Frogs, Toads and the Apocalypse

As some of you may know, last year, I put together a zine for the Alternative Press Expo, titled: Apocalypse Pond. It was a little short story featuring three frogs and a menacing plastic water bottle.

What you may not know is that this little zine was the culmination of 2 years of sketches in margins of frogs. I was talking with my friend, Nomi, recently and she was saying it’s good to pay attention to what you find yourself mindlessly sketching during meetings… because sometimes those little thumbnails can lead to an actual idea.

As anyone who’s created new characters for a feature can tell you, one of the first things you have to decide is, pants? or no pants? I remember more than a year ago having a very serious conversation with my pal, Art Roche about this very question. As you can see from the sketches, initially the frogs were wearing pants and the pants were plaid. Poor guy, he wasn’t even a fully fleshed out character but already he was branded as a nerd.

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It didn’t take too long for me to decide to lose the pants. (Well, not me, the frog.) And that’s when the first version of Apocalypse Pond came together in this zine.

 

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While I liked the look of the pen and ink drawings, in this zine, the characters didn’t talk… after a short while, that became limiting and so this zine turned into a comic strip, with dialogue.

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I began to finish some short story arcs in this comic strip style and I published them online, on Tapastic. As luck would have it, an editor noticed the concept and thought it had some potential, not as a comic strip, but rather as a graphic novel for kids. So the editor, Andrea Colvin at Andrews McMeel, and I began fleshing out the idea as a graphic novel. One of the details that caused a ripple with the sales team was the title. While comical for adults, “apocalypse” was maybe a little too dark for kids. Not to mention it’s a hard word to spell if you’re in third grade.

My partner, Evelyn, helped me come up with a new title: Stinky Cecil

This title cracks me up, and I never get tired of saying it. Basically, the lead character is a toad named, Cecil, and he’s a smelly toad.

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Just recently I began working with an editor specifically assigned to this project, Sheila Keenan. And as a result, Stinky Cecil has been born. It will published by Andrews McMeel’s AMP! Comics for Kids line.

I’ve been wanting to post some info about this project as it develops and now I finally feel like it’s at a stage that it’ll be fun to start talking about the process of creating the book. This book will be in production and development for at least a year, as it progresses I’ll post highlights and artwork here just to keep you guys up to date and hopefully, entertained.

Stinky-Cecil-Cast copy

 

 

 

 

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