Archive for the 'Pat Pierson' Category



STAPLEGENIUS #4 cover by Nels and I. I remember I cut and paste this (and filled in blacks) while I was "working" in the TV studio during a live broadcast. Oh, what hard work that was...

   So here we are with STAPLEGENIUS #4.  It was released just shy of one year from the time I vowed to do (at least) four comics a year.  Hooray!  A New Years Resolution actually kept by a human being–a world record is set!  And while STAPLEGENIUS continued, the “STAPLEGENIUS 4” was now more or less the “STAPLEGENIUS 2”. 



     While both I (and Nels) still lived with PAT, this was the last drawing he did for the grand STAPLEGENIUS empire.  It fitted perfectly into our almost obsessive cat theme (while we did not live with Staplegenius the Cat at this time, we did live with some of his “cousins”–Jim “Bexley” Speed and Slim Pickens).  But Pat was busy with work and acting and teaching himself computer editing programs and his lady friend and so his time for doodling was almost non-existant.  While I missed his contributions (as well at MATT’s–but he’ll make at least one more appearance), this certainly helped give the book a focus it certainly didn’t have for the first couple issues.  



   Like I said, we were REALLY REALLY REALLY into cats back then (and I guess still are–I have three), so naming STAPLEGENIUS after a cat wasn’t so strange to us.  NELS’ continuous gag drawings about cats, however…pretty, pretty strange.  And I loved everyone of’em.  In addition to the cats, I continued pestering Nels that MONSTER PIG-FACE BOY was pure gold, and so he continued pumping out wonderful MPFB comics: 



    Hey!  Did you catch that?  That’s right, even though STAPLEGENIUS hadn’t been around for a even a year at that point, some characters who would live onto this day 10 years later were already popping up—including CONTINUITY GUY who made his first appearance in that MPFB strip.  In fact MPFB, his parents, his brother ROGER, and CONTINUITY GUY would all go on to be major players in the soon to be full-blown “STAPLEGENIUS-VERSE”.  But none of them would have taken root without the invention of my own character–THE MULLET CLOWN–who also made his first appearance in this issue: 


  Sure, he may have just been one random doodle one day at work back in 2000, but MULLET CLOWN (and BITTERNESS) would go on to occupy my thoughts and pencils and inks for the next few years to follow beginning with STAPLEGENIUS #5.  But before we get to that, I should also post this story which also has a few “first appearances” of it’s own–“POPE JOHNNY”! 





   So there we have it–the first appearance of BROTHER-2-THE-NITE, another key player in the still ongoing CONTINUITY GUY saga.  Also, POPE JOHNNY and LARS LIEDERHOSEN (and especially Lars’ son who will show up next issue) will show up again as these random panel gags and short stories build into longer-form stories over the year(s) that followed.  I find this remarkable since things like Nels throwing in a guy in a ‘Continuity U’ hoodie, me doodling a weird clown and wrestler, and this POPE JOHNNY story–which only existed cause one day I sat down to draw, and when I looked up I was halfway thru that tale (and finished the next day)–all stemmed from random chance and a simple love of drawing.  I had no particular hopes or expectations for STAPLEGENIUS as that first year came to a close (other than that it would still exist), so to see it evolving into something more than some random gags was a real pleasure for me.  It also made me very excited about what 2001 would bring… 

     Oh, and this gag by NELS was how STAPLEGENIUS #4 ended–literally the parting shot–and I can’t think of a better way to end this post either: 



STAPLEGENIUS #3 cover by Nels and myself

       Ahh, STAPLEGENIUS #3….

      So as we’ve previously established, back in January of 2000 I put out the first issue of STAPLEGENIUS, and was very happy with the (admittedly) uneven results.  Issue two soon followed, and with it disaster (both creatively and for the creators).  Then came summer of 2000, and with it STAPLEGENIUS #3–the issue that “changed everything” and made me very excited about what STAPLEGENIUS was evolving into.  So how did STAPLEGENIUS do such a 180?

    First off–LOCATION! LOCATION! LOCATION!  Shortly after Nels and Co. got unfairly evicted from 1902, Pat and I(roomies at the time) found ourselves at odds with our landlord, and it was agreed that it would be in the interest of all parties if Pat and I broke our lease early and moved—a whole half a block away.  It was then that Pat, Nels, myself and “the Don” moved into the bacheloriest of bachelor pads 1238 University Ave NE (Matt, as was his way, was an almost de facto squatter roommate as that he was often there).   This was the best thing for STAPLEGENIUS, mostly cause I could now harass Nels and Pat in person and daily to “Get to drawing!!!”  And get to drawing they (and I) did.  So much so that looking at STAPLEGENIUS #3 again after all these years I would say that it’s probably a 99% solid issue.  If I had the time and inclination I would scan and post the whole damn thing…..but I don’t….so here’s some highlights instead:



   Pat was always a busy guy–he had a full-time job, a lady friend, an upstart acting career, AND he was always trying to teach himself to do new things like airbrush and master computer editing technology.  But he still found some time to do a few drawings.  Cat drawings, mostly.  There were lots of cat drawings in those days.   Example…


   God damn I love that drawing!  On my to-do list of tattoos, the “FUCK WORK CAT” is #2, and I swear one day I will adorn my body with it.  Anyway…in addition to many, many, many drawings of cats in strange scenarios, Nels also (at my repeated and incessant request) returned to a character from a comic he did for STAPLEGENIUS #1–MONSTER PIG-FACE BOY–and did a several page “story”.


    I was pumped from the move and possibilities and brought about and started doing a lot of new work.  My first project was to try out the “daily strip” format of storytelling, and “IT’S WAR” was the result. 

    IT’S WAR ran for two issues (eight strips in total) before I moved onto other things, but it will be back.  Oh yes, it will be back…

    Hey speaking of war, here’s a gag panel I did one night and included in STAPLEGENIUS #3.  I drew it as a reaction to a short, messy, stupid “relationship”.  It wouldn’t be until I looked at it again over a year later that it took on a whole new meaning.  Can you figure out why?…

        Ahh 2000…what a naive time it was, huh?  Speaking of naive, at this time in my life I was really into autobio and thinly veiled autobio comics like LOWLIFE and KING-CAT and BOX OFFICE POISON, so I thought I’d try my hand at one myself.  The result was painfully embarrassing.  Seriously, I can’t believe I was ever this open about my silly, trite life.  Seriously.  Embarrassing.  You really shouldn’t read this.  True, I probably just shouldn’t post it to begin with, but you really shouldn’t read it.  Really.

   Yep…I warned you, but you just wouldn’t listen.  Postscript to that tale:  I ended up tracking down Mary so I could give her a copy of STAPLEGENIUS #3, and we immediatly picked up as best friends again.  I even helped get her a job at the TV station I was working at the time, and we car-pooled and hung out everyday.  Years later, I would be gone from that job but Mary would still be there and help get Nels hired there.  They still both work there today.  Oh life…

    Last but not least fun tidbit, the official STAPLEGENIUS email debuts.  It still exists and is used to this day.  It’s a yahoo address.  Can you figure out what it is? 


    Geez, looking back this cat fixation was kinda creepy.



STAPLEGENIUS #2 cover--by me. Drawn at the then-all new 'Jitters' bar/nightclub, where Pat worked. He still does work there, in fact. Now he runs the dump.

    Welcome back, fans of self-congratulations!   Today we’re going to discuss STAPLEGENIUS #2.  Put out around March/April if 2000, STAPLEGENIUS #2 did what only a second issue could do after the first was made with such energy, excitement, and in-group fanfare–#2 went right into the shitter. 

    See between #1 and #2, the majority of the friend group got evicted from their home at 1902 University Ave NE including Nels and Matt–Pat and I lived together a few blocks away at the corner of 14th and University.  This eviction was NOT their fault.  The new building owner wanted to put in a restaurant downstairs–and move in his friends upstairs.  Anyway… 

    So in part to this scattering, Pat’s new job,  Matt and Nels band (END TRANSMISSION) experiencing growing success, and my own personal laziness STAPLEGENIUS #2 wasn’t nearly as personally gratifying to put together as #1.  Sure, we had some fun new material(or was it stuff I just didn’t fit into #1.  Don’t remember exactly), but the MAJORITY of the issue was made up of filler.  And it was the WORST kind of filler possible–comics I had made when I was in junior high!  Anyway, lets look at some highlights of the issue… 



   As you can see, Pat’s fascination with the male wang continued unfettered. 



   Matt continued to make us all believe one day these drawings, along with his rantings in his many notebooks, would be used as evidence. 



   Oh yeah!  END TRANSMISSION drummer BOBBY DRAKE did a doodle for #2.  It’s mostly an inside joke based on an old Clint Eastwood poster that was up at 1902 University, but Bobby was funny as hell and I was honored to include this.  Bobby, by the way, is now the drummer for a little band you may have heard of called THE HOLD STEADY



   Nels’ great gag strips continued, as his obsession with drawing cats grew and grew.  For example… 



    Even as I was photocopying/reducing old junior high comics for print in #2 I knew it was a BAAAAAAAAD idea, so I won’t bother scanning and posting any of there here.  I WILL however post this: 


    This cover to 14 YEAR OLD GENETICALLY ALTERED SLUGS was drawn in the early 1990’s by once and future collaborator DAN MURPHY.   Wow, this issue was full of talented bastards who’d probably prefer I left them out of this retrospecticus. 


    My contribution to this issue (in addition to a few gag panels) was a short based on MATT’s (and many of my friends) perpetual unemployment at that time in their lives.  It’s topped off by a gag by NELS that more or less is the closing argument on how Matt felt about his place in life at the time.  Enjoy! 




    So that was STAPLEGENIUS #2.  Kind of a downer all around.  But I had made a promise to myself, and I wasn’t about to give up.  Luckily, things quickly changed for all of us and our living situations, making way for STAPLEGENIUS #3.  But that story will have to wait until next time…



STAPLEGENIUS #1 cover--by Nels, Pat, and Danno(based on an original drawing by Matt)

    Happy 2010 everyone!  As you may have noticed from the fancy new logo up top–STAPLEGENIUS.COM(ics) is now 10 YEARS OLD!   To commemorate this exciting (pathetic?) milestone, I will be doing a “RETROSPECTICUS” of the comics I’ve done/taken part in from the past ten years (leading up to MANLY TALES OF COWARDICE) over the next few months.  So lets begin.  And where better to start than December 31st, 1999…. 

    As I’m sure you recall, most of us spent that day waiting for all the computers to crash, planes to fall from the sky, nukes to randomly explode, and the world to generally burn.   It didn’t take me too long after I woke up that day to realize that Y2K had all been a load of hype and bullshit, and everything was going to be fine.  The world wasn’t going to end.  I was going to have to go back to work after the New Years break……..dammit.   So what do with this new-found information that the Apocalypse was just a hoax that everyone falls for at sometime in their life? 

     I had always been drawing.  At some point these drawings were influenced by Sunday funnies and turned into comics.  This evolved into a love of comics and sequential art, and a dream of becoming a cartoonist when I grew up.  Then I became a teen, realized there was world of artists vastly more talented than myself and that I was never going to be drawing Spider-Man for a living.  Sure, I still drew all the time, but I gave up the dream.   With the help of my friend Aaron “Captain Honkass” Wallace, I turned my un-trained focus on the world of zines in 1993.  Over the next few years I made zines sporadically, with each one gradually growing from text-heavy suburban angst to comic-heavy suburban angst.  Then in 1998/9 I gave up on zines.  I was tired of poems and short stories and clip art.  I just wanted to draw comics again.  I also “ran away” from my friends, my life in Minneapolis, and my “problems” for 9 months and lucked my way into being the *PAID* staff cartoonist for the ST CLOUD STATE CHRONICLE, producing a strip called DANNO COMICS twice a week.  But when that school year ended I was back in Minneapolis, and back to being non-productive.  But as we established earlier, I was sure the End of Days was nigh, so why bother, right? 

    So back to New Years Eve 1999.  I was with my friend Matt at his parents (they were out of town and the free eats and cola was flowing like tap water), and Matt was about to smash the TV–so damn angry he was that midnight came and there was no mushroom clouds and the ball in New York was still dropping (it only infuriated him more when I pointed out that was on a one hour tape delay).   Instead of joining in the anger, I decided to make a Resolution.  I NEVER make those on New Years, but I felt this year I needed to–I HAD to.  Life was gunna tick away whether I wanted it to or not, so I should get serious about something.  And drawing comics was that something (it really helped I had discovered BIG BRAIN COMICS and the vast and wonderful world of indy comics).  So I resolved then and there: 

   “I, danno, will produce and publish 4 (mini-)comics–minimum–every year until I am either rich beyond my wildest dreams…or am destitute and dead.  Whichever comes first.” 

     I knew this was possible for I had surrounded myself with a great group of friends, many of whom were extremely talented in art and music, and all of them funny as hell.  MATT RISNES, CASEY “NELS” NELSON, and PAT PIERSON especially (who along with me I like to think of as “THE STAPLEGENIUS 4“) were also habitual doodlers, and I was going to include their scattered genius in my master plan.  They were all more than down with this idea.  So with what gags we had already done, a new “longer form” story I quickly whipped up, and the awesome power of stealing copies from work combined under my supervision and before January 2000 was out STAPLEGENIUS #1 was born. 



   Even from the beginning, I could tell NELS was going to be my right-hand man in this STAPLEGENIUS venture.  He did mad, crazy doodles and each was funnier than the last.  The one above (MONSTER PIG-FACE BOY) would within the year even help STAPLEGENIUS evolve from a series of stoned gags into an almost legitimate book of actual sequential art. 



    Pat’s master-stroke contribution to STAPLEGENIUS #1 was the “THE BIG BOOK OF DONG”, a series of historical photos that he ever so “subtly” worked a hand-drawn penis into (ahh, life before photoshop).  The hope was that “The Big Book…” would eventually become a best-selling coffee table art book owned by every suburban house frau, art snob and captain of industry.  I still don’t understand why this never happened. 



   MATT never believed he was terribly talented as an artist, but I encouraged the shit out of him to keep at it.  His childlike drawings of hellish nightmares fascinate me to this day.  He’s also quite a wordsmith.  Nowadays he’s a highly literate voice of insight on the Horror Genre Podcast Circuit.  Starting with episode 23, he’ll be the new regular co-host of the GUTMUNCHERS podcast, and is a frequent voice of reason on the Gutmunchers board.   If anyone I know will be pull a William S Burroughs and be discovered later in their life as a mad genius, it’ll be Matt. 

ME:  So here’s that “longer” piece I did for STAPLEGENIUS #1… 




    So, looking back 10 years later…STAPLEGENIUS #1 is kinda a jumbled mess.  Lots of barely readable gags, drawings of dongers, frightening wishes for Lovecraftian doom, and some pap about the weather.  But it was START!  It was very inspiring to me.  It kept me going.  It made me sane.  It gave me something to work on and towards.  Basically, it saved my life…or at least gave me a new lease.  And 10 years later I’m still at it–Always improving, always learning.  And while the friends I draw and create with now are completely different then the three I started out with, the feeling that collaboration and mutual encouragement are the cornerstone of any artistic endeavour endures and grows each year.  So thanks muchly to not only Matt, Nels, and Pat, but also all my new friends from the INTERNATIONAL CARTOONIST CONSPIRACY.  You–ALL OF YOU–have helped me keep my resolution. 

     Oh…and in case you were wondering…Why did I choose the name STAPLEGENIUS?  Is it because I was really proud of how fast I can throw a mini-comic together both in pre and post production?  Is it because I thought my friends and I were all such masters of art and intellect?  Or is it because one day on mushrooms my friend Tom thought up the term, and then a few weeks he later found a stray cat that he named STAPLEGENIUS and we all helped raise him?  


    Now you know! 

STAPLEGENIUS #1 was produced at 1902 University Ave NE, Mpls, MN. Thanks to Matt, Nels, Pat, Joe, The Don, Burbank, and of course--the 'Genius



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