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:
- I wanted to wait to mention it until this third page so I wouldn’t blow the surprise–my greatest influence in writing this story was the 1978 comedy, “Meatballs” starring Bill Murray. It’s one of my all time favorite movies, and its funny and sympathetic depiction of summer camp always brings a smile to my face (if only I had Bill Murray as my camp counselor during my brief and hellish camp experience). Though I had very specific ideas I wanted to convey in this chapter of Dead Duck’s youth, it was important to have the setting for the story be an homage to the film I loved.
- Tibor is a caricature of Bill Murray’s character Tripper from “Meatballs”. All his dialogue on this page loosely parodies the speech Tripper gives young Rudy in the movie, when he first meets him, and later, when he’s trying to convince Rudy to return to camp.
- The fat horse that Tibor rides was somewhat inspired by the plump steed that Bugs Bunny rides in Chuck Jones directed short, “What’s Opera, Doc?”(1957).
- Despite the broad caricaturing I do of their culture in this story, I’m actually fascinated by the history and culture of Gypsy, or Roma, people. In a related note, the first real criticism that I received in my comics happened when I was in college, when I drew an editorial cartoon where a student complained of being “gyped” by the school loan office. In a heated response, a reader wrote in and apologized on my behalf if my cartoon offended any Gypsies with my use of the derogatory slang. I had no idea that Gyp came from Gypsy when I wrote the cartoon, and I felt pretty stupid for not making the connection.
- In ancient Romanian folklore, Scholomance was a legendary school in the mountains of Transylvania, resided over by the Devil. Author Bram Stoker borrowed this concept, and suggested that a young Count Dracula was the Devil’s top pupil among a small group of hand-picked students.
- My initial idea for this story had Death running Scholomance as a school for up and coming Minions, with a few famous faces thrown in as students alongside the young Dead Duck. I eventually dropped JP Yorick from the concept, and instead went with a plot that ran closer to the original Romanian folk lore, combined with a summer camp setting.
- I wanted the camp to envoke the gothic atmosphere of Bram Stoker’s stories, while retaining a rustic camp environment. The trade off was I drew the camp mess hall carved into the side of a mountain, but with long, gothic windows along the sides of it. The impaled severed heads are both a nod to the Romanian dictator Vlad the Impaler, as well as a reflection of the gaudy, anglo-carved totem poles found in most commercial summer camps.
See you on the next page!