Friday, August 24, 2012

A warm and fuzzy goodbye to Jerry...

As I post this, the news is barely breaking that Jerry Nelson, one of the founding Muppeteers of Jim Henson's troupe, has passed away. Jerry was easily the most versatile performer in The Muppets, able to play the tiniest, cutest, meekest creature, to the most overblown, loudmouthed, lumbering oaf with just a flick of the wrist and vocal chord. In short, Jerry was one of my favorites, and a huge inspiration to me in terms of acting and character creation.

About ten years ago, my girlfriend Laura (now my wife), told me she had a friend who was a Muppet fan. She asked if I'd draw my three favorite Muppeteers performing their characters, and she'd send them to him as a gift. I knew who to draw right off the bat--Dave Goelz with Gonzo, Bill Barretta with Pepe the Prawn, and Jerry Nelson with Floyd Pepper.

A few months later, my birthday came around, and the best surprise I've ever received was waiting for me. Laura had actually sent those Muppeteer caricatures I drew to the Henson workshop in New York (this was before the Disney acquisition) to get autographed by the Muppeteers themselves, and had them returned as a birthday gift for me. Each of the performers signed their drawing, and Jerry took the extra time to include a short greeting, he drew Floyd's name in a musical flourish, and he dated the signature. As a lifelong Muppet fan, it was pure gold to me. It also convinced me that Laura was the perfect girl for me. Ten years later and she's still proving it again and again.

I'd known for awhile now that Jerry's health was failing. He'd retired from the Muppets, and only occasionally showed up on the set of Sesame Street to read his character's lines while another puppeteer performed his characters. It was fortunate that Muppet fans for to hear Jerry one more time as the announcer in the recent Muppet Movie.

A couple months back, I received an update from Twitter, saying JLNelson was following me. As far as I knew, this was just some random fan of my work. I clicked on the profile, and saw it was none other than Jerry Nelson himself. That was so touching to me. Jerry remembered my work. He remembered that caricature I drew, and he remembered signing it. He reached out to me again. Needless to say, I followed him right back, though his posts were getting less and less frequent.

So hearing of Jerry's passing late last night just brought all these things to the surface for me. The Muppeteers were gods to me. and now one of the last of that pantheon have fallen. But as I sat there taking it in, I looked up on my studio wall, and there was the autographed cartoon I drew of Jerry, reminding me of my hero, and continuing to inspire me and my work. It's a comfort to me to have it in my life, just as it's been a comfort to have Jerry in my life.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Bridges to cross and ducks in the air

I've been teasing this for awhile now, but I finally feel I can tell folks about the new development in my career for 2013.

I found a new publisher for my all-ages comic, "Bodie Troll". The contract arrived today, and until I sign it (or until I know they're cool with me mentioning their involvement), I'll keep their name under wraps. What I will say is that this publisher has had books nominated for Eisner Awards (a big deal in the comics industry), they produce some fun and beautiful books, and that I when met them at the San Diego Comic Con, they were very enthusiastic about carrying "Bodie Troll".

Just to get everyone up to speed, "Bodie Troll" is a fractured fairy tale about a little troll who wants to be seen a huge, menacing creature, but he's just too cute and cuddly to be scary. He lives outside the village of Hagadorn, and hangs around The Drunken Pumpkin tavern where he runs errands for Miz Bijou, a retired fairy godmother, and pals around with Cholly, a barmaid, aspiring playwright/actress, and Bodie's best friend. Magical mishaps, unforeseen creature attacks and outside invaders are regular occurrences in Bodie's world. And he handles it as best a cute, cuddly, stumpy little grump could manage.

This is the updated character sheet for "Bodie Troll" (colored by Evan "Doc" Shaner), which I've previously posted in various stages of development. Bodie, Cholly, Miz Bijou and Socko will appear in the first couple issues, while Stoutheart and Gossamer will show up in later storylines.

As of this writing, "Bodie Troll" is planned a four issue comic book series, followed by digital releases and, eventually, a trade paperback. The first issue should be released by September 2013, available in comic shops and online.

Now, some of you may already be asking, "What's this mean for Dead Duck"?

Well, for the time being, I still have the "Dead Duck" web comic running twice weekly, re-posting all my previously published stories. When those run their course, I'll drop the comic's schedule down to once a week, and will post three never-before-published "Dead Duck" stories. Given that timeline, the "Dead Duck" web comic should wrap up by the week of July 7th, 2013. After that, "Dead Duck" will be taking a break for awhile. If I have the time or inspiration, I may slip in a new "Dead Duck" story from time to time. But I'll be busy enough with other projects.

I'm still going to write and draw "Necronomicomics" for Rue Morgue Magazine each month. I'll continue to contribute to Ape Entertainment's "Dreamworks Animation Magazine", and I'll be contributing to their upcoming "Sesame Street" comic. I'll still be open for commissions, and I'm sure I'll plod away at another year of caricaturing gigs. But my main focus for the remainder of 2012 and throughout 2013 will be working on "Bodie Troll".  

In the coming year, my website will be getting a "Bodie Troll" facelift. I'll have a new banner at cons sporting Bodie's fuzzy mug. Even this blog may find itself "Bodified". I believe "Bodie Troll" is the best comic I've created since "Dead Duck", and I hope you'll all feel the same and continue to support my work.

So that's it. I imagine by next week, the contract will be signed and I can reveal the new publisher's name (if I haven't already told so many of you as to ruin the surprise). Catch you back here next Wednesday for that reveal and other comic happenings in the career of Jay P. Fosgitt.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wistful Wizard World...

I'm back from Wizard World Chicago, my third time doing the show. There are plenty of positives to speak of: Rosemont, Il. is a great town with some great eateries, The Marriot was a wonderful hotel to stay at, my pals in the show were great to hang out with, and the fans at the show were awesome to meet.

The downsides were the usual complaints. Wizard focuses all its efforts on promoting celebrities and ignores artist alley entirely. Admission costs for fans and celebrity autograph rates were jacked up, leaving fans little cash to spend in artist alley. Tables costs for artists were jacked up, making it harder for us to turn a profit from those few folks who did manage to purchase from us. And on a personal note, where I was a guest of Wizard World last year and given a free table at any show they put on, I was unexplainably taken off the guest list this year. And while I accepted their decision and purchased a table anyway, Wizard World still neglected to get my name and info on their website, or in their promotional material, and never gave me a name tag. Fortunately, I still had my name tag from last year, which in a slice of irony, was given to me last summer without my name printed on it.

Most likely, I'm done with Wizard World. I say this knowing my biggest fan turn out at cons always happens in Chicago. I'm hoping my fans will follow me to C2E2 next spring. By comparison, C2E2 is a show that totally focuses on comic creators, artist alley is extremely well attended by employees of the con who make sure we have help when we need it (and trash cans at each table), and to date, C2E2 has been my most successful con experience. So Chicago, I still love you, and will be representing a little closer to Lake Michigan. Rosemont, you're a helluva town and I hope to be back to visit--just not in artist alley at Wizard World Chicago.

Here are some pics and scans from my wild Wizard World weekend (click images to upsize)...

 A cool zombie that ambled past my table...

A Creature from the Black Lagoon commission I drew...

A Yoda commission I drew...

A caricature I drew for a Wizard World employee...

A clever couple's cosplay of Han and Chewie from Star Wars...

And a Black Widow commission I drew.

These next pics were two of my favorite moments in artist alley...
The young man in the gas mask and top hat just shuffled up to my table, and without speaking, immediately pointed to my stack of "Dead Duck" books. I asked him if he wanted to buy one and he nodded enthusiastically. He only pulled his mask up long enough to give me his name to sign in the book. He then walked ten feet away from my table, plopped down on the floor, and spent the next twenty minutes pouring over "Dead Duck". That was a pretty special thing for me to experience, and I'm glad I snapped a couple shots it it.

This little girl and her doting dad have been regulars at all three of my Wizard World Chicago appearances. They already had a growing stack of my work, and added to it this weekend with a sketch of Fred and George Weasley from "Harry Potter". The girl was dressed in her finest Hogwarts attire, and the three of us chatted away about how we loved and cried over the last two movies, about how the girl is a twin like Fred and George (and gets into just as much mischief), and how actor Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy from the "Harry Potter" films) gave her an autograph, and was a very cool guy. I managed to do a Harry sketch for her absent twin, and encouraged them to come see me at C2E2 next year. Interactions with people like this always make these cons special for me, and to meet returning fans of my work is too touching to properly express.

That about does it for this post. If Wizard World can make amends, I'll gladly return. But if they were inclined to keep returning artists happy, I'd still be on the special guest list. So again Chicago, please don't give up on me. I'll be at C2E2 with so many other talented artists, anxious to meet you, creating new experiences and continuing previous ones!


Wednesday, August 08, 2012


Just one last announcement to anyone in or around Chicago--I'll be attending Wizard World Chicago in Rosemont, Il. this Thursday through Sunday at the Donald E. Stephens convention center. Click on the link for more info. I'll be at artist alley doing taking commissions, selling comics and selling original artwork. Hope to see you there!


Wednesday, August 01, 2012


Just a couple things to share this week. I'll be attending Wizard World Chicago (or Chicago Comic Con) next Thursday though Sunday, August 9th-12th. Click on the link for more info. I'll be selling books, sketches, prints and original art, so if you're anywhere near Rosemont, Il. and wanna catch me, that's where I'll be.

I also wanted to share the following sketch. As most of you know, for the past year I've drawn "Necronomicomics"--a single panel cartoon that lampoons horror films--for Rue Morgue Magazine. Typically, I come up with a finished cartoon, send it off to them, and it gets printed without any fuss. But for the first time, I came up with an idea that I felt I should run by Rue Morgue's art director. I was concerned that I might be pushing the boundaries of good taste (yeah, I know it's for a horror movie magazine. Still, you can't be too careful). Here's the rough sketch I submitted...
The cartoon is lampooning the popular TV show, "The Walking Dead" (based on the popular comic book creator by Robert Kirkman). The concept is, Kirkman is pitching his comic to producer Frank Darabont (writer/director of "The Shawshank Redemption" and "The Green Mile" and former producer of "The Walking Dead"), and Darabont suggests a change in title and concept.

Now, my cartoon was not rejected because of the overt sexual innuendo. It was rejected because the cartoon made it seem like Darabont helped create "The Walking Dead", when in fact, it was a complete concept when Kirkman brought it to television. I saw the art director's point, and conceded. The fact is, I've got new installments of "Necronomicomics" backlogged for publication into the first quarter of 2013, so this was no big loss.

So that's it for this week, kids. Hope you're enjoying what's left of the summer. Have a brat, go for a walk, or catch a summer blockbuster at the local movie house. Just make the best of the days that lay before you.