Gilbert Deltres is the Florida based writer of Under The Flesh, a grindhouse horror comic drawn by JL Giles. Under The Flesh was originally launched as a webcomic in March of this year, and Deltres and Giles recently started a Kickstarter campaign to fund a print publication of the comic's first chapter. As of this afternoon, Deltres and Giles have raised 50% of their $3,500 goal with 17 days remaining.
I recently spoke with Deltres via email about Under The Flesh, its origins and its future.
Christian Hoffer: What's the basic premise of Under The Flesh?
Gilbert Deltres: The premise to Under The Flesh is simple. It's a Grindhouse mashup of Captain America, Y:The Last Man, and The Walking Dead. The world is ravaged by a male-specific virus which degenerates men into savage cannibals. Mankind's last hope lies with a genetically enhanced soldier who's clueless about his abilities.
Hoffer: What was the inspiration behind Under The Flesh?
Deltres: The inspiration behind Under The Flesh stems from my hardcore love of zombies, and the refusal to let the genre fizzle away. I know there's more mileage left in the undead tank. Even though Under The Flesh doesn't feature zombies outright, it's still a post-apocalyptic survival story featuring a virus and loads of cannibalism!
Hoffer: Post-apocalyptic worlds are a popular setting for comics, especially with the rise of the zombie genre in the last 15 or so years. Why are post-apocalyptic worlds such an ideal setting for comics?
Deltres: The beauty about post-apocalyptic worlds, in my opinion, is that they paint plausible real world scenarios in the aftermath of an extinction level event. Nothing lasts forever. It's literally about the fate of humanity in a chaotic world with no order. Where the cataclysmic destruction can come through a variety of ways, and to test the resolve of mankind.
Hoffer: What separates Under The Flesh from other post-apocalyptic comics?
Deltres: Under The Flesh, as it correlates with traditional zombie culture, will explain the reasoning behind the unknown virus as opposed to ambiguously leaving it as a common question mark. It's integral to the plot-development of the narrative. Where Under The Flesh greatly differs from most post-apocalyptic comic offerings, is that it doesn't take itself as serious. We embrace humor more than the average post-apocalyptic comics out there.
Hoffer: What sort of themes does Under The Flesh explore?
Deltres: Under The Flesh explores themes ranging from evolution, transhumanism, religion, and spirituality.
Hoffer: How many issues will Under The Flesh run?
Deltres: We don't really have an issue count in mind. The first story arc is a six-issue run. From there, J.L. and I will tackle another project, and come back to Under The Flesh.
Hoffer: Could you tell us a little about the decision to use a mostly female cast in Under The Flesh?
Deltres: I wanted to try something unique, while at the same time embracing the importance of women and how vital they can be in a ravaged world where the male species is becoming endangered.
Hoffer: Do you feel it's important that more comics include diverse and complex female characters? Do you think that female readers will relate to Under The Flesh?
Deltres: Of course! As the world continues to diversify, I feel the new wave of literature should reflect that in its themes and characters. In Under The Flesh, aside from the fact that the colorful cast is mostly female, the lead protagonist is also a minority. Although Under The Flesh is in its infancy, I have no doubts that this book could be the next girl power book, as well as a spark that could light a fire under the wavering zombie genre. Truthfully speaking, I just want to write comics that can get people to look at what's under the sun differently.
Hoffer: How did the you and JL Giles meet up and decide to work on Under The Flesh?
Deltres: I actually met J.L. through a rigorous internet search for a talented comic book artist. I'm glad to say that our relationship has bonded to the point where we've become sworn brothers.
Hoffer: What's the collaborative process between the two of you like?
Deltres: A bit challenging, because we are a two-man team. We feed off each other, and layer the pages of Under The Flesh with real blood, sweat, and tears. J.L. has done a magical job of artistically bringing the world in my mind to life via the comic medium!
Hoffer: Why did you decide to use Kickstarter to fund Under The Flesh?
Deltres: Of course, creating comics, albeit a meticulous process, is also costly to finance. Kickstarter proved to be a great avenue to showcase our work, some cool rewards, and the plans we ultimately have for Under The Flesh in the future. It's a way to prove our credibility to those who'd love to support indie comic creators, as we display our passion for comics by churning out top-quality Grindhouse horror!
Hoffer: What rewards are you offering to backers who support this project?
Deltres: The rewards range from physical copies of Under The Flesh, Bronze Age Retro 80's art, original prints from guest artists, hand-drawn sketches, flesher likenesses for backers, backer business ads featured as abandoned buildings, and even becoming immortalized in Under The Flesh as a recurring character!
Hoffer: What sort of response have you received from the Kickstarter campaign so far?
Deltres: As a horror webcomic which debuted in March, I'd say our response has been great. The readership feedback has also been phenomenal. We might've launched this campaign a bit premature, but we're very ambitious, and need the support to keep Under The Flesh alive!
Hoffer: What challenges have you faced while running the Kickstarter campaign?
Deltres: There's been many challenges with launching a Kickstarter, and all have been eye-openers! Make sure you have a Plan B for everything! Especially the video! Serious Kickstarter campaigns are dead in the water without one. Also, communicate with backers! Let them know how crucial they are to the team! Under The Flesh for one, won't exist without them.
Hoffer: Do either of you have any other projects coming up besides Under The Flesh?
Deltres: J.L. and I both have other projects we're working on separately and together. All I can say, is that if you like our work on Under The Flesh, you'll definitely want to see the other stuff we've got in the works!
The first chapter of Under The Flesh is available online for free on its webpage. I recommend you give it a read, especially if you don't mind a little bit of gore in your zombie-esque comics. The comic is very good, and JL Giles is an extremely talented artist and I feel that the pages previewed here don't do the comic justice like Under The Flesh's website does. It would not surprise me to see either Deltres or Giles or both become a big name for some big comics company somewhere down the line.
Under The Flesh's Kickstarter can be found here.