Zombie Book Club

Path of the Pale Rider - with Laurie Calcaterra | Zombie Book Club Podcast Ep 45

May 19, 2024 Zombie Book Club Season 2 Episode 45
Path of the Pale Rider - with Laurie Calcaterra | Zombie Book Club Podcast Ep 45
Zombie Book Club
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Zombie Book Club
Path of the Pale Rider - with Laurie Calcaterra | Zombie Book Club Podcast Ep 45
May 19, 2024 Season 2 Episode 45
Zombie Book Club

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Embark on an electrifying journey with Laurie Calcaterra, reigning ZombieWeen Queen, and mastermind behind the "Path of the Pale Rider" comic series, who joined us for an unforgettable chat. Laurie's odyssey from Detroit's Coattail Collective to the heart of Texas and successfully crowdfunding a zombie universe that is as deep as it is unique; is a testament to her creative zeal. Throughout our conversation, we unearth the world building that shape her narrative, where martial arts expertise intertwines with immersive storytelling, and American Sign Language becomes a lifeline amid the undead.

Dive headfirst into discussions that go beyond mere zombie apocalypse tropes, dissecting the influence of a historic crises on society and the eerie parallels with our own world teetering on the edge. We even spar over the combat styles in "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies," grappling with the question of which martial arts would truly be effective in a zombie overrun world. The episode also doesn't shy away from exploring the interactive and emotional dimensions of storytelling, where choices can have heart-wrenching consequences.

So gear up and join us on this harrowing dance of survival, where every twist in the tale promises to keep you on the edge of your seat.

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

ZBC Discord Server
https://discord.com/invite/8hCSb4eg

Zombie Book Club Voicemail
(614) 699-0006‬

Zombie Book Club Email
ZombieBookClubPodcast@gmail.com

Our Secret Website That Isn't Finished
https://zombiebookclub.io

Our Merchandise Store (Where you can find our Evil Magic Chicken Zombie Shirts)
https://zombie-book-club.myspreadshop.com

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

Embark on an electrifying journey with Laurie Calcaterra, reigning ZombieWeen Queen, and mastermind behind the "Path of the Pale Rider" comic series, who joined us for an unforgettable chat. Laurie's odyssey from Detroit's Coattail Collective to the heart of Texas and successfully crowdfunding a zombie universe that is as deep as it is unique; is a testament to her creative zeal. Throughout our conversation, we unearth the world building that shape her narrative, where martial arts expertise intertwines with immersive storytelling, and American Sign Language becomes a lifeline amid the undead.

Dive headfirst into discussions that go beyond mere zombie apocalypse tropes, dissecting the influence of a historic crises on society and the eerie parallels with our own world teetering on the edge. We even spar over the combat styles in "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies," grappling with the question of which martial arts would truly be effective in a zombie overrun world. The episode also doesn't shy away from exploring the interactive and emotional dimensions of storytelling, where choices can have heart-wrenching consequences.

So gear up and join us on this harrowing dance of survival, where every twist in the tale promises to keep you on the edge of your seat.

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

ZBC Discord Server
https://discord.com/invite/8hCSb4eg

Zombie Book Club Voicemail
(614) 699-0006‬

Zombie Book Club Email
ZombieBookClubPodcast@gmail.com

Our Secret Website That Isn't Finished
https://zombiebookclub.io

Our Merchandise Store (Where you can find our Evil Magic Chicken Zombie Shirts)
https://zombie-book-club.myspreadshop.com

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Zombie Book Club, the only book club where the book is a comic book and the comic book has a bear and the bear is a zombie and zombies can't die, as far as I can tell. But also I'm not sure that the zombies are bad and the bear is scary and it eats a horse. I'm Dan, and when I'm not working myself into hypertension while screaming at brain-dead idiots all day, I'm writing a book about how brain-dead idiots are almost entirely responsible for a zombie outbreak that could have been easily prevented with a minimum amount of emergency response policy.

Speaker 2:

And I'm Leah and I got a little teary when Diana Prince died and I'm not talking about the woman who plays Wonder Woman. It was really upsetting. We'll get into it a little bit more soon, because today we are chatting about our latest book club assignment, path of the Pale Rider Baby, with the most badass person I've possibly ever met, the one, the only, laurie calcaterra. Laurie is the writer, creator and letterer behind path of the pale rider, a comic series and multimedia experience, as dan said, includes zombie bears, concentration, cancer, the undead I think that's what I'm kind of gleaning, picking up uh riddles and american sign language. Her journey began with writing for coattail collective in detroit in 2017, where she worked on projects like the short film, catfishing and the web series, the agency inspired by that content. Laurie started crafting path of the pale rider in 2018 and then, after relocating to texas in 2019, she successfully funded its first issue on kickstarter in may 2022. So it's been a journey, but you've been publishing a a lot since then, Laurie, and there are now four issues released. The fifth will be coming out soon. There's tons of interactive experiences that you can immerse yourself in.

Speaker 2:

I'm personally obsessed with the Choose your Own Adventure book and last but not least, I cannot introduce Laurie without mentioning that she is also a lifelong fucking martial artist and that she brings her expertise in disciplines I had to look up how to say like pen check solid. You can correct me in a minute. Laurie Colley into the story and there's tons of action-packed experiences with fistfights, knife fights, guns and more, and I believe Laurie could actually do every single thing I see in this book. Welcome back to the show, laurie. How are you doing?

Speaker 3:

hey, thanks for having you guys. I'm so excited to be here. The last time I was on the show was a blast, when we did like the zombie contest and we were. That was just the funnest thing I have done, probably in my entire lifetime. Wow, it was such a great time and I still have the goosh in my car.

Speaker 2:

You anticipated my first question.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, we were going to ask if you are still displaying your zombie ween trophy.

Speaker 3:

He lives in my car, in the center console In the console. He lives in, like you know, the center console that opens and you put like napkins.

Speaker 2:

So he's in his own concentration camp, is what you're telling me.

Speaker 3:

He lives there, and then when I want to surprise my girls, I just plug them in and pick them up from school and everybody looks at me strange. It's a great time.

Speaker 1:

Goosh, by the way, for anyone who doesn't know is a four foot tall zombie baby.

Speaker 3:

Amazing, blows up in the car, sits in the front seat and terrorizes the neighbor's dog.

Speaker 2:

That is amazing. Does the dog bark?

Speaker 3:

They freak out at this thing. They don't know what to do. They like back and forth, bark at it and then they run away.

Speaker 2:

They're in the uncanny valley. Honestly, that's an appropriate response to a zombie baby.

Speaker 3:

I would think so right?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think so. So for folks who have not listened to episode 21, I think way back playback. That's the Zombieen game show and Lori is our reigning champion. I often refer to you as the zombie ween queen, but I have to say, when I was reading your bio, lori, I thought to myself why is there no mention of the fact that you are the reigning champion?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, oh.

Speaker 3:

I need to put that. Thank you, I can update my bio.

Speaker 1:

Your greatest accomplishment.

Speaker 3:

I am totally gonna update everything with zombie wing queen. That is my new title, ceo zombie wing queen letter, whatever yeah, first inaugural can never be beat.

Speaker 2:

So I have a really important question for you about gush. Does gush have human rights?

Speaker 1:

no, gush, unfortunately does not he lives in the center console of a car he lives in the console.

Speaker 3:

Does he eat anything? If he was in? If he was in my book?

Speaker 2:

yeah, if he was in, if he was in path of the pale rider, would he have human rights?

Speaker 3:

so the rights of the undead are ever changing, so in the beginning of the story. We're 10 years into the apocalypse and I think it really depends on where Jude goes. So when we're well into undead apocalypse, the undead have rights in some places and others not. In fact, you guys, when you get your trade paperback there, in the bonus material is a map according to Jude, st Claire, wow.

Speaker 3:

And he's been keeping notes of what cities have fallen, what cities are only friendly to undead, what cities are only friendly to living, and cities that are a mishmash. Anybody can go there and they have rights. So it really depends on where you are how you are treated. But when we go back in time, it's like in the beginning they had rights and they were just treated as human. And then things started to happen right Chaos, where they were running people over with cars or, you know, maybe not so careful with firearms.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, not careful, they don't remember things they can get violent. They can get chaotic.

Speaker 3:

So, and then, of course, when the government's like, oh no, no, no, we have this whole group of people that are dangerous, Then they start peeling away those rights. Then it becomes OK, there's a curfew, ok, everybody has to wear this technology, the disc.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's weird.

Speaker 3:

To know your status right, and then it was like OK, well, now you can't own property, you cannot vote, you cannot have firearms.

Speaker 1:

And then it was you no longer can be in a living community we pick you up and we disappear.

Speaker 3:

Well, good thing, this would never happen in real life, jesus christ. That's my response to that.

Speaker 2:

If you don't think it's happened, go read some history I was gonna say that description of like every city's different feels a lot like the united states of america, just a little.

Speaker 3:

And that I think was one of my goals when I was world building is to keep it as realistic as possible. Yeah, that humans have varied experience and everybody is going to approach it differently and have different beliefs depending on their own way that they experience the undead, way that they experience the undead. So if my neighbor's undead and they ran over my dog, I probably would be less likely to want them in my neighborhood, especially if I'm trying to protect my kids, my family, et cetera.

Speaker 1:

Right, yeah, they're dangerous, they can't be trusted.

Speaker 3:

What's that?

Speaker 1:

They're dangerous and they can't be trusted.

Speaker 3:

They can't be. And the hard part is is that, yes, they start out as themselves for the most part, but how quickly do they decompose, how quickly do they lose their memories, their inhibitions, do they become violent? It all hits them differently, so there is no way to know how it's going to develop. It's a powder keg, right, it could blow up at any time. And it's people, animals, insects, fish. Nothing is immune to this.

Speaker 1:

How about plants? How about plants?

Speaker 3:

How about plants?

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 3:

I've thought about that. Everybody keeps asking me about plants, but I don't think it really does anything different, because plants don't move. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

So I mean you have a good point.

Speaker 3:

They wouldn't continue to grow. They're still in the same spot and they decompose.

Speaker 2:

It's sort of the same.

Speaker 3:

They can't really communicate or do anything it they're still in the same spot and they decompose, sort of the same.

Speaker 1:

They can't really communicate or do anything. It's already their situation.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, unless you're in the Happening starring.

Speaker 1:

Mark Wahlberg Right, I have not watched that yet With the murder trees.

Speaker 3:

I mean hit or miss. You might like it.

Speaker 1:

It's fun.

Speaker 3:

When you figure it out, it's kind of like oh.

Speaker 1:

You know, I moved into into an apartment, a really run-down place, and uh, the day that I moved in I was going up the uh, the the stairs onto the porch and I looked under the porch. I'm like there's a dvd under the porch, so I go under the porch and I grab it and it's, it's a copy of the happening I'm just like you know what I'll just, I'll just put it back.

Speaker 2:

Just put it back like it's a talisman of some kind.

Speaker 1:

This is here for a reason. This is cursed.

Speaker 3:

Right Don't touch.

Speaker 2:

I didn't know it was that scary, but I guess now I know Important question I mean scary Okay.

Speaker 3:

I clearly need to watch this you have to make up your own mind on that one, all right.

Speaker 1:

Important question Does Goosh enjoy your brand of hot sauce?

Speaker 3:

Yes, goosh loves hot sauce because the undead have dead in face. Oh, I see. So they put hot sauce on everything.

Speaker 1:

This is probably all they can taste. Yeah, I get that. That makes sense.

Speaker 3:

It adds up it does add up, does it's such a weird journey like? I was at carpe diem? Um, it's a comic book store in mckinney and I had my my hot sauce stand set up with my book, so it's mostly books and merchant. You know like you have to cater to what audience you're expecting, so when I go to comic book stores it's my. My table is 90% comics and merch and then 10% hot sauce.

Speaker 3:

Right, but I also I bake and I I make desserts and all sorts of stuff, I make macaroons, I bake bread, I do all sorts of treats. So, like this coming week, I'm going to be at another marketplace, winsong marketplace, and my table will be 90% food items and 10% comic book.

Speaker 3:

But there's always the comic book, right. So, anyway, so I was set up at this comic book store selling hot sauce to this lady and she's like but you do comics? And I was like it's a weird story. So I started with a comic and then one of my friends who reads the comic is also an outdoorsman and he's on this podcast called big sexy outdoors and they make hot sauce, right. And so he makes this hot sauce. It was the barbecue ghost pepper, it's really good.

Speaker 3:

And he's like can I, as a joke, put your undead bear on our label? I was like yes, in return, I want three bottles, one for myself, one for my brother, one for my dad, right, yeah, um, so I get these bottles and I'm showing them off on social media and all of my fans were like how do we get this? And I was like, well, shit, I didn't anticipate that. Like you want this, and they're all like we need it, we need it, we need it. And I was like, oh, okay. So I went back to my friend and I was like would you be willing to share your recipe with me? He's like like, yeah, I'll send you everything. So he sent me like where he gets his bottles, what you know where he gets his labels from Amazon Like this the heat something, shrink sleeves like everything. Sent me the recipe, gave me recommendations where to buy peppers, like was so cool about it and I put it on I think it was Kickstarter number two and sold like 15 of them. I was like, okay, everybody, I see you.

Speaker 2:

You know what I mean. It's a really important thing to have in your apocalyptic pantry. Yeah.

Speaker 3:

Because when you're eating hey man, if you're eating roadkill, put some hot sauce on it. That raccoon makes it taste fabulous with half of the pale sauce on it.

Speaker 1:

It'll take care of the parasites.

Speaker 3:

Oh yeah, it might. If it's hot enough, it could kill some of the bacteria in there too.

Speaker 1:

I know for a fact it'll get the ants off.

Speaker 2:

I was going to say Dan had to try to experiment. We have like an ant infestation we're dealing with right now. They keep trying to eat all of our dog's food. Who doesn't eat it right away? And Dan Did it work.

Speaker 1:

Oh yeah, I actually learned this in the army. I was in, I was, I was, I was up for which is oppositional force in a field training exercise. So I just had to hide in the woods for like all day while people from my company would come through pretending that they're in dangerous territory and I would attack them. But most of it was just waiting in the woods and me and one other guy were doing this and we were like trying to eat lunch. And this is in Georgia and we're just getting covered in these giant soldier ants like like almost an inch long. These things are huge ants and they were just eating us alive.

Speaker 3:

And I can't, I can't wait for you to keep reading half of the film.

Speaker 2:

Are there undead ants? Oh, there's got to be.

Speaker 1:

Are there undead ants? Oh, there's so. So we, you know, just, we were just messing around, because each mre that we have comes with a tiny bottle of hot sauce. We're like what happens if you drop a drop of hot sauce on an ant? And they went fucking nuts. They did not like having hot sauce on them at all. So we're like we got to take all the bottles and make a ring around us, and we did, and they left us alone. Yeah, yeah, like we're trying to. We got to take all the bottles and make a ring around us, and we did, and they left us alone. Yeah, yeah, like we're trying to ward off a demon, yeah.

Speaker 2:

This makes me wonder. Like is the hot sauce going to show up in Path of the Pale Rider as a defense mechanism?

Speaker 1:

You got to have that tie in. A girl can hope.

Speaker 2:

So I have to admit something, lori I already thought you were really cool, right, and we had such a good time with you at zombie ween game show. You really made that like my dreams come true with that. But then I was like, okay, we're gonna read the path of pillar rider. I'm already into it because of the name and the reference to uh, death, the right, you know, yeah. And then I read it and after reading the first four issues, playing around your website realizing I'm really bad at riddles Dan had to do those. My question was like, are you kind of a genius? Like, have you had your IQ measured? Because it's fucking brilliant. I really want to just say like, off the bat, I love your series. I've never seen anything like it. But like, seriously, have you had your IQ tested?

Speaker 3:

No.

Speaker 1:

Have you taken an online test?

Speaker 3:

No, I kind of think I should now.

Speaker 2:

I feel like you should, because, like, one of the things I really want to know is how, like how did you did your brain? Did you have a dream? Did you like, how did this come about?

Speaker 3:

It was weird, okay, so I was writing for the production company and I was like I really enjoy writing and I wanted to write something different. This is actually not my first script. I have another one that I wrote prior to this that is much more supernatural than this one, but this one, when it started to take form, I really got into it. It was like it was more about the world building than anything else. So first I came up with the idea like what would happen if death just broke? You know what I mean. Like there is no death, it doesn't matter. Shoot him in the head, burn him with smithereens they're still there. What would? What does that mean? What does that look like? You know, for everything? How would people react? What would the government do? What would we eat?

Speaker 3:

And it just blew up from there, and I originally started writing this on three by five cards. So, as I was world building, I was coming up with all these crazy ideas and I was just had a stack of three by five cards. And so when it came time to write this, the script, it was huge, right, this whole world has been fleshed out. And then it became okay, what is the answer to this, how do we figure it out? And then it then it was jude jude's journey. What does he do? How does he experience it? And then how does he get to that answer? Um, so that's kind of the the whole progression, and j Jude didn't even have a name when I finished the first script it's a great name.

Speaker 3:

Where did his name come from? So listening to the Beatles, hey Jude. So if you listen to that song, you might find out things about Jude that we have not seen this is exciting there's that.

Speaker 3:

Plus, you know that there is a spiritual side to this where it's like the Book of Revelation, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The last one is the one that rides the pale horse, which is death. And so St Jude is the patron saint of lost causes Damn. And Jude St Clair is just on this hopeless quest. Spoiler Of lost causes, I mean am, and jude st claire is just on this hopeless quest, you know, I mean no, but what I mean this is this is what I love about, and I I like anime, I follow, I read a lot of anime, or, excuse me, watch anime, read manga, right. So a lot of times you get this regular guy who is up against these incredible odds and his determination to win, his determination to keep going, even if he's unqualified or no, it's going to cost him his life, et cetera, right. He is in no way, shape or form prepared for this journey he is on, and that is Jude St Clair.

Speaker 1:

I love the unqualified hero.

Speaker 3:

He is unqualified to the T and I feel like Jude St Clair has an abundance of luck. Good luck and bad luck he has nothing in between. A lot of times he is there in the situation, having to make choices and he doesn't always make the right one and see what happens.

Speaker 1:

So yeah, these zombies are unlike any other zombies I've ever seen. This is such a unique way to do it. I mean most people in the zombie apocalypse genre. They're like you know what? Sir George A Romero set forth the rules and we follow the rules. Right, and this really turns it on its head.

Speaker 3:

Are they zombies to you, lori? They are undead to me because they're not trying to eat people, they're not craving flesh. However, could they be cannibalistic? Yes, they are cannibalistic people in the real world. So we could have cannibalistic undead, but they are people, they're just, I don't know living impaired. It's stupid to say that, but they're people, they're just, I don't know, living impaired.

Speaker 1:

It's stupid to say that's what they are.

Speaker 3:

No, no more need for the circulatory systems and yeah, I mean like stuff doesn't work the way it's supposed to anymore, like your heart don't beat, your brain doesn't fire and all it synapses, but you're still you, at least in the beginning um, laurie, I gotta interrupt you right now.

Speaker 2:

I was gonna ask this question much later on, but now I need to know. So there appears to be a possible, I don't know. I'm just saying there's a possible love potential, uh, that I'm seeing, possibly with jude and an undead person and I just want to know can they still have sex? And like, how quickly do they smell bad?

Speaker 3:

okay, now I tackled this with my I think it's issue three because we did a not suitable for work cover oh, it was an undead pinup and there is uh top showing.

Speaker 2:

Okay, there's how does one get this unsuitable for work cover?

Speaker 3:

um, you just let me know and I'll send you one, because I have those in stock. So anyway so but this was something I wanted to talk about because it's very one sided now and then. So can we? Can we really dig into this, are you guys?

Speaker 2:

Oh yes, you can totally dig into this.

Speaker 3:

So undead sex only works one direction, because unfortunately, guys, once your heart stops pumping, things don't stand up to attention.

Speaker 2:

So no, because I guess the penis pump still requires blood. Got it.

Speaker 3:

Okay, right, but there is enough lube to make the other way work. So at what point is it okay? Is it still okay, like, while they still know you and if they can remember your name? But what if now you have a whole other class of exploitable people? Right, because if they can't remember or they can't make words anymore, is it consent? Plus, it's going to be stinky. That was my first thought.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, people stink. People stink on a good day alive. People stink. You know I have diminished olfactory senses.

Speaker 3:

I really think that, so you'd be fine, yeah sorry, no, look, um, I really think that some of the taboos that we have in the real world would disappear after time, because that's now a whole, that's 50, could be 50 or more of the population is undead. So for how long is that? Okay, that's a great question. I I can't answer that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I think it's a case-by-case situation, so I mean, at some point everyone's gonna be dead.

Speaker 2:

So well, that maybe. Oh, interesting, and I'm also really curious the decomposition and like how long that takes if it's a, if it's a slower process In the beginning it is not.

Speaker 3:

It follows the regular course of time. However, people are ingenious and we do things like we create Botox.

Speaker 2:

That's true.

Speaker 3:

We have makeup. We have stage makeup, right For people that are on camera. Now, what means that we can't experiment with embalming techniques plus makeup?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, why not?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, so that way people can stay in their body longer after they are dead.

Speaker 1:

You go to the embalm salon, it will happen.

Speaker 3:

And what happens when the undead are now the majority, and undeath beauty standards are a thing, so maybe part of their skull is showing, but they get a tattoo on it. I love this. See what I mean.

Speaker 3:

So, standards change, norms change, cultures change with what is acceptable because of the situation. So you know, in the beginning they're probably trying to pass as human for as long as they can, so they're utilizing these techniques. And then eventually maybe it doesn't matter that you pass as human for as long as they can, so they're utilizing these techniques, and then eventually maybe it doesn't matter that you pass as human, so your skin color can be green and you got, you know, skull showing and that's okay, they don't cover up as much, but they might still embalm, so they can be around and mobile because you're eventually going to become immobile.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, cause like you have to have lubrication of your joints. And how much time have you spent thinking this through? I feel like you've had to spend a lot of time.

Speaker 3:

I've spent a lot of time, a lot of time. Well, I wrote it in 2018 and then we didn't publish until 2022. So I had it was probably close to ready in 2020 when we we started moving forward, but that's two years of time where I fiddled with this thing and wrote you know what I? Okay. So, issue number four there is that whole end scene with the riot. Yeah, you read it. Once we get into the next arc, you will be able to go back and read that scene and it will have a new definition.

Speaker 3:

Cause you're seeing it through Jude's perspective and Jude's knowledge, he knows a whole lot more. When he gets to issue 13 and that snake that you saw, you'll get to meet him. So that whole situation really there's. There's so many different layers of what's going on there. So that's what I love to to, that's what that two years of writing let me do is spend time researching and looking up like how brains work and um dementia and like the progression of dementia. But also let me go write you know a big long arc and then go back and foreshadow and rewrite things and put in foreshadowing and all sorts of twists and then things take on a new twist when you get further into the story.

Speaker 2:

It's nuts, it's nuts yeah, it is already nuts on, like I'm only at four, and I think this is probably why I love it so much, because you have put a lot of effort into creating a real world that I fully believe. And, um, the fact that you went, like from old western world where it's, I think, what, 10 years in the apocalypse, 10 years in future, and then we're all of a sudden right back to when it's first starting and then leading back from there, like it's just so thoughtful and now it makes sense. This is why sometimes it's, you know, quality over quantity, like having time to something, leaving something through. Like Dan, you're working on your book and it might take you a decade, but it'll probably be better than the version of you just rushed it out.

Speaker 1:

It's true, like if I, if I wrote this back in like 2008, when I first got the bug, it would have been awful. I'd be like I have to change my name. I gotta, I gotta, write something else.

Speaker 3:

I mean, there's always a natural progression and it's like my recommendation is is to do it and to put it out there, and then you can always refine it, but at least you go through that process and you start your journey. You know, you're published, you're marketing, you're building your audience yeah, because there's no reason not to. The biggest thing that I think helps Indie is consistency and time, because the longer I do this, I find wonderful people like you guys that are really into the same things that I am. You know what I mean.

Speaker 1:

And that you get to come along for the journey. That's what we're trying to do. Yeah, what's that? That's what we're working on. That's the point of the podcast is to meet other people that are like us because it's hard to find us out there in the real world.

Speaker 2:

You talk to a random person at Walmart and you're like do you like zombies?

Speaker 1:

And they're like, I don't know, I saw World War Z, I guess.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I got out of one. Oh, go ahead. No, I was just saying, of all the movies, that one, thank you.

Speaker 2:

I don't remember how many Zeds I gave World War Z, but it were Zed.

Speaker 1:

I how many zeds I gave world war z, but it were zed.

Speaker 2:

Oh, I'm trying to hold on to my canadianness as much as possible.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's bad, it's not good, I mean it's fun. Oh, dan has this. Like laurie, dan has this thing where I think he has nostalgia for some old zombie movies and they really suck and, as a result, I resisted for a long time. This is kind of embarrassing and I'd love to hear your story of when you first watched night of the living dead. But I'd never watched either. I'd watched so much zombie stuff and never watched it, and I you know all of the older zombie things I've watched kind of sucked, you know, especially when you look back over them time over time. And so I had this resistance to watching night of the living dead.

Speaker 3:

And then I watched and I was like holy shit, this is incredible yeah, and I think a lot at times it has to do with just exposure. You know what I mean. How many things have you seen If you see all the good stuff up front, like 28 days later, and then you watch, like Zack Snyder's redo of Night of the Day of the Dead, so you've already hit like two really good ones. And then you go back and you try to watch some of the campy ones. You're like what is this? Yeah, but it's the history. It but it's the history, it's the foundation, right.

Speaker 3:

And I mean, like when you start in my impression of watching Night of the Living Dead, I think it was in high school and I had watched a lot of like slasher films and stuff at that point, zombies not so much, but like I got intrigued. When it's like, okay, the makeup's campy, they're not really scary, you can kind of. But then when they surrounded the house and they started coming in, and then there was the situation with a little girl and I was just like, okay, you got me. You know what I mean.

Speaker 1:

The enemy within.

Speaker 2:

I was very late to the party. I was walking dead late to the party of zombies. Wow, I know, I know I'm not really like a. I grew up with like no TV access really and no movies, so I've just sort of been culturally illiterate. I would access, really, and no movies, so I've just sort of been culturally illiterate. I would describe myself. I've been catching up in my adulthood. Um, there was a specific detail in the very first issue that made me wonder if you visited our neighborhood in vermont. I don't think so, but now I'm curious if there's some sort of strange parallel. So tell me, this is a tiny detail. But dan and I immediately were like what? You have a farm called Stay Away Farms and literally our neighbor's farm is Go Away Farms. That's hilarious the farm name.

Speaker 1:

And I was like yeah, they're our favorite neighbors.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Because they don't want to talk to us. It's perfect.

Speaker 3:

That's hilarious. That's hilarious. No, it's just the attitude of everybody. You know what I mean. There is no, no, trust. You cannot trust anyone in the apocalypse, so they've just, you know, stay away. That's their attitude, like they don't trust anybody. They have a big old stone wall around their whole property where you can't even like walk up and shake their hand.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you can't, they don't want to give jude any water.

Speaker 3:

They begrudgingly she didn't want to give him nothing.

Speaker 2:

She was like get out of here yeah, you know what I mean um which, if you you'll, you'll see you'll see, yeah, do you know why the dead don't die?

Speaker 1:

I do, oh, you're probably not gonna tell us but um I imagine there's probably been some fan theories there's a ton of okay.

Speaker 3:

So one of the I love this short film. So we've talked about some of the cool stuff that we do outside of the comic um, and we do the riddle. So every back cover is a riddle where you get to interact with the world like it's real. So you can call phone numbers, you can find did you find the hidden youtube video? Yes, cool, so that one's cool. Um, if the second one, if you solve that riddle, you get something in your mailbox that one.

Speaker 2:

I think that was the no, we haven't done the second one that was the second one.

Speaker 3:

It's in sign language, right?

Speaker 1:

I tried and I'm like I guess I could, if I like, went online and looked up the actual you just gotta google it. Yeah, I was like all right, am I gonna have all the clues I need within the issue, so I'm going back and looking at it, it's a flat out riddle.

Speaker 3:

It's a flat out riddle, so when you translate it, it's a riddle that you have to solve. Drink more Ovaltine. Drink more Ovaltine is not the answer. And then the first one is like it would actually help you if you had those red and blue 3D glasses.

Speaker 1:

It's a red reveal.

Speaker 3:

That's a hint the big old hint. So, um, if you got one of the first print, first issues, which I don't think you guys did, um, but there was actually on that crossword puzzle, I had a tool with a key on it, yes, and then you would use that tool to solve the red reveal.

Speaker 2:

Okay, interesting so anyway, returning to this immediately after this recording, yeah, so, but that one is interesting too.

Speaker 3:

so, anyway, but there's the riddles and now the short films, and one of the really cool ones that we did was after we did the first one, which was a commercial for the undead retirement community, which is hilarious, and then the second one we did was conspiracy theories. So I interviewed the fans and again, in the beginning, nobody really knows, there's nobody has any idea, people still have no idea what the cause is, and so, but I dressed up as a reporter and I just went around and I interviewed people like what do you think broke broke death, and people could say whatever they wanted. And, um, a lot of people really thought out an answer. It was like um, gmos, so like food related.

Speaker 2:

there's a lot of food related answers sugar, mcdonald's somebody was really upset about m's oh my gosh Improperly euthanized chickens.

Speaker 3:

Right, Sugar, McDonald's, GMOs or just like any kind of like. Someone was like it's in the organic food, you think it's in the GMOs, it's in the organic food, Like that's the reason. So it was really funny because they were contradicting each other and they didn't know. You know what I mean.

Speaker 3:

Like I interviewed one person and then I interviewed right, and so they were just, and I was just like I spliced it together, so it was like it's definitely not yogurt, it's in the yogurt. You know, it was just so funny, but it was really interesting to hear. You know, there's religion, there's government, there's they didn't really say virus. I don't think anybody said virus. Someone said vaccines, but it could be virus, you know what I mean. It could be aliens, it could be anything at this point.

Speaker 2:

I think it's AI. That's my hypothesis.

Speaker 3:

AI did it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, nanobots, I don't know. It's like some weird matrix form where death was an illusion. Anyways, I don't know.

Speaker 3:

It's not a baked theory.

Speaker 2:

That's very kind of you to say interesting. I know that's not what it is.

Speaker 3:

It is. I went magical, supernatural route. I've never heard anybody say that. What did you say, dan? I'm sorry.

Speaker 1:

I just went magical supernatural route. I'm like maybe the. Grim Reaper is on a sabbatical or something. He just left, he just took off, he went to Jamaica.

Speaker 2:

But why? Because he's on vacation.

Speaker 1:

Do we piss somebody off that bad If you ask why?

Speaker 2:

about anything in life?

Speaker 1:

And he's unappreciated.

Speaker 3:

I mean when I get government government does crazy things that they shouldn't and it backfires. You know what I mean, that I get. Why is the Grim Reaper on vacation?

Speaker 1:

Because he's got a really hard job. He has to kill everybody and nobody appreciates him for it.

Speaker 2:

Okay, so here's my other hypothesis I don't think. I don't think it's death's fault, even though it is. I know there's some. There's something there in the title that I'm curious where it goes, but I will say that, like I was thinking a lot about how our society is really obsessed with youth and life extension and yet when death is broken, people freak the fuck out in your world.

Speaker 3:

They're not okay with they're not okay with.

Speaker 2:

Like the reality is is they're figuring out ways to live for like a long time, longer than they would I mean undead live. How do they describe their existence? Did they say they're living? They're unliving.

Speaker 1:

They're on life.

Speaker 2:

They're continuing to unlive.

Speaker 3:

They use a colloquialism called they pass into the gray is what they call it because um things they don't think clearly, um things can still hurt, but they don't hurt as much kind of thing.

Speaker 1:

So it's just, it's like a gray, murky area and that's what they call it that's like my 2013 to 2018 of your life is what gray yeah?

Speaker 2:

it's like all of 2020, when we were all stuck at home, we passed into the great I I was wondering because I, before I had like, went back and read your bio and realized you started this in 2018. I saw, like the very first note that's written is March 5th 2020, which is like right at the beginning of the pandemic, at least as our like, our awareness and I was like how did that influence the series when you had started in 2018?

Speaker 3:

It didn't. The script was complete in January of 2020, when I was looking for artists Psychic and genius Okay. Because it was creepy. It's quite scary Things that have happened in the story that are still happening in our society. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Well, I think that like yeah.

Speaker 3:

There's things like there's something that happens in the riot in four that we have gotten. Yeah, we'll have to talk about this.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, after the show I mean people like us there have been reported that are happening that it's just like I.

Speaker 3:

That's in my story that's really yeah.

Speaker 1:

Like, like we think about this because, like you know not I don't know if everybody in the world thinks like this but like you know, when I think it was like 2019, I remember talking to you, leah, and being like something's gonna happen soon, like within the next year. It's gonna be fucked. I don't know what it is, but something bad is gonna happen. And like I feel I feel like people who are huge fans of the zombie apocalypse genre just the apocalypse in general like like we, kind of just we we feel that we're like things are not going well, something bad is about to happen I was watching this tiktok and this is kind of real.

Speaker 3:

I'll tell the story quickly because it's kind of off subject, but they were talking about how history repeats itself in about 80 year blocks and every 20 years about is a new generation and it's like the.

Speaker 3:

the beginning is like a time of prosper, everybody is doing well. It's a time of conformity, everybody wants to be the same, but usually something really bad has happened that we're recovering from. The next 20 years is the awakening. So all like people are feeling free to share ideas and and become something new in the creative, the creative time, and then it becomes a harder time and it's like they call it a downturn, so like things start to turn around and go the other way. And then there's a crisis and they were talking about how our 80 year block started with the recovery from World War II.

Speaker 3:

That feels so true, and like that, that boom that happened and then, like the sixties and seventies, was the awakening and everybody creative and like really good movies and really good music.

Speaker 1:

Cocaine.

Speaker 3:

And then it's like the nineties to like 2000. And I forget when, but like we had the downturn, there was 2008, the mortgage crash and the recession, and that we're currently in the crisis and that it usually ends with some type of war, there was a civil war there's sorry with the revolutionary war 80 years later was the civil war?

Speaker 2:

it's like you're making my hackle stand on end on my like, but my hair on the back of my neck. And now we're about 80 years from that.

Speaker 3:

So it's going to be and the way that the tiktok goes, it was like.

Speaker 2:

And now it's our turn to save the country and I was like, god damn it, like you know I gotta I'm not prepared for this I gotta say you, of all people, are prepared for this laurie I mean yes and no.

Speaker 3:

I have children and it's like they just they're, they're, it's they're. So you know kids, they don't know hardship, they don't know they get upset when they don't get Chick-fil-A.

Speaker 2:

It was waffle fries. I understand.

Speaker 3:

No, I wanted chocolate milk, not white milk. Like you have food in your belly.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, no concept of money. Oh, what a wonderful world Really. Yeah, they're my kids.

Speaker 3:

Oh, what a wonderful world, no concept of anything really. Yeah, my kids are 10 and 7, so they're young, you know what I mean. So they have no concept. So if we were to be in a true apocalypse like tomorrow, the electricity and water turns off. It's a big deal.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, but they're made of rubber, so the kids no.

Speaker 3:

I mean, they might bounce, but what are they going to eat? You know well, I mean, if you don't need as much food. There'd be helpful scavengers because they're small yeah, they can get in the small places no, my goal would be to teach them all the songs from the little mermaid, so then we can recite them back right, yes, yes, I forgot about that?

Speaker 2:

are you collecting precious moments? Uh, collectibles just as a backup.

Speaker 3:

Not yet I gotta build myself a junk jet, however I am. We did build a modified sledgehammer for the next slice and dice and people are voting to light this pineapple on fire and then sledgehammer it.

Speaker 1:

Oh, unrelated. Have you watched the Fallout series? Yes, yes.

Speaker 3:

Fabulous series, the look on Laurie's face like are you kidding? And I mean like I even had a post where I was like I claim Fallout is an influence to my world building. That makes sense.

Speaker 1:

You know what I mean.

Speaker 3:

It's like Book of Eli, walking Dead, fallout. You know video games. I still play Fallout 4. I have a character.

Speaker 1:

I've been thinking about doing it again after watching the series.

Speaker 3:

I'm like I kind of want to play this. Oh, you haven't finished.

Speaker 1:

No, I haven't finished.

Speaker 3:

I've never finished any.

Speaker 1:

I've never finished any fallout because I get to a certain point and then I'm like I'm running out there into the, into the wastelands, I just want to go kill some.

Speaker 3:

You're like I'm going to go hunt death claws. I do that.

Speaker 1:

I mean I'm do that, I mean I'm going after those super mutants.

Speaker 2:

I asked leah today we're doing this. Leah has never played. I told you I'm culturally illiterate.

Speaker 2:

I'm catching up as an adult you would really like this game I actually have watched somebody play it, but I was gonna ask you like I don't know what your experience growing up was, but my experience was extremely gendered and things like playing video games were not accessible to me. They were to my brother but not me. And like I've tried to play shit as an adult and I cannot I can't walk in a straight line, so it's kind of hard to do anything. I'm curious if you've always been playing or like what your journey is.

Speaker 3:

I did not play video games. I think I told her I was in college. High school college. We got an Xbox, maybe I was a young adult, the same thing, like it just wasn't a thing. But I mean I started martial arts when I was 17. I was at home when I was in high school and that kind of became like my whole world. So that was the one thing that I really enjoyed, and you know it was a boys club, so I feel you like it was like one of these things doesn't belong.

Speaker 3:

It was me, this 17 year old girl, knife fighting with a bunch of dudes, but they loved it and they would stick me on all the new people to scare them. That's amazing.

Speaker 2:

It's a good skill. Oh, can you please correct me on how to say the? It's an Indonesian martial art, right? So?

Speaker 3:

I started with Pencak Silat.

Speaker 2:

Thank you, didn't even come close in my pronunciation with Penchak Silat.

Speaker 3:

Thank you Didn't even come close in my pronunciation. And then I've done Cali Arnis Dos Epares, san Miguel Escrima. I'm currently studying Calis Illustrisimo, which is insane. The founder was this is crazy. So he started out in the Bayonet Corps in the Philippines and then he went to the coast guard and he was fighting pirates on ships so this is pirate fighting tech, so he's the closest thing to a real pirate he's a, he's like he's the real deal, right um?

Speaker 3:

so after he retired from the coast guard, he became a hitman for the mob in manila. This is lived a long life that's amazing story.

Speaker 1:

Is there a?

Speaker 2:

movie about this human.

Speaker 3:

Because there needs to be no, but there's books, there's books. So he lived, I think, until the 80s, but he never. It wasn't a school that he had. It's not like it was like you could get a belt in his system. He didn't teach anybody, he was a hit man, right, this is his trade, what kept him alive. So it wasn't until he was in his sixties that there's three guys that convinced him to take them out as disciples, right, and he didn't have a systemized way to teach them. So one dude would spar the old man and the other two would take notes. How did he do that? And when that guy was too beat up, he'd switch out and they'd put someone else in and they would just fight this guy. And that's how their system started. Yes, seriously and like they would get him drunk and then fight him and his fighting would change um, it's just nuts.

Speaker 3:

It's just nuts this whole system. But yeah, so it's a fairly newer system. You know what I mean. Like some of these martial arts have been around for so long, they've been americanized, they've been systemized.

Speaker 3:

It's like they're everybody has their opinions this one is like three moves, three moves and kill them. Yeah, like we want to know what's the best place to stab a person. They have things called Santo, where it's like you hit him in the face with a. It's like you literally stab him in the face, send him to meet their God. It's called Saint. Have you stabbed anybody in the face? Not anybody in the face um not with a real knife, but yeah, oh right, I thought there was a knife involved.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I was literally picturing your hand. No, like you, that's a punch.

Speaker 2:

I was like literally like okay for the listeners, I'm forgetting. You can't see this? I am doing something very embarrassing right now, which is smashing myself in the face yeah tell me you don't know anything about martial arts without telling me yeah, you're like like this and I'm like um you know what, you're the perfect person to ask this question.

Speaker 1:

Then, um and this is something that I've been wondering about lately what do you think is the best hand-to-hand martial arts form for taking on zombies? Maybe not the ones in your world, but like the traditional either fast or slow zombie?

Speaker 3:

um, you'd want to use bladed art, like something that uses machetes or sticks because you want to keep your distance, like you don't want them to be too close. Um, but something that's two-handed so you could multitask, you could even push them away and then stab. Um, but anything that where you can have quick access to the brain, so even like a rapier, as opposed to like a, you don't want to like a claymore, a giant sword that takes too much effort. You want light, fast, pointy weapons so you can stab. Stab into the if we're talking about, like George Romero, zombies where you just got to stab them in the brain and be done. Be like a fencing, something like that, where it's just like poke and they're done.

Speaker 1:

That was my argument with uh, pride and prejudice and zombies is like that they. They were studying like eastern martial arts and it's like you have fencing already have you read that no, I haven't don't.

Speaker 3:

Is it bad?

Speaker 2:

that's too bad, it's fun the first, the first like I listened to it. The first three hours were like entertaining because it was ridiculous, but then it just got really dumb yeah it's, it's fun to read, but it's not like it's not good you know, yeah gotcha um, I was.

Speaker 1:

I was actually thinking more like a hand-to-hand style, like you don't have any weapons, not that you want to fight as all weapons, yeah, dude.

Speaker 3:

Well, how are you going to get to the brain if you don't have any?

Speaker 1:

weapons, drop them on their head, hit them. Hit them really hard you have to, okay.

Speaker 3:

So maybe like an aikido, yeah, where you use their incoming force against them to drop them onto their head, something like that. Sealat does a lot of hand to hand, but it's mostly like bone breaking, um, pressure points, it's, it's shock and shatter. That's what pentaxilat is. So I, I might hit you three times and then you know, like, take you out with an elbow, but it's not going to do anything to a zombie. They don't have a nerve system anymore.

Speaker 1:

Yeah yeah, they don't care, you really gotta have that knife brain yeah, that's a good point.

Speaker 2:

Um, you heard it here first though, folks, these are real survival tips for the apocalypse daryl dixon has.

Speaker 3:

I think it's spot on crossbow right, so you don't need ammo or you can retrieve your own ammo. They're silent, there's no reverb, there's no kickback, mostly just the crossbow. And then, um, yeah, just, you know how he's, he's always in reverse grip and he just you ever see that guy anything fancy on instagram who's like?

Speaker 1:

uh, he's. He's always like pretending to be daryl dixon and he shows you how, like a normal person will do something, and then he'll like pretend to be daryl dixon he's hilarious he is.

Speaker 2:

People will have to post one after this or something, or put a link in it um you know, since we were talking about uh, video game influences fallout, for example I was wondering if you had uh red dead redemption influences yes, yes, that, yeah, absolutely very much for the western aspect of it.

Speaker 3:

Um, if you like, going into the wild and just you know, you encounter some great, such crazy stuff in that game. Yeah, and again, it's the same like Fallout, red Dead Redemption, where you can choose to be good or bad. Your morality is really your choice in that world, but there's consequences, right, yeah, so that's, of course, an influence for this world. It's like you can do whatever you want in this world and it will. It exists whenever you can imagine, pretty much exists in this world too. But, yeah, I loved red dead redemption, like the whole relationship with him and his horse, I mean, right, yeah.

Speaker 2:

And then, of course, diana I was gonna say like, okay, so we don't see Diana Prince's body and I have hope, because I really their relationship as a horse person. I was like I love this horse and then I was like, fuck, the zombie shows up and gets decimated, but we don't see her body.

Speaker 3:

So I feel like maybe there's a possibility when you friended me on social media and I went and looked at your profile and I saw the horse pictures and I was like maybe there's a possibility. When you friended me on social media and I went and looked at your profile and I saw the horse pictures and I was like, oh god. I was like I destroyed for Leah. I didn't know you were a horse person when we first met. I was just like this person is very unhappy with me, leah, why?

Speaker 2:

it is really true. I literally because we love your stuff, so we got two copies, so we're reading them at the same time together and I just I read a little fast and I put mine down and I was like dan, I can't tell you what happened, but I'm very upset that's 99 of the time like, okay, so I'm at a con and someone's like, all right, he's kind of sold me, I'll read issue one, I'll see if I like it.

Speaker 3:

And they come back to my table with the book and they're shaking it at me like, how dare you give me the next one? I'm like, okay, here you go. Sir, that was one of your questions, dan oh sorry no what was the?

Speaker 2:

question. Oh, I was thinking about yeah, we have questions, laurie, but this is such a great conversation. It's going everywhere and in a beautiful way.

Speaker 1:

But it was kind of answering all of our. It is just out of order.

Speaker 2:

I'm just going through the document like zipping around trying to like oh yeah, and I've already lost it.

Speaker 3:

No, but that that was so important to the story. He loved Diana Prince. That was his lady. You know what I mean. That's, that's Witcherer to roach, you know what I mean?

Speaker 3:

Like she, she went with him everywhere and from the way that they were talking in issue one, he was like you know, it's an undead bear, are you sure? And she's communicating with him and he's like, okay, we'll just have to do it like we've done before. Yeah, so they've been in situations together, um, and they have a way to communicate. He, he's like oh, happy early birthday. I got something. Here's your new shoes. It's something that you do for somebody you love, right? Yes, but again, also talking about world building, because sound is so important in my story being very quiet, or how loud things get, the riots and some of the other things that we haven't seen yet are insanely loud, so loud that we have to figure out a way how to communicate how loud. It is definitely right, big words, it's a 2d medium. Uh, so the fact that she put on these shoes and they trusted each other, but it's just big. James is an unstoppable force and it was jude's decision to stop and get this glass. It was his fault. It was heartbreaking.

Speaker 1:

And he owned it.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, but you're right, we don't see Diana Prince. So that's one of the coolest parts about our world is that you could see her again. You could see Big James again. He's out there doing Big James, angry bear things.

Speaker 2:

I would love to see Big James, but I'm also hopeful for maybe some potential flashbacks or flash forwards, because we're all over in time in your series. But, like some other moments between Jude and the horse, that's just me as a horse person, because I did also kudos for the accuracy of the horse boots.

Speaker 1:

Well done yeah, why are there?

Speaker 2:

real horse boots there are. I had some for Atlas, like when I was still riding my horse, because he couldn't hold on this. I'm gonna also do his quick sidebar that no one else will care about, except people who like horses. But, forgive me, he had really terrible feet and he could not keep shoes on like I tried and they would just fall off. So if I wanted to ride him on any kind of hard ground, you have to put these like boots. They're yeah, they're like shoes for horses and you just use them when you're riding.

Speaker 3:

So yes, yeah, I looked that up to see what they would look like, how they would put them on. You know what I mean to try and keep things accurate and world relatable. It's, I mean, we make mistakes here and there, but, um, for the most part we try to do our best, you know, to have it look like he's really riding a horse. And how would he, you know?

Speaker 2:

yeah, what would he do? Shoes on a horse well, he did a very good job because I believed it, and now I'll offer my horse consultation services to you, should, should Diana Prince ever need to return well, she's gonna be something else when she come back.

Speaker 3:

Man, she's missing her whole forehead. Oh, her little star is gone. Didn't you not see a little star? I?

Speaker 2:

guess, oh wait, remember when jude was in the pool of.

Speaker 3:

Oh yes, okay, yes there was a chunk in the pool of see, but you didn't get the color version, did you no?

Speaker 2:

so that's more noticeable.

Speaker 3:

So the black and white is the collector's item. At this point we are no longer printing them it was pretty good, though, like I enjoyed the art, yeah, of the black and white one thank you, but in the trade paperback it's now released in color. So the next uh when? I read you know, restock everything. I reprinted issue number one in color. So going forward, people, once those black and whites are sold out, I'm not printing them anymore.

Speaker 2:

They're gone all right we'll be framing that one in color. I've already pulled out the um james the bear picture. I forget which issue that one came with um, but that's going up on our zombie bunker wall. I'm gonna be decorating with some cool stuff, yeah gosh, everybody loves to draw big james.

Speaker 3:

I have like one, two, there's two, there's three variant covers with him on. We have the um, the five by sevens. We have, uh, our plushies now. I have sweatshirts now. Oh yeah, you're not seeing the plushies I have somehow missed the plushies.

Speaker 2:

I do. I realize that I'm missing it on a lot because I'm not in.

Speaker 3:

I'm not on facebook, yeah oh, I know people can't see some of this cool stuff because it's audio only, but someone gets this. This is an actual reward from our trade paperback. I had a ton of these made. He's two sided and he's an 11 inch plushie of Big James the bear. This is the Marco DeFio, so this is the actual version of Big James. You know what I mean. He's not a variant. I don't know if you saw these too.

Speaker 1:

No, I think I saw them on Instagram. Did I? Okay, I think?

Speaker 3:

I bind books. Now I did see you binding the books. Yes, that's what this is.

Speaker 3:

Yeah this is one of the bound books that people can. I had, I think, 10 of these available and I made one for my mom, because my mom um, but yeah, so there's like 10 of these that are in the world. Then it's, it's a handbound. I printed these myself. Handbound black and white issues one through four. Um, it's a little difficult to read some of the stuff because it's so tiny, but people are getting these with an actual trade paperback, so you'll be able to read the color, the beautiful one, and then this is just like shelf candy. It's super cool Because it's a hardcover book that I've handcrafted for you. Yeah, I just got cool stuff.

Speaker 2:

I feel like some people will be interviewed like folks like you are so wildly creative, and you're not. You're not just like writing and working on your comics, you're also practicing martial arts and learning new ones.

Speaker 1:

Making hot sauce.

Speaker 2:

Making hot sauce. Making hot sauce, I think.

Speaker 3:

I was thinking about macarons?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I make macaroons. I do macaroons. Macaroons, sorry, not macarons. I bake bread. Do you sleep? Are you full of energy all the time?

Speaker 3:

I'm tired all the time. I survive on caffeine in the morning and alcohol in the evening.

Speaker 2:

That is part of the most important food groups, I believe, on the American plate.

Speaker 3:

Right. No, I don't have alcohol all the time, but coffee for sure in the morning. But yeah, I just I stay busy, I enjoy it, I love what I do. I love doing new stuff. The book binding is a blast. Someday, dan, when you publish your book, send me a copy.

Speaker 1:

I will and.

Speaker 3:

I will rebind it for you. Oh, make you an original hardcover with any cover you want, any color you want. There's just there's so many cool things that we can do, so it's something I want to continue doing is binding books, and it's like I got to do another four issues before I can do another one, so I want to bind everybody else's book in the meantime. I was going to say that's a whole other service.

Speaker 2:

This is another one of those secret skills of the apocalypse. You have many, yeah.

Speaker 1:

But you really need books.

Speaker 3:

when you're trying to create books yeah, we're going to do that. When we have lost the technology to print books and mass produce them, we can handwrite them and bind them.

Speaker 1:

Yeah yeah, absolutely Perfect, we got you. We got you to bind them. We just need somebody to handwrite them. Long form, yes, not me.

Speaker 2:

My writing is utter chicken scratch. Laurie, one of the things that I think you. I heard it right off the bat when we met you for the zombie game, game show, the multimedia experience, but I don't think I fully understood it until I started to spend some time with the comic issues and then, um, I really fell in love with the choose your own adventure, because I love those as a kid. Sure how many times I died?

Speaker 3:

how many a lot. I don't want to say I don't make good choices. Yes, did you chuckle? I mean, like that was the whole point is like some really spectacular deaths, and that you get to play it through as many times as you want and then find all the really cool, unique things. And there's what I love, leah, about that book is there are characters in that book that show up later in the story. So, like the skinner, for example, will show up in the main story and you, the reader, know how terrifying the Skinner is Because you've been skinned by him. Yes, like twice right. Whenever I see a ravine, I'm like oh no, that's the ravine.

Speaker 3:

Don't go in the ravine or if you go down, be silent because there's a bear there, right? But Jude St Clair runs into the Skinner and has no idea who he is. You see what I mean. So you, as the reader, now have insight onto the characters that even jude has no clue. So he'd be like who's this dude? He'd be like fun and he won't be. Yeah, he probably won't there's other and there's other characters, and I just started the second one. There's another choose your own adventure book coming.

Speaker 2:

I'm really excited because I've always been like why aren't there like more fun adult summer camps? And that's what it felt like for me having your choose your, because I fucking loved those as a kid and to be able to do it again as an adult with adult content, because definitely that would have. Well, that disturbed me as an adult. Who am I kidding? It was disturbing still as an adult, but would have probably not been good kid content. But also eat the soup. I did not eat the soup, oh, okay.

Speaker 3:

I was just wondering.

Speaker 2:

I need to go back and eat the soup, I guess, yeah, we got to eat. No, no, no, no, no, no, that's just a no.

Speaker 3:

Honestly, there's no spoilers there. I just threw it in there to be like gross people out. There's no, there's no consequences to eating the soup, other than just like you just make her happy but did you, did you open the box. That's the question I.

Speaker 1:

I fell into a ravine you fell into the ravine.

Speaker 3:

You got eaten by the bear, did you? Uh, is you gotta, you gotta? Okay, that is one that you do need to go find is jane doe and you have to decide whether you want to open the box or not. It's pandora's box you don't ever open the box okay, it will actually give you a better idea of some of the crazy things that happen in this world that we have not touched upon yet, because you'd be like what the f?

Speaker 2:

how far into the future?

Speaker 3:

do you have this plotted out, lori? Um, it's total issues are 36, um, so I have. So again, it's like it's a 12 issue arc. It's basically a full-length movie and each act of the movie is four issues. So basically what you got with issues one through four is act one of a movie. So that again it's it's world introduction, character introduction. So now you understand jude st claire, his history, his, and you've seen what the world, how it works and what it has turned into. Guess what the next four issues are, how it turns into that world.

Speaker 3:

The next part of the movie is usually when they go on their mission and everything goes wrong. Right, yeah. And then the final four is the. You know the wrap up is the third act with the conclusion, answer, a lot more questions and then leads into the next arc. So that's what you're getting yourself into is five, six, seven, eight is everything goes wrong. So if you think things have gone wrong and one through four, you ain't seen nothing yet.

Speaker 2:

I'm gonna be stressed out, so I'm on, I'm on, so stressed. I am. It's worth it. I love this stuff. I love it, but I uh have extremely vivid nightmares, laurie like oh like I wake up yelling like didn't I wake you up the other night? I was like help, yeah, I just hear leah being like help, help and I'm like what so?

Speaker 2:

uh, I will be very interested. If this stuff enters my dreams, james the Bear, I'd kind of be okay with entering. That'd be fun. I would feel really excited if I got a Okay world.

Speaker 1:

I used to have nightmares about bears when I was a kid. I thought they were going to break into my house.

Speaker 3:

Big James the Bear is intriguing to me. I'm afraid of bears because they're unstoppable. The only way in the real world that you could stop a bear intent on killing you is you have to kill it, right? Yeah, but in this world I took that away. So how do you stop?

Speaker 2:

that.

Speaker 3:

How do you survive that?

Speaker 1:

Give it something to eat.

Speaker 3:

So that's the only way.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, you have to, because and then all the parts are the parts still alive, like in Evil Dead, where, like, the claws are still moving towards you.

Speaker 1:

Oh, that is a nightmare right there.

Speaker 3:

If you chop it into pieces, you just have more bear parts spoiler with no context okay, later on in the story we have a character who is a head. That's wonderful, so he must be carried around. He stinks and he's, he's kind of ends up being the comic relief, which is funny.

Speaker 2:

They call him like a hat rack and also um yeah, they must have a lot of really good perfume businesses in this world.

Speaker 3:

Oh yeah, you have to yes, yeah, yes, things that we have not tackled yet. The smell, um. My next short film I'm working on writing is going to be, uh, like a guide, a guide for the undead. So like what is it from beetlejuice? It's like the guide to the recently deceased. So like what is it from beetlejuice? It's like the guide to the recently deceased, something like that. I think. So right, they have a book and it's like they're like it reads like stereo instructions oh okay, you haven't seen beetlejuice, the original one, it's been a long time been a really long time.

Speaker 3:

It's like they're like everything's in the guide did you read the guy? And they're like it reads like stereo instructions. They're like forget it. Um, but I'm gonna do a video where it's like this is someone explaining to someone like have a seat and let you so you're recently deceased, let's talk about it like these are the things that are gonna happen, and like we'll do it in a comedic way, like a 1980s.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, or like like fallout, where they have like in the beginning of the video game there, how they explain the specials in an animated way, but it's like they're blowing people up and you know what I mean, they're super mutants that come out and like smash them to pulp, stuff like that. So we're gonna have like tongue-in-cheek gory humor.

Speaker 2:

I can I can see that I'm picturing, like my 1990s sex ed classes, those videos they used to make you watch, something like so, so you may now find yourself undead. Yes, exactly yeah, I'm picturing it. That would be wonderful.

Speaker 3:

Right, so that's what we're tackling next.

Speaker 1:

There's been changes happening in your body after your organs stopped working.

Speaker 3:

What about like snake oil salesmen?

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah.

Speaker 3:

You know what I mean Because, like World War Z they talked about someone was peddling a vaccine Of course they would do this. So someone is out there telling people there's a cure. Of course Someone is out there making money off of the apocalypse.

Speaker 1:

They probably wear a fantastic hat.

Speaker 3:

I would hope so and have a monkey. I don't know.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, they have a horse-drawn carriage with a whole bunch of like stuff on the side yeah, we're like the thing opens up.

Speaker 3:

Hey everybody, right here comes the sheriff for you. Close up the driveway, have you?

Speaker 1:

been recently deceased.

Speaker 3:

This oil will bring you right back to life it's time to make a commercial and I can fall out. He's like this will cure everything.

Speaker 2:

Oh my god, that's another one. Like I'd only seen a little of the game and then watched that and I feel like dan had to explain a lot of the. What are they called easter eggs? Yeah, lots of easter eggs um so uh.

Speaker 1:

When it with the multimedia experience, I was on the website, so there was a brief mention of a hackable website.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, we haven't gotten there yet, okay.

Speaker 1:

I was searching for it. I'm like there's no clues, Because Dan used to be a hacker and it was making him.

Speaker 2:

I think were you feeling like a failure Dan?

Speaker 1:

I was. I mean, I haven't been able to commit too much time to it, which is probably good, because I would have been up all night.

Speaker 3:

I'm like, and I'm just like, I hacked several websites and they weren't the right one. Where is this website, lori? No, we haven't done it yet, but there's like, obviously there's plans to do that. Like we had a plan for the phone number for a while and then I had to find people that could help me build that yeah, you know what I mean Without it doing weird stuff, or like I didn't want people calling my actual phone, or like have a message box that I had to check, or it wouldn't work, stuff like that. And like it had to be fairly inexpensive, because now it's just active forever and what is it going to cost me? You know what I mean. So once I had my editor's husband is tech savvy and so he helped me set up the phone number and, like I had someone record the message. It's really good and yeah, like upload it and everything and it works. So at some point I would probably be like hey, editor friend, like did you help me? Want to make a hackable website for me?

Speaker 1:

I have an idea Attack the box.

Speaker 3:

Like I want to do that. I also want to do, um, like an old-timey radio show where you listen to a drama being played out like six, six episodes about collectors, so like the guys that go that, go and collect the undead and like kind of the things that they see as they're collecting and that's a messed up job yeah, yeah, but who would do it and why would they do it?

Speaker 3:

um, do they have a choice? Or did they just pull like police and army and throw them into? You know, like what's the situation here? And like what would happen if one of their partners became undead? What would they do? Would they turn them in? Would they let them go? What would they do? So I have have plans for that. There's a lot of things that are still concept, that we haven't been able to follow through with.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it feels like you have so much arc and so many opportunities and time is your enemy. Time is the enemy.

Speaker 3:

And friend, because eventually it's like we'll get through all of it. It's like we were able to accomplish the phone number and that was just a concept for a long time.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's true, you know something that I that I run into a lot because I have so much time to think about my writing and so little time to actually do the writing is that, while I have the time to do the writing, I'm spending too much time thinking about the next book because so much has gone on in my head that I haven't gotten down yet that, like, my brain thinks that I'm further along than I am yes, yes, I get that because I've written so far ahead that I haven't been actively putting down my thoughts.

Speaker 3:

You know what?

Speaker 1:

I mean yeah.

Speaker 3:

So even though I know the ending and I know like I'm in the second arc, I think I have four issues left in the second arc. So out of four, I've done what Eight? I've done eight that are on paper, but I know how it ends the second arc and then you know the end of the third arc. But again it's like I'm so busy producing stuff and marketing and doing all these other things that I have not sat down to write it, doing all these other things that I have not sat down to write it. And I had a thought about this and, specifically for writers, what happens if you die in the middle of your series?

Speaker 1:

Oh well, you know, I actually know a series that that happened. It is the Morningstar Strain series. It's one of the first books that we that we talked about on this podcast. It was written by a guy named ZA that we talked about on this podcast. Uh, it was written by a guy named za rect and he was a veteran. He wrote these were his first books that he wrote and they're I I thought they were pretty great, especially for the time. He amassed like a really big following, um, because, like, very few people were writing zombie stuff. Well, back then, um and uh, he wrote two books and then he took his life before he finished the third book. So friends of his actually took up the series, um, and wrote the rest of it for him because he had it all planned out, um, so now there's six books in the series, I think, um the following four are not as good as the first two, but that's the thing, but I feel like, so that's the thing, that's a lot of pressure.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and I think that they probably he probably had notes for the third book and then they just kind of probably continued it through four, five and six, based on the world that he created, and just kind of went that way.

Speaker 2:

So you have anxiety both. Oh, actually, I don't know if you have anxiety, I'm projecting something. I'm a mad. If I was you, I'm imagining like I don't. I have dogs, I don't have human children. So I imagine having human children means there's like these thoughts around like if I'm not here or shit like what do you do? But you also have this child, this sort of like metaphorical child of the Path of the Pale Rider.

Speaker 3:

Yes.

Speaker 2:

Yes.

Speaker 3:

That's yeah, because what would happen if I either didn't write it down, or you know what I mean? There is an ending, and it's beautiful and horrifying and has all the fan payoff, and it's very personal to me. I have not written it down, wow, but I probably should. We should probably sit down and finish our scripts, dan, so that way you can get hit by a bus tomorrow.

Speaker 1:

I could tie so many different ways every single day, every day, every day.

Speaker 3:

Life is fleeting, so it's like at some point we just need to sit down and just get it out, even if it's just a rough draft, so at least people can know, because, like my, my friend, carissa Grant, I don't thinking that I could do your baby justice. You know, um, she was like my husband would handle all the finances. He would just send it to you. You would make the decisions to continue, you know, making the comic book and I'm just like, I'm so flattered, I'm like like please don't die. I don't want to do that.

Speaker 2:

It's like your godmother now of worthy chaos, yeah.

Speaker 1:

It's like counterpoint Also. That sounds like a lot of work, so please stay alive.

Speaker 3:

Exactly, I was like dude, I got to make yours and mine.

Speaker 2:

I was like so it's a fair trade, though, like if you go, are they going to write yours or what's your backup?

Speaker 3:

well, I need to fit like she needs. She said the same thing. She's like I need to write it all down, so that way it's just there and all you have to do is like you manage the team and you get the books out, because there's the printing, the logistics, they're running the kickstarter, all of that right. So I would continue doing something like that and make sure that the books can continue to be made. Um, as long as her husband is paying for the project. Right Cause, financially, I'm not, that's not me.

Speaker 2:

Right, yeah, this is why we need to break death. We don't have to worry about this. Well, isn't that the fallout series?

Speaker 1:

I'll knock on some wood for all of us. They wanted to make money for oh thanks, is that loud Thanks? I'll correct that later.

Speaker 2:

I want to have like a hard shift in this conversation, because we are coming close to our time and there's something that I've been wanting to ask you the whole time, which is something we care a lot about, um at the book club, is representation.

Speaker 2:

you know, like a lot of zombie literature is just dudes written by dudes, and something that I have recently been paying more attention to is folks with disabilities. I have disabilities and their representation, because it's so rare that you see folks that aren't able bodied in every single way, and so your choice to include ASL was really sorry. American Sign Language Acronyms are annoying for those that don't know.

Speaker 1:

Age sex location.

Speaker 2:

No, but your choice to do that was really interesting to me. But your choice to do that was really interesting to me and I was just curious, um, if there was a personal connection there for you or what was your, what was behind your thinking of having that not only be part of the story but also part of the riddles, like you made it a big part of the world.

Speaker 3:

It is a big part of the world and it's a big part of who makes up Jude St Clair. Um, um, I don't have anybody that's deaf in my family. I have a couple aunts that have been teaching American Sign Language for a long time, so that was kind of my exposure to it. But there's always that thought of what would happen if you were on medication that you know what I mean, like what would happen if you have a disability. And for his mom, specifically where she's deaf. So the concern is is what if I were to die and get collected? How would I communicate with what? She would have no clue, they wouldn't be able to tell her what's going on, she would just be lost.

Speaker 3:

And so you guys have read what has happened with Jude and his family and of course it was a major impact on his family and how. What eventually booted him out of the door and into the world. That's why it was important. It was also important to jude's skill set that he was able to communicate in a silent manner. Yes, because, again, sound is important. So we're going to meet characters later on that also speak asl. But of course jude himself is so sarcastic and he just he shit.

Speaker 3:

Talks about people in asl because they can't understand him yeah, all the time it's so funny, like, but that's part of like the comedic relief of jude sinclair. She's just a sarcastic bastard, so he loses at a card game and he's saying shit.

Speaker 2:

You know that was a great moment there is I we're not going to spoil it, because either you've read them, folks, or you're going to but that moment you're talking about this family, like if there was one thing I wish I could spoil right now, it's that because of it's a big moment, though.

Speaker 3:

Yes, and I'm not going to. I'm only going to say what.

Speaker 2:

I'm going to say is feelings. I had feelings about it and I was very surprised because I didn't fully understand. I think I still hadn't, like absorbed the rules of the world yet. That's all.

Speaker 3:

I'm going to say, and it comes in like two, it comes in two surprises, right? So there's the first surprise. There's the initial oh shit moment, like things are going to change, and then there's the big moment in issue four where it's just like, oh, I did not see that coming Right. Yep, everything kind of comes to a head and the solution is not something that you would guess and it's. It's traumatizing, it is. Don't just say that.

Speaker 2:

But I think that's what makes it great. I like to drink the tears of my readers Is this, giving you pleasure to know how much you've disturbed me.

Speaker 3:

It kind of does and my goal we were talking about this online the ending to what is it? Is it the fog, the mist? One of the Stephen King Frank Darabont did, and the end of that movie was so traumatic. Yeah, someone was like, did you? It was something that, like, laurie Calcatero would write, and I was like, thank you, challenge accepted, like I hope to traumatize my readers someday by writing something that devastating where it's like, oh my God, what did I just read? And that's kind of that moment in issue four where it's just like, oh my God, and it's right in the middle of the comic book, so you don't have to wait till the end. Yeah, yeah, it's not the cliffhanger.

Speaker 3:

Then there's another, there's another trauma at the end of four where it's like what did I just read? I, what did I just say?

Speaker 2:

I mean you already had me on issue one with the horse.

Speaker 1:

So I kind of was like all right, Maximum trauma right away.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, for me it definitely is. Horse trauma is real.

Speaker 3:

Oh Lord, that one. And I'm so sorry for anybody that has a horse. My friends, when I was first doing issue one, I gave them a warning. I was like, like look, people are upset about what I do in this first issue. You will be more upset than most. I'm like so because you have a horse farm, so I am apologizing in advance. Please don't come for me. Um, I have to deal with the horse.

Speaker 1:

And they were like no, you know stephen king talks about this too, where I forget what book it was, but somebody, one of his characters kicks a dog to death and he has. He would have readers come to him and be like like, how could you do that to that dog? And and he's like I, I, I. You know I hate to tell you this, but it wasn't real.

Speaker 3:

And then he's like did you also read where we killed like 75,000 people?

Speaker 2:

It is weird the reaction like for animal deaths versus human deaths. I'm like I'm so desensitized to human death.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, yeah In this world Well it's like children and animals, those are the two. I have to say I have not killed a child in the series yet. Yet Yet. Well, like you don't actively see them get killed. You know what I mean. There are undead children that you see, like in issue three. They go collect undead children, but they're not like you don't see them get killed. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

And I guess they would stay child size forever. They would they would.

Speaker 3:

They don't, they don't progress forever they would, they would.

Speaker 2:

They don't progress.

Speaker 3:

That's very Claudia from Interview with the Vampire yeah, but they're also decaying, so then they're slipping back. They could become feral or violent or forgetful, just like everybody else does.

Speaker 1:

They're the smaller.

Speaker 3:

So it's so difficult to watch any loved one, but, on top of that, one of your children. I mean, that's one of the ethical questions that I always raise in the book, like what happens when someone in the family dies? What if it's? You know the adult and the children are alive and the adult is decaying. Who takes care of those kids? Right? What if you can't own property? They're going to kick you and all your living children out of the house. Where do they go? Or switch it around? Now your child is undead. You're alive, they're undead and they come to collect them. What do you do? Because in the beginning they're themselves. Yeah, they can see, they can feel, they're afraid. Do you hide them until they're a feral child and they're trying to stab you?

Speaker 2:

Do you have a stance on whether or not they have human rights? Do they only have human rights for so long?

Speaker 3:

on whether or not they have human rights. They only have human rights. For so long. I don't answer any questions. I leave it all up to because, again, everybody's decaying differently. Yeah, so some people might be themselves or might be docile, you know what I mean. For the whole time, yeah, other people, could it's it?

Speaker 2:

there's so many parallels to human, like just our human life, and I I wonder, like a lot of stuff has like a a really clear moral to the story, and I find myself, reading yours, being like, what's the message? And I'm I'm still trying to figure it out, other than it's hard. Yeah, there is a message there.

Speaker 3:

It'll become more apparent as you follow jude st claire okay because I can feel it like the, the.

Speaker 2:

The dilemmas feel very real, even though they are in a fictional scenario, and so I feel like there's something, that there's clearly a message that you want to send in a story you're telling for a reason and I am hooked and I want to know what it is. But there's a lot of different points of view, but you're not going to tell us, and that's okay.

Speaker 3:

We it out. I mean you will, you will. I am gonna say something with jude and his actions 100, especially before we get to the end you will see. But I also point a spotlight at the human condition, um, the all of it, the full spectrum. How hopeful we can be, how you know how we can lose our faith, how we can be convinced and be sheep and follow a cult there's cults in this world um, of course, just just how terrible we can be to each other as humans. Turning in your neighbor, um, you know, looking at someone that used to be human and not seeing their humanity anymore, yeah, you become a number yeah you become something else.

Speaker 3:

So it's just so hard, under those circumstances where it's like survival in the apocalypse, how people can choose to go.

Speaker 2:

You know, to direct to opposite directions, but that's how humans are that's what the stakes feel like right now, but everybody thinks their way is the right way and it's just right scary and that there's no common ground.

Speaker 3:

How do you, how do you unite people? How do you and in Jude's case it's like how do you put things back? How? How do you figure out, in a world where it's so different than you have limited access to technology at this point. You know, in the further west he goes, the wilder it gets. How do you figure it out?

Speaker 2:

the wilder it gets um. How do you figure it out this?

Speaker 3:

is why I don't sleep at night. Already in this world he does figure it out, though he will figure it out.

Speaker 2:

Um, have you solved the human life like, like is jude's solution? The solution, because that'd be great I can't say anything. It could be blink twice blink twice if you have the solution to all of the world's problems, lori I will never blink again.

Speaker 3:

I don't have any solutions here. I'm just a creative writer. Um stuff in my story comes true and it scares the shit out of me. That's about where I live yeah, that is pretty wild.

Speaker 2:

I'm very curious to hear more about that later yeah, like all of issue three was covid yeah yeah right, I I really I was like in my mind, I was like okay, laurie is like it's covid land and laurie is writing this in covid, and then I'm like I wrote it in 2018 and when we lived through it, my sister, who has read the script in 2020, called me at one point, was like hey, can I ask you something?

Speaker 3:

and I was like sure, what do you need? She was like can you stop writing? I was like I don't know what to tell you, man. She was like I really need you to stop because your story is coming to life and I cannot handle it. The dates Even the dates were pre-written. Yeah, my face is a date right now. Yeah, that is really creepy. So March 5th is my birthday.

Speaker 2:

Oh, I'm a March 8th baby. No wonder we like Little.

Speaker 3:

Mermaid. So that's why I picked that date, and I just picked a future date In 2018,. I picked my birthday in the future for the apocalypse to happen.

Speaker 2:

That says a lot about you, laurie.

Speaker 3:

I was like I don't know, pick a date that I'll remember. You know what I mean, because it's like you're gonna forget. I'd be like is it March? Is it what year?

Speaker 1:

if the world's gonna end, you might as well have cake.

Speaker 3:

I mean that's true. So, like when the eclipse happened, people were like it's the apocalypse. I was like no, it isn't. And they're like, why? Why do you say that was such you know conviction? I was like, because the apocalypse happens on march 5th, okay, it's like it already happened five years ago I was like we passed. We passed march 5th. I'm like if we gotta wait until next year for the apocalypse to maybe happen, yeah, sorry I think it's already.

Speaker 2:

We're already in an apocalypse. It's a mess out there, but I'm safe. We're safe in our little bunker.

Speaker 3:

I'm grateful for that I hope that it doesn't me too but. I don't know what's coming in book five is a whole lot of mess. Um, you will see some familiar faces. Okay, you're going to be very happy. Oh, okay, you're going to find out what duane fink knows, because, again, I left you there in issue two.

Speaker 1:

Hey, I mean, he seems like a youtube conspiracy theorist. I don't have a lot of faith that he knows anything.

Speaker 3:

No, you're not supposed to. I mean like when we met the duty, was screaming about all sorts of weird stuff standing on a table drunk and then fell off and ended up in the drunk tank. Right, yeah, this is the guy that jude's like. I've been searching for you for years.

Speaker 2:

Like really this guy not a scientist, not like a religious leader nope duane fink, duane fink.

Speaker 3:

he knows something, but does he? I don't know? I guess we might know, duane might know, but nobody believes him, right? But you will find out what duwayne Fink knows in issue five. There are some major current events. There's another returning character who has now changed and blames Jude for their change. Oh, and then we burn everything down.

Speaker 2:

We have a song for that. Dan will send that to you. He plays it at the end of his workday. Every day it's my end of work.

Speaker 1:

It's by I Prevail. It's called Gasoline.

Speaker 2:

It's about burning everything to the ground, and it's how I feel at the end of the work day that feels like what we're going to be preparing for on issue five, similar to some of the fun things, some of the fun QR codes with music. The QR codes were hilarious, weren't they? They were wonderful. I was an asshole, though, because I started playing one of them when Dan was not at that point yet. I'm like it's fine, Just enjoy this music.

Speaker 3:

It'll make sense in a minute. He's like why is that playing right now? And you're like, oh, you will find out.

Speaker 2:

You will know. So, unfortunately, we have come to the end of our time. We have, like so many more questions than we had time for today, because we love talking with you. This has been so much fun. Please tell us when we can expect issue five and what our listeners should do next.

Speaker 3:

All right, so the trade paperback is printing should be fulfilled. I should be actually getting them like in my hand end of April. So the plan is to start issue five. We got to run a Kickstarter sometime in May. All right, I don't have the exact dates yet, so we will be picking up with issue five in before the summer and then hopefully we can fulfill issue five and then Kickstarter issue six before the end of the year. That is our plan. Of course, plans, who knows? There's so many people involved, things you know best laid plans that's what they would say first casualty of war is the plan exactly.

Speaker 3:

Um, social media is a great place to follow what I do. Uh, the facebook group path of a pale rider is where we do all the shenanigans, so it gets the first updates. We also run polls. You guys heard me mention I'm going to murder a pineapple.

Speaker 2:

That's going to be happening in May.

Speaker 3:

One of the stretch goals that we do from our Kickstarters is called the slicing dice, and I pick a fruit or vegetable it's like a watermelon, a pumpkin, this one's a pineapple and people get to vote on a name for the ill-fated fruit and then they get to vote on a weapon of destruction and I destroy this thing on a live stream. It's not edible when you're done. It might be Sometimes like we eat some of the watermelon. There's also watermelon growing in my lawn at this point that's also good for the apocalypse grow some fruit people, uh.

Speaker 1:

But yeah, watermelon grow fruit yeah, grow your own stuff.

Speaker 3:

People smash it in the middle of your lawn and it will grow.

Speaker 1:

That's what nobody tells you that when you're learning gardening, to just smash watermelons we're gonna get down to this.

Speaker 2:

This is what we're gonna do this spring laurie.

Speaker 3:

Thank you for that tip there you go, just smash stuff out there. It'll grow. It's amazing, life will prevail. So yeah, but like the polls are, all the fun stuff is in that Facebook group. But if you want to follow me, all you have to do is search path of a pale writer. We're on Twitter. It's at path pale writer. I'm on TikTok and Instagram. There's an at path of the pale writer. With underscores between all the words. I'm at Lori Calcaterra.

Speaker 3:

On a lot of stuff, you can find me on YouTube. I host a podcast every Tuesday called the Tuesday morning brew. You can find that on YouTube, on Facebook, on Twitter, all over the place. So if you're interested in any of this stuff, please come find me. You can. You can purchase just about everything that I I have in stock from the website. The only thing that you cannot purchase from me off the website is the hot sauce. Damn it. I'm not. I'm not certified to send it across state lines. I sell within the state of Texas. I have it's Texas. They call it cottage law. So things that are shelf stable I am certified to do, like bread, cookies, things that don't need to be refrigerated, fermented, frozen, that kind of stuff I think we need to have an epic road trip across North America to purchase.

Speaker 1:

What's it?

Speaker 2:

called? What is your hot sauce called? Again, I think it's pale.

Speaker 3:

Path of the Pale Sauce. Yes, the first one, that's the flagship barbecue, ghost pepper. I also have two new, so I have three total. I have two new ones that I just premiered. I have meet your maker. Mango habanero, oh, and I have heart stopping jalapeno Serrano. They're both fabulous. Um, the mango habanero is very hot, the jalapeno Serrano is very mild and it goes. I put it on everything. Tacos, scrambled eggs, you name it, I put it on there. I will be the eggs.

Speaker 2:

You name it, I put it on there I will be the mild person, because while I was also deprived of all media as a child, I was also deprived of anything including salt and pepper. Salt is too spicy for me, oh no.

Speaker 3:

I'm not. That's not true. I can eat those things. I do have to say, though if you are interested in the hot sauces, you can find them on the Kickstarter, because that's not technically a sale, it is a pledge, so I will have the next few hot sauces. It's a gift right. You pledge money and you get a reward. You're not making like a sales purchase Interesting.

Speaker 2:

All right. Well, we already knew we were pledging for issue five, and now I just make sure I get the hot sauce version.

Speaker 3:

Right, so issue five. And now I just will make sure I get the hot sauce version right, so issue five. We're going to bring back the Funko Pops, so the next one that you'll be able to buy is the.

Speaker 3:

I say buy pledge and be able to pledge the Cali St Clair Funko Pop that only one person has right now. And then the new Funko Pop will be Francisis st claire, jude st claire's dad, who will have a never mind, I can't say spoiler alert, he will. He will be similar to callie, if you know what?

Speaker 1:

I mean, we'll have um certain details, uh yeah, that'll be great.

Speaker 3:

So then that'll be back. The secret rewards will be back. The hot sauce I will have the flagship, but I will also have a hot sauce sampler so you can be able to purchase all three If you want. Purchase, pledge, damn it. With the book I'll have a couple of different ketchup. I usually have ketchup like K E T C H U P listed as the tier. It's a ketchup tier where you get all the floppies along with the new one. But I will have a mustard tier as well, where you can get the trade paperback instead of all the floppies as your ketchup. So you'll be able to get the trade paperback plus issue five, a lot.

Speaker 2:

Or the ketchup tier will be floppies of one through four and then issue five I was gonna ask you how you were so successful at kickstarter right off the bat, but I will. This is you amazing, like amazing marketing skills, and the story speaks for itself. But the fact that I also get to have hot sauce and ketchup, it's.

Speaker 3:

I mean there is no actual ketchup. Yeah, although I know how to make ketchup, but I'm not going to make ketchup. But I don't know if people really want stuff. I listen to what the people tell me, so if there's something they're really interested in like I did a book bind and I was like these are really cool. And everybody's like how do I get one? And I was like, okay, then we're doing that.

Speaker 2:

That was very smart. I got to join the Facebook group. I really avoid Facebook because it's where all my family is.

Speaker 1:

But for you, Lori. Oh, actually I did.

Speaker 3:

I did request to join your.

Speaker 2:

Facebook group I'm waiting.

Speaker 3:

I did request to join your Facebook group. I'm waiting. Did I accept you? Oh my God, I kept you waiting.

Speaker 2:

Actually I don't know, because I haven't gone back on Facebook since. See, this is the problem. I have my name weirdly spelled to try and avoid more people finding me on Facebook.

Speaker 3:

No, I think you're in.

Speaker 1:

Excellent, and I have two Facebook aliases. Yeah, you're in. Thank you, so that nobody can find me.

Speaker 3:

I guarantee you your family's not in my group.

Speaker 2:

We'll just say that that is great, because they don't know about this podcast and they never will.

Speaker 3:

I mean, it sounds like they don't understand you and therefore don't understand me either.

Speaker 2:

That's right, yeah, which is a loss. It's too bad for them.

Speaker 3:

Too bad for them, more for us.

Speaker 2:

We get to hang out and talk about. We typically ask folks, uh, what an evil magic chicken zombie sounds like. But for you, I'm curious, if you have it in you, to give us what, uh, big james the bear might sound like no, I don't think that's like inhuman, it's in pop.

Speaker 3:

He has no, his throat is open like so his larynx is exposed. It would sound like a rattling like blowing through a garden hose I'd be like what is something that's like flapping, like ripped fleshy. It would be like moist and like but still terrifying roar.

Speaker 3:

It would be a terrifying like bear roar, but it would be like moist, you know what I mean like it's disgusting and terrifying because it's the, it's the zombie, like right on top of the bear and it's just and it's wet because he's he's flapping. People have been fighting this bear for 10 years. He's still around. He's still around and there's still pieces and he's just stuck in rage Like I don't know if you notice where his first wound was, because in issue three we show his origins. He gets shot through the brain. Yeah, through the brain. Oh right, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Full, shot him in the head. I have no memory of anything I read. I'm going to admit it to everybody, dan members, everything I read it, and the beauty of my world is that I can read it again. It's for the first time, lori. So some things stick and some things don't.

Speaker 3:

So I'm like, wait, wait. So in issue three, jude's mom is watching the TV and that's the first time they talk about like animals are also included in that Viewer. Like animals are also included in this and that viewer discretion is advised right. And then they show these two hunters and they shoot the bear and the bear rages and kills them both and it's like on the camcorder. The camcorder falls to the ground. You see the dude's head. He's like help me, the head is still talking right. Um, that's big james. So if it's the part of his brain that can regulate emotion, gone it's just amygdala back here, right his little reptile brain.

Speaker 1:

It's angry so, uh, if he has a giant hole in his throat, does everything that he eat just fall out through his throat hole? Does he need to eat? I don't know, that's one of our questions. He, he, really enjoyed.

Speaker 3:

He just rips things apart. That's where he is. He kind of has like a laser focus where it's like, oh you, you effed up, ripping you to shreds, yeah, and then something else might move and he's off. He's like you know one one able. He only got one good eye too. So it's like something moves, he's off ripping that up. So jude got lucky, because when he uh, we're gonna spoil it at the end of issue one when big james swipes out diana prince's legs and she screams, she becomes the target.

Speaker 3:

jude falls off the horse and becomes unconscious, and that is what saved his life because, when he woke up, it was over and they had right, his horse dragged off, his horse was dragged off. She is a pool of blood and her star from her forehead is all that is left of her. And he, basically, he had a what do they call it? A yard sale. All his stuff is everywhere. He picks up what he can carry and he says you know, um, again, what defines jude is I have to keep going, it doesn't matter the cost. I'm so sorry, prince, this was my fault. Dwayne Fink, you better be worth it. And heads off to Santa Claus. He better be fucking worth it.

Speaker 1:

We'll see, I guess, yeah, I love Dwayne Fink.

Speaker 3:

He is one of my better characters because he's just this idiot in the apocalypse and like nothing has changed for him. He just said we're going to go this way. You know, like it's a bunch of undead people, it's cool. So he's friendly with everybody.

Speaker 2:

But like I want to be Dwayne Fink, I want to not care, I just want to wander around having a good time.

Speaker 1:

He immediately, what he done, reminded me of people that I work with.

Speaker 3:

Oh my gosh.

Speaker 1:

I, that's what he done reminded me of people that I work with. Oh my gosh, I was like these. These got he he drives a truck.

Speaker 2:

For sure we'll find out. Okay, this is obvious. We can't. We're having a hard time ending this conversation because we're having such a good time, laurie. No, I am really sad to end this. We'll have to have you back. Yeah, uh, if, if you would love to come back, we would love to have you back, and um, too bad for you listeners. We're going to talk a little bit after we end this, but is there anything else you would like to say before we finish? You are awesome.

Speaker 3:

Let's see If you want to sign up for our next issue on Kickstarter when we launch. If you go to, if you type in wwwpale-ridercom, it will take you to the prelaunch page for issue five. That's my best recommendation because that way, as soon as I say launch, it will send you an email that says hey, path of the pale writer is live and you can go check out all the cool stuff I have. I have some surprises up my sleeves that I have not told anybody yet. So things are coming.

Speaker 3:

I have variant covers in the works already. I got two out of the four that I typically do in the works. And then, of course, we're going to continue building things like our poker deck. The best thing to do to build the poker deck is to be there at the campaign, because you get the poker cards for free as stretch rewards. Every 50 backers we unlock poker card, you get it for free as stretch rewards. Every 50 backers we unlock poker card, you get it for free. If you've missed poker cards, I have them as add on, so you could always pay a dollar and add on poker cards.

Speaker 3:

So if you've missed out one, but when people are like, oh, I'll catch you on the next one, I'll be like, all right, and then you got to pay for your next two poker cards, dude, I mean, off, you get free. You know I throw in a bunch of freebies. We do fun stuff. Let's see. My stretch goals for last campaign were temporary tattoos, free samples of hot sauce, a pin of big james I think it's over here um, um, extra indie comics digitally that you can read. I think I had like 15 of them right. And then, of course, the slice and dice where you get to put you know name, a freaking fruit and then I smash it to smithereens. We have a fun time.

Speaker 3:

You can participate in the other stuff, like, if you want to be in the short films. Those are fan interactive. If you go watch them, you'll see other people, other zombie book creators like Brandon Starocci and Sam Willis. You'll see people from Charter Comics, people from ASAP, Imagination who else will you see? All sorts of fans and, like, you can see yourself in the world of Path of the Pale Rider if you want to. And it's really up to you your level of involvement If you read the main story, that's the meat and potatoes. That's, of course, jude St Clair's journey. But the riddles, the short films, the choose your own adventure book, it makes it one hell of a ride. You will enjoy it. You will understand more of what Path of the Pill Rider is, the more you choose to participate, that is very true, and you can participate in things you like.

Speaker 2:

Dan's good at the riddles. I suck, but I watched a lot of the videos. Those are my favorite things and then, obviously, choose your own adventure, and I just want to say like this has been such a pleasure. I'm so glad we got to do this. Finally, and I cannot wait for issue five to come out seriously, folks, if you have not bought this you know I'm saying this because I actually really want you to buy it go to path of the pale ridercom and check it out. You will have a really, really good time. It's a lot more fun than doom scrolling the internet. So get off your social media unless it's Path of the Pale Rider and get onto that website and just live the fantasy. It's a good time. Minus the dead horse, I forgive you.

Speaker 3:

Sorry, that happens a lot. I know this sounds funny, but my recommendation is to get them as many that are in front at once, because when you get to the end of the issue, you're going to want to know what happens next. I always leave you hanging. I always leave things you know to be answered. Don't get to a point where you've read one in two physical and you're like what the heck, lori, I need to know what happens next.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I devoured them all in one afternoon. That was it. And then I was on the website and I was like, dan, fix this, do this riddle, because I can't all right. Well, thank you so much. I hope to see you soon and, uh, looking forward to issue five, anything you want to say, damn you guys yeah, thank you again for having me on, of course, thank you all right, say goodbye to the fans everybody, bye-bye-bye, bye, bye.

Speaker 2:

My brain Hurts. Hurts Mostly because we just got to talk to Lori a little bit offline, that you did not get to hear folks and I got some spoilers and she gave us all the secrets. Huh, not all of them. Just enough to make me like I already really really wanted issue five, but she shared some secrets about issue seven, yeah, and the overall arc, and it's going to get pretty crazy.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I've really been enjoying it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think this is one of my favorite things that we've read on the podcast so far.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you know, what's funny is that we wouldn't know Lori Calcaterra existed unless we talked to Brandon Starocchi first. I think it's Starocchi Starocchi, that's how she pronounced it. We've been saying it wrong this entire time. Or she's been saying it wrong this entire time One of us is wrong, brandon, let us know, brandon help.

Speaker 2:

Brandon from Avalon Comics. Yeah, I think this is why we made this podcast, I mean for many reasons. One is an excuse to do something fun, but two is like building community and it is really neat that we know we know a lot of people now that we would never have met, not just people we've had on the podcast, but people who are listening and right in like um, we're gonna record in a little bit another episode of casual dead and talk about some of our listeners that are doing some cool things.

Speaker 1:

So it'll come out before this episode yeah because that's just how the recording works.

Speaker 2:

Especially in Dan's work season. Yeah, we just recorded episode 45, and then we're going to record episode 42. Yeah, so that's how it goes. But what's extra fun? Because this is technically in the future for me, but for you all it's right now, since we have finished path of the pale rider, at least up until episode or sorry, issue four, five, four. We're on four, issue four we have new zombie homework for y'all yeah, we're reading a new thing.

Speaker 1:

What are we reading, dan? Uh, on episode 55, we're gonna read a book that I really enjoyed. Um, it's called the remaining by dj mole. Uh, it's a series. Um, we're going to talk about the first book. I might talk a little bit about the whole series, because I read it and I loved it and also I was a little bit mad because I'm like this is really good and it's like basically the exact book I want to write that's upsetting, but you have your own twist.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, my book's gonna be my book. You know it's not gonna be the same book, but I'm like the, the, the gritty realism, you know the, the way that the story is told. I just love everything about it, so I highly recommend it. Um, it's a. It's a story about a uh, soldier who's um, you know, his job is to go down into a bunker whenever there's a weird situation in the world, to, like, you know, anytime that there's a threat, they're like going to the bunker and he stays down there. And just so happens that he goes down there when there's a zombie apocalypse and then he comes out and he has to rebuild society.

Speaker 2:

Interesting Yep. I'm looking forward to listening to this one. I hope it's on. I hope it's an audio book Is forward to listening to this one.

Speaker 1:

I hope it's on.

Speaker 2:

I hope it's an audiobook. Is it an audiobook? I guess it must be, because you will mostly listen to audiobooks. Yeah, I listened to this last year and I got hooked right away yeah, and I think we have at least one fan, big fan of dj mole's right mole.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, a dj mole fan fan page followed us. Yeah, so they've.

Speaker 2:

They've left us some comments so I'm sure, uh, they will be happy to hear that we're reading this. In the meantime, get your DJ mole the remaining books and call us at 614-699-0006. What didn't we ask, laurie, that you're still wishing you knew?

Speaker 1:

So many things.

Speaker 2:

So many? Why do they have?

Speaker 1:

guns if you can't kill anybody.

Speaker 2:

We have so many questions still because it's a really good series, but it was a great conversation. Have so many questions still because it's a really good series, but it was a great conversation and you can, you can also. I'm still looking for, still looking for evil magic chicken zombie clucks yeah, leah's still looking for those clucks episode 50.

Speaker 2:

For our 50th episode, I'm gonna do a drawing of all the people who submitted an evil magic chicken zombie cluck, and, uh, if I know who you are. Anyways, if you say your name, oh yeah, uh, in your voicemail, I won't have to. I won't air it unless you want me to. You want to take credit for your amazing chicken cluck, but one of you will be getting a t-shirt yeah, and also, our t-shirts are up, they're finished, they're in, they're in the store.

Speaker 1:

There's a link in the description or in the link tree. It's in the description. Yeah, I remembered just now.

Speaker 2:

It doesn't say zombie book club podcast on them though no, it's kind of its own thing. We'll make zombie book club shirts at some point yes, at one point at one point I gotta, I gotta correct our logo in the meantime, if you have not subscribed, do that also rate review. I am still waiting as of this recording maybe it's already happened and and somebody giving us a five-star review with the title they call this Dirtbags. I'm still waiting. Help us spread this like a virus.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, you Dirtbags.

Speaker 2:

It really whenever you say it, or I said it, I was like that's so mean, I still feel bad about it, but yeah, thanks everybody for for listening.

Speaker 1:

This was a great episode. I'm worn out now yes I am. I am about to fall asleep, yeah, but we're gonna record a casual dead right now.

Speaker 2:

So in the meantime, follow us on instagram and thread subscribe. Rate review link tree in the description. Go check out path of the pale ridercom. You will not regret it and have a lovely day y'all yeah, have a great day.

Speaker 1:

The end is nigh bye.

Zombie Book Club With Laurie Calcaterra
Hot Sauce, Undead Ants, and Apocalypse
Zombie Movies, Riddles, and Hypotheses
Apocalypse Prep and Martial Arts
Survival Tips for the Apocalypse
Choose Your Own Adventure Book Characters
Guide for the Undead Film Concept
Ethical and Emotional Themes in Writing
Exploring Dystopian Themes in Fiction
Joining Path of the Pale Rider
Building Community Through Podcasting