This week, we asked Jeff Corriveau of DEFLOCKED to tell us a little bit about Tucker, the little boy who just happens to have been raised by dogs on Lubberland Farms. Jeff was kind enough to go the extra mile and dig up a telephone transcript from the early days of DEFLOCKED:
The DeFlocked Development period.
Overheard on December 16th, 2007, 4:39 P.M.:
JEFF CORRIVEAU, creator of DeFLOCKED: “So listen, man … I think I want to add a human boy to my strip. But the twist is that he’ll be raised by the two dog characters.”
BRENDAN BURFORD, Comics Editor, King Features Syndicate: “Dude … that’s friggin’ brilliant. That’s gotta be the gutsiest move in the history of comic strips since they decided to make Dagwood Bumstead part Centaur.”
JC: “Thanks, I thought it would – wait … what? Dagwood Bumstead isn’t part Centaur.”
BB: “Sometimes I like to read the comic strips in my heart.”
JC: “O.K. … anyway … the boy will be an orphan with ambiguous origins regarding his arrival at Lubberland Farms. He’s going to be the conscience of the strip … the innocent child teetering on that allegorical fence between good, represented by Cobb, and evil, repped by Mamet.”
BB: “Nice … nice …you got me on the hook, Jeffy. But I’m gonna wriggle off that bait unless you strike.”
JC: “Dude, I really hate when you call me ‘Jeffy.’
So, the boy’s name will be Tucker. And he’ll be at the center of these very dynamic relationships between himself and all the other animals in the strip.”
BB: “Ooo, like Robin Hood!”
JC: “‘Robin Hood’?”
BB: “Yeah, you know – Robin was that cool fox and he helped all those other animals get rich.”
JC: “I think, uh … well …that was just Disney’s animated retelling of the original tale.”
BB: “WHAT??! The animated Robin Hood wasn’t the ORIGINAL????”
JC: “Anyway … back to Tucker. Being raised by animals, he’ll be thoughtful, but he’ll also have this strong personality trait of reacting to situations by instinct. Like an animal.”
BB: “HA! I get it.”
JC: “Yeah, and another by-product of this scenario is that Tucker will be genuinely confused by the way humans behave in this big bubble of modern pop culture. His whole view of the world is through the prism of his bestial roommates.”
BB: “Whoa, whoa, whoa, bestiality won’t play in Albuquerque.”
JC: “No…‘bestial’… as in ‘not human’.”
BB: (long pause) “O.K., we’ll just give Albuquerque the option to run different strips that day.”
JC: “*Sigh* So, the payoff to Tucker’s character is that – even with his background and unorthodox upbringing, we will slowly come to realize that he’s actually becoming … HUMAN. We are all more animal than we care to admit.”
BB: “I always wanted to be a Cassowary. Such beautiful plumage, but I could disembowel you with one thrust of my claw. KEE-YAWWW!”
BB: “On the other hand, Mandrills can fling their own poop.”
JC: “O.K., forget about the animal thing for a minute. It’s just a device I would use to bring more interest to the strip and show how humans and animals aren’t that much different in the end.”
BB: “Yeah, I’d definitely choose Mandrill.”
JC: “Alright, I think I’m going to go with this. I know it’s risky, taking into account the conformist tastes of newspaper readers. But if you’re on board, Brendan, I truly believe Tucker will become a strong pillar of this very unique strip.”
BB: “Yeah. That means I’m on board.”
JC: “Maybe next time, we can just do this through email.”
BB: “Whatevs. Can we go sledding now? The sun’s going down and I’m getting cold.”
JC: “Yeah, yeah, sure. But I still feel like a third wheel.”
‘Rocky’ Shepard, President, KFS: “Dudes! Check out my anatomically-correct snowman!!!”
JC: “Whatever you do, bro, don’t run into that.”
Jeff writes in to say that, in the three-plus years since the launch of his strip, Tucker has quickly become a fan favorite with his readers; many of which claim the annual “summer camp” and “back-to-school” series as some of their most-anticipated storylines starring Lubberland Farms’ favorite human boy.
Jeff enjoys writing the Tucker-driven strips, but reveals that the character is not autobiographical. He does this on advice of counsel.
Watch for several exciting new storylines coming up in DeFlocked, including Tucker sending away for some violent vampire toys, and battling his school over their recent chocolate milk ban.
When not writing and drawing his strip, Jeff still enjoys sledding with friends, but can no longer watch “Frosty the Snowman” the same way.