Comic-Con International in San Diego is the big dance for comic book fans and pros alike, showcasing spectacular booth displays, acres of long boxes and a robust artist’s alley. It is also, to put things mildly, utterly packed with people, occasionally making it a struggle to get from place to place and requiring many hours’ wait in line to gain admittance to the most popular panels. So what would happen if zombies turned up in a crowd of over 130,000 fanboys and girls?
Writer Sam Humphries, star of the self-publishing comic scene with recent hits “Our Love is Real” and “Sacrifice” as well as tackling the world of Edgar Rice Burroughs in his and artist Ramon Perez’s “John Carter: Gods of Mars,” for Marvel, brings his talents to BOOM! Studios for the March-debuting ongoing series “Fanboys vs. Zombies,” with Jerry Gaylord on art. Comic Book Resources spoke to Humphries about his plans for the series.
CBR News: Sam, you’re a veteran of the convention scene — why does this environment lend itself to a zombie story (or a zombie parody)?
Sam Humphries: It’s a hundred and sixty five thousand people in an enclosed space, distracted by constant assaults on their senses, and experiencing heightened realities every twenty feet. That place is a zombie buffet.
2011 was my tenth year in a row at San Diego Comic Con. I have been planning this for a decade.
For those who might never have had the pleasure of attending a big con, mush less Comic-Con International, are there still aspects of the con-going culture they’ll recognize and relate to?
Oh, absolutely. At the core, this book is about a group of friends struggling to deal with the fact that they are occasionally giant douchebags to each other, yet they still love each other dearly. I think almost everyone can relate to that.
And if you’ve never been to the big show before, this is a very gooey and gory way to experience it. You know what they say, you never forget your first time!
For clarity’s sake, is this set specifically at San Diego, or could it just as easily be one of the other big cons like New York?
It is definitely set in San Diego. I am accepting bids and bribes for any other convention that would like to get ravaged by the undead in the next arc. (Kidding! Kind of.)
You’ve had a string of very successful self-published projects of your own ideas recently. Why hop on this property coming from BOOM!?
BOOM! Editor-in-Chief Matt Gagnon and I go way, way back. Back to the days when I was at MySpace and he was managing Meltdown Comics. Matt approached me to write the story, and sweetened the deal with some terrific Humberto Ramos art. It took me about two seconds to understand the appeal, and I was in.
What can you tell us about the story of “Fanboys vs. Zombies?” Who are our heroes, and what manner of zombies are they up against?
The heroes are a group of fanboys and fangirls who have been experiencing and disgracing Comic-Con together, every year. This year, the group is in crisis because of an ill-considered romantic complication. They’re hungover, frustrated and angry at each other, and trapped in a giant steel-and-glass greenhouse with a hundred-thousand-and-change zombies. These are not ideal conditions for repairing friendships for the ages. But that is their challenge.
The zombies in this book have a unique origin that I think could only happen at a comic convention. The ramifications of this are felt through the entire book.
How does the convention environment complicate their chances of survival? Does it offer any advantages?
One out of ten Comic-Con attendees are carrying some sort of exaggerated melee-style weaponry. That is a plus. The minus is, the zombies have access to them too.
Will there be any scenes set on the CBR Yacht?
Good heavens, no!! I would never desecrate the hallowed hull of The Yacht, even in fiction. But CBR fans should pay very close attention. To say anything more would involve spoilers.
How about the line outside Hall H?
If the inside of Comic-Con turns into a rapidly evolving zombie epidemic, being in the line outside Hall H could suddenly be a great place to be, right??
Your artist for the series is Jerry Gaylord. What does he bring to this particular story?
Jerry is like Tasmanian Devil on the page. He’s got a great sense of energy, character and humor. As you may have guessed from the title, this book is no gritty slice-of-life. (My Harvey Pekar tribute will wait for another day.) It’s “Fanboys vs. Zombies!” A fast-paced, exaggerated horror comic played for laughs. Jerry’s got the style to make it all come alive.
This is your first time in the horror genre, albeit horror-comedy. Did you surprise yourself by writing anything especially frightening?
Every time someone says “San Diego Comic Con” a zombie pops up and screams, “It’s called Comic-Con International in San Diego!!” Bone-chilling stuff.