Buzz the Brat

At some point after my fairly insignificant first webcomic, I started thinking up another comic that I wanted to do. My initial idea was to have it center around two kids, a boy and a girl, who lived in neighboring houses after one of their families – I forget which one – had just moved in. It was to have an extended cast featuring the kids’ parents and siblings, all of whom were going to have very distinct personalities and unique interpersonal relationships (their dads, for example, were going to hate each others’ guts for reasons I no longer remember).

I made two or three strips introducing roughly half the cast, before scrapping this version of the comic in favor of a much more ambitious one. This comic, I thought, was going to be so much more than a simple newspaper strip style comic. It would be so much better drawn than anything I had ever done before – dang it, I was gonna practice hard to make that possible – and it would feature a large cast of well rounded, complex characters, and it was going to lend itself well both to hilarious short gags as well as more dramatic storylines, and it was going to be presented in a unique format that would fully accommodate my vision, and it would be updated in chunks of pages at a time, pages showcasing the different aspects of the comic, and, and…

…and I ended up getting exhausted just thinking about it. This was never gonna work. So I created Badass Brat instead.

The first Badass Brat strip went online in November 2005

Badass Brat was even less complicated than my original version of my cancelled project. The premise: A little boy drives his family crazy with his horrid behavior. Growing up, I’d always loved comics about bratty kids doing bratty things – from The Katzenjammer Kids to Calvin & Hobbes (though the latter example obviously has more to it than just a bratty kid, including concepts and topics I didn’t fully understand as a kid), I couldn’t get enough of troublemaking little jerks. So why even try to make my own comic about anything more than that?

Buzz suffers the consequences of his actions seen in the first strip. Then his dad suffers the consequences of letting his son suffer the consequences of his actions.

The cast consisted of bratty protagonist Buzz Badass, goody two shoes little sister Buffy, temperamental and hard-hitting big sister Becca, and their ever-suffering parents Ben and Bev. While I would occasionally do gags or storylines centered around the other family members, the main focus of the comic was always Buzz.

Buzz had one reason, and one reason only to exist: To annoy, torment, and otherwise be a total jerk to everyone in his family. He was not much of a multiple dimensional character, but he was fun to write for. Any little thing he could do, any little jab he could make, he would jump on the chance with no hesitation.

Buzz only had one daily goal.

Badass Brat saw its first strip online November 14th, 2005. I used one of the several free hosting services specifically for webcomics that had appeared on the net at some point in the years following my first attempt at presenting a comic online. In the first few months of its life, Badass Brat was updated with a new comic strip five days a week. Which meant that – weekends aside – I would force myself to have a new strip ready every single day, regardless of how my day-to-day life might otherwise play out. Let’s just say there were quite a few strips made during this period that didn’t exactly turn out wonderful.

It didn’t take very long before I switched to a schedule of three updates per week (mon/wed/fri) which I believe I stuck to for about a year (summer break aside), before I finally went for the dreaded “I’ll update whenever I feel like it” schedule. In the years that followed, Badass Brat could at any time see new updates several days in a row, or go several months without any new content whatsoever. I guess I wasn’t the most disciplined webcomic creator out there. In retrospect, I’m amazed I had any readers left by the time the last few Badass Brat strips went online in late 2010.

Badass Brat strip from February of 2006.

One thing I feel is worth noting is the fact that it was during Badass Brat – in fact, quite early on in the comic’s run – that I switched from drawing on cheap paper to drawing using a cheap Wacom tablet (which I kept using right up to summer 2014, at which point I switched to a more expensive and far better Wacom model near the end of Twice the Triplets‘ first year).

At first, I really had no idea what I was doing with the thing and the earliest strips I made with it were so grotesque looking that I can not in good conscience display them here. Having said that, some of the later comics weren’t all that bad. I closed down the original Badass Brat website a few years ago, but I’ve since reposted around 30 strips from the period of 2007-2011 (including some that were remakes of earlier strips, as well as a handful of completely new ones that were never posted on the original site) right here. The strip titled “Buzzland 3” is noteworthy for being the last Badass Brat comic I ever drew.

However! That was not my last time drawing these characters. As recently as last year, I was toying with the idea of maybe doing a reboot of Badass Brat at some point, and I ended up creating some updated designs of the characters. Now, I doubt this reboot will ever actually happen, but it was fun to briefly revisit these characters and see what they might have looked like had I created their comic today.

The family Badass, as of March 2016.

So why did I end – or, more accurately, abandon – Badass Brat? To be honest, I’m not exactly sure. Maybe I felt restrained by the format. Maybe I felt I had done all I could do with the characters. Maybe I wanted to move on to something new. Or maybe I just got lazy. Whatever the case, I had done over 300 strips when all was said and done. Surely a step up from the handful of strips I’d done for my first webcomic. And yet, my next webcomic would be more ambitious.

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