Hey, all you necrofowliacs! Welcome to the next installment of this “Dead Duck” episode, “A MINION OF DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY”! Here’s your trivia fix:
- I kinda left my readers hanging with Monday’s trivia, where I said there was another source of inspiration for this story that was as significant to the tale as Canada was. Allow me to make it up to you. When I was working on “Dead Duck” in late 2008, my wife and I had just moved down to Ann Arbor, Michigan, and began taking advantage of the local library’s extensive DVD collection. The TV selection was particularly impressive, and among the titles was the complete two seasons of “Twin peaks”, the 1990/91 series created by film director David Lynch. Having never seen the show (my wife Laura was already a fan), we grabbed all the episodes and spent the next few days pouring over the crazy and macabre mystery drama series. With its quirky characters, rustic northern setting, dark themes and abstract humor, it was unavoidable for me to become a serious fan of “Twin Peaks”. After watching it, I told Laura I wanted to write a “Dead Duck” story as a sort of tribute. Not a parody, like I’d done with “One Toy Soldier…”, but something brand new that retained the weird vibe of the show. I chose my themes carefully–an unassuming northern industrial town with a strange darkness beneath its surface, and a mystery to unfold (a big challenge for me, who had never written a mystery before). Weaving my character Chum Blockwell into it, and setting it in Chum’s home town of Chigger Creek, Ontario set me on my own path that took me away from David Lynch’s world and into my own strange land, a land that is warm and inviting like Andy Griffith’s Mayberry, but is as dark and violent as a Clive Barker tale. In the end, I feel like I came up with something that was purely my own, but with the “Twin peaks” vibe I sought to achieve. However, in an odd twist that is ideal for this story, there is another huge source of inspiration that I wasn’t even aware of when I wrote this story, something I wouldn’t experience until three years after the story saw publication. Weird, right? Wanna know more, don’t ya? Well, here’s another cliffhanger that I look forward to pulling you off of soon!
- With this story, I set out to create the most unique, ornate names of any “Dead Duck” story I’d done previously. Perhaps Chum Blockwell set the precedent, and I felt I needed to name his fellow townspeople accordingly. Alvin J. Whitlock is one of the tamer ones, and I think I derived his first name from Alvin of “The Chipmunks” (I loved their various cartoon incarnations as a kid).
- October 7th, the date of Alvin’s death, is significant in this story for setting the town’s violent chain of events into gear. It’s also significant to me since it’s my birthday (albeit 1974, not 1898).
- I made no attempt to research actual pork product-factories, and instead created my own horrific device for making bacon. I’m sure I was somewhat inspired by the machinations found in Tim Burton and Terry Gilliam movies, and perhaps the automated castration machine from the 1984 comedy-turd, “Ice Pirates”.
- I don’t know how I knew it when I was writing this story, but something told me there was a cool, fancy was of saying “bacon” that would sound better in the writing of this page. “Collops” jumped out at me in my research, and made me sound smarter than I actually am.
- Though I began my practices of shading with color, and fading out chunks of background to create depth in my story “Made To Be Broken”, I used it to much greater effect in this story, and developed an important device in my bag of artistic tricks that I use to this day.
- Joe Rangoon’s death was a joy to create. Hopefully that doesn’t paint me as being too macabre. But there’s something so ridiculously funny about a baseball bat shoved through a guy’s eye socket.
- Simi Pletzer was an interesting name, and I can’t for the life of me figure out where I came up with it. I think I was trying to conceive a name for a prim and proper debutante-type character, and Simi just sounded perfectly prissy.
- I jumped at the opportunity to draw a more classical, horrific image of Death. I think this fella is a good mix of scary and silly in his vacation gear But in the back of my mind, I think I’ll never create something as brilliant as director Guillermo Del Toro’s version of Death from “Hellboy II: The Golden Army” (2008).
- I was quite proud of my ability to tie in established ideas from “Dead Duck” (J.P. Yorick’s files of deaths, Chum Blockwell and Chigger Creek) into this crazy story. For a story with so many characters and so many plot points, it was a challenge, and a fun one at that.
See you on the next page!