“I want to make people think a bit. I want them to wonder if there’s a joke at all,” says Spungifeel Comix creator Tony Weier. This may explain why in one Gallivanting Swingers story line, Ma sends hubby Rolly Joe out for road kill, but it’s unlikely to elucidate the spare format of Salamander Bits, which features head-and-shoulders portraits of various geeks and geezers, each accompanied only by a cryptic quote just unlikely enough to be cut from actual conversation. Weier’s uncomplicated drawing style is, in fact, a matter of personal preference. “I like to draw faces,” he says. “It’s a pain in the ass to draw anything else.”
Though Bebe Williams’ Artcomics web page (www.artcomic.com)
has just recently picked up Weier’s one-panel-a-day Bits, Weier got his start in comics in 1982, when he began doing gag cartoons for his college paper, the Iowa State Daily. He later sold Somedaze panels to publications as diverse as Illinois Medicine and Funny Times and has been seen locally in a number of small papers. On his own web site (www.erols.com/somedaze), T. wEieRas his byline readssums up Somedaze in a disclaimer that downplays Gary Larson comparisons (“I was doing the same thing before I ever knew who he was”), citing instead as influences B. Kliban’s noncat stuff and the work of Dr. Seuss.
Weier’s best and most original work revolves around not puns and gags but storytelling. In the self-published minicomic Cheeko and His Good Friend Sweaty Frank, a chimp from New Jersey ends up on a homemade rocket ship, where he tests crackpot theories about the effects of weightlessness. Another mini, the Compendium of People I’ve Worked With, is filled with odd faces and speech snippets as strangely innocent of reality as the words of the elderly denizens of Duplex Planet. “Some of them are people I’ve actually worked with,” Weier admits. “When I worked at this bun factory in Iowa, there really was a guy who invited me over to his house to try some of his wife’s breast milk.”Jeff Bagato