Comic History

So what is this fantastic set of webcomics you have stumbled upon, you may ask? Well, let me tell you a story. Back in 2008, a young man named Jake Leuenberger (a.k.a. Stretch Longfellow) was teaching a Chemistry merit badge for the Cornhusker Council. At the end of one of the sessions, a Scout came up to him and said “Stretch, do you realize everything you draw looks like a potato?” Stretch thought about this, and decided that if he was going to become a science teacher, he had best learn how to draw so that his future students could understand his diagrams. But how to learn? He was already finishing his sophomore year in college, and art classes wouldn’t fit into his schedule. He had not taken art since elementary school. Being a huge webcomic fan (his first comic was El Goonish Shive) and having a passion for writing, he decided to make his art public as he learned how to draw, and Spoofy Randomness was born.

…It’s possible that this is not the strongest logic.

The site launched on August 31st, 2009, although he had been experimenting with the idea previous to this. He figured that at most the comic would last two months before he burned out on it like so many webcomics before him. The original run of On the Origin of Santa Claus lasted five years, and spawned Scouting, Not on a Camel, and Baloney. The comic began using Google Sites, but quickly moved to ComicGenesis, a free hosting site for webcomics, where it would remain for over three years. In early 2013, Stretch decided to take the comic independent and launched here on, where it has remained.

On the Origin of Santa Claus originally started out on a MWF schedule, but soon changed to twice a week.  As Stretch approached graduation, updates started to peter out as a result of computer failure, and remained sporadic for around a year as his attention was more focused on surviving his first year of teaching and the chaos of the real world (trust me college students, you have SO MUCH free time).  It returned in 2012 in full force as a weekly comic, before ending in 2014.

In 2017, Stretch applied to and received a job teaching in Egypt. Constantly asked how he would document his adventure and inspired by Mary Cagle’s Let’s Speak English, he decided to get back into webcomics. He decided to take the Spoofy Randomness brand and place different series of comics under it. The “original” Spoofy Randomness would be rebranded SR: On the Origin of Santa Claus, SR: Scouting would become another branch (as it more or less had been), and SR: Not on a Camel, the new comic about teaching in Egypt, would become the third. A year after Stretch returned to the USA, SR: Baloney became the fourth, updating monthly, and of course the sketchbook remains in use.

About the Comics

The origin of the name “Spoofy Randomness” remains an enigma, even to Stretch.  It was likely a case of “hey, that sounds funky”.  While there has been an overarching plot in the original series, the comic often lives up to both parts of its name, notably in the “spoof” in the form of Matt Smith and the “randomness” of Jorocks.  Under the rebranding of Spoofy Randomness to cover all three comics, it is more fitting given their randomness in topic, and SR: Baloney is just some good old spoofy randomness in general.

About Spoofy Randomness: Baloney

The newest member to the Spoofy Randomness brand, Baloney takes a different tact, using Stretch’s more-established writing skills instead of comics in order to include more detail. Inspired by writers such as Patrick F. McManus, this series of short stories details experiences in Stretch’s life in true “fisherman” style. New short stories are added monthly.

About Spoofy Randomness: Not on a Camel

This comic chronicles Stretch’s two-year adventure living and teaching in Egypt.  The name is inspired by his American students’ insistence that he will be riding camels to work, despite living in a modern city of several million people.

About Spoofy Randomness: On the Origin of Santa Claus

This was the original comic, and ended on August 31, 2014 after five years. The comic centers around Percy Edward Whitebucket, a young scientist who wants do the impossible: he wants to become Santa Claus.  What is impressive is how successful he has been so far.  The comic opens with him starting at Edona College, where he quickly befriends the tall and strange Jorocks Raefish, the gamer and adventurer Chris Rusae, and the sharp but sweet Nikki Aidale.  Aided by various other people he meets along the way, including the twins Peanut Butter and Jelly, Nikki’s roommate Sally, the overactive fan Matt Smith, Percy’s sister Holly and Commie-hating father John, the transforming guinea pig Ichabod, and more, Percy develops his plan and gathers resources and friendships that will aid him in his quest.

About Spoofy Randomness: Scouting

One may notice that the first comic in the archive is not actually SR:OTOOSC!  While developing the comic Spoofy Randomness, Stretch traveled to the National Order of the Arrow Conference in the summer of ’09, and was inspired to make a few comics as a result of his trip to practice drawing.  As an avid Eagle Scout, Stretch was inspired to continue these Scouting-themed comics, and SR: Scouting was born.  This comic originally takes place about four years previous to the SR: On the Origin of Santa Claus, as can be seen in the characters Chris and Timothy.  Chris, the main character and representative of the main Scouting program, is only a Life Scout in this comic; by the time SR:OTOOSC begins he has earned his Eagle Scout.  The secondary character and representative of the Order of the Arrow, Timothy, is a lodge chief in Spoofy Randomness: Scouting, and rarely appears in SR:OTOOSC, but it is revealed that he has worked his way up to section chief in his cameos.  Spoofy Randomness: Scouting does not update as frequently (once going through a 1000-day dry spell) as it is not the main comic, but ironically it has received the most publicity as at one point it ran in the Golden Sun Lodge‘s newsletter, the Sundial.  It has been used to commemorate different Scouting events, including the 100th anniversary of Scouting and the policy change regarding youth membership.

Other Notable Works

A (Not So) Brief History of Road Signs in Lincoln is a photo documentary of the various road signs used in Lincoln over the last few decades that Stretch compiled during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Great Nebraska Highway Project is a reimagining of Nebraska’s road system. While Stretch does want to return to it at some point, it is currently not updating.

Stretch once managed a blog, A Tale of a Long Fellow, frequently reviewing the various Doctors from Doctor Who, but occasionally touching on other topics.

About the Author

Jake Leuenberger (Stretch Longfellow) was born in Lincoln and is an avid Nebraskan. Outside of making comics, he enjoys teaching, camping, maps, and watching Doctor Who. He earned his Eagle Scout in 2003 and volunteers with the Boy Scouts of America. In addition, he has worked at the local Boy Scout camp, Camp Cornhusker, for over fifteen years, and it is here that the nickname “Stretch Longfellow” was born and where much of SR:Baloney takes place. His “real job” is teaching high school science.