Zombie Book Club

Interview with Avalon Comic Writer Brandon Starocci | Zombie Book Club Episode 17

September 03, 2023 Zombie Book Club Season 1 Episode 17
Zombie Book Club
Interview with Avalon Comic Writer Brandon Starocci | Zombie Book Club Episode 17
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode we take a look through the creative lens of our guest, Brandon Starocci, writer of the zombie apocalypse comic Avalon. Join us as he navigates us through an array of riveting topics, ranging from his inspiration behind Avalon, societal responses during a zombie outbreak, to the critical role of family dynamics in his narratives.

Brandon draws back the curtains on the intricate process behind the production of Avalon, offering us a rare glimpse into the making of the comic. Brandon touches on his decision-making processes, his strategies for creating enthralling cliff-hangers, and his plans for future releases. If you've ever been curious about the world of comic creation or if you're a budding creator yourself, this episode will offer you a wealth of insights from someone blazing their own path in the industry.

As we bring this enriching discussion to a close, Brandon shares his personal challenges and learnings from navigating the comic industry. He talks about the importance of balancing his various roles, learning from feedback, and evolving as a creator. We further delve into the depiction of characters in zombie stories, and how Brandon strives to deliver authenticity within his narratives. This is an episode that promises to keep zombie and comic enthusiasts at the edge of their seats!

https://avaloncomic.com Official website of Avalon comic. Go get your free download of issue 1 now!

Follow our linktree for social media links, and links to all the places you can find our podcast! https://linktr.ee/zombiebookclub

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Zombie Book Club, the only book club where sometimes the book is a comic about how family is the real apocalypse. That's a good elevator pitch for you. By the way, I'm Dan and I'm a writer. My day jobs take lots of heavy stuff from a hole in the ground and dump it in the ground fifty miles away, but when I'm not doing that, I'm writing a book that takes place in the zombie apocalypse.

Speaker 2:

And I'm, leah, a proud survivor of my own dysfunctional familial apocalypse. Sadly, I have the therapy bills to prove it.

Speaker 1:

Me too. You have the VA, it doesn't count Anyway well, okay, today we're so happy to be chatting with Brandon Storaki, who we just learned how to pronounce his name. How you doing? He's the writer of a zombie apocalypse comic called Avalon, a story that, as you guess, focuses on a dysfunctional family surviving a zombie outbreak. Hi, brandon, thanks for being here. How you doing? Thanks for having me. Can you start off by telling us who you are in a little bit about what you do?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I am Brandon Storaki. I live and I'm from Erie, Pennsylvania, where Avalon takes place as well. I just I have a normal day job like everybody else here. You know, I don't want to do that for the rest of my life. I kind of work in a school district. I would rather be writing and creating stories. You know, it's kind of been my thing almost growing up my whole life and Avalon was like my first big idea back in high school. Didn't know what to do with it, had no experience in creating at all, Didn't know anybody who created, and then it sat on a tote somewhere for years. Then I met Alan and Demetris and here's Avalon, you know. And then as time goes on, we have more people part of the team and all that and I want to create more things. I have way more ideas outside of Avalon, but Avalon's my baby right now. I love the zombie genre and that's why I started with it.

Speaker 2:

I love that you have a zombie baby too. That's a zombie baby, yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I have a quick question that I didn't think of before, but since you mentioned working in a school district, what is it about working with children that draws you to the zombie apocalypse?

Speaker 3:

Oh, I honestly I haven't even thought of it like that way because I'm kind of fairly recent into the school district, I don't know. It's kind of it can kind of get chaotic, and I feel like the zombie apocalypse can get very chaotic. So kind of being in a chaos setting like that, I feel like kind of prepares you a little bit.

Speaker 2:

That's amazing, because you're the second person we've interviewed who also worked with children. Yeah, I'm sure you're here, all right. So what we're going to do to get us started, brandon, is a couple of rapid fire questions to get a sense of how you feel about the zombie apocalypse and who you would be in one.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I do.

Speaker 2:

Don't ever think it Faster, slow. Zombies Like what would I like better, faster, slow, yeah, fast, okay, 40 hour work week or a zombie apocalypse? Zombie apocalypse yes. If you were in a zombie apocalypse, what would be your weapon of choice?

Speaker 3:

Revolver, our classic Got to go Okay.

Speaker 2:

Oh, I missed that one up. I'm going to do it one more time. If you were in a zombie apocalypse and is starting in the room you're in right now, what would be your weapon of choice?

Speaker 3:

My Negan Lucille bat.

Speaker 1:

You got to have one of those.

Speaker 2:

I'm just sitting around here.

Speaker 1:

That's what I'll do it later.

Speaker 2:

Okay, and this is my last question for you for this rapid fire segment. It's the zombie apocalypse and you get to eat only one unlimited, shelf stable food item for the rest of your existence. In the apocalypse, what would you choose?

Speaker 3:

Wow Self stable.

Speaker 2:

I'll give you mine. That'll help you out. I picked macaroni and cheese.

Speaker 1:

I picked prunes, prunes. Yeah, it's entertaining.

Speaker 3:

I'm going to go with cheezus, because it's the first thing I can think of when I open my cabinet.

Speaker 1:

Not a bad choice. Not a bad choice.

Speaker 3:

It wouldn't be a healthy one. Yeah, but you know what?

Speaker 1:

Do you want to live long?

Speaker 2:

or do you want to eat Cheetos for the rest of your life? You did just choose the zombie apocalypse over the 40 hour work week. Yeah exactly right.

Speaker 1:

Cheezus appreciate the revolver choice. A lot of people think that the revolver is a bad choice but you know they haven't tried to reload a spare rounds into a magazine as you're running. Yeah.

Speaker 3:

Like oh no, no, Trying to click those in there real fast and it's not working.

Speaker 1:

Good luck, with that, all right, so let's move on. Shall we Leah? Yeah, let's do it, yeah. So what was, what was the inspiration behind creating Avalon?

Speaker 3:

I mean the first and foremost, it would just be the world in general. I've always been a fan of the zombie genre, as far back as you know, watching the remake Dawn of the Dead, the night, the original Night of the Living Dead and all of those things. And then when I I remember way back then when the Walking Dead had the commercial or the trailer on TV, we're all excited for it. And then it said brought to you by AMC, and we were pissed because shows at the time weren't like big shows or whatever you know. So when it said brought to you by AMC, where I remember me, my dad and my brother, we're both pissed. All three of us were pissed. And then obviously I'm glad it was, because I'm a huge fan of the Walking Dead, obviously. And but just like I just like the survival aspect of it, I like how it brings people and makes them do different things that you wouldn't do in a normal day setting. You're put to the test, you're backs up against law all the time, so you kind of get to see people's true colors and a storytelling atmosphere like that. So I was just always drawn to it and I just like camping and stuff like that. So I like to think in the mindset of like what I survive kind of thing, so it just those are the kind of things that draw me to it.

Speaker 2:

I'm also a big lover of camping and actually I want to dig into this a little bit. Our next question was like why the zombie apocalypse? But you specifically answered that you'd prefer the zombie apocalypse over the 40 hour work week. So tell us a little bit more about that.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, no, I always kind of bring that up to people as well. I think it in theory, I guess you kind of it's a little bit easier, and hear me out a little bit it could be easier to live in a zombie apocalypse because you don't have to. You don't have the day to day stress like what are we doing today? Or what bill do I have to pay today? Oh, I don't have money for this bill, oh, I don't have money for gas. Are they altered stresses? Sure, like you have to find gas and stuff like that. You have to find food, but you're still doing that today. You just have to actually pay a bunch of different other people and do stuff for eight hours that you don't want to do. You could at least in a, in a pocket, upsetting, do all those same things, survive, find food, all that stuff, because you have to find food now, but have eight hours on your plate.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean agree with you.

Speaker 1:

You're talking to the right people here. We're on your side. We don't want to work 40 hours. No, I've always found that, like in the zombie apocalypse, it offers the opportunity not just to like meet your basic needs but also to find meaning in your own life, whereas, like, if you go and put gas in your car and go go file papers, for you know, for eight hours you don't feel meaning in that. But if you like, go and and hike down a desolate road and like break into an old mini mart to like scrape together some water bottles and some cheez-its and then come back and you feel a little bit accomplished.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, exactly that, and I think that's the exact word I was going to use. It's just like you can. You can appreciate day to day life. You know, because you're so grounded in today. You have to figure out what you're doing today and what Brett is coming up to. So being around the ones you love and appreciating the day and the moment, each moment that comes. And, like you said, you could appreciate moments where you're going into the grocery store with nobody in it and raiding the place and taking it back to camp.

Speaker 2:

You know, but it's weirdly more human to be living in the zombie apocalypse than oh yeah, technology nowadays. Right, yeah, exactly.

Speaker 1:

It's also like a simplification of problems, where it's like you know you have bills and you have your credit rating and you have global warming and you know all of this stuff that we, that just goes on in the back of our brain and just develops as a tumor, whereas in the zombie apocalypse, most of your problems can just be solved with a bullet.

Speaker 2:

Also, I just realized that if the zombie apocalypse happened, it would solve the climate crisis. Yeah, pretty quickly.

Speaker 3:

That would be the greatest way to end the CO2. I think that's don't give him any ideas. I mean, I guess, I guess I can give him the ideas right.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, here's an idea of make zombies.

Speaker 2:

Back to your book, brandon. One of the things that I noticed, as a bit of a witchy person myself is that you called it Avalon, and I'm curious if that was inspired at all by the mythical island of Avalon. So what's the parallel of that story?

Speaker 3:

So I will say this. I won't kind of confirm or deny anything, but I will say that there are three reasons why it is called Avalon. One of the reasons you will find out within the next two issues that are going to be coming out is four and five. Actually, I think you already figured it out.

Speaker 1:

I think we guessed.

Speaker 3:

I can't remember. I can't remember now that I think about it. But, you're definitely going to know one of the reasons, and there's two other reasons on top of it. I won't confirm or deny if it has to do with the you know the mythical island and all that stuff as well, but there's a lot of research done. I will say that there's a lot of research done in the early stages of trying to figure out the title of Avalon, and there are a lot of cool things that we kind of picked from with you simply Google the word Avalon, you can kind of do research. A lot of those things are going to be in this story. So yeah, it just yeah, I guess, just stay tuned kind of thing. It's a fun kind of thing we're putting in there.

Speaker 2:

That makes me extra excited to read it, because I can maybe get a sense of where it could be going.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, it's interesting too to go with a name like Avalon, because there, with a lot of dystopian zombie stories, there's almost like a naming convention that you're kind of expected to choose from, like of the dead or the dead or dying or something with death. It sounds badass.

Speaker 3:

I have to be honest though, too, but myself and I was thinking of names, because way back when Alan and I were literally in like a square room in his house trying to figure out what we're doing and what we're calling this and all that, I had basic names, like you were kind of saying, and had to do something with the dead or whatever. It is like night, you know, whatever, whatever. And he's like no, no, no, no. He was the one that actually pushed even further, investigate what we could actually name this, and then, when we were kind of breaking down the story and when we're bringing this, we kind of started doing our research again. Like I said, one of the reasons you'll figure out why it's called Avalon is coming up here and we use that to kind of look it up and it just, it just clicked, it just to us that clicked, and I hope everybody else that does as well. It's kind of like a unique name for the zombie thing, like you're mentioning. So because they're pretty generic and not generic I don't want to say it, but it's fit, they're pretty. The names that are used are pretty fitting for the genre. So it's kind of like it's a hard balance.

Speaker 1:

That's. That's something that I that I'm trying to figure out too is just like it's a hard balance to be like. Do I go with something that when you read the title you know it's zombies, or do you go with something that's a little bit more descriptive to your story specifically?

Speaker 3:

Right and I think what Alan definitely obviously thought, the second thing you said and I agree with him. Now you know I was I was definitely on the first side of it, you know, kind of just being like more specific to the genre itself rather than the story, and he was the other way around. And now that we have Avalon, I think it, I can't imagine it being anything else.

Speaker 1:

Right Me either.

Speaker 2:

I love it yeah.

Speaker 1:

I mean, you know, because it's sitting on a on my desk looking at me right now. So I'm a little biased. So your comic is uniquely focused on a dysfunctional family. What is the message you're trying to convey by doing this, instead of a typical hero's journey?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, basically the message is because everybody's normal. You know, I don't, I don't want to make it seem like anybody's superpower or kind of like a like a Rick Grimes kind of thing, like OK, he's all knowing, he just seems to figure it out all the time. I don't, I don't want that kind of story. I wanted a story where these people are average, these people are normal. People can like. When people read this, anybody can pick it up and go, oh, I can relate to this character or this character, this character. So there isn't really a main focus on any character Right now. You see the focus as the family as a whole, you know, rather than just kind of figuring out one person, one person to you, dan might be more relatable and seem like the main character, but Leah, the same thing for you could be somebody else, it could be anybody else. So that's kind of the approach that we're doing when we're telling the story and we really wanted to bring reality into this. We want to have medical problems. People break bones, people can't run down the street without gasping for air, people have to do stuff like diabetes and you know cancers and stuff like that too. So those are all things that we're going to be implementing in the story. It just to make it real, to make it seem like this could actually happen. And how, how would I survive in the apocalypse?

Speaker 2:

I really appreciate you. Bringing in those like real world elements of things we deal with every day and then adding in the layer of the apocalypse is what makes it.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, it makes it. It makes it real and then it makes it like it doesn't make it too much of a fairy tale, it actually makes it a real. It could be a real nightmare. That comes the comes the life.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, people want to see themselves in stories and I feel like the zombie apocalypse is an ideal scenario to portray those people because, like, it's an extraordinary circumstance, but the people don't need to be necessarily extraordinary to survive it.

Speaker 3:

No, not at all, I agree.

Speaker 2:

And, if anything, I'm really curious to see in the future episodes how the dysfunctional family evolves Like can you be more functional as a family again in an apocalypse and a 40 hour work week or less? Yeah, we'll see.

Speaker 3:

Right, and I think that's actually a good kind of thing as well to kind of bring into it is because obviously the 40 hour work week for this family was not working, you know, because obviously people so Andy is separated from the family, hasn't been around, you know, kind of you can kind of tell by the dialogue and all that stuff that's been going on, and we're going to stretch on that a little bit more with the issues to come and it's like you said is it going to be easier to kind of get along or move forward or past things in this zombie apocalypse when the stakes are so much higher, when death is so much more frequent and fear is right around the corner, every single corner and all that stuff? Is it going to be easier or not?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and I'm an anthropologist, my background. I used to teach anthropology, so it always makes me think about what you're saying is like in our modern society, it's very easy to be focused on yourself as an individual and getting what you need individually and not really realizing that you will actually do rely on a lot of people that you don't think a lot about, even beyond your family, to survive. But the zombie apocalypse is pretty clear, like they're going to need each other and that's very evident. So you have to work through your shit whereas, like, my family is very estranged because we don't have any reason to figure it out, to be frank. So I'm very interested in that and I may be bringing up your comic to my therapist. I like that. So the theme is that you talk about is like there's going to be some bullying and obviously, right, I think, like the very first image, there's clearly some mental health issues going on as well within the family. Why are those key messages for you?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, it of course it's. It's one of those things, again, people deal with it every day. I have siblings that deal with it. I have family members that deal with it. I just know people that I work with are in the world that deal with and everybody knows that. So it's again, it's one of those things that are very common in everyday life. People are going to be very stressed out in a situation where the end of the world is right in front of them. I mean, they might not know that in the moment where we're at in the comic, but it's obviously something very stressful, and stressful moments escalate, you know, anxiety, stresses and all those other things that come with it. I just again that's a big grounding and reality of it and really trying to bring light on the mental health aspect of it as well, because, especially after the last pandemic you know I understand Pandemic pandemic yeah, everybody's anxiety is kind of elevated, right, you know. So it's just one of those things that I feel like everybody deals with anxiety on a different level after 2020. So it just it again, it grounds it in reality. Everybody deals with it, everybody has it and everybody knows somebody who has it on an extreme level, and I just wanted to bring that to light, along with all the other medical issues that people deal with on a day to day basis.

Speaker 1:

How has, speaking of the pandemic, how has that, how has the pandemic, influenced your story?

Speaker 3:

Oh, it definitely made it easier for me to kind of sell it, you know, because it's like one of those things where it's like this is an avalan, this pandemic is way worse than COVID. You know, people are actually eating each other, right. So it's just like one of those things. So it's just like if people could act like how they did when COVID was going on, because we all watch the news, right, we all saw what was going on, and that's easy ammo for me to go look that this isn't out of the out of the ordinary here for people to act crazy or act like a certain way in this kind of comic. So now it's easy, easier to pitch it to people that people would go crazy, people would do outlandish things just to survive because you have to take your, your others in this kind of setting, in this kind of world. Or there's people out there who will be very selfish and kind of take whatever they want out of it. So it just it kind of it's. It helps me sell my point a little bit easier, I think yeah.

Speaker 2:

I have a follow up question. I'm curious where you land on this. Do you think and like, maybe I guess we're going to see this more and more in your issues to come Do you think that society, like people, will be become mostly like the Negans of the world, or do you think that there will be more people coming together and working with each other Like? What do you think is actually realistic?

Speaker 3:

I think I think you, I don't think a lot of people. I wouldn't give everybody credit that they would be Negan, because I feel like Negan's an awesome character and he's a leader in that sense. But I, if you're talking the brutality of it and the selfishness of it, I feel like a lot of people would actually end up that way, and not just for their own individual things. I feel like there's different, you know, extensions of that, like like if personally, like if I, you know, for an example, I had to take care of my family or whatever it is. That's my mentality of it. I'm gonna do whatever I have to do to take care of my family. Or if this person, my neighbor, thought, okay, I'm just gonna kill everybody and take everybody's stuff, I think there's different ways of thinking about it, but I think there would be more selfish stuff in the beginning. I think over time, like we mentioned, as time goes on, I think people are gonna realize that people are a necessity and you need to help each other and if you don't, you're just gonna be a lone wolf and it's just never gonna work.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, in your description of the comic, you say that there are a lot of problems that arise in your story, intended to make the reader wonder how they would do in this world, and we so. We picked a moment from your story and we wanna know how you would do it. As yourself, I know how the characters get out. But so there's the scene where your police officer characters are responding to the domestic disturbance complaint. This is like the first time that we're gonna see zombies. Spoiler alert cover yours everyone. If you haven't read it. It comes up pretty early in the story, though.

Speaker 3:

Yeah it's a zombie story. You know it's coming, it's, yeah, I get it.

Speaker 1:

What there's zombies in this story, anyways. So they discover some the person that they are going to do a health and welfare check on is actually a zombie. They shoot the zombie and then, as they're about to leave and like, call in, you know, for help and dealing with the situation, thinking of calming everyone down, they realize, oh, everybody else in the apartment is also zombies. And now they're coming after us and charging, and also everybody outside is now attacking each other on the ground. And now we're stuck in an apartment and we gotta make a decision real fast because, like, they're beating on the doors. So how would you personally handle that situation?

Speaker 3:

So in reality, you know, I think I would be very similar, with the exception of immediately thinking about family. And you know not to be selfish, because I feel like I'm a very selfless person. I don't want to be like, oh, I'm a very selfish person, but I think that, since the circumstances would be so high that, you know, the threat would be so high, I would be thinking on how to get out there myself with, obviously, miller. If it was me and Miller, vice versa, or Andy and me, or whatever it was, or it wasn't either one of them, it was just me and my friend or whatever. You know what I mean. But overall, I'd be thinking overall like we need to get out of this situation immediately. And I think, if you know, seeing all those infected zombies kind of coming up to the door and banging on the door, you know there's only one option you have to go through the firescape and all that. And I guess to speak on that a little bit more even further, a lot of these kind of things, especially with certain different characters as well, would be things that I would do anyway. So it's kind of hard to say, but obviously in a closed setting it's not like I'm actually in it, you know, kind of put to the test there. But I think it would be very similar, with the exception of I wouldn't be thinking about immediate family right away, like okay, we got to get to our family. I wouldn't think it's like this is the end of the world kind of thing. I would be like let's get out of this situation and debrief somewhere else to kind of see what's going on.

Speaker 1:

But yeah, yeah, I think also a lot of people. Well, I was just going to say that a lot of people wouldn't put in those scenarios. They think that, like doing battle, is the way through, and I think a lot of people underestimate how easily or difficult difficultly is a word I just made up it would be to just make that decision in that split second where, like, you've had 30 seconds to process whether there are living dead people trying to eat you, right, whether or not you'd be willing to take their lives in that moment.

Speaker 3:

And that's the thing though, too, and I do understand that, you know, even writing it into the story, obviously. But like in a situation where Andy and Miller found themselves in with, you know, miss Martin kind of coming up to them and not responding, and the way she looked as well, there's levels that have to be met here and of a use of force kind of deal in that sense, and she wasn't running up to him to give him a hug or a kiss. So we can kind of understand that.

Speaker 1:

So even then, I feel like it was just to find.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, Like get away from me Hands off, so it's just like even not seeing anything ahead of time. But if you just use, you know kind of look at the own use of force kind of thing in general, it is what it is, and then kind of seeing all of them in the hallway, I think it just kind of clicked with Andy and then when he came back in it's just like it was go mode for him. You know, obviously it's kind of hinted in there throughout the other issues, that family is on his mind even though he hasn't been around for a little while.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and I mean that also defines who the, who the people are who survived the first 10 minutes of the of the zombie apocalypse.

Speaker 3:

Right, because if we were following anybody else, it would have been one issue.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, if it was me, I would have tried to lock myself in the bathroom and then, and then I would have been the issue. Yeah, I would be dead. I actually want to point out, just for folks who have not seen this yet Avalon has really gorgeous art and that woman is fucking terrifying. If I may say, yeah, it's a great interest, right.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, to me. It just did an amazing job on the whole thing and, as you could tell what the issue is going on, he gets even better with his art style as well, and we're very excited to have him a part of the team because he just makes the story that much, much, that much better. You know, we love the story that we're working on in the writing room, but you know the way he illustrates that it blows out of water.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I can't wait to get the next issue. So this is an interesting question I want to ask you on two levels. One I'm going to admit something that I probably shouldn't, which is this is my first comic I've ever read.

Speaker 3:

At least, at least, this is the first one right, yeah, yeah, oh, thank God, yeah Right.

Speaker 2:

But it was bad. But this was really entertaining and so what was interesting about it for me as a non comic reader was just like when we got to the end of the first issue I was like I need like what? Like it's a short, it's clearly a shorter storytelling, their type of narrative, than like books or movies. You've got to wait for the next issue to come out and I'm curious, what challenges did you face in creating a comic like that, where you had to have this shorter story, and did that like limit or inspire you?

Speaker 3:

It inspired me because, you know, because the original idea was going to. You know, the original original idea was supposed to be a movie, way back in high school but I didn't know what the hell was doing. You know, we fast forward. And then we were, alan and I, when we kind of teamed up for it. We were thinking a novel, you know. But I don't like reading big books like that and I don't, I don't want to see a bunch, I would rather see things visually. I'm a movie person. So then I, as we're thinking about what the hell we're going to do with this, I look over and then the Walking Dead comic was on my desk and I was like, can I text it, alan, why don't we just do a comic book with this? And I was kind of explaining it to him and all that. And you know he loved the idea. So then we were doing all that route. But obviously the storytelling, telling aspect of everything kind of changed a little bit because we had to start thinking more visually. We had to start thinking more condensed and kind of and more hooked, because each issue you kind of need a cliffhanger, right, you know if nobody likes them, but you need at least a subtle one to get people to come back to the next issue. So you have to start thinking about storytelling and 24 page kind of increments. So the good thing about it is you can make as many as you want until they're done. You know, the bad thing about it too is, especially if you don't have money you're not it's going to take even longer to get out in between issues and, like you said, they're short. So it's like you read one in maybe an hour and that's if you're really looking at the art. You know what I mean. It doesn't take that long to read a comic book. It takes what? 30 minutes of that, 15. But so then you have to wait months for it, especially in the indie community. That's the unfortunate thing for us. But right now, but when you know obviously the goal is is once this gets more traction and more money behind it, we can, that can be Demetrius's job job and this can kind of get pumped out on a monthly basis. And you, that's kind of like usually what comics are released in a monthly form, or I think it is Right Most of the time. I think it's my own.

Speaker 2:

I'm going to smile and nod because I have no idea what. I will say, though, that it was a lovely read. Dan and I were both in our hammocks on a Saturday or something like that, and it was actually sunny in Vermont, which it hasn't been very much this year and it was good. And then I was like, why are you? I Okay, but thankfully I have the other two right, so we read two. We've heard the first three that are out. Yeah, and there is something kind of charming about having to wait, though I will say, in this society where everything is at my fingertips, I don't have to wait for anything. I want to know. Dan disagrees, I want to know too. I'm telling like I want mine now.

Speaker 3:

I want my physical copy now. I see all the artwork, obviously, but, like it's just, it's a lot different when you see it in physical form, you know I have, I have it on script, and then when he draws it, you know it sends me the art, it's awesome. But when, when you get it in physical form, it's just all that much better to me. I can't wait to get four and five physical form.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I read the. We read the first one in PDF form and then we got the other two and I think I want to go back and buy the first issue because there is something really there's also something really nostalgic about it.

Speaker 3:

I will say too, at the first issue, we just so what we did with the issue one. As we ran out, however we did, we're doing one more print of the original artwork that you saw on the PDF. Right, we're ordering one more batch of that and that's going to get us through the rest of this year. The Comic-Con, you know, sell it on our store or website as well. And next year, early next year, dmitri is going to be remaking that art style, since you obviously can tell that the style is a little bit different from one to two. He's going to be remaking issue one, and then that's going to be the new issue that we just produced. So everything with the original art style will be that'll be done after this year.

Speaker 1:

So yeah, so then that becomes a collector item.

Speaker 3:

So that'll be it with that one. Yeah, exactly, yeah.

Speaker 1:

So you plan to release a first what is it? First volume trade paperback in 2024?.

Speaker 3:

Yes. So who knows what's going to happen with the future, but we're looking at springtime 2024 is when we're going to get the trade paperback kind of out there.

Speaker 1:

And so like, after you get that out there, what's? I mean you have like three more issues planned, right, so that we know about.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, so the first volume will be one through six. So issue six we're looking, depending on when we kind of get these all out and funded for this Kickstarter, fulfill all these orders, we're looking at doing issue six, kind of Kickstarter around February-ish kind of. Get that going out there and then get it out there for people to kind of complete the season I guess is what we call them as seasons. And then after that our goal is to do a bunch of cool stuff with the, with the trade paperback. You know variant covers and you know the remake art style as well. That's going to come out with the trade paperback and then after that it's just going to be, like, you know, a TV show break. Production is still going to go on. Demetrius is going to start banging out these issues so we can kind of get them out in a better timely fashion. So it'll be a small publish break, but the, the production, will kind of be keep going. We're probably going to pick back up in the fall of later next year.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, no breaks for Demetrius no but he doesn't stop ever. Keep them scribbling. When is when is the next issue coming out?

Speaker 3:

Number so yeah, he's almost done here with issue four here. As soon as he is done and he sends me all of those pages and we kind of look over him real quick, make sure everything is the way we want it to, I'm sending him to the printers and then after that, over along the printer's take, we're going to send those out. I would say within a good month or so. You know, just rating that kind of, you know, get out there. You know, a couple of things came up for both of us on a couple of personal things, so it kind of paused it for a moment there. It was supposed to come out actually this month. But so with you know, with all those couple of things that we both had to deal with, unfortunate things, you know, now we're moving forward and kind of getting this done. Now that we're both on page, you know, and getting everything moving, we're excited to kind of get it out there. So enough about.

Speaker 1:

Demetris, can you describe the writing process?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, it's actually. I mean, I don't know, I don't know any other writing way. You know, I don't think it's a proper way, I really don't at all, I just kind of yeah right. I guess whatever works for you. I kind of. You know it's changed over the years. You know, early on I had no clue what the hell I was doing. I just kind of like was putting things together and whatever and bullet points, and then I wrote it. But now, as I'm writing season two, it's a little more strategic, I feel like. So I'm breaking down the issues seven through 12. And I bullet point exactly what I want to happen and then the whole build up, you know, the arc through the season, the arc through the issues and all that stuff. And after I did that, so now I have basically what I've been doing is just writing out the dialogue and playing it all out. I write the panels, I write the dialogue and all that.

Speaker 1:

So you're very much like a plotter versus a pancer.

Speaker 3:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

What's a pancer Dan?

Speaker 1:

So in the writing world, there's people who are plotters, who plan everything, and then there's pancers who write by the seed of their pants. Oh, and which one are you? There's combinations. I'm a chaotic plotter.

Speaker 3:

I'd probably consider myself that too.

Speaker 2:

Things change for you. Some points that you still surprise you.

Speaker 1:

Yes, For me yes.

Speaker 2:

I'm asking Brandon. It's Brandon's interview, Dan.

Speaker 1:

I want the attention.

Speaker 3:

What was the question? Sorry.

Speaker 2:

Just like, have you ever been surprised by you know, you said, you plotted out. Do you ever have a moment where you're like oh no, this is going somewhere totally different than I?

Speaker 3:

expected. Oh yeah, 100%. I tell this story a lot when it's necessary or when it is relevant, I guess is the word I wanted to use. But when the original issue one when we got it wasn't Demetrius at the time, this was years ago we were going to produce this. You won, we sent it to an artist, she was drawing it and then it just something did not feel right. When we were looking at it, alan and I were kind of sitting back like I don't know what the hell doesn't feel right, it doesn't feel right. We read the script again and it was gone off. The whole script issue one script the original one was horrible. I could not believe it that we were going to publish it. So then we pulled it back, we ended up breaking that down and we stretched that out to the three issues that you guys read now. So everything that's out right now for anybody to read is what was actually all condensed in one issue before, which is, which you can imagine, would be chaotic and all over the place and it would have sucked. I think it would have just been stupid. But the point is is like so when we brought it back, we kind of stretched it out. It just showed me that that we could actually take our time even more with a lot of these characters and really let things breathe that need to breathe and speed up things that don't need to be there as well. But you know, with that big thing it kind of opened up my eyes with the whole writing process in general. And then you know, as I added Ali, she kind of helped out with a couple issues there. You know, kind of she helped me with the keeping it formal I guess kind of thing and bullpointing things and she helped me with the mindset of keeping that kind of thing for season two. And it's definitely helped and it's definitely awesome. I like to be a sponge. I like to take in all the information I can get from anybody who knows anything. You know what I mean. I like that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I guess that's that's a good argument towards pantsing, because, like the pants are in, you was like all the things that we planned aren't working out. We need to change everything at the last minute, yeah. Whereas like the, if you were full plotter, you'd be like that's how it went out. That's what we're sticking to, that's the plan. The plan is perfect.

Speaker 3:

Yeah yeah.

Speaker 2:

I feel like it's gonna be like a psychological test, because I'm sitting here being like am I a plotter or a pantser? I think I'm like a hard-core plotter If I was a writer. Yeah, you plot a lot Leah. I do, I plan a lot, I love planning, it's nice.

Speaker 1:

And as as evidence of that, I'm going to read the next question from our carefully planned out outline. Let's talk about world building. So your world is based on the real world, and what was it so? What was the decision to choose like something that was familiar to you and then build on that?

Speaker 3:

It was definitely easier. That was the original idea. You know we were kind of looking for, looking for a small town similar to Erie. You know I liked the whole small town kind of feel to it. We were actually going to do it in Dunkirk, new York I think is what it is. It's kind of like an hour and a half or an hour away from me or something like that, but again doing something new. Neither one of us has ever written like a story Alan's written. You know he did music using a band, he wrote you know stuff like that, but nothing story progression wise like this. So with that in mind and not knowing much about it we're learning as we kind of go, kind of thing. We wanted to kind of keep everything familiar, kind of keep everything as close to us as possible, so that included location, kind of like how the characters act and how they talk and all that. It's just kind of stuff that we see on a day to day basis. So it's just kind of keeping all those little things familiar. So we could focus on getting better in the writing category in general and then as time goes on, we get better with writing. We can do a lot of different things and a lot of crazier things with characters and role building.

Speaker 1:

So, like some of the some of the key scenes where they like real places that you would go to, like the steakhouse or the gas station that the police stop at.

Speaker 3:

They're real areas but they're not actually. This actually made me mad. The Bob Steakhouse thing was not a place. That was not a place that was supposed to be anything. It was supposed to be. Because, you know, I there's this guy I work with who was Bob. I respected him. He's an older guy. He was named a Bob Steakhouse and then, like a year after this that apparently it's been there for years, but a year after this I noticed there's a Bob Steakhouse in Erie. Are you serious? It like made me mad. It actually made me mad. I was like that's unbelievable. Never seen this place Never seen this place, still a year after Adlon came out, and I don't know bother me. But so the real places, but with just different names. We're just kind of bringing it into Adlon's reality or universal or whatever you want to call it or whatever you want to say. But yeah, a lot of those things that you're going to be seeing, you're going to see Erie landmarks, you're going to see stuff like that as well. So it's kind of exciting in that way, for especially for people that live in Erie that can kind of see these things, that because they see it every single day.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's really fun. I mean, everybody dreams about seeing their hometown in an apocalypse.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, yeah, exactly yeah.

Speaker 2:

You've mentioned a few people now, so I want to make sure I've got it right. You said Pali, alan and Demetris Demetris.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, so Alan is the co creator with me. He wrote the first season with me. So what his, what his role is? He wanted to. We were kind of doing this together because we're both new at it. We kind of wanted to start this 1282 business that you kind of see on the front of the cover there. That's kind of our brand or label that we're kind of tagging along with Adlon. But he was going to his idea was to help me with season one. So he's, he just helped the season one. Now he's kind of taken a background seat in the whole business aspect of things. So, and Callie, she helped with edit, she helped edit four and five and she was going to be a big part of season two as well. She still kind of is going to be ish, but she had bigger, you know, some opportunities that she kind of took in all that stuff as well, which you know the business is quick. You kind of got to do things do stay busy as well. So she's she's busy in movies. That's kind of her passion, that's her love. So I found her at a horror fest and and we she obviously like the comment, she saw it there and we're talking about a lot, and then I asked her to be a part of it, so she helped with editing and I think she's going to be helping with editing as well in the future as well and the meat is obviously the artist and he does a phenomenal job and I've had him since the start.

Speaker 2:

You met Callie at a horror fest. Yes, we knew Alan from where were I work with them.

Speaker 3:

Years ago. I met him at work and then we just were talking about creating things and then he told me he was in a band. I told him I had a bunch of ideas and like, okay, let's get out of this 40 hour work week thing, let's do our own thing. And that's when 1282, the brand, kind of came out and we're, you know, we're kind of doing different things and trying to make that kind of a thing, so we can just make this our job.

Speaker 2:

That's really fun. I love hearing how people sort of meet and start collaborating together. And what about Dimitris?

Speaker 3:

Dimitris is in Greece. He I found him on Instagram and we're looking for artists, and very fortunate that we did. You know, he's a go getter, he just kills it every single time he touches. You know, if he touches the page he actually does it on like a tablet. But he does an awesome job. We're glad to have him because I think again, like I said earlier, he really shows off avalan and what it is and what in the dramatic part of the story, in the darkness of the story as well, he does a really good job of the style.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I really enjoy the visuals. And, speaking of the apocalypse, you would not have met Dimitris, so that's a downside. But I have a follow up question to this, which is just you know, I feel like collaborating with a bunch of people could also feel a lot like a dysfunctional family maybe. Sometimes I'm curious like what's been the best parts and the hardest parts?

Speaker 3:

It kind of fluctuates, you know, because there's times where you kind of like you're expecting people, like when you say something, somebody like, okay, I need this answer now, and you don't get it now, you get it like a week from now. And you're, like you know, early on, when I was, you know, kind of into this and I was really getting the ball moving with this, you know, my mindset wasn't made this way yet, but I was very like a now person when I asked the question, I wanted the answer now and I'm like I don't know what to do and you know what, what do you think? But I want to get the answer to like a day, two, three weeks later sometimes, and then it frustrates me. But then, after time goes on, you start to realize that it doesn't work like that and also it doesn't need to be a bang bang, bang, bang, bang, bang. And that's how I was with Avalon is I wanted to continue to release it when the art or the dialogue or anything wasn't finished, right, you know it wasn't correct, the way it should have been, and I was always trying to get it out quick and that wasn't the idea. So I kind of took that back, slow down, put people around me that you know can talk me off the ledge sometimes and kind of slow everything down, because my mind is a million miles a minute almost sometimes. So and just you know, kind of using you know people's experience and apply it to Avalon and anything that I'm using as well. I'm young in the game and you know I've only been doing this for a couple years now and it just kind of taking everybody's experience and using that and utilizing that for what we're doing in the future.

Speaker 2:

I appreciate that because there can be the. You could definitely move into the lone wolf mode and suffer. I minored in creative writing and there was always like one class, one student in a class that would just refuse to hear feedback on their you know, and it would be so painful, like it's good, but like they just would. They would just argue with every single critique that was given to them and no, I need that character.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, what are you here for? You understand how it all comes together in the end?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, right, then tell us, then right you know. So it's just like that's my thing and I don't want to be that person. I want to take in any information, good or bad. You know, I want it all, I want to be, I want to hear it all. I don't want to be subjected to like, I don't want people to blow smoke up. You know the thing, or whatever various or offices. Yeah that thing and like, and it's like, oh yeah, it's good when it's not. You know, and I'm sitting here over here like thinking it's like a good thing and it's not. I would rather have people come out and say, okay, no, I don't like this, this, this, and, and that's the way I kind of want to learn it.

Speaker 1:

So that's the way you grow, that's why you figure things out and yeah, I kind of lived my life by saying that you don't gain anything from being the smartest person in the room. Yeah, right, always benefit from someone that you can learn from.

Speaker 3:

Exactly, and that's kind of the mindset I kind of want to keep moving forward in this whole industry.

Speaker 1:

So this is a lot. That's what you're undertaking sounds like a lot. How do you balance that and working the 40 hour?

Speaker 3:

You know there's there's times where I think I have it under control, and then there's times I'm like I don't know how to help us because it's going to go on. And then there's times or it's just like a shit show. You know so it's just like you know, I thought like is there? It's funny because I'm playing it all in my head, because I've been asked this question before in interviews and I've told people. I'm like, oh yeah, it's good. You know, we're figuring this out. You know, I think it's going perfectly. And then there's times when I'm like I have no idea. And then there's times, like now, where I'm like it's just, it's always gonna be a roller coaster. I feel like you know, I'm at that point. I feel like I'm at the end of the roller coaster, knowing that when I get back in line for the roller coaster ride again that this hill's here, this hill's here, this is gonna be ups and downs constantly. And I think it's just overall just making sure you're present, making sure that you're slowing everything down. It doesn't need to be rushed out and it just like make sure you're thinking things through rather than just kind of impulse, kind of doing things. And that's what I've done for a while, and I think slowing it down makes it a lot easier to kind of process everything going on with life, work and the comic book.

Speaker 2:

I think that's some really good wisdom, because I know we have a lot of listeners who are either writers or like trying to launch their own business things like that and it's it can be daunting. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's a lot. What's it like doing something like going to Comic-Con to like promote an indie comic like this?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, so our first one was last year. We're actually gonna be going there the first weekend. Well, it's the second weekend, it's like the fifth or something like that. It's September. We're going to our local one, erie. It's the weekend. It's the eighth, ninth and 10th we're going to our local one. Like I said, our first one was last year around this time. It was fun, especially the local one. It was fun because it kind of explained to people that this is local, what it is, and kind of selling it to them in the local kind of thing. It was exciting for some people to be like, oh this is cool, let's grab it and all of that, and kind of get comfortable with it, because I didn't know really what to expect either, especially being in a booth. That was the first time I've ever had a booth at a con or anything and we ended up going to yeah, it was a good thing. Yeah, it was weird. It took like a full day Like I went on a Friday and then it took the full day Friday to really understand how to help to talk to people and kind of bring people over without sounding like a salesman at a mall or something. But you know, and then we go to another one as well, this Cincinnati, which is actually quite a bit away from Erie. So that'll be a fun one, a big one, it's a fan expo and yeah, I'm excited for it. There's just things I don't know I can't tell you too much because I still don't know. You know I'm still kind of new at it.

Speaker 1:

So yeah, so you met Callie at that one.

Speaker 3:

The Horfest last year. Horfest. That's another one I'm going to. Yeah, it's called the Erie Horfest. You know, go figure, because-.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, erie, is that pretty common? Like are people going around? Like, here's my resume.

Speaker 3:

No, and the funny thing is that she didn't come up to and slap a resume on my table. It was just really just banter. It was actually me. Actually it was funny because she bought my comic and what I was kind of doing. A deal, you know, basically if you buy this package, you'll get like five free tickets to win this one, one of one kind of like Avalon thing. I don't remember what it was at the time, but so she put her name and her way of contacting her on there and, like I said, we were just bantering, kind of going back and forth a little bit. Now when she was talking, she's explaining herself and what she's done and all that. And then I just messaged her Like I found, you know, I found the ticket. I was like, hey, you know you didn't win, but I wanted to see if you wanted to be a part of Avalon, basically, and kind of do things like that. But yeah, it was. It was kind of like that. But people do come up, they talk to you, they like to kind of share their own creativity, if they have any, and all of that stuff too. I enjoy talking to people like that too, because it's just like minded individual.

Speaker 1:

Are a lot of people coming up and like telling you how your, how your story should play out.

Speaker 3:

Not, not yet. Not not anything that stuck out yet, because I don't know, it hasn't been out long enough for people to go like oh, this, this and this, this, you know? So there's only last year when we did the comic. There's only two issues out, so you only had the one and the two. So that wasn't really much to kind of like say, but if there was, it wasn't anything that sticks out to me right now. No, I wouldn't be shocked if it comes up yet, though.

Speaker 2:

The peanut gallery will emerge eventually. I think that's the thing with the Creator too. Are there any? Just going back to sort of your comic? Are there any characters that are based on real people or historical figures, or yourself possibly?

Speaker 3:

Oh, like, just okay, yeah, all of them are. All of the characters that you see so far are based off of some form of a character that I know and that or I am or you know stuff like that. So there's little pieces of me and all the characters, little pieces of my family and the characters friends and okay. So all the people you know so far are based off realistic kind of things, that people that I've known you know.

Speaker 2:

How do you balance that like fiction, fictionalizing real people, or trying to pull little bits and also stay true to like the relationships that you have.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I don't know, I think it just comes. It comes almost like just natural, because the way I think about it is like you know, because when I get into my big kind of like mental, kind of like fantasy, I guess is like I know this person. So then I think, okay, what is? How does how would this person survive in the apocalypse? Like, what would they do based off the qualities that I know about them? I don't know if that's truly them, but what I get from them, how would they survive in it? And that's kind of like where it just starts is just the creative mindset. It's just like doodling in on your homework rather than doing your homework. It's just like kind of seeing where it takes you.

Speaker 1:

And it's kind of like doodling with my mind on somebody's mannerisms, the way they talk, the way they act, and so yeah, do you have any people that see themselves in your comic and they're like that's not me, you got me all wrong.

Speaker 3:

I guess, my parents. It's easier for them to do it because obviously there's the three brothers you know, and I have three. I have two brothers and so three siblings and I have that in the thing. So that's one of the big things that I bring from my life into that story, is it's? I guess, if you looked at it, it was like Andy, ty and Mason would be like me and my two brothers underneath me, but and then they obviously kind of, when they look at it like that, they're like oh so we're the parents, like I don't know if you want to be the parents.

Speaker 2:

Does that feel vulnerable or revealing parts of yourself in a comic?

Speaker 3:

Not necessarily Because I don't. It's not like I'm slapping my. This is my life, this is the way my parents are, this is the way I am, this is the way. Like that. All there are is just little seeds, little pieces, and I kind of mix them up Like if, if, if I had something about equality about myself that Mason had, rather than Andy, since I'm like the oldest brother people could think like, okay, andy's you and I'm like, eh, not necessarily, they're all me, like every character you see has a part of me in it, but just in a different way. It just kind of splitting them all up and kind of putting puzzle pieces where they probably shouldn't belong, but you kind of making it kind of stick there a little bit.

Speaker 2:

That's kind of cool, because it just demonstrates how complex we are as people, that you can represent so many different parts of yourself, or psychotic, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 3:

Psychotic or complex, I don't know what word, but one of those.

Speaker 1:

Those are the surprising parts. Yeah, exactly. The really shocking part that I find is when I start writing their own stories. Yeah, you're like you're, like lost, yeah, Like what You're living through them.

Speaker 3:

You're like, hey, on a second, how did this happen? You wake up and you think you're the. Yeah, you're one of the characters, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, Dan has come to me with this like crisis being, like I think that lead me a little telling me what to do now.

Speaker 1:

It wasn't me, it was her. They're real, they live in my head. So, like as an indie comic book, I need to make that differentiation because people might think that you're a standup comic if I say it yeah, but I'm correct. So like, what's it like going into the industry and like knowing that, like your competition is like the walking dead.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I guess it was more pressure in the beginning rather than now. I don't really consider it too much of a pressure, I think it's more so it could help me. I use it as like a resource, I guess, you know, kind of targeting those kind of fan base, because the walking dead is very unique in its way where it's, like you know, it does focus on storytelling rather than just, I mean, I guess, zombie apocalypse. It's a unique way of telling the zombie story, because before the walking dead it was just a movie, real quick, that's what it was. It wasn't really developing the characters like the walking dead did, so kind of use that as ammunition, but at the same time, you don't want to be another walking dead, I want to be Avalon, I don't want to be another walking dead. So it's really trying to sell that point and hopefully letting the story speak for itself. You know, and me being a big fan of the walking dead, I think helps, because now I know what almost not to do, you know, because I want to steer away from things. I don't want people thinking like OK, this is just another way. Obviously there's going to be similarities, like just like if you watch a love story or a romance movie. There's similarities in romance and action movies, superhero movies. There's a superhero and a superhero movie, go figure right. So it's just kind of those things. There's going to be similarities in the zombie genre because I consider it a genre in itself. But I don't want to be another walking dead, I want to be Avalon, you know. So that's the idea of it.

Speaker 1:

I kind of also feel like now that the walking dead has kind of come come to a close even though they got some spinoffs but, like sure, who knows what where that was going to go you know there's this big vacuum, like a wake behind the behemoth that is the walking dead that, like people, people need to fill that, that hole in their life.

Speaker 3:

They're good. Well, especially, yeah, the hard hard core people too, that their whole room is painted with walking dead stuff. You know I consider myself a big fan. But, man, like when you watch some of these people like on, like the YouTube thing and they're reviewing it, I don't, you know, I don't know, but yeah, a lot of stuff on wish so yeah, right, yeah, it's easy, it's easy, I've done that too. But yeah, I think hopefully, you know, Avalon could fill that void a little bit too. But it's all about marketing to that kind of thing, and if there won't even give it a shot, you know I understand what you're saying too, because it is going away. You know there's going to be a time I mean, the spin offs, series are coming out, but there's a time where that's going to end too, you know.

Speaker 1:

But yeah, there's something that I read of not long ago that was talking about how like they were like predicting on trends not necessarily people that gave a shit about zombies in any way, but like they, they're like zombies. Zombies aren't going to be popular for the next 10 years because the walking dead is over and I'm like that is like a really good time to be a creator that's creating stories because, like 10 years from now, that might mean you might be the next walking dead.

Speaker 3:

Sure, and that's what I'm saying Like I think it took the comic what a couple of years to even do anything. You know, I think he was in the teens by the time. It was like oh yeah, this is like a good comic. You know what I mean? Yeah, but then even more so, it was like it took what I think it was like six, seven years until it became a show or something. I think it came out in three and two thousand nine, let's say. They picked it up for the show and then 2010 it came out. So, yeah, I mean, I don't think it's going to be 10 years. I think zombies are always going to be there and I think the walking dead showed that. I think it's just trying to find that good show, book, movie, whatever it might be, you know, because let's be honest here, the zombie genre is flooded with a lot of bad stuff too, so that's. That's why it's kind of like annoying a zombie fan. She's like, well, hang on, this is good though, you know and trying to explain like zombies there, and then they shut it out because they've seen so many bad zombie movies. So we're always on the defense there, yeah, and before.

Speaker 2:

I can't keep watching this, Dan. Hmm, there was one we tried to watch the day with zombies in it and I was like oh, I mean the Zom 100. Oh, not Zom 100. That has all other. That's a whole other conversation. But there's something else. I feel like we tried to watch it. It was whatever it's. Like you said, Brandon, it's common, it gets very on something.

Speaker 3:

You try to do it, you're like I'm a zombie fan, I'm going to stick it out. I got it, maybe there's something and you're like no.

Speaker 1:

And not everybody gets it Like I can. I can tell from from so far from your story that you, like you get what people, what really inspires people about a zombie story?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, yeah, and that's the thing I fell in love about. You know, I love that aspect of it. I love, like you know, the remake down to the dead. You know that was fun. That was a fun. You know, obviously that's some sort of plot holes, whatever, you know it's X-Nider, but it was a fun movie. It was exciting. It was exciting from start to finish, you know, and you know I love X-Nider, the living dead. You know I can get why people would like to screw this movie, but the original one I really enjoyed it, you know, even the remake I kind of enjoyed it too.

Speaker 1:

but I almost like to remake a little bit more.

Speaker 3:

I mean the budget, you know, and yeah, you know, but as color.

Speaker 1:

Yeah better acting.

Speaker 3:

Better acting because it wasn't and way back then. But yeah, I mean, but it just it has that same feel to it, to me, and that's what I guess I'm looking for in it and that's what we're trying to kind of put into Avalon and why people should love the zombies genre. Not because the you know, as a zombie fan, I like some of the corny zombie stuff, but I can only tolerate so much of it, you know. That's not. That's not why I love it, though, and I feel like there are people who do love it that way and they ruin it, trying to sell that to somebody else and say come on.

Speaker 2:

I agree, it's the story for me always inside of the zombie apocalypse, and one thing about the industry that I can find frustrating, as somebody who was socialized as a woman growing up, is that it feels very male dominated in the field, and it's rare that I see female characters, and I'm curious because Dan is having this challenge as well being. I think you're a man, right, dan?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, most of the time.

Speaker 2:

My husband over here, but anyways I. There's something we've talked about like the challenge of really doing a good job and doing women justice in zombie stories, and I'm curious how you've been thinking about that in your own work with Avalon.

Speaker 3:

You know, obviously it doesn't seem that way Great. I have a gate, right, you know, and again, that is due to the fact that it is so involved in my life, because I have two brothers, you know, and all that stuff. So those are the immediate things. So, with that being said, there's not a sister in there. You know, I can't speak on a sister. I want to speak on things that I know about, and that's what I know. And now, one of the big things that you mentioned as well is there are going to be very strong female characters in this thing, and we were kind of hinting these characters in already. I definitely issue one. So Danny is going to be a character that turns into something. You know. She's going to have a big part. Again, it's not I'm not saying it away where characters are going to last for a while, or he or she is going to be a main, because the way we kind of sell this story as well is that anything can happen at any given moment. There's nobody's going to plot armor. It's the world dictating the story, not, yeah, not us in the writing room, like if it's like if we roll the dice, basically, and Andy is dying, next issue or whatever this season or whatever it is, and that's what it's going to be. You know, because of X, y and Z, we're not making it a plot armor thing. We're not, you know, forming the plot around so much character wise. It just it's going to be. I guess I don't know how to explain it, but that's what I'm saying Now. With that being said as well, there's a character that's teased in there already. You know her name is Danny. She's going to have a big role in the next few issues coming up here and with that as well, like you're mentioning, there's other female characters that are going to have a light on them as well, and I agree with that is what you were saying as well. There are some stories out there that do do that. Movies, you know, the remake Night of Living Dead, I feel like, did that, you know, a little bit. And then the Walking Dead show did that quite a bit with some of the characters you know in the later seasons. And yeah, I answered your question.

Speaker 1:

Yes, season three or four and on.

Speaker 2:

I'm just curious, like I'm like I have done some writing and I'll be frank, the writing that I have done typically has a female lead right.

Speaker 1:

I understand that.

Speaker 2:

I'm curious, like what is it like to try and put on the opposite gender when you're thinking about like the way that they look at the world, and what are the trials and tribulations of doing that? Because I can imagine that, like if I was your Dan or any male writer, I'd be like I want to get this right and that's really hard to do.

Speaker 3:

And I think, especially with me, I can always speak from myself. And my own experience, you know, with the way I kind of utilize that right now, is really listening to my peers and because, again, I don't think like some people do and that's with man or woman, honestly, but it's obviously a little bit easier for me to think as a man because I'm I think that way in general, you know, and that doesn't mean it's like a cliche, oh, man's a man or whatever. There can be different hundred different ways of doing it. Now, with women as well, I definitely don't know how that things. I can only see things, I can only observe things, and then, once I put my observations down, having people read it and then having my peers say, okay, this works, this doesn't work, this one, and hearing those opinions and understanding those opinions and forming it to work in that way. Because, again, I don't want these people to feel written, I want them to feel real, I want them to feel like they're their own thing. They don't, they're not, I'm not. They don't want them feeling like, okay, Brandon wrote this person, this is his writing. I want Danny to feel like Danny. I don't want her to feel like a scripted character or anything like that. So just really hearing peers taking it any. You know, I do this on normal day life anyways, outside of creation. But when I talk to people, I like looking at mannerisms, I like, you know, hearing what they have to say and then thinking, when they say something, why they think that way, like what draws in the thing that way. So I ask more questions and thinking that, just understanding people. So I like that. And just in my normal day life, outside of creativity so, but I apply that into my creativity. So using all that stuff and utilizing my peers as well is what I think is going to help. You know, when people read Avalon, that female characters, or any character for that matter, is going to feel like its own character.

Speaker 2:

I really appreciate that, and I will say that none of your characters at this point feel like they are sort of stick figures, all of them. You can feel some backstory, even though it's early, and I could tell that there's like this hint of where Danny could go. So that's exciting to me, but it is something I think about a lot, particularly in this field, since we spend so much time, dan and I, watching really bad zombie stuff where there's like maybe one woman who has one line yeah.

Speaker 3:

And there was a time where, you know, actually I didn't realize because, again, this is all I know, I'm new to this, I'm trying to understand this and there was an editor that I had for a not an edit, not a formal editor. She didn't want to be like a force, she just reviewed it for me. She said she would I think it was issue three or four and then she was saying like, oh yeah, it's a good issue, but I feel like the female characters didn't seem like they were talking much. And I was like, and so I read it again and again, I took that, I took that in, I was like okay, and I was like, yeah, I get, you're right, you know, I see that. So and then we're kind of bantering back and forth with it. And then I, you know, I adjusted it and I, you know, because, looking back and seeing it from somebody else's point of view again, knowing it from my point of view, I didn't see it that way. And then, when she kind of did that, it was easy for me to understand. So now, as time goes on, it's easier for me to understand that and I think that, just as I grow as a writer in general, just to know that I don't think it was like a specific thing that I'm thinking oh, I don't want her to have a thing, it just I think it was just the inexperience in the early stages of being writing and not understanding it like that, because at that moment my head is on this character here, not this character, so I feel like that could have fell with any character. It just so happened to be them at that moment. But those are the proper adjustments and, like I said, listening to my peers taking all that information and putting it all and applying it to everyone.

Speaker 2:

I really appreciate your curiosity as a writer and, like that, you are willing to take feedback. I'm so excited to see where Danny goes, or any other character.

Speaker 3:

Right.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I you know. They say to write what you know. But I think a good alteration of that advice is don't only write what you know.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I think. I think it's easy to stick there first if you wanted to go there. But again, you have to go in with the open mindset of hearing people out, because if you write what you know, it's just going to be that you know and then it's just going to be good to you, or that's it. You know somebody else can be like, well, what about this? Because they're looking at it from a you know, the outside of perspective. They're not focused on what you're focused on, because you're focused on what you know. They don't know that you know. So I think if you just listen to what people are saying, listen to the feedback, make the proper adjustments, and that's how the good work kind of comes in. Don't be selfish or don't be ignorant to the thought of somebody giving you bad or good feedback, whatever. Just listen to it, see what it says, see if it applies to your story and the way you're trying to tell it.

Speaker 2:

That's awesome. I feel like there's been a lot of like moments of good advice for writers and entrepreneurs creators in this episode with you. But I am curious if you had any other advice for an aspiring comic book writer, what would it be?

Speaker 3:

I mean again, I think all of the stuff we've been talking about, unless you guys ask another question, I think of something else. I think all the things that I kind of already said, though, too is you know, stuff that I've learned over my thing. That made it easier for me. You know, I was very impatient. I learned patience. I was very inexperienced. I mean, I don't think I'm experienced now. I think I'm still very inexperienced, but my experience is growing.

Speaker 1:

That's how you know your experience is when you say I have no experience.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, yeah, but that's what I'm saying. So just like, and really hearing people out and really understanding what people say, and taking in that information and applying it to your craft, because obviously you have an idea, you have a goal that you want to do, but you know, like like we're just talking about it a second ago as well, as when you focus on just what you know, it doesn't mean it's going to be good because it's just going to be good to you. Listening to people, hearing their their opinion about it or whatever it is, taking it in and applying it and just being very patient and all that stuff and just kind of learn as you go, it's, it's okay, I guess, just keep going. Basically, it is all I could say now.

Speaker 2:

I think that's good advice is keep going because I imagine there's been moments where maybe you've just been like should I keep, should I keep going? Oh yeah, oh yeah. Many of you Like just keeps driving forward. It's really cool.

Speaker 1:

I think a lot of people like that are just starting their path too. I think sometimes they they think that they're that, they that somebody has to tell them that it's okay to start. You know, like like there's a gatekeeper out there, but like that's a great thing about Andy. You know, andy creation in general, whether it's writing or comics or movies. You know you can be a film maker now with like almost no gear or production crew.

Speaker 3:

Right. And I guess, on both of those aspects as well, as I can get the frustration for sure, you know, because I again I'm still there sometimes Like it's just, like it's not so much like just doing it, you know, because doing it is one thing, but then you get to the point where you're like, okay, it's never getting done and we're not getting it out there. And that's what my thing was is I wanted to brush Avalon issue one, that that crappy issue I was telling you about. I just wanted it out there, I wanted to just go because I kept, I kept getting discouraged because I was like it's not here, it's not, we keep pushing it away. And then it seems like it's never going to happen. And I was, I was getting too fast for my feet there. And then it just obviously Alan it was, it was helpful to have Alan, because he brought me back to reality and slowed everything back down. And then, and now it's here, you know, and I get that way with movie because I want to write screen plays as well and I want to start doing short films. And that's another thing where I get frustrated and I'm like this is never going to get done. But then I take my experience that I learned from the comic and kind of apply that there it will get done. Just keep doing it, just keep moving towards it, you know, and because and I've heard a lot of horror stories, especially with short films or when they just rush them and get them out there, there's got awful. So that's, that's what I don't want to do. And so just using my experience of just keep going and slow everything down, it'll get there. Just keep moving.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it takes many months to gestate. A zombie baby is basically the moral of the story. I think, you know, it doesn't just pop out years years.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and it's step one is the writing. Like, I've known a lot of a lot of people who have made a filmmaker business cards, you know, and and they made films but they weren't great because, you know they, they thought that the writing was done while the camera was rolling, you know.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, no, yeah no, you got to make adjustments to all that too. Hey, I make adjustments to even the comic book and it's that's. That's different. I feel like movies that would happen even more so. I feel like with comics, like when he sends me the art, we either change dialogue. I change dialogue all the time. You know, I have a standard dialogue on the white piece of paper and then when he has it all on panel, I change the dialogue a lot. And yeah, just, or changing things that we're doing with characters or panels or whatever you have.

Speaker 1:

Yeah Well, we're coming. We're coming to the end of our time, unfortunately. This has been really a really fascinating look into this and I want to say thanks for coming to talk to us about your comic Real quick before we go though. Where. Where can they find you and also where can they find your book, avalon?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, you can find me on any social media platform Facebook, twitter, instagram. I'm not on TikTok anymore, but we work Now. The best news here, though, as well, is we finally have our website up and going. It's just Avaloncomiccom. You can find all that other stuff as well. We're going to be adding some cool sketchbook stuff that Demetrius does from pencil inking to color and grayscale A bunch of cool things like that. Our store is on there as well. You can buy any issues, one through three, on our store If you sign up for our newsletter. I think it's 15% off your first purchase and you can get a PDF of issue one for free. That's right on the homepage as well. You just look us up on there and you'll be able to find us anywhere else there. We're excited about it. Stay tuned for issues four and five coming out here in the next few months. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Get that issue.

Speaker 2:

one, yeah, get the 15% off too. I didn't do that. I'm like dang it, Damn it we could have had 15%.

Speaker 1:

There you go. We could have signed up for the newsletter. We could have afforded more roof last week.

Speaker 2:

Really, we just put a roof on our house, but anyhow, I just want to say also thank you. This was a fantastic conversation. We will make sure that all of the links to your information will be in the show notes. Folks, check that out. Go read the first. I still steal. My comic words are bad issue. Read the first issue, you won't be disappointed. I highly recommend actually getting a physical copy, if you can With. That says is there anything else you want to say before we wrap up, brandon?

Speaker 3:

No, that's it. Just thank you for having me. I had an amazing time on here.

Speaker 2:

So that was a really fun episode with Brandon.

Speaker 1:

That was a fun episode with Brandon.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I'm really a big fan of Avalon. I also really like the name in general. So, yeah, we're coming back on for a quick little separate recording to do some shoutouts at the end of this episode and also remind you all of your zombie book club homework Very important.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you got homework at school.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, what do you learn in zombie school?

Speaker 1:

Books make for tasty brains. Yum, yum, yum.

Speaker 2:

Okay, so one, just a couple of shoutouts to want to make sure we include it in this episode. If you are listening and you hear this, we're curious, let us know. First of all, congratulations on apocalypse. I believe that when this episode comes out, you will have just been married for like a week or maybe two weeks.

Speaker 1:

So oh my God, wedding. Yeah, they grew up so fast.

Speaker 2:

I'm sure it's very special and a couple of episodes. We mentioned some of our top listening locations. One of them was Hilliard, ohio, and one person, hilliard Steve, responded to us. Just wanted to say hi, steve. Oh, steve from.

Speaker 1:

Hilliard Ohio.

Speaker 2:

Thanks for letting us know who you are. It's kind of funny to like speak into the void and not know who's there on the other side. And also your senior dog, Maddie, is fucking cute. So please post more pics of the cute dog. I needed to break up all of the zombie apocalypse stuff.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I was talking about club feed. Looking at cute dogs is basically just how we get through in this world now.

Speaker 2:

True Free dopamine boost. Maddie is super adorable.

Speaker 1:

Also, greg suggested Night Eats the World, because that's what our next episode is going to be about. I was just, I didn't even know that. I just read that off of this, off of this, this, this paper, here Well, I did know that because I'm a plotter and we talked about it.

Speaker 2:

So now you know the beautiful magic of our relationship. I'm the plotter, Dan's the pancer. It works out.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I've got no idea what's going on, you know what this makes.

Speaker 2:

The truck incident make a lot of sense.

Speaker 1:

Hold on, nero, is is banging. Oh, nero, see you later. Buddy, okay, nero's coming back now. He was banging my microphone stand.

Speaker 2:

No, I couldn't hear it.

Speaker 1:

I could.

Speaker 2:

Nero wants to be part of the podcast so that we should issue our own cute dog pictures sometimes. But other thing I wanted to just mention about Greg. Greg, the writer, thanks for reaching out to us and letting us know that you have now listened to the Zombie Astrology episode as our ongoing study continues. Greg is in the camp of Zombie. Astrology is wrong because Greg is a Sagittarius and according to the article that we used I think it was episode seven, I'm making that up, it was a while ago Zombie Astrology, yeah, so Sagittarius will not survive the apocalypse. They'll be good enough at surviving until the time comes to something really stupid but fun, and then the last words will be here Hold my beer. But Greg says that he'd be fine and he'd survive because. But then he says maybe the book he's writing is just giving him false confidence.

Speaker 1:

Which.

Speaker 2:

I feel because I have a false confidence in my ability to survive, and every time something semi apocalyptic happens in our home, like losing power, I realize we are completely unprepared when we run around and we're like why didn't we buy flashlights?

Speaker 1:

There's so much water. Why don't we have at least one water bottle? Yeah, we totally die. The only thing that we got going for us is we live in the woods and that's it.

Speaker 2:

Yep, we live in a remote location, so the zombies wouldn't get here right away unless our neighbor, donna showed up. Donna as a zombie, wow, I've never thought about that before.

Speaker 1:

You know, I never I didn't really agree with all the things that the zombie astrology thing said. I think we need to make our own zombie astrology and I'd be curious to know how many people agree with us that their astrological. Let's try that again. Yes, the astrological sign was not properly talked about. You know, like just because somebody's a Sagittarius doesn't mean they're going to die. That would just mean that people that are born between certain times of a calendar just get eaten by zombies, and that's just not how it works.

Speaker 2:

It's a very like, as I said in that episode, this very simplified version of astrology. In fact, dan keeps saying that I should have a segment of every episode that's about zombie astrology of the week, which like basically like it's mercury retrograde right now. What would it mean if it was mercury retrograde in the apocalypse? I can tell you what it would mean Don't go anywhere or do anything. Stay home, be prepared. I don't know if that'd be interesting. If you all want to know zombie astrology and how to actually apply it in an apocalypse, let me know.

Speaker 1:

I think it's really interesting because that would be good advice if, given like certain circumstances, like yeah, maybe it would be a bad time to go out, and who knows why the moon and the planets know this but there could be zombies out there, there could be raiders, there could just be bad juju out there. That makes you more likely to have a bad time and we need to know that.

Speaker 2:

Well, mercury retrograde, that's true, but again, I don't know how anybody would know that it was mercury retrograde in an apocalypse, unless you are a hardcore, actual astrologer, because I rely on Google and my Channy app.

Speaker 1:

So I don't know, is there not like an astrology almanac that maps out like a whole bunch of stuff?

Speaker 2:

I mean, maybe there's something that's physical, but nowadays everything's on the internet and like, unless you actually got good at being able to look at the stars. I do have an app on my phone that can show me where everything is, but again, that's on my phone, yeah, so I don't know.

Speaker 1:

But as long as it's charged, like it should work. As long as you have a download right.

Speaker 2:

Well, it's, it's real time, though I'm assuming that it's being live updated all the time. I think it's connected to. I don't know how it works, you're asking me technology questions.

Speaker 1:

You don't know those technologies.

Speaker 2:

When you're listening to this, I believe it will still be mercury retrograde on September 3rd, which is when I think this comes out. And if it is, don't try and do any travel, don't communicate shit, stay home and expect technology to fuck up all the time.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, hold off on on that supply run until after much mercury retrograde.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, don't try and go meet your survivor neighbors right now. It's a bad idea.

Speaker 1:

So after mercury Gatorade, everything, everything's good, you can leave your house.

Speaker 2:

It depends. There's a bunch of other stuff in retrograde right now too. It's complicated.

Speaker 1:

All right, you're in your house. The big highlight real is mercury retrograde.

Speaker 2:

You got a full moon happening. I think in general, you might not want to travel around the full moon If you're trying to be secretive.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, oh, I don't know. I mean that can. That can also be helpful.

Speaker 2:

You can just see it to see, but then you're more visible too.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, but you're less visible because you don't need a flashlight.

Speaker 2:

I did not know this is going to turn into an astrology episode. Right now I'm not prepared, so let's talk about our next book, which we're super excited for. Dan has read. I have Not. We're going to talk about an episode 20. Are you reading it too? We want to know. It's called the Girl with All the Gifts by MR Kerry. Are you reading it? You know what?

Speaker 1:

I already read it and I give my thumbs up to everybody who's sometimes on the fence about reading things that we suggest. I think it's a really good book. It started off in a way that I didn't know I was going to enjoy it because I'm like, ah, this seems boring. But then things got really good. And that got so good that I read the sequel. And if you read the book, I recommend reading the sequel, because then you get a full story.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and so we don't say a book is really good every day here at the Zombie Book Club. So that says something, and don't forget to subscribe, come hang out with us on Instagram or threads. Anything else we should say before we go, dan.

Speaker 1:

You know what. You know what I think people should do, what I think they should give us a rating and a review.

Speaker 2:

That'd be useful.

Speaker 1:

Yes, and wherever you listen to your podcast, which it should be everywhere. If your preferred podcast platform doesn't have us, let us know, because that is just wrong and we would have to fix that. But anyways, if you leave us a review, leave us your best zombie survival tip. We'll read that, we'll let people know how to survive.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and in the meantime, don't get bit.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, but also do get bit, and if you get a virus, just give it to somebody else, give it to your grandma.

Speaker 2:

My grandma would love this podcast.

Speaker 1:

Yes, and the virus. Give your grandma a virus.

Speaker 2:

Well, you know, becoming a zombie is one way to have eternal life.

Speaker 1:

So yeah, give your gift to the gift of eternal life by making her an undead creature of the night. Goodbye everybody, bye, bye, bye.

Zombie Book Club Interviews Brandon Storaki
Zombie Apocalypse Weapon and Food Choices
Bullying and Mental Health in Zombies
Society's Response to a Zombie Apocalypse
Comic Book Production and Release Plans
Writing Styles and World Building
Collaboration and Challenges in Creative Work
Comic Industry Learning and Balancing
Comic Book Creation and Industry Challenges
Female Characters in Zombie Stories
Tips for Writing Authentic Characters
Zombie Astrology and Book Recommendations
Podcast Promotion and Zombie Survival Tips