Saturday, February 21, 2009

If you drew a comic called Super Frog at age 11

Then take a number.

Jeffrey-OC/WIGU-Rowland and I both got ours at the deli counter of weird coincidences involving crudely drawn amphibious superheroes. My immediate thought was this was like an especially shitty or an especially awesome episode of Lost. Maybe it is both.

The year was 1986, and as he tells it, Jeff's 11 year-old mind conceived of a hero named Superfrog (no space).

Flash forward to the year 1990, a time when my 11 year-old mind would independently duplicate this feat, and bring into the world -- again -- a hero named Super Frog (but with a space!)



This cover stirs visions of a an intrepid young lad soldiering through that night sky with a thin, purple magic marker, thrashing in every conceivable direction like a crazed raccoon trying to escape an empty swimming pool. But it looks like he eventually and quite understandably muttered "fuck this" and stomped off to plunder the kitchen for some delicious Slimer-themed Ecto Cooler Hi-C.

You'll note some striking similarities between my and Jeff's work, aside from breadth of ambition. (Amphibition?)

They both dwelt on swampy planets. Though mine was supposed to be Earth, since my story followed a Superman template. I figured he might as well since he shared a prefix with that hero. Jeff's looks like it fits into more of a Star Wars mold, which would make "Amphibia" somewhat akin to Yoda's swampy planet I guess.

Also note that while Jeff's planet was plagued by a "terrorist group called MEGA", my story was published by MEGA comics. This is obviously a word one dare not leave uncapitalized. Also both these frogs had really cool underground lairs.

But I'm afraid that's where the similarities end.

11 year-old Jeff's handwriting is actually better than mine is today, let alone the grisly marks which I pawned off as letters at age 11. You'll also note Jeff could actually string together a pretty decent sentence. "But, Amphibia was not without its evil forces…" Note the fairly sophisticated use of the double negative to take a little something off the sentence for rhetorical purposes. He could have taken the easy route and said "Amphibia had so many evil forces!" Or, "Amphibia had all hella evil forces up ins, yo!" if he wanted to produce a tone of jocular irony. (Although I doubt that sort of irony had been invented yet in 1986.) The point is, he wasn't using language as a blunt instrument to say what he wanted to say.

Whereas I took that blunt instrument, used it to murder a family of four, and hid the bodies in my garage. You will observe this sample.

It's actually hard for me to believe an 11 year-old did this. To me it doesn't look very far beyond the reach of a 6 year-old. Where does one even begin dissecting this?

Ok, the Dr. Claw-style boss wants his henchman with an upsettingly phallic hat to go down to the "science plant". Where they do science. He wants him to steal some science. Fair enough. Then he instructs him to take a "disgise", and we shortly receive a humorous payoff. His disguise is simply a jacket. Ha ha, right?

Maybe. Except that I explicitly remember that I did not intend for this to be a joke. I was serious. That was his serious disguise.

Then at gunpoint, or maybe tube of Ben-Gaypoint, he commands the aardvark fellow to surrender the main project. Like, the main science thing they do. He wants him to hand over the big science thing. But it turns out he "already launched it". He launched all the science they were working on into space, and he is sorry about it. Maybe if the snake with the dick hat got there a little earlier, all that science would still be there.

Then later on in the comic when I got tired of all this storytelling bullshit, I went and drew a map. This was my first hack at a comic, and I don't think I actually even liked comics. All I really wanted to do was design the next Super Mario Bros. game and mail it to some Japanese developers. I actually tried to do this several times, and I just assumed whoever looked at it would be blown away by my ideas while making little hushed noises of polite awe in that distinctly Japanese way.

When I was 11 my teachers thought I was retarded. This isn't some sort of joke to make you laugh. This is actually true. For a while thereafter I resented the accusation. But looking back on this work I'm starting to think they might have been technically right. Whatever the case, I don't know why I ever had the notion that I was artistically inclined before age 11.

But in looking through this archive of relics, it's pretty clear my artistic development took a major leap in the following year. I did this drawing when I was 12. Ok, so it's obviously inspired very heavily by Rob Liefeld's work in the early 90s. Still, looking back on it I think it's probably better than anything Liefeld ever did. I even came up with a kickass signature brand for that year, "DREW92". WHOA, COOL DUDE!!!

Then from there it appears my artwork enjoyed pretty | brisk | strides through the rest of high school. Actually that first image there seems somewhat reminiscent of a Problem Sleuth villain, even though I drew it about 15 years ago.

My and Jeff's stroll down Super Frog lane is reminding me the more things change, the more they stay the same. Don't believe me?





Mob boss villains separated by two decades.



You're eventually supposed to grow out of shit like this, right?

I don't know why I didn't scan the rest of Super Frog. The samples above are from an archive consisting of photos I took about five years ago. I'm not sure what my thinking was at the time.

I'll see if I can dig up the original book and scan all of it. If I do, I'll post it. But I'll be trailing behind Jeff's documentation of his old comic, which I suppose is only fitting. He was always ahead of the curve on this Superfrog/Super[space]Frog business.

Oh, also another guy cropped up who did a Superfrog (Super-Frog, with a dash!) when he was a youngster.

Look, if you are 11 and you are a boy, here's what's up. You're going to be drawing a COMIC. That comic will be about a FROG. That frog is also gonna be SUPER. This is what your DNA will tell you to do, and if you don't do it there's probably something wrong with you. This is what SCIENCE says will happen, and this can be verified, assuming some dumbass doesn't go ahead and launch that science into space first.

45 comments:

The original superfrog said...

Holy Carbs! I made one too at roughly the same age! No space or comma's, he could turn into any kind of frog. And his sidekick, Wondertoad could change size, cos' a different Toad is still a toad.

Anonymous said...

I made a super toad,does that count?

xyzzy said...

When I was 12 I was drawing some pretty rad stick figures.

I can still draw some pretty rad stick figures.

Nic said...

At 11, I drew a long story about a bunny, a series of far-side-esque comics about slater beetles (pillbugs in the US maybe?) and later some dragons. I think I was pretty into dragons around then. I think I was probably also an idiot.

Peter said...

Man, I did this kind of stuff when I was a kid, too. Except for me it was "Super Raptor," "Turtle Man," who was really more of a "Man-Turtle" in retrospect, and "Crocker," a Godzilla-sized mutant crocodile who got chased around along with his other mutant animal friends by a team of bounty hunters who thought they were evil monsters. So I guess I was more into reptiles than amphibians.

Karmeleaux said...

This made me laugh so hard. Like, seriously, I thought I was going to pass out laughing. A few books on the shelf above fall over if I tap the table fairly lightly, so if I passed out I probably would be crushed. You would have killed me with laughter. You magnificent bastard.

I made 'comics' in second and third grade with a friend, but they were really psychedelic/abstract/shitty (Like, moreso than this). Also, they were terrible ideas. One of the heroes was 'Alien Colossus,' because he was like Colossus (of the X-Men) but an alien. I remember thinking how great of a name that was.

wrot said...

Andrew, you are the guy.

I swear.

(Sadly, I did not draw a comic about Superfrog at 11. I am questioning my gender, don't you worry.)

Jonas Hedegaard said...

This made me laugh so hard - and the link to the Rob Liefild trashing was even funnier. I have no idea who the man is and probably has never read any of his work, but man that is some funny shit.

I'm becoming a huge fan Andrew! Keep up the totally kick-ass work on Super Frog, ups, I mean Problem Sleuth :)

Red-Ike said...

My shit was about ROBOPUP. Yes, it was a dog (a jack-russel terrior, actually).. That was a cyborg.

Anonymous said...

I went a completely different route with my 11 year old comics. The hero of my comic book was RoboPope, with his sidekick Cyber-Bishop, as he fought against the Atheist League of Doom. I have no idea why I did this. I wasn't even Catholic. Apparently 11 year old me was very amused by religion. 11 year old me was kind of a dick as I remember.

Meepo said...

The comics I drew as a kid were called "Flea and Fly" which were obviously about a flea and a fly NAMED Flea and Fly who looked nothing like fleas or flies but rather was a dot with vertical ovals for wings. Then I went on to make "Squiddy", a comic about a squid named (you guessed it!) Squiddy and his best friend Marty. I dont know where I got Marty from. They didn't look like squids either. They were blobs with four squiggly legs and giant eyeballs on the sides of their heads. I am ashamed about my lack of Super Frogs.

Stij said...

When I was a 11 (or so), I drew a superhero who got his powers from THE INTERNET.

Because, when you're 11, THE INTERNET is still some strange and mystical force, like nuclear radiation or the federal deficit.

devotfeige said...

When I was about that age, I drew a comic about a hero I named "Cockroach Man", with arch nemesis "RAID Man".

Cockroach Man was more interested in playing video games than fighting crime. As it turned out, I was more interested in playing video games than drawing comics.

Chris said...

holy crap, thats too funny, i love how the art style continues through the years i hope you find the rest of the comic and share it

Anonymous said...

The next adventure before problem sleuth should be called super (space) frog

PigPillow said...

Ah,this is just brilliant! Too bad he already launched it :(
I might have launched any potential Super(-/space/no-space)frog or science too early, cause the comics I made at that age were about three worms.
Well, glhf in your future launching ;)

Matt Williams said...

Is it a platyrhynchos? A four-wheeled automabot? No, it's Super Frog!

http://i182.photobucket.com/albums/x120/MattyQWilliams/superfrog.jpg

Doomwaffle said...

At 11 I was drawing a series of the stick-figure (which I draw EXCELLENTLY) adventures of Ninjaman and Meribob, a shortening of American Bob. It lasted 2 years and all the issues are gone. It was actually a spin off of Super Fighting Ultra Challenge Showdown (along those lines) where I made shitty video game characters and random people fight (Kirby vs. Link, badass)

Sfoumatou said...

WOW.

When I was eleven, I was really into all that Pokemon and Digimon shit, and I drew a really long comic called Coolmon... Yes, I was... imaginative. It pretty much followed the locations and events of Digimon, except the characters looked different and had different names. Haha.

Ricket said...

11-year-old me drew a comic that involved superheroes, who were an eraser, glue stick, and pencil, fighting against the evil forces of a pair of scissors, and his sidekick, a brown felt pen. I believe they were all struck by lightning, animating them somehow. I blame Toy Story.

My drawing style was "draw a front-on shot of the character, with a word bubble no matter the situation." And I also used language as a blunt instrument.

I wish I could say that my drawing, or my mastery of the English language had improved since then. :(

Mike said...

I seem to recall drawing lots of comics about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, around that age. It's true - young boys + amphibians 4eva, yo.

Gen said...

When I was 11, I drew a comic called Wild Force. That was in '96. The main hero was Cheets the cheetah, however there was a frog on the team. The point was that there was an animal hero based on each one of my friends. I don't remember who the hell the frog was. They each had themed powers, like Cheet's super speed. I think the frog had a super long tongue (original idea, eh?).

Before all that though, I would draw a character called "Cool Boy." Ugh. He was like Quailman with Psylocke's powers and a backwards baseball cap. Aforementioned cap had a peace symbol on it.

Strange_Cube said...

I was never great a drawing, but I clearly recall writing a short story in 3rd of 4th grade about a super-frog. It was sort of a frog prince thing only both princess and frog were superheroic. Alas, if it still in existence in any form, it is on a 5¼-inch floppy in some ancient DOS word processing application.

Laura M said...

I drew A comic of A super frog, but his name was Froggo Montello, and he was derived almost entirely from Inigo Montoya of The Princess Bride, and his chief powers were Super Hopping and Fighting With Swords.

Kamineko said...

I don't know about drawing a comic about a Super Frog, but when I was 11 I spent a lot time playing Super Frog...

Anonymous said...

Hmph! I'm already 12, why didn't you tell me about this a year sooner? 8'D Sorry, Now I can't cheat about it anymore!

Well, I did draw a comic of talking mushrooms though, and - yes - a super mushroom =P

drew said...

When I was 11, I drew a comic about... a talking tooth and toothbrush. Yes, all the "oral hygiene" propaganda really brainwashed my little 11-year old tool-ish self. At least it was somewhat more exciting than your standard dentistry pamphlet- they had to save each other from some mustachioed evil character about every five panels.


The best part is that the villains had *nothing* to do with teeth. It would be Toothy and Brushy (yeah, those were their names) against a freaking PTERODACTYL. Twirling a MUSTACHE.

watkins said...

Somewhat before the age of eleven, I created an anthropomorphic, frog-based, super-character named Pimple, years before Battletoads came out.

In fact, my character was almost exactly like a Battletoad, except that there was only one of him, and he didn't battle space pigs, or whatever the point of the game is. I honestly felt ripped off when the game was released, though I still haven't figured out how Rare managed to access the scrap paper crammed under my bed.

Aaox said...

I drew a comic about a Dragon and a Boy. It was based off of Calvin and Hobbes because I'm not original. Hooray. It's not quite a toad, but it's a Dragon.

Anonymous said...

Man, this entry was hilarious.

When I was that age, my best friend and I made up a comic called Super Bugs- not exactly the same wavelength, but I guess Super Bugs could be food for Super Fros, am I right?

Anyway, these were pretty much mechanical bugs with huge eyes that went about their normal lives, only their normal lives were pretty extravagant because they had superpowers. I remember there being plants that grew out of clouds, which sprouted dots like the ones Pac-Man eats, and that was their food.

And there was a grandpa. You could tell he was the grandpa because he had a long beard and he looked tired.

It was fabulous, now I want to find those again so I can scan them.

Coffeeteamix said...

I'm a girl and I drew a superfrog when I was 11~! Well, I never called her a frog.. but she definitely looked like Keroppi with pig tails =P She was featured in every piece of drawing related homework I had from grade 3-6... and what she can do depends on the homework assignment...

John said...

When I was 8-9, I drew blatant Calvin and Hobbes Ripoffs, because I totally, and completely, loved the strip. At the time, I thought I had some level of originality.

Jake said...

did you ever play Super Munchers? maybe that left some subconscious predisposition to frogs with super abilities...

insaneyanish said...

I had a giant toad that I tied a washcloth to (like a cape), and kept in a 5 gallon pail.

J said...

I have a very vague recollection of drawing a frog wearing a cape when I was quite young. Probably more like 7 than 11. Maybe I was an early bloomer.

It seems like it might be some kind of creative nerd right of passage.

Glogh said...

When I was 11, I made a comic where humans and robots had outrageous rap battles in an elaborate multi-tiered stadium... wait a minute - that's insane.

Alex Chalk said...

I made* a comic called Crocodile Kid when I was ten.
WHAAAAAAAAAT

*well I started it. Several times.

Shieldman said...

I drew a comic about MegaNewts as a kid. The main villain? You guessed it, SuperFrog. Odd, though~ He was the BAD guy.

macoronikevin said...

Holy. Crap.

I did a "The adventures of Superfrog And Sir Andy Macmillan". Yeah... but I soon realized that I couldn't draw frogs at all, and soon switched to acorns.

Anonymous said...

Hi, the real Super frog here,
check my adventures on http://superfrogadventures.blogspot.com/
thanks!

Captain Lhurgoyf said...

I didn't do any Super Frog comics when I was 11, but I did do several others. My first big one was about Triplehand, who was a superhero with a hand for a head, and he travelled through space with his robot sidekick.

My other major comic was Mr. Shape, about an alien who came to Earth with the power to transform into anything he sees. Mr. Shape had at least three conflicting origin stories, which shows my regard for continuity. Mr. Shape's arch nemesis was, as you can expect for a shapeshifting hero, the Egyptian god Anubis, who I apparently included solely because I was interested in Egyptian mythology. Later on, Mr. Shape obtained a suit of armour that gave him super strength and the ability to shoot lasers, which ended up overshadowing his shapeshifting and resulting in a hero named Mr. Shape who never actually changed shape at all any more.

Ah, the memories.

Devon said...

oh man, this was hilarious. when i was 11 i just wound up making a city in school by drawing individual parts on sticky notes and attaching them to the side of my desk. i had a LOT of sticky notes, the city was some 250 big. granted, half of it was some other guy's; and it had no frogs, super or otherwise.

jeremys.awesome said...

I started drawing a "SuperFrog" at that age too! I think I was influenced by watching the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Frogs are kind of like Turtles... their both green...

I gave up the drawing part and started writing stories. If you'd like you can check some out:
http://superfrogadventures.com/

Berry said...

Jesus christ, I'm still 11.
(Yes, I am too young to be on the internet I don't care.)

MSPA Lover said...

Bravo Mr.Hussie. I applaud you.