Warning: Adult language in the following story.
|Variant cover to “Puffed” #3 by Sam Keith|
Trust us, your job isn’t that bad.
No, seriously, it’s not. It’s not like you dress up in a theme park
costume character for a living, is it?
Oh, it is? Well, our condolences.
For the rest of us, this particular hell — memorably celebrated (if
that’s the right word) in “Swingers” — is brought to hot, stuffy life in the
pages of “Puffed,” a new three issue miniseries from Image Comics this July.
“It’s about a guy who works in a run-down amusement park, whose job is
to dress as various fairy-tale type characters,” writer John Layman told
CBR News on Monday. “This particular day, he has to wear the costume of the
dragon Puffed. This is also the day he pisses off the psycho park janitor,
who beats the crap out of him and dumps him in ‘the hood.’
“Oh yeah … one thing I didn’t mention. The zipper to get out of the
costume is in the crotch, and the guy in the dragon suit can’t reach it
with his clumsy, stubby dragon hands. So the challenge, of course, is
getting somebody who’s willing to get real close to a dragon’s crotch and
unzip him — somebody that’s in the hood. This becomes even more
challenging after a super big gulp and an egg salad sandwich at lunch 6
hours earlier, but I am far to much of a gentlemen to go into details with
delicate CBR readers.”
|“Puffed” Issue #1, Page 1|
Los Angeles (and presumably Orlando) residents all know that the
costumed mascot business is about the most degrading job in “show business”
(speaking generously). Fortunately for him, Layman doesn’t from personal
experience in this series.
“Tons of lousy jobs in my life, but no actual costumed characters. I
went to Long Beach State [California State University at Long Beach], a long,
long time ago, and at the time I got to know several Southern Californians
who take taken summer jobs at Disneyland. They are pretty much describe it
as the purest living hell in the world, and their stories always stuck with
me in a ‘ha-ha, at least it wasn’t me’ kind of way. Turns out dressing as a
costumed amusement park character ranks up there in lousy job hell right up
there with McDonald’s Fry Cooker and Porno Theater Peep Show Mop Boy (two
other jobs I’ve been able to avoid, at least thus far).”
For most, the heat, weight, stench and toddlers punching one in the
crotch would be enough to make wearing the Puffed costume a living hell.
But Layman felt the need to crank things up to the next level.
|“Puffed” Issue #1, Page 2|
“We could delve into all sorta of psychological mumbo jumbo about
repressed issues and all that, but the bottom line is, I’m just a fucker.
Just a huge, malicious fucker, who ought to be taken out like a mean rabid
dog. The ‘Puffed’ premise made me laugh, and I think anybody else who’s got
a little fucker in their personality is gonna laugh, too. It’s always funny
when it happens to somebody else, right?”
Art chores on “Puffed” are by comics newcomer Dave Crosland.
“Dave’s work is spectacular, and he’s got a great gift for both
capturing the perfect expression (which, coincidentally, is usually the
funniest expression) and he’s a fantastic storyteller. If I had to describe
him, I’d say he’s got a some Jim Mahfood to his work, some Jamie Hewlett,
even some Jill Thompson and Evan Dorkin. But it’s a completely unique and
original look, too. Working with him has been great, because it seems like
we are completely on the same wavelength for ‘Puffed.'”
In addition to “Puffed,” Layman is keeping busy with other projects.
“I’m currently writing ‘Thundercats: Dogs of War’ for WildStorm,
debuting this month. And doing interviews for ‘The Art of Sam Kieth,’
coming for IDW in July. Also, I’ve got a ‘Species’ mini-series coming from
Avatar later this fall. And, my ‘X-Men Unlimited’ issue #47, is still on
the stands, and I’ve got a short in the upcoming ‘Noble Causes Extended
Layman is in good spirits for a guy who will have to live with being
called the “Puffed” daddy from here on out, once the miniseries debuts.
“Sure, but only if they subtitle it ‘John’s Puffy Tomes.’ (HA! Get it?!?)”