Today we have been fortunate to grab some time with Dawn Wolf (artist) and Clint Wolf (writer) the creators of Zombie Ranch, an online web comic that gives an interesting twist to the Zombie Genre!
I wasted no time getting down to the nitty gritty about Zombie Ranch and all things comic and zombie!
First guys how did the idea for Zombie Ranch Come about and can you give our readers a little preview of the storyline in general?
"Clint: Dawn drew an illustration late one night as one of her pieces for the San Diego Comic Con art show in 2009, and when I woke up I saw this shotgun-totin’ cowgirl staring down a bunch of zombies……..
I thought at first she was a hunter or a survivor, but Dawn told me she was calling it “On the Zombie Ranch”. She didn’t really have any story to go with it, though, so that came from me.
The young lady’s dress included a belly shirt, which isn’t very 19th Century, so I decided to look into the idea of a Weird New West, specifically an American Southwest a few decades into the future after a zombie apocalypse has rewritten the landscape, turning the clock forward in some ways and backward in others. I also liked the idea of taking the lessons of history where humankind is concerned in terms of destructive upheavals: first we survive, then we figure out how to make money. And what was bizarre and horrifying at the start becomes commonplace.
Simply put, the story follows a group of cowpokes in this setting who make their day-to-day living by wrangling zombies for profit. It’s a little more complicated than that, but that’s usually enough to get people interested."
It’s easy to see you are both very creative, what other projects have you been involved both as a writer and artist?
Clint: "I’ve written articles in the past for roleplaying and gaming magazines, but nothing on the scale of this project. It’s pretty amazing to see how far it’s come."
Dawn: :"I did (and still do) a journal comic called Bits of Nothing, though it pretty much just updates whenever I get inspired to do so. I’ve worked on projects for Upper Deck and Nickolodeon, but this is my first regular comic I’ve really seen get off the ground."
Your characters are much evolved, is there any of them that resemble a little bit of your own characters traits?
Clint: "There’s probably a little bit of me in all of them, but I like to think that’s true for any writer and their characters. I haven’t intentionally written any of them as a self-insert, I always think that’s a bit of a minefield where fiction is concerned. Plus I always have the sneaking suspicion I’m pretty boring, no matter what my wife claims."
Dawn: "I might sometimes use myself or Clint as a reference for certain characters’ expressions. We try to keep our own mannerisms out of it as much as possible, though."
The Zombie Genre seems to be all the rage these days movies, TV, games and comics. Have you always been interested in comics that have the dark horror type theme rather than your normal super hero fan?
Clint: "Growing up I was actually the opposite. Not only was I a Marvel brat, it was all about the X-Men and Spider-Man and such and I had no patience or appreciation for weirdness like Howard the Duck or Swamp Thing. It wasn’t until the 1990s that I got around to checking out some of the more mature stuff like the Vertigo titles, and it’s only in the last few years that I’ve really delved into some of the great Independent stuff. If I’m being perfectly honest, 10 year old Clint, maybe even 25 year old Clint, probably wouldn’t be interested in what I’m writing now. As for the current zombie boom, well, if I didn’t feel we had a unique take on things I probably wouldn’t have done this. The genre is popular, but with any popularity comes a backlash… it’s best to just have a story you want to tell, regardless of the zeitgeist."
Dawn: "I was a big fan of Spawn back in the day, so I guess that’s right on the superhero/horror line. I always wanted to draw darker themes, but previously to this most of the writers I tried to work with gave me their modern romance scripts, which might be part of why those projects never really succeeded. I watched the old Heavy Metal animated movie and went, “I want to draw stuff like that!”
I have to say I really do applaud you, the comic is really good with an easy layout, could you give any up and coming comic creators some advice on how to get their own web comic going is there any software or hosting that you particularly use?
Dawn: "I’m a web designer in my day job so that’s a big head start compared to a lot of people, but usually my advice starts with “What do you want your site to do?” If you want to do a standard comic that just displays images, WordPress with ComicPress is fairly simple to set up. If you want something more interactive and dynamic, you’ll need hosting that can support that.
There’s several sites out there that will host your comic for free without you having to worry about reserving domain names and doing your own site maintenance, but again you’ll want to make sure they can handle not only what you want to do now, but what you want to do in the future. You can always move, of course, but sometimes that’s not so easy, especially if you’re trying to do so when you’ve already got an audience."
As with all our guests we like to ask a few fun questions before we end:
If you were a cartoon character who would it be?
Clint: "Is that asking who I'd want to be? In that case probably some cool, collected dude like David Xanatos from Gargoyles. But in actuality I’m probably more of a Daffy Duck."
Dawn: "I’d want to be some awesome fix-it like Gadget from Chip N’ Dale’s Rescue Rangers. But I’m short and strangely violent, so maybe Max from Sam and Max. That would make Clint Sam."
What games if any do you currently play?
Clint: Currently in my rotation are Torchlight 2, Tomb Raider, and Dishonored. I also still have a subscription to Star Wars: The Old Republic, but MMOs are such a time sink I find it best to stick to things I can play when I have the opportunity and put down when I need to.
Dawn: Skyrim, Minecraft, and SW:TOR are the big ones. I also run the occasional session of Dungeons & Dragons or Teenagers From Outer Space. I love games, but drawing a comic really can eat up your free time.
What are your music tastes?
Clint: “Eclectic”, which I suppose is just a fancy way of saying I’ve never made up my mind. Classical, Alternative, Hard Rock, Rap, Country… there’s examples from every style that I love, that I hate, and that I’m ambivalent toward. There are some musicians that have a lot more hits with me than misses, though– like Beethoven. Beethoven is pretty posh."
Dawn: "I’m similar to Clint, I like to listen a lot of different types of music, especially in terms of getting inspiration for drawing. When I’m drawing Zombie Ranch I tend to listen to a mix of Country and Heavy Metal. I was a big metal nerd growing up and still am."
What was the last movie you watched?
Clint: “Dredd”, which was interesting because I started out being really excited that it was being made, then cooled off when I saw the previews, and then when I watched it actually came around again. I was particularly surprised with how badass Olivia Thirlby managed to be… dye her hair red, give her some chaps, I could see her as Suzie Zane."
Dawn: “Sound of my Voice”, which I had suggested to me online as an interesting Indie sci-fi movie. Netflix (and the Internet in general) have been great for being able to see movies you otherwise wouldn’t get a chance to. And comics, too."
Well guys it’s been a real pleasure and I hope you keep in touch with all that’s happening, and just before we go can you let our readers know where they can view your work and support you.
You can find everything you need at http://www.zombieranchcomic.com