|Mommy, what a Nutroll?
Hopefully, the story on this page will explain how I created Nutroll. I've done what I could with my shoddy memory. So, if you enjoy bordom, this page is for you!
|During High School, I was constantly making up new characters at a rate that'd average to at least one a day. While some of the characters are still worthwhile, most were examples of creatively throwing "stuff at the wall to see what sticks". One of the worst examples of this was when I was sketching out some characters while waiting for German class to start. I was playing with the idea of some strange mercenary/military group. Hey, it was 1990 and the concept wasn't totally ran into the ground like it is now. They looked like G.I.JOE-styled characters, but the more crazy ones (think 'Creature Commandos' from DC Comics mixed with something stupid). The last one that I made was supposed to be the group's resident psychotic character. I gave him a crazy smiley-face mask with some strange goggles. I was looking at him thinking that this is probably the most bugged-out comic character that I'd done up to that point. I named him Nutroll after one of the funniest things I had seen up to that point: a Robert Townsend HBO special called "Playing the Nutroll" (part of his great Partners in Crime comedy/variety show).
And thank your friendly neighborhood diety that I've spared you the torture of seeing the other characters.
|Back in those days, I never thought of color schemes when designing characters. I was stupid like that. My first thought: Big smiley-face = yellow. It's a no-brainer. Problem: there was a crazy character appearing in Captain America with a crazy mask named Madcap. Dagnabbit! Oh, and Keith Giffen's 'the Heckler" had a yellow smiley face mask too. Shazbot. So I tried coloring it every color other than yellow. As you can see from the demonstration above (using the current mask design), the other color schemes looked like crap.
|While Nutroll was a nice-looking character design, he suffered the same fate as any character that wasn't in my main superhero group (who you'll see at a later date): I had no idea what to do with him. He didn't have any powers then and was only known for his offbeat weapons (like a baseball bat and M-80 firecrackers covered with metal shavings). First, I with a group of vigilantes as both comic relief and as a manic force of violence. Yes, the same position that he had in that lame group I made him with. But he was more or less the main odd guy in a group of rather mismatched people. He was supposed to be only an occasional character who just always had a strange sense of being in the right place at the right (or wrong) time with no one ever contacting him for help. But all of these characters in the group really had no business being in the same place at the same time. A grim ninja, a trenchcoated vigilante, a black martial artist, a female Japanese femme fetale and a crazy-head-mask-baseball bat guy... in the same group? You know, that's back when I used this really powerful black marker that kicked out fumes so strong that I'm getting a buzz merely by thinking about it... hmmmm...
|About the same time that I threw that marker out, I broke up that vigilante team and put the ninja character and his female sidekick on their true path, put the Black martial artist, and the trenchcoat guy just faded away. Poor Nutroll was all alone (cue sad violin music here). I knew that he needed a lil' something to make him stand on his own as a character. I just didn't know what. That was until I saw 2 things on TV in the same day:Beetlejuice and the Do-Do Bird from the Looney Tunes cartoon by Bob Clampett. Two characters that caused chaos, but in a more fun and creative way. The oblong oval eye-lenses reminded me of the eyes on the Do-Do Bird and that sparked the idea. Forget this vigilante crap, he could be an unstoppable force of pure crazy. Then, seeing Beetlejuice gave me the idea of applying the real life effects of cartoon violence impacting the "real" world. I mean, you smack someone in the forehead with a giant mallet, the only ill effect is that they see stars and maybe grow a lump or two on the noggin... well, in cartoons, at least.
|A few years pass and I seem to be drawing Nutroll more and more. Never in the context of a story, but always just doing something crazy. These things were so crazy that I decide to put the wacky son-of-a-biscuit in a straitjacket. It was for his own good, really. Actually, I figured that, with his new powers, there wasn't a point in having him wear that stupid military style vest anymore. I thought that it would really hammer home the point that he's crazy (just in case the fact that he's wearing a bright yellow mask with a big smiley-face on it doesn't clue you in). Just as Nutroll was hitting his stride, the movie adaptation of "the Mask" comic book hit the theaters. Once that movie came out, people would say, "Hey, he's just like the Mask!" which didn't bother me the first hundred times I heard it. After comment #101, I was the one that was going to need a straitjacket. So, I decided to not draw Nutroll anymore. No, man, I'm serious. Really. DAT'S ALL I CAN STANDS AND I CAN'T STANDS NO MORE!!!! Screw you guys, I'm going home.
Once again, I start working on everyone else except Nutroll. In fact, I even made a slightly comedic character to take his place as the mood-lightener. But people who knew me kept asking where Nutroll was. Eventually, they convinced me to draw him again anyway, but I had no plans to use him in anything. I figured I'd do one more picture of him for fun. I just didn't know that it'd be the picture.
|So, for the first time in a long time, I sit down and draw a picture of Nutroll. Before I quit drawing him earlier there was this picture that I had sketched of him sitting in a padded cell. Nothing special. It's been drawn. A lot. But when I changed the pose around a bit, put him in the corner and threw a spotlight on him, the newer sketch just clicked for some reason that I couldn't figure out then. I drew it on standard comic-size Bristol board and made it even better than the sketch. No, it's not a great picture by any means, but there was just something that looks so ill about it. The best thing is that other people agreed. The people that wanted to see Nutroll again really dug it and that inspired me to redraw an older picture of him, which people liked even more. The 2nd picture, crammed full of even goofier versions of Nutroll emerging from a giant Nutroll head, got the character a little more attention. The creepiness of the padded cell pic and the hectic panic of the second one pretty much cemented the tone of the character and ideas for his backstory.
|TO BE CONTINUED! (As if anyone cares)
Nutroll, Inborn Correctional Institute, Dr. Sakimoto, Mandy Kin and all related characters © 2004 James Beaver. All characters used with permission because, well, I made them up myself.