Welcome back my faithful minions! Your Indie Huntress as returned from a short sabbatical. I did not want the indie delight of the world to be lost in the sea of bootlegged trailers, pictures, and screaming fans from SDCC. However, I have returned to bring you something from a whole other realm. That's right, kids- Zombie Lesbians from Outer Space. You're probably thinking the same thing I did, " Dear Cthulhu, where do I sign up for THAT?!" It basically has all of the fundamentals of things that excite our culture: zombies, girl on girl, and space- the final frontier.
Jave approached me through the Mistresses of Mayhem and Chaos Facebook page, to see if I would be interested in reviewing his work. The moment he mentioned the title, and gave a brief description of what it was about, I let out a bunch of expletives, and demanded it to be in my possesion. He was generous enough to give me a peek at issues #1 and #2. I will say this much- it is completley over the top and cheesecake. It's sole purpose is to be an in your face, T&A comic, with a wild sci-fi story thrown in the mix. However, due to it's extremely graphic nature, we won't be able to post any of the really juicy pages here on The Outhousers. However, if you'd like a better look at some of that action, be sure to go check out Jave's current Kickstarter for issue #3. His reward levels are quite reasonable with some tiers including print and/or digital copies of the first two issues. You have to act fast though, he is down to the last 65 hours. (Again, this is a MATURE READ. If you are easily offended, or under the age of 18- I suggest you leave this article now.)
Why did you decide to get into making comics?
I love writing, but novels are too damned long (for writing, not for reading). I got interested in writing movie scripts years ago over a beer-induced dare, and I've been writing scripts ever since. Movie scripts and comic scripts are similar in that, even when the script is done,- it is not a finished product. It is only a plan for a product. In other words, if movie studios aren't throwing money at you to write their next blockbuster, writing scripts can get frustrating since you rarely get to see them become their fully-formed selves.
I initially wrote Lesbian Zombies from Outer Space as a low-budget feature film. I had just graduated from film school, and I was somehow going to raise half a million dollars and direct the thing. Yeah, right. While that budget is miniscule in comparison to most films out there, it's way beyond my circle of family and friends. Sadly, I had to accept that Lesbian Zombies was going to be another useless file on my hard drive like so many others.
However, last summer a friend of mine threatened to cut off my balls if I didn't at least try to turn it into a comic book. Well, my balls were on the line. I loved reading comics as a kid, and the interest had recently been reignited with the deluge of comics being turned into movies and TV shows. I started doing my research and putting a team together, and here I am. Instead of words on a page, I have a flesh and blood (lots of blood) (... and flesh, for that matter) story.
You watched a lot of exploitation and B films, didn't you? Give me some of your favorites.
I grew up in the 80s, but I wasn't allowed to watch anything rated-R until the 90s. The first movie I remember watching at a friend's house that I shouldn't was Dirty Dancing – pretty pathetic, I know. That was probably the first thing that got me into B-movies and exploitation films was Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. I got into the genre a little later than one might expect.
Honestly, two of my favorite splatter movies are Rodriquez' Planet Terror (2007) and James Gunn's Slither (2006). Both of these are very self-aware of what they are, and what past films they comment on. Both are also zombie movies, though not necessarily in the strict Romero sense of the term.
One of my favorite movies though, another non-Romero zombie movie, and one which has had what some might consider an unlikely influence, is Invasion of the Body Snatchers - both the 1956 and 1978 versions (the rest be damned). I watched both of these films as a kid, and they both had a big impact on me. When Sutherland turns and points with that horrifying shriek at the end of the 1978 version, it's one of the most disturbing moments of my life.
However, Lesbian Zombies (for me) isn't all about horror and exploitation. It's also about sex, and the anxiety and terror that the idea of sex can bestow. While Shaun of the Dead called itself a zombie romantic comedy, for me LZfOS is a zombie teen sex comedy. It's Porky's and it's American Pie. But most of all it's John Hugh's Weird Science. That movie, and the sight of Kelly LeBrock in tight leotards, had a big impact on my childhood, and this story.
Lesbian Zombies in Outerspace: explain yourself. Of all the stories you could have chosen to tell, why did you pick this one?
Well, at one point things just all kind of converged on the idea. One, I was writing an historical drama about ancient Greece that was incredibly complicated and difficult. I was stuck, and I couldn't figure out how to get past the blockage. Two, I was single. For a long time. Three, I was driving around Los Angeles doing errands for some production company, and my eye kept being drawn to billboards around town depicting really hot, ridiculously thin fashion models, in hyper-sexualized poses and who, more often than not, were staring into the distance like they were on drugs, or hypnotized, or zombies. Of course, I didn't initially make the zombie connection.
These billboards were clearly projecting some kind of sex slave fantasy, and sometimes there was some girl-on-girl action to boot.
I was into it, and part of me was annoyed with myself for being into it.
Unlike the hero of our story, Ace, I don't watch a lot of porn. My imagination can take care of any arousal duties when needed. But, like many guys out there, the thought of two girls rubbing and kissing and fondling one another is a big turn on. Lesbians. Lesbians who ultimately want to be finished off by the real protagonist of the fantasy: me. I mean, yeah, it's absurd. So I thought more and more about the absurdity. Not just why and how lesbians would have any interest in the male reproductive organ, but also why there were so many people out there against - and disgusted by - the idea of homosexuality, yet still were turned on by the female version of it.
I guess there's a lot of ways you could go with that line of thought. If these women on the billboards and in these porn movies were our slaves, our creatures, what happens when those creatures rebel and turn the fantasy into a nightmare? And so Lebian Zombies from Outer Space was born. I figured, "Screw Greece." Here was a simple story that I could get my head around.
You've been successful so far with this project. Heading into issue #3, with the kickstarter coming to a close. I noticed you had a wide variety of pledge levels for this comic, all within reasonable rates. Please elaborate on some of the top picks for rewards.
I was able to secure funding for Issue #1 last November with the help of Kickstarter and our many backers. It was a fantastic experience, but it was all new, and I really didn't know what to expect. Since then the first issue has been printed, and it's also available on Comixology. I funded the art production for Issue #2 with my own money, so now I have three issues to offer as awards, rather than just one.
I feel like things have been a little easier this time around. First, I had previous backers who were interested in continuing the journey with Ace and Gwen. Plus, I think the fact that I already had something published, and there were more issues available, it gave backers the confidence that they might see the completion of the story. In doing my research for crowdfunding the first time out, I found a number of creators who had successfully funded their first issue, and then I could never find a second one.
The varied reward tiers are mostly due to the varied types of backers who might be interested in getting involved. On the lower end is the digital-only awards, and these are low because there are no printing and shipping costs. For those looking for printed books, I knew there would be previous backers who had already received Issue #1, so I tried to make it easy for them to get only the latest issues. Apart from that, backers can choose between the regular covers, and the R-rated variant covers which feature: nudity. Undead naked chicks.
There was also an option to be drawn into the comic as basically an extra who gets killed by a zombie, or to be a zombie, if a lady. There were only a limited number of these, and they have already been selected. However, as we move toward Issue #4, I created a final tier. In Issue #4 a character is introduced who will be around for the rest of the series, and a backer can BE that character. The stipulation, though, is that the backer has to be male, and between 18 and 24 or so (since he should be a bit younger than Ace). It's a really fun character though: he is introduced after just having blown up a gas station at the request of the "mysterious" Professor, who may or may not have a feasible plan to stop the Lesbian Zombies.
How long will this story arc continue? Will we see a TPB?
The story will go for seven issues in total. The remaining scripts are already written.
I do hope to release it as a trade paperback or graphic novel once all of the issues are complete. To be honest, I'm still trying to figure out the distribution end of things. So if you have any ideas, don't be afraid to shout 'em out!
The art and story for this is completely over the top. I mean that in a positive way, as it seems that you wrote it to achieve 'shock factor'. Who is on the team of artists that you're working with, and how did they help you to achieve your vision for this comic?
Yes, the story is way over the top. I figured if I was going to do a zombie story, it should stand apart from the other undead stuff out there. Clearly there are plenty of shocking scenes throughout (and if you haven't been shocked yet in Issues 1 & 2, the third installment has lesbian zombie nuns) – but for me the reason I wanted to do this story was because I thought it was all so funny. Ace is a fool, but I love him. And Gwen is a great foil for him. I was also interested in doing a buddy comedy with a guy and a girl who happens to be a lesbian, rather than having two dudes bantering back and forth.
Obviously I could not have done any of this without the artistic team. Wayne A. Brown has done pencils and inks for nearly all of the sequential art, as well as all of the covers, apart from the regular version of Issue #1 (his variant cover for Issue 1 is still my favorite). Wayne and I are about the same age, and we grew up with similar cultural backgrounds, so it's easy to talk to him about what I'm thinking, and getting references across. He's done a lot of indie work, including art for The Comic Monster Mafia. He's also done work for other books that could be considered "adult" in nature, and I knew from the start he was the perfect artist to create the sexy lesbian zombies I had in mind.
Especially during the first reveal of what these lesbian zombies are, and what they do, I wanted to titillate the reader as much as possible, and then pretty much kick him in the balls right at the point of climax. Cruel? Maybe. But the lesbian zombies are crueler. And I think Wayne did a wonderful job getting those feelings across.
Raymond "Monds" Agustin has done the coloring on almost all of the sequential art. I knew Monds was super talented when I first saw his work. I love that he's using this saturated, almost gaudy 80s color palette in a number of the sequences. It helps keep us in comic territory, rather than sink too deep into the horror. He really knows how to bring the scenes to life.
Gustavo Melo worked on several pages in Issue #1, and will continue to do all of the artwork on the flashback sequences sprinkled throughout the arc. (The first flashback is in Issue #2, and the next will be found in Issue #4.) I wanted the flashbacks to have a different feel from the rest of the book, and Gustavo has a great sense of detail.
Finally, Sefa Guererro did the coloring on all of the covers so far, and she did all of the artwork on the inside and back covers. It's great to have a woman on the team! Somewhat in contrast to Monds, and for good reason, her covers are darker and highlight the horror aspect of the story.
I'm really lucky to be able to work with all of these folks, and it's a world wide web miracle that we were ever brought together. Wayne is American, but a thousand miles away from me. Monds hails from the Philippines, while Gustavo lives in Argentina, and Sefa lives in Spain. We're a truly international team.
Do you have any other future plans for your comic making? What other projects do you have your hands in?
This has been my first comic creation experience. I have had, and am still having, a blast. I would love to continue to work in the medium. I love being able to collaborate with a variety of talented people, and unlike with film, the costs to deliver a finished product are within the realm of possibility.
Remember that Ancient Greece story I was writing? Well, my biggest problem was that I was trying to fit a decade of story into the length of a feature film. It just wouldn't work. I have since shifted it to a serialized story which might work for TV, but which also might work as a comic series. What do you think? Is there an audience for historical dramas with gritty violence and backstabbing political intrigue, but minus the gods and heroes with super powers? I guess time will tell.
Where can people purchase the previous issues of this comic?
The first place I'd suggest going is the Kickstarter campaign which is live until 6pm PST on Friday, July 17th. The previous issues are available as awards. You can find it by clicking here.
Right now you can find Issue #1 on Comixology, and Issue #2 should be available soon. It has already been accepted, and is being readied for release later in the month.
You can also find a link to download digital files of issues on my website, Lesbian Zombies, as they become available. There will soon be a way to order printed books there as well.
Where can we follow you and your work on social media?
Follow me all over social media!
The Mistresses of Mayhem and Chaos Podcast Facebook (We are on a short break and will be returning soon.)
Mayhem and Chaos Group- Facebook (Great for sharing YOUR independent work!)
Michelle Gallagher Poetry (My podcast Partner in crime!)
On a personal note, my podcast partner has a gofundme up right now. Her need is immediate and heavy, if you have the opportunity to check it out and share or donate- it would be immensley appreciated. Much love to all.