Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Enter Missile Toe ... a bad little elf that has had it with the fat man's oppressive work schedules and slave wages. A buck an hour? How's an elf supposed to make a living? St. Nick nixed the worker's union, so ... down with Santa! Viva la X-Mess and Merry Mayhem to all!

- Jeff Tuffenstuff

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Crab eats its way out of its shell

I found myself wandering along the coastline of Montana de Oro in the Year of Last. This happened during my first trip to California. Whilst on the beaches, I had a vision of finding a talking Crab who prophesied that I should "take it to the Mountain". Once up there, I would come across a grove of singing eucalyptus trees that would give me further instruction. It stopped there...and I was obviously not going to investigate the preposterous and utterly fantastic ramblings of my brain. I recognize imagination when I see it. I am usually neck deep in it.
So I took that basic premise and decided to turn it into a short comic. Four pages max. Well, it's funny how some of my comics seem to grow in size rather rapidly. Before long, two simple ideas expanded into ten and so on. Now, it will be a graphic novel. The story is practically my mind. It's all there: beginning, middle, end, characters, new title, places, and scene studies. Everything except for words. No notes to speak of.
The page you see in this post is the very first, and quickly rejected, page out of this conceptual graphic novel. Some of you have seen the more proper test panel, which I will not post here because of content (it's an orgy)...and also because too many people have seen it. The showing was premature, but the reception has been excellent. I fear its approval has damaged me. Regardless, I give you the first and only panel of The Crab, as it was originally intended.

- Chew

Jock-styled Hari Kari hits the freeway

Here's another one! Is'nt this your lucky day? Do'nt you just feel all gushy with joy and other possible squishy things? The bulk of these very few images have been created by pillaging newspapers and magazines and other phorms of ephemera. I never really intended on them having an audience...which is probably why I ended up giving them a mayfly's lifespan.
This particular image shows absolutely no damage or side effect from being bullied by jocks throughout the existence of my being. None whatsover. It also bears no resemblance to any petty grudges against jocks (and rednecks) that may have resulted from a PTSD-styled experience resulting from...well, school in general. I'm way past that, dudes.

Howler Monkeys.

- Chew

The Lord of Reeking Onions has come onto Thee

Hello Globbies! It's been a while....
I've decided that I am the reincarnation of an Iron Age mute named Albaric, who's influence is slowly taking over my life. This explains why some of you NEVER SEEM TO HEAR FROM ME.
Oh...Albaric also lived in a cave, shunned sunlight, was expelled from his village for being "odd", and ate live eels--before he developed an allergic reaction to their mucus, in which case he promptly moved over to lampreys. They're different, right?
So all of this ridiculous banter is actually relevant to the piece posted in this postie.
I'm sorry, I seem to have been momentarily distracted by this huge flock of birds that were in the trees right outside of my apartment. I do'nt think I've seen or heard anything quite like it. Several of them started going after this woodpecker, who was fighting back, when all of the sudden they all took to the skies and flew off mixing in with, yet another, large flock of birds. At least my car was'nt parked under them.
Where was I? Oh yes! The piece in question comes from a small set of cartoons and weird collages that I do every once in a while. You see, if I'm not painting, then I'm working on comics, and vice versa vice. There will occasionally come a time when I need to work on something totally unrelated to my other projects that does not have some narrative or overarching concept. They simply little howler monkeys.

- Chew

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Behold the rise of Cluck Cluck the Foul Fowl, the avenging spirit of Thanksgiving. Turkeys, thy long-awaited liberation is at hand ...

- Jeff Tuffenstuff

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Merchant Marchand

A character study for the merchant that hires the naked thief in my upcoming comic.

- Jeff Tuffenstuff

Monday, November 16, 2009

November endorsements ...

Every once in a while, I come across stuff that I just want share with all of you. So here is what I fully endorse for the month of November ...

... Clone Wars Animated Series (2009) Season One DVD set. Beautifully packaged. Great shows. Giving hope to Star Wars fans that something good did come out of the prequilogy. Ahsoka, Asajj Ventress, Battle Droids and Cad Bane rock!

... Ramon Rodriguez. A fellow artist in New York who has been following our blog for a while. You should check out his site at:

... My daughter Kennedy's smile (makes my day, every day).

... First of the month Halloween discount sales. All the stuff you wanted to pull over your head or decorate your house with but couldn't afford. Now 50% to 75% off.

... Ice cubes, air conditioning, toilets and toilet paper. You will be missed in 2012.

- Jeff Tuffenstuff

Friday, November 13, 2009

Creation of a villain ...

I thought it would be interesting to show my process on developing a character by posting some rough initial sketches and the finished, inked piece.

Introducing Baron Malvado, an evil knight, who will play a "major" role in my upcoming comic. Malvado has been in many battles for his king and country and at some point he snapped. Pressure of leading troops? Couldn't play castle politics? Somebody stole his betrothed? Ate some bad meat? Who knows. Whatever happened, he's no longer playing with a full deck.The initial design of Malvado went through several stages (above, sketches 1-12). After the first few sketches, I realized that he would look more sinister and powerful with more hair - a thick mustache or a big scruffy beard. Once I started to whittle down the features that I liked, I worked out a head shape that I could easily replicate. I really like his bugged-out eyes ... he looks like he doesn't sleep well. Disturbing visions of darkness that threatens to engulf the land? Plagued by all the innocents he has slain? Perhaps. Or maybe he's really just ...

While the face took a long time, the suit of armor and his frame came together quite quickly. He needed to look strong and powerful. I want readers to believe that he is a threat as soon as he appears. I love the look of big scaly chain mail and the few plates of armor that cover the chest, hands and legs.

I like the idea of him being dubbed the black knight - not because of the armor or his family crest, but because of his disheveled black beard and his overall savagery and lunacy.

The one thing that I still have to work out is the sword, which will receive a more memorable hilt and blade. The sword is evil and will be featured often in future issues.

Baron Malvado. Let me know what you think ...

- Jeff Tuffenstuff

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

El Hombre Lobo will set fire to your panties!!!

A curious thing has been happening over the past couple of months. Whenever I have been updating my status on Myspace and Facebook, a voice, usually spoken in the third person for ridiculous effect, has risen. It is that of Sir "El Hombre Lobo". Given to outbursts of exaggeration and arrogance, it is the impish, feral side of me.
As I began to think about this character's development within my psyche (without my full knowledge or approval)-as well as the possible reasons for his rather abrupt appearances, I decided to draw him.
Oddly, ironically, conveniently, curiously I drew him on my 36th birthday. This is my rendition of him.
Do not be alarmed or surprised if he shows up occasionally in this blog!

- Chew

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I'm back ...

It's been a while since my last post. Wanna know what I've been up to? Okay ... here it goes:

I've enjoyed spending quality time with my youngest daughter. I found out that I'm allergic to fagrant soaps - I developed a painful rash on my fingers and the palms of my hands, which for a week, made work and drawing extremely uncomfortable. I got a nasty cold that my body refuses to shake (don't worry folks, it's not the flu - I've been checked) and I've been sick for an entire month with all kinds of symptoms ... which is a new record for me. The whole family is sick with varying degrees of the cold (which unfortunately got the baby too). I've won two SEMC awards for my graphic design work at the museum. I watched the movie Speed Racer (which I simply don't get - I understand the plot - but if you make a movie for kids, why is the back story about corporate acquisition and race fixing? What ten-year old gives a flying crap about that? It's like the Phantom Menace ... hey kids, this one's for you! Oh by the way, we're gonna deal with a trade embargo, senatorial and planetary disputes, and we're gonna show you how to turn a small skirmish into a full scale war - yippieee! If you're gonna make the movie for a kid, make the damn movie for a kid!). I've watched a couple of old Hammer horror films ... good stuff (thanks, Matt). I saw G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra (go Baroness!). I've argued about the economical and social conditions necessary for Star Trek's socialistic society (keep 'em comin', Kennis). My wife and I hosted a Halloween party for the family at which I was dressed as a demented clown and booed my brother for doing a bad imitation of a monster (check out his germanchocolatestallion blog - don't worry, it's not porn). And finally, I've discovered the Nathan's Hot Dog. I like. I like a lot.

But it's back to making comics. In addition to getting back to work on Flex Fantastic 2, I'm trying to have two new comics out by March or April of next year. One is a little to halfway done. The other, I'm starting this week (see illustration above). It's about a naked thief trying to ... well, steal something. I'll be posting updates on this project at least once a week: Character sketches, backgrounds, panels, etc. Should be fun.

I'm back.

- Jeff Tuffenstuff

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

These are a couple of my pieces from the show.

- Chew

On the Day of Hanging...

These are pics of Roger and me (by Nicola) on the hanging day. Rog is by his work, whilst I am in the process of hanging mine own. He finished alot quicker than I did. But all of my work fit into the back seat of my car for easy transport!
The show was called "Three Rooms Divided and Ordered with a side of Devil Rice".

- Chew

Art Show in tha Crack-Haus!

Hey all! I thought that i would post some pictures from the recent art exhibit that I had with my friend Roger deep in the grotto of Bibb City. As was previously mentioned, it was in a former crack house that our friends Brad and Jenn are fixing up. Big, BIG thanks to them for letting us use the space! Thanks again to Roger and Nicola for letting me use some of their photos for this blog. More thanks go out to all of the friends, new and old, who showed up to support us in our artistic endeavours. You all rock!

- Chew

Friday, October 9, 2009

Running Fast

Well, I am pretty much ready for my exhibition. There really is'nt any more work to do for it. I have that desire to throw one more thing in there. Just one! But I do'nt want to kill myself, you know? I'm not 20 anymore. What's done is done. So I have been working on the comics again. Actually, I am working on three simultaneously. It is'nt as glamorous as it may sound. That's called "waiting for ink and gouache to dry".
In the meantime, I thought i would post another panel from Neutrino Valley (actually, two panels).
These have Leroy fleeing for his life. Why? That would be telling!

- Chew

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Black Worm

Neutrino V.
When I was drawing this comic, I wanted to take the line work as far as I could go. Alot of this was based off of my childhood. Because of that, the memories would actually help dictate how the lines would end up looking. They ended up appearing soft or misty. I'm particularly proud of this panel. The shadows came out very well, I think.
This book also marks the entry of my series, The Black Worm, into the world.

(Big thanks to Jeff for the name suggestion!)

- Chew

Hell Awaits

Another panel out of Neutrino Valley.

- Chew

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Hot wire my heart

This is another panel out of Neutrino Valley. The main character is a little boy named Leroy. Here, he is seen entering a school room that was based off of my 6th grade class in Kansas. The dude directly to Leroy's right has a t-shirt that says "Goat Roper 4 Life". We called rednecks in Kansas "goat ropers". Really, they were just farm kids who had mullety-hair (or bowl cuts...with cowboy boots). He has the hair and the 'tude.
The angry looking girl with the half-shaved head, right in front of Leroy, is my rendition of how an old friend might have looked at that age. Near her, is my friend Sean from middle school.
As you might be gathering by now, many of the scenes in this book are based off of things from my youth.

- Chew

Long time gone...

It's been awhile. I've been getting ready for a small exhibition that I am going to have in a former crack house. I also needed to get away from the comics for a spell. That means a break from Flex 2, the blog, everything.
So, I'm back, and here is a panel out of my upcoming comic called "Neutrino Valley". It looks like it will be around 14 pages. I have a couple more things to finish up on it before it's all ready to go.

- Chew

Friday, September 18, 2009

Meanwhile at SMACK Headquarters ...

Wow. It's been a while since the last post. Chew has been working on several paintings for an upcoming art show. Me? My wife and I had a baby ( Hi, Kennedy! Daddy's on the internet!). We're slowly getting our bearings and I'm trying to return to something that halfway resembles a routine. The next few posts will be a bit sporadic. Fear not ... I think we'll return to a more regular posting schedule by the middle of October.

Since we've been absent for a while, I thought it would be interesting to show an entire sequence from the second issue of Flex Fantastic. We left the small band of pirates and Flex in a precarious position. And while he and his dog, Klepto, are trying to get a handle on the situation, we catch a small glimpse into the lives of those left behind ... Susan Smucker and the Super Fraternity known as S.M.A.C.K.


P.S. Followers of this blog should pay special attention to a surprise cameo of a very old and very ancient friend.

- Jeff Tuffenstuff

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Monkey Stylee

I once had the idea of doing a parody of Kung Fu Theatre with mostly monkeys. I'd throw in a couple of the other "lower" primates for a little variety. All I knew about the thing was that there would be a young dude who got wrapped up into some whole adventure because of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. There would be mistaken identites and name it.
The master who would take the young one under his care would be called The Sagey One. Jarvan Langur would be the hero (it's really a JAVAN langur). Little Bebo would be his eventual sidekick. Perhaps he was saved by Jarvan. There's also a Three Armed Proboscis Monkey (that is his name. he appeared in a Hairball), a coatimundi(!!!!) and the big villain...Evil Master Marmoset Mister Underlord! Yes, that IS his name. They might still show up in something. Be patient.
My favorite quote from this page: "I'm a bald fricken' monkey!"

- Chew

Scarbuncula is Lord of All the Scar Tissues

Ha! the sketchbook strikes again! And you thought me dead?? How little you know me! For, when vexed, my power reaches in the ultimate of crescendos! Mwa ha ha....
Yes, this little page does feature the awesome power of Scarbuncula, Lord of All of the Scar Tissues (officially official title). HE is on the right hand side overlooking Shrivel the Raisin who, in turn, is overlooking a small bear head (which does'nt require a body, of course. you know that you can shoot those things and they'll still keep rolling?). Beany is standing just to the left/right of the head.
Over on the opposite side of the page is a Scab. The dude is wearing, like, Stryper-style spandex cuz he so hot. Scabs die and become Scars. That's when Scarbuncula comes in. He's on a crusade to kill as many Scabs as possible. I've already explored this in a couple of my Hairballs.
There's also a dirt person, a sense of meat, and a couple of models to emphasize the irony of the word "scar".

- Chew

Thursday, August 13, 2009

You have to check this out ...

Okay. The secret's out. I like puppets. I like puppets a lot. And I want to share this with all of you (wait ... that sounds wrong somehow). Check out It's a new show featuring a boy and a bunch of monsters in an old castle. I just came across it and I have just become a fan. I hope you guys enjoy it as much as I do ...

- Jeff Tuffenstuff

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Bzzzzzt ...

I'd like you to meet El Zappo. He's a hairy, well-tanned super criminal with rubber thigh-high boots and electro-kill-icity gloves. His base of operations: Cancun beach. He robs beach front hotels during spring break. El Zappo tends to sweat a lot (carrying all those high-voltage transistors is bound to make anyone hot) and hates getting sand in his boots. He likes money, expensive french wine and white castle burgers. He currently doesn't have a girlfriend, but he is sensitive and loves to "cuddle and snuggle" during Lifetime network movies.


Maybe just a little bit.

- Jeff Tuffenstuff

Monday, August 10, 2009

For all the folks at Road-America ...

I don't know why, but a recent post struck a chord with the good folks at Road-America. How do I know this? My brother Jerom works there. So this one's for you little brother (he's actually not that little anymore, he's taller, meaner and could drink me under the table if he wanted to ... which, in retrospect, isn't all that hard since I don't really drink) and the rest of his co-workers. Enjoy. This another little doodle during a time of great stress and duress. A silent plea for help?

- Jeff Tuffenstuff

P.S. Jerom, I still owe you a whuppin' in magic the gathering. It's only fair to let you know I've been letting you win the last twenty games or so ... you know, to lull you into a false sense of security ... and those tears you saw when I lost were fake too, it's all part of my 20 step plan to bring you to your knees ... Huargh har har har ... cough.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Flex Fantastic in book stores!

Well, okay - actually the first issue is in only one book store, but so what? It's in a book store! And so is Chew's special issue of Hairball, a comic about pirates, a moose and other tall tales of comical insanity. Special thanks to Robert at Bizarro Wuxtry in Athens, Georgia for taking the time to talk to us, buying our books and allowing us to have our books prominently displayed. If anyone is near the Athens area, stop by Bizarro Wuxtry and buy a book. It's a great store full of little comic gems and really rare and bizarre finds. And while you're at it, check out their music store, which is right below the comic book store and right across from Tasty World where Fluke 2009 was held (that's three shameless plugs - phew). Chew and I also fully endorse the little Italian Bistro that's located just one block away. Food's a little pricey, but they have really good eats. Fresh pasta, fresh bread, great view from the second floor and they have really good espresso. That's all from our recent trip to Athens ... more blogs very soon.

- Jeff Tuffenstuff

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I cut my flesh on the Maggot Farm

Oh yeah. This reflected my state of mind at the time. I would put its inception past the turn of the century. It was a dark time for many of us in those days. Specifics need not be addressed. Individual phrases within the page summon the moods and themes of it all: I Eat My Flesh, Sac of Organs, The Flayed One, The Black Spectre, Maggot Mouth...and, of course, the two phrases that make up the title of this post. Bleak, bleak, bleak! This is THE most dismal page out of the whole sketchbook.

One interesting note....the Black Spectre in the lower right hand corner of the page is a figure that kept showing up in various people's lives in the 1990's.
Several of my relatives have seen some in their house in Ohio. A former tenant of this same house moved to Oklahoma to escape it. One day she walked into her kitchen and saw it standing there. I once dated a girl who saw one with three friends on Pine Mountain one stormy night. She said it was blacker than black. Darker than the night. A deep pitch where absolutely no light was able to penetrate. I, myself, saw one with my best friend outside his neighbor's apartment back in the day. It saw us and quickly jumped behind a beam. We looked for it, but it had vanished.
What was it? Some people have said it was a ghost. Others, imagination. The research that I have done points to these things being called "Shadow People". They seem to exist in a little known group all unto itself. What they are, might be, and if they really exist is open to speculation (except for skeptics).
The most interesting thing about them to me, besides how weird the whole thing is, is that they have been seen by several people at the same time....multiple witnesses...

- Chew

Flying to the vet ...

The very first panel of the glorious and infamous Flex Fantastic Comic: Doggone Troubles Part One in full color. We ended up using this image as a poster for our table at Fluke. Book Two is in progress and Chew just finished a very disturbing close-up of a villain named ... The Snoz. It puts his rendition of Princess Bertha (please see the earlier "How ah Met Your Mother" posts) to shame. I imagine we will post something new from the second issue of Flex on this blog soon. I'm thinking perhaps an entire sequence instead of just one panel. What scene? Just wait and see ...

- Jeff Tuffenstuff

More Watercolor ...

Another teeny tiny experiment with watercolors.

- Jeff Tuffenstuff

Monday, July 27, 2009

An Old lady with a bag full of tricks ...

One of the things I tried to do differently last year was to move away from sketches to pin-ups. I'm doodler. I doodle at work. I doodle at home. I doodle a lot. The problem is that when I doodle, I grab whatever paper is around and I end up with hundreds of drawings scattered everywhere. There are drawings in my desk at work, my book bag, my desk at home, in my closet ... you get the picture. I know people who draw everything in their sketchbooks. It ends up being a perfect little record of their progress, the formation of their ideas, their character sketches from roughs to finished concepts – you name it. Not me. Nope. Oh, I have sketchbooks. Several in fact. But I tend not to draw in them because I have this silly notion that the work contained therein should be awesome. I know that's not the concept of keeping a sketchbook but it's the thing that people ask to see, so it ends up becoming an informal portfolio. So I'll start drawing in my sketchbook and then the task of creating perfect pictures for an audience (maybe like ... 3 or 4 people – tops?) becomes too daunting and I'll stop drawing in the sketchbook. Understanding one's insanity is the first step to a cure (or so I heard) but in this case it's like a 30-step program without professional supervision. The long-winded point is ... I have hundreds of drawings but no pretty pictures. And I want complete pretty pictures. Which brings us too ... pin-ups (or covers).

So last year I started to draw these faux covers starring these little characters that I doodle from time to time. Sometimes I come up with a complete story, sometimes I'm like "this dude is cool ... I need to do something with that!" So the cover presented here features a nice old lady that hunts monsters. She's part of a society of hunters whose ranks have all but died off. She's old, clever and can still move like a 30 year old (that is, until her arthritis acts up). She has grandkids, that she babysits, and every once in a while she comes across something that requires her special talents (think sleuth like Miss Marple). She has a bag that she pulls impossibly large weapons out of ( an eight-foot long sword or a bazooka perhaps?) and she's an expert on occult lore and knows various ways of how to destroy ancient demons bent on doing all sorts of nasty things.

I always liked covers that were more of a panel than a pin-up and the idea here was that the cover could actually be the first panel which leads directly into the first interior panel of the book. The reader would be curious about what was going on and that would be the hook and then the old lady finds the monster and there's really a surprise on who the monster is and the monster is really Mr. ... and the book could be like 16 pages and then for the second issue, I'll ...

So doing pin-ups became daunting too. This is one of three pin-ups I did that year (all faux covers or posters). The other one is an Austin Powers piece (it's not my character, I can just draw him and be done with it – although why no one ever has done a comic book series starring Austin Powers is beyond me ... that universe is full of goodies to play with) and the other pin-up is in watercolor limbo (it's half done, I just don't know what to do next). So I'm back to doodles. Hundreds and hundreds of doodles. On loose leaf sheets everywhere. No pressure there.

- Jeff Tuffenstuff

P.S. I still haven't come up with a name for the old lady ... maybe I'll simply call her "The Old Bag."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A sad clown ...

Messing around with water colors again. This time, I started with an ink wash and then painted over it. I present to you ... Shucks the Clown: Shecky's third cousin's neighbor's brother-in-law's dad's sister's grocer's nephew. See? We're all related somehow. You just have to dig deep.

- Jeff Tuffenstuff

Me happy. Kids not so much ...

As much as I enjoy making comics, it's quick character studies like these that give me immense joy. Bold, smooth and sometimes choppy lines made by my quill pen as I ink. There is a purity in these little sketches that I can't seem to find when I work on a panel. Since I don't have a lot of time in the evenings, it's nice to just cut loose and not care. This, by the way, was done after spending over two hours on the latest panel in Flex Fantastic 2.

My oldest daughter picked up a copy of Flex the other day and I wouldn't let her read it. It's not appropriate for a seven year old and I feel ...well, I feel kind of bad about it. I'm making comics that neither of my daughters are allowed to read (sorry, kids). So I created Rikki Rocket (pictured above), which I hope will be an all-ages comic that my kids can pick up and enjoy. I'm planning on doing one page explaining how she gets her powers. Should be fun. And I will most definitely approach the comic with same reckless abandon as I did in these drawings. I will post the page when it's finished. Which could take some time ... five weeks until my wife gives birth to our third child – another girl! I don't expect to get too much done after that.

- Jeff Tuffenstuff

Saturday, July 18, 2009

23 Movements of a Fiend

I find myself, after a long week with late hours, and a southern summer sun whose heat and humidity I find revolting, to be in a mood for total sleaze. I am now watching an Italian movie from the seventies called "The Night Evelyn Rose From Her Grave". It's sort of a "giallo". It makes fun of them...which was intentional. But it inadvertantly adds doses of extra irony over time because it is soooo campy and dated.
I'm also in the mood for loud, raw, and sleazy rock and roll. I am currently listening to Thee Oh Sees and will include some Chrome, Ex Models, Six Finger Satellite, Frog Eyes, Lightning Bolt and whatever else can be potentially grating to humanity. has to RAWK!
I believe this is the mood that pervades this latest image. Add a little melancholia and self-deprecation...and that's actually half of the sketchbook right there!

- Chew

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Hotness ...

I have realized that something very important has been missing from this blog. So, in order to increase our readership, I am posting a hot chick! No bumping uglies here. We did that in earlier posts. So here she is. Sure, she might have really freaky eyes, likes to drink blood, kill you rather than make out with you and transform into a striped furry cat critter when she gets scared but she's hot. Her name is Penelope Scourge and she's a virgo.

Creepy, scary girls ... done only the way we at Globster Press can.

- Jeff Tuffenstuff

20 Foot Larva

I have always had sketchbooks. As far back as I can remember, I've always had one nearby. I still have them all. There is a stack of about fifteen of them. When I was a kid, I had the odd habit that most kids have. That's being a perfectionist. If you start drawing something, and it quickly loses its perfection, you abandon the whole thing and begin again. Even if you had only drawn one line. I recall that it used to really bother me.
This was my second college sketchbook. I probably began it around 1994 or 1995. The first one was filled up pretty quickly, but that was largely due to the fact that I also added notes from my art classes into it. The second one is still unfinished...

A couple more things of interest...
on the left side is a loose storyboard for the idea that became Mandarins. I think this was around the phase when it was intended to be turned into wood engravings.
Below that, is the One and Only Grubby Stump! Grubby is another one of my characters. I developed a comic around him that I was calling Neutrino Valley. This is yet another one of my failed comics. Future posts on this failure will be right around the corner. But remember, you saw Grubby here first!
(He is story making a comeback in the Hairballs. But Neutrino Valley, as I envisioned it, is dead).
On the right is me, surrounded by my pod people, Indred Cold, and the Mothman...

- Chew

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Harsh Mistress ...

No, not the old lady pictured in this post. Watercolors.
I have had the good fortune of working with or alongside some extremely talented artists. My friends Kennis (more on him soon) and Chew (my fellow Globsterpress partner in crime) are two of them. Not only do I get to work on comics with these guys, I'm also a fan of their work. Which brings me to ... Don Coker. Don Coker is an illustrator who has worked in the newspaper industry for a very long time. I used to study his watercolor illustrations in the pre-press area before they would be scanned in and edited for print (for anyone who doesn't know: I worked as graphic designer at our local newspaper for nine loooong hard years). He developed a style of painting that compensates for the unpredictability of newspaper printing. Instead of overlapping a lot of colors, he would bump complementary or contrasting colors against one another to create desired shades (I should note that when you print on newsprint, the last thing you want is to have a lot of different colors overlap. Newspaper ink bleeds into newsprint. The more ink you have to use, the nastier, uglier and muddier the printed image becomes). I'm naturally drawn to watercolor as medium, and I asked Don all the questions a novice would ask: "What kind of watercolors do you use? What kind of paper? Is that a sable brush? Yeah? What size? Who do you look up to? Wow ... how long did it take you to do that? How'd you get so great? What's your sign?" You get the point. And he answered them all. So I went out to the local art store and found all of the stuff he was talking about. And did I buy any of it? Nah, too expensive. Instead of buying a sheet of coldpress watercolor paper, I bought a really cheap sketchbook with paper that buckles when water hits it. And really cheap paints that are more acrylic than water, and brushes that won't hold any paint. And so, I try to make little watercolors with really bad materials. Sometimes they come out. Most often they do not. Don Coker's work continues to inspire me (he even traded me one his paintings for one of my drawings). And so I muddle on. Through muddy, murky colored waters, hoping that one day, I will be able to paint ... and be proud of the result. I've got a long way to go.

What does this have to do with these two attached paintings? This is me trying to understand watercolors. Two little experiments for a children's book I promised my wife I would write ... and paint. One day soon.

Check out Don Coker's blog:

- Jeff Tuffenstuff

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Dead Stars

This is a page out of my sketchbook. At the time, I had this idea where I would fill up the entire page. Every page of the book. Very little space was to be left untouched because somehow it would be a waste.
I suppose it was a militant reaction to minimalism (which does have its merits, but it's been done to death a hundred times over). Possibly equatable to Maximalism. A noble idea, but a little obsessive, time consuming, shallow, and ultimately....pointless.
My sketchbooks have since changed. The lines and characters are similar, but now its a lot freer and more exhilarating to use.

- Chew

Monday, July 13, 2009

Too Dark Park

I would give anyone a cookie who caught the reference in the title of this posting. But you're too late. I ate all of the cookies. They were those oreo double stuf chocolate cremes. They are like crack. Real good with your coffee. Real Good. MMMMMMMMMMM.....
This image is that of a typical inner city park. It's not the large foresty kind like Golden Gate Park, Central Park, or the Grunewald. It's basically just a square for people to gather. The attempted inclusion of trees, however, has deemed it as a "green space". I suppose that there was some sort of grant money, or some political thing where, in order to get moneys for this park, it must be "greeeen". Well, they tried. But due to all of the pollution, the sapplings died. Plus, there's all sorts of weird funguses and mildews and parasites and rots and bugs in this new hothouse of a world. So something killed them.
Anyways, as you can see, there are a lot of vagrants who gather in these public spaces during the day. It's a park, right? And they're not allowed to sleep they have lookouts to let everyone know when the cops are gonna make a bust. But when do they? Many times, if you do'nt see them, they'll drive on by. Bigger fish to follow, I guess. Some private parks will have their own security. This is obviously not one of those.
On the wall in the back are those virtual monitors I mentioned in an earlier post. It's a joke from a college English course. The other one is a secret message in a well known Asian language.
Down below, the usual tomfoolery of homeless people. They will be thrown out of the city one at a time. That time is almost upon them. Because of corruption and apathy, they've been allowed to linger a little too long. What no one realizes is that behind the scenes...way up high in the confines of the government (a shadow government at that! Hey, late 90's here...pre-Sept.11) a coup has taken place. The zealots are now gaining control (sounds like what's been happening recently in Iran! You get the idea, there's been a shift...but in this case, it was unnoticed).
This leads the readers, and the story, into...The Fill (which now has a different name...a secret name).
So, basically, there is alot of conspiracy stuff, urban legends, fear, prejudice/racism, religious ideology/upheavals, science fiction turning into fact (global warming and hybrids), along with crumbling empires that form the backstory of Mandarins.

- Chew

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Slums Part 2

This post is an extension of the last post. Remembering all of the crap that was floating around in my head while I was working on this book got me into a bit of a tangent. There was so much background info, that I continually got worked up over one thing or another. Many times, the ideas would not stop flowing, and one concept would lead into five more. Each one of these had to be explored and so on. This is why the thing took eleven years. Why, even at this very juncture, I am starting to salivate over the idea of restarting the the project. It might not be completely dead...but at this point, I liken it to having a very bad crush on someone. The kind where you ca'nt get them out of your head-no matter what. Even when you realize what it is and what it's doing to you. After my last REALLY bad crush, I decided that no matter what, I need to stay as far away from that girl (woman) as possible. Even if she wants me around (but does'nt really want me. you know?). It messes up my head. It is'nt fair to her, to those involved with her, or me.
I feel the same way about this particular comic. I am totally in love with an idea that has no use for me.
Another thing I want to mention about the slum, in the background is a large furnace. It is the centerpiece of a landfill that is supposed to burn non-recyclables. But because of corruption (and apathy), everything ends up getting burned. Including prisoners. Especially political prisoners. There is an even larger landfill to the south of Empire City that is located in present day Texas. Take all of the "Smoking Mountains" in the world (those larger than large landfills which contain whole communities of people) and you're still not even close to the size of it. There is another wall which separates the city from the fill, complete with gunners and guard towers and a no man's land. Many people deemed unworthy to live in the city (prisoners of all sorts who do'nt warrant immediate exceution, perverts, sick people...basically, anyone who can be thrown away) are set loose in The Fill.
This was to be a later chapter in the Mandarins saga.

- Chew

Saturday, July 11, 2009


This is another panel from early in Mandarins. With these city panels, I have been trying to establish the general setting. You see different aspects of the city. You know what the environment is like, so it kind of prepares you for something gritty. It also lets the city itself become a character. This is one of the immigrant slums. They are pretty much all just thrown in there together. I know that various peoples try to organize themselves into these tribal communities (Chinatown, Japantown, Little Ethiopia, Little Armenia, etc. etc. etc. etc.), but this is a case where they did'nt have much of a choice. The government tossed everyone in there, and due to the racial unity (because of the introduction of the hybrids) people find themselves getting alot cozier than usual. They are also breeding more amongst the different racial groups, so that everyone's skin is getting more light brown. They're all beginning to blur together as a species. Well! Is'nt that a rascist's nightmare! It's also a socialist's dream.
The billboards in the poor sections of town are old school. They warp and fade quickly due to the weather....and are usually left in that state for a long time. The nicer sections of town have virtual billboards. "You can live disease free" is another part of the propaganda campaign. Remember the "War on Drugs"? Well, there is a secret government campaign dubbed the "War on Sex". There are some closeted rascists and moralists who have lodged themselves, like parasites, deep within the confines of the government. They have this plan of "straightening" out the populace (i.e. separating the races in order to make it more like the old days and culling the homosexuals and others deemed as perverts. Perverts threaten the "societal fabric". Plus, there's the morality bit, which is ironic, because many of these officials are, themselves, indulging in the very acts that they deemed immoral.Watch Salo, or 120 days of Sodom, and you'll see where I'm coming from. well, without all the sadism. Throw in more absurdity, like religious sex-cults and people who follow talking dogs ("Iloveyou!"))under the guise of frank anti-sexual programs which pass on messages about there being an overpopulation (which there really is, a good cover to hide under) as well as high rates of venereal diseases due the huge amount of people having sex.
On the opposite billboard, old capitalism rears its head in a soda ad. The biggest drink in the land (which is like a super-super size) is Henry the Drink: The King of Colas! This ad was to be seen repeatedly throughout the comic. Somewhere, lurking in the background. On shirts, in reastaurants....
It was part of another campaign, in concert with the gov't, and enacted by heavy industry, to fatten people up for nefarious schemes, which I willnot go into. It was also meant to slow people down. If you have a population who is out of shape, spoiled, fat and lazy, among other things, that...can lead to apathy. What better way to govern people than to make them not care about what is happening? Just feed them crap and make them feel like the world is theirs. Then, you just slip behind the scenes and do whatever you want. You're above the law by being behind it.
Nobody cares that their country is on a downward slope, or even a dictatorship of sorts, because they're too busy watching television, playing video games, watching movies, eating candy, fast food, and drinking colas. I know I'm sounding all moralistic and preachy here, but I meant it in a dark humored state of mind. I felt like I was making fun of modern society, not necessarily judging it. I guess I was in a way...
Oh well, I had so much going into the backstories that I was never able to work all of the kinks out yet. That's the way I left it. Some of the stuff detailed above is metaphorical road kill. I also do'nt like the way some of that makes me sound like an overly pious conservative talk show host. They're full of hot air anyways.

- Chew

The People in Yer Neighborhood

Well, I am feeling depressed. At least I have a little beer and some good music to drown my sorrows in (I'm not getting drunk). I'm just here by myself on a Saturday night with nothing...or no one. Not even a pet around here (not allowed). I was supposed to go to a party earlier, but I just did'nt feel like going over and sitting by myself and having no one to talk to. You see, I'm not very talkative unless I know you. Then you ca'nt shut me up. I determined this morning, in crazy-person thought patterns, that I was just not going to leave the apartment today. End of story. What about the party? Well...sometimes you just drag your feet around before something happens. And something did! The party was cancelled. Just when I was starting to feel guilty about it too. Well, I was'nt feeling that social anyways. But I'm still here. And so is this panel. This is probably, like, the second panel out of Mandarins. I developed these human/mouse hybrid beings that share space alongside humans. There were a couple others too, but they are still being kept a secret. You can see one of the mice-people in the lower left corner (his t-shirt says: BZ...for "busy", as in "busy bee". he's a nerd). There is a Muslim immigrant to the right of him. This guy made a total mistake coming to this country, and now he's trapped. He, like a lot of the other immigrants have bought into the American propaganda machine which is: This is Paradise. So all of those poor suckers who want to make a better life for themselves and their families come over only to find that it is a gigantic walled in slum with no way out. There is constant fear of terrorism (via government insurgents and other hybrids), super-hurricanes (superheated environment, less land, more people, worse weather), as well as the fear of the government itself. Remember, this is a dystopian narrative. I spent the 90's in the trenches of utopian/dystopian novels and movies. Also, I planned alot of this out in the late 90's, and was horrified to see what was happening to this country after September 11. In my mind, I was seeing some of these ideas come to life. It really bothered me. I did'nt tell anyone because it is the signs of paranoia (to which I have finally admitted I have), magical thinking ("I thought it and it came true!" Certifiable crazy-talk...which I do'nt have, but I was afraid of the fear in people's eyes when that particular thought passes through their mind), and yeah, right! you wish! you just want us to think that you're "special". perhaps you think you have a sixth sense. right, sad person?
I kept quiet until now...because now I just do'nt care what people think anymore.
I wanted the crowd to be a highly diverse group of people. A veritable melting pot. I had to throw a mouse in there, too. Another note about them, alot of people hate the hybrids because they see them as half-human. They have largely been relegated to these walled in ghettos. The introduction of a new species of human has brought racial unity to the rest of humanity who see themselves as "normal". I have learned alot about racism, and prejudice in general, since moving here to the south. My disclaimer: the south is not more prone to racism than any other section of the country. I've found it to be, in my journeys, sadly, pretty equal everywhere else. If its not one thing people hate, it's something, or someone, else. I even feel it directed towards me sometimes, and I'm a white male. It's a messed up planet. That what I was trying to inject in this particular comic. Irony and absurdity.
I need to shut up now.

P.S. Due to multiculturalism, SUSHI has become extremely popular in Empire City. You can see a sushi place on the right, in the back, called FISHI. There's also a healthy dose of Ethiopian food.

- Chew

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Mandarins: A complete and utter failure.

This is the first panel from my comic called MANDARINS. I began this epic journey 11 years ago. The basic story itself stemmed from a small book I was attempting to make in college (this probably goes back to 1995). I had this fascination with handmade books. My drawing style back then was much tighter work began to get smaller and smaller. I was obsessed with making these tiny little engravings on copper. Then I would print them onto handmade paper (which I did learn how to make). The story was sort of a simple one. This guy would end up walking down an alley, get mugged and bleed to death. The blood pouring out of his wounds would be transformed into monarch butterflies...thus a flight, or a flutter, would take to the skies.
I did not have any copper. I planned to do this in wood engravings, but my tools were so old, that they began to crumble once the points made contact with the wood. I did'nt have any money to buy new tools (which some UNNAMED jackass shoved in my face when he saw what I was doing and then went out and bought himself an expensive sets of tools. You want to find a quick way to get on my badside...forever? That's one way right there). So, the medium changed once linoleum. That, I could afford! I did a couple of prints before the energy went out of it. I cut the rest of the linoleum up into tiny little blocks (I mean, like, 1"x 1 1/2"). This actually made it into a full project. It became the little book of perversions. I only made two of them, so far (in oil based ink. the only way to go). The centerpiece of the original story remained with me. It reconstituted itself in the form of Mandarins...featuring a sad little guy named nicknamed Egg.
You will probably see more of Egg in the future. I am not finished with him. In fact, he has been taken out of a starring role in one book, only to be given a similar stature in a completely different one.
Well, back to Mandarins. It was supposed to be a pre-post-apocalyptic dystopian thriller set in an overheated future. Less land...more people. What is really weird about that, is that during the time that this particular version of the story was formulating...I was sick with some sort of viral infection.It was bad enough that it sent me to the emergency room. To convalesce, I came up with the idea that I would draw a page a day...without mapping anything out. Just take it a page at a time and see where it would take me. But I ended getting too wrapped up with the story. I obsessed over it. I wrote notes and notes and notes and notes. I think I drew over thirty pages...but the additional notes would turn it into something like an Akira. It was just a monster. Plus,my dialogue was horrible. It gave me fits. So I had to work on that over and over and over again. I really learned what it was like to completely lose yourself in an obsession...with little results.
I did find out something interesting later. During the time that this was happening to me, other people, around the world (not too, too many of them) seemed to all become obsessed with the Earth becoming overheated and overpopulated. People drew out maps and spent exhaustive hours charting the shrinking landmass due to the rising oceans. I did this as well...making a map, and moving all of the major U.S. cities inland. Empire City, the new American capital, would be a conglomeration of all of the lost coastal cities. It was to be located on the western coast of the Mississippi Bay. This bay would run up from the southern portion of the states to around Tennessee/Kentucky. Florida gone. Alabama gone. Georgia, peninsula full of cannibal rednecks. Empire City located on the Ozark Plateau.
So here it is. The first panel of a lost comic. A complete and utter failure.

- Chew

Shanks a lot

Well, I just finished watching Zombie Holocaust along with my meal of a personal microwave pizza and a Celebrator (that's an expensive beer with a high alcohol content! i just need one...then i'm done). What a crappy movie. It is a total ripoff of Fulci's Zombie as well as Slave of the Cannibal God. Much sillier (and tamer) than C.Ferox. I'm sooo glad I own this movie!
Well, I felt that Jeff's breakthrough panel in Flex 2 has been the watering scene. That's the one where Klepto urinates on his master's other leg. The formalistic panels have been utilized and now it's time to have fun! I feel the same way about this panel. This was the first one of mine that truly made me laugh. I like a couple of the other ones that I did...but this is the first that i really ENJOYED.
Wow, that's some high alcohol content. It was a simple matter of having fun with this one. I think that the panel that Jeff did after mine, then my response to proof that we are probably going to get in trouble for something because it's starting to get really, really crazy. And I do'nt mean like you have just fallen into a pit of pit vipers crazy, but you've stumbled into a dark alley at 3 in the morning and the figures skulking around you are not gangbangers but clowns-kinda crazy. What's gonna happen now? Is that really a shoe??? Oh somebody stop me!!!

- Chew

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

More from behind the rock ...

I broke one of my own rules. Remember when I boldly stated I would stick to only a few patterns when I would render textures a few posts ago? Well I didn't. I am constantly trying to match Chew's brush strokes and pen marks ... and I have to admit that I'm not good at it. From now on if Matt inks a rock, I will have to draw and ink my own rock. Because the marks he puts down on paper is just bananas. Don't get me wrong - I like bananas. Bananas are sweet and soft and ...

I don't like where that was going. Anyway, I'm going to stick to my three pattern rule and see how it pans out. I just gotta be me. And if it's ink mush I'm good at then so be it. Don't judge me.

As far as this panel goes ... I really liked the idea of a small group of angry fish warriors being represented with just a few harpoon points. That way, I didn't have to change the POV of the pirates but I was able to put them into a very sticky situation.

Chew and I discussed this over lunch today ... we are most likely not going to post the entire issue of Flex Fantastic 2 here on the blog. Instead, we will start to post a few other projects we have (or haven't) been working on. Chew will post the last Flex Panel (for a while, at least) in his next post. And then he'll post some other stuff. And the I'll post some stuff. And then he'll post some ... you get the idea.

- Jeff Tuffenstuff

Sunday, July 5, 2009

SF special treats

These are a couple of pics from my San Francisco trip. The top is from a secret location. The bottom is me and my sister Melanie at a reception for a dude who was just having a big spread published in Juxtapoz magazine. Too bad you ca'nt see Alan, Kent, and Mark who were also in our group (K. took the photo). We were all a little drunk. Later, we went to this place called the Art Cafe, or something like that, where they were playing this Latino booty music...alla the girls were hopping around in this hot and sweaty morass of bodies. YO!!! We also ate Ethiopian food at Club Waziema. Totally rad. The girls at the bar were sweet!
This post came a little late cuz I was having probs with my computer. Plus, after I returned, I ended up getting sick with a severe head cold...followed by baaaaaad allergy symptoms. So here it is. Dear Globbies, I present to you...the one and only...San Francisco.
P.S!!! When and if you go, be sure to stop by the Cartoon Museum of Art on Mission Street! I liked it alot. They had a Stan Sakai exhibition that was suh-weet. Totally rocked!
If I lived there, I would probably donate some of my free time to help them out (they work on a volunteer basis. They are a very small museum). Go check them out and support our brothers and sisters in the cause!

- Chew


Hey folks, while I'm here, I'm going to go ahead and let you know that the little comic "How ah met yer muddah" (seen on older posts on this blog) will be in an anthology later this year!
Titled "How we met", it will be the largest antho published by Always Comix to date. This is a very exciting time for us. Thanks all to those who've been keeping up with well as those who say they do, but really have'nt. We still (metaphorically) love you!

- Chew word. It's time for another post!

So, what IS happening out there? That is a very good question. I'm glad you asked it. Well, first of all, it is the Fourth of July holiday weekend. I am still housesitting. The cat crapped on the floor because he's mad that the cat litter is'nt to his satisfaction. I am still very angry about that. I am getting hungry and light headed right now. The dog wants to go for a walk, but it's about to rain and there are too many people in the park. Plus, I am light headed and need to eat now, so she's outta luck.
Did I mention that I am light headed? Well, I am.
There were so many ways to take the panel after Jeff's last one. Again, this seems to be a recurring theme with me...I opted not to follow the obvious route and show what Klepto could be doing to the Cretin. Plus, I felt my panel to be too small for the stuff I was thinking of. I really did want to get back to those pirates. Now, as in my last panel, the scenario widens!

Yeah, poor Jeff. He's had a tough week. I believe it's reflected in his last post. I remember that episode he mentioned from college (I acted like I did'nt, but I did). That still stings, does'nt it? Ahhh...yes! I remember the pain of those college days, just like it was from last week! Some people get under your skin like an infection that never heals. Let's all give a cheer to chronic wounds!
This is sympathy....

- Chew

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A simple misunderstanding ...

About 13 or 14 years ago in college, I submitted a class project (a still life or a self portrait - I can't remember which) to a state fair art show. If the piece was selected, the artist would receive free tickets to the fair, could attend a small banquet and get his/her biography and artist's statement printed in a publication which would be distributed to all fair attendees. At the time, there wasn't a huge outlet for young, hopeful and aspiring wanna-be fine artists to showcase their work in our area. So when my piece was selected, I was ecstatic. When the publication arrived in the mail, I, of course, brought it to class to show all of my classmates ... and my professor. When I wrote the artist's statement, I wanted to be honest. I wanted to explain why I was compelled to make art. "Love to draw, huh?"asked my professor as he finished reading the statement out loud ... and proceeded to make fun of it and chastise me in front of everyone.

It stung.

Looking back on that moment, I should have done what every other artist did and still does... make up an explanation that uses big, smart sounding words that say nothing at all - a justification for creation - to appease the critics and the masses.

It took me a few days to write this post. I see this blog as an opportunity to share my process. The ideas that go into each panel. And I try really hard to sound smart. But I have to do this. Against my better judgement. I've decided to try honesty again ...

I wanted to draw Klepto peeing on Flex's leg.

- Jeff Tuffenstuff