Chick and Dee
CHICK AND DEE are funny little bird-boys... best buddies who are exploring their world together. Chick is the dynamic, impulsive one, and Dee tends to be a little more on the thinky side. Dee also loves to eat! Chick has an older sister named Robin (who Dee has a crush on), and Dee has a little brother named Shelldon who is still mostly in his egg. Shelldon tags along with the big boys whenever possible. Other playmates include the big, shy, monster kid, Bruno, the monkey girl, Petal, and the neighborhood dog, Arf. Two bullies named Fang (an alligator) and Jack (a bat) often make trouble for the gang. The comics revolve around regular childhood adventures, focusing on friendship, teamwork, problem solving, and especially humor.
Jay Stephens had been freelancing for Canada's popular chickaDEE Magazine for kids aged 6-9 back in 1998 when he was asked to create two all-new mascots for the publications' 20th anniversary. It took a over a year to finalize the world of Chick and Dee, but the hard work paid of as the Chick and Dee comic strip became an instant hit with readers after it's debut in September 1999. During Jay's five year run writing and drawing the monthly strip, creating posters, puzzles, jokes, and more, chickaDEE circulation grew steadily, and the magazine won several Distinguished Achievement Awards from the Association of Educational Publishers and Parents' Choice Awards. The Chick and Dee comic was the highest rated feature by readers during this time.
In 2001, the first chickaDEE Summer Fun Digest appeared, featuring longer Chick and Dee comic stories. Jay came up with the idea based on the perennial success of the Archie Comics Digests, and was instrumental in convincing the publisher to develop the project. The Summer Fun Digests were, and continue to be, a big hit, and Jay contributed new stories and art to the first four books, including a 'flip book' animation in the 2003 annual. In 2001 the comic started appearing in Les Explorateurs, translated for the French Canadian market as "Chic et Tic".
Jay Stephens ended his five year run with the magazine in 2004, going out on top with a big book project. EAT IT UP! is a cookbook for the whole family featuring the popular Chick and Dee characters with more than 50 lip-smacking recipes young children love to make Ñ and to eat! Each recipe features colour illustrations of the Chick and Dee characters, colour photographs of the finished recipe, step-by-step instructions and line-drawings, and tips from kid chefs Ñ all put together in a sturdy, spiral bound package perfect for small, sticky hands to use again and again. Written by Jay's lovely and talented wife, Elisabeth de Mariaffi.
Jay's good pal Steven Manale took over the cartooning chores of the Chick and Dee strip in 2004.