Sam and Fuzzy
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|Sam and Fuzzy|
Our heroes arrive triumphantly in a comic dated 2/27/2009.
|Current status / schedule||Updates Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays|
Sam and Fuzzy is a webcomic written and drawn by Sam Logan. It initially appeared in 2001 in The Martlet as a four-panel gag strip with a rough yet consistent, heavily contrasting black and white style. In May 2002 Logan began posting the strips on his website, and it quickly transitioned to an online format. Since then, it has run over 1600 strips, and developed into a more story-driven format with multiple short arcs connecting into longer epic "volumes."
The comic is about the unusual friendship between its title characters, a young adult named Sam and a mischievous, unruly bear-like creature called Fuzzy. Sam struggles with his insecurities and his need for direction, while Fuzzy generally creates mayhem, disrupting Sam's life. Despite the comic's shift from a slice-of-life format to an action-adventure story, this character dynamic has continued to drive much of the comic's humor and drama. The comic has become known for its increasingly intricate plots, which involve conflicts with supernatural adversaries and the "Ninja Mafia" crime syndicate.
Author and History
The comic is written and drawn by Sam Logan, a Canadian hailing from Victoria, British Columbia. In addition to his work in comics and freelance illustration, Sam is the graphic designer for Canadian children's science magazines YES Mag and KNOW. Logan is also the chairman of Dayfree Press, an informal webcomic syndicate containing other popular webcomics such as Girly, Able and Baker, Questionable Content and White Ninja Comics. Although Sam and Fuzzy is less well known than some other online comics, it has a very loyal and loving following, and has been linked to by prominent webcomics such as Scary Go Round, Penny Arcade and Ctrl+Alt+Del.
The evolution of Logan's visual style and story structures can be seen throughout the course of the comic. Early comics conform to the one "page," 4-panel format. A consistent format was necessary for publication in The Martlet, the student newspaper of the University of Victoria located in Sam Logan's home town of Victoria, British Columbia. As the comic gained its primary audience through the website, Sam gradually experimented with other layouts, occasionally doubling, tripling, or even quadrupling the usual comic size. Sam and Fuzzy now regularly features at least two "pages" in each strip, and in 2009 Sam introduced a single shade of gray for more variation in the art.
Certain Sam and Fuzzy strips were collected into three "mini-books" ("Weekly World Sam and Fuzzy," "Noosehead," and "Skull Panda in Love"). These books were created primarily as a gateway for new readers at ComicCon, containing popular strips and exclusive original strips. In 2010, Sam published the first book-length collection, Sam and Fuzzy Fix Your Problem. Although the book collects strips from the story-line of the same name beginning in 2009, the book is numbered as the first volume. The second print volume, Sam and Fuzzy Are Very Famous, is forthcoming, and Logan hopes to publish further collections of future stories as well as older material.
As a running joke in news posts and at conventions, Sam Logan often suggests that he has a fierce rivalry with Questionable Content author Jeph Jacques. They regularly sling humorous accusations at one another, including in the foreword of Sam's first print book.
Sam and Fuzzy has an enormous cast of characters. When Logan begins a new storyline, he often abandons the characters of previous stories or reduces them to cameo roles, choosing instead to focus on new characters. The current main cast of the comic includes the following:
- Sam is an idealistic young man living in the fictional city of Newport. Sam moved to Newport to attend college, but lost his conditional scholarship and had to drop out, after which point he met and befriended Fuzzy. Sam has had multiple jobs, including a driver for X-per-S Taxi, a bookseller at Bunton's Books, and a roadie for Noosehead. After his accidental involvement in the murder of the Ninja Mafia's emperor, Sam went on the run, but later learned that he was now the syndicate's rightful emperor. After taking power, Sam reorganized the Ninja Mafia into NMS (Ninja Mafia Services), an organization to help people with supernatural or otherwise unusual problems. After failing to enact positive change with NMS, Sam reformed the Ninja Mafia and embraced the necessity of crime to fund his goals of changing the world for the better. He has also taken the Ninja Mafia Emperor's seat on the Underground Committee, a group that secretly controls the underground and the rest of the world in general. Sam's hair and facial design is similar to Sonic the Hedgehog, of whom Sam Logan is a self-confessed fan.
- Fuzzy is Sam's roommate, a short bear-like creature, apparently some years over 20.. Fuzzy was once a thief known as Eric, but he lost all of his memory as a result of an incident where his partners Hazel Kim and Brain wiped his memory for reasons currently unknown. After this, Hazel rechristened him "Fuzzy" and attempted to start their partnership fresh, but later chose to abandon him instead. After these events, Fuzzy met Sam and has lived with him ever since. Fuzzy is known for his ambition, ego, and propensity for seemingly random violence, although he seems to have mellowed somewhat recently. As a result a business deal prior to his memory loss, involving Hazel, Brain, and Sin, an army of robot clones of Fuzzy were created, including one that has been nicknamed Bonus and seems to have some of Fuzzy's missing memories. Fuzzy has recently become quite famous after starring in a television program called "Teddy Knows Best." Fuzzy then used his new fortune to fund the hostile takeover of the holdings of an Underground Committee member, leading to him gaining a seat on the Underground Committee.
- Aaron is a former Mafia Ninja, from the squad to which Fuzzy belonged while infiltrating the Ninja Mafia. At the time, he used the codename Jackson and had a rebellious attitude. Aaron went on the run with Sam and became a roadie for Noosehead. Thereafter, he allied with Sam as he made his claim to the Ninja Mafia throne, and is currently one of several employees of Ninja Mafia Services.
- Devahi is an office assistant for Ninja Mafia Services. While looking for a job, she accidentally stumbled into their offices and was offered the job by Aaron without Sam's knowledge. After assisting them on a job, Sam reluctantly agreed to hire her despite his difficulty affording her salary. Devahi frequently worries that she is more of a drain on their resources than an asset to their cause, and harbors an unstated crush on Sam.
- Hazel Kim is a master thief who worked with Fuzzy before his memory loss (and for a brief while after). She is often seen with a cat named Brain, who can speak and has powers of telepathy, including mind reading and memory manipulation.
- Sin was introduced in the Noosehead storyline as the president of the band's label, Sin Records. It was eventually revealed that he was in fact a small alien operating a humanoid robot. According to Sam, Sin is involved in various unusual schemes of the kind that Ninja Mafia Services deals with. Although it is clear that Sin had dealings with Fuzzy prior to Fuzzy's memory loss, little is known of his origins or what motivation (if any) he has beyond simple greed.
What follows is a list of minor characters or major characters from past storylines. The list is by no means exhaustive:
- Butcher the Cat is Sam's cat. Although previously thought to be male, Butcher had given birth to several kittens, including the hairless Chompy. These kittens were fathered by Alphonso, a flamboyant cat who claims to be royalty and aristocracy, and because of this is unable to marry Butcher. Still he is fiercely protective of her and their children.
- Fridge is the name given to a demon that possessed the mold in Sam's fridge. Fridge escaped by temporarily possessing some Mafia Ninjas, later possessing the Emperor. Fridge was eventually killed by Candice, to avenge the death of her father, DJ Positive.
- Alexa is Sam's ex-girlfriend, with whom he later worked at Bunton's. She is now the landlady for Ninja Mafia Services.
- Lance was another driver at X-per-S with whom Sam had a rivalry. He now owns X-per-S and is married to Alexa, with whom he had a child.
- Mr. Ackerman was the eccentric owner of X-per-S, and Sam's boss until firing him. Ackerman eventually retired, handing the firm over to Lance.
- Carlyle was an employee of X-per-S who took on the firm's most dangerous jobs. Despite never being clearly depicted in the comic, Carlyle has appeared as an off-panel presence to advise Sam at times, and also Sidney on one occasion.
- Andrea worked with Sam and Alexa Bunton's Books.
- Candice was a delivery girl that Sam dated. While undercover as a Mafia Ninja, Candice used the codename Sexxica. Candice perished while killing Fridge, to avenge the murder of her father, a radio disc jockey named DJ Positive.
- Rikk Estoban is a cartoonist who purchased the rights to Skull Panda, a character created by Fuzzy. Rikk briefly dated Candice. Sam Logan insists that Rikk is a real person, and that he draws the "Skull Panda" strips that occasionally appear on the Sam andFuzzy site. Recently the character reappeared as a client for Ninja Mafia Services, seeking to recover an embarrassing piece of artwork from his past.
- Sidney, referred to as both Sidney Collins and Sidney J. Sikowitz in the comic, was the frontman of the heavy metal band Noosehead. Sam was implicated in Sidney's "murder," but in fact the record label faked his death for publicity, holding him prisoner on a remote island. After the truth was exposed, Sidney returned to the island to pursue new a musical direction.
- Nicole was Noosehead's backup singer, who was dating Sidney on and off for years. She later dated Sam, and after it transpired that Sam was framed for Sidney's murder, she attempted to prove that Sidney was alive and Sam was innocent. She currently has an active career as a solo recording artist, and is still dating Sam.
- Malcolm was a guitar player for Noosehead, and an avid conspiracy theorist who assisted Nicole in her attempts to clear Sam's name. While his ravings seemed mad, some elements of them came true. This was because his strange hairstyle acted as an antenna and he intercepted certain transmissions.
- Flick is Noosehead guitarist who enjoys candy knitting, and lighting his head on fire.
- Earl was Noosehead's manager. Although he is occasionally motivated by greed, and by fear of the record label's hired thugs, he eventually displayed a conscience when Sidney was in need of him, and assisted in the operation to take down Sin Records. Afterwards, he became the label's new president.
- Mr. Blank was the highest-ranking "Blankface" assassin in the Ninja Mafia. Blank plotted to kill Sam after using him to restore the Ninja Mafia, but his plans were dashed when Sam saw through him. Blank later perished after being pushed off of Sin Tower by Fuzzy.
- Mr. Black was the second-highest-ranking Blankface. After the fall of the Ninja Mafia, he and his men did freelance work for Sin Records. Preferring the freelance life, Black sought to prevent the restoration of the Ninja Mafia by killing Sam. Eventually, Black was killed by Blank at Sin Tower.
- Gertrude DuPont is a young Ninja Mafia aristocrat, whom Sam has named the rightful heir to the throne should he die. Although she originally intended to kill him and take his place, she claims to have lost interest.
- Rebecca Morris is police detective whose investigation of Noosehead and Sin Records puts her at odds with the Ninja Mafia. She currently assists Sam by ensuring that Ninja Mafia Services is tolerated or ignored by the police force.
- Edwin Colin is a vampire whose penchant for stalking required the intervention of Ninja Mafia Services on several occasions. He now resides in a vampire rehabilitation center, although he recently emerged to help Devahi and Ninja Mafia Services with a case.
Groups and Organizations
Many characters in Sam and Fuzzy are affiliated with one or more organizations:
- X-Per-S is a taxi service at which Sam worked early in the strip's run with Lance, Mr. Ackerman, and Carlyle. It is currently owned by Lance.
- Bunton's Books is a bookseller at which Sam worked with Alexa and Andrea. It has since become a chain.
- The Ninja Mafia is a parody of a Yakuza gang, varying from humorous incompetence to deadly menace. The Ninja Mafia is run by an emperor, served by a corps of Blankface assassins and hundreds of ninjas. After becoming the Ninja Mafia emperor, Sam rechristened it Ninja Mafia Services, which only employed a very small staff. However, under the current story arch, Sam seems to be expanding the Ninja Mafia to its former bulk.
- The Grrbils are a rival gang to the Ninja Mafia, composed of sentient gerbils. Although they desire to be feared, they find that they are too cute to solicit any actual fear from their rivals.
- Noosehead is a heavy metal band with thirteen members. For a time, Sam, Aaron and Fuzzy were roadies for the band. The current status of the band and its members is unknown.
- Sin Records is Noosehead's record label, managed by the devious Mr. R. Sin. Since Sin was exposed as an alien and went into hiding, Earl is now the label's manager.
- The Underground, while not technically an organization, is the name given to a culture of unusual and paranormal individuals located mainly in hidden underground cities across the continent. It has also been referred to as the Second World by Hazel.
The Classic Series consists of material dated from 2003 to 2006, split into three "volumes," Taxi-Cab of Dreams, Growing Pains, and Love and War. During the earlier part of this series, the comic consisted mainly of one-off gags with some brief arcs, but as the series continues the emphasis shifts toward longer storylines involving Sam's changing employment, his romantic relationships, and encounters with the Ninja Mafia, a Yakuza-like crime syndicate which is sometimes deadly but sometimes humorously incompetent. This series concludes with Empire, the comic's longest storyline that point, in which Sam becomes involved in his ex-girlfriend Candice's plot to assassinate the Ninja Mafia Emperor.
The Noosehead Series consists of material dated from 2006 to 2006. It is likewise split into three "volumes", The Band, The Run, and The Showdown. In the aftermath of the "Empire" storyline which concluded the previous series, Sam and Fuzzy have been forced to flee from the Ninja Mafia, and have become roadies for the metal bend Noosehead. A notable feature of this storyline is that for the first year, Sam is disguised, and it is not immediately clear which, if any, of Noosehead's roadies is actually Sam. The story involves many interweaving threads, relating to the power vacuum in the Ninja Mafia, Sam's pursuit by high-ranking "Blankface" Ninjas named Mr. Blank and Mr. Black, A love triangle between Sam, Noosehead's lead singer Sidney, and a backup singer named Nicole, and the apparent murder (but actual kidnapping) of Sidney.
The current "era" of Sam and Fuzzy, which has been ongoing since 2009, comprises five volumes (so far): Sam and Fuzzy Fix Your Problem, Sam and Fuzzy are Very Famous, Sam and Fuzzy Under the Influence, Sam and Fuzzy Ruined Everything, and Sam and Fuzzy: Missing Inaction. In the aftermath of the Noosehead series, Sam finds himself in charge of the Ninja Mafia, and attempts to use its resources to do good. Meanwhile, Fuzzy's origins are explored, as a mysterious figure from his past, the thief Hazel Kim, returns.
The comic has been collected in print, with each of the first two series available in a Kickstarter-funded "omnibus" edition, and each volume of the present series available as a graphic novel.