Warning: Adult language in the following story.
Trust us, your job isn't that bad.
No, seriously, it's not. It's not like you dress up in a theme parkcostume character for a living, is it?
Oh, it is? Well, our condolences.
For the rest of us, this particular hell -- memorably celebrated (ifthat's the right word) in "Swingers" -- is brought to hot, stuffy life in thepages 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 isto dress as various fairy-tale type characters," writer John Layman toldCBR News on Monday. "This particular day, he has to wear the costume of thedragon 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 thecostume is in the crotch, and the guy in the dragon suit can't reach itwith his clumsy, stubby dragon hands. So the challenge, of course, isgetting somebody who's willing to get real close to a dragon's crotch andunzip him -- somebody that's in the hood. This becomes even morechallenging after a super big gulp and an egg salad sandwich at lunch 6hours earlier, but I am far to much of a gentlemen to go into details withdelicate CBR readers."
Los Angeles (and presumably Orlando) residents all know that thecostumed mascot business is about the most degrading job in "show business"(speaking generously). Fortunately for him, Layman doesn't from personalexperience in this series.
"Tons of lousy jobs in my life, but no actual costumed characters. Iwent 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 Californianswho take taken summer jobs at Disneyland. They are pretty much describe itas the purest living hell in the world, and their stories always stuck withme in a 'ha-ha, at least it wasn't me' kind of way. Turns out dressing as acostumed amusement park character ranks up there in lousy job hell right upthere with McDonald's Fry Cooker and Porno Theater Peep Show Mop Boy (twoother jobs I've been able to avoid, at least thus far)."
For most, the heat, weight, stench and toddlers punching one in thecrotch 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.
"We could delve into all sorta of psychological mumbo jumbo aboutrepressed 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 rabiddog. The 'Puffed' premise made me laugh, and I think anybody else who's gota little fucker in their personality is gonna laugh, too. It's always funnywhen 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 bothcapturing the perfect expression (which, coincidentally, is usually thefunniest expression) and he's a fantastic storyteller. If I had to describehim, 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 andoriginal look, too. Working with him has been great, because it seems likewe 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 fromAvatar later this fall. And, my 'X-Men Unlimited' issue #47, is still onthe stands, and I've got a short in the upcoming 'Noble Causes ExtendedFamily Special.'"
Layman is in good spirits for a guy who will have to live with beingcalled 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?!?)"