The Force of the Grandma

Epic 15 page comic featuring the two anti-heroes Stalin & Pudgee, drawn by a good friend and myself. It is mostly plain wrong, absurd and ridiculous but it was good enough to reach the finals of a Dutch national art contest.

June 1997


Somewhere in 1997 I spent a lot of time drawing with a close friend. Actually, we had been drawing for years, but always on seperate drawings. Mostly, absurd monsters and robots and landscapes but later also one page comics. None of them survived. Except this one.

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How it came about

At some point we decided to create a joined comic with an actual story. It featured two detectives Stalin & Pudgee. Pudgee was inspired by a guest on The Ricki Lake Show (a shout-and-fight discussion show which were popular at the time). A meaty person showed up and everyone called him The Pudge. This character would stick with me for a while and the name ThePudge would become my internet handle for years to come. Stalin, of course, was inspired by the bushy bushy dictator.

We wrote the story haphazardly in semi-English, semi-Dutch with some French, German and Spanish and several spelling mistakes. When we were almost finished, my friend told me about a national art contest called De Kunstbende. You could send in your work in categories such as video, installation art, sculpture and everything goes. We decided to name our comic Force Of The Grandma to fit the theme of that year (strength) and sent it in.

Because we were certain that our humble submission would be far from what could be called art, I suggested to add a blue abrasive sponge in the envelope. And with success. We ended up top of our region and were allowed to compete in the national finals.

There, we we lost miserably and the judges never even glanced at our submission. Art prevailed. But we had fun.


Looking back, I knew then and know now that my drawing skills lacked compared to my friend's. Also, the mild disdain we showed towards art was what I really meant at the time. Art felt pretentious and fake. Thinking should become before feeling. However, in the end what we did was not really thought through at all. It would take some years before that realization would sink in.