Too Much Coffee Man

Last updated

Too Much Coffee Man
Tmcm inhell.jpg
Too Much Coffee Man
Art by Shannon Wheeler.
Publication information
Publisher Adhesive Comics (1993–2005)
Dark Horse Comics (1994–2011)
Boom Studios (2012)
First appearance Too Much Coffee Man Minicomic (1991)
Created by Shannon Wheeler
In-story information
SpeciesHuman?
Place of originCoffee shops and apartments on Earth
PartnershipsToo Much Espresso Guy
Too Much German White Chocolate Woman With Almonds
Underwater Guy
Mystery Woman
Abilities Existentialist debater
Too Much Coffee Man
Series publication information
ScheduleIrregular
Format Ongoing series
Genre Independent
Publication date(Adhesive Comics)
July  1993  – Feb.  2005
Number of issues20
Main character(s)Too Much Coffee Man
Creative team
Writer(s) Shannon Wheeler
Artist(s) Shannon Wheeler
Collected editions
Too Much Coffee Man Omnibus Plus ISBN   9781506704029
Too Much Coffee Man: Cutie Island and Other Stories ISBN   9781608860982

Too Much Coffee Man (TMCM) is an American satirical superhero created by cartoonist Shannon Wheeler. Too Much Coffee Man wears what appears to be a spandex version of old-fashioned red "long johns" with a large mug attached atop his head. He is an anxious Everyman who broods about the state of the world, from politics to people, exchanging thoughts with friends and readers.

Contents

The strip is most often presented as a single page in alternative press newspapers, though occasionally the story arc stretches into multi-page stories. TMCM has appeared in comic strips, minicomics, webcomics, comic books, magazines, books, and operas. The Too Much Coffee Man comic book won the 1995 Eisner Award for Best New Series. [1]

Publication history

Creation

Too Much Coffee Man first appeared in 1991, in the Too Much Coffee Man Minicomic , as a self-promotion for Wheeler's book Children with Glue (Blackbird Comics, 1991). The minicomics, which appeared in many different formats, even one issued as a one-inch square, were self-published, photocopied, and handmade by Wheeler in initial runs of 300 black-and-white copies.

Wheeler said he created Too Much Coffee Man to make more accessible themes he had begun in a college newspaper. He said in 2011:

In 1991, I drew an autobiographical cartoon for The Daily Texan with themes of alienation and loneliness. When I described it, people's eyes glazed over. As a cheap gag, I started Too Much Coffee Man. I still address the same themes, except now there's coffee. People like coffee. [2]

Newspaper strip

Too Much Coffee Man started as a one-page ongoing strip running in The Daily Texan in 1991. Over time, it became syndicated to a number of alternative weeklies throughout the U.S.

With the January 23, 2006, installment, the "Too Much Coffee Man" strip was retitled "How to Be Happy, with Too Much Coffee Man". [3] On February 6, 2006, the title was simplified to "How to Be Happy", and Too Much Coffee Man did not appear in the strip again until January 21, 2008.[ citation needed ]

Comics

Solo title

Wheeler published four issues of the Too Much Coffee Man minicomic in 1991–1992.

Wheeler self-published the Too Much Coffee Man comic book via Adhesive Comics between 1993 and 2005. The first five issues were dated from July 1993 to February 1996. These were followed by three annual issues of Too Much Coffee Man's Color Special from 1996 to 1998. In July 1998, Adhesive released Too Much Coffee Man No. 8, thus skipping issues No. 6 and 7. After issue No. 10 (Dec. 2000), the comic became Too Much Coffee Man Magazine, featuring stories, articles, and reviews alongside TMCM material.

Appearances in other titles

Too Much Coffee Man strips appeared in the Austin, Texas-based anthology, Jab issues #1–4 and No. 6, published by Wheeler's own imprint Adhesive Comics from 1992 to 1995.

In 1994 TMCM appeared in the independent anthology Hands Off!, published by Washington Citizens for Fairness.

From 1994 to 1996, Too Much Coffee Man stories ran in the Dark Horse Comics anthology series Dark Horse Presents , in issues #92–95, and #100–111. Dark Horse collected all the TMCM stories from Dark Horse Presents in the 1997 special Too Much Coffee Man "Saves the Universe". [4]

1997 was a banner year for Too Much Coffee Man, with stories in the SPX: Small Press Expo anthology, Caliber Press's Negative Burn No. 50, the Head Press anthology No Justice, No Piece!, and the trade paperback Wake Up and Smell the Cartoons of Shannon Wheeler, published by Mojo Press.

In 1998, TMCM stories were printed in Oni Double Feature No. 2 and Judge Dredd Megazine vol. 3, No. 41.

From 1999 to 2002, Too Much Coffee Man stories ran in the Dark Horse Comics anthology series Dark Horse Extra , in issues No. 8, 10–13, 41–43, and 48.

In 2011, TMCM appeared in the Madman 20th Anniversary Monster!, published by Image Comics, and War of the Independents No. 1, published by Red Anvil.

In 2013, TMCM was featured in a three-issue how-to guide on submitting comics to the digital comics platform ComiXology. In 2014, TMCM stories appeared in BANG! The Entertainment Paper #7–8.

Online

With the earnings from a Converse shoe commercial, Wheeler purchased a computer, launched his website tmcm.com on December 7, 1995, [5] and began posting his comics online. He continues to post new and newly colored Too Much Coffee Man cartoons on his website every week.

Plot and characters

Through multi-layered narratives, the comic explores issues of politics and the toils of urban society, often through the lens of the comics scene and coffee shop culture. In addition to the titular character, the creator of the strip often appears as a character, as does a "reader" character. [6]

Too Much Coffee Man — Although he spends most time in his apartment or at the local coffee shop debating with his often pessimistic cohorts, Too Much Coffee Man is capable of going into a "manic paranoid frenzy" in combat, allowing him to pulverize opponents. He gains his amazing powers from coffee and cigarettes – he distills his extra potent espresso mix [7] in a secret laboratory above the coffee shop. TMCM rarely sleeps and his nerves are shot from an excess of caffeine. He has also been in outer space and in a U.S. prison. Visually, the character is a parody of superheroes, which since their inception have been colloquially referred to by industry professionals as "long-underwear characters". Too Much Coffee Man wears literal long underwear, dressing in what appears to be a spandex version of old-fashioned red "long johns" (full-body underwear with a buttoned flap on the back for bodily functions) with a large mug attached atop his head; it remains unclear whether he is wearing it or whether it is physically part of him.

Too Much Espresso Guy — Too Much Coffee Man's cynical friend. The espresso cup atop his head is strapped on in an obvious way.

Too Much German White Chocolate Woman With Almonds — their mutual friend. She is pale-skinned, worries a lot, and has large almonds on her face.

Underwater Guy — another mutual friend, who wears a wetsuit with a diving snorkel and mask.

Mystery Woman — Too Much Coffee Man's secret love.

Trademark Copyright Man — Too Much Coffee Man's archenemy.

Collected editions

In other media

Television

In 1994, Converse shoe company licensed the rights to use Too Much Coffee Man for a 15-second commercial spot, first airing during a Saturday Night Live episode. The character has also been used in advertising for Hewlett-Packard.[ citation needed ] Marvel Comics and the cable television network Comedy Central were developing a potential animated series or special with the production company Nelvana in 2000 and 2001. However, the project was abandoned after both Wheeler and Comedy Central agreed that the script lacked quality. [9]

Music

In 2000, jazz musician Bob Dorough recorded a CD entitled Too Much Coffee Man. The character appears on the cover, drawn by Shannon Wheeler, and there is a title track (originally intended to be music for an animated series based on the character) as well as a cover of the Richard Miles composition "The Coffee Song". [10]

Opera

The Too Much Coffee Man Opera appeared on stage for the first time in 2006. Wheeler, fellow cartoonist Damian Willcox, and composer Daniel Steven Crafts adapted the strip into an opera. Too Much Coffee Man Opera debuted at Brunish Hall at the Center for Performing Arts in Portland, Oregon, on September 22, 2006. [11] A sample performance, which preceded the debut, was given at the Opera America convention in Seattle, Washington. [12] Wheeler later teamed with Portland-based comic Carolyn Main to write a second act. This new, extended version, dubbed Too Much Coffee Man: The Refill, debuted again at Brunish Hall in April 2008. [13]

Related Research Articles

Frank Miller (comics) American writer, artist, film director; known for comics books and graphic novels

Frank Miller is an American comic book writer, penciller and inker, novelist, screenwriter, film director, and producer best known for his comic book stories and graphic novels such as Daredevil: Born Again, The Dark Knight Returns, Sin City, and 300.

Hellboy Comic book superhero

Hellboy is a fictional superhero created by writer-artist Mike Mignola. The character first appeared in San Diego Comic-Con Comics #2, and has since appeared in various eponymous miniseries, one-shots and intercompany crossovers. The character has been adapted into three live-action feature films. Two starring Ron Perlman in 2004 and 2008 in the title role, and one in 2019 which starred David Harbour, as well as two straight-to-DVD animated films, and three video games – Asylum Seeker, The Science of Evil, and as a playable character in Injustice 2.

Russ Manning

Russell George Manning was an American comic book artist who created the series Magnus, Robot Fighter and illustrated such newspaper comic strips as Tarzan and Star Wars. He was inducted into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 2006.

<i>Dark Horse Presents</i>

Dark Horse Presents was a comic book published by American company Dark Horse Comics from 1986. Their first published series, it was their flagship title until its September 2000 cancellation. The second incarnation was published on MySpace, running from July 2007 until August 2010. A third incarnation began in April 2011, released in print form once again.

<i>Flaming Carrot Comics</i>

Flaming Carrot Comics is a comic book series by cartoonist Bob Burden. The title character first appeared in Visions #1, a magazine published by the Atlanta Fantasy Fair in 1979. Flaming Carrot can be seen as a parody of various aspects of the superhero genre. Burden refers to the character as "the World's first surrealist superhero!" Flaming Carrot is often noted for his distinctive exclamation "Ut!" Flaming Carrot adventures have been published by Aardvark-Vanaheim, Renegade Press, Dark Horse Comics, and Image Comics, among others. He has guest-starred and made cameos in comics published by Fantagraphics, Mirage Studios, Atomeka Press, and others.

Cayetano Garza

Cayetano 'Cat' Garza is a comic artist, cartoonist, illustrator, and musician in the United States. He is best known for his experiments with webcomics.

Shannon Wheeler

Shannon Wheeler is an American cartoonist, best known as a cartoonist for The New Yorker and for creating the satirical superhero Too Much Coffee Man.

Mitch Andrew Clem is an American cartoonist best known for his web comics Nothing Nice To Say, San Antonio Rock City, and My Stupid Life.

Geof Darrow American comic artist

Geofrey "Geof" Darrow is an American comic book artist, best known for his work on comic series Shaolin Cowboy, Hard Boiled and The Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot, which was adapted into an animated television series of the same name, as well as his contributions to The Matrix series of films. Darrow's approach to comics and art has been cited as an influence by a multitude of artists including Peter Chung, Frank Quitely, Seth Fisher, Eric Powell, Frank Cho, Juan José Ryp, James Stokoe, Chris Burnham, Aaron Kuder, Nick Pitarra, and others.

<i>Little Annie Fanny</i>

Little Annie Fanny is a comics series by Harvey Kurtzman and Will Elder. It appeared in 107 two- to seven-page episodes in Playboy magazine from October 1962 to September 1988. Little Annie Fanny is a humorous satire of contemporary American society and its sexual mores. Annie Fanny, the title character, is a statuesque, buxom young blonde woman who innocently finds herself nude in every episode. The series is notable for its painted, luminous color artwork and for being the first full-scale, multi-page comics feature in a major American publication.

Campbell ("Cam") Kennedy is a Scottish comics artist. He is best known for his work on 2000 AD, especially the flagship titles Judge Dredd and Rogue Trooper.

Dave Stevens

Dave Lee Stevens was an American illustrator and comics artist. He was most famous for creating The Rocketeer comic book and film character, and for his pin-up style "glamour art" illustrations, especially of model Bettie Page. He was the first to win Comic-Con International's Russ Manning Most Promising Newcomer Award in 1982, and received both an Inkpot Award and the Kirby Award for Best Graphic Album in 1986.

Terry LaBan

Terry LaBan is an alternative/underground cartoonist and newspaper comic strip artist. He is known for his comic book series Cud, and his syndicated strip Edge City, created with his wife, Patty LaBan, a couples and family therapist.

Jesse Reklaw

Jesse Reklaw is an American cartoonist and painter, author of the syndicated dream-based comic strip Slow Wave.

Tarzan in comics

Tarzan, a fictional character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, first appeared in the 1912 novel Tarzan of the Apes, and then in 23 sequels. The character proved immensely popular and quickly made the jump to other media, including comics.

The Masters of the Universe media franchise has appeared in several comic book series. Most were small publications, which were included as bonuses with action figures. Standalone comic-book series were also published by DC, Marvel Comics, London Edition Magazines and Image Comics.

Michael DeForge

Michael DeForge is a Canadian comics artist and illustrator.

Zavier Leslie Cabarga, popularly known as Leslie Cabarga, is an American author, illustrator, cartoonist, animator, font designer, and publication designer. A participant in the underground comix movement in the early 1970s, he has since gone on to write and/or edit over 40 books. His art style evokes images from the 1920s and 1930s, and over the years Cabarga has created many products associated with Betty Boop. His book The Fleischer Story in the Golden Age of Animation, originally published in 1976, has become the authoritative history of the Fleischer Studios.

Scribbly the Boy Cartoonist American DC Comics character

Scribbly the Boy Cartoonist is a comic book character created in 1936 by Sheldon Mayer, first appearing in Dell Comics and then moving to All-American Publications. Scribbly Jibbet is a semi-autobiographical character, presenting the adventures of a young man starting out in the cartooning business, and working for the Morning Dispatch newspaper. His stories were told around the Golden Age era, when American Comic Books were primarily anthologies telling more than one story in a magazine issue. Scribbly first appeared in the Popular Comics series, and then appeared in All-American Comics from 1939 to 1944. He was then revived in his own series, Scribbly, from 1948 to 1952.

Classic Star Wars is a series of various classic Star Wars comics reprinted by Dark Horse Comics between 1992 and 1996. It notably includes compilations of the weekly newspaper Star Wars comic strips written by Archie Goodwin and illustrated by Al Williamson; these were published as 20 single issues between 1992 and 1994 with new cover art by Williamson and others, and collected as three trade paperbacks between 1994 and 1996. While originally achromatic, these comics were colorized for the Dark Horse reprints.

References

  1. "1995 Eisner Awards: For works published in 1994". Comic-Con.org. Archived from the original on April 27, 2011. Retrieved September 23, 2011.
  2. "Shannon Wheeler: 'Funny and Tragic is Funnier Than Funny'". The New Yorker: The Cartoon Bank Blog. March 15, 2011. Archived from the original on September 23, 2011. Retrieved September 23, 2011.
  3. Wheeler, Shannon. "Too Much Coffee Man official site".
  4. "Too Much Coffee Man Special". Dark Horse Comic's official site. Retrieved April 28, 2012.
  5. "Review and Analysis of tmcm.com". Server insiders. Archived from the original on March 24, 2012. Retrieved April 28, 2012.
  6. Medsker, Joshua. "Too Much Coffee Man's Shannon Wheeler," Twenty-Four Hour zine (September 9, 2011).
  7. Wheeler entry, Lambiek Comiclopedia. Retrieved February 22, 2015.
  8. Lannamann, Ned. "Jitters, Caffeine, and Otherwise: Too Much Coffee Man's Massive Retrospective". The Portland Mercury (September 15, 2011).
  9. Tom Waters (August 16, 2002). "Shannon Wheeler and The Slow Roasted Death Star: An interview with the creator of Too Much Coffee Man!". Acid logic. Retrieved April 28, 2012.
  10. "Bob Dorough: Too Much Coffee Man". All About Jazz.
  11. Joseph Gallivan (September 29, 2006). "Coffee fan tutti: Caffeinated comic character goes to the opera". Portland Tribune . Retrieved April 28, 2012.
  12. Warmoth, Brian (April 2, 2007). "Wearing the Cup". Wizard. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007.
  13. Rick Marshall (March 19, 2008). "'Too Much Coffee Man' Opera Gets a Sequel". Comic Mix. Retrieved April 28, 2012.

Interviews