Horror Tree Presents … An Interview with Bobby Crosby, co-creator of “Last Blood”
Editor’s Note: This interview was done a couple of years ago but never published. So, any references which seem dated can be attributed to that!
Bobby Crosby, along with his brother Chris Crosby and Illustrator Owen Gieni, are the creative minds behind the Vampires versus Zombie comic book “Last Blood.” The series premise is about a zombie outbreak that threatens to overtake the world, and vampires fearing the loss of their food source, decide to aid the humans against this mutual threat. The following interview with Bobby sheds light on the stories origins, the writer’s background, and other pertinent information.
JDI: Would you mind explaining the story/concept behind ‘Last Blood’, some of its main characters, and/or anything else that you think would help to inform those of us who are unfamiliar with the series?
BC: After zombies take over the Earth, vampires must protect the last surviving humans so that they can live off of their blood. The central figure, the most important character, is someone who gets very little screen time, but everything that happens in the story is because of him, and that’s The First Zombie.
When a vampire fails to drink human blood for 65 years, which is an extremely painful process (hunger pains multiplied by a billion), they become a new creature, a zombie with the power to mentally control all the other zombies that spring from them. We find out that The First Zombie is trying to wipe out all human life on Earth and that the reason for that is to put all the vampires through the same 65 years of starvation torture that he just went through, for revenge against them for something they did to him.
JDI: With the multitude of zombie comics filling up so much space on comic shelves these days, what do you think sets yours apart from the rest, besides the obvious vampire angle?
BC: I’ve never read an entire issue of a zombie comic, so I can’t comment too much on that, but I have read descriptions of all of them and one major thing that sets “Last Blood” apart is an original concept, as you mentioned. Most zombie comics sound like most zombie movies — boring, unoriginal crap. “Last Blood” at least sounds interesting, and it’s the most popular horror comic online with a growing fan-base.
JDI: Is it true that you’re not a fan of zombie movies? If so, what made you want to do a graphic novel on the living dead? Was there anything you felt was lacking from zombie movies, or comics, that made you feel that you could offer a different perspective?
BC: I’ve only ever liked “Shaun of the Dead,” which was hilarious. The rest are mostly incredibly boring. I did a graphic novel of “Last Blood” because it will help with getting a film made. If I can’t sell the screenplay for the big bucks, I’m going to make the movie myself, and a comic book helps with both of those possibilities, especially if it’s already popular. It’s a lot easier to see the vision for the film when you can actually see it, as opposed to reading a bunch of text. And a successful comic book will help entice studios to purchase it, or a cast and crew to be involved if I make it myself.
JDI: Would you mind telling us a bit about yourself, such as your background in comics and anything else to help inform those of us who are unfamiliar with your work?
BC: I’m 26 years old and have spent most of my life in Southern California. My brother Chris and I started publishing comics when we were kids in the early ’90s. We had our first booth at the San Diego Comic-Con in 1994. I barely even remember the crap we put out back then. It was almost entirely my brother’s thing and I was just tagging along. I never liked comics — always wanted to make movies. I wrote and illustrated a comic of my own in 1993 when I was 12, which was part of our initial launch at Comicfest ’93 in Philadelphia, but it was short-lived and I did very little in comics for the next 13 years.
In August of ’06 I started writing a poker comic strip called “+EV,” which will hit the 200 strip mark this month (November). It’s the most popular poker comic online with about 5,000 daily readers. Then on Christmas Day of ’06 we ran the first page of “Last Blood,” a graphic novel which we’ll complete at a length of 112 pages in early December. It’s the most popular horror comic online with about 10,000 daily readers (rising rapidly). On Valentine’s Day of ’07 we launched “Marry Me,” a romantic comedy graphic novel about a pop star, frustrated with her love life, who goes insane and marries a random fan holding a MARRY ME sign at one of her concerts. I write it and Remy “Eisu” Mokhtar is the artist. It’s my most popular strip with about 12,000 daily readers.
JDI: As you mentioned before “Last Blood” was meant to visualize a screenplay that you and your brother Chris had co-created with one another. Would you mind sharing the story’s evolution from its origins, to where it is presently, to possibly the future of the series?
BC: My brother and I came up with the basic idea of “vampires protecting humans from zombies” in August of ’06, then I fleshed it out and came up with The First Zombie, among other things, and started writing the comic scripts in December of ’06 after hiring Owen. I’m rarely more than one page ahead with the writing and we put the pages up online as soon as they’re completed. I’ve known the vast majority of the story since before I wrote the first page, but of course many changes and additions have been made.
One major change to the ending only came a few months ago when I thought of a much cooler resolution. As far as the future goes, there’s a million different stories to tell in this universe, like the origin of The First Zombie and a more detailed look at exactly how he took over the world in that first month, and there can definitely be sequels as well. The first film/graphic novel has a specific ending and it’s certainly not a cliffhanger, but the story’s not over yet.
JDI: Do you, Chris, and Owen have any favorite character(s)? How about one that perhaps you sympathize more, or even less for?
BC: I think we’re all loving Rage right now. Grady, Mac and Murdo are other favorites. Devian’s cool too. And who doesn’t love Addison Payne? Jeez, I was recently thinking that all the characters suck and the story’s so boring, but I guess there are a couple decent ones. I sympathize the most with a character we haven’t met yet, who ends up being the hero of the entire story. I sympathize the least with The First Zombie.
JDI: Does any of the characters draw inspiration from yourself or your friends? If yes, how so?
BC: Well, Mac is named after my buddy Kevin “Mac” McDermott, an actor who has appeared on “Cheers,” “ER,” and many other hit shows. Owen was also instructed to make the character look like Mac, and of course Mac will play himself in the film if I end up directing it. That’s the only character who was inspired from anyone I know.
JDI: In casting the “Last Blood” as a film is there any “dream cast” or studio you’d like to do this with? If so, who?
BC: Well, my current #1 choice for Mattheson (pretty much the star of the film) is Henry Ian Cusick, who plays Desmond on “Lost.” Other than that, I just have a lot of fun choices, but no clear cut #1s, besides Mac.
JDI: Would you mind sharing with us the special partnership that you and the rest of your team have with www.wowio.com? How did you find out about this site and what are some of the benefits of it compared to the more traditional ways of comic book publishing?
BC: Nothing special about the partnership — I think they accept almost all book publishers. The only thing special, I guess, is that our books are dominating the top 10 list on the site, usually with five titles in the top 10, sometimes with the entire top 5. I don’t recall the first time I heard of WOWIO — we heard about it from many different sources and I wish we put our books on there sooner.
The benefits are that we get 50 cents per download per issue and all we have to do is submit the issues in an online PDF file. The only cost of it is optional advertising to drive up downloads. Much simpler than printing a lot of books when you’re often not certain they’ll be profitable.
JDI: For those interested in purchasing a copy of the Last Blood books what outlets can they find them at?
BC: Their local comic book shop, since the comic is distributed through Diamond, which most stores use. Ask for “Last Blood” from Blatant Comics. If they do not have a local comic book shop and/or if they badly want signed copies, they can order them from me on the site [www.blatantcomics.com].
JDI: Tyler [Mane] just happens to be an ex-wrestler, and although he isn’t short and stout like the character Rage, he could fit that part well.
BC: Rage doesn’t actually have to be short — he could go either way. Tyler’s great, but I don’t know if I’d want to draw the comparison even more to Sabertooth. He’d certainly be a strong choice, though, and that might work out well.
JDI: I appreciate your time in doing this interview and wish you the best with the future of this series.
BC: Thanks, buddy.