Back in 2005, I was in a Cartooning class where a bunch of my classmates and I were going to make a story about a group of vikings that each of us individually designed, who were working together to defeat an invading Samurai clan called the “Bloodsport.” But before we made that comic, we decided to make individual comics about each person’s viking character.
I knew I wanted to name the character “Biff,” and one of my classmates jokingly asked if his last name was “Jerky,” as in, “beef jerky.” I laughed and decided, yes. Yes it was. And he was a lumberjack before his life was destroyed.
My original illustrations for the character included an eyepatch, so I figured explaining what happened to Biff’s eye would be an interesting background story. Biff’s wife was named “Ceria” after the character from the webcomic Oriyan! by Celeste Smith and Jessica Hymas. And everything else was just sort of made up as I went along.
(In hindsight, 15 years later, yes, I understand that having a bunch of Caucasian folk fighting against stereotypical foreign invaders is incredibly problematic. And Ceria absolutely falls into the “women in refrigerators” trope. Both are very much products of me being a middle-class white male growing up in America. I’ve grown and learned a lot since 2005, but I’m still proud of this artwork, which is why it continues to stay on my website.)
I don’t think anybody else ever got around to finishing their viking’s background comic, and we definitely never got around to making the group project — Perhaps these goals were a bit too lofty for a bunch of cartoon nerds in their early 20s. But I finished mine, and a few years later, I scanned the pages and re-inked them in Photoshop, as well as added the 2nd-to-last page, to create kind of a “Director’s Cut” of this comic.
Biff Jerky and all related characters and concepts are copyright 2020 Andy Costello.