- As I mentioned in previous posts, one of my few actual experiences in summer camp was my three-week tour of duty as a counselor at Camp Rotary in Clare, Michigan when I was eighteen (and only a year older than the kids I was counseling). It was an extremely awkward and unpleasant gig, but the end of camp dance we had was pretty amazing (I achieved last minute popularity doing the Pee-Wee Herman dance to "Tequila" to unanimous applause). To a small degree, the mixer I drew here references that moment.
- It goes without saying that the camp social held in "Meatballs" inspired this scene as well. Zeebub smooching up to the witch camp director from Camp Coven (I'm so proud of that name) is an homage to Bill Murray's character Tripper cuddling up to Roxanne (actress Kate Lynch) in that scene.
- I'm particularly proud of the dialogue in this first panel. The "enticing little German kids" line is in reference to the classic Grimm's fairy tale, "Hansel and Gretel". I purposefully took that reference and gave it a darker (yet still comical) spin with Bella and Adolf. The "Let's go find us an oven" line is particularly cryptic when considering the fate of so many Jews during the Holocaust. Because of this, I went out of my way to find a suitable Jewish name for Bella, so it would kinda feel like payback against Adolf for his future misdeeds.
- I got the name Gwen from a girl I briefly liked in college. Our relationship, if you could call it that, fizzled out with little notice from either of us, so I'm not sure what led me to name my character after her. I guess I just liked the sound of the name, and she was the only girl I ever knew named Gwen.
- The character of Gwen wasn't modeled after anyone in particular, though elements of her appeared on several girls I liked in youth. That parted down the middle, pigtailed hairstyle was sported by at least one girl whom I had a deep crush on in the 6th grade. Ironically, her bible-thumping parents probably would have burned her at the stake if they knew I'd based elements of her on a witch character I created.
- That awkward-yet-magical first kiss moment was something I never experienced in my grade school days (though I got my share later on in life). My grade school self is undoubtedly living vicariously through Dead Duck in this scene.
- The bloody, dripping heart panel with the tiny, monstrous jack-o-lantern-faced hearts surrounding it may have been a last minute choice as I drew the finished page. As I mentioned before, I rarely pre-plan my pages, and so much of what you see in the finished publication is me improvising. In this case, I think it worked out nicely.
- I'm pretty sure that "flatfoot" was used as an insult against Daffy Duck on at least one occasion, though any specific circumstance escapes me. At any rate, it's a good put-down for any cartoon duck, I think.
- For those who don't know me, I am not a sports guy. Not at all. My knowledge of the manly arts can best be summed up in an episode of the TV show "Scrubs" (2001-2010) where J.D. plays the part of faux sports enthusiast, saying, "I love it when he wins at that game he plays." That's me all over. So having Dracula say "Go run defense, Dickie" was quite unnatural for me. But it sounded good, so I stuck with it. In retrospect, it may have made more sense for him to say, "Go run offense". But hey, it's all sports. What the hell do I know?
See you on the next page!