- The black balloon backdrop that you see in the top and bottom panels was a convention I used frequently in my college strip "Mother's Goofs". At the time, it was kind of a cheat from drawing actual backgrounds. In this case, I needed a way to convey the shadowy atmosphere of a dance without obscuring the characters. These days, I can think of a dozen ways I could do it better. But for this story, the black balloons do the job okay.
- Unlike Dead Duck, I didn't ever get beat up in my youth (or any other time in my life, thankfully). But I was bullied plenty, and threats and humiliation can be as effective as any punch. Dead Duck's torment in this story is very much informed by my own past tormentors. That I'm able to use that pain as a humorous context for my work probably means I won in the end. But it's still difficult to carry those memories around with me after all these years.
- At the time I conceived this cupcake gag, it just seemed like a darkly funny moment. looking at it now, it seems much more poignant, and almost painful to watch unfold. I may be closer to this story than any other I've created for "Dead Duck", though I'm just realizing it now.
See you on the next page!