Monday, August 25, 2008


The biggest problem with moving down to Ann Arbor has been an abundance of great stuff that I want to buy. I mean it, they have everything. For the most part, I've kept my cool and refrained from unbridled spending sprees (my new Pee-Wee Herman bike doesn't count--that was an early anniversary present). But upon discovery of a new comic book shop in nearby Canton, MI, I was doomed to make the following purchase:

I am a HUMONGOUS fan of the comic book Hellboy, as well as the movies based off it. This particular doll (let's call a spade a spade, guys. Actions figures are just plastic dolls with guns after all) was something I'm dreamed of buying about six years ago, when it was brand new and unreasonably priced, in my opinion. So now, six years later, my wife points it out to me in Comic City, marked down by half it's original price, and within minutes the big red fella was all mine. I don't care how sissy it sounds. I love this doll. He has a faux-leather jacket and a removable utility belt/rocket pack, plus a gun which fits into his holster or can be put in his hand. IN HIS HAND!!! I'm sorry, but that's so cool that I have to go change my undies. I'm pretty sure I tinkled a little.

But this is far from my only toy purchase since arriving in Ann Arbor. I discovered these classic characters in a neat little shop called Middle Earth….

I've been a big ol' fan of Gumby since I was eight, and actually owned this very Pokey back then. Somewhere between childhood and adulthood he slipped from my grasp and I thought I'd lost him forever. But like my Hellboy acquisition, I discovered that all good toys come to those who wait, and the end of the rainbow is found in Ann Arbor.

So here's my eclectic display of toys now (not even all of them. There's way more scattered around our apartment). Hellboy is dominant of course, flanking not only Gumby and Pokey, but The Pillsbury Doughboy (a gift from my boss), Jabba The Hutt (from my best bud Scott) and Big Boy (a purchase from the Mt. Pleasant Big Boy restaurant during my CMU days). What's so great is that my wife totally supports my devotion to these rubber deities of pop culture iconography (or dolls, for the short of verbiage). She knows I dig the aesthetic of their design, but also how they make me feel. I look at these toys, touch them, draw inspiration from them, and they make me happy. That's just a good thing, nothing wrong with that.

When I write these, I always forget what I wrote in the previous blog. As far as I remember, I already mentioned how, since moving down here, all I've been doing to Dead Duck is coloring, coloring, coloring. With 100+ pages written and drawn, I really needed to hue-up the black and white illustrations big time. Now, approximately four weeks into our move (or is it five?), I can report that I'm actually almost finished coloring the existing pages. I have one more story to go, which I believe is an eight or nine pager, and then I'll be 100+ pages completed for real. That should be a load off the mind of my publisher, patient fella that he is, who encouraged me to step away from the drawing board and crack open Photoshop for some much needed coloring.

To connect the two topics of this blog, one of the products I'm hoping to merchandise for Dead Duck is a set of vinyl toys (dolls for the open-minded, action figures for the emotionally insecure). I haven't actually mentioned this to Ape Comics yet, but I'd like to think they'd dig the idea. I would also be keen to have Dead Duck trading cards at some point. If any of you have any suggestions for cool Dead Duck merch, I'd love to hear it and will gladly pass them along to Ape.

Well, that's it for now. Hopefully in the next few weeks when the current marathon of coloring has run it's course I can get back to drawing my latest stories and have something brand new to show everyone. Thanks for sticking with me. I'll try to make it worth the wait!



Kerry said...

You look like a kid at Christmas, Jay. : ) I'm all about reconnecting with childhood wishes and using the resources we have as adults to seek them out. (To prove the point, I'm now motioning in the style of Vanna White to the Snoopy Snow Cone machine I got earlier this year. Who cares if it's about 25 years after I first wanted it?)

Glad to hear that things are shaping up well in Ann Arbor and with the Dead Duck book. Exciting stuff!

P.S. - I love Middle Earth; such a cool place!

Pat said...

Okay, in that second picture, call me crazy, but...

Is that Manowar the Man-Eating Manatee?!?!?

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy you haven't lost (slash) tried to supress your inner child, Jay. It is strong with you...and that's why you are so wonderfully real and fun!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog, as always, and only wish you the best of luck, as always (again), for a successful turnout with your "ape"venture...bad pun, I know.

I'll hopefully see you and Laura in a couple of weeks, as it looks like I'll be moving to G.R. by the end of the 1st week of Sept...woohoo!!