Interview: Artist Ed Luce Schools Me on his Comic The Wuvable Oaf

by Accidental Bear

Ed Luce the artist and writer of the luvable Wuvable Oaf comics just schooled me in The Wuvable Oaf’s history and was patient to give me a crash course in Wuvable Oaf 101. Now I will be abundantly ready to rub elbows with and chuckle about good ole’ issues #1 & #2 with Wuvable Oaf super fans tomorrow night at the release party for issue #3 in San Francisco’s Mission District. In anticipation I will have the Pointer Sister’s hit “I’m so Excited” on repeat for the next 24 hours.

Ed Luce’s first comic book project, Wuvable Oaf is a “fairy” tale chronicling one big, scary lookin’ dude’s search for cute little “mans” in a city that looks suspiciously like San Francisco.

The Oaf has also made appearances in the UK’s Gay Times Magazine, Italy’s PISSZINEInstinct MagazineWhite Crane Journal, Prism Comics 2008 Guideand on the chests of hunky dudes n’ sassy ladies all over the world, in the form of his very own t-shirts.

While currently pouring his energy into the comics world, Ed also leaves a lengthy trail of art debris behind him, including recent published features in Bearflavouredartists’ catalog and LA gay men’s health magazine Corpus. His paintings have been exhibited in galleries, museums, store windows and bathrooms from San Diego to Buffalo to Paris.

San Francisco Wuvable Oaf #3 Release Party!  

Friday, July 29th from 7-9 PM
Goteblüd, 766 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
Signing and Wuvable Oaf Art Exhibition Reception with Ed
plus the debut of a new “Wuvable Oaf” print!

Accidental Bear’s Mike Enders & The Wuvable Oaf creator Ed Luce bear-rake it down for you (Get it? Break it down? Oh, just read the damn interview):

Accidental Bear: Wuvable Oaf is such a  cuddly name. Was that the intention behind naming him that?

Ed Luce: Wow…after three years of comics and shirts, no one has ever asked me that!  Well, at first it was just meant as a commentary on the character’s speech pattern, which I imagined to be mildly baby talkish.  In a deep bass tone, of course.  But as the comic evolved, it also made sense as a unique name, easily searchable on the web.

A B: Where was your energy going to before the creation on the Oaf?

Ed: I was a painter for nearly ten years before the Oaf was ever born.  In some ways, he’s an extension of that work, in a different format and genre.   My work was already very cartoony, using bits and pieces from Popeye, Sluggo of Nancy, He-man and G.I. Joe in a sort of smorgasbord of hyper-masculinity.  The Oaf sprung directly out of that soup, moving from the canvas to the page pretty effortlessly.

A B: The release for Wuvable Oaf is this Friday the 29th. How old is the Oaf since you first put him on paper?

Ed: The first time the character appeared with that name above his head was in a paper doll design I did for a theme show at the Trunk Space Gallery in Phoenix.  I believe it was fall of 2006, so he’ll technically be five years old this fall!   The shirt appeared one year later, followed by the first comic in the summer of 2008.

A B: Could you give a quick rundown of what someone might expect if they are picking up The Wuvable oaf for the first time?

Ed: I’ve toyed around with many descriptions over the years…none of which ever really work for me.  Lately, I’ve been calling it “the gay comic for everyone else”, somewhat jokingly.  I feel it’s from an undeniably queer perspective but is written and constructed to be all-inclusive.  I don’t shy away from the gay, anyone that has ever seen the book can testify to that.  But I try to speak in terms, both visually and textually, that don’t alienate any one group from appreciating the narrative.  I feel I achieve that easily enough with an absence of explicit sex scenes.  It’s important to me that hetero folks identify with the Oaf and his pals too, and I think boners don’t always work well in that capacity.  But otherwise, it’s ostensibly a love story, about someone who thinks he’s impossible to love.

A B: From issue #1 to the release of issue #3 coming out soon, what are some notable differences?

Ed: Story, for sure.  The first issue of Oaf is a character study, a series of vignettes, rather that a concise narrative.  I feel that kicks in at the very end of that issue and continues through the various minis I’ve released to the current #3.  I’ve definitely gotten more feedback about the narrative this time and how the characters are starting to flesh out some.  It’s high praise for me, as I tend to think of myself as an artist first and a writer last.

A B: I was just laughing, literally out load ( LLOL) after reading Wuvable Oaf Bio on Facebook:” I am a very big oafish type guy. I have a very big heart and very big hands and a very VERY BIG…bed. But it’s empty all the time (cept for the kitties). So I guess I’m looking for somebody to share it with (kitties be damned).” He also is a Kitten Philanthropist / Doll Maker. Sounds like my kind of man.

Ed: And as we discovered in issue #3…that’s not all he’s done!

A B:  Are you influenced by our bear community here in San Francisco?

Ed: I’d say my personal experience with the bear community in general has provided a rich well for me to draw from, pun intended.   Certainly several of my personal dating experiences have been amplified and exaggerated for effect in the storylines.  And more than a few individuals are caricatured in the pages, both in the main characters and background shots.

A B:  If you made up a Bear Villain character, what would his name be and what would their strengths  or powers?

Ed: I have already!  His name is Eezie…he’s the Unwuvable Oaf from the “Muddy Buddy” special that came out last year.  He is truly the antithesis of the Oaf, using his physicality to take advantage of others.  I haven’t used him too much but I have plans for him to come into conflict with Oaf in the future!  His powers are his sonorous voice (he’s the lead singer in a band called Sphincterine) and his ability to muddy up everybuddy…

A B: How much of you is in The Wuvable Oaf? You can tell me.

Ed: The Oaf is definitely me on the inside…and his love interest Eiffel is me on the outside, plus some of my less charming personality traits.  So when (or if) they get together, it’ll be a sort of conceptual self-portrait.

A B:  Do you enjoy working on collaborations with other artists or do you prefer flying solo?

Ed: I take delight in asking other artists to draw their rendition of my characters in pin-ups.  Since the Oaf has such a specific look, it’s fun to see how other people interpret the eyes, say…or draw his hair pattern.  Tom Neely (The Blot, The Wolf, Henry & Glenn Forever), Skinner (creator of dozens of murals, paintings, masks and general mayhem), John Murasky (of Fat Free Comics) and Robert Kirby (Curbside, Boy Trouble, THREE) have all done great versions of my creations, among many others.

I should mention the only outside comic work I’ve done, paintings for a group show based on Igloo Tornado’s Henry & Glenn Forever comic, was a real hoot.  I’ve loved Henry Rollins and Glenn Danzig‘s music for years and I think I lent my own special brand of gayness to the two paintings I contributed.  But mostly, I’m into the Oafiverse alone.

I haven’t really worked with many other writers either, save my occasional collaborator Matt Wobensmith.  He always insists on writing his character, Smusherrrr.  I appreciate his perspective; his thematics tend to be even darker and more messed up than mine, which provides an excellent challenge for me as an artist.

Thanks for playing you big Oaf! See you Friday night!

For more information regarding  Oaf stuff:

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