In 2014, Robert was laid off after a ten-year career selling comics, during which he noticed how little publishers were paying attention to young readers. The very next day, an idea struck him for a picture book about a cow lost in space. Over the next several months, Shakes the Cow’s first book, MOO THOUSAND AND PUN, came into being.
Using the name of his web comic blog, Crass Fed, Robert published the book under his own imprint, Crass Fed Kids, in June 2015. Robert would also turn an off-the-cuff joke into another series, THE BEAR FROM AUNT, a series of spy adventures for pre-teens and adolescents just beginning to read chapter books.
Robert’s wife, Elinda, wrote a cookbook for convention-goers featuring shelf-stable recipes that can be made ahead and taken to conventions for quick sustenance, published in September as CON GRUB. Robert also paired with their Kidlet to produce a mini-comic, THE MIGHTY HIPPOFARTAMUS, about a super-hero hippo who has super-flatulent abilities.
With a broad catalog covering a range of readers and interests, the Crass Fed Kids imprint was no longer sufficient to accommodate all of the family’s published offerings. DEANS FAMILY PRODUCTIONS was born.
Since 2015, DFP has published over a dozen children’s books, including five each of the Shakes the Cow and Bear From AUNT series, Two MooseLamb books, Two Hippofartamus comics, and launched a new series, STEER YOUR OWN STORY – a series of solo game books inspired by the “Choose Your Own…” books popular in the early 1980s. DFP now publishes between 2 and 4 new books a year, and exhibits at shows across the eastern shore.
Tapping into their combined decades of experience in the non-profit, commercial, legal, and retail sectors, Robert and Elinda also offer writing, editing, and design services, as well as small-business consulting for other creatives or entrepreneurs wanting to start up their own business.
DFP was founded out of our passion for creating characters and stories that delight readers of all ages. We understand the value of our money – and yours as well. Every product and service offered by DFP is produced with an eye towards quality as if we were only creating for ourselves. We care about our characters and our products, and always choose quality over speed. When you buy a DFP product, or hire us for your project, you can rest assured you’re getting the best quality and the best value for your hard-earned dollar.
J. Robert Deans
J. Robert Deans is an artist and writer who started “professionally” with his CRASS FED web comic in 2012. He is the creator of the SHAKES THE COW, BEAR FROM AUNT, and STEER YOUR OWN STORY series of children’s books, and is the co-creator of the MOOSELAMB and MIGHTY HIPPOFARTAMUS series.
Robert started young in non-profit and legal work when his tech-deficient mother hired him to develop databases for her office in the early 1980s. While this occupied the logical side of his mind, he fed his creative side with comics and film. After high school, Robert continued working, eventually attending college intending to study film. History grabbed his attention, and he graduated with a degree in Asian History and a large pile of debt. He bounced between retail and non-profit work until he got a job at his local comic shop. Selling and reading comics reinvigorated his love of art, and soon he realized publishers were all but ignoring their most important reader base: new, young readers. When he was laid off and the idea for a book struck him, it made perfect sense that it would be a children’s book.
Since then, Robert has been a regular exhibitor at Baltimore Comic Con, Heroes Con, and All Star Comic Con, among other east coast conventions, and is a member of Kids Love Comics, a collective working to improve the comics community for young readers and creators of all ages content.
Learn more about Robert, his works, and availability for your projects at jrobertdeans.com (Coming September 2021)
Elinda Deans grew up at the Library of Congress surrounded by books. However, her primary hobbies were always cooking and crochet. After attending comic conventions with Robert (and having planned events for the Library), and seeing him write MOO THOUSAND AND PUN, Elinda was inspired to write her own cookbook. That book, a collection of recipes perfect for making ahead and taking along to conventions to keep yourself fed healthier than overpriced platters of chicken fingers, was released in 2015 as CON GRUB.
Since then, Elinda has used her creativity with fiber to become the “Toy Lady,” creating a wide variety of plush toys of DFP characters both in and out of “cowsplay” that are a hit at conventions. She is also working on a plush toy commission list that includes Shakes the Cow versions of Doctor Who and Star Trek characters.
Elinda has also created her own book characters, the MOOSELAMBS, featuring a number of stories that address blended families, bullying, anxiety, racism, and adoption by same-sex parents.
When toy creation allows (read: almost never), Elinda is planning the return of her former recipe blog, FLYING PORK PRODUCTIONS which featured recipe remakes and family heirloom recipes. For the blog, Elinda had created a mascot, Chrys the Flying Pig, who has now joined the DFP stable of characters.
In addition to writing, editing, and consulting, Elinda is also available for all manner of toy work, from prototype development, to manufacturing, to basic design.