In late 2008, I found myself trying to come up with something else to send to PLAYBOY. I decided I'd do it on my own this time. My art had begun to loosen up a bit when I did the MOONIE pages, and I wanted to see if I could push that. One of my favorite artists, since the 60's, had always been Herge, whose ADVENTURES OF TINTIN has long been perhaps my all-time favorite comics series. Yet, apart from some of the "rough layout" mini-comics I did in high school, it seemed I always kept falling back on the idea that "realistic" was somehow better than "cartoony"-- which is utter nonsense!
As it happens, I had just finished reading the 2-book reprint set of Harvey Kurtzman's LITTLE ANNIE FANNIE, which ran in PLAYBOY for around 20 years, and I think it's safe to say I was inspired. I got the idea for a character who would pay tribute to BUCK ROGERS while being a sort of reverse of ANNIE's naive innocent who always seemed to be fighting off sexual advances. BUNNY would be someone who very much enjoyed sex, but absurdly, kept running into sexual frustration.
BUNNY ROGET (pronounced ("row-zhay") would be the owner & operator of a space delivery service, which would allow the stories to visit any number of alien planets. For the supporting cast, I came up with Will Hardrock as her #1 employee, spaceship pilot, and the main object of her romantic advances (who, due to reasons that would be unknown at first, kept her at a distance). Filling out the crew would be Gigi Astra, a cute, short, slender blonde who would serve as both navigator & medic. Strangely enough, because of the way the story ideas were coming to me, I was only able to feature Gigi in one episode (so far), but I'm sure that will change if and when I get to doing more of these.
Bunny was inspired, to some degree, by the character of "Midge" (played by Tanya Roberts) on THAT 70'S SHOW-- although I didn't actually realize this until after I'd done a couple of them. Will was based, somewhat, on Wally's Wood's John CANNON. Gigi was inspired by both my #1 favorite PLAYBOY playmate, Lesa Ann Pedriana (April 1984), and my best friend in art school back in the late 80's.
After it rattled around in my head for several months, I finally got inspired to do the first one the very day I put in for a job at Harleigh Cemetery, a job I wound up getting, which lasted 2 years.
The art style for the figures actually harkened back to how I used draw the mini-comics in the late-70's, only more refined, cleaner. And somehow, a bit of Dan DeCarlo found its way in as well.
Here's the original character sketches:
All prominent characters are Trademarks of HENRY KUJAWA