Welcome to the latest installment of DEAD DUCK RISING! Here’s your trivia fix for this go around:
I had a pretty clear idea in my mind’s eye as to how I wanted to stage the fight between the evil spirit and J.P. Yorick. The scene from Disney’s “Lilo and Stitch” where Jumba and Stitch are wailing on each other was a definite influence. There may also have been some latent inspiration from Peter Pan fighting with his shadow (Peter Pan is my favorite fairy tale). If I had it to do over again, I probably would have extended this fight scene even further, just for the fun of drawing it.
The scene from the evil spirit's perspective, just before he jumps down the duck's throat, is one of my most cinematic panels that I ever drew, and certainly one of my favorites because of that. If I could draw like that more often, I'd be a happy cartoonist.
Gotta say it again...I LOVE drawing J.P.'s feet. It's the litle things like that which make drawing so fun for me.
Welcome to the latest installment of DEAD DUCK RISING! Here’s your trivia fix for this chapter:
I’m the first to admit that, as a comic writer, I am "wordy" as all get out. Because of that, when I'm able to draw pages like this, where I manage to tell a story with little or no text, it's always a fun challenge and feels like a real accomplishment.
When I was at Ape Entertainment, I had a free hand to tell "Dead Duck" stories the way I wanted to. I wanted to be able to swear, show skin and show violence as much or as little as I chose to in the pages of "Dead Duck". But to date, "Dead Duck Rising" was one of the few stories where I had bare breasts featured prominently. It was just nice to have the freedom to be naughty if I wanted to.
I've had a dark side to my personality from as far back as I can remember. This was evident in my youth, when I'd frequently pull ferocious monsters and ghastly characters from out my imagination and put them onto paper. I did the same as I grew older, and I also got to portray such characters in plays while I was in college. Probably because of those experiences, when it came time to draw the villain for this story, it was a very cathartic for me.
I attribute my villain's design, expressions and body language to inspiration from some of my artistic idols: Glen Keane (animator of Rattigan in Disney's "The Great Mouse Detective" and the Beast in "Beauty and the Beast"), Bret Blevins (comic artist who drew for Marvel's "X-Men" and "New Mutants" in the 1980's), and Clive Smith (director of the animated film "Rock & Rule" for Nelvana. Mok and Toad were definitely in my head when I designed my character).
I LOVE the idea of J.P. Yorick kicking ass. To date, this has been the only time I really got to show him doing it. But there are plans a'brewin' for him to throw punches in future stories.
One of the things I pride myself on is my ability to draw hair. It seems like a silly thing to be good at, but I know plenty of artists who have trouble with it. I had an especially fun time drawing the wench's hair, since I eschewed normal hair physics by drawing her hair as a billowy black mass--unintentionally similar to how I draw Dead Duck's cloak. It had a fun, animated life of its own while still being recognizable as hair, and I'm proud of the balance I maintained with it.
Just to clear the air, I am not a boob fetishist. I enjoy drawing the female form, but I'd hate for anyone to look at this story and mistake it for an opportunity for me to get my rocks off drawing tits. Hopefully the story stands out for it's own merits, beyond the opportunity for guys to see a naked cartoon woman.
Welcome to the fourth installment of “DEAD DUCK RISING”! Here’s your trivia fix for this episode:
Admittedly, "Dead Duck" is more of a conversational, gag-based comic, and not action-oriented by nature. But any chance I find where I can inject moments of action in it, I take full advantage of it. This first such instance I found where I could take the focus off the dialogue and just go nuts with the action, and I reveled in the opportunity. I love the pacing of this page, the flow of the panels, and the anticipation of the evil character's next move. I think J.P. getting cold-cocked by him is a hell of a payoff.
Writing J.P.'s dialogue is always fun, but it does take a lot of concentration. If I'm not paying attention, I'll unintentionally give him (gasp) proper grammar. To avoid this, I usually write out his speech in standard grammatical style, then go back and twist and change the speech into "Yorickeez".
I've discovered that one of my greatest joys in creating "Dead Duck" comics is drawing J.P. Yorick's feet. I draw a lot of inspiration in this from the classic "big foot" cartoonists that I admire, such as E.C. Segar (Popeye), Dik Brown (Hagar the Horrible), and Jonny Hart (B.C.).
I use "The Dukes of Hazzard" as a stock gag in my arsenal. The TV show was fun, but so joyfully cheesy that it works great as a punchline in almost any situation.
I attribute my ability to draw "nekkid women" from the life drawing classes I took in college. They provide good experience in learning the human form, but it was an equally good opportunity to figure out how to translate that form in my cartoony style.
Welcome to the third installment of “DEAD DUCK RISING”! Here’s your trivia fix for this episode:
On a small level, this story takes me back to my elementary school days, and my fond memories of plastic thermoses and juice boxes. Regretfully, there weren't a lot of topless bar wenches to be found at lunchtime back then. That was more common in my college years.
The landscape I drew here is loosely based on my memories of the field behind my old elementary school, Shields Elm., and the Tittabawassee River which ran behind it. It's just a coincidence that this story features a different kind of "titt" altogether.
In the previous episode, I mentioned how Vaughn Bode's cartoon women were an influence on the bar wench's design. But another inspiration for her design was the character Dejah Thoris of the Marvel Comics series "John Carter, Warlord of Mars"(1977) as drawn by Gil Kane.
The design of this evil character is based on a drawing I did around 2000 for "The Delta Collegiate", my old college newspaper. At the time, I had reviewed a performance of the musical "Jekyll and Hyde", and my accompanying illustration of Edward Hyde was very close to what I came up with here (I actually upped the horror of his appearance for this story). I believe I was going for a Captain Ahab/evil Abraham Lincoln look when I did the original sketch, and the image just stuck with me until I found the perfect character for it--a common occurrence with many of my random sketches.
I wasn't trying to draw inspiration from the "genie in the bottle" in popular mythology. In fact, I still feel that I created an original and intriguing backstory for the evil character.
Amongst folks who have read this story in the original "Dead Duck" graphic novel, "You spoke prettier when you were horny" has become one of my most popular non-Zombie Chick spoken phrases.
Welcome back to the second installment of “DEAD DUCK RISING”! Here’s your trivia fix for this episode:
The title “DEAD DUCK RISING” is in reference to the movie “HANNIBAL RISING” (2007), which was a prequel to "SILENCE OF THE LAMBS" (1991) and told the origin of the serial killer Hannibal Lecter.
Thus far, this is the only story I've done that's shown any frontal nudity (Zombie Chick's nipples may be well defined silhouettes, but they're always covered up). You will, however, see plenty of bare butts in upcoming "Dead Duck" stories.
The "wench" is a loving tribute to the work of cartoonist Vaughn Bode (1941-1975), whose art has always been a huge influence to me. His work was risque, and he popularized the "Bode Babe", which was a voluptuous maiden such as I drew here.
Looking at this page now, I'm half inclined to do a prequel story involving J.P.'s adventures with the Wench. She was a lot of fun to draw and write, and as you'll read in the next episode, is really good at riling him up.
You'll notice yet another reference to Janis Joplin (the first seen on the previous page), one of my favorite musicians. I love referencing art that influences me, which should be more than obvious by now.
I was particularly happy with how this splash page turned out. I genuinely enjoy landscape paintings, but have never felt I was particularly good at them. So when I'm able to pull off a scene like this, I feel like I'm growing as an artist. Plus, there's the added satisfaction of knowing I drew this entirely from my imagination rather than just drawing what's in front of me, which most landscape artists rely upon.
This story laid the groundwork for how I imagined the afterlife--when you die, your personal beliefs dictate where you go. But because I ran this story out of sequence, it may seem like I'm just repeating myself, as these afterlife factoids have been mentioned on at least one other occasion already.
Welcome to the latest Dead Duck episode, 'DEAD DUCK RISING"! For anyone who wanted to know Dead Duck's origin, this tale is for you! Now here's your trivia fix for this installment...
The design for Chizzle's bar was inspired by two businesses I frequented in college: The U Cup coffee house, and The Bird bar and grill, both located in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. U Cup had empty burlap coffee sacks lining their ceiling (like I drew in the bottom panel), which I always th0ught was a cool design choice. And The Bird was my favorite haunt for shooting pool, hanging out with my friends, and drinking myself stupid as I lip synced Joe Cocker songs into my pool cue-microphone.
When I originally drew this page, the door to the pub read: "CHIZZLE'S BREW 'N' SPEW: ESTABLISHED AT THE DAWN OF TIME". I felt I could come up with something funnier this time around, and changed it to what it now reads.
The red sign in the top panel is supposed to read: "Dale Earnhardt drinks here." I'm not a fan of Nascar, but every bar I've ever spent time in has loads of banners advertising it. Plus, it seemed logical that a deceased race car driver like Dale would frequent a place like Chizzle's.
The pale orange sign in the top panel reads: "Splud Lite $1 drafts". Splud is a word I came up with years ago, when I drew a genuinely disgusting cartoon, and needed a wet, sloppy sound effect for it. That also seemed befitting of a beer sold exclusively in Rigormortitropolis, so you'll find Splud Lite ads littered throughout "Dead Duck".
The second panel is almost exactly how I'd envisioned Dead Duck's origin when I created him in the early 90's. By the time I began working on the graphic novel, however, I felt that origin didn't quite cut it. So I decided to have that explanation of Dead Duck's origin be a fanciful tale J.P. told Dead Duck as a kid, meant to cover up the dark truth of how he really came to be.
Back in 1995 I was developing "Dead Duck" as a potential newspaper comic. At the time, I wanted to have a couple regular minions that Dead Duck could pal around with, so I created Chizzle and Lank. Chizzle was a buck toothed little monster with beatnik sunglasses, and was a very timid character. Lank was just a big spaz in black suit of armor, with a personality that borrowed heavily from Kramer on "Seinfeld". When the comic strip syndicates unanimously passed on "Dead Duck", Lank and Chizzle got indefinitely shelved. By the time I started work on the "Dead Duck" graphic novel, I'd already given Dead duck a best friend in Zombie Chick, so Lank and Chizzle seemed kinda pointless to bring back. But for Dead Duck's origin story, I thought it'd be neat to slip his old pals into the background, with Chizzle tending his own bar, and having Lank playing pool just behind J.P. Yorick in the bottom panel. It was the least I could do for these guys.
When I originally drew this page in 2007, there was a jukebox against the far left wall in the bottom panel, with a much smaller band poster just above it. I ended up removing the jukebox because the perspective I drew it in was absolutely atrocious. I put a much bigger poster in its place, which also helped fix the previously wonky perspective.
In both the original version of the bottom panel, and the altered version I presented here, there was a "Brother Rabbit and the lowercase Gods--dead at Chizzles" poster on the wall (most bands play "live", and this being the land of the dead...well, you get it). This was a fake band I made up years ago when I was working on my college paper, The Delta Collegiate. For our April Fool's issue, I reported that a band headed by the son of the late Stuart Sutcliffe (who in reality, was the best friend of John Lennon and a founding member of The Beatles) would be performing at a local venue. For the band name, I drew inspiration from one of my favorite movies, "The Commitments", which was about an up and coming R&B group in Dublin. Their manager was named Jimmy Rabbit, and he was frequently referred to as "Brother Rabbit" by the band's trumpet player, Joey "The Lips" Fagin. I was also inspired by Janis' Joplin's original band, "Big Brother and the Holding Company", one of my favorite groups. "Lowercase Gods" was just a term I came up with. I used it to describe someone that was so cool that they were almost omnipotent.
The band shown on the "Brother Rabbit and the Lowercase Gods" poster was originally an illustration I drew back in 2006 for Interlude Magazine (a local publication out of Bay City, Michigan), for a story on local bands and coffee houses.
In the bottom panel, the two smaller posters on the back wall were originally (and inexplicably) left blank until now. For this posting, I dug up two sketches I did of zombies from my 2008 sketchbook and stuck them over top the previously blank posters.
Hey folks! Welcome to the latest installment of “Dead Duck: Four Score and Seven Bullets Ago!” Here’s your trivia fix for this episode:
Given Lincoln’s reputation as one hell of a rail splitter, I felt it a golden chance to include one hell of a poop joke.
It makes sense that Booth had to get so close to Lincoln to kill him. The single shot Derringer he used had all the firepower of a spit wad. They're also boring as all get out to draw. These two factors led me to have Zombie Chick employ an obnoxiously big machine gun. And though at this time I was doing a lot of research into most "real world" objects I drew in "Dead Duck", I opted to draw my own version of a machine gun, which was much more fun anyway.
"Brrraaattt" is a good example of how I create my own sound effects for "Dead Duck". I try to write them like I think they sound, and do my best to avoid writing them as they've been used in other comics. Plus, I try to draw them in an interesting way that fits the action they're describing.
I was particularly proud of how the ammo blasting through Dead Duck's body turned out. I drew it all out in pen, then went back in Photoshop and colored the lines a more fiery hue.
When I was writing this script, Zombie Chick mowing down Dead Duck was only going to be the first of several missteps in correcting history. However, I decided this was such a funny scene that I didn't want to try and top it. Plus, I liked having a kind of open ending like this, where you know they still have to fix history, but you're not sure how they're gonna do it.
Hey folks! Welcome to the latest installment of “Dead Duck: Four Score and Seven Bullets Ago!” Here’s your trivia fix for this episode:
Unlike most of the characters in “Dead Duck”, I never really wanted a solid origin for Dean, and I never intend to do a story about him, pre-decapitation. I think it would totally change the character to know him when he had a face and a voice, and I like just knowing him as he is. But in keeping with the anachronistic nature of "Dead Duck", I think it was acceptable to explain that Dean, a 50's greaser, lost his head in the course of a decidedly 80's era fad.
Drawing the mink stole (or whatever kind of varmint that is), I believe I was channeling "Popeye" the movie, where at Olive's engagement party, a society dame's wrap snarls at Popeye.
"Great Hirschfeld's Ghost" is a loving tribute to the late, great theatrical caricaturist Al Hirschfeld, one of my heroes and the greatest caricaturist who ever taught a line to dance.
The "Math can just go to hell" joke pops up frequently throughout "Dead Duck", in various forms. No other subject in my educational history has plagued me as bad as math. I've always been terrible at it. And I make sure all my characters share my affliction and disdain for it.
I've always walked a fine line in "Dead Duck" where swearing was concerned. I meant for the book to be adult, but there were certain barriers I wouldn't cross and certain words I wouldn't use. Ass, bitch, hell, damn, bastard and piss are about as salty as I've allowed the dialogue to get thus far. But if I feel another term would work coming from a character's mouth in a befitting situation, I might not be opposed to stretching the vocabulary a bit further. I do think I feel a shit a comin'.
Nads is one of the funniest slang terms for testicles ever, and I use it every chance I get.