Welcome back to The Preview Party, the blog that looks at the coolest, new comic books and graphic novels available to pre-order from this month’s Previews magazine.
Fanboys vs. Zombies is an incredibly fun series from BOOM! Studios about to enter its second year of stories. I recently sat down with writer Shane Houghton to discuss the upcoming story arc and get his opinion about some cool, new, upcoming comics.
The Previews Party: For those who are totally new to the book, what is Fanboys vs. Zombies all about?
Shane Houghton: FvZ is about a group of pop-culture-loving geeks who survived the zombie apocalypse that broke out at the San Diego Comic-Con. Sam Humphries had them exploring in and around San Diego for Issues #1-8, but in my first arc (Issues #9-12) the guys are road trippin’ it across the desert to Vegas! Which sounds fun for those guys, but they’re really trying to get far away from the nuclear bomb that’s headed for the convention center.
The Previews Party: This is a really fun series. What is it like to really let loose with a gory, over-the-top zombie book?
Shane: I absolutely love adventure, comedy, and horror– and all those things are wrapped up in this book like some sort of awesome sequential art burrito! Zombies have been done to death (pun intended) in comics, and I wanted to put a fun, new spin on it. What would it be like if Robert Kirkman had to fight zombies? Would a fanboy going on a road trip choose to drive the Batmobile or the Turtlevan? If a zombie outbreak happened, would space be the last safe place to be? These are some of the questions I asked myself and based my stories on in FvZ.
The Previews Party: The first arc was a satire on all the geeky encounters found at Comic-Con. What new geek topics do you look to spoof with this arc?
Shane: Issues #9-12 are the road trip issues. That arc is called “Escape From San Diego,” which is a play on the Snake Plissken movies. The guys make it to Vegas where we have them fight all sorts of Vegas zombies such as knights from Excalibur, crazy flexible, creepy crawly zombies from Cirque du Soleil, Elvis, and I think even zombie Hunter S. Thompson makes an appearance in there.
In the current arc (Issues #9 and #10 are already in comic shops!), a famous writer who created the world’s most famous zombie comic book, Kurt Kiel (the Robert Kirkman-like character), joins the guys for the adventures. Kurt is a pro at figuring out where zombies will be since he’s been thinking about this stuff for years and years while writing his Eisner Award-winning series. Kurt is kind of like Abed from Community, but instead of having tons of TV knowledge, Kurt is a zombie expert. But, Kurt’s a bit more devious than Abed.
In the newest arc (Issues #13-16), which I think just started being solicited in Previews, is going to be REALLY cool. It’s a bit of a spoiler, but I totally want you all to pre-order it, so I’ll tell you about it. The arc is currently being called “In Space, No One Can Hear You Geek Out” . . . It’s ZOMBIES IN SPACE! Well, sorta . . . Basically, the guys find transportation off Earth and into an orbiting space station. It’s the last place free of zombie contamination. Of course, our guys happen to bring a zombie on board, and, suddenly, we now have a Ridley Scott Alien situation on our hands. Except instead of just dwindling the hero’s numbers like the alien did, every time a zombie gets someone on board, the enemy’s numbers grow. It gets harder and harder for our heroes on this tiny space ship to avoid the zombie attacks!
It’s gonna be awesome, you guys.
The Previews Party: How does Robert Kirkman feel after being parodied in your book?
Shane: You know, I’m not sure he even knows. I’m a huge Robert Kirkman fan and totally love The Walking Dead (although I’ve stopped reading it since starting this series so I wouldn’t be subconsciously influenced). He’s a big part of Image Comics which helped put me and my brother on the map with Reed Gunther. Hopefully, he’s flattered by the similarities, but it’s definitely not exactly him. If the zombie apocalypse actually did happen, I would bet big money that the only survivors would be a bunch of people who live alone in the mountains and Robert Kirkman.
The Previews Party: Since this is “The Previews Party,” are there any other upcoming books that you are very excited for?
Shane: I’m pumped for the new Regular Show comic from KaBOOM! I love that show, and I’m sure the comic is going to be just as awesome. KaBOOM! did an incredible job adapting Adventure Time for comics, and I’m sure RS will get the same treatment.
Also, I have written a bunch of stories for Bart Simpson Comics that start coming out this summer starting in May. My first issue will be #83. If you pre-order those books, I’ll be a happy camper.
The Previews Party: Okay time for the hard pitch. Why should Fanboys vs. Zombies earn a coveted spot on my readers’ pull lists?
Shane: Look, you guys . . . every week you go into your shop and buy some awesome comic books. Comics get expensive. I get it. But, Fanboys vs. Zombies is so much damn fun, why not give is a shot? Check out just one issue, and if you hate it, don’t buy anymore. You won’t hurt my feelings. But, pick up any issue and there’s probably a zombie Ninja Turtle or zombie Borat or a zombie great white shark staring back at you. Who wouldn’t want that?! Plus, there are some hilarious characters, tons of crazy adventure, and gory, bloody cosplayers getting their heads lobbed off.
It’s best to start at the beginning of an arc, like #9 which is currently on stands, or #13 which you can pre-order now. As a new writer starting on a series that’s been well established, I wanted to make sure folks could feel comfortable jumping on in the middle of the series and not be lost. Issue #10 is a standalone issue about two character who were previously thought to be dead! That done-in-one issue is a great place to jump in. But, the space stuff starting in Issue #13 . . . you won’t want to miss that.
The Previews Party would like to thank Shane Houghton for joining me for this interview and the fine folks at BOOM! Studios for setting it up. You can learn more about Fanboy vs. Zombies at Boom-Studios.com and follow Shane’s adventures at ShaneHoughton.com .
Until next time, keep reading.
– Jason Enright