Before Smeary Soapbox Press-ents existed as this blog, it was a series of minicomics which debuted 10 years ago with the introduction of the Human Spring! Of all my many neglected characters, the Human Spring is one of my favorites, and the one I am the most frustrated to not give regular exposure to. In fact, I started the year planning to introduce a Human Spring webcomic to mark his 10th anniversary, but have been unable to fit the necessary time into my schedule.
Back in 2002, after working on my weekly topical strip “Continuity and Vine” for over a year, I wanted to turn to a simpler project, using only paper and a pen, and get away from relying on computer tones so much. So I began Smeary Soapbox Press-ents, a series in what I’ve always thought of as the common currency of small press — the 8-page minicomic! It was a chance to showcase some of my older characters as well as new concepts, celebrating light-hearted fun in the creation of comics instead of the more cynical work I’d been producing in “Continuity and Vine”. While SSPress-ents was never published as frequently as I’d have liked, partly due to the success of a certain talking dog, I produced some of my favorite comics in the pages of this series, especially those starring the Human Spring– he was a perfect character for this project, and one I really enjoyed playing with. Here’s his story…
When factory worker Steve Springer found himself caught in the heavy machinery which twists steel rods into coiled springs, he was wrenched through a full cycle of the menacing mechanism … and miraculously survived! Somehow, he not only came through that harrowing accident alive, but found he’d gained the strength and flexibility of a spring in the process! Now he can be spotted– as only a human spring can— bounding from rooftop to rooftop … and in the following comics, as well:
- Smeary Soapbox Press-ents #1 (8/02) Featured the amazing origin and first appearance of the Human Spring; 8 page minicomic.
- Smeary Soapbox Press-ents #2 (7/03) “The Peerless Plan of Professor Preparedness!” in which the Human Spring inadvertently crossed paths with a devious criminal mastermind; 8 page minicomic.
- Smeary Soapbox Press-ents#3 (7/04) “The Perfect Plan to Defeat the Human Spring!” in which Professor Preparedness put into motion the dastardly plan described in the title; 8 page minicomic.
- Watusi the Talking Dog #14 (9/04) The Human Spring had a brief cameo in “Watusi Visits the Big City”, an issue-length crossover between Watusi and JB Winter’s Izzy the Mouse character; 16 page digest comic.
- Magnet Man Minicomics #40 (Published by Ed4Time Press, 12/04) The Human Spring made guest-starring appearance in this issue of Brien Wayne Powell’s hilarously-written minicomic series. And I even pulled a “special guest artist” credit for the issue (I did draw it, after all)! 16 page minicomic.
- “Bad Hair Day” (3/05-3/06) Serialized in the pages of Tim Corrigan’s All-Comics APA, this 12-page story featured more character scenes with Steve and longer, more involved fight scene choreography! It was the model of stories to come … and still will be, once my Human Spring webcomic gets off the ground! All-Comics APA was a full-size bimonthly publication (14 issues, 3/05-5/07) which featured fine comics by Dan Lauer, Tim Corrigan, Michael Neno, Larned Justin, Brian Kirk and others. The Human Spring’s cover appearance in issue #3 is the spotlight illustration for this entry.
- Smeary Soapbox Press-ents #8 (9/05) “Melee in Melvinville!” featured the Human Spring’s reaction to his first meeting with Brien Wayne Powell’s Magnet Man! 8 page minicomic.
And that’s all of the Human Spring’s story I’ve been able to tell…so far. When that changes I’ll be sure to share the news in this version of Smeary Soapbox Press-ents!