I used to work on a Puerto Rican comic strip called Kee-Kee Koki. It was an insane comic strip about an obnoxious yellow frog. It was so much fun. It's amazing I got paid for it. It was created by David Alvarez who's done lots of amazing pencils for DC's Looney Tunes comic book. He became too busy with other projects (including his other comic strip, Yenny) to keep doing Kee-Kee on his own, and so he contacted me to be the new character artist for the strip. At first he gave me strips to work from, but eventually, Dave got too busy to get them to me in time, so I just started drawing poses for him to cobble a strip together from. It ended up working much better, surprisingly and it became our regular process.
Here's one of the strips:
That character in the last panel is the Goth Fairy, one of the characters I created for the strip. This past weekend, Dave let me i on a little surprise over Facebook:
This cosplayer apparently showed up to a comic convention called Manga Criolla 2009. She entered the cosplay competition, and the host knew what character it was supposed to me. It's just about the most flattering thing ever to have someone dress as a character you created, especially someone you don't know. It's such a great feeling. She did an awesome job keeping it recognizable, yet adding her own flavor to it.
So, while I'm talking about Kee Kee, here's a character lineup I drew for TV pitching:
It remains one of my favorite things I've ever drawn. I wish I could always get into that zone. I don't know what magic power was happening that week that made me able to turn out all these drawings in a row that I'm happy with. Since the Mario post seemed to go well, I thought I might do another post with the individual characters of a lineup posted separately.
Here's Kee-Kee Koki. A tiny little frog with a giant voice. The more the strip went on, the more male and testosteroney he got. I liked the idea of a macho guy wearing a hat that stupid-looking. Dave gave me a batch of strips to "translate" at one point for syndication pitching, which was really me taking the visuals from our completed strips and writing completely new dialogue from scratch since I can't speak spanish. His dialogue came out sounding like Paul F Tompkins, who is the opposite of macho. I liked the contrast.
Since I was just talking about her, here's the Goth Fairy, one of the few characters I created for the strip. She's a fairy in-training, but an angry teenager, so she goes around granting wishes in ways that deliberately backfire.
This is Chickenduck, who Dave created a long time ago and had fallen out of disuse. He never showed up in the strip, but would've if we'd been able to keep going. We wanted to introduce him as a character for Kee Kee to be dumb and male with... and also smarter-than.
Panchon here is a pig in constant fear that someone is going to eat him.
The Chupacabra, who wanted to eat everyone. I always had trouble wrapping my mind around his head theory of Dave's original design, so I kept trying to find ways to stylize it to make it more comfortable for me. Lazy, but for this project, effective.
Nekko is the last of his race, and will likely remain that way because he's brutally mentally challenged. He was sorta the Bill the Cat of the series.
Kuzy the firefly. A "female voice of reason" archetype, plus the editor didn't really like how I drew her, so I didn't use her that much. That might've changed if we'd gotten to start using Kee Kee's girlfriend regularly. He would've needed someone to help him understand the female mind.
This is Paulina, who we used as a one-off character in the strip, but I really liked the idea of a tiny frog having a human girlfriend, so I wanted to bring her back as Kee-Kee's girlfriend. We could've had so much fun with her family and friends reacting to her new frog boyfriend. I don't dislike this design, but her face is pretty generic looking back at her. I should develop that more if we ever get to use her again.
El Pollo Loco was another character I created for the strip. The idea was that he used common everyday pranks, but thought that made him an evil mastermind.
Norbert was a character I didn't care for at first, but I got to like him as we went on. A bird that wouldn't shut up. It was great for weeks I didn't feel like thinking much because I could just get away with doing one or two drawings of Norbert and the rest could just be Kee Kee thinking of ways to get rid of him.
Finally, here's Spongejack Circlepants. Dave's idea, my design. A washed-up cartoon star who tries to freeload at Kee-Kee's house. I'd occasionally wedge him in as someone who attempts and fails to have common guy-talk with Kee Kee. They're just not on the same page.
Here are a few more Kee Kee related drawings done at around the same time:
EDIT: More of the cosplayer!