The final Guy With a Hammer dailies!


This week’s vintage 1993 Guy With a Hammer daily strips are ALL-NEW … and the last of these strips I completed. Since the storyline was transitioning from this point into a comic book-formatted story (or that was the plan, at least), it was a natural point to take a break. I did enjoy doing them, even if the comic strip restrictions weren’t a natural fit for this character.

I really enjoy writing and pacing for continuing adventure strips (as readers of Watusi’s online comics can easily tell), tho, and am leaning more to a return to the standard 4-panel grid I used in early Watusi strips when I return to ongoing posting of my talking dog comics. Until then, you can at least enjoy the interactive “Give the people what they want” serial in my monthly newsletter! 

I hope you enjoyed this dive into the archives, because there’s more of this kind of thing in store later this year for my big 40th anniversary project…

[January 2023 UPDATE: this post originally appeared on my now-closed Patreon page.]

More Guy With a Hammer dailies!


This week I spent a lot of time writing and editing for my big 40th anniversary project, and finished the first draft of a big part of it! I felt a little guilty going on such a deep dive at the expense of not even touching my other projects, but I think it paid off by keeping me present in the world of that story without other distractions. Now I can set it aside to rest before I revisit it with fresh eyes for a final edit next month…

Anyway, here’s another week’s worth of vintage 1993 Guy With a Hammer daily strips for your reading pleasure! 

[January 2023 UPDATE: this post originally appeared on my now-closed Patreon page.]

The Guy With a Hammer dailies!


I’ve been spending a lot of time this month digging into some of my earliest comic book work, researching for a big project coming later this year celebrating 40 years of creating my own comics! So in addition to sifting through past printed art, and notes for things that never took shape like I’d planned, I’ve also uncovered some complete– but never printed– work featuring my very first comic book character, Armen Hammer! In the early 90s I was indulging in a brief revival of the character, renamed “A. Hieronymous Hammer”, and decided to take the character on a spin thru the daily comic strip format. It wasn’t done with any intention of submitting it to a syndicate, but to make new content for my own digest comics. It was a good exercise to see what I could do with the daily strip format, both learning its limitations (for my writing style) and how to make comics every day while holding down a full-time job. I have about a month’s worth of these, many never before seen– and the rest only little seen– that I’ll share with you here. I hope you enjoy them; it was fun for me to rediscover theses strips, even if I’m not sure any of them will end up on the page in my big project…

[January 2023 UPDATE: this post originally appeared on my now-closed Patreon page.]

Holiday piece No. 2


Much like last year’s posted holiday piece (which I referenced in the new print piece I did for 2020), this year’s archival selection (an odd-shaped piece from 1986) is going to be incorporated into a new project. Not, however, in this year’s holiday piece … but in a project for next year, when I’m celebrating 40 (!) years as a published (and publishing) cartoonist! More on that to come in the new year…

Thank you for taking the time to check out my comics & artwork this year; it’s much appreciated! Wishing you all the best for this holiday season and for 2022!

Anniversary year: 20 years since my first revival series (Guy with a Hammer Mk. 2)

Last time I wrote about the seven-year run of my ongoing Armen Hammer comic series, and how it came to an unexpected end in 1989. About three years later (on the 10th Anniversary of the first issue, in fact) I attempted a revival of the character.

In late 1992 I found myself with some extra time on my hands, so I decided to reformat the series and attempt to distance the main character from its obvious inspiration (How successful was I? See for yourself here). In a surprisingly short time I re-edited and reprinted the entire 11 issues of the series (along with the Pantheon Comics crossover and the Giant-Size issue), adding 3 new issues and 3-D special in the process. Unfortunately, I was without a decent comic shop or connection to other cartoonists to get the word out about it (when SPCE folded a lot of my small press peers seemed to drop out of the scene, as I did for a time when I spent too much time drawing for classes and clients and not for myself). So once my schedule filled up I left the series hanging once again … though this time I think even fewer people noticed.

Since that time I haven’t really utilized the character except for a 20th Anniversary essay in Larry’s Kitchen #42 (in APA-5 #332) and a story for 2008’s LarryVillains United. But I didn’t entirely abandon the foundation I laid in those early comics, either. Instead of focusing on the title character, I’ve found myself repurposing many of the incidental characters and ideas that I associate with those stories in my later comics— from Minerva Stone to Flamin’ Frank to the “Continuity and Vine” strips … and even in Watusi’s milieu.

While I was working on the 90’s revival I came to realize that the Guy with a Hammer’s story is not an ongoing arc, but rather a novel-like structure with a beginning and an end. Maybe knowing how it all ends has cooled some of my enthusiasm for the character (along with the fact that I have little interest in writing– let along drawing– 80-odd issues of superhero comics). But, for better or worse, the character keeps rearing his block head in my sketch book, and the concept of that story structure develops a little more each time. And since I’ve learned to never say never with this character, chances are good that at some point I’ll revisit him … if only to get his story out of my system.

Maybe I’ll even finish it in time for the 40th anniversary…

Anniversary year: 30 years since my first ongoing series

Earlier this year I wrote about my first self-published comics, a fan-fiction series of Firestorm comics I created with my friend Robert Macke 30 years ago. Inspired by how good inked comics copied in multiples looked, over the following summer I inked the first issue of my solo title Armen Hammer, a thinly veiled Thor knockoff merged with an animated Arm & Hammer baking soda commercial ca. 1980. Over the previous couple of years I had created a fair number of comics with this character (probably 10 or 12) in pencil on notebook paper, jumping around to different points (and “issue numbers”) in the character’s history. But in the summer of 1982 I finally inked the first one into a finished form with a #1 that I copied and distributed once school started up again that August; my first solo comic was pretty popular among my cartoonist friends who read it at the time … and now you can read it in all its spelling-error riddled glory, taken from full-color scans of the original artwork, as a downloadable .pdf e-book!

[August 2015 UPDATE: the .pdf version of this early effort is now available in my Selz store!]
[February 2023 UPDATE: the digital version of this issue is now available from my Gumroad store!]

Even though Armen Hammer was probably the least original concept of those I had created up to that point (including a more standard superhero comic, and a quirky teamup between an opera singer and an inventor), this was the comic that I stuck with and developed more than any others. In hindsight, that turns out to have been a lucky break for me, as I discovered superhero parody was more fun to write than straight superhero action. I quickly moved on from parodying Thor and into more original stories and a general satire of superhero conventions (though early on using the kind of gratuitous foul language typically associated with teenage “creativity”). I published two more full-size issues by the time I graduated high school (while also puttering around but never finishing various comics with my friends and drawing two years of editorial cartoons for my high school paper, the Heights Highlighter). Then, while making copies of a strip I attempted to self-syndicate to high school papers, I met Jon E., a cartoonist working at Kinko’s, who keyed me into small press for the first time (and explaining the concept of the digest comic, to boot)!

That summer I remember staying up all night and finishing Armen Hammer #4, which I published in October of 1985 (as both my first digest comic and the first use of the Smeary Soapbox Press imprint). By the summer of 1986 I had discovered Tim Corrigan’s SPCE, which introduced me to a wider network of other self-publishing cartoonists, and over the next 3 years I kept pretty active publishing Armen Hammer comics (you can see the full list here) along with other titles. Over time I found myself enjoying the incidental characters more than my protagonist, who was tied too directly to his source inspiration for my tastes, and when in 1989 I published Armen Hammer #11, I didn’t realize it would be the end of the road for the character as I’d known him.

But it turns out he wouldn’t stay out of the picture for long. More on that next time …

[May 2022 UPDATE: with the closure of Selz, I’ll be migrating items over to my new digital newsstand– check out my Gumroad store!]