Sam and Fuzzy Q & A: Deadpool Edition
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"When and how did you learn how to tell a story in the long form that Sam & Fuzzy uses today? Did you experiment with it before or during the gag-a-day era or was that the experiment itself? Do you have any tips or resources that really helped you?" -Alex
Honestly, I'm just kind of a geek for story stuff. I love critiquing story work and discussing and disecting the stories I see and read... I don't think I could stop doing that if I tried. (Don't go to a movie with me if you don't want to talk for two hours afterwards about what did and didn't work.) I spend a lot of time talking about storytelling with other cartoonists... not to mention with my wife, who is a professional writer herself! And I suppose I took a lot of writing classes in high school and university, as well.
That said, my biggest secret is this: I did tons of other comics before Sam and Fuzzy! I wrote and drew several different long-form story comics as a teenager... all of which were pretty bad, and all of which were rather fortunately never published online. I learned a lot about what did and didn't work by making those comics. And I've learned a lot more since them by doing Sam and Fuzzy! I don't think I'm perfect at this stuff by any stretch of the imagination. But I like to think I've gotten better at it as I've gone along.
I think the key thing is to think critically... not just about your own work, but about the stories you consume. Even the ones you really love!
"On your blog, you said you're 'hot and cold' on Deadpool depending on who is writing him. What versions of Deadpool do you like/dislike? And did you like the new movie?" -Aaron
I guess there are just some ways of interpreting Deadpool's character that I really like, and others that I find kind of offputting.
Personally I like it when Deadpool is irreverant, but not like... super fratty? I like it when they write him with a sharp wit, rather than just saddling him with endless dick and poop jokes. (Although obviously a certain number of dick and poop jokes are expected... they should just be clever ones!) I also prefer it when the fourth-wall-breaking aspect of the character is used more for weird deconstructionist humour than making random pop culture references. I think both the original Joe Kelly run and the current Duggan/Posehn series generally nail these two things, as do the handful of issues written by my pal Chris Hastings from Dr McNinja.
The one other problem that sometimes crops up for me is when Deadpool's lack of boundries and sexual restraint are depicted as a kind of uncomfortable aggressive misogny. I haven't seen this show up in the comics much in a while, but it was a big problem for me in that Deadpool video game that came out a while back. I like flirty Deadpool, but I don't like creep Deadpool. (And I like it when the target of his affections is a good foil for him, like his current wife Shiklah in the comics.)
I have not actually seen the new movie yet! I probably will not be able to until a week or two from now. But based on what people have told me, I'm cautiously optimistic that it's going to be my kind of Deadpool? We'll see, I guess!
That's a wrap for this week, friends. But we've got some pretty wild comics coming up next week. See you on Monday!