Tag Archives: Walking Dead

Interview with ZOMBIE RANCH creators Clint & Dawn Wolf!

27 Mar

by Mike Hansen

2010-04-06-issue2-version2The zombie genre has exploded in the last few years thanks to the success of The Walking Dead and hit movies like 28 Days Later and the Dawn Of The Dead remake, but the concept as envisioned by creator/director George A. Romero has had plenty of bad stories and ripoffs and surprisingly few stories that stretch the concept into new directions (such as Max Brooks’s fantastic Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z).

ZOMBIE RANCH is a terrific, long-running serialized webcomic from creators Clint & Dawn Wolf that places the modern zombie in an entirely new venue: the American desert of the future, with Big Brother-like “reality show” floating cameras recording the story’s events. Following in the classic Romero tradition of focusing on the survivors (not the monsters) and commenting on modern society, what sets Zombie Ranch apart is that its story starts long after a zombie apocalypse has ended. The mark of a good story is having it start as late as possible, and this ballsy approach has paid off: After its launch in September 2009, ZR has found a dedicated following, thanks to its clear and entertaining storytelling, a deceptively simple “animation cel”-style of artwork, regular updates, and frequent west-coast convention appearances. Over the last few months, I exchanged an email Q&A with the Wolfs. Enjoy (and as always, CLICK to make the artwork bigger):

2009-11-04-06_donthurtthemmuchWhat made you want to do a webcomic?

DAWN: I’d been doing an occasional webcomic strip called Bits of Nothing for years, but I always wanted to draw an actual story comic. I had a lot of false starts with other writers, including a comic that almost went to print but got rejected. Clint and I had been married for a long time but he’d never really tried to write anything for me, but then I drew that picture and it really fired him up. It was shortly after I’d been taking some web design and comic design classes, too, so I thought it would be neat to go with the web.

CLINT: Webcomics are the ultimate self-starter scenario. If you’ve got a story to tell and the passion and patience to see it through, it’s an unequaled way to connect with the widest possible audience at the lowest possible cost. Also, you don’t need to impress anyone with a resume, just with your output.

2009-12-09-pg11_nothinbutmeatHow did you come up with Zombie Ranch?

CLINT: Dawn drew a crazy picture at 3 A.M., and the rest is history. It might not have gone anywhere had she answered me that her shotgun-totin’ cowgirl was a zombie hunter rather than a zombie “rancher,” but once that happened, the idea ate into my brain as surely as if a hungry ghoul had gotten hold of me. I’d say another big piece of the concept came from the modern trend of dangerous-job reality shows such as “Deadliest Catch,” to the point I already mentioned it in the comic itself. The gal wearing a belly shirt started me thinking of setting it in the future instead of the past, and in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse that had come and gone. You just didn’t see too many stories exploring how things might be ten or twenty years down the road, when all the running and screaming was over.

2010-01-06-13_firstimpressionsI don’t know how much where we live influenced the theme so much as the fact that the concept started with Cowgirl-Ranch-Zombies, and two of those three concepts are pretty solidly “Western.” It doesn’t hurt that Dawn grew up on a farm out in the desert, so she has insights on how things might go from day to day.

DAWN: Some of the pieces I draw that get the biggest responses are the ones I do in the wee hours of the night after Clint’s gone to bed and I’m left alone with my weird ideas. I wanted to do something different than the usual “zombie-hunting” art and decided she would be a rancher. Clint thought that was a really neat idea, and then we ended up selling the original at the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con Art Show for the most I’ve ever sold a piece, and there was a bid war. So we figured we might be onto something.

2009-09-25-onthezombieranchSo how do you explain Zombie Ranch to someone who’s never read it or heard of it before?

CLINT: The simplest answer would be “Cowboys & Zombies”, but we’re not the first to come up with that idea. Plus that falls pretty short of communicating the details I think make our story unique. Usually I’ll start by telling people that this is set many years after the apocalypse has come and gone, and people survived and adapted and rebuilt, and not only that, discovered a way to profit off the new reality of the walking dead. Then I tell them that Zombie Ranch is about the daily lives of the men & women who wrangle those undead for a living.

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News: Some people still buy back issues (at least Walking Dead, but probably not Deadpool)

6 Dec

by Mike Hansen

Deadpool by Liefeld

Who wants some freshly baked bread? Mmmm.

A few weeks ago, a grade-9.9 copy of The Walking Dead #1 sold for over $10,000. That is INSANE for any comic under 50 years old, much less one from a decade ago – I mean, even a 9.8 copy of Giant-Size X-Men #1 is offered at only $4,000 at Lone Star Comics! The Walking Dead is one of the few series that still has demand outpacing supply, despite the zillions of reprints in various formats (including Walking Dead Weekly, which even included the original letters pages!). I have a feeling that there’s a small group of very rich comics collector/investors out there buying this, probably the same folks who have been pushing up the prices of key 1930s-1960s comics like Action Comics #1 or X-Men #1 or whatever.

On the other end of the scale, folks are finally waking up to the fact that the first appearance of Deadpool in New Mutants #98 is WAY overpriced. I’ve been talking about this for years now – while most Marvel comics sell 10,000-50,000 copies these days, in the early ’90s they generally sold hundreds of thousands of copies. NM #98 is one of the most common back issues in comics history, but retailers have hoarded copies and jacked up prices because of a brief resurgence of interest in Deadpool stories after the Wolverine movie came out. Now there’s a website devoted to this absurdity! I love it.

The fact is, Continue reading

I want my Walking Dead TV back

27 Jul

by Mike Hansen

The Walking Dead promotional poster

via Wikipedia

Unfortunately, my house subscribes to Dish Network, which dropped AMC’s channels a few weeks ago. So I can’t (legally) watch The Walking Dead without dropping my contract and getting hit with a huge early-termination fee.

I just got this email from AMC:

Dear DISH Subscriber:

Did you know that AMC just received the most Emmy nominations of any basic cable channel? 34 nominations for shows like “Breaking Bad”, “Mad Men”, “The Walking Dead” and “Hell on Wheels”. Yet despite the popularity and demand for these shows, DISH continues to black out AMC, IFC, WE tv, and Sundance Channel. To add insult to injury, DISH continues to charge you for them; you just no longer receive them.

DISH’s decision to drop AMC, WEtv, IFC and Sundance Channel had nothing to do with our fees, or our shows. In fact, unlike almost every other dispute you see between providers and programmers, and despite DISH’s misleading claims to the contrary, this is not about fees.

The simple truth is that DISH is using their consumers as pawns to attempt to gain leverage in a lawsuit involving an old and unrelated business venture that has nothing to do with AMC, nothing to do with our shows or fees, and certainly nothing to do with DISH subscribers, who just want to watch the shows they love and are paying DISH for. You will not see any AMC Networks’ shows on DISH any time soon.

In other words, since DISH’s reason for depriving you of AMC programming is based on a lawsuit that won’t be resolved for a long time, this problem won’t be solved shortly, unlike other disputes between programmers and providers, which typically are resolved in a matter of days (weeks at most). Continue reading

It’s a WALKING DEAD Kind of Day

16 Oct
The Walking Dead

Mmmm, caaaaaake... (Image by snarkygurl via Flickr)

Season Two of The Walking Dead starts tonight on AMC, so I’ve finally got an excuse to finish watching Season One! (I know, I suck…) Season One is being rerun all day today, but I’m going to save time and watch the DVDs.

If you need a little extra Walking Dead before the new season, check out this 6-part video prequel to Season One here!

And if you can’t wait for the season premiere, here’s the extended preview of tonight’s episode, straight outta the NY Comic Con.

And remember, kids: AIM FOR THE HEAD.

(Say, anyone planning on watching Talking Dead with Chris Hardwick tonight?) Continue reading

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