The Small Press area of New York Comic Con has quickly become one of my favorite sections of the convention. It's here that you will find up-and-coming writers and artists who are extremely passionate about their ideas. You'll also find some truly unique books that you're not going to see coming from the big name publishers. That was the case with Sarah Braly and High Fructose Zombies. It's a new comic that she's working on with her husband David, and it's got the undead and candy, two things that I absolutely love. Sarah answered a few questions about the project for HorrorTalk.
James Ferguson: Can you give me the elevator pitch for High Fructose Zombies?
Sarah Braly: When a brand new candy bar called Snakatak starts turning people into zombies in the small town of Sweetooth, it is up to Clea Brown and her ragtag group of friends to stop the evil Yumzy Corporation from reigning down the Sugarpocalypse.
JF: Tell me about the main character, Clea. How did she get involved with the Sugarpocalypse?
SB: Born and raised in the factory town of Sweetooth, Clea Brown lost her father in a tragic molten chocolate accident at the Yumzy factory when she was but a child. Now in her late teens, she is full of resentment towards the Yumzy Corporation and the town they own. She has to work as the lifetime supply of chubbycakes given to her and her mother in the wake of her father's death lead her mother down a slippery slope of ill health. Having bounced from one Yumzy job to the next, she finds herself, at the top of our story, employed at the Yumzy Clubhouse, slinging donut burgers and butter bags. And it is here, one fateful day, that the employees are instructed to hand out Snakatak bars for the promotion of the soon-to-open Yumzyland. A few nibbles later and Clea finds herself surrounded by the newly zombified with nothing but a wall-mounted decoration, in the form of a lollipop to protect her and her friends......
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JF: Where did this idea come from?
SB: About a year ago David and I found ourselves discussing the increasing base of scientific information on the detrimental effects of High Fructose Corn Syrup. This conversation, as with many others, morphed into a conversation about zombies. We decided that the next evolution in the Zombie story is the transition from a disease/ rabies based zombieism to one caused by high fructose corn syrup, and the culture of big agro and genetic manipulation of crops that goes with that.
JF: You're handling all aspects of the comic's production. Can you describe your process in creating High Fructose Zombies?
SB: As these things do, High Fructose Zombies began as an idea about a year ago, but it wasn't until a week before our wedding in July that it crystalized into a reality. I came home from work one day and said to David, "Do you want to be one of those couples that do things, or only talk about doing them." This raised momentary alarm in David, as a montage of herding alpacas or climbing the Himalayas danced through his head, but he was reeled back around when I said that I wanted to buy a small press booth at NYCC. Mind you, we hadn't begun the actual comic yet, but nothing inspires like a deadline and a financial investment that cannot be recouped. So three days after our wedding we started page one. David wrote for a month while I worked on concept art, then he handed the script over to me and I began the drawing process. After I finished inking a page I would hand it back to him for lettering. We would come home every day after our jobs and work on the comic, as well as every hour of every weekend. With our joint efforts we completed the comic in two months. But who to publish? Enter Potent Press, the publishing partnership that we created for the job. Our process, in short, is one of strong partnership and an efficient division of labor to maximize each of our skill sets.
JF: The first issue is finished, but you have a total of six planned. Will this be a standalone graphic novel? Or part of an ongoing story?
SB: The first book, which will be the culmination of the first six issues due to come out over the next year, will be the first story arc in a three arc narrative. The first arc will address the zombie outbreak at the local level, the second at the national level, and the third at the global level and beyond. While the three will create one overarching story, each will be written to stand alone as well.
JF: Any plans to market your own line of Snakatak bars?
SB: We introduced our first Snakatak bar at Comic Con to great success - they flew off the table, and it became clear that we had made too few. But have no fear (or do), another batch is in the making. Right now we are offering just the one Snakatak bar, the size of a full size Hershey bar, but we can guarantee there will be more variations in the future, possibly including a Yumzy soda pop.
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JF: How can fans learn more about the project?
SB: Information about High Fructose Zombies is available on our website, highfructosezombies.com as well as our Kickstarter, which, along with select cons, is presently the only way to purchase High Fructose Zombies. Going forward, our website will offer the issues for sale and we will potentially be distributing through digital channels, about which our website will keep you posted! Also check us out on Twitter and Facebook.
HorrorTalk would like to thank Sarah Braly for taking the time to chat with us. Look for High Fructose Zombies at a con near you or online because we need more sugar in our undead.
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