When Jennifer Estrada came to help legendary music promoter, DJ, and retired Dearborn High School teacher Russ Gibb after a surgery, she didn't know she was getting discovered as a budding comic artist.
Now, like many of Gibb's proteges, she may be making it big.
Estrada, 33, is a normal mom in many ways. She and her husband Jesus work hard to provide for their four kids–Angelica, Isaiah, Isabella and Jordyn–while figuring out their vision for their lives and building a home in a downriver community.
Four years ago, she was hired to help Gibb after back surgery.
While he spent many hours sleeping during recovery, “I’d get bored so I’d draw comics,” Estrada explains from the living room of Gibb's west Dearborn home.
“I’d wake up and see these little characters,” Gibb adds with a laugh.
He encouraged her to take the drawings out of the margins of notebooks and into the public eye. Thus, Jenny’s Day–a website that tells true-to-life stories through Estrada’s humorous comics–was born in November 2011.
For Estrada, it’s just a visualization of the things that are important to her–like connecting with her kids, juggling work and family life, and grappling with raising a teenage daughter.
“I always valued life and family,” adds a humble Estrada, who lost her parents at a young age.
But Gibb sees something more universal.
“She’s really quite typical, and that’s the beauty of this young lady,” Gibb says of Estrada’s work. “She touches the daily concerns of the American family; she’s right on pulse with what’s going on.”
It’s a lifelong hobby of Gibb’s–spotting talent and helping them make it; one he honed while owner of Detroit’s Grande Ballroom, where several rock superstars got their big break. Age hasn’t diminished his spirit to help.
“You help others,” he says. “That’s the pleasure of getting old.”
Gibb’s latest talent development project is really taking off, too. Jenny’s Day is receiving thousands of hits, while an attorney has expressed interest in helping market the comic to TV and movie producers.
Estrada doesn’t care where it goes, but has hopes that, “It could help put my kids through college,” she says. “And if not, if I could just help a mom out there, that would be great, too.”
It's not her only dream, either: Estrada says she–like Gibb–wants to be a teacher. “I like kids,” explains the mother of four.
Jokes Gibb, “I would hope so.”
Check out Jenny's Day at www.jennysday.com.