Sam & Max

Sam & Max

Infobox comics character
character_name = Sam & Max

imagesize = 250
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caption = Front cover of "The collected Sam & Max: Surfin' The Highway"
publisher =
debut = 1987
creators = Steve Purcell
alter_ego =
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species =
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partners =
supports =
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sortkey = Sam & Max

"Sam & Max" is a comic book first published by Steve Purcell in 1987. Sam is a 6-foot tall anthropomorphic dog, based off an Irish Wolfhound,Fact|date=September 2008 in detective's clothing while Max is a self-described lagomorph - a "hyperkinetic rabbity thing". The characters have been adapted for the 1993 computer game "Sam & Max Hit the Road", the 1997 cartoon "", and the more recent for PC and Wii.

They are anti-hero vigilante 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, though they've been known to use a large variety of weaponry. 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 " in 1995. An expanded version of this compilation was released by Telltale Games in February 2008, and can be ordered over their website. [ [ Telltale Games - Surfin' the Highway is here! ] ] [ [ Telltale Games - Store ] ]

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, such as ', ', "The Secret of Monkey Island", [cite web|url=|title=Sam and Max cameo appearance in The Secret of Monkey Island|] and "Day of the Tentacle". [cite web|url=|title=Max cameo appearance in Day of the Tentacle|]

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 was released on November 8, 2007 for GameTap subscribers and a day later for the general public. [ [ Telltale Games - Sam & Max ] ]

There was also a less adult animated series called "", 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. In 2008, Shout Factory released the episodes, with additional material, as a 3 disc DVD set entitled "Sam & Max: Freelance Police - The Complete Series".



Sam is a laid-back but enthusiastic, kleptomaniac, anthropomorphic dog who wears a suit and a hat. He is usually the brains of the operation, often trying to figure out a logical solution to things. He is prone to long-winded sentences filled with elaborate terminology. He rarely loses his temper (except when he's given a pink belly or called "McGruff"), and is able to react to panic-inducing situations with extreme calm. When he "does" get angry, he tends to react in a violent, uncharacteristically savage manner. It is usually (and somewhat ironically) Max that calms him down and prevents him from acting upon his anger. Sam apparently also has a very large sweet tooth, as during many of his adventures and assignments he can be seen enjoying a multitude of frozen treats, such as popsicles and ice cream sandwiches (which may account for his somewhat overweight figure). According to Bosco, his full name is Samuel. Some of his favorite pastimes include driving recklessly with an expired license, shoplifting, shooting things and making prank calls.

Voiced by: Bill Farmer (Hit the Road), Harvey Atkin (animated series), David Nowlin (Seasons One and Two)


Max is a "hyperkinetic rabbity thing" (he prefers being called a "lagomorph") with a huge jaw normally stuck in a crazed grin, showing off his razor sharp teeth (Which, along with a taste for meat he sometimes exhibits, seems to contradict his self definition as a lagomorph). Supposedly, his life expectancy is between five and six years despite photographs of him and Sam as kids that outdate this. He enjoys violence and tends to prefer the aggressive way of solving problems. He has a slight distaste for the long stories, anecdotes and sentences that Sam consistently spouts forth, often asking Sam not to use various words (such as 'ensue' and 'acumen'). He occasionally spaces out during long scenes of exposition, as he claims to "have the attention span of a pint of yak butter." He shares Sam's enthusiasm in just about anything, especially if it involves large guns and trouble. He also has very poor hygiene, as he is sometimes seen tasting his own belly button lint and Sam has commented on his pungent bodily odors on more than one occasion. According to the animated series, his blood pressure is 20/3000. His full name is Maximillian I. Despite his seemingly heartless personality, he believes very much in protecting Sam, though he's not above committing excessive violence on him (often commenting that when he dies, he will take Sam with him). He is also very possessive of Sam, as shown in Season Two when he ripped out a Demon Peeper's kidneys because he claimed to be Sam's partner as Freelance Police. Max also has a metal plate in his head, which is rarely mentioned unless comedically convenient. Despite being an animal himself, he is prone to animal abuse. He also enjoys tormenting the neighbors and can't go two minutes without threatening to shoot, maim, or destroy something. Since Season One Episode 4, he is the current President of the United States.

Voiced by: Nick Jameson (Hit the Road), Robert Tinkler (animated series), Andrew Chaikin (Season One: Episode 1) William Kasten (Season One: Episodes 2-6, Season Two)

The Commissioner

The Commissioner is an unseen character who briefs Sam and Max for their various missions. He interacts with them through the telephone; a ringing phone usually causes the freelancers to brawl a bit for the right to pick up the phone first - a fight which is traditionally won by Sam.

Flint Paper

Flint is the freelancers' next-door neighbor, a stereotypical private detective. His work method often consists of "pummeling", and he has, to date, proven to be a competent detective and an extremely tough fistfighter. Flint was first introduced in the comics, joyfully brawling with thugs in his office, and later helping Sam & Max dispose of a dead mailman. Flint is one of few characters, besides Sam, who Max admits to liking, "Flint Paper is insane. I really respect that". Flint was an unseen character in the first computer game, and was absent from both the animated series and Season One, but has been making occasional appearances in Season Two.

Voiced by Peter Barto (Season Two)


Mentioned in "Hit the Road", and first seen in "Culture Shock", Bosco is the severely paranoid and conspiratorial thinking owner of 'Bosco's Inconvenience Store'. His business style appears to be based around overcharging customers so he can afford his elaborate high-tech, homemade security systems, as well as selling his personal brand of "BoscoTech equipment", which are generally rudimentary at best, but cost extraordinary amounts of money (like a hundred million dollars for a "Truth Serum" - which turns out to be a bottle of Vodka). Throughout Season One, his paranoia causes him to dress up as different people (such as an English Lord, a Half-Elf, a Russian man and even his own mother). These disguises usually involve nothing more than Bosco wearing a hat or make-up. He still wears his ordinary clothes, and even his nametag saying his name. Throughout season two, it is revealed that his paranoia may not be completely unfounded.

He is voiced by Joey Camen in Season One and Two.

Major adventures

* "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 Sam & Max 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.
* "The Kids Take Over" (1997): Sam & Max wake up from cryogenic sleep to see that the entire world is now ruled by little children.
* "Belly of the Beast" (1997): During Halloween, Sam & Max must stop a lunatic giving candy with razors in them and making "meat pies" with trick-or-treaters inside.
* "The Big Sleep" (2005-2007): This web-comic has Sam & Max bursting out of their graves in England. With Sam's brain infested with a bug colony, it's up to Max and a friendly roach to save the day.
* "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. All episodes were later bundled in a single release for Windows and Wii.
* "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, including the reasons for Bosco's paranoia which are ultimately explained, and a hellish conspiracy to bring the Armageddon.
* "Sam & Max Season Three" : Already announced by Telltale Games. Expected to be released in 2009. [cite web |url= |title=Sam & Max Season 3 Planned for 2009 |date=2008-05-23 |accessdate=2008-05-23 |]


External links

* [ The Sam & Max wiki]
* [ 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]

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