Improv Zombies: A Few Words With Andrew Chung
EM’s Brent Sprecher chats with Andrew Chung of Jaded Publishing and the Zombie Mosaic project.
From Jaded Publishing:
The Zombie Mosaic is a unique improvisational artist collaboration, which tells the tale of a mysterious narrator who recounts the stories of how a peculiar cast of undead characters came to be. Just who are these zombies and what connection do they have to the narrator? Join Jaded Publishing as the pieces of the mosaic come together...
BRENT SPRECHER: Hi, Andrew, thanks for taking some time to answer some questions for our readers.
ANDREW CHUNG: Not a problem, it's my pleasure!
BS: First of all, tell us about Jaded Publishing.
AC: Jaded Publishing is an artist collective that I formed at the beginning of the year. It sort of organically came together from an arts and culture web magazine, Jaded Expressions Magazine, that I created with my sister, Melanie, and brother, Terence. We were running our own original projects there and eventually decided to streamline the magazine with strictly news and review items. So, all our original stuff was moved to Jaded Publishing. It's basically a place where myself and some artist friends that I made over the years can freely explore our own ideas and projects.
All our projects are web based right now, but we hope to be going to print with some publishers some time next year with the projects on the site already or create brand new ones. Our mandate is to foster the publication of creative and innovative projects in the graphic storytelling medium. It's been really fun, and we can't wait to see how things turn out for us.
BS: The Zombie Mosaic project is a pretty unique concept. Where did you get the idea for it?
AC: It was a combination of creativity, necessity, and a passion for zombies. We were looking to do an ongoing web comic at Jaded Expressions and we didn't want to do anything like all the millions of other comics on the web today. I've always been passionate about the medium of comics and approaching it differently…as well as zombies. So I combined the two by doing an illustrated/lyrical format to the storytelling on the subject of zombies. It's not a new concept, but it is new to the genre of zombies, as far as I'm aware. So I ran with it.
Having different artists collaborate on every piece not only kept every weekly zombie piece fresh and interesting, it was also a matter of necessity because it's often difficult to get any one artist to commit to working on a project on a regular basis. It just seemed to make sense in terms of the creative side as well as the practical side. So it worked out well that the whole project serves as an awesome zombie art scrap book, which is my favorite thing about it. The improvised storytelling was also a combination of innovation and practicality. It made the story unpredictable and organic, and made it more efficient to work with on a weekly basis because of time constraints.
BS: So, I guess you love zombies, huh?
AC: Oh yeah.
Click HERE to check out the Zombie Mosaic!
BS: Why do you think there's such a huge fascination with zombies in popular culture right now? I mean, the '90s were basically about vampires and now the '00s are all zombies, what with 28 Days Later, 28 Weeks Later, Planet Terror, Quarantine, Marvel Zombies...you name it!
AC: From Night of the Living Dead to City of the Living Dead to Cemetery Man, you name it, I've watched it.
Zombies are just timeless. It's been said a million times, but it's true. Zombies always remain culturally relevant. They're sort of the ultimate monster metaphor. I think the fact that they lack the most humanity out of all the other classical monsters out there, makes them the scariest. On top of that, visually, they're also the coolest and most versatile looking monsters in fiction. They make for the most original and innovative stories. So, I've personally always leaned towards them when writing horror.
BS: The Zombie Mosaic is a work-in-progress, correct? How do you keep a handle on where the story is going? Is there a plot?
AC: It is a constant work-in-progress. There is a plot throughline, but nothing too specific. The story is about a man living (in) a world being overcome with zombies, but he is also the creator of the epidemic. And intentionally so. He wanted to create a sophisticated society of immortal beings and over the course of the story he becomes successful. A few recurring characters are sprinkled in as well (i.e. a love interest, a traitor, and a villain). Each piece is supposed to serve as inspiration (for) where the story is going, so the specific direction it goes can be entirely influenced by the artists. I thought it'd be a really interesting way to collaborate with the artists, as they have a major influence on how the story pans out. However, by the time we reach the last few pieces—sixty-four are targeted—some direction will be given to the artists to rein the story in, so that there's some clear resolutions.
BS: The Zombie Mosaic is an online project right now. Are there plans for the Zombie Mosaic to be presented in any other form, such as in a graphic novel?
AC: Most definitely. We were originally approached to move the project into print from a publisher when we started it, but the deal eventually fell apart as I didn't feel it was right for us. So, that initially helped me realize the viability of turning the project into a published graphic novel after its completion. Most likely we will reformat and redesign the project for print and perhaps throw in a few extra pieces exclusively for print. Ultimately, it will depend on publisher interest and what they can offer us. If we're not happy with any of the offers given, then we may simply decide to self-publish in order to maintain the project's integrity.
BS: What other projects are you working on right now?
AC: Because of how time-consuming the Zombie Mosaic is, (the) only other comic project I'm working on is a short, either for the web or for a published anthology. Outside of that, I work in the film industry by day in a number of different roles. But most of my creative energy goes into screenwriting. I currently have a TV Pilot being developed by one of the largest production companies in Vancouver, so much of my time goes into that. It's a juggling process between film & TV and comics, but it's never boring!
Whether you have an interest in innovative art forms or you just love zombies, Jaded Publishing’s Zombie Mosaic is something you have just got to see to believe!
When you're done peaking through your fingers at zombies, check out all of Brent Sprecher’s exclusive interviews with today’s hottest comic book professionals!
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