On the Origin of Amphibians

(I had originally posted this maybe half a year ago. I’m putting it back up, if only for its ‘historical’ value.)

My recollection of the events leading up to Amphibiman’s origin differ somewhat from my esteemed partner’s. Or maybe it’s that I came at it from a different angle, with the point of convergence being Neil the Frog.

High school. Senior year. Health class. Sex Education. Having discovered the Real Thing a few years previous, the class itself was …anticlimactic. (Heh.) Boring, to be honest. Senioritis was hitting hard, and sitting near the window in the front row was probably not the best spot to encourage studiousness. Nor was sitting next to my best friend, Scott.

For no reason I can recall – like ‘reason’ and being seventeen were ever in the same time zone – Scott and I started coming up with lame heroes and villains we could. Before we get to the obvious entry, let me give you a list of some of the other characters from that brainfarting session:

Snowman! Probably the first to be thought up, he was an animate snowman with the requisite red cape.
Solar Tan Man! A beach dude who fired heat beams from his hands, he was Snowman’s arch-villain.

Liberated Person! She fought crime, and had big boobs. Yeah, but she had the ability to knock villains unconscious by unhooking her bra and unleashing… I just can’t finish. Jeez.

Chauvinist Pig! A fat guy in a ratty football jersey. LP’s bad guy, I think his powers involved sitting in a recliner, drinking beer, and checking out centerfolds. (‘Oh no! I’ve been… OBJECTIFIED!’)

Then there was Fish-Man. More on this guy in a future blog.

…And FROGMAN!!! (Thirty-plus years later, ‘Amphibiman’ just sounds cooler.) Like now, he was a man who turned into a frog. And wore a cape. And had to deal with…

The Princess! A thief, whose lipstick would change Frogman into a human again.

Out of all of them, Frogman was the easiest to draw: with one of those four-ink pens, you did the eyes in black, the stomach and flippers in blue, the body in green, and the tongue and cape in red. And Tad (the Amphibian Wonder!) was a no-brainer after that. And, with no arms or legs, even EASIER to draw!

For a while after that, I was drawing the fearless frogs in the margins of every page of notes I took in every class.

It was at this point that Hal noticed one of these doodles. ‘Hey! That’s Neil!’ he said. (Please check out the entry ‘Introducing the Amphibimen’ for Hal’s lifelong obsession with frogs named Neil.)

‘No, that’s Frogman’, I replied. Quickly drawing another frog, this one with (for yet another Reason Unknown) a beard. Presenting this to Hal, I said, ‘THIS is Neil!’

And that’s how it began.

Recently, we’ve had to change Neil’s name to ‘Professor Neil’, and ‘Frogman’ to ‘Amphibiman’, both for copywrite purposes. I think it adds some distinction to the characters. (It also keeps us from getting sued.) Regardless, the Adventures continue.

“J.F.B.” – K. Torp

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