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: