Jerrybrice's Blog
The intersection of animation, entertainment, and politics

The Undertaker…an original concept and designs by Jerry Brice

The Undertaker

The Undertaker

  The Undertaker is an original concept that I based off of a story that my dear old friend, and staunch supporter of my artwork,the late great Mr Hartwell Ragsdale, local mortician/businessman told my father and I one day.

  Mr. Ragsdale was the leading mortician and undertaker here in the black community of San Diego, and he broke barriers for racial equality in cemetaries and funeral homes. Prior to civil rights legislation,he was under the same restrictions that all black people throughout America were, and specifically,a black person could not be buried in a white only cemetary, and white morticians would not embalm a body of a black person. 

My old friend Bill, whose last name will go unwritten here to protect his privacy, his family had a mortuary for white people, and their family would turn over the black bodies to Mr Ragsdale to prepare,and from all the stories I have heard from Bill, they all got along fine in the days before Civil rights and up to the present.

The Ragsdale’s have done a lot to fight for civil rights, and toward the end of his life,I knew Mr Ragsdale was disappointed in the community, because of all the gang violence and the deaths of children.This story was about a funeral he did for a 13-year-old gang member, who had been killed in a drive-by-shooting.The rival gang showed up at the funeral, and caused havoc at the ceremony, and disrespected the body and the proceedings.

 He said to me that he believes that we all have our time to go, but he did not believe that so many children were dying at their proper time.This was a bit of his frustration, and I felt that from him deeply.He did not fight for so many years for us to be free, to kill each other before we actually had the chance to grow up…

I extrapolated that story and created this character that starts off as a gang member who is killed by a rival gang, who in turn set out to retaliate against his murderers, thus causing a chain of events that can never stop.I kill your man, and your people kill mine.

It’s a no win situation…so I created some fiction to see how it could be stopped.

The murdered gang member actually died before his time, so there is no room for him in Hell or Heaven, so he is sent back to earth to do his penance, and earn his spot in Heaven or more likely hell.His pennance is to save the lives of his murderer from the retaliation of his friends.

He is given two new bodies to inhabit, one is of an elderly mortician, the design is based on Mr Ragsdale somewhat, and a night-time body of a superhero, which I based on the youthful Charles Barkley.

His spirit is a ghostly rendition of himself, and he is invisible.

I created this for Chris Moore, famous for his Project Greenlight series, and succesful uber hollywood producer, when he was my literary agent, in 1994, so it is not new, but did precede the ”Spawn” series, which is similar, but way different, by coincidence in the story arc.

The art style is somewhat graffiti/art deco…or that’s what I tell myself.

For more info.on Mr Hartwell Ragsdale, click on this link, just to start… for info. on Chris Moore, click here…

Undertaker Splash scene

Undertaker Splash scene

GangMember before death

GangMember before death

Dead Gang Member in Spirit form

Dead Gang Member in Spirit form

Dead Gang member as The Undertaker

Dead Gang member as The Undertaker

Dead Gang member's Superhero Body

Dead Gang member's Superhero Body

It would be great if we all could redeem ourselves after our life has ended, and metaphorically a cautionary tale like this, might just do that…but it’s just a dream.

2 Responses to “The Undertaker…an original concept and designs by Jerry Brice”

  1. I really like the concept behind this story. My grandfather once owned a mortuary in Alabama where, presumably, he serviced the African American community to which he belonged. Being in that line of business requires a deep sense of dignity and human worth that many professions do not. It is dreadful to think of the conditions which tie this story to real life, but it has a strong cautionary message that’s not hard to see. I think I would enjoy watching this feature, short, or graphic novel most because it touches on issues I haven’t seen often in these forms of entertainment.

    • Thanks Jon!The man it was based on was a good friend and mentor to me, and I miss him and his wife a great deal.Thanks for th kind words, and for checking out my artwork.

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