The Birth of Dead Like Me
Rules of the Afterlife

Design by Enkida
Hosted by SmackJeeves

Max is a fourteen year old boy with a gift. He can see ghosts. However, Max wouldn't exactly call this a gift. It's more of a hassle to him. Because he can see them and hear them while no one else can, it always appears to other people that Max is talking to himself. Thus, he was nicknamed "Mad Max."

But Max has learned to ignore all the name calling. In fact, he's so good at ignoring people (living or dead), he manages to get in trouble in school a lot because of it. But Max has also learned to stop caring about that.

Everything seemed to be running smooth for Max as he simply ignored everyone but his parents. That is until one particular student died in an accident.

Trey Hartman, age seventeen, wasn't the smartest guy in school. But he did have talent in whatever sport he participated in. Trey wasn't like most of his jock friends. He was one of the nice ones. The ones who never really picked on anyone. In the beginning of his senior year, Trey died in what seemed to be an accident. The school set up a memorial for the beloved athlete and the students mourned the loss of a friend.

And that's when Trey met Max.


Dead Like Me follows Max Shepard and Trey Hartman as they meet various ghosts wandering their city. With Max's help (and Trey's insistance), these ghosts can move on in peace. This is a story about overcoming obstacles and differences. It focuses on friendship, loyalty, and perhaps, love.

The Birth of Dead Like Me

Initially, I just wanted a comic where I didn't have to really care about how the end result looks (that's why Dead Like Me is so sketchy). I didn't know what the story was going to be, I didn't know what the title was, and I definitely didn't know what the main character was going to look like. So the next thing I did was begin to sketch.

First Draft: Max

This is what I came up with. My cousin influenced most of what Max came to be. The hair, the tie, the "I could care less" demeanor, and most of all, the violin, mirrors pieces of my cousin. Of course, I pulled things to extremes (like Max's antisocial character and genius) and I twisted things (like making Max a relatively cold person since my cousin is anything but cold). It wasn't long after that I settled with the name Max. And it wasn't much harder to come up with his real first name, either. The next step was to figure the story.

What made Max so cold? Why is he the way he is? I'm sure I could have gone the easy route by creating a gloomy and/or abusive home life. So since I knew that I wanted to create a new comic, I went on Smackjeeves and began to fill out the form to create a new one (keep in mind, I still had nothing beyond the first sketch of Max in hand). I began to fill out the summary. And that's all I needed for the story to come to me. I wrote out Max's character and as I typed out "So what's so special about Max?" the answer came to me. And so the story was born.

Of course, I couldn't forget that every super hero needs a sidekick. And since Max was the hero of this comic, he needed a sidekick. Someone with the ability to shed light upon Max's dark exterior. I knew that I wanted someone taller than Max. That was about it.

First Draft: Trey and Max

The idea for this image popped in my head not long after. Someone being friendly and buddy-buddy with Max while Max was just annoyed by the exchange. So Trey was born. His character was pretty easy to create. He just had to be the opposite of Max. And since Trey was the friendly one, it was easy to see the two eventually become friends at Trey's insistance.

The rest of the story just fell into place after that. The two would go around helping wandering ghosts. And as this all takes place, their own relationship would strengthen. After finding Trey, it was easy to come up with a title.

Thus, Dead Like Me was born.

Rules of the Afterlife

When you're dead there are many things you can't do in relation to the living world. But there are somethings you CAN do in the afterlife that wouldn't make sense in the living world. Here are the rules of the afterlife (more may be added in the future).

  • Ghosts can't emit shadows on the living world, but can so on themselves and other objects in the afterlife (such as other ghosts).

  • Ghosts can't feel temperature changes (hot/cold).

  • Ghosts can only move onto the beyond when they are ready and willing to move on.

  • When a ghost concentrates hard enough, the ghost can become solid. Though they are solid, they are still invisible. However, a ghost must exert a great deal of energy to do so, or must have great experience or skill to pull off such a feat.

  • When a ghost becomes solid, they are still invisible.

  • When a ghost becomes solid, they can feel things (ex. when solid, a ghost can feel wind on their skin).

  • When a ghost becomes solid, they can hold or move inanimate objects. However, this exerts even more energy or requires more experience or skill.

  • Ghosts can float once they're used to it. However, they cannot fly.

  • Ghosts can sit or lay on an object without falling through. It doesn't exert energy, though. It is similar to floating.

  • Ghosts can walk through walls or doors. They can also lean against them without falling through.


Why are the DLM pages different sizes?
Making the pages like this actually helps me to update faster. I don't have to really think about layouts and how much info to cram onto one page. This way, it's more about the story than the art, and I really love DLM's story.