Alumnus, comic artist prepares for launch of graphic novel

Jay Fosgitt poses in his office with a character, Bodie, from the comic “Bodie Troll” which Fosgitt wrote and illustrated.

Publication of the graphic novel "Bodie Troll" in February 2018 will be a landmark in the journey of an idea that got its start in the pages of Central Michigan Life

Written and drawn by Central Michigan University alumnus and former CM Life cartoonist Jay Fosgitt, the book will include the entire previously published "Bodie Troll" comic series as well as new material and "never-before-seen" stories created exclusively for the book.

"(The book's) going to be an all-inclusive and perfect collection for old fans and people new to the series," Fosgitt said.

The comic follows the misadventures of Bodie, a troll that wants to scare and terrorize people, but can't because he's too cute and cuddly.

The series begin in 2013 with a four-issue run published by Red 5 Comics. After his contract with Red 5 expired this past year, Fosgitt was able to continue the series under Boom! Studios.

"(Boom!) is a bigger publisher with a lot more reach and potential," Fosgitt said. "Working with Boom! has been fantastic. I've worked with a number of publishers over the years – some pretty small and some as big as Marvel Comics. They've all been positive experiences, but Boom! has been the most personal back-and-forth that I've had.

"I have a lot of freedom to create Bodie, but I've also had a lot of help in making it the best possible book I could."

Depending on the reception to the book by fans and critics, Fosgitt plans to continue the series in the future.

The inspiration for "Bodie Troll" dates back to Fosgitt's time at CMU. Working as editorial cartoonist at Central Michigan Life, one of Fosgitt's recurring comic strips was "The Epic of Cholly," about a girl's daily experiences at college.

Wanting to change the context from college life to a fairytale-inspired fantasy world, Fosgitt continued to developed the idea after graduating in 2004. Fosgitt planned on publishing the series as a syndicated comic strip in newspapers across the country, though Fosgitt put his plans for the story on hold after no publishers stepped forward to pick it up.

In 2011, Fosgitt decided the "time was right" to do something with the original idea for "The Epic of Cholly," changing the concept slightly to include the character of Bodie, who would replace Cholly as the main character of the story.

Fosgitt took inspiration from both classic fairytales and his own life when creating the character of Bodie.

"It's a classic archetype within all folklore – the grumpy and put-upon anti-hero, who has his dreams and his goals, but the humor is found in his inability to obtain them," Fosgitt said. "I suppose we all feel that way, so I wanted to create a character that represented that, and was also kinda biographical to my own personality."