Tucked between the vinyl figurines and Spider-Man cosplayers at San Diego Comic-Con is Baker the corgi. Pink tongue flopping out the side of his mouth, bat-like ears perked in excitement, stump of a tail wagging, Baker bounces across posters and graces shirts at artist Sam Logan’s SDCC booth.
There’s a good chance you’ve seen Logan’s work if you’ve spent much time on fandom-heavy sites such as Twitter and Tumblr. His art, bright, cartoonish, and often featuring beloved characters from Star Wars’ BB-8 to Pokémon’s Bulbasaur, has been reposted, retweeted, and shared hundreds of thousands of times — commonly without the artist’s name attached. It’s a fairly regular occurrence, and Logan says fans would come up to his booth at SDCC and say they recognized the art, though they’d never known until then who drew it.
SYFY WIRE spent some time at Logan’s booth during SDCC 2018 to take in the floor and chat with him about his work, process, and the challenges and rewards of working full-time as a comics artist. That people often don’t credit artists when sharing original work is one of those challenges. Logan is overjoyed that people love what he does— it’d just be nice to get the credit for his creations and jokes.
Logan’s designs, the most popular of which adorn posters and T-shirts displayed prominently on a makeshift wall behind Logan’s booth, span beloved genre franchises. But as SDCC-goers gathered around the booth in ebbing waves, they were, understandably, most excited about the dog designs.
And, of course, because this is 2018, Baker the corgi was the star of the show. Plastered across shirts and posters, Baker dug holes, begged for treats, and showed off his noodle body and fluffy behind to the masses. This was Logan’s first time at Comic-Con in several years and he’d forgotten just how popular his shirts were — a majority of his stock was sold out by Saturday morning.
Logan, on top of everything else, also takes commissions for cartoon-style pet portraits. “I’ve never done so many corgis at a show before,” he says, noting how much more popular the dog breed is in San Diego than in Vancouver, where he lives. After one customer showed up to the booth to collect her commissioned portraits of her three dogs as Superman, Spider-Man, and Wonder Woman, she soon returned to request another. Another customer let out an excited squeal upon seeing her black-and-tan corgi with Thanos’ gold, Infinity Stone-laden gauntlet in its mouth.
Drawing adorable cartoons is far from Logan's only gig. Primarily, he's a comic artist, with a long-running webcomic on his resume.
“For the fan art-y stuff, I don’t do a ton of it and it’s often just, I get a joke in my head that would be fun to do,” Logan says. “My main comic is very story-driven, and there’s not really space in it for that kind of thing, especially if it’s pop-culture-related, because I don’t do that sort of thing in Sam and Fuzzy.”
Sam and Fuzzy is the independent webcomic Logan has been writing for 13 years. Fuzzy, an anthropomorphic teddy bear who has expressive caterpillar eyebrows and is named for his “fuzzy” memory of his past after waking up one night in a dumpster, is a fast-talking, sarcastic hero to the downtrodden. Sam, Fuzzy’s human and equally sarcastic counterpart, is slightly more cautious but just as likely to get himself in trouble. In the universe of Sam and Fuzzy, there’s a surface world that’s very similar to ours, as well as an underground society where weird, supernatural things live in secret. Sam and Fuzzy is about what happens when those worlds collide.
Together, Sam and Fuzzy do battle. In one of Logan’s comics from 2009, the pair went up against a literal gang of Underground-dwelling gerbils (the Grrbils) who rolled into town in plastic balls while wearing matching leather jackets — equally adorable and menacing.
Logan launched Sam and Fuzzy in 2005 as a kind of sitcom-style series in which the titular characters were cab drivers. But after 13 years, things have changed. Sam and Fuzzy put the ninja assassins behind them (it’s a long story) and, for a while, ran a problem-solving business. Having been writing and illustrating the series for so long, Logan has been able to push the boundaries of his imaginary world and “illuminate the corners,” bringing on the aforementioned ninja assassins, street-menacing mice gangs, and a black cat named Brain for Sam and Fuzzy to quip at.
He makes his full-time living on Sam and Fuzzy, having gotten his business going in 2011 with a Kickstarter that raised $170,000, but he's got even more side hustles. He’s worked as an author on Oni Press’ Invader Zim series and draws up the adorable, viral-worthy fan art that so many con-goers recognized as we chatted behind his booth.
As Logan credits non-superhero comics that he read growing up, such as the ‘90s-era Disney comics, as well as Calvin & Hobbes and other famed newspaper strips, as his inspiration. As such, it's no surprise that his comics invoke a kind of nostalgia.
“I didn’t mean for it to get so elaborate,” Logan says. “The reason I do comics is because I have to get the ideas out… to exorcise them.”