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:

  • When I first began roughing out the plot for this story, I contemplated having Benjamin Franklin play a crucial role. I gradually moved away from that, and opted to create my own crackpot inventor character in the Franklin-mold, Argus Sundry. For those paying attention, I still managed to sneak Ben Franklin into this story on page three as a member of The Dead Duck Fan Club.
  • While I did a few preliminary designs for Argus Sundry, his look came together pretty quickly. Once I gave him spats and fingerless gloves, I felt the design was set. The name came to me after I moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan with my wife, Laura. We took regular walks through downtown Ann Arbor, and frequently strolled past two structures: The Argus Building and The Argus II. The name stuck with me and felt a perfect fit for my character, while Sundry just sounded like a good surname for a grumpy old guy. I didn’t look it up at the time I wrote this story, but I later found out that sundry was defined as “miscellaneous items of little value”. Given the overlooked end of Argus’ life in this story, the surname seems oddly and unintentionally apt.
  • That’s my mom standing behind and to the right of Cotton Goodly panel two.
  • The lightning storm panel was another technical achievement for me at the time. I had drawn the panel out by hand, then went into Photoshop and selected my lines with the wand tool. I erased the lines for the lightning bolts, erased them and colored them white, then while the area was still selected, I clicked “select/inverse” and used the airbrush tool on a low opacity to lightly spray some white behind the bolts. It’s a cheap trick these days and can probably be done with greater efficiency and result, but it more than sufficed for what I was trying to do at the time of this story’s creation. I used a similar method for airbrushing the color in the clouds and showing the light reflecting off of them.
  • At the time of this page’s creation, I had no idea how to do “color holds” in Photoshop. The fact is, I only learned how to do them about a month or two prior to my writing this trivia. For those who don’t know, color holds are the process where all your black lines are selected, then you can replace them with any color of your choosing. At the time, I had my jerry-rigged system of doing it, which involved selecting the black lines and simply coloring over them. It worked, but in that method, there’s no room for mistakes, since you can only do it once. At any rate, I made it work, as you can see in the “bbbzzzaaappp” sound effect. For the inside color, I used the paint bucket to drop in yellow, selected the area with the wand tool, then airbrushed in an orangey red for the bottom color dissolve. Prior to creating this page, I used to do this using the gradient tool. But I found that using the airbrush gave me a freedom to vary the color gradation, which I much preferred. I imagine all this technical mumbo jumbo sounds like jibber jabber to those outside the cartooning industry. My apologies. I assure you, an explanation of my usage of farts in comedy is forthcoming.
  • As I drew the original bottom panel, there was dialogue between Dead Duck and Zombie Chick that suggested Zombie Chick ate some of the Alvin Whitlock bacon. The gag was fine, but I think I removed their word balloons because I felt it conflicted with the narration in the text boxes above their heads. The panel didn’t seem to suffer from the change at all.

See you on the next page!