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Comic Relief -- Local artist releases first book of cartoons

June 8, 2017
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

"Happy Jeff" J.D. Burdge has been a musician, artist and resident of Fort Myers Beach since 1998. He's always had the artistic blood flowing through his veins, and a couple years ago, took to cartooning for one of the local newspapers.

Now, with an entire catalogue of caricatured work, he's happy to announce the publishing of his first book of comics, titled "The Sunbay Paper Cartoons."

"I felt that my cartoon submissions to the paper warranted a book compilation, and I believe there were enough fans of my cartoon out there to purchase this book," he said.

Article Photos

Local artist and musician “Happy Jeff” J.D. Burdge recently released his first 104-page book of comics, titled “The Sunbay Paper Cartoons.” It’s available for purchase
throughout the island for $12, and for another $3, can ship anywhere in the Continental U.S. Photo by MELISSA SCHNEIDER

The 104-page piece features Jeff's top three comic titles: FMB, Think on This and Fishtales. "Some involve political editorials, others are humorous occurrences and characters on our beach, and Fish Tales is a play on fish names," he said.

The book is not just made up of several comics, but the local artist's hand-written commentary of each one.

"I've been cartooning since I was a child, and still have lots of my original (although very primitive) drawings," he said. "I had been working on this book project for about two years of weekly contributions to the Sunbay Paper."

Jeff's cartooned drawings can be considered similar to that of his iconic artistic influences, including Robert Crumb, Rick Griffin, Big Daddy Roth, Gary Larsen, Gahan Wilson and Walt Disney.

"Creating the cartoons have been a great, fun endeavor, and I hope to share the entire collection with you in the form of my book and hope that you find it highly entertaining," Jeff said.

When he's not crafting quippy cartoons, Jeff is a mural artist, having painted some large projects on and off the island, including Parrot Key, the Fort Myers Beach Library, the Mermaid Lounge and the Salty Crab.

Musically, you can catch him strumming the guitar at the Surf Club on Fort Myers Beach, every Saturday evening, from 6 to 9 p.m.

If interested in picking up a copy of Jeff's first cartoon book, a $12 cost, swing by the Print Shop in the Key Estero Plaza, Armando's Day Spa, 2101 Estero Blvd., the Cigar Hut, 1172 Estero Blvd., or you can order directly from Jeff by calling 239-895-3517 and he'll hand deliver signed copies to your front door within a 10-mile radius of Fort Myers Beach. Or visit his Facebook page.

For an additional $3, the local artist can ship the book anywhere in the Continental U.S.

Jeff shares his thoughts on what's next on the horizon, "If there is support for the sales of this book, I plan to put out a second cartoon book, and hope to publish and sell fictional graphic novels after that," he said.



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