Friday, March 30, 2007

JHZ Anthology

As the artist search continues, I got a great idea from my friend (and terrific artist) Justin Stewart (check out his web comic, Popped Culture). He suggested I try to set up an Anthology with a bunch of short 1-shot JHZ stories, each drawn by different artists.

So that's what I'm doing. Each short story is 5 pages in length, and so far there are 8 artists committed. I've also brought my best friend Mike Bartolotta on to do some writing with me. We've been writing together since we were about 13 years old, so our sensibilities, style, and tastes are very much in line with one another. Thus far, we've got 5 scripts out to artists, and the work has started!

One of the great artists working on the anthology, Mark Lauthier, hit me up with this, his first sketched idea for Jesus:

Pretty bad ass take on the J-Man, no? Needless to say, as I search for a new artist, this project has me stoked!

~ Stephen

Monday, March 26, 2007


Well, I said that this blog was going to be about the ups and DOWNS of trying to self-publish this comic... so that means there are bound to be downs.

As of now, JHZ is without an artist. Although I love Daryl and his art to death, the style change just wasn't working for the book. That, coupled with a great new project that Daryl has in the works, has us parting ways for now.

It's not a bad split. Like I said, I have all the respect and admiration in the world for Daryl and his work, it's just different directions we're heading in. but we'll be working together on a new project in th enear future!

So what does that mean for JHZ? It means I'm without an artist and the book is in a bit of a limbo right now. I've start an anthology, which will have a bunch of 5-page JHZ stories in it, all written by me with art by various artists. it should be awesome, and it should satiate me as I search for a new full-time JHZ artist.

In the meantime, the web comic will be on hold, as will issue #1.

So stick with me as I sort through all of this...

~ Stephen

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

OFF TOPIC (but explains a lot)

have you ever traveled into your past a bit and found something that makes you go, "Ooohhh... that's DEFINITELY got something to do with why I'm such a weird sonofabitch!"

No? Just me? That's Ok. Just roll with me here...

So I found a bunch of comics from when I was a kid in an old trunk of mine in my garage. to put "when I was a kid" into perspective, I'm turning 30 on Saturday (March 10th).

I pulled out the box of comics and nostalgically started thumbing through them when I happened upon this:

Yep... that's right, a CHUCK NORRIS KARATE KOMMANDOS comic! Holy shit!! No wonder I can't spell... I've always thought commandos was spelled with a "K".

I mean, I've always blamed my 7 years of Catholic schooling and 2 years of altar boy service for how screwed up I am... but NO! It was Chuck Norris' fault all along!

I mean, look at this. This poor woman is being abused by a bunch of low-rent ninja types!

And what the hell is Chuck wearing in this thing?!?!

Granted, it's Chuck Norris, so naturally he's kickin' some serious ass... but in a red-ish/orange shirt and white vest thingy?? Oh no, no, no... The Chuck Norris I know and love only wears denim and/or flannel shirts!!

Regardless, if anyone ever sees you looking at some JESUS HATES ZOMBiES! material and says, "What kind of fucked up individual comes up with an idea like THAT?!?", you can say, "The kind that was subjected to CHUCK NORRIS KARATE KOMMANDOS comics as a kid...

Wow... this explains SO MUCH! (now I need to give Father O'Malley a call in prison and apologize... I guess it really wasn't his fault..)

~ Stephen

Monday, March 5, 2007

JC - Zombie or Not?

Ok, this is something that keeps coming up in comments on various message boards when dealing with JESUS HATES ZOMBiES!

"Isn't Jesus a zombie himself?"

"How can Jesus hates zombies...? He's the first zombie!"

People, people, people... have you ever seen JC gnawing on somebody's skull, trying to eat their brains? Is that in the bible somewhere? 'Cause if it is, I seriously got screwed during my tenure at Catholic school as a young lad. Jesus was resurrected, sure... but not as a mindless zombie. He retained motor function, cognitive thought, a healthy appetite, and a general sense of personal hygiene... none of which matters to the walking dead.

So please, can we put to rest the "Isn't Jesus a zombie?" nonsense...

I swear, if he heard you calling him a zombie, you'd probably catch some Holy Wood upside your head! (I'm talking about his baseball bat, ya sick bastards!)

~ Stephen

A Little Bit 'O Back Story

And here I sit... blogging for the first time about the process of getting an independent comic out there for mass consumption. But in order to properly do that, I have to take a few steps back and catch everyone up on where I am in the process and how this whole thing came to be.

I'm a writer. I've been writing since I was a child, and it's something I never get tired of. Part of it is the joy that can be felt when you're writing something and it's just flowing... as if it's coming from someplace completely separate and outside of you. Part of it is the ego trip of creating and manipulating an entire world. Normal rules need not apply when YOU'RE the creator... and I like that. But mostly, I think it's a deep seeded need I have to tell stories. No matter the medium, I just like telling stories. And comics offer a unique story-telling venue.

Ok, so that's a bit about where I'm coming from. But where did the comic come from? Last year, I embarked on a journey into writing a novel. More specifically, I zombie novel. You see, I'd been searching for a good zombie novel for a while, and they proved to be few and far between. So I decided that I was going to write the type of zombie novel I'd want to read. But as I wrote and wrote and wrote, the book was becoming more bloated than a rotting corpse... and I just couldn't seem to end it! So, like any frustrated writer, I shelved it, vowing to one day come back and finish my zombie opus!

Since my creativity lies with writing, yet I love all types of art, I find myself frequently lurking on artist message boards. I love seeing what types of art people are producing, even though I myself am I not capable of it. So while lurking in a place called The Drawing Board, I happened upon a few zombie-themed threads. This got the wheels turning... what if my novel wasn't a novel at all, but a comic! Then I could work with an artist to bring what was languishing in my head and in words to a visual medium! So I went back and turned the first several pages into a completed single comic script. With script in hand, I went back to The Drawing Board and posted, letting the artists who's work I had been admiring know that I had a script and was looking for an artist.

One of the artists who responded was Daryl Walker, a guy with a style unlike anything else I'd seen in comics. (Check his stuff out here.) We chatted online and through email a bit, and seemed to hit it off quite well. The decision was made... Daryl and I would work together to make After the Rising a reality!

So, Daryl went to work mocking up the first page, and I kept on writing. In one of our online chat sessions (Daryl lives in the UK and I live in the US, so online chatting is our creative life-blood) I made a comment about how it would be funny to see Jesus fighting zombies. We both got a laugh out of it and went on with whatever it was we were doing... but for some reason, that image stuck with me. So, later that day, with the idea percolating in my head -- expanding, growing, fleshing itself out more and more -- i decided I had to write it down. And, to my surprise, as I started to write it, it just began to flow. I wrote and wrote and wrote... and then I emailed it to Daryl.

He dug it, but neither of us knew how we could accomplish 2 comics at the same time. (Lord knows it's hard enough to create 1!) A decision had to be made, and as much as I loved what we were doing with After the Rising, I knew we should be working on the Jesus comic instead. It felt fresh and new, and it had the opportunity to do and say things that a more conventional comic like After the Rising couldn't. So I wrote to Daryl and told him that I wanted us to concentrate solely on this Jesus/Zombies idea... and luckily for me, he was into it! And thus, Jesus Hates Zombies! was born...

We decided early on that, in order to sell an indie comic, you need to generate some grass-roots style buzz. You need to let people in on what you're doing - give them a taste of what they can expect to find in your book. So Daryl and I agreed that the best way to do this was going to be to work on the first 5 pages and get them completed so we could post them as a "Sneak Preview" of the issue to come.

To our surprise... the reaction thus far has been great. People dig the art, the concept, and the direction we're taking it.

And so now, Daryl and I are working to finish the first issue. I'm looking into this whole 'self-publishing' thing (and having minor heart attacks at the costs involved). And we're making this strange little book about a foul-mouthed, cocky Jesus who's been sent back to Earth to join a unlikely band of survivors as they combat a zombie plague into a reality.

I hope you'll join us for the ride...

~ Stephen