Starting out just over a year ago, thezombienation.com has continued to grow as one of my favorite webcomics. Carter has a unique, fun style that constantly shows hes challenging himself not just as an artist, but as a zombie enthusiast as well. Its not one of those “Oh, here’s a webcomic, this is the storyline you get, deal with it.” types of webcomics. He adds a lot of fun, and humorous selections to his comic. “Left 4 Dead Rejected Boss Zombies”, zombified celebrities, zombified commercials, and other gigantic chunks of wonderful meat that will leave you laughing every time you check out the site. Or, if your like me and have to make sure you’ve read every single scrap on the site once introduced to it, You’ll laugh for hours and THEN add it to your RSS feed and laugh about it daily. Well, He only adds new comics on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but the blogs are still pretty damned good too.
So after some brief email correspondence, I cautiously coaxed him into an interview. This is what ensued.
Me: I want to talk about the art first and foremost. I noticed early on, you do some great celebrity zombifications, how do you choose your victims?
Carter: Well it helps if there dead, that way they can’t punch me in the face… Wait, if they do become zombies then they still could punch me in the face. Dang it! There’s a flaw in my plan. Otherwise I look for someone who has a lot of character in their face.
Me: Do you ever do commission work? Say, if someone wanted a zombified self? (I’m thinking optemistic birthday gift for one’s spouse)
Carter: My plans for my comic this year are to actually put a up a store on my website and offer things that people will hopefully like. Commissioned work will definitely be one of the items I’ll offer as I love to do it. It’s all part of my plan to slowly take over the world, grinding lesser men beneath my booted heel, and to steel their women.
Me: Is there anything you consider “off limits” to draw or parody?
Carter: Yes I suppose so, I’m a very PG-13 kind of person so naturally my comic subject matter is the same way. My son asked me the other day “Dad, why do you like evil so much?”
My response was (After I grounded him for a year), “Daddy doesn’t like real evil, boy, Daddy likes cartoony evil.”
As long as I can find a way to make it light hearted I’ll make fun of it, whatever “It” is, but you’ll never see anything resembling an “After School Special” come out of me. I just don’t enjoy that.
Me: What programs do you use for your art? Do you start with a rough sketch or is it pretty well defined before you turn it into digital art?
Carter: I start with a rough sketch that I scan into my computer then I use Illustrator to “Ink” the comic and do pretty much everything else. I have a very slight tremor in my hands (Possibly due to raging caffeine addiction) that the Illustrator ink brush tool smoothes out for me nicely.
The other benefit to using illustrator is smaller file sizes and scalability. I use Illustrator every single day so it’s a pretty natural fit for making the comic.
Me: Do you have a dayjob, or have you masterfully become a fulltime artist?
Carter: Oh no, I’m still a slave to “The Man.” I work for a screen printing company as a graphic artist. However, I’m hoping that I will be able use that position to my advantage by printing my own designs there for a lower cost to offer up on my website. Perhaps one day it will help me do this 100% for a living.
Everyone’s got to have a dream right? (This is the part where I curl up in the fetal position, sobbing, and muttering how I’ll never be good enough)
Me: And for anyone who might be considering it, what is the biggest challange of having your own webcomic?
Carter: That’s easy, time. There are only so many hours in the day, and life is pretty complicated and gets more so real fast. I suppose I could go be a hermit out in the woods drawing comics undisturbed, but I find that I enjoy being clean and fed regularly to much to try it.
Maybe next year though, I might make a good hermit… I hear they don’t have to shave often, I hate shaving.
Me: We all have them, What is your biggest pet peeve?
Carter: Zombie purists. Those people who stubbornly insist that zombies can only ever be one way based on George Romero’s movies. Romero basically defined what the zombie was in Pop Culture, but if you watch his movies he breaks the Pop Culture zombie mold all the time. Stil,l people insist zombies have to be slow and mindless or they’re not zombies. I’m not saying they have to glitter in the sun or anything, but let’s mix it up a little before we all get bored.
Another easy one. SNOW! I hate snow with a white hot intensity that only the blood of the innocent can satisfy! So of course I live in Utah which is world famous for it’s snow. I never claimed to be a very smart man. Every year I drive in it and every year the snow here tries to kill me. I’m really looking forward to global warming.
Me: If the Zombpocalypse happened tomorrow, what is your weapon of choice?
Carter: A big truck with a reinforced bumper and a full tank of gas. I’ll find a nice relatively empty parking lot and start running over dead people till there’s none left or I join their ranks.
Me: Are you going to fight tooth and nail or are you ready to conform to your new zombie self?
Carter: BOTH!, I’ll happily fight to the last breath in my body, but when the inevitable comes I plan on throwing myself to the stinking hordes blissfully. You know, nobody knows what being a zombie is like, what if it’s awesome, like a permanent caffeine high or that warm feeling you get when you cut someone off in traffic and they give you the finger…. I love that feeling.
Anyway if I become a zombie, don’t shoot me, I just may be having the time of my life… unlife… whatever.
Me: Whats your all time favorite Zombie movie? Do you feel it embodies everything a zombie should be?
Carter: My favorite zombie movie. “Fido” it has an amazing atmosphere of casual acceptance of horror that I have rarely seen in horror movies. It has a strange type of gallows humor that’s really hard to describe but really resonates with me.
As for whether it is every thing a zombie should be, that depends. Are you a zombie purist? Are zombies only allowed to be what George Romero defined them as for Pop Culture? I prefer zombies that break the mold and do different things. Fast,, slow, smart, dumb zombies. I like zombies to have unpredictable variety.
I’d like to thank Carter YET AGAIN for allowing me the opportunity to pick his brain (Pun intended) and for being our very first celebrity interview here on ZombieSlam.com. If you aren’t already addicted you can check out his webcomic at thezombienation.com. I look forward to seeing what he has in store for his characters in the future, and should he start up his webstore filled with zombie goodness, I look forward to wandering the streets aimlessly wearing his t-shirts and searching for brains.