Fall of 1995. I’m living in Waltham, Massachusetts, I’ve just started 8th grade, and I’m buying comics from The Outer Limits on Moody St.
Part of buying comics in the 1990s was keeping up with the rest of the industry via magazines. Remember, this is before the entirety of human knowledge was available for free on the Internet, so my nerdy friends and I bought Wizard Magazine every few months to see what else was out there. Issue 46 had a contest to design a new villain for a comic series I’d never heard of, called THE DARK.
Make up a new villain? Sure! Well, The Dark clearly fights big monster guys, right? So I figured I’d make up a big old monster of my own. That big green creature was pretty rad, so I’ll start with him as a base — Of course, I didn’t even think that, y’know, maybe that was a pre-existing character and I should start completely from scratch. But, again, I was an eighth grader who’s still pretty new to all of this kind of stuff.
Okay, so what’s cool in comics that I could use as inspiration? I’m digging on this SPAWN comic by Todd McFarlane, and I like the Violator character’s crazy jaw. And THE SAVAGE DRAGON by Erik Larsen has a cool look, especially with that rad fin on his head that looks like a mohawk.
So what if I took those two characters, plus the big green guy from the contest image, and combined them all, and then added a bit of my own twist?
I asked my dad for a name for this monster, and he suggested “Quagmire.” “What’s that mean?” I asked, having never heard the word before. “It’s like a great catastrophe.” Sure, that sounds perfect for this guy. And, I have to reiterate, this was 1995 — Years before the Family Guy character “Quagmire” had appeared.
Of course, I never sent in the drawing as an entry, but instead refined Quagmire’s design a bit, eventually giving him a Mr. Sinister-style shredded cape. But at his base, I haven’t really done much to change his appearance over the years.
And when Brandon and I needed a big bad boss villain for Hawk & Croc in 2004, I was like, hey: do I EVER have the character for us to use!
Quagmire first showed up at the end of Hawk & Croc Classic part 1, causing death and destruction all over Leonardo, NJ.
He later appeared at the end of H&C Classic pt 2, as it turned out he was really Angelikos, the character who had been guiding the heroes for the last little bit.
And finally, Quagmire was last seen in 2016-17, in the final chapters of New Hawk & Croc.
I definitely improved as an artist over the 20+ years since creating Quagmire, but he’s never really changed that much from his basic design. And, actually, I just checked, and it looks like The Dark ceased publication before the contest winner could have their character appear in the comic.
I kinda feel like I won that one.