...just an update because it's been awhile since the last one.
Just to get you all up to speed on Dead Duck, I've completed the last story I mentioned, which involved Dead Duck's youth at Camp Scholomance, a retreat for the potentially evil run by the devil. It turned out to be my second longest story, coming in at nineteen pages. What made this story so long was the timing in the story. I've been trying to stretch my storytelling with more visuals than text when possible, and in this story it really paid off. A single sequence, perhaps showing Dracula shaking down Dead Duck for his lunch, which could easily be done in half a page, instead lasts two pages so I can show the evolving action panel by panel, minute action by minute action. Believe me, it's cooler and less boring than it sounds. Anyway, the story turned out very cool, and even managed to surprise me in the end, which is a real trick since I created it. I am, however, hoping to fill the rest of the book with shorter stories, just so I can have a wide variety of adventures in the book rather than just two or three big ones.
I have a backlog of story ideas to pick from for future Dead Duck episodes, but as is sometimes the case, a fresh idea comes to mind and takes precedent over an older idea that's been fermenting for a year. Such was the case with my current Dead Duck endeavor. I've been re-reading E.L. Doctorow's novel Ragtime (one of my favorite books), and was inspired to give Dead Duck and Zombie Chick their own turn of the century adventure. Without giving too much away, I'll divulge that this story concerns Dead Duck's internal conflict with his job, as well as Zombie Chick's unintentional involvement in the origins of World War I.
The script came to me very quickly, which usually means it's going to be good and a hell of a lot of fun to create. I find in my older age that I'm becoming more interested in history, and though it was never intended as a tent pole for Dead Duck's adventures, I'm finding historical events and characters fit into Dead Duck's formula quite nicely and are a ton of fun to work with. I'm toying with the possibility of Dead Duck meeting Ben Franklin at some juncture, since he's one of my favorite historical figures (and potentially the first American editorial cartoonist!). Time will tell....
I've been in touch with Chris Sanders, and he's still dedicated to creating a Dead Duck pin-up for the book, much to my delight. I have no doubt that Zombie Chick will take center stage in his piece, since he seems to favor her (and who can blame him? Hell, I favor her!). I tell you though, he's really going to set the bar high for me to up the level of quality in my work for this book. I'd hate for people to read the book, see my art and say "Huh. Not bad..." then see Chris' pin-up and then say "Jesus Christ! When didn't HE just draw this book instead? That other guy ain't nearly as good!" Actually, I have no doubt that I'll be the one saying that, since Chris' work is just untouchable. All I know is, when I grow up I want to be Chris Sanders.
On the home front, I'm gradually packing up my life, storing some of it in my grandma's attic, pitching a lot of it in the dumpster, and trying like hell to hold on to as much of it as I can (which AIN'T much) for our big move to Ann Arbor in late July. I'm trying to get as much done on Dead Duck before the move, and as of now I'm almost at 100 pages, with just 44 left to go. I feel pretty good about that. But still, trying to give birth to a comic amidst a life altering move is no walk in the park. I'm doing my best, and with Laura close at hand, I know it'll all come together just fine.
And on a parting note, I just received the news today that one of my heroes, make-up special effects genius Stan Winston has passed away from a long fight with cancer. I've admired Stan's work since I was twelve and saw his work in the Wiz. But it was his sci fi creations, particularly the Predator, that always blew my mind. I'm just at such a loss over Stan's death. I've been coming to grips lately that almost all of my heroes are dead, and that's a tough pill to swallow. Thank god for guys like Chris Sanders, who still give me idols to worship and aspire to emulate. But Stan, I wish you were still here, man. I wish. I wish.
So as updates go, it ain't much, but it's something. Sorry for the lack of "pictures" this time around. Man, haven't called my drawing pictures since I was five, and even then I thought the title was a bit degrading. Still, you'd be surprised how many older folks still use that vernacular. Anyway, I hope to have more stuff to share soon, with actual samples for you to see rather than just a load of blabbering text to slog through. Thanks for sticking with me, kids. Talk to you more later.