Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Standing in line at the complaint department...

I've been hearing from numerous people who are frustrated about not having received their Dead Duck orders yet. Obviously it frustrates me as well, since I want to put the books in the public's hands, particularly those who so kindly pre-ordered Dead Duck and helped me get my sales up.

Since finding out in late November that there would be a hold up on Dead Duck's release, I have taken it upon myself to keep everyone as updated as possible, and I have apologized profusely, since I know what a bummer this is for all of you. But the fact of the matter is, this delay is not my fault.

I created the Dead Duck graphic novel in its entirety, and handed it off to Ape Entertainment back in March of '09. Once that happened, the book was out of my hands. I know that Ape took the steps to get it to the printer. The fact that there was a problem at the printer, which ultimately caused the book's delay, is not for me to lay blame, nor is it for me to accept blame. I wasn't there, I wasn't a part of that process, and I was only told that the problem was fixed, but the book would be delayed. Two to three weeks delay on orders through Previews was what I was originally told, longer on orders through Amazon and bookstores. As those who haven't received their books must have noticed by now, that information was obviously wrong. This isn't how I wanted it to happen. But it is how it's happening. And again, this is not my fault.

I will certainly continue to inform people about Dead Duck's impending release as that information comes to me. But I'm just the messenger. For a more direct response, I am encouraging you to contact my publisher, Ape Entertainment. They are the ones who talk to the sales reps at Diamond (comic book shop distributor of Dead Duck). They have the connections to the bookseller that will stock Dead Duck in standard bookstores, they have the connections to And lastly, they are the ones who you should talk to if you ordered Dead Duck directly through Ape's website. They have the answers for all of this, and I have none of that. So please, from this point on, direct all questions about Dead Duck's release to: or the store page

This is my final apology for what has happened with dead Duck's release. I've suffered continuous headaches, literal and figurative, trying to compensate for this setback. But it's out of my hands. I hope you all still enjoy Dead Duck when it gets to you. If, heaven forbid, your copies don't get to you by late January, then please, contact David Hedgecock. I have no other answers to give for now.


Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Two signings down, two (or more) to go…!

The "or more" I keep mentioning is in regards to a signing I'm in the process of booking with Wonderworld Comics in Taylor, Michigan. It's looking like it'll happen on January 12th, but it's dependant on the arrival of additional copies of Dead Duck. I'll let you all know when it's finalized.

So my second signing at my ol' alma mater Delta College was just a wonderful experience! I have pictures and further details below, but first, a shout-out for my THIRD signing, which happens TOMORROW!

The poster says it all, though as of this writing, the "presentation" I'd previously mentioned is still up in the air. I had a power point prez I wanted to do at the signing, but various factors have persuaded me to push that aside so I can spend more time meeting people as I sign copies at Vault of Midnight. Regardless, it'll be a fun night, and I look forward to seeing some of you guys there!

So back to my Delta experience! My old English prof and old faculty advisor of The Delta Collegiate, Joan Ramm, had worked with the current advisor (and my first editor in chief at The Collegiate) Kathie Marchlewski in setting everything up for my signing. They had a table and chairs waiting for me, and they put up posters weeks in advance to promote my arrival. I was (and still am) very touched by all the effort they put out in bringing me back to good ol' Delta to unveil Dead Duck. Just a few weeks prior to my arrival, Kathie sent me a Facebook message that simply said, "Can't wait to see you at the Delta signing! C'mon home!" That so perfectly summed up how I felt about returning to my college, and it was a very dear sentiment.

Joan had me speak to her Mass Media class (which I also took with Joan back in 1997). Everything went smoothly, the class was very attentive, and as always, Joan kept the whole thing rolling if there was ever a lull in the Q and A part of my presentation. Here I am addressing the class…

And here is what I'm pointing at. When we talked of doing a power point presentation, at best I thought I'd get one of those old fashioned classroom movie screens. Little did I know Delta had a humongo ginormous screen at their disposal! My illustrations looked even cooler blown up that huge!

After talking with the class, I and my pal/lawyer/manager/transportation and now cashier Nick made our way down to my signing spot outside the library. Here are Nick and I looking totally bad ass (yes, I'm being facetious)…

Here I am with Kathie Marchlewski. As I mentioned, Kathie was my first editor when I came to the Collegiate back in '95/'96, and she was truly one of the best. I recall her being very supportive and encouraging of my cartooning, and she always found an excuse to use my art in some capacity, keeping me gainfully employed that first year. Kathie was no less supportive during my signing, and I absolutely appreciate everything she did for it.

Here I am with my best friend Scott, who skipped work just to come and buy a copy of Dead Duck--despite having already ordered a slew of them off Amazon! Now that's a best friend!

Here's Joan Ramm, as supportive and great as ever. Like Kathie, Joan always found a use for my cartoons on the Collegiate, and also kept my hands in everything else the Collegiate was doing, which began my education in print production and graphic processes. All this still serves me well today with my comics, and Joan started it all. It's with no small feeling of gratitude that I write these words, and it was a thrill to get to thank her in person for all that she's done for me.

Here’s Nick and Joan. Nick was also an employee and section editor of The Collegiate back in 2000, and had the benefit of Joan's experience and encouragement as well. I think he had as great a time as I did coming back to the school and people who helped make us what we are today.

Here I am with LeAnne, one of my closest and oldest friends (again, old in longevity of friendship, not age. I have a good year or two over LeAnne). LeAnne and I went to school together, worked for many years at Thomas Township Parks and Rec together, and have remained close all the while. She brought her sister and two little boys with her to my signing, and it was wonderful to see her again.

And here is Jason, an old pal from my CMU theater dept. days. Jason actually attended Delta for one semester, and I encountered him in a broadcasting class there as my friend Pat and I edited our horror film, "Son of Scurvy". I'd meet Jason again the following fall when he transferred to CMU, and we've been friends ever since.

I need to mention the other friends who came that I didn't catch in front of my camera lens. Tim Sandison, friend and step dad to Laura's best friend Jenn, came to see me and grab a copy. Liz Dewey, my director from "Duck Hunter Shoots Angel", a great friend and Delta College employee came over to get a copy. Liz's daughter Robin also trekked up from Flint to see me. Tom Caylor, a friend, Delta employee and fellow Bay City Players member came over to my table for a book and a chat. My mother in law Julaine and her son Adam showed up for the signing. And Ashley Niedzwiecki, The Collegiate's current editor in chief, came over for a copy and a chat as well. Ashley was as big a help as Joan and Kathie in making this signing happen--from writing a great article on me and Dead Duck a couple months back to printing off the posters for the event--I couldn't have done it without her. A warm thank you to everyone else who came out to see me--students and passers by alike. It was my best signing experience to date!

So there you have it. Hope to see some more of you at my signing at Vault of Midnight tomorrow. Hopefully you'll find me and Dead Duck entertaining, with or without a power point presentation. I'll be looking for you!

Much love,


Saturday, November 28, 2009


Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Me, I had my best one since fall of '02 when I first introduced Laura to my family! Great food and fun with the fam, and the addition of my first Dead Duck signing at Coy's Comics the day after made it an incredible holiday. But before I tell you about that signing, I need to promote my NEXT signing (click on the image to make it larger)...!

The sign says it all! As I've recounted before, Delta was my home from 1994-2001, and the best education I got there was serving on staff at The Delta Collegiate from '95-2001. So to be able to have a signing at my alma mater and to have my old newspaper sponsor it is an absolute thrill and honor. I hope to see some of you there, and to introduce Dead Duck to Delta's student body!

Now, if you're still curious about how my Coy's Comics signing went, I got pictures!

I arrived at Coy's around 11, and hour in advance to allow for set up, and I got to talk with Steve, my pal and manager of Coy's. I told him how huge a thrill it was for me to sign my comic at my childhood comic shop, a wonderful and almost surreal experience. Any comic creator who gets the chance to revisit his old comic shop and do a signing should jump at he chance. It's the sort of nostalgia that warms you to the core of your soul, an experience not to miss out on.

As usual, I snapped a photo or two of myself. Though I was certainly emotional, my tears weren't fogging up the lens here. I was just stupid and left my camera in my car overnight. Yay for condensation. Fortunately I was wise enough to bring my comics indoors.

Here's a brief overview of Coy's selection. Though the books have been rotated over the years, this is pretty much the same layout Dave Coy had for his store in the early 80's when I first started patronizing his shop. I can still smell the newsprint…sigh….

A shot of my table. This is similar to my set up at Wizard World Chicago, except I had less giveaways and original art. I did, however, sell a few prints at this signing, which was very cool.

My mom and her husband Scott arrived just after noon, my first customers. She took this picture of me.

This is me and my mom. I owe her more than I can ever express. Not only was she always supportive of my art and my dreams, but she never complained when I asked her to drive me to Coy's Comics as a kid. Sometimes she'd sit outside in the car reading a book while I pawed through the back issue boxes. Other times she'd come in the store with me, taking an active interest in MY interest in comics. She never dissuaded me from buying more "adult" comics, like "Batman: The Killing Joke" (even Dave Coy tried to talk her out of letting me have it), and she once stood through Dave Coy's thorough explanation of why Flaming Carrot is such a great comic book (p.s. I'm still a huge Flaming Carrot fan today). That's just a small part of why I love my mom, and why it meant so much for me to have her at my Coy's signing.

Here's my mom and her husband Scott…

Gradually, people started coming in, and to my great pleasure, they were all some of my oldest and dearest friends. Here's me and Becky, one of my closest friends and fellow Delta/Delta Collegiate/CMU alum…

And here is Ray, my oldest friend ever (as in longevity of our relationship--he's actually close to two months younger than me). Ray and I met in elementary school, and Ray was one of my earliest converts to comic book appreciation. Because of the now infamous day 20 years ago that me, Ray and our friends Bill and Danny rode our bikes to Coy's without Ray and Bill asking their mom's permission--and consequently got busted by Ray's mom before we could step foot in Coy's door--I signed Ray's copy of Dead Duck: "We finally made it to Coy's, Ray!" Similarly, I signed a copy for Ray's mom, saying: "Haha! We finally made it to Coy's, Mrs. Peters!"

And here is Premo, my second oldest friend, and beyond a doubt one of my very best. Premo even brought his baby girl Juliet with him. I offered to autograph the baby, but we suspected his wife Andrea would disapprove.

Here I am with my old CMU theater department friend Kristi Bogart, aka Kristi Fradette (or Fraday)…

My old Swan Valley high school friend Julie showed up with her boys Nathan and Justin. I gladly accepted her patronage of Dead Duck, and advised her that she may want to wait a couple years before letting them read it. Boobs abound, after all!

My old Thomas Township Parks friend Lindsey (who also modeled for a character in Dead Duck!) came out to see me…

…along with another old parks friend, Lindsey's sister Jo…

..and the queen of the parks herself, our old boss, Shelly and her nephew Levi. I worked for Shelly for thirteen years, and she allowed me to put my art to use in a job that was decidedly non-artistic. So she deserves a lot of credit for keeping me gainfully employed for over a decade. However, I felt enough time had passed that I tell her about all the times I drove the work truck down to Coy's when I was supposed to be working. If she only knew half the crap I got away with…

It's to my regret that I didn't get photos of my other friends who came to see me--my pseudo sis Emily and her finance Chris, my old Collegiate friend Gina (aka Gina Bo-beena), my old Swan Valley friend Theresa and my old Swan Valley English and drama teacher Mr. Bird (who's teachings were a huge influence on Dead Duck). If any of you guys have pics from Coy's that you took, please e-mail them to me or link me to them on Facebook. I'd love to show them off!

So my thanks to Steve at Coy's Comics (the absolute best comic shop in mid Michigan) for allowing me to hold my first signing there. It was such fun, and just one more piece of my childhood dream puzzle to fall into place!

To the rest of you, all my best, and I hope to see you at my next signing on Monday at good ol' Delta College!


Wednesday, November 25, 2009


My kids made it to me just in time! Five boxes worth of my Dead Duck graphic novel arrived at my door at 2:15 yesterday afternoon. I carefully and anxiously peeled away the wrapping, pulled out the first book within my reach and…

It's perfect. It's a beautiful, slick volume of Dead Duck, containing what I believe to be the best work of my career thus far. It actually turned out better than I could have hoped for. And now more than ever, I cannot wait to put it in your hands. I think you're gonna be impressed.

And if you want to be first in line for a copy of Dead Duck, then you need to get to Coy's Comics in old town Saginaw on November 27th--Black Friday (again, how appropriate!)-- between 12 and 2 pm. It's my first Dead Duck signing, and it being my hometown comic shop, I couldn't be more proud or excited to begin it here, since this is where my comic book appreciation began twenty five years ago! Click here for directions. And for any other info, call Coy's at (989)790-1810. I hope to see you there!

This being the day before Thanksgiving, obviously I have a lot to be thankful for. I'm thankful for the good fortune that's allowed me to fulfill my dream of being a published cartoonist, and the vision to see that there's still further to climb, and more dreams to accomplish. I'm thankful for my wife, Laura, for believing in me and supporting me in every way possible. And I'm thankful for all of you, for your combined and individual support. As a group, you'd made Dead Duck possible. And as individuals, so many of you have contributed personally, in inspiration, motivation, much needed relief and so much more. So I'm thankful for you guys. Corny, maybe. But true.

The happiest of Thankgivings to all you guys. Much love, and more fun to come!


Sunday, November 22, 2009


I feel like an expectant father who just so happened to birth a dead duck and a zombie chicken. Y'know, that old scenario.

I got a call from my publishers at Ape a couple days ago, and good news abounds. They've packaged up 200 copies of Dead Duck, and they're currently in transit to my humble digs here in Ann Arbor. And as the top paragraph suggests, I'm pacing around like an anxious daddy to be. Twenty years developing Dead Duck, five years developing Zombie Chick, three years working on the graphic novel, and two years working with Ape Entertainment, and it all boils down to five cardboard boxes filled with my creative brainchildren, to be delivered via Fed Ex stork to my doorstep on Tuesday, Nov. 24th.

I'd say it's been a difficult delivery, save that you all provided a hell of a sedative by pre-ordering the crap out of Dead Duck. My publisher tells me orders are almost to 900 copies pre-sold (including 300 ordered by a very big book seller) and have all but covered our printing costs, which means….gasp…I just might turn a profit on Dead Duck! Can you effing believe it?! They're even talking to me now about designing the first Dead Duck t-shirt, which I've been dreaming about since the beginning! So as I pace back and forth in the waiting room so see if it's a boy or a girl (who am I kidding--it's both!), I want to thank you for your assistance in the delivery. I barely felt a thing!

And in related news:


NOVEMBER 27TH, 2009 (Black Friday! How appropriate!):
Dead Duck book signing at Coy's Comics
301 S. Hamilton
Saginaw, MI 48602
12-2 pm
Call Coy's at (989) 790-1810 for more info
Click HERE for directions

Coy's is my hometown comic shop, the one where, at age ten, I first experienced the comics that would help shape my cartoon and writing style--Groo the Wanderer, Boris the Bear, 'Mazing Man, Flaming Carrot, Peter Porker, The Amazing Spider-Ham--where my friends and I got busted at age fifteen for riding our bikes on a comic buying pilgrimage (gasp) WITHOUT ASKING OUR FOLKS!! (P.S. My own parents were fine with it), and where I always said I would one day do a signing when I had my own comic book. That day has come, and I hope you can make it to experience it with me!

As I mentioned a few days back, anyone who pre-ordered Dead Duck through Coy's will be able to pick up their copy as of Nov. 27th. And anyone who didn't pre-order through Coy's but comes to my signing anyway will also be able to buy a copy from the stock I'll be bringing with me to sign. So now you have no excuse not to make it!


To date, I've done three podcasts to promote Dead Duck---

The Idiothead .com podcast
And just this past week,'s The related Recap

Each one has it's own flavor and discusses several aspects of Dead Duck. Plus you get to hear me nervously stammer through some very interesting questions! Click on each link to listen for yourself!


As foretold over a week ago, the final online Dead Duck comic was posted yesterday--meant to coincide with the release of Dead Duck next week. Of course, as I posted a few days back, Dead Duck's release has been delayed by a couple weeks (it should arrive before Christmas). But it's the final online comic nonetheless. You can click here to read the final sneak peek before the awesomeness of the graphic novel arrives and surpasses everything I've already shown you!


If you can't make any of my signings and you want to make sure Dead Duck gets in your hands, here's the low down of where you can order yourself some dark, cartoony greatness!

APE ENTERTAINMENT: Click here to order it directly through my publisher.

AMAZON.COM: Click here to order it through their site.

Give them the Dead Duck order code: SEPT090577. They should still be able to back order it for you.

YOUR LOCAL BOOKSTORE: Here is Dead Duck's ISBN number: ISBN-13: 9781934944721 I've checked, and Barnes and Noble and Borders do indeed carry Dead Duck, as should any bookstore you can imagine. They just require you to come in and order it!

So that's it, my friends! If I don't hear from or see you before next week, happy Thanksgiving! I look forward to bringing Dead Duck to as many of you as I can, first hand, at Coy's and my other coming signings!

Much love,


Tuesday, November 17, 2009


It wouldn't be Dead Duck without some kind of mishap. The graphic novel is loaded with episodes where Zombie Chick messes things up, Dead Duck messes things up, or something goes haywire with their pick-up. But their situation is never irreparable and always works out in the end. And so will this…

There was a problem with Dead Duck at the printers. The simplified version is that the artwork was getting cut off, so they had to re-size the entire book on the fly. The good news is that the problem was solved, and everyone who has ordered a copy (or copies) of Dead Duck will still be getting their books.

The bad news is that most people will not be getting those copies until two or three weeks after Dead Duck's original release dates. This means that if you ordered your copies through a comic shop, rather than getting them on Nov. 25th as originally said, you'll get yours somewhere around Dec. 10th or 17th. But if you ordered through Amazon, who gave an original release date of Dec. 9th, you will either get your copies just before or just after Christmas.

Now, there is an exception to all this. Anyone who pre-ordered Dead Duck through any of the three shops I'm currently signing at--Coy's Comics in Saginaw on Nov. 27th, Vault of Midnight in Ann Arbor on Dec. 2nd and Comic City in Canton on Dec. 5th--WILL have their books in stock on the day of each signing. My publisher is sending me a case of Dead Duck books that I will be bringing to these shops to cover any of their pre-orders. So all my signings, including my Delta College signing on Nov. 30th (which I'll provide copies of Dead Duck for), are still ON. You can click here if you need more information on them.

While I'm pleased that I can satisfy those who ordered their copies at the three shops I'm signing at, that does not forgive the delay the rest of you will experience. Some of you may have ordered Dead Duck as Christmas presents, and it's only a thin possibility that it will reach all of you in time. I cannot apologize enough for that. The love, support and personal effort you've all afforded me is what carried Dead Duck to print in the first place. And now for this to happen, well, that's just inexcusable. That is no way to repay your faith in me and my work. And I am so very, very sorry that it happened this way.

The light at the end of the tunnel is that Dead Duck is still coming out. I'm reminding myself of that as much as I'm reminding you. I'm still promoting it to the hilt--I'm doing another podcast tonight (The Related Recap, on, I've done three interviews in the past two weeks and am anticipating a fourth--so I'm not done fighting to make this dream a reality. I hope you can still get behind me despite all the craziness of the past couple months, and enjoy Dead Duck when it finally does reach you. For all I've had to go through to make it happen, it's just gotta be worth it in the end.

Much love, and many apologies,


Saturday, November 07, 2009


Let's get straight to the news, folks…!

I received this e-mail from my publisher on Halloween, and got a very nice treat indeed:

Checked the Diamond orders today...(Sales) more than doubled in the last week…what the hell did you do, Jay? Are those orders from your signings or something? It’s cool, whatever it is.

Basically, my publisher is saying that my putting out the word to all you guys to order Dead Duck like mad and to spread the word across the land is doing its job, far more successfully than he or I had anticipated. I've said it before and I'll keep on saying it, you guys have made this all possible, and owe you all my love and appreciation.
If there are still those of you out there who want to pre-order Dead Duck, it is not too late at all. Here are the outlets available for you to do so:

APE ENTERTAINMENT: Click here to order it directly through my publisher.

AMAZON.COM: Click here to order it through their site.

YOUR LOCAL COMIC SHOP: Give them the Dead Duck order code: SEPT090577. Check my signings and appearances list to see if I'm coming to your local shop--if I am, they may still be able to order you a copy and have it in stock in time for me to sign it for you!

Here is Dead Duck's ISBN number: ISBN-13: 9781934944721 I've checked, and Barnes and Noble and Borders do indeed carry Dead Duck, as should any bookstore you can imagine. They just require you to come in and order it!

So keep up the good work--if you haven't ordered your copy of Dead Duck, please do! And if you know others who haven't, please encourage them to do so!


I've just booked another Dead Duck signing! I will be at Comic City in Canton, MI on Saturday Dec. 5th from 12-3pm. It's barely a half hour north east of Ann Arbor, but it should work out for anyone who misses my signing at Vault of Midnight in Ann Arbor, MI on Wednesday Dec. 2nd. Comic City is one of my favorite shops in the area, and I'm very excited about appearing there!

I also want to remind folks that I'll be doing a brief power point presentation at my Vault of Midnight signing on Dec. 2nd. This will be exclusive to that signing and won't happen at any of the others, so if it's something you'd be interested in, that's the place to be and the time to be there!

And lastly, I WILL be selling copies of Dead Duck at ALL my signings, including Delta College on Nov. 30th. So if you've already got your copies, bring 'em and I'll sign 'em. And if you don't, I've got you covered!

You can view my entire list of signings and appearances by clicking HERE. Bookmark it and check it frequently in the coming months, since there's more of these types of events in the works which I haven't event mentioned yet!


Hopefully you've been keeping up with my online Dead Duck comic over the past however many months since I began it. And if so, I hope you've enjoyed it. I say "enjoyed" in the past tense because I'm indefinitely retiring the online comic.

It was always intended to be a limited engagement, a brief sampling of what the graphic novel will have to offer. And as such, I've shown all that I'm willing to show outside of the book itself. With just over two weeks until Dead Duck is released world wide, I've timed it as best I could that the online comic will run its final page on Friday, Nov. 20th, five days prior to the release.

For those keeping track, I've run precisely seven stories online, leaving eleven stories that are exclusively for the eyes of those who purchase Dead Duck. And believe me, those remaining eleven are where the magic are.

Don't get me wrong--the stories I've posted online are some of my favorites. But I purposely left out any that dealt with Dead Duck's origin, big epic tales, and those that I consider the pinnacle of my artistic and writing capabilities. You can't feel that energy through a computer monitor. You need to hold that mass of glossy paper in your hands and experience it with your face inches from the page, as any good comic is meant to be enjoyed. And brother, you better believe this is a comic meant to be enjoyed. I can't wait for you all to see what I've kept from you all this time!

I may come back and post new material on the online Dead Duck comic eventually. But for now, please visit the site HERE and enjoy yesterday's post, and the final two that will be coming in the next two weeks.

That's it for now, folks. More news to come, and I look forward to sharing it with you!

Much love,


Friday, October 23, 2009


I want to thank all of you, my friends, family, fans and followers, for coming to my aid when I most needed it. After my last blog posting, asking for people to order Dead Duck like crazy, that's exactly what you did, and more. Those of you who spread the word about Dead Duck on your websites and blogs have provided just as significant an impact.

And my publisher has taken notice. Of course, Dead Duck isn't completely out of the woods yet, and I'm hoping pre-orders won't seize up anytime soon. But you guys have made a difference and continue to do so. Those who sent me addresses can count on Dead Duck sketches in their mail in the coming weeks. And I hope to repay the rest of you by releasing Dead Duck on November 25th, the most significant and beloved undertaking I've ever embarked upon since my marriage. If you've enjoyed the stories, gags and artwork in the handful of sneak peeks I've given you in the past year, let me tell you friends, you ain't seen nothin' yet.

And not to completely bore you with all this schmaltzy emotional stuff, I also come bearing some very cool news!

I was recently interviewed on the Comic Geek Speak podcast, which is one of the premiere comics discussion spots online. These guys are used to interviewing the likes of Stan Lee (co-creator of the entire silver age Marvel Universe) and David Petersen (creator of Mouseguard, which if you're a comics fan and aren't already reading it, then you're like the dorky, out of touch kid on the playground in 1989 without a Batman t-shirt). But thanks to a couple e-mails I sent and a very kind endorsement from my friend and fellow cartoonist Katie Cook (those Comic Geek Speak fellas ADORE her!), I was interviewed last Monday and that episode was put online just yesterday! I've done one other audio interview in my life, and it goes without saying that CGS surpassed it. You can listen to the episode in its entirety by clicking HERE (my segment is at the end of the episode). Thanks to Peter and Jamie for having me on their show and for being such fun, thorough and gracious hosts. And thanks to Katie for her continued support of my work. Us cartoony comic creators gotta stick together!

The online Dead Duck comic is still rolling along. I would like to keep it going right up 'til the day the book comes out, and there should be enough material to post without having to show the slew of stories I've kept ear marked exclusively for the graphic novel. You can see it HERE for now, and hopefully it'll whet your appetite for the graphic novel to come.

And lastly, I've started a Facebook group for friends and fans of Dead Duck, which you can view HERE. As far as I know, you need to be a Facebook member to participate, but honestly, anything I post on that page will most likely get posted here as well. I want Dead Duck news and updates available to everyone, and I'll always make sure there's such an outlet available to you guys.

Thank you again, friends. I'm genuinely touched that you've all been there for me. After college passes, you forget what it's like to have a community of friends at your disposal, to rely up and to be there for as well. But you've all proven to me the strength of such relationships doesn't have to disappear, and if anything, can be made stronger than ever. I promise to be there for you as you have for me, and to help you reach the dreams you've all held so dearly. One good turn deserves another…

Endless affection,


Thursday, October 15, 2009


This is a call for help, folks. I need to get sales up on pre-orders for Dead Duck, and fast.

I know many of you have already ordered Dead Duck for yourselves through your area comic shops. And I know many of you plan to buy Dead Duck at the signings I've been mentioning. That's still great, and I can ask no more of you.

But there are many, many more of you who are waiting for the day that Dead Duck is intended for release to buy your copies. Here's the problem with that: Dead Duck is an independently published comic book. Unlike Spider-Man or Batman--mainstream, audience-proven comics which bookstores keep in stock because of their guaranteed salability--Dead Duck does not have an assured audience, since it's relatively unknown to the public. That means that most book stores will NOT immediately stock Dead Duck unless YOU contact them in advance and pre-order your copy.

Now here's the figures: I need to pull in at least 400 more pre-orders to make this all work out. So here's what I'm asking….

I need people to start ordering Dead Duck from either your local bookstore, on or directly from Ape Entertainment. Each order will increase my sales, and will assure Dead Duck's success come November 25th. If you order now from the above-mentioned venues, and encourage anyone you can think of to order one as well, here's what I'm prepared to offer:

For each new order I get as of this blog posting, I will send a personalized Dead Duck or Zombie Chick sketch on a postcard to every person who notifies me of their purchase. You can e-mail me at: with notification of your order (if I don't know your personally, please include some proof of purchase), as well as a mailing address for you. In the meantime, here's how you can order Dead Duck:


This is Dead Duck's ISBN number: ISBN-13: 9781934944721
Any bookstore (Barnes and Noble, Borders, Waldenbooks, Etc…) should be able to order Dead Duck for you with this number. If they need additional information, just tell them Dead Duck is by Jay P. Fosgitt and published by Ape Entertainment. That should do it.


Just click HERE.


Just click HERE.

No pun intended, but I'm dead serious here, people. I've spent my entire life trying to get to this point in my cartooning career, and your help can push me to the top of the summit. So please, if you can, order now, encourage others to order now, and I'll do my damnedest to show my appreciation to each and every one of you. I hope to hear from you soon with news of your purchases.

Much love and appreciation, friends.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Cheers and tears from a Dead Duck's bill....

Well, it's now October 12th, and I'm five days worth of being a year older. Thirty-five might not look so good on paper, but I feel young as ever, and it was a very happy occasion. I received loads of nice messages and phone calls from my friends and family, and had a wonderful time with Laura eating dinner and walking around downtown Ann Arbor. Aside from the sad discovery that our favorite video store, Liberty Street Video, is closing its doors soon (click here for their website, and I encourage you to buy some of their inventory: $2.00 for hard to find videos, $5.00 for DVD's), I couldn't have asked for a better way to spend my birthday. And the handful of news I have to share with you now is just the icing on the cake!


NOVEMBER 27TH, 2009:
Dead Duck book signing at Coy's Comics
301 S. Hamilton
Saginaw, MI 48602
12-2 pm
Call Coy's at (989) 790-1810 for more info
Click HERE for directions

NOVEMBER 30TH, 2009:
Dead Duck book signing at Delta College
1961 Delta Road
University Center, MI 48710
11-1 pm
Call The Delta Collegiate at (989) 686-9337 for more info
Click HERE for directions

Dead Duck presentation and book signing at Vault of Midnight
219 S. Main St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
5-8 pm
Call Vault of Midnight at 734-998-1413 for more info
Click HERE for directions

You can also get the most up to date listing of my appearances by clicking HERE. In the coming months it will be updated frequently, so bookmark it for future reference!


These are the latest articles written on Dead Duck that I've come across. If anyone finds any that I haven't mentioned, please let me know and I'll post them here!

THE DELTA COLLEGIATE: My old college newspaper recently wrote a very nice article on me and Dead Duck, including a column by their current staff cartoonist whom I taught in my cartooning classes over ten years ago! Read it below!

360 MAIN STREET ARTICLE: One of my oldest Delta College friends (and fellow Collegiate staffer) Gina Myers has written a wonderful article on me and Dead Duck for 301 Main Street, an art-centric news website. You can read it all HERE.

THE FURRY COMMUNITY: I saw this coming a mile away. There is a community of people known as "Furries". At their tamest, they have a voracious appreciation for anthropomorphic characters (i.e. cartoon animals with human attributes, like Donald Duck or Miss Piggy). At their most extreme, their appreciation turns sexual, with Furries dressing up in cartoony animal costumes and, well, fornicating like the beasts of the forest. Someone from the furry community recently took note of Dead Duck and Zombie Chick, and mentioned them favorably in a list of upcoming comics that might appeal to the Furry community. They seemed a wee disappointed that Dead Duck deals very little with anthropomorphism beyond Dead Duck and Zombie Chick themselves, and were even more let down that Zombie Chick is (in their assessment) basically just a cute yellow girl with an orange bill--not quite anthro enough by their standards. But the book's content won them over, and their brief write-up is positive. You can read it all HERE (Scroll down a bit to find it).

And last but not even least, one of the cutest gifts I received for my birthday, heck, for any occasion in recent days, was this handmade Dead Duck finger puppet from my friend and fellow cartoonist, Katie Cook.

It's a rare treat to have someone create something for ME rather than the other way around, and Katie gets high points for originality. Thanks again, Katie!

So that's it for now. Obviously I'll be popping back in the coming weeks to alert you guys to book signings and other appearances, but again, you can click on my signings and appearances section of my blog or in the Dead Duck section of my website anytime you want. I promise it'll be up to date and thorough as can be.

Take care, much, much thanks for all the warm birthday wishes, and I look forward to bringing Dead Duck to you as November 25th slowly approaches!

Much love,


Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Lots of neat stuff has been happening since my last update two weeks ago, so let's get down to it!


If you wanted to order Dead Duck through Previews but just couldn't drag yourself down to your local comic shop, let alone to your nearest telephone, then I'm sorry, but that ship has sailed. September's making way for October, and October's Previews won't include orders for Dead Duck.

HOWEVER, all is not lost! Anyone who still wants to order Dead Duck can do so in a number of other ways (NOTE: Copies ordered anywhere other than Previews will be shipped in December):

*Call your local bookstore--Dead Duck is available to order through ANY bookstore. Just tell em: Dead Duck, graphic novel, by Jay Fosgitt, published by Ape Entertainment. If that doesn't kick 'em in the pants, then give them the ISBN numbers:
ISBN-10: 1934944726
ISBN-13: 978-1934944721
Don't ask me what one means versus the other. All I know is, this is all any bookstore should need to order Dead Duck.

*Order it directly from Ape Entertainment--You can click on THIS LINK to make it happen!

*Order it off on THIS LINK to hook yourself up!

So now you have no excuse! Order Dead Duck like your life depends on it! And given Dead Duck's profession, it just might!


---I'd previously mentioned that VAULT OF MIDNIGHT, a comic shop here in Ann Arbor, MI, would house my grand unveiling of Dead Duck. However, the two other signings I've lined up wound up being scheduled just before the Vault signing, making Vault the third stop of my Dead Duck signing jag. Now, that does not diminish the importance of my Vault signing at all. Prior to the actual book signing and exclusive ONLY to the Vault appearance, I'll be giving a Power Point presentation to introduce myself and Dead Duck to those in attendance, followed by a Q&A session. So if you can make the Vault signing, it's gonna be something special and not to be missed!

It all goes down on Dec. 2nd from 5-8 pm. You can view the promo and read my bio on Vault's website HERE (just scroll down until you see the Dead Duck listing. Trust me, it's hard to miss). And you can visit the SIGNINGS AND APPEARANCES section of my blog for directions to Vault by clicking HERE. And for those who just hate clicking, you can view the promo poster for my Vault appearance below.

---Now, though Vault will be quite a spectacle itself, I have another signing that I'm extremely excited for. It's kind of a homecoming for me, and it's a dream come true to be able to bring my recent success back to the place that first put me on its path.

On Nov. 30th, I'll be appearing at my alma mater, Delta College in Bay City, MI, to sign copies of Dead Duck from 11 am-1 pm. And here's why that is so important…

For those who don't know, I attended Delta College from 1994-2001. In my second year, my English professor, Joan Ramm, caught me drawing cartoons in the back of her class one day. Rather than scold me, Joan took note of my art and brought me aboard Delta's school paper, The Delta Collegiate, where she was faculty advisor. I wound up working on the Collegiate for my remaining years at Delta ('95-'01), where I was the resident cartoonist, arts and entertainment editor, and co-editor in chief in my final year. During this time, I made the best friends of my entire life, people whom I'm still close to today. I won awards, had incredible life experiences, and became the person I am today, all because of Delta College, the Delta Collegiate and Joan Ramm. So it's with great pride and appreciation that I'll be talking to Joan Ramm's Mass Media class (one of the three classes I took with Joan) prior to my book signing. Delta was the best home away from home I'd ever experienced, and I cannot wait to return.

In don't know where I'll be located on Delta's campus just yet, but I'll make it known very soon. In the meantime, anyone in the area, particularly any of my old Collegiate crew who can make it, are encouraged to come to my signing. As a point of interest, you'll find several old Collegiate members making appearances in the pages of Dead Duck, further proof of Delta's wonderful and continual influence.

---My third signing is actually going to be my first. But since we're still in the planning stages and there's not much info to give, I figured I'd mention the more concrete dates first. It will be at Coy's Comics in Saginaw, MI, tentatively scheduled for November 27th--Black Friday, to holiday shoppers. Coy's was my childhood comic shop, so it means a lot to me to do a signing there. Once we've locked down the facts, I'll be back with more info.


I have the best friends in the world, really.

---My friend/lawyer and promotional consultant Nick "Pro Bono" Buonodono helped me craft the awesome Dead Duck press release I showed you a few weeks back. Nick's also helping me put together the Power Point presentation for the Vault showing, and will be attending the Delta appearance with me as well.

---My friend and past CMLife A&E Editor Shaun Manley recently offered to post Dead Duck promotional posters around Saginaw Valley State University where he currently studies (I spent two semesters there in 1993 when I was fresh out of high school). Here's a snap shot my pseudo-sister Emily Schulz (another SVSU attendee) took of one of the posters on campus.

---Another friend of mine, Kyle Latino, was cool enough to promote Dead Duck on a recent blog of his, which you can check out HERE.

---My old high school pal Beth Gast has a blog as well, and wrote a very cool assessment of Dead Duck in a recent post, which you can view HERE.

---My friends and fellow cartoonists David Petersen (Mouseguard) and Katie Cook (Star Wars trading card artist) have been kind enough to promote Dead Duck on their own websites, and recently drew their own renditions of my characters, which you can view below.

And I'm happy and fortunate to announce that it's not just my friends who are giving favorable appraisals of Dead Duck. I found this short but very nice evaluation of Dead Duck on a recent comic blog, which you can read HERE.

And lastly, I've recently discovered that Dead Duck is gradually being absorbed into the collective consciousness of television stars….

Zombie Chick sported the look first, but I dare you to tell me "Gossip Girl's" Taylor Momsen wasn't somehow channeling the fashion sense of Dead Duck's cute and stitchy sidekick!

More news to come, my friends! Oh so much more…

Tons o' hugs,


Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Just a quick Dead Duck update for the abundantly curious! The past two weeks have found me sending out press releases to all sorts of media outlets, and the first big payoff for my efforts appeared on Monday. My pal Dave Coverly (whose studio I plan to win off him in a cut throat game of rock paper scissors) pointed this out to me, and it was quite a thrill to see. Click HERE to read it.

That whole piece is verbatim what me and my lawyer/PR guy/bud for life Nick "Pro Bono" Buonodono wrote for the press release. I'm actually pleased this website chose to run it "as is" rather than paraphrasing it or editing it down for space, because Nick did a brilliant job putting it all together.

I'm also booking my first Dead Duck signing as we speak. Vault of Midnight comics in Ann Arbor, two stories of pulpy, toy-infested brilliance, will house my grand unveiling on December 2nd, a week after the book comes out. I'm creating a brand new poster for the advertising, and it's looking all kinds of bad ass. More news on this and other signings very soon.

So evidently my cat Goonie has learned that batting her pink plastic ball against my studio door is too subtle a tactic for getting me to come out and play, so she's stepped it up to hurling her small fuzzy body against the door until it opens, just so I get the hint. So I better split, but more news is coming faster than I can type it!

Much love,


Thursday, September 10, 2009


I've heard from more than a few folks who are unclear as to how to order Dead Duck through Previews. Believe me, I sympathize. I haven't used Previews in about twenty years, so I'm no expert. But I want to make this process as easy as possible for you people who don't regularly buy comics. Just follow the process below and you should be in good shape.

1. Here is the Previews order code for DEAD DUCK: SEPT090577. It's important that you place your order sometime in the month of September if you want to order it through Previews and have it in late November when it's released.

2. If you don't already know where your local comic retailer is located:
(For the non-Internet users) just go to the phonebook and comic book shops should be listed in the yellow pages.
(For Internet users) Go to Google, type in: Comic book shops+your hometown and state. That should give you a good listing of comic shops in your area, with phone numbers, directions and even hours of operation sometimes.

3. Tell your retailer you'd like to order the DEAD DUCK graphic novel by Jay Fosgitt in September's Previews. Then give them the order code. You could tell them that it's published by Ape Entertainment, but the code should be more than enough information.

4. From what I recall, most retailers only make you pay when the book arrives in their store. But if they require you to pay in advance, the book is only $12.95, and you can use your credit card.

5. The book comes out November 25th, the day before Thanksgiving (sorry in advance for making that week more complicated for you). I'd call ahead to your local comic shop just to make sure the book arrived on time. Once they give the okay, go get it. Simple as that!

I hope no one takes offense at this simple tutorial. You should know that I'm a slow learner, and specific directions like this help me a lot. I hope they help you. I'm still here if anyone has any questions in the meantime.

On a final note, I just heard from a fan that they managed to order Dead Duck for themselves and are having it sent to their hometown in South Africa! How neat is that?!

Much love,


Tuesday, September 01, 2009


Okay, I know Dead Duck is coming out November 25th, 2009, so November should be the month of the duck--and it WILL be, come November. But this is NOW, and now is September, and September is when I need YOU people to order Dead Duck through Previews as if your lives were at stake!

Y'see, the more Dead Duck orders my publisher, Ape Entertainment, gets through Previews--which is the premiere comic book catalog where so many careers are made and broken--the bigger a hit Dead Duck will be, which besides meaning I'll make a few bucks, also ups the odds for a follow-up Dead Duck book in the years to come. It's all numbers, columns and sales jargon, but just know that BIG sales through Previews in the month of September equals a bright future for me and Dead Duck. As I mentioned last blog, the September issue of Previews just went on sale last Wednesday, so now is the time to get your hands on it and order, order, ORDER!!!

This is the order code for Dead Duck in Previews: sept090577. Write this down, head directly to your local comic shop, and give them this number. It's your golden ticket to the dark and dreamy candy land that is Dead Duck. When November 25th rolls around, you'll be able to return to your comic retailer and finally hold my life's work in your hands. Groovy, no?

Now I'm gonna get a bit political with you guys for a minute. Folks, I am enlisting you all to help me spread the word about Dead Duck. Word of mouth is fine, but what will really help is if you post my new DEAD DUCK DIGITAL READER on your blog, website, Facebook, Myspace, Twitter or any other place you can stick it where it'll be seen. Now wait, you say. What's the Dead Duck Digital Reader? Glad you asked, says I. The Dead Duck Digital Reader is essentially a digital comic book, comprised of all the Dead Duck comics I've run online thus far. You'll get to see the graphic novel's cover, the previously unseen credits page art, a handful of Dead Duck adventures, and most importantly, on the last page there is a coupon with the Previews order code on it. You print it out, fill in your info, and turn it into your local comic retailer, simple as that. But it's imperative that you do it THIS MONTH! I have the codes for posting in basic HTML, BLOGGER, OKURT, MYSPACE, WORDPRESS, JOOMLA, TYPEPAD and LIVE JOURNAL, so if anyone wants to post the Dead Duck Digital Reader on their sites, please contact me at and I'll send you the code to do so. In the meantime, here it is on my own blog:

If you do post the Dead Duck Digital Reader anywhere (and know my gratitude shall be vast and boundless), please let me know that you're running the Dead Duck Digital Reader so I can let others know where they can see it. We're talking a potential Dead Duck revolution here, people, and you can just call me Jay Guevara. Don't cry for me, Argentina, just order the holy hell out of Dead Duck, and spread the word like crabs through a brothel!

Now, I'd be remiss not to mention that there WILL be other places to order Dead Duck after September. But it will be a few months after September, and you'll miss the chance to contribute to the opening gate sales explosion that I hope September will provide. That said, in late December, Dead Duck will be available to order through and directly off the Ape website. More info about that when it's available. But for now, just concentrate on buying in September.

And just so you know, Dead Duck is already off to a very good start. To begin:

--Adam Talley, creator of the comic book "Pleasant Hymns", interviewed me last week on his podcast. We talked extensively about Dead Duck and what's to come upon his release. You can listen to it by clicking on THIS LINK. Scroll down to Episode 9: Interview Jay Fosgitt and click "Listen". It's free, and if you want, you can download it to your ipod. Neat, eh?

--I was recently interviewed on, the premiere website for horror comics. They asked me some very cool questions about Dead Duck, and you can read the full interview HERE. They also did a behind the scenes bit with me where I show the creative process in producing a Dead Duck story, which you can read HERE.

--And lastly and coolestly (Yeah, bad grammar. What of it!?), Previews itself recently made mention of Dead Duck in the "Certified Cool" section of its website. Basically, Previews picks just a handful of upcoming comics that they think are really cool and interesting, a they highlight them in this section. Needless to say, I'm totally honored to have Dead Duck mentioned there. You can check that out HERE.

--And just a wee most lastly than the last lastly, not sure if I've ever mentioned this before or not, but I'm a proud, card-carrying member of The National Cartoonists Society, the top brotherhood of professional cartoonists in the U.S. . I joined up a year ago last September, and it's been a very special feather in my cap as a professional cartoonist. Anyway, the NCS website recently updated its member list, and I'm finally featured in it! You can view my bio by clicking HERE. And yes, I realize there's a typo in my last name in the members' list. It's being corrected as we speak. More importantly, it's all spelled correctly in the bio itself. My NCS membership is pertinent to Dead Duck's success because Dead Duck marks my becoming a full-time, professional cartoonist, one of the key requirements for membership. Next year I intend to enter Dead Duck into the NCS awards' comic book category, and who knows? My life's work has brought me this far...

So that's that for now, kids. September is going to be busy as bee shit for me. I have to call retailers and beg them to buy Dead Duck, called media folks and beg them to favorably review Dead Duck, and try not to go broke from my ungodly phone bill when all's said and done. So if you can please do your part by spreading the word, ordering Dead Duck and posting my Dead Duck Digital Reader anywhere and everywhere you have access to, you'll have my love and affection (which you've all got already, but you'll have even MORE).

Guaranteed I'll be back with more news within the week. It's all happening faster than I can report it.

Watch the skies!


Wednesday, August 26, 2009


OKAY, SERIOUS UPDATE HERE!!! I posted earlier this morning that Dead Duck MIGHT be available for pre-order as of today in Diamond Distribution's Preview Magazine. Well, I just got back from my local comic shop (Vault of Midnight), checked out their Previews, and there in all it's full color and fifty words or less glory was the ad I'd written for Dead Duck! So change "might be" to "SURE AS HELL IS". Repeat: DEAD DUCK IS OFFICIALLY AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDERS IN PREVIEWS MAGAZINE AS OF TODAY!!!

Now, just to get my non-comic fanatic viewers up to speed, Previews is the premiere catalog that all comic book shops order their merchandise through. Chances are if you're within distance of a comic shop, they'll have Previews in stock, and you'll be able to order Dead Duck through them. And here is the order code that will allow you to do so: SEPT090577. This is basically the product number that represents Dead Duck. Memorize it, write it on your arm, etch it into your dashboard, whatever it takes. Just use it, for the love o' Zombie Chick!

And for the internet savvy, you can visit Preview's website here. I haven't been able to figure out how to find Dead Duck on the site, but I assure you, it is for sale in Previews as of today. If you can find it on this website, just print off the order form, take it to your local comic shop and they'll order it for you. But for the techno-deficient like me, I suggest you just go down and use their magazine to order.

The graphic novel is slated to come out on November 25th, 2009, the day before Thanksgiving. And it would give me much to be thankful for if you ran down to your local comic shop and ordered the crap out of Dead Duck, and encouraged others to do the same!

In related news, I'm going to be featured on the podcast tonight (with host and fellow cartoonist Adam Talley) at 7:00 pm eastern time. The plan is to discuss Dead Duck and hopefully spread the word. You can check it out tonight HERE.

Lastly, I figure you all deserve to see just what it is I'm begging you all to run out and buy from me. So here, for the first time in public view, is the cover to my Dead Duck graphic novel.

Look for this image come November and you'll find the book I've worked so long and hard to bring to your hands! More news to come very soon, I promise!

Much love,


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

WIZARD WORLD CHICAGO 2009=One of the best times of my life!!!

I'm back home from Wizard World Chicago (or Chicago Comic Con, as it was inexplicably re-named during our week-long stay). I'm unpacked, rested, and ready to share the tale of my first comic con as a professional, table-occupying cartoonist….

We left Ann Arbor around 10:20 am on Wednesday. We made the entire trip into Rosemont, IL in four hours, which I guess is good time. What mattered most to me was that we didn't get lost or turned around at all, which I attribute mostly to Laura's strong navigational skills, and partially to "The Music Man" soundtrack. We popped it into the player at the Indiana border, looking forward to hearing Robert Preston sing "Gary Indiana" as we passed by the city itself. It definitely calmed my nerves all the way to Rosemont. But even the much documented hell traffic that Chicago is known for wasn't as bad as I'd expected, with no jams or deadlock whatsoever.

We arrived at The Hilton Garden Inn in Des Plains, which is literally just around the corner from Rosemont, and not even a mile away from the convention center. Here's some shots of our hotel room (click on any photo to enlarge it)….

This was easily one of the nicest, cleanest hotel rooms we've ever stayed in, second only to our honeymoon at The Huron House, since we literally had that entire building to ourselves.

This was a king size bed that had those funky dials on the sides so you could control the firmness of your side of the mattress. I had my side set at uber-soft and slept veeeerrrrryyyy well.

This was the view outside our window. No, not particularly beautiful, but c'mon, who stays in a hotel based on the outside view? It's what's inside that counts. And what was inside our room was…

A digital widescreen TV, probably the closest I'll ever come to owning one. And given that we live in a cable-free world, having digital cable at our disposal was heaven on Earth for us.

The desk our room provided truly served as the perfect workstation for me. Despite what this photo depicts, I only used my own cell phone a couple times during our trip, but created some decent artwork here for the con and for friends.

We decided to stay in and rest up, so we ordered in food and watched "The Incredible Hulk" on HBO, which was a very cool and fitting way to begin our comic con experience.

Here's Laura, showing off the remains of our first night's dinner. I imagine it was blasphemous for us to have been in the suburbs of Chicago and to have ordered THIN CRUST pizza, but I didn't want to get too loaded down with cheese the night before the con opened.

After dinner I got the itch to draw, so I exorcised (and exercised) the demon by sketching Laura in bed watching TV.

The next day I woke up early, like a kid excited for Christmas, but also like a kid scared of the first day of school. Laura had to convince me to drive outside our hotel parking lot to grab breakfast at McDonalds (I was petrified of getting lost or winding up on an unfamiliar highway). Before departing to eat we took this quick shot in front of our hotel.

The con opened up at four that day (a preview night for advanced ticket holders) which gave us ample prep time.

Here we are, all washed up and presentable, preparing to hop on the hotel shuttle bus and ride over to the con at around 2:00, thinking we'd get an early start to set up.

Unfortunately, the shuttle was running a bit late, so we waited in the lobby. I was a nervous wreck, but Laura kept me sane, as always.

We finally arrived at the con, still with time to spare. Here I am standing in the artist registration line.

I would soon find out that the con didn't have badges for Laura and I, which would identify us as guest artists. Thankfully, our friends Katie Cook and her husband Ryan Wilcox (both old hands at comic cons since Katie's a professional cartoonist) were there to walk us through the process, and to encourage Laura to kick some ass on my behalf and make the con find our badges, which they eventually did. Katie has actually been kind enough to walk me through a lot of the ins and outs of our profession in the past few months. I'm very grateful to her for her advice and friendship.

It didn't take too long to set up our table, equipped with giveaways, pre-made art and other artistic bric-a-brac. My table neighbor to the right soon arrived, a quiet fella who I didn't recognize. As I was setting up my stuff, he turned to Laura and complimented my work, which was very nice of him. His own stuff was phenomenal, and it wasn't until the second or third day that Laura and I figured out this artist was Nathan Fox, who drew Dark Horses' "Pigeons From Hell", one of the scariest comics we'd ever read (and obviously loved). We soon after introduced ourselves and gushed over his brilliant work.

Here was the view from my table on the first night of the con.

I think what made my setup look the most professional was the incredible banner made for me by Devyn at ImPhotoGraphics. All I had to do was e-mail him an illustration, and within a week he sent me a banner so quick and easy to set up that even I could do it. Devyn showed up at the con with a copy of the art I sent him, and had me sign it. He's a wonderful guy, and I plan on sending more work his way in the coming year.

And speaking of wonderful guys, here's one of my best artist pals, Evan "Doc" Shaner...

...easily the most talented cartoonist I know who isn't currently drawing a book (that's a hint publishers--call him NOW!). Before the con, Evan and his wife Carla moved to Colorado, but he managed to fly out just for this con, and it truly made my week to be able to hang with my friend again.

And as wonderful guys go, the con was in no short supply. I've said before that I don't have make fans, I make friends. And at the top of that list is my pal Dave (you'll find I know a LOT of Daves). Dave was the first guy to commission a Zombie Chick piece from me over two years ago, before I was even hooked up to a publisher. He just believed in my work that much. In the years following, Dave commissioned me a few more times, and when this con came around, Dave just went commission crazy with me. He bought several of my "Pocketoons" (tiny drawings of popular characters) and commissioned a couple originals, such as this one of Power Girl having a costume malfunction.

In Dave's defense, he didn't specifically ask for her topless, and in my defense, she's practically topless to begin with, as seen here.
Dave's generosity reached new levels when he presented me with this gift:

This is the current sketchbook of animator Chris Sanders. Chris is the creator/director/designer of the Disney animated film "Lilo and Stitch", as well as Stitch's voice. Last year, Chris took the time to draw a pin-up of my character Zombie Chick to be included in my upcoming "Dead Duck" graphic novel. Chris had contacted me while putting his sketchbook together and asked my permission to include one of his preliminary sketches of Zombie Chick in it, which I happily allowed. And the payoff was that he mentioned me in the foreword of his book, and noted that drawing Zombie Chick was the first time he'd tried his hand at drawing someone else's character. I helped set a precedent for a famous cartoonist and got mentioned in his book! WOOHOO!!!! So Chris was giving these books out at San Diego Comic Con last month, and Dave, who was in attendance, was cool enough to grab me one. So Dave is now as cool as Chris Sanders, and believe me, that's pretty darn cool!

Here's Laura and I as we looked that first night.

Though I steadily grew more frazzled in appearance, Laura just got cuter as the days wore on.

This was one of the first commissions I got that night.

As Hellboy is my favorite comic book, this was obviously a lot of fun to do. Plus Laura says I did a great job, and that's all the assurance I need.

This was one of my favorite con attendees.

She was dressed as Walter Kovacs, alias Rorschach from Watchmen. In the slew of intricate and complicated costumes that I saw this week, hers was absolutely my favorite--so simple and so original.

At the end of that first night, with only a couple sales under my belt, I was a little disheartened, and hoped I could put on a better show the rest of the week. But dinner that night did much to raise my spirits, as I spent it with Laura and a load of artist friends: Evan Shaner, Kyle and Jason Latino, Katie Cook and her husband Ryan, David Petersen and his wife Julia and their niece, Emma and Tom Hodges. The highlight of the evening was finally meeting the uber-awesome Latino brothers, Kyle and Jason, face to face. Those guys are as talented as they are hilarious, and I hope we can wreak more artistic havoc together in the future.

I want to give special mention to David and Julia Petersen. Like Katie Cook, they've given me loads of advice and encouragement in the last few months, and helped me out so much during my first con appearance. I'll always appreciate their friendship and for looking out for me as I take my first steps in our profession.

However, that night brought some very sad news as well. John Hughes, writer and director of the movies "Breakfast Club", "Pretty in Pink", "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", "Weird Science" and a host of others, died of a heart attack on August 6th, the first day of the con. Hughes' films give identity to teens in the 80's, and were the most poignant and hilarious reflections of society's youth ever put to film. That Hughes was from and based his films almost exclusively in and around Chicago made it seem eerily appropriate that I was in that town when I heard he was gone. Being a longtime fan of his work, I was pretty shook up about it, and made this small tribute to his passing, which I attached to my con badge and wore for the duration of the event.

Here I am at my table on day 2 of the con.

Work picked up a bit, and I got some interesting commissions. One of which came from a guy who cut a deal with me. If I agreed to draw for free any superhero of my choosing, but as a kind of food, he'd then commission me for a pricey drawing of Nightwing and The Huntress. Seemed like a good deal at the time, so by the next morning I had this piece completed:

It took the guy 'til the end of the day to make his way to my table, and I'd almost thought he'd stood me up. Despite the fact that he'd wanted me to draw the commish into his sketchbook, he was happy with the piece and said he'd see me first thing the next morning to have me draw the promised paid commish in his big sketchbook.

That day I was also reunited with the great Doug Jones, who was signing autographs for fans. I waited in line just to say hi, and thankfully he remembered me perfectly and gave me a big hug. He confirmed his mailing address so I could send him a copy of Dead Duck in November, and I left him to attend to his legions of fans. Oh, and a big ol' "Sorry" goes out to my pal Motz who asked me to get him Edward James Olmos' autograph. Regretfully, the $80 price tag attached to his signature was a wee too steep from where I stood.

I then headed over to the Ape Entertainment booth to help promote Dead Duck on their end. As it turned out, I was getting so many commissions at my table that I couldn't afford to be away from it for too long, and it was agreed that I could promote Dead Duck just as well at my table. With promotional fliers, buttons, bookmarks, a big-ass banner and lots and lots of my chatting up my creation, I know I sold the crap out of Dead Duck to people, and this con certainly helped me get off to a good start.

That night Laura and I went back to the hotel and just crashed. It was a much-needed breather from the chaos of the next two days.

The next day, the superhero food guy never showed up. I kept a weather eye open for him, and even had Laura seek him out on the con floor, but to no avail. So basically the guy screwed me out of $40 bucks and got a free full color drawing from me. I gradually began to accept my defeat, but swore I'd say something to the guy about it if he got within arm's reach of me. Here I am at my table looking ominous:

Here's a view of the con floor:

And here's Laura looking adorable as ever. She was the real key to bringing people to my table, little kids especially. She's pretty and friendly, while I pride myself on being friendly, but am decidedly less pretty and more like a bridge troll whom goats tend to flee from. Here we are together, which makes me cuter by association (I hope):

There were so many more friendly and interesting people at the con that I soon put the superhero food guy out of mind. There was a dad and his two little twin girls who bought artwork from me. The girls enjoyed creating their own comics, and it was a lot of fun to talk with them about it. I really admired their dad, a big comic fan, for taking his kids to the con and encouraging their interests, and made sure to tell him how rare and special that was. We also met a family from Canton, MI (just twenty minutes north east of Ann Arbor) who were wonderful to chat with. We talked about comics, the wife's experience as a children's book illustrator, and how much we enjoyed Canton (home of our favorite comic shop and our art supply dealer). They bought some of my Dark Crystal-themed art, which you can view here:

I have to say, I was so humbled and touched by the nice and fascinating people we met, con attendees as much as artists. The regular people who support our industry are typically friendly, shy, passionate and interesting to the nth degree. And they were all so nice to me that I wish I could have talked to all of them to a larger degree than my schedule would allow.

My friend Dave came back, bought some more artwork, and asked if I'd be willing to do some pro bono work: drawing two sketch cards for an artist friend of his. I was more than willing to contribute, and it was a lot of fun. Below are the cards themselves, and the reverse sides that I drew on:

At one point during the day, Laura jumped up, grabbed the camera, and started taking photos as if she saw the second coming of Jim Henson. As it turned out, Chewbacca had entered artist alley. Take a look at the photos below:

Now, I don't know if this was a fan in costume or perhaps the actual Chewbacca performer Peter Mayhew (he was in attendance, after all), but either way it was a damn cool costume and a damn tall Wookie. That, plus the blurriness of the photos Laura took gave the moment a cool Bigfoot sighting kinda vibe.

One of the most fun commissions I got was from my friend Ryan Wilcox (husband of Katie Cook) who had me draw him as a Jedi. Since I'm as old school a Star Wars fan as they come, it was a pleasure to do.

And certainly the most unique and heartfelt commission I did the whole week was for a gentleman who had a copy of "The Elements of Style" by William Strunk Jr., a book of the principle requirements for writing. Evidently it's a standard tome of knowledge for aspiring writers and has been since it was written in 1918. The man brought this book to me and, noticing that I hand letter all my comics, asked if I'd be willing to copy a quote from Henry David Thoreau onto the inside cover of the book for him. The man's son was going into college, and evidently had aspirations to be a comic book writer, so the father decided to give him this book and have a comic artist with decent penmanship inscribe the book in Thoreau's words. I was actually quite honored to be asked to take part in such a warm gesture of support to his son's dream. I was also proud due to the fact that so many cartoonists these days use digital fonts to letter their comics, whereas I've always hand lettered my stuff, and am quite proud of my penmanship. Anyway, it was just a really neat moment to be a part of.

Here's a cool Ghostbusters costume that Laura and I admired:

And here is one of the coolest moments for me at the con, my first face-to-face meeting with fellow artist Chad Porter.

Who is Chad Porter, you say? Well to me, he's a great artist, a well kept secret of talent that publishers would do well to unearth. But more importantly, Chad is the best friend I've made on We've spoken online constantly over the past two or three years, encouraging each other, counseling each other through moments of professional doubt, joking around and admiring each others' talent. And by coincidence, this particular con was not just my first con appearance but Chad's too, which was a great thing to share. So this was the first time I got to meet Chad in person, along with his lovely wife Sarah, and the guy was even cooler than I'd previously known. The fact that Chad is from Canada, Toronto specifically (my favorite city in the world that I've yet to visit) just raises his stock higher and higher with me. I know we've cemented a friendship that will blossom with much more hilarity and naughty drawings as time rolls on. Below is a wonderful Zombie Chick drawing Chad did for me. Such a great guy…!

That night, Laura and I met up with my old college friend Becky, her husband Phil and their con Cody for dinner at The Outback (the best meal of the whole trip, for certain). It was great to see them and to step away from the con chaos for another quick breather.

The last day of the con had its own brand of chaos, since we had to check out of our hotel, load up the car and still have everything we needed to throw into the hotel shuttle bus for the con that day. Here we are getting ready that morning.

Note my Jughead hat and Hellboy t-shirt, which prompted me to dub myself Hellhead or Jugboy.

Here was my table setup that last day.

I made a lot of sales that day, the best of which had to be this Scooby Doo commission:

A very nice guy asked me if I could draw the whole gang in some kind of funny scenario, and we agreed upon a price. When he came back, he decided he liked it so much that he wanted to pay me extra to color it. In the end, I made a good chunk of change for it, and he really liked what I'd done, which matters more to me than anything.

I also made a lot of purchases that last day. Among them:

This awesome Wonder Woman bust (no pun intended, but unavoidable all the same), which Laura searched out for me (Have I mentioned Wonder Woman is my favorite female superhero? Well she is). Laura also found me a cool Inhumans trade paperback that I was looking for.

And this comic...

Well, it wasn't the comic I was looking for, really--it was the artist. Frank Cho, creator of the comic book "Liberty Meadows" and a much sought after "sexy girl" artist, was in attendance. I wanted to meet him, thank him for his influence and give him a Dead Duck print as a gift. He was very cool to talk to, really seemed to like Dead Duck, and asked me about my career. I kept it short to as to not keep the fans piling up behind me, but I bought this autographed comic to commemorate meeting Frank. Very neat experience.

I bought this awesome noir-ish drawing of The Sandbaggers from Kyle Latino:

And I'm indebted to Jason Latino for introducing me to "Wolf at the Door", a Fantastic Four trade paperback that not only was as brilliant as he described it, but was also dirt cheap. Jason went the extra mile by running to the vendors and bringing me back a copy as I drew a commission. Now that, folks, is a true friend!

But my favorite art purchases came from Coran "Kizer" Stone. This was a gent who had a table directly across from mine. I peeked over from time to time to see what he was up to, but never thought to introduce myself. Then, on the last day of the con, Kizer put this gorgeous sketch of Hellgirl up on a tiny easel:

I immediately knew I had to have it, and he was selling it for five bucks! He deserved so much more for it, but not wanted to pass up a bargain, I had Laura run over and buy it for me. About another half hour passed as I bit my lip and fought the urge to commission Kizer again--and then gave into temptation. I bolted over to Kizer's table, introduced myself, gushed over his talent, and requested a Wonder Woman drawing, which he pulled out within ten minutes:

He walked it over to my table, and I was in absolute awe of his talent. We talked for a bit, he bought a couple pieces from my table, and we exchanged website info. Can't wait to talk more with him down the road!

As it turned out, the superhero food guy from days earlier finally made the mistake of browsing by the table to my left. I stood up and screamed out to the guy, saying I'd been looking for him. I took him to task, saying he broke our deal and never came back to have me draw the paid commission he'd promised. He started back peddling, and babbled out something about how the sketchbook he was going to have me draw it in was in the hands of another artist who was drawing in it, so unfortunately he couldn't get to me. There was little I could do about it, but he knew I was pissed. He apologized, and wisely got the hell away from me.

Still, one negative moment amongst a mass of great ones isn't enough to spoil such a great first con experience. Part of the fun I had was sharing art with friends like Evan Shaner. I gave him an original Bone drawing I did, and he gave me this cool drawing of the Thing:

Months prior to the con, Evan and I had some jam sessions where he drew one half of a cartoon and I drew the other. He brought the two most recent examples with him to the con:
Hellboy by Shaner and Nightcrawler by Fosgitt…

And Popeye by Fosgitt and Sub Mariner by Shaner…

The last con photo I took was of a purple remote controlled R2D2 hitting on the girl sitting across from us. That was a stone cold hoot!

By the day's end, we were absolutely beat. We packed up our wares, said our goodbyes to all the friends we knew and all the friends we made, and headed towards the con parking lot to be picked up by the hotel shuttle bus. However, one small item caught my eye, resulting in a last minute impulse buy:

Have I mentioned I'm a HUGE Hulk fan? Possibly my favorite superhero ever. I saw this bust and decided I had to get it. I was unintentionally smart in waiting 'til closing on the last day when the retailers were selling their merch at cut rates. I got this sexy baby for at least a $30.00 discount, one less thing for the retailers to box up and ship back to their shops. So you see, we both win!

So we boarded the shuttle bus, got to our car parked at the hotel, and had an extremely easy ride back home. Once we crossed the Michigan border, we found an A&W just off the highway and had our first real meal of the day (we'd survived on a backpack full of snacks and bottled water most of the week). We pulled into our parking lot around 11-ish, happy to see our cat Goonie (who'd been lovingly attended to by my aunt Karen during our absence), but not so happy to find our building's water turned off due to nighttime water main construction. Despite the construction, I was partly glad to be home. But more so, I was already missing the wonderful experience we'd just left behind in Rosemont. I hope to relive it to some degree at future cons, but I'll never forget that first wonderful adventure in Illinois…