Retrospecticus: Staplegenius #5 (April 2001)

Staplegenius #5: front cover by me, back cover by Nels

    Somehow, even though Nels and I lived together, something like 5 months went by between Staplegenius #4 and 5.  I’d like to think it’s cause we were working at the top of our game and needed time to create the perfect art, but really we were probably just being lazy–and sometimes the winter here in Minnesota kills all ambition.  Either way, #5 came out a month later than it should have, but I think it was worth the wait. 



  Nels and I eventually got back into creating, and we really hammered out some wonderfully goofy shit. 




I think those last two strips really show you where we were at in our emotional maturity when we made these comics.  This sort of mindset would play heavily into the comics I was now going to be creating–longer-form tales featuring a cast of characters.   My favorite comics coming out at the time–stuff like BOX OFFICE POISON and HEY, MISTER–operated under these rules, and I think I kind of hoped all along that STAPLEGENIUS would evolve into this kind of book.  After creating the Mullet Clown months earlier (see issue 4), I finally decided he would be a good character to focus on and start with.  So one day at the old home shopping network jobby-job, while I was doing in-studio duty for 3 hours straight during a Pam and Wes McCoy show, I cranked out the following: 



   Ha-ha!  Funny stuff, huhn?!  …no….kinda sad and desperate, you say?…that sounds about right for where I was at that time in my life.  But I felt like I had really struck a chord in myself with the Mullet Clown and Bitterness and other characters I was creating at the time.  They were the thin veils of my friends and myself that I felt I needed to tell the kind of stories I thought I wanted to tell.  My first step after doing the above strip was so do a more “professional” version of a Mullet Clown story.  So instead of drawing a comic beginning to end during a live TV broadcast on 8.5″x5.5″ scraps, I drew it over the course of a couple days while watching TV at home on 8.5″x14″ peices of copier paper. 



   And the cries for help didn’t stop there! 



  Yikes.  I was in a place then.  A dark, sad place.  But at least I kept up my spirits around all the major holidays: 


   Speaking of keeping up spirits…Man was that hard to do then.  Nels, Pat, the Don and myself were getting screwed over by the rental company which leased our duplex for an out-of-state owner, so we knew at the end of the summer the dream would be over as we all scattered looking for new places to live.  Also, just as the Staplegenius Four had become more or less the Staplegenius Two, I knew once this move hit it would probably become much more of a one-man operation as not living with Nels would make it harder to continue collaborating.  Also, Nels band END TRANSMISSION was picking up steam, and he wanted to focus more on that.   So having already said goodbye to Pat in issue #4, STAPLEGENIUS #5 marked the last time Matt Risnes would contribute to the book as well.  We would eventually work together on another short-lived project 3 or 4 years later, but the following was the last published Matt works under the Staplegenius banner: 


   Finally, the issue ended with what I knew was probably going to be a false promise given the pending circumstances, but I thought it was too great to NOT print–besides, maybe it would guilt Nels into staying on target: 

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