Testing, Testing. . . 'Fusco Brothers': 4 Guys Living On The Far Side
August 21, 1989|By Agnes Torres Al-shibibi, of The Sentinel Staff
Welcome to Fuscoland, where four bumbling losers share a home with a talking dog who thinks he's a wolverine.
Lars, Rolf, Lance and Al Fusco (pronounced FUSS-co) have no luck with women, are really into Leave It To Beaver reruns and order pizza with giblets for Thanksgiving. Axel, their confused pet, goes to school, complains about dog food and sips martinis.
If Dorothy were here, she'd definitely know she wasn't in Kansas anymore.
''The Fusco Brothers'' begins a two-week test run in The Orlando Sentinel today on page C-5. It is the second of five comic strips to be auditioned for readers, who on Sept. 1 will be invited to vote by telephone on whether the Fuscos should take up permanent residence on the comics pages.
''The Fusco Brothers'' had been scheduled for a fall debut nationwide, but plans changed when newspaper editors expressed an interest in the strip as a replacement for the discontinued ''Bloom County.''
About 50 newspapers have picked it up, said syndicate editor Lew Little, including The Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle and the New York Daily News.
''Fusco'' creator J.C. Duffy, a 38-year-old bachelor with no siblings - bizarre or otherwise - works out of his home in Philadelphia. He designs greeting cards for Recycled Paper Products Inc., does free-lance illustrations for the Philadelphia Daily News and contributes to the syndicated comic strip ''The New Breed.''
An art-school dropout, Duffy credits Mad magazine with shaping his sense of humor and Gary Larson's ''The Far Side'' with inspiring him to try cartooning.
''I didn't think there was a place for what I did in the comics until I saw 'The Far Side.' It was similar to what I had been doing in my cards, and it made me realize the market was loosening up.''
The Fuscos came to life four years ago, but distributors showed little interest then. Duffy tried again earlier this year, hitting paydirt when he sent samples to Little.
Duffy said he has no idea how he came up with the Fusco brothers, but his career may hold some clues. Before becoming a greeting-card illustrator in 1981, he spent years trying to break into the music business as a rock guitarist. He supported himself with odd jobs. At one point he tended bar. At another he was a welfare case worker.
''I guess this strip is a compilation of everything I was dealing with in my drawings over the years. I get a lot of these things from my own sordid life.''