NEVER EAT ANYTHING BIGGER THAN YOUR HEAD
Washington City Paper, Vol. 17, No. 41., October 17-23, 1997
"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 Galivanting 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' Art Comics 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. wEieR--as his byline reads--sums
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 non-cat stuff and the work of Dr. Seuss.
Weier's best and most original work revolves around not his puns an 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."
This was written by a guy named Jeff Bagato who does a far out zine called MOLE (send Jeff $4 to P.O. Box 2482, Merrifield, VA 22116 for an issue). The gig for this daddyo
is digging up all sorts of interesting folks and spreading the wonderful word about them. If you want to contact
Jeff with your stories of the off-the-wall or for printing/seeing some of his work, he can be contacted by the
above address or by e-mail.
T. wEieR Commentary:
This Washington City Paper article was relatively on point with my views. However, I most note that the weirdo
with the breast milk deal got a big "no" from me. He also shared with me that he got his wife pregnant
for this purpose and this purpose alone. He had 5 or 6 kids at the time. I quit a few days later after this incident.
But that wasn't the half of it. That bun factory was an incredible hideaway for some of the most interesting people
I have ever encountered in my life. Perhaps it had to do with the incredible heat in the place (95+ F during every
night shift....no air conditioning). Here is a small sampling of other strange happenings there:
***Guy who obsessively picked wax out of his ear each and every break, carefully saved it in a napkin, and stored
it in his backpack. I have no idea what he did with it.
***Endurance contests to see how long an individual could stay inside the dough proof box (115+F...a steam box
where the dough rises). The record, I recall was 20 minutes.
***Unexplained blood found on loaves one day. Everyone appeared to be accounted for.
***The main conversation of every night shift had to do with only two things:
What everyone had to eat the night before.
Vietnam horror stories.
***One man told me he had a locker filled with rare coins and gold bars in Seattle worth millions. When I asked
him why he was slaving at the bun factory making $7 an hour to support 5 kids, he told me, 'There's more to life
than money, man."
Copyright 1999, 2000 T. Weier.