Sam & Max are a pair of comic book characters who occupy a parody of American popular culture. Sam is a 6-foot tall anthropomorphic dog in detective's clothing and Max is a "hyperkinetic rabbity thing". Created by Steve Purcell in a 1987 comic book, the characters are probably best known for the 1993 computer game, Sam & Max Hit the Road and the more recent Sam & Max episodic series for Windows PCs.
They are private investigators, or as they like to call themselves, "freelance police". The pair live and work in New York City, but often travel to such places as New Orleans, ancient Egypt, the Philippines, and the Moon. They drive a seemingly indestructible black-and-white 1960 DeSoto Adventurer to most of these locations (including the Moon, which they achieved by stuffing the muffler with thousands upon thousands of match heads). Max often drives, despite being unable to see over the dashboard.
Their crime fighting technique involves brandishing their oversized guns to intimidate criminals (it is not clear where Max keeps his weapon concealed as he is completely naked; when asked, Max always replies with "None of your damn business, Sam."), but more often than not they need to rely on more creative solutions to vanquish evil. When they do use firearms Sam favors a gigantic revolver, while Max prefers a Luger. Sam and Max occasionally receive assignments from a mysterious Commissioner over the phone, but they usually just walk straight into trouble.
History and appearances
The comic books are laced with dark, nihilistic, and surreal humour. The series was created by Steve Purcell based on his brother's childhood drawings, and published in bits and pieces under several different titles and by several different publishers. Most of the stories were assembled in a collection entitled The collected Sam & Max: Surfin' the Highway in 1995. An expanded version of this compilation was released by Telltale Games in 2007.
With Steve Purcell working at LucasArts, the characters became quite popular within the company and they were soon appearing in cameos in many LucasArts games. They also had a few comic clips in the LucasArts promotional magazine "The Adventurer" (spoofing Star Wars or Indiana Jones). They also spawned a successful graphical adventure game of their own, Sam & Max Hit the Road. In August 2002 LucasArts announced that a sequel, Sam & Max: Freelance Police , would be released in the first quarter of 2004, but the game was canceled in March 2004 due to a change in management that felt it was not the right time to release an adventure game.
In September 2005, it was announced that Telltale Games, a small company started by members of the creative teams behind numerous LucasArts adventure games, would create a new episodic series of Sam & Max games with the help of Purcell. The first episode, "Culture Shock", was released on October 17, 2006 as part of the GameTap download service. Each individual episode or the whole season of six can also be bought online at the Telltale website. The episodes can also be purchased on Steam. Starting in December 2005, a new online comic strip was released to celebrate the collaboration. A second season of the episodic game series will be released on Nov. 8, 2007 for GameTap subscribers and a day later for the general public .
There was also a less adult animated series called The Adventures of Sam & Max: Freelance Police, which aired on the Fox Kids programming block in the U.S. and Channel 4/S4C in the UK, airing 24 episodes from 1997 through to 1998.
- Monkeys Violating the Heavenly Temple (1987): Sam & Max journey to the exotic Philippines ("drawn without reference material") to stop a volcano god cult.
- Night of the Gilded Heron-Shark (1987): Sam & Max have a run-in with the fish-headed Mack Salmon and his goons. Introduced the Rubber Pants Commandos and their leader, the chimpanzee Sergeant Blip.
- Night of the Cringing Wildebeest (1987): The Freelance Police investigate refreshment booth trouble at the local carnival.
- Fair Wind to Java (1988): Sam & Max fight pyramid-building aliens in ancient Egypt.
- On the Road (1989): A complete story in three chapters, chronicling what happens when the Freelance Police take a vacation. The heart of this story is "I Love a Band Leader", involving fake land-pirates, manatees, and talking octopuses.
- The Damned Don't Dance (1990): A charming Christmas tale.
- Bad Day on the Moon (1992): Sam & Max travel to the Moon to aid an anthropomorphic rat civilization rid itself of giant moon roaches. This story was later adapted for the short-lived Sam & Max animated series. Rats and cockroaches are frequently seen throughout Sam & Max's adventures.
- Beast from the Cereal Aisle (1992): Sam & Max grapple with paranormal life forms at the local supermarket.
- Sam & Max Hit the Road (1993): A computer game published by LucasArts sprawling the width and breadth of the continental United States. The Freelance Police travel across America in search of two freak show escapees; who have been kidnapped by famous Country/Western singer Conroy Bumpus.
- Sam & Max Season One (2006–2007): The first episodic season of the new computer game published by Telltale Games. Due to the episodic nature of the game, there is no single plot but several small plots linked together by the background plot involving various hypnotized people and entities (like the Internet) trying to take over the world.
- Sam & Max Season Two (2007–2008): Season Two of the episodic computer game series published by Telltale Games. Again, several seemingly unrelated plots combine together to produce an overall story arc for the season. There is a connection between the episodes, but it isn't as easily summed up as for the first season.
- Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse (2010): Season Three of the episodic computer game series published by Telltale games. The Devil's playhouse takes a different approach from the previous two series, having much more consistant plot connecting each episode rather than a series of seemingly random events occuring on seperate days.
|Sam & Max albums|
- The Save Sam & Max website
- Telltale Games' Sam & Max comic
- Dave Grossman, Senior Designer of TellTale Games interview
- PC Gamer Magazine video podcast about Sam & Max game
- Max for President
- Sam & Max Video Interview with Steve Purcell
- Sam & Max Video Interview with David Bogan
- Source text from Wikipedia article