My Comic Book Office
by Torry Martin
As an author, comedy writer and stand-up comic my objective was to create an office space that would truly inspire my creativity while also being colorful, fun and above all else functional.
I had always been a fan of Superman comics and I knew the term ‘Superman’ was originally ‘Ubermensch’. The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche coined this word in 1833 and the definition was to suggest an individual whose creativity transcended ordinary human limitations. Since I make my living by being creative, it was the combination of my love for Superman along with the very definition regarding creativity that made choosing “Superman” for my office theme pretty much perfect. Plus what could possibly be more fitting for a stand-up comic than a comic book office?
This idea would also work with family photos, nature magazine covers, or other favorite topic.
TOTAL COST OF OFFICE:
$976.62 (Including Batman TV, Computer monitor, desk materials, bookshelves, wood flooring, paint, artwork, lighting, and furniture.) We saved a little over $1,700 by using coupons, purchasing only damaged wood, and decorating with items found on clearance. Plus we did all the work ourselves and saved even more.
MOST INNOVATIVE IDEAS:
Building a comic book epoxy desk.
Turning the closet into a second desk space.
Housing two large file holders inside of a hinged leather trunk. This allows it to function as a file cabinet while also doubling as extra seating.
Hiding the unsightly office paper shredder inside of a hinged leather ottoman.
Designing one side of the desk base to hold the printer and computer. This keeps them out of sight and away from cluttering my desktop.
Building additional built in bookshelves UNDER both desks out of scrap lumber.
Creating floating bookshelves that mimic the shape of the desk and incorporating them into the theme of the room by crafting comic book back splashes.
Displaying the comedy books that I’ve written by framing them and featuring them as artwork.
Using inexpensive comic books, postcards and magazine covers as additional artwork.
Making A SUPER OFFICE:
I visited a local cabinetmaker and purchased some unfinished kitchen cabinetry that would work perfectly. I then cut of the bases so they would be the proper desk height.
I went to Lowe’s and priced some sheets of oak for the top of my desk. I noticed two oak boards that were damaged and I was able to purchase them at 50% off for my floating bookshelves and desk back splash as well. I drove to other home supply stores and collected more damaged boards.
I laid wood flooring and painted the office. I used a bronze/orange mix and stained the floor and desk cabinet bottoms to match.
I found books with the artwork from the covers of the first twenty-five years of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman comic books. I purchased two copies of each book and cut out the two thousand different miniature comic book covers.
Once I had the massive 7 ½’ x 7 ½’ desktop cut out of the oak twice, we glued the two pieces together for extra strength and thickness. Then we stained the desk top to match the crown molding and the cabinet bottoms.
I created the desktop artwork by gluing the comic books covers onto the wood. This was the most time consuming part but also the most fun. The comic covers are staggered in a herring-bone pattern at the place where the desktop curves so the comic pattern wouldn’t be interrupted. I poured epoxy (note this is a dangerous material so keep it out of your eyes and follow direction on container) over the surface to protect the comic artwork and give my desk a shiny and smooth surface.
Using the damaged oak I created additional “floating” bookshelves for above my desk that I could then utilize for displaying Comic Book knick-knacks. My friend Rob mimicked the pattern of my desktop for the shelves to go above it and also mimicked the desktop for the built in bookshelves that I would place below. I glued extra comic book covers to boards and created a back splash of comics for every floating shelf. These were sealed with decoupage (not epoxy).
NOTE: The bookshelves and back splashes work great for running all of the power cords behind to keep them hidden from sight and the bookshelves themselves have flannel on the bottom base so they can slide in and out as needed in case I need to reach the wiring.
I stained the frames the same color as the desk. Then I bought some picture mats and placed the regular sized comics in them. I then purchased three superhero posters and Rob built frames out of the scrap oak. I also found and framed some superhero postcards and greeting cards.
I bought a beautiful armchair for $5.00 at a yard sale. (Easily my best buy!) I then recovered it with some discount faux leather. I bought curtain material, which I then sent to my Mom so she could make the curtains for me. (Mom’s are GREAT!)
I bought a large leather trunk that matched my now reupholstered chair. I put my entire filing cabinet into the leather trunk and I ran the rails right inside of it. I installed the rails for a hanging file holder inside. Now I have all of my files and paperwork safely hidden from view and also a beautiful trunk for sitting in front of my window. I bought the ottomans that matched the trunk and use it to store my paper shredder. I drilled a hole in the bottom of the trunk for the electrical cord from my shredder to fit through. The shredder is now out of sight and the ottoman looks beautiful.
I wanted a wall where I could showcase the books that I’ve written. We decided to frame my books as well as a few newspaper articles that I’ve been featured in. By using different colored picture mats to outline the books we were able to mimic the multi-colored comic book theme. The crowning touch was to frame the Superman poster that was issued in New York to honor the fallen heroes from the 9/11 tragedy. We placed it on the back of the office door so I can always see it. We also framed the Superman poster from the “Got Milk?” campaign below it.
My friend Rob and I are both very proud of the completed office and I think it’s safe to say that we are indeed both “Supermen.” (At least as far as living up to the definition of Ubermensch as the original term.) We’re two “individuals whose creativity transcends ordinary human limitations.” I believe we show that in our creative office design.
Torry Martin is an award-winning actor, screenwriter, comedian and author. In addition to penning humor columns for a variety of national print and online publications, Torry is the author of several comedy sketchbooks published by Lillenas Drama Publishers. Martin’s unique sense of humor caught the attention of the producers of the popular children’s radio series, Adventures in Odyssey, who enlisted him to lend his writing skills to the show. Martin has written six full feature length scripts with co-writer Marshal Younger. A storyteller at heart, Martin has graced the stages of hundreds of secular and sacred venues across the country.