(Because 10 questions aren’t enough — and who has time to read 12?)
Stephen Lindsay is the creator and author of a self-published comic book Jesus Hates Zombies: Those Slack Jawed Blues [check out the GoD review here]. This week it was announced that Alterna Comics will be publishing the next printing of the trade with an exclusive cover by Michael Bracco this December! Lindsay has also written a JHZ story scheduled to appear in the Alterna Tales #2 anthology, due to be released this month [read the GoD review here].
Stephen Lindsay is a 30-year-old married father of two. He lives in Rochester, NY and works as an Art Director for a small marketing firm.
“I’ve really always been interested in comics, typically gravitating more toward the darker, edgier stuff,” Stephen said. “Growing up, my favorite comic stories were both penned by Frank Miller (although I didn’t realize it at the time). These were The Dark Night Returns and Daredevil: Born Again. Then I moved away from comics and didn’t get into them again until recently, when I found Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead.” Stephen is just beginning his professional career in comics, “But as long as I can tell stories that find their way in front of people, and some people dig them, then I’m happy.” he said.
T.E. Pouncey: How did you come up with the idea for Jesus Hates Zombies?
Stephen Lindsay: The idea for JHZ really grew out of a more straight forward zombie comic I was writing. I started questioning the place that story I was writing would have in a market where zombie comics were being released more and more often, and I tried to think of something more original. For some reason, a pissed-off Jesus cracking zombie skulls popped into my head and literally made me chuckle out loud, so started playing around with it. The more I thought about it, the funnier the idea seemed to me. And that’s how it started.
TEP: Which is the better zombie movie: Chopper Chicks In Zombie Town or Shaun Of The Dead?
SL: Oh man, you’re putting me on the spot here! I’m a firm believer that there’s something to love in every B-movie, no matter how bad it is, but Shaun of the Dead is flat out brilliant, so I’m going to have to go with that.
TEP: How do you prefer to write — wait until an idea is completely formed from beginning to conclusion, or come up with an initial idea and see where that takes you?
SL: I never think an idea through before I write it. To me, that takes all of the fun out of it. As soon as an idea catches my interest, I start writing. There’s always time to go back and revise, but you only get that initial few moments of inspiration to let the really exciting stuff happen as you write. Otherwise, it feels too much like I’m just going through the motions.
TEP: Your preferred method of killing zombies in JHZ is a baseball bat. Which bat is better for zombie hunting, wood or aluminum?
SL: I have to go with wood, and I have a 3-fold reasoning for it. First, I love the idea of a weapon being wielded with so much force that it can actually shatter, and an aluminum bat ain’t gonna shatter not matter how hard you swing it. Second, only college players use aluminum bats, and JC ain’t a college player… he’s a Big Leaguer, so he gets to use what the pros use! And third, there’s just something so badass about a wooden bat. If somebody’s coming at you with an aluminum bat, you can laugh in their lame face, but if they’re coming at you with a wooden bat, you better run your ass off!
TEP: Who has been your favorite artist to work with so far?
SL: That’s just a plain old MEAN question! How can I choose a favorite? Seriously! They’ve all been awesome! Without every single one of them, I’d just be a hack writer with a goofy idea. But because of them, I’m a hack writer with a goofy idea that people are buying! I do have to give special recognition to two of the artists, though: Lauren Monardo and Jeff McComsey. Lauren stepped up and did two stories, the back cover, AND the inside front cover (all of which look INCREDIBLE). And Jeff McComsey did a phenomenal job on his story, as well as the front cover, which really encompasses everything I want the book to be.
TEP: Any plans for a guest appearance by Judas?
SL: I have plans for a lot of biblical characters… but I think Judas is a bit of an easy target. I’m sure he’ll pop up eventually, but don’t expect him to be the cause of the zombie plague or anything — that would just be too easy. I grew up going to a Catholic school, AND I was an altar boy, so there’s still plenty of biblical junk rattling around my brain that I can refer to!
TEP: It has been said that Lenny Bruce was arrested for obscenity because they couldn’t arrest him for blasphemy. You use both a religious icon and “the f-Bomb” in your stories. Do you ever worry about being targeted by media watchdog groups?
SL: To this point, I’ve only had one person complain about the comic, and they were only going on the title! Look, people are going to judge it without reading it, and that’s fine. You can’t change that, and I’d be a moron if I was ever shocked that this book pissed some people off. You don’t touch religion and walk away without burns. It’s just too much of a polarizing issue. But I also understand that this is a little independent comic, and I can’t imagine it would even make it onto the radar of any watchdog groups. Hell, if it DID, that would be some kick-ass publicity. Also, I welcome ANY theological debate it may cause. The root of the story is faith, and how a lack of faith has nearly brought about the downfall of humanity. Anybody who READS it would see that. Of course, I think Kevin Smith felt the same way about Dogma, and he got death threats (not that I’m in ANY WAY comparing myself to Kevin Smith — that man is a genius in my eyes).
TEP: Is there any mainstream comic book you’d like to write?
SL: I think a better question would be, “Is there any mainstream comic book you WOULDN’T like to write?” I love telling stories, so if I could tell a good story with a character, I’d write any of them! I’d love the challenge of taking a B-list hero and trying to make him or her cool, though. Or just a fairly lame character like Aquaman … I think I could write a cool Aquaman arc! That would be awesome. There’s so much pressure on the writers of the big books. I mean, who wants to be the guy that F’s up Spider-Man or Batman? That said, if I was ever given the opportunity to F-up Spider-Man, I’d be elated!
TEP: Why do you think so many zombie movies — including Night Of The Living Dead, Night Of The Creeps, Night Of The Comet, and Night Of The Seagulls — have the word “night” in the title?
SL: The simple answer is because of the success of Night of the Living Dead. Who wouldn’t want to ape that? It’s brilliant! In fact, I think I’m going to rename the comic The Night that Jesus Hated Zombies. Plus, there isn’t much menace in “The Lovely Spring Morning of the Dead,” is there?
TEP: What’s in the future for Jesus Hates Zombies?
SL: Hopefully a run with an actual publisher so I don’t have to go through this self-publishing stuff anymore!* But, whether someone picks it up or not, I’ve got a pretty interesting story that addresses angels, both fast- and slow-moving zombies, that cool star-blade-weapon-thingy from the movie Krull, a gay African-American male stripper, and (possibly) Abe Lincoln. So really, the insanity of the JHZ universe is only just beginning. Oh yeah, and there’s an exclusive 12-page JHZ story in the upcoming Alterna Tales #2 being published by Alterna Comics in this month.
TEP: If you could only produce one JHZ merchandise item — baseball caps, baseball bats, or baseball cards — which would you rather sell?
SL: I’d definitely go with baseball cards. Being able to create the “stats” on the back of the cards would be great! JC could have stats like “Kills Per Swing” and “Head’s Knocked Off.” Actually, that’s not a bad idea! I think I’m going to hit up a few of my artists to come up with some JHZ Trading Cards… maybe even one of those card games! I think JC could kick Pokemon’s ass any day.
*Alterna Comics announced this week that they have picked up JHZ and will be publishing it with an exclusive cover by Michael Bracco this December!