Tyler Martin is no newbie when it comes to comics. Martin spent most of his time in high school in the art room. Whether it was lunch or one of the several made-up elective art classes he has had. Later, the self-taught artist and graphic designer started working in advertising and posting his digital art on the Web in the late nineties, creating a fairly popular site that had cartoon versions of rock bands. More projects followed but eventually, Martin found himself developing platforms and websites for publishing comics rather than creating them.
As time went by, however, he couldn’t help but feel that something was missing. An outlet. Even though he wasn’t producing comics, ideas kept swirling around in his head, begging the artist to let them loose. So Martin made a comeback. He reintroduced Wally and Osborne, a series about a lost polar bear that winds up in Antarctica and befriends a penguin and created Puddlemunch.
“Being much less restrictive than Wally and Osborne, Puddlemunch gives me the freedom to pretty much create any ridiculous scenario that pops into my mind,” Martin told Bored Panda. These short strips perfectly show just how good of a storyteller Martin really is. Using only four panels to tell a joke, he develops interesting characters and surprising plots, all while reflecting the humorous world we live in.
“[With Puddlemunch], I poke fun at the levels of complexity we add to our otherwise simple existence,” Martin explained the idea behind the series where animals make their appearances, too. “We are silly and we know it. We also have some dark realities: if we don’t laugh, we’ll cry.”
As you might’ve seen, Puddlemunch has quite a few recurring characters. The artist joked that one day he may like them enough to actually name them. “The rabbit and bear kind of started it all so the two of them are close to my heart and will continue to show up,” Martin reassured. “I’m envious of the rabbit’s ability to live for the moment and by emotion and impulsiveness, but I play it too safe for that. We all need a bear in our life to keep us in line with a reality check.”
Then there’s the bald, yellow-shirt guy. “He is fun, just for the horrible things that happen to him and I can sometimes relate to being too passive in such a competitive world. Toby and his mustached dad are the dark-humored side of parenting that I have experienced as both a child and a parent.” More is also planned for the extremist raccoon and his ‘do what you gotta do’ attitude.
“A lot of people like the twisted-conscience robber guy as well, I’ll bring him back at some point.”
If anything is certain, it’s that Tyler hasn’t lost his artistic touch. Even though there had been a hiatus in his career as a comics creator, he resumed things right where he had left them — exposing the peculiar and the mundane through absurd humor.