What is Swamp about?
Well to begin, it's not about one character. It's about an entire community of characters. Of course some characters do stand out from the crowd, but each has it's own unique story… from the least to the greatest and for each one, life means something different. For Ding Duck, it means the pursuit of his life long goal of flight. For the Flies, it's finding the next cowpat. For Old Man Croc, it's learning how tolerate his necessary but annoying Nit Picking Bird and for Mort, an innocent pre teen frog, it's about trying to find where he fits in a messy world.
Put all these characters together into one muddy, sludge filled, backwater and you've got the down to earth stuff of what life is about. So, what is Swamp about? It's about life, in a Swamp.
The inspiration for Swamp is a childhood spent living in a suburb that was close to many parks, bushland areas, creeks, dumps, a tannery and a sludge pond. It is the inspiration for Swamp.
The ponds also offered yabbies (crayfish) and on occasion quality goldfish for our own aquarium. The creek bank was where we had our cubby houses… and our private gathering place, the Mulberry Tree. Many a feast and fight of mulberries were had up in its branches.
The local dumps were a treasure trove, which we regularly scrounged through for the much sort after prize, a discarded bicycle frame or wheel. Once or twice these highly prized items were to be found there. The tannery offered an element of heart pumping danger. Once, we were chased by tannery workers wielding large knifes when we dared to trespass into their back paddock. Of course, the tannery also was the source of the smell that wafted into our homes, whenever the wind blew our direction or whenever it rained.
We once discovered the source of the smell one Saturday afternoon. It was a sludge pond, where the fat and by-product of the tanning process settled on its surface forming metres of a thick crust of green-brown foam… we were greatly impressed!!!
Little by little, as we grew up these places changed.
Our yabby pond was filled in to make way for an industrial shed. The tannery closed down. The ponds are gone and today the creek is a concrete channel. The rough bushland is now neat with trim tree-lined bicycle ways. The parks where we flew and crashed many a model aircraft are still there and most importantly, so are the memories. Somewhere embedded in every Swamp cartoon strip, the things that inspired me in childhood, still show through. For instance, every fly head first in a cowpat, every time Ding nose-dives into a crumpled wreck, every time a dump rat discovers new treasure and every off-beat character. They all have their origins with a bunch of kids… knee-deep in the wonderful world I call Swamp!
Ding Duck has developed to be a major character due to my own love of flying.