Interview with Zombie Outlaw Writer Brian Apodaca
Want a zombie comic with a college twist? Brian Apodaca shares some of his insight into such a series. Writer of Zombie Outlaw
, let’s find out more about these series and and the writer who made them!
Me: For people who haven't read Zombie Outlaw, what is the series about?
The series centers on Matt Naismith, a college student who has found himself smitten with a classmate, K.T. Delaney, and enlists the aid of his Resident Advisor, Will Simers. In the process of getting "help" from Will, both Matt and Will unleash chaos upon the University. So the story involves both Matt and Will, along with K.T. and some others along the way, picking up the pieces and doing their best to prevent a Zombie Apocalypse. Unfortunately for K.T., both Matt and Will are rather inept in their fashion, so she's not getting much help!!
Me: How did you come up with the name for the school, Irvine State University?
I attended Chico State University, up in Northern California, which is referenced in a small way in issue #2, and my wife attended UC Irvine - so Irvine State University is a sort of imagined amalgamation of the two schools, with both real and imagined details from college life included wherever we can.
Me: What inspired the story?
The story for me is inspired by the friendships, romances, and pure stupidity
which often run rampant during the college years, and less about the blood and gore one might expect from a Zombie story. Although, with Benny as an artist, there's always going to be a fair share of that as well!!
Me: What writers have inspired you?
I've been inspired by Zadie Smith, author of White Teeth
, which Will can be spotted reading in the first issue. She's kind of brilliant. Also, the usual suspects: Joss Whedon, Brian K. Vaughn, Peter Milligan, and one can't go without mentioning the tandem of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee. What those two did together is pretty mind-blowing!! Neil Gaiman is kind of awesome, of course. And I love the storytelling of Paul Pope and Becky Cloonan. Also, my friend, Chieh Chieng, author of A Long Stay in a Distant Land
, is always inspiring and giving me insight into the craft and pure grit involved in writing something of quality.
Me: What are some of your favorite zombie comics?
I honestly haven't read a ton of Zombie books, sadly. I've read and watched The Walking Dead
, and enjoyed that, and Benny is incredibly well-versed in all forms of Zombie movies, so we've watched quite a few of those together - many of them horrible. The horrible ones have been some of the most entertaining, and have undoubtedly influenced the book!!
Me: How long will the series be and when are the future issues set to come out? How many have been released so far?
Two issues have been released thus far, and the Third issue is in the works.
At this point, both Benny and I are tied up with projects that take time away from Zombie Outlaw, but we're shooting to have Zombie Outlaw
issue #3 completed by the end of 2014, and the ashcan preview for issue #3 completed for WonderCon 2014 (this Spring!!) in Anaheim!! The third issue will complete the initial story arc, and then we'll be able to gauge whether the interest level in the book warrants more stories set in the Zombie Outlaw universe. Interest has built up from issue #1 to issue 2, so our fingers are definitely crossed that #3 is the one that blows up and takes things to another level!!! If we can take the leap in storytelling from #2 to #3 that we took from issue #1 to 2, we'll be on our way.
Me: Why did you decide to have pin-ups and posters made for the series?
Benny is the best and most definitive Zombie Outlaw
artist there is, or will ever be, but it's definitely fun for both of us to see different artists interpret our characters in pinups and posters and the like. Sometimes another artist's rendition might even inspire Benny to put another spin on something he's got up his sleeve with his artwork, so its quite cool to see that interplay.
Me: Can you talk about some of the artists who contributed some of them?
Apodaca: Adam Markiewicz
(aka @AdManComics on Twitter) is a fantastic artist, and has his own webcomic, Trench Coat Samurai
) - he's probably done the most work for us, doing the cover for our Ashcan/Preview for issue #2, as well as the BACK COVER, for issue #2, which is actually featured as a sort of "easter egg" within the pages of issue 2, and is the unofficial first appearance of a couple of characters who'll make their debut in issue #3. Adam's art is dynamic, sharp, and quite different from Benny's style, which makes it fun to see his spin on our creations.
did the Back Cover for issue #1, which is a completely different style as well, and almost evokes a "Choose-Your-Own-Adventure" feel for the series, which is interesting and gives readers a taste of what the book might be had we taken a more serious approach. Mark has done a great deal of excellent comics work over the years, and actually won the Comics Buyers Guide cover contest a few years back.
Finally, our friend Richard Garcia,
who has done some incredible illustrations of children-ized versions of Marvel and DC characters recently, was cool enough to do a "Li'l Outlaws" pinup/poster for us recently, and he knocked it out of the park!!! It will probably be a pinup or an "alternate cover" for issue #3!!
Me: Where can you get an issue of Zombie Outlaw?
There's the rub! Currently, Zombie Outlaw
has limited availability, although we're hoping to rectify that and get it on Comixology or in some digital download format within the next year. People can directly contact me on Twitter - I'm @Capn_Midnight
, and we usually exhibit and attend several comic conventions during the year - we just did Long Beach Comic Con, and have done Comikaze and the Alternate Press Expo in the past. We'll be at WonderCon in Anaheim, again this year in the spring, selling the book, and there are comic stores in Los Angeles and San Diego which will be stocking our book soon. Also, I'm fairly certain that Orbital Comics in London has about a dozen copies of both issue #1 and 2 in stock, currently, for those who happen to live in or be visiting the United Kingdom!!
Me: What other comic books have you worked on and what are they about?
I wrote a book several years back, called Reunion
, with the artist Arturo Morales, which is where the name of our company, Reunion Comics, comes from. It dealt with, broadly, friendship, love, and alcohol ingestion. Being my first book, I have a soft spot for it, but it is quite different from Zombie Outlaw
, despite some convergent themes. I've also written a one-shot with the title, Fire Never Forgets
, which was a bit of a spoof on a James Bond-type story, although it veered into Defenders of the Earth-territory, with a mustache-twirling villain who was something of a rip-off of Ming the Merciless!! Rest assured that, whatever its faults, Zombie Outlaw
is far superior to those two previous books!!
Me: Do you have any words of inspiration to aspiring comic book writers?
I always wanted to write comics, and - one year at San Diego Comic-Con, I stopped at a table for a small-press artist who was selling this black-and-white, self-published book. It wasn't mind-blowingly brilliant, but it had moments of sheer inspiration, and there was something about it that made me enjoy it more than the average Marvel or DC book. Not that it was BETTER, but it was DIFFERENT. The fact that this guy just decided to go DO IT somehow made an impression on me and started me on the path I'm on. People that tell you that you can't do it... Don't let their voices have the final say!!! If you love something, do it!! Regardless of whether you have material success or make loads of money off of something - if you love it, you love it - so don't give up!!
Me: Thanks for your time Brian! If you’re interested in learning more about Zombie Outlaw, read my review of issue one.