt when Jess left to go work for Sin, although I doubt she'd admit that either.)
Some of the pin-up stuff I've been doing for Patreon -- like this one -- are basically single-panel comics about when they worked together. I think they have a fun dynamic with one another, and the Hippo is a great setting for pin-up stuff, so it's probably something I'll keep exploring that way.
"How do you decide to introduce a new character into Sam and Fuzzy, and do you plan out their look and personality much beforehand? Have you ever had a character in mind that you decided not to use?" -David
Pretty much every character who has ever appeared in Sam and Fuzzy -- at least after the really early gag-based stuff -- was created to fill some sort of specific, direct narrative need. I don't think I've ever come up with a character completely independently and just squeezed them into the comic after the fact. Except maybe for Skull Panda!
The interesting thing, though, is which characters wind up sticking around. Jess Star is a great example: she originally was only intended to make one brief appearance. But she wound up returning years later, when I needed a character for a different narrative purpose. I had originally been developing a brand new "master of disguise" character to serve that role, but realized Jess was a lot more fun and interesting than what I was coming up with.
The amount of time I spend on designs is all over the place. Some come together extremely fast, while others -- Mr. Sin is a good example -- took a lot of work to figure out. (You can see a lot of the rejected Sin designs in Omnibus II.) And sometimes, I'll take an unused design I had worked on previously and use it for a new character if it seems like a good fit. Hazel was like that... although the character was created to fill a role in the story, her design was partly inspired by some other scarved and begoggled sketches I'd drawn in the past.
That's a wrap for this week, team. Come back on Monday for our next comic!
- Sam Logan