Eighteen years ago, Sam Logan dropped off a comic at the Martlet office — a punchy, sardonic four-panel featuring Sam Samms and his wisecracking bear companion Fuzzy on the subject of genetically modified foods.
Almost as an afterthought, it was uploaded onto the internet. Logan recalls student newspapers being one of the few avenues for aspiring cartoonists to publish their work.
Logan would publish Sam and Fuzzy in the Martlet throughout his history degree, until he graduated in 2004.
“I had been drawing comics for my whole life,” said Logan. “It [just] seemed like a natural thing when I was going to UVic that I should try and put some comics in the Martlet.”
Sam and Fuzzy would eventually grow into a long-form webcomic telling the story of a pair of cab drivers accidentally swept up in a secret world of criminal ninja cults, hidden underground inhuman civilizations, and shadowy secret societies. In 2012, 10 years after his first comic in the Martlet, he started working on the comic full-time.
“To be able to have one person working on one story-driven comic for 17 years and for that to have worked financially I feel like is very rare,” said Logan.
Nowadays, Logan is busy finalizing the details of a seven-set hardcover print of his entire anthology. Heavily influenced by zine culture, Logan originally stuck to black-and-white — mixing analogue and digital for an efficient creative output.
An early adoptee of Kickstarter, Logan has raised more than $400 000 over multiple Sam and Fuzzy projects on the crowdfunding platform, including a table-top RPG based on the Sam and Fuzzy universe.
“When I was first making a living off a comic, my t-shirt sales were the primary source of income,” said Logan.
Over the years, Logan found his living from a variety of income streams including conventions, commissions, and most recently, Patreon.
“It changes from year to year, but there always seems to be something that makes it work.”
Logan is a big proponent of self-publishing. While he said that it was great to be published in the Martlet, newspapers and traditional publishers wouldn’t have been interested in a narrative comic series.
“Things have changed online so much from when I started [Sam and Fuzzy], and I know that the specifics of the way that I did [my career] are not really applicable anymore,” said Logan, but he thinks that creatives can still make a living off their work, as long as they have the right combination of creative talent and entrepreneurial spirit.
For now, Logan has returned to making one-offs and shorter comics set within the Sam and Fuzzy universe, a callback to his Martlet days.
“The readers that I do have are very supportive and very invested in what I’m doing,” said Logan. “I’ve been able to live quite comfortably off Sam and Fuzzy now for almost a decade.”