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.]

Thanks for the reprints, Patreon patrons!

When I had my work accepted into Memphis’ Monster Market (“a freaky pop-up shop for weirdos like you”), I knew it would require new printings of the Halloween comics I was running low on. Not only would it be an opportunity for me to include my current contact info in them, but it would also let me produce them with digitally colored covers (instead of hand stenciling each copy, which can get a bit tedious when I’ve got to spread out a full run to dry). Rather than going full color with their covers, I kept the new color files in the spirit of the original two-color issues, and I’m pleased with the results!

In addition to the Halloween issues, I was able to restock three other comics (including my very first comic, from 1982!) that I had sold out of, thanks to my Patreon patrons . It enabled me to more easily handle the reprints in my printing budget, and at a price that will help make my Monster Market stint more successful!

These are all 16-page black & white digests (w/ color covers in the case of the Watusi issues), and are available from me by mail for $3.00 each ($2.00 for The Guy With a Hammer! #1) postpaid in the US. You could also get copies by becoming one of my Patreon patrons during September or October of 2019 at the Correspondent or Art Lover level & I’ll send the set your way. If you prefer, I could even spread the love & send your copies as gifts to your friends; just let me know their name & address. (Plus, joining gives you immediate access to other online bonus comics, including a full-color Human Spring adventure!)

As always, thanks for reading!

[January 2023 UPDATE: I’ve closed my Patreon page.]

Hot off the press: Smeary Soapbox Press-ents 100-Page Inventory Closeout Super Spectacular

ssp100pageI’m gearing up for my appearance this weekend at Wichita’s Air Capital Comiccon and I’ll be bringing a new comic (in addition to my “Watusi and the Emerald Serpent” roadshow) along with me. Well, maybe “new” isn’t quite the right word; here’s the story behind it…

The Smeary Soapbox Press-ents 100-Page Inventory Closeout Super Spectacular is my way of thinning out my backstock in a way that also pays homage to DC’s 100 Page Super Spectaculars of the early 1970s. Assembled from extra copies of my one-shot comics, each copy has its own unique mix of content (although I did make sure they each contained the characters mentioned on the cover: Watusi, Flamin’ Frank, FooF!, Professor Harvey, and the Guy with a Hammer!), as well as an original convention sketch. Given that nature of this collection, the material included varies, ranging from just a few years ago back to my earliest days as a self-publisher in the 1980s! The mix could include a sampling of my earliest superhero parody comics, a smattering of the annual holiday comics I’ve made since 1985, one-off comic “singles”, and/or comics featuring Watusi and his costars. The drawings may be rough, the stories may be silly, and they may even take me down a path I ultimately decided not to follow. But many of these comics are work I’m still proud of, if for no other reason than they led me to become the creator I am today.

I had fun “curating” the material that went into these copies, and I think my binding comes pretty close to capturing the feel of those great old 100-pagers. Check it out if you’re able to make it to the Air Capital Comiccon– I hope to see you there! But if you can’t make it, here’s a selection of some of the better sketches that ended up in the copies…

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!]