Welcome to my almost all new web comic, "Dead Duck"! "Almost new? Well, that almost makes sense", you're undoubtedly thinking. Allow me to explain...

"Dead Duck" was first launched in December 2009 as a graphic novel, published by Ape Entertainment. Many people bought the book and enjoyed it. Still, for as strong a fan base and readership as "Dead Duck" has had in the past three years, I always felt like it could be much bigger. And it occurred to me that the internet was the key to unlimited viewership. That's why I've created this "Dead Duck" web comic--to introduce new readers to my comic, and to continue bringing "Dead Duck" to the old readers who have supported it all this time.

Starting with this first installment of "Dead Duck: The Soul Taker's Apprentice", I'm going to re-run all of my old Dead Duck stories over the coming year. This will allow new readers to get familiar with "Dead Duck", while allowing me time to create all new stories, which I hope to have ready to run in 2013. Now, I don't intend to leave my old, loyal readers out in the cold. True, you may have read these stories already. But with each installment, I'll be providing behind the scenes insight into each page, which will hopefully put this old material in a whole new light for you fans. Think of it as a special features on your favorite old movie.

"Dead Duck" will post every Monday and Thursday. Be sure to tell your friends, and if you dig what you see, click "like" on the Facebook app at the top of this page.

And now, with all that hubbub and hoohah aside, here's some trivia for "The Soul-Taker's Apprentice"...

  • I almost always do parody titles for "Dead Duck" stories. This practice was inspired by the old "Rocky and Bullwinkle" cartoons who used parody titles themselves.
  • The title, "The Soul-Taker's Apprentice" is a parody of "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" from Disney's animated film "Fantastia" (1940). The subtitle, "When You Wish Upon A Scythe" is a parody of the song, "When You Wish Upon A Star" from Disney's "Pinocchio" (1940). Once I came up with the parody titles, they inspired the Disney-themed prologue that starts this story.
  • I'm a big fan of "Hellboy" creator Mike Mignola, and his comic work inspired many elements of "Dead Duck". This first illustration in particular was inspired by the opening panel he penciled in the comic series "Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser", from chapter One, "Ill Met in Lankhmar" (Epic Comics, 1991)
  • When I originally drew the skyline in this illustration back in 2008, it was originally drawn with hatched lines and colored a flat purple, similar to Mignola's illustration. For its reprint in this web comic, I erased the old skyline and replaced it with a stock photo. This was an homage to director Ralph Bakshi (another huge influence of mine) and his use of cartoon characters against filmed backgrounds in the movie "Wizards" (20th Century Fox, 1977).
  • I came up with the name "Rigormortitropolis" in 1996, when I was developing "Dead Duck" as a potential syndicated comic strip.
  • The fur trapper is loosely based off the design of my old college mascot (The Delta Pioneer), which I created while going to school at Delta College in Bay County, Michigan in the mid 90's. The cow skull was inspired by desert iconography found in cartoonist George Herriman's classic comic strip, "Krazy Kat" (King Features Syndicate, 1913-1944).
  • Goofy cartoon roadkill has figured into my artwork throughout my life and career. For a college art project, I once drew a self portrait of myself comprised entirely of roadkill. I got an A on the assignment, and it was featured in the college literary publication. Go figure.

See you here on Thursday!

--Jay