Hey, all you necrofowliacs! Welcome to the next installment of this “Dead Duck” episode, “AIN’T NO CURE FOR A SUMMERTIME BRUISE!” Here’s your trivia fix:
- This version of the Devil was loosely inspired by the Devil from one of my favorite animated specials, “The Devil and Daniel Mouse” (1978), directed by Clive Smith and produced by Nelvana Studios. Though Smith’s Devil was more dapper and reptilian than mine, I borrowed the scaly bulk and broad, ferocious mouth from Smith’s design.
- “I’m your buddy” seemed like a funny camp slogan for the Devil to wear on a t-shirt. But if I really wanted to pay homage to “Meatballs”, the shirt should have read, “When the hand goes up, the mouth goes shut!”, just as it did on camp director Morty “Mickey” Melnick’s t-shirt in the film.
- As dictated by Romanian mythology of Scholomance, the Devil’s purpose was to eventually pick one apprentice to rule Hell by his side. As Bram Stoker wrote it, Dracula was that apprentice. I have my own spin on it, as you’ll gradually find out.
- Before I ever came up with the idea for this story, I had the idea to have Dracula be Dead Duck’s arch nemesis. I initially drew a cartoon of an adult Dracula seducing Zombie Chick, with Dead Duck about to drive a stake into his back. In my rendition of the character, I tossed aside the clichéd bat motif, and instead made Dracula a reptilian creature, with green skin and a long, thick dragon tail (Dracula is, after all, derivative of Dragon. He and his family were known as Dracul, of the Order of the Dragon). Once this story came to mind, I had to draw that version of Dracula as a kid, which I hadn’t originally intended. In the end, the design change led to some really fun poses and actions inspired by that great dragon tail I gave him.
- From the earliest rough sketches that I drew for this story in 1997, I always intended a young Dracula, Hitler and Richard Nixon to be fellow campers with Dead Duck. Who better to apprentice under the Devil, I ask you?!
- There was something very special that I managed in those earliest rough caricatures of Dickie and Adolf, and I tried my hardest to recreate it here, with partial success. The lightning strike of a rough sketch rarely happens twice when you commit to a more finished, controlled illustration.
- Dickie’s design was a mix of inspiration from political caricaturist Steven Brodner and his own renditions of Nixon, and some droopy-nosed monster sketches drawn by Jim Henson in the early 70′s.
- Adolf’s stick-limbed, balloon-headed design was loosely inspired by Calvin, from Bill Watterson’s classic comic strip, “Calvin and Hobbes”.
- My weakness for bad puns spills over in this darkly comic exchange between the characters, written to showcase their potential for evil, but mainly for the purpose of lampooning Nixon’s famous “I am not a crook” quote from the Watergate scandal.
See you on the next page!