The Skinny Nameless Punk came about as a one-shot gag, in 1994, during one of Rupert Bottenberg’s comic jams at the old Stornaway gallery on St-Alexandre street in Montreal. I drew the cartoon, and Richard Gagnon inked it.

At the time it wasn’t any different from the myriadother panels and cartoons started in the Stornaway basement without any idea of how they would end. However, I recall this page being one of the first things that he and I worked on together exclusively, without the input of other artists. We found that our talents complemented each other’s, and this was the start of both a working relationship and continuing friendship.

It was Rick’s idea to turn the comic jam gag into a strip. I got to create the characters, and think up a lot of the stories (though most of them came when we “brainstormed” together in regular meetings at a tavern or over Chinese food). Rick filled in my sketchy pencils with his meticulous lines and textures in ink.

What else to say? The original Punk was simply someone so dense he was close to brain dead. He’s still a lot like that: he’s kept his spiked dog collar, and grown tall spiky hair. He’s not really skinny, the way I draw him, more badly nourished from the diet of junk food and garbage can leavings he eats. In the strip he’s evolved into a kind of universal victim, but he has a toughness, innocence, and an openness to new experiences that I like.

And now he’s up on the web. These strips first appeared in Mensuhell, the Montreal-based monthly comic fanzine, originated by Steve Requin and carried on until last year by Francis Hervieux. It’s great to see the Punk get a second life, and new audience here. I love these strips. My drawings were scratchy, but it was always a treat to see how Rick would embellish them, with artistry way beyond what I had expected.

I’ve got more strips in mind. I’m going to put up one or two strips a week until the archive is exhausted. Then — who knows? The Punk might carry on. In the meantime, it’s a pleasure to share him and his world with you.

Visit Jack Ruttan’s site.

Check out Rick Gagnon’s site and his illustration work!

Follow Jack on Twitter!

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