Sam and Fuzzy Q & A: Plans Edition
Got a question you want answered? Just drop me an email with "Q & A" in the subject line!
"I recently acquired your excellent book, The Underground. My favorite section by far was the part that listed out the Committee factions and members, but I did notice that, if there are 31 code numbers, that would mean that there are only 3 unknown Committee members, rather than 4, as Retcon Global has 2 representatives and codes. Is that correct?" -Michael
You're totally right, Matthew! (Also, thank you! I'm glad you're enjoying the book.)
The Committee has 31 members, and as of this moment, 28 of them have personally appeared in the comic... although for many of them, those appearances only amount to some extremely brief cameos. (And of course, part of the fun of making the Underground guide was getting to share more information about all their factions and backstories!)
But nevertheless... that's 28 members accounted for! And that only leaves 3 unknown members, rather than 4. My bad! In my defense, counting is hard.
I created the unknown members -- ie: the ones who only appear in Committee scenes as video-conferencing monitors -- to make sure I had the ability to add new members later if I wanted to. But for the RPG, they serve the added bonus of allowing players to create their own additional Committee members, should they wind up crafting a story that would benefit from doing so!
"When the Ninja Mafia were first introduced, were they intended as a one-shot gag or were they always intended to be a prominent part of S&F? How much thought went into their creation? Why ninjas and mafias specifically?" -Tom
When I introduced them in Performance Anxiety -- the story we are currently revisiting -- my only real plan was to introduce some sort of criminal gang that could return to harass Sam in a later story. I didn't have any particular plan for what that follow-up story might be, though.
I didn't do much pre-planning at all in those days! I tried to set things up that might be fun to build off of later (Sam gets fired! a gang doesn't like him!), but said building was mostly improvised. When the Ninja Mafia was introduced, the only "plan" was to force Sam to change jobs and give me a fun gang to use again in the future.
But I was starting to get weary of that approach. Sam and Fuzzy started as a gag strip, but all the comics I'd done prior to that were big stories, and I was increasingly tempted to go back to that. I'd actually peg the time shortly after Performance Anxiety -- when I was thinking about what a follow-up Ninja Mafia story might be -- that I caved and started plotting out what would become Sam and Fuzzy's first big story arc.
So, in their very first appearance, the Ninja Mafia wasn't much more than a fun, potentially reusable gag. But everything that happened after that -- from their second appearance all the way to the big finale with Candice and Fridge -- was (roughly) conceived as one big story. So, that would be the point where I decided to make the Ninja Mafia a really prominent part of the strip, and to flesh them out from a sight gag into the structured, classist, overly convoluted criminal cult we wound up with.
As for why they're Ninja Mafiosos -- or is that Mafia Ninjas? -- I was just trying to think of some sort of criminal gang that would be visually iconic! I liked the mix of Ninja masks and suits, and thought the swords would make for more interesting cartoon actions scenes than firearms.
That's a wrap for this week! See you on Monday, team.