Your Job Really Isn't That Bad: 'Puffed' Daddy Layman Talks Miniseries

Wed, June 4th, 2003 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Beau Yarbrough, Columnist

Warning: Adult language in the following story.

Variant cover to "Puffed" #3 by Sam Keith
Trust us, your job isn't that bad.

No, seriously, it's not. It's not like you dress up in a theme park

costume character for a living, is it?

Oh, it is? Well, our condolences.

For the rest of us, this particular hell -- memorably celebrated (if

that's the right word) in "Swingers" -- is brought to hot, stuffy life in the

pages of "Puffed," a new three issue miniseries from Image Comics this July.

"It's about a guy who works in a run-down amusement park, whose job is

to dress as various fairy-tale type characters," writer John Layman told

CBR News on Monday. "This particular day, he has to wear the costume of the

dragon Puffed. This is also the day he pisses off the psycho park janitor,

who beats the crap out of him and dumps him in 'the hood.'

"Oh yeah ... one thing I didn't mention. The zipper to get out of the

costume is in the crotch, and the guy in the dragon suit can't reach it

with his clumsy, stubby dragon hands. So the challenge, of course, is

getting somebody who's willing to get real close to a dragon's crotch and

unzip him -- somebody that's in the hood. This becomes even more

challenging after a super big gulp and an egg salad sandwich at lunch 6

hours earlier, but I am far to much of a gentlemen to go into details with

delicate CBR readers."

"Puffed" Issue #1, Page 1
Los Angeles (and presumably Orlando) residents all know that the

costumed mascot business is about the most degrading job in "show business"

(speaking generously). Fortunately for him, Layman doesn't from personal

experience in this series.

"Tons of lousy jobs in my life, but no actual costumed characters. I

went to Long Beach State [California State University at Long Beach], a long,

long time ago, and at the time I got to know several Southern Californians

who take taken summer jobs at Disneyland. They are pretty much describe it

as the purest living hell in the world, and their stories always stuck with

me in a 'ha-ha, at least it wasn't me' kind of way. Turns out dressing as a

costumed amusement park character ranks up there in lousy job hell right up

there with McDonald's Fry Cooker and Porno Theater Peep Show Mop Boy (two

other jobs I've been able to avoid, at least thus far)."

For most, the heat, weight, stench and toddlers punching one in the

crotch would be enough to make wearing the Puffed costume a living hell.

But Layman felt the need to crank things up to the next level.

"Puffed" Issue #1, Page 2
"We could delve into all sorta of psychological mumbo jumbo about

repressed issues and all that, but the bottom line is, I'm just a fucker.

Just a huge, malicious fucker, who ought to be taken out like a mean rabid

dog. The 'Puffed' premise made me laugh, and I think anybody else who's got

a little fucker in their personality is gonna laugh, too. It's always funny

when it happens to somebody else, right?"

Art chores on "Puffed" are by comics newcomer Dave Crosland.

"Dave's work is spectacular, and he's got a great gift for both

capturing the perfect expression (which, coincidentally, is usually the

funniest expression) and he's a fantastic storyteller. If I had to describe

him, I'd say he's got a some Jim Mahfood to his work, some Jamie Hewlett,

even some Jill Thompson and Evan Dorkin. But it's a completely unique and

original look, too. Working with him has been great, because it seems like

we are completely on the same wavelength for 'Puffed.'"

In addition to "Puffed," Layman is keeping busy with other projects.

"I'm currently writing 'Thundercats: Dogs of War' for WildStorm,

debuting this month. And doing interviews for 'The Art of Sam Kieth,'

coming for IDW in July. Also, I've got a 'Species' mini-series coming from

Avatar later this fall. And, my 'X-Men Unlimited' issue #47, is still on

the stands, and I've got a short in the upcoming 'Noble Causes Extended

Family Special.'"

Layman is in good spirits for a guy who will have to live with being

called the "Puffed" daddy from here on out, once the miniseries debuts.

"Sure, but only if they subtitle it 'John's Puffy Tomes.' (HA! Get it?!?)"

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