At the current moment my brain doesn’t want to form cohesive thoughts so I will try to keep this short before my synapses fail to fire all together.
Doug Tennapel is a fantastic artist who has managed to maintain a stable career creating absurd characters for a variety of different formats (Earthworm Jim for video games, the Catscratch cartoon for Nickelodeon, and an assortment of characters for his graphic novels and comics). I have adored his work since I was first exposed to it while playing Earthworm Jim on my Nintendo Gameboy and thinking about how unique the concept and style was compared to other video games of the time (how many games have you launching cows into the sky to reach the next objective?).
There is no doubt in my mind that his work had a very distinct impact on me as a young creative person. I have great respect for anyone who has the ability to do what they love and put all of their personality into their creations day after day.
My only major complaint about Doug Tennapel’s artwork is that it has not been terribly accessible to people that are not already familiar with him. Despite the fact the his graphic novels have been some of the most imaginative pieces of graphic literature in the past decade they can be difficult to come by.
Today I discovered a new project by Tennapel that hopefully will intrigue a few of you. He has started a daily webcomic called Ratfist which is a quirky superhero tale. If you read these few pages it already becomes apparent the confidence that Tennapel has in his quirky ideas and how that confidence enhances his storytelling. While your reading it consider how absurd the information that he is throwing out to you is but also consider how believable the world he creates is. Men with dog faces, superheroes who talk to their pet rats about marriage, and a variety of other elements would typically seem like throw away ideas but he utilizes them in the comic format to create a story that leave you curious as to what he will post tomorrow.
This confidence in my quirky art is something that I hope to truly attain some day. I hope to be able to develop a habit of sitting at my drawing board and creating images that surprise me and make me feel even more confident about creating the next one.
If you have a chance give Ratfist a read and see how it makes you feel. I found myself laughing out loud and gasping with surprise a few times despite the minimal information that has been posted in the story thus far. If you absolutely hate his work I apologize in advance, but at least it didn’t cost you anything to take a gander.