Calling it quits

After a five-semester stint as The Chronicle's daily student comic, the sea nuggets are blazing a trail out of the paper.

Seniors Dave Logan and Eric Bramley--who have now drawn about 300 Blazing Sea Nuggets comic strips dealing with various campus issues--have decided to hang their hats. The two comic artists, who are both in the process of searching for jobs unrelated to comic drawing, said they had always planned to retire after the first semester of their senior year.

"We decided when we started that if it lasted this long we would quit second semester senior year so that we could have a break," explained Logan, who is double majoring in computer science and electrical engineering.

The decision has many students a bit blue.

"It'll be sad," said sophomore Whitney Florin. "I think they've been really good this semester and right on target. I'd be skeptical that someone else who'd take over would do as good a job."

Logan and Bramley said they are more satisfied with some strips than others, and that it is hard to pick just one favorite. But if their fans want to reminisce and pick a favorite, they just might be able to do so next semester. The two students are looking into publishing a book with all of their strips since 2000. They have saved all of their originals and will include them along with a few doodles and extra strips not previously printed.

Neither Logan nor Bramley had any prior comic strip experience when they met in their freshman dorm, Southgate. The two said they were not close, but had mutual friends who knew of their drawing talents. Second semester freshman year, they saw an ad calling for student comics in The Chronicle and decided to give it a shot.

"I liked drawing fish, but it took a long time to convince Eric to draw fish. In high school I always doodled fish, squid, shrimp, sharks," Logan said.

Bramley, who is double majoring in computer science and economics, quipped that he "doodled normal things."

The artists began their reign in the fall of 2000 with a three-days-a-week strip. "When we applied, we thought we'd just get one day a week," Bramley said. "We definitely thought that three days a week would kill us. We laugh at that now!"

With instant popularity that fall, the Nuggets decided to try their hands at a daily strip. "I think we thought the strip could be better if done five days a week," Bramley said. "[The Chronicle] asked if we wanted more space, and we thought readers would follow five days week better because it's uninterrupted."

And follow they did. "It's definitely the first thing I look at when I look at the paper," said sophomore Cheyenne Beach.

With all this popularity, why are the seniors retiring? Logan and Bramley said it takes them between two and four hours to complete one strip. "Most of the time [the hardest part is] coming up with the idea," Logan said. "We'll go get food, watch some Comedy Central, get more food. It takes a while."

Once they pass the hurdle--often relying on last minute inspiration--Logan and Bramley sit down and draw the strip together. "We both draw everything," Bramley said. "We pass it back and forth, and we don't break it down and have one person do one thing."

After each artist completes a sketch, the other reviews it to make sure it is up to Sea Nugget standard. "When I draw Hubert looking like a big egghead, Eric will fix it," Logan said.

The one thing that only Bramley does is the handwriting, because his is easier to read. Once the strip is done, the artists bring the finished product up to The Chronicle's office, typically around 3 a.m.

Logan and Bramley said they do not mind the attention garnered by the strip, but they want people to know that they do things besides just draw the comic.

"Usually whenever we go into social situations people point it out," Logan explained. "Sometimes it gets annoying because it's like, 'This is Dave, he draws fish,' but I do more than just that."

The artists said that freshmen have approached them to ask if they knew the Marketplace had named a food item after their strip. "Our original title might have been 'Shark's Heaven' but that just didn't have the right ring," Logan explained. "But the name was definitely inspired by the food from the Marketplace, not the other way around."

Coming up with the names "Jake" and "Hubert" was the hardest part about getting things started. Logan and Bramley said they went as long as possible that first semester without actually mentioning the fishes' names. "We had to sit around a long time discussing names," Bramley explained. "We had to try to get people we didn't know."

And while the Nuggets may resemble their creators, the artists said the characters in the strip are entirely fictional. "We always claim that in no way do any of the sea nuggets represent people," Logan said.

Although Logan and Bramley said they have gotten many pleas to keep up their work, the seniors are sticking to their guns. Come December the campus will have to say good-bye to Jake and Hubert for good.


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