Usually the cover art is the last thing that I do in making a comic book. This time though, it is the first. I had a clear image of what I wanted.
It is very Todd McFarlane Spider-Man/Venom inspired, which is intentional. Dr. Stalker’s quest is to drag my naive and innocent hero into the dark. He is a metaphor for the evil within each of us—for the dark voices whispering in all our minds.
I am having technical problems with my website. I am having trouble getting issue 13 to show up in the links bar like issues 1-12 do. Nonetheless, issue 13 is now live and can be found at
This new comic features our first ever guest cover artist, the amazing Jack Brinatte of Metropolis Grafix. He has been a hero of mine for many years. Artist, professional wrestler, and real life superhero, Jack is a great man and an even greater cover artist.
Man it has been a long and rough past month. Everyone in my family has been battling hard with cold and flu season. It caused me to sign up for and then flake out on a yearly tradition.
There is an online community for webcomic creators, Webcomics Underdogs. Look for them on Facebook and/or Discord. I’ve been on the fringes of the group for around eight years now but I don’t participate much. With my latest attempts to push Staff-Master to as many readers as possible though, I decided to get involved.
Then people got sick and I dropped the ball. Le’ sigh.
I was matched up with a longtime legend in the webcomic community, @HjelsYells. I don’t know the creator very well, but I remember reading their stuff years ago and being impressed.
Another piece of art I’d like to share while I’m home sick is one that I did last week. It is not a Staff-Master character, but it does share some behind the scenes connections, specificity an alternate universe version of the character Big Ed and his bar.
As some of you know, many years ago I was a small time professional wrestler. Back when I was training, I used Vampire: the Masquerade LARP as a testing ground and confidence builder in creating my wrestling persona. In both cases it was an adaptation of the Dungeons & Dragons character that I created for my 18th birthday. What I created was my signature character in both those mediums—the Freak.
Within the confines of Vampire: the Masquerade, Freak was a Malkavian (one of the insane vampires). He had served for the Union army during the American Civil war. Childhood abuse and an antisocial streak had him sympathizing with the plight of the enslaved and working to save as many of them as he could.
After the war, his story mirrors the real life story of professional wrestling. It started with soldiers wrestling in camps and evolved into traveling carnival style shows featuring supposedly legit competition.
The Freak played a bloodthirsty bad guy, and this fiction impressed a Sabbat Malkavian that kidnapped and embraced the wrestler. This insane Sire didn’t count on Freak’s self-destructive streak however, and a fight left behind a dead Sire and a burning building. Freak only survived because the widow woman living in the house pulled him out of the fire.
Lost in a frenzy, Freak nearly killed the woman for her good deed. Horrified, the Freak saved her life by Embracing her, making her a vampire too.
For most of the following century Freak and his childe wandered the world, using professional wrestling as a cover for an obsessive quest to battle the Sabbat wherever and whenever they could find them.
Pro wrestling provides the perfect metaphor for the Freak’s Malkavian derangement. He has problems telling reality apart from fiction. Fact and fantasy blend together in his mind, painting him as the protagonist in a strange and confusing world.
Eventually, the Freak’s childe tired of the ongoing violence and she left her Sire, deeply scarring them both with abandonment issues.
Over the course of two or three LARPS and several online games, story events built out the characters backstory. As part of the Primogen, he helped build up a strong Domain in Des Moines, only to dramatically turn his back on it all and join the Anarchs
He went out to California to learn from more established Anarchs. This is the strongest part of his history, having been played out in video chat games with the amazing B. Dave Walter’s.
Anywho, the Freak continues to be my signature character. I’m very tempted to do a webcomic detailing his ongoing adventures, but that would take time away from Staff-Master. I enjoy drawing him though, in part because he is probably the most demented Mary Sue ever made. Lol
Another cold is tearing itself through my household. Lizzy and Thorne have been coughing for quite awhile now. I’ve been getting progressively worse this week to the point that I called in today to get us all to the doctor.
Our misery is your bonus though. Since I’m not at work, I had time to make an unplanned post here at Staff-Master.com. Let’s share some art!
Here is a section of page 1 that I thought turned out really nice and yet does not really spoil anything. Call it a teaser!
It is Monday morning as I write this. Yesterday while doing laundry I scripted and laid out issue 13 of The Immortal Staff-Master. I thought I would give you all a glimpse behind the scenes at that work.
First, scripting and laying out the pages is my least favorite part of the creative process. This might be because I am adapting the current material from a book I wrote years ago, so it just doesn’t feel CREATIVE.
It actually is though. I am modifying the story details in tiny ways, seeding future ideas that were not a part of the original novel. But it’s not always fun looking at a section of text and deciding what to include, what is too wordy for a comic, and what would make the perfect cliffhanger to end the issue on. Trying to fit this into exactly 21 or 22 pages per issue—which is my own challenge to myself—is sometimes a special level of hell.
It is such a relief to be finished with this scripting process yet again. I find the drawing far more satisfying.
As you can see, I have a new website to promote and distribute my comic work. As an extra bonus, the site’s launch comes the exclusive release of issue 12. The superhero thrills and horror held within has never hit the internet until now.
We are entering the Age of Staff-Master! All 12 of the first issues are now free and available here. Each issue is a PDF file containing 22+ pages of superhero action, written and drawn by myself.
Many more issues are on the way! The current plot line started in issue 10 adapts my second novel Staff-Master & Duster. As you can see from issue 12, things are about to get dark. In upcoming issues our goody goody blue-shoes superhero Staff-Master will be facing some real Darkness, both within the world and within his own soul.
Bookmark Staff-Master.com and keep an eye on this space. Read my work and leave comments! And most important of all, enjoy.
Today I got a bonus from my day job. I have decided to use some of it to invest in my comic work. I’ve been considering this for many moons, but website hosting fees have perpetually been out of my reach. Now though…
Now, it is my pleasure to introduce you to Staff-Master.com. In addition to some more typical blog stuff, I will also be posting past and future issues of Staff-Master here free of charge!
It is my hopes that this will bring in more readers and more interaction.
The Immortal Staff-Master is an ongoing webcomic about superheroes in the unlikely setting of Des Moines, Iowa. Copyright Ross Griswold 2022