Thursday, February 08, 2007

BIRTH OF A BURGER and other news….

Ever since I began dreaming of a life as a cartoonist (approximately age five to be exact), I also dreamt of a name, a title by which my work could be identified by the viewing public.

When, as an ambitious gradeschooler, I drew greeting cards for family and friends, I emblazoned the back of each card with “Fosgitt ‘N’ Friends” in true Hallmark style. I eventually dropped this nom de plume when it was pointed out to me that there were no friends involved, since I created the cards all by myself.

In my pre-teen years I tagged all my homemade comic books with the moniker “Foz Comics”, placed in Marvel Comics fashion in the upper left corner of each incomplete issue (in those days, I never finished a comic. On a good day I had a complete cover and half the first page before I lost interest).

When I was in my early college years and aspired to one day have my own cartooning studio, names like “Fozworks Studio” and “lowercasegods Studio” were at the top of an ever-growing list of possibilities. “lowercasegods” was a term I coined in 1998 and eventually became my e-mail address until I got the shit spammed out of me and had to create a new account using fourpanelhero.

In this past year, as I toyed around with my old character Dead Duck and his newly created sidekick Zombie Chick, I began to fantasize about on ongoing comic book or graphic novel with the duo. The stories began to flow fast and naturally, and the characters jelled very quickly into fully rounded personalities. I knew if I wanted to that I could make something out of this, for my own enjoyment if nothing else. But still, like all those times before, I needed a name.

That’s when it hit me, as many a fella with a bright idea has remarked in his lifetime.

At the time, I was enjoying online popularity for a cartoon I drew showing the McDonaldland cast in place of Jesus and his disciples in a piece I titled “The Last Happy Meal.” Fast food has always inspired me. There’s a real art to all that cheap and greasy commercialism if you look for it. But to whittle down my muse to its core, cheeseburgers have always been a very significant staple of my existence. Hands down, they were my favorite food from childhood into adulthood. Even today, I can tell you the best places to get burgers within a half hour radius of where I live (Mount Pleasant: Freddie’s Bar and Grill with their Chicago Burger, Midland: The Boulevard with its legendary Bully Burger, Bay City: Steamers Pub, whose burgers are small but their flavor is oversized, and Saginaw: Jason Premo, my best bud from high school, with his indefinable and untouchable Premo Burgers). So it goes to show that I’m a connoisseur of the cow. All this all-beef blather has a purpose, folks, for it’s what ultimately inspired me in christening my comic book company, publisher of Dead Duck and potentially a lot more of my brainchildren. Break out the A-1 sauce kids, for I give you….

Like it? This is pretty much how I imagined the logo when it first came to me around last Halloween. I’d done a few rough sketches since then, but this was the full-out baby that I gave birth two, and man do my mommy parts smart. So anyway, Cheeseburger Press is my little publishing house. That is, when I’m actually ready to publish something. I’ve got ideas for Pillow Billy, a new line of greeting cards, all sorts of stuff that will fit nicely under the Cheeseburger Press heading. I suppose it’s possible that my studio, as a collective entity of my creative process and end product, could be thought of as Cheeseburger Press Studio. Yeah. I like that. Guess that makes it official now. Dig it. Anyway, you heard it here first.

I also wanted to report that Interlude Magazine has allowed me to revisit my old style in my latest assignment for them, an illustration for an article about allergies, and I couldn’t be happier. My Vector-style art is fun to look at, though a bit of a bitch to create. But I don’t want to employ it at the expense of losing my old style, which is truly my creative identity. So as you can see by these samples, my identity is fully in tact. Who needs a thumbprint when you got cartoons like this?

The Vector style will no doubt resurface in assignments which best suit it, so don’t think I’m devolving artistically. Emotionally, sure. I’ve met twelve year olds that could school me in maturity contests. But artistically, I’m at the top of my game. More later, kids. Much more.


Oh, and P.S. A mad love shout out to my favorite TV show, “Scrubs”, for being the best antidote for the weekday blues. Tonight’s episode was absolutely the best. God, I love that show…


2071558 said...
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Doc Shaner said...

Jay, you should do something for the Supergirl meme I was talking about the other day, with as good as the girls you draw look man. Check it out! -Evan