Hey, all you necrofowliacs! Welcome to the first installment of this “Dead Duck” episode, “CARTOON JUNKIE!” Here’s your trivia fix:
- Some of my earliest and fondest childhood memories were of waking up at the crack of dawn with a cereal bowl in hand, anxiously waiting for the locally televised morning farm report to wrap up so I could watch my favorite cartoon show, “Rocky and Bullwinkle”. This story is a tribute to those golden memories.
- That’s a caricature of me, at age four, in the first panel. At that age, I always wore my blue PJ’s with Captain America on the front, and usually had my Scooter doll riding shotgun on all my pre-dawn cartoon watching exploits. The cereal bowl with the Charlie Brown pattern on it was, regrettably, made up for this story.
- Even in this digital age we live in today, I still watch TV using rabbit ear antennae. Back when I was four, it was because cable TV wasn’t yet a common household item. These days, it’s because I’m too cheap to pay for it.
- I’ve said before that “Rocky and Bullwinkle” heavily influenced “Dead Duck”, particularly in my standard usage of pun-heavy parody titles and sub-titles. Ironically, I chose not to use that device for this story’s title, even though this story is most “Rocky and Bullwinkle” inspired one that I’d done. I skipped it this time because I didn’t want to have the main title be a parody, followed by a parody title for the cartoon within the story, and have them competing with each other.
- The title “Ain’t MisbeSHAVIN” is a parody of the Fats Waller song, “Ain’t Misbehavin’, which appeared in the 1943 movie, “Stormy Weather”.
- For this story, I had originally created two fictional cartoon characters to star in the cartoon: Chutney Baboon, and a nameless cartoon bombshell. But for some reason, the story just wasn’t coming together as I wrote and drew it with these characters, even after two attempts at drawing the first page. I soon decided to scrap the two characters, and redraw the story using two of my older characters, Sno Whyte and The Krazybread Man. The story totally came together after that.
- The Krazybread Man (or Krazy) and Sno Whyte were characters I created for my old college newspaper comic strip, “Mother’s Goofs”. That strip lampooned classic folk and fairy tale characters, and was some of my raunchiest work to ever see print. Ironically, the only complaint I ever got about the strip was from a journalism professor who claimed I was being racist for having a black Sno Whyte with seven illegitimate children. I actually never wrote that into the comic, and tried telling him they were full grown, adult Caucasian dwarves (Boozy, Stinky, Funky, Lanky, Druggy, Horny and Dave). But the old bastard was so neck deep in his own inaccurate, effed up views of my work that there was no convincing him otherwise.
- I had a blast drawing this story in the classic flat and angular style of 50′s and 60′s animation studios like UPA, Hanna Barbera, and Jay Ward, who produced “Rocky and Bullwinkle”. It was a special treat to redesign Dead Duck, Zombie Chick, Sno Whyte and Krazy in this style, but it was also kinda tricky. My own artistic style is somewhere between the classic stretch and squash style of animation and the flat and angular UPA style. So it was a matter of pulling back the one side and pushing out the other. Looking at it today, I would have pushed the style even further, and used more Photoshop filters and textures to really make it look like those great old cartoons of the 50′s and 60′s. But at the time I drew this, the color experimentation I did was, for me, pretty revolutionary.
- My oft repeated comedy device, the haircut gag, figures prominently in the cartoon within the story. In another nod to “Rocky and Bullwinkle”, I was first introduced to the haircut gag at age four, when watching the “Fractured Fairytales” segment of the show, where they lampooned Rapunzel. It kinda felt like I was coming full circle by using the gag in this story.
- The “antique Native American clippers” line is as racially edgy as I get in “Dead Duck”. In the Iroquois’ defense, it was the French who taught them the practice of scalping, to be used against the English in the French and Indian War (1754-1763). And seeing as how I’ve got French ancestry, I feel justified using this gag (like I’d ever need justification to be funny).
- This was one of the first times I used Photoshop to be more efficient in my illustrations. Rather than redrawing the Indian on the clippers, I drew him once, then copied and pasted him in the other panels.
- This was one of the first “Dead Duck” stories that I drew with a brush pen, in an attempt to get that cool line width variation that the great animators of the 50′s and 60′s pulled off. The Faber Castell Brush Pen that I used to draw it did a decent job. But I wish then I’d had the Kuratake brush pens that I use now, since they have a lot more line control.
- I’ve seen plenty of barbers who’d tuck their combs behind their ears, but none that did it with their scissors. I suppose I had Krazy wear it that way because it was a neat visual for him as a barber. Plus, it’s made funnier that he doesn’t even have ears.
See you on the next page!