Sam and Fuzzy
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|Sam and Fuzzy|
Protagonists Sam and Fuzzy as drawn in 2009
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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. Logan has since published the second volume, "Same and Fuzzy are Very Famous", a third, "Sam and Fuzzy Under the Influence", and the latest, "Sam and Fuzzy Ruined Everything". The next volume, "Sam and Fuzzy Race to the Bottom", is currently in progress.
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.
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 2009. 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 Race to the Bottom. 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.