This Halloween marks the 25th anniversary of my long-running holiday character of choice, the grumpy, candy-loving pumpkin Giant Jack … and the 25th anniversary of my first 8-page minicomic, too!
I created Giant Jack for a Halloween minicomic in 1987 as a kind of reverse trick-or-treat item: I would deliver it to all my friends instead of begging for candy from them. After the success of that first appearance, in which Jack found something besides terrorizing children to enjoy on Halloween (while he still enjoys a good (though good-natured) scare, he developed a real sweet tooth as a result of that comic) he found his way into other holidays as well, in comics like:
- “A Halloween Treat With Giant Jack” (10/87, 8 page minicomic), which introduced the giant pumpkin with an equally large sweet tooth. For my first minicomic I did a really lousy job of leaving decent printer margins; I later reformatted it and tidied up the lettering for 2004’s Smeary Soapbox Press-ents #5, which I was much happier with…
- “Giant Jack’s First Love” (2/88; 8 page minicomic) was Jack’s first foray into another holiday. Valentine hijinks ensue as a cupid tries to change Jack’s grumpy attitude.
- “The Wearin’ of the Green” (3/88; 8 page minicomic) was a downer of a sequel to the previous Valentine’s Day story, as Jack gets his grumpy mojo back.
- “The Spooks Convene” (10/88; 8 page minicomic) provided a peek into the annual gathering of Jack and his Halloween pals. I relettered this one in 2004 for Smeary Soapbox Press-ents #6.
- “Giant Jack Knocks ‘Em Dead / Still More Bad Joke Funnies” (10/89; 12 page minicomic flipbook) was a more surrealistic Halloween tale, chock full of bad jokes and bacon. [November 2019 UPDATE: the Giant Jack part of this issue was relettered and released as Smeary Soapbox Press-ents #17 in time for Halloween!]
- This Comic is Free number Wednesday, October 31, 1990 (10/90; 8 page minicomic) was, like most of this series, an odd little duck– drawn in the scratchy style I was using in illustration class, it was more of a Giant Jack scene than a story, along with a couple of Halloween puzzles.
- “Giant Jack Meets Scatman” (10/92; 8 page minicomic) featured a rather unpleasant interaction between Jack and his friends with the vile avenger and his sidekick, Vomit. [October 2020 UPDATE: relettered and released as Smeary Soapbox Press-ents #19 in time for Halloween!]
- “Another Foggy Christmas Eve” (12/92; 8 page minicomic) finally gave Jack a Christmas story as he tried to help Santa on his rounds, with decidedly different results than when Rudolph came to Santa’s aid.
- “Giant Jack’s Lost Love” (2/95; 16 page minicomic with stickers and postcard in envelope) was an epic tale of nearly-lost love. It came with stickers to let the reader create their own favorite ending.
- My ArtWalk 2000 Comic Sampler (10/2000; 16 page digest) was Jack’s longest– and so far last– appearance in “The Night of 1001 Pranks!” Showing up a day early due to leap year, he joins some of his spooky friends in Mischief Night pranks. That comic is also notable as the first appearance (outside of the pages of APA-5) of Watusi, the talking dog.
Since then, Giant Jack’s role as my holiday go-to guy has been eclipsed as I’ve done holiday pieces tied more to my current projects: first “Continuity and Vine”, then Watusi-related pieces. Sounds like it’s time to dust the old fellow off, though. Who knows, maybe he’ll even pop up in Wonder Valley some Halloween…