On The Undead: 10 Questions With Zombie Spit’s Creator Jim Tierney
One of my favorite webcomics to read is definitely Zombie Spit. Jim Tierney explores hypothetical situations one would face in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. Not to mention he draws inspiration from real life gear survivalists use pretty often. All of the artwork is well done and during the interview I realized we shared a lot of commonalities. He was a pleasure to interview and we were lucky enough to snag him before he blows up in the comic world. With any luck we’ll get more folks like Jim to speak to and get their take on this whole zombie craziness we base our site on.
RB: 1. Why zombies for your work?
Jim: Well, I’ve always been somewhat obsessed with the idea of a post-apocalyptic world… It started with my first web comic, which was more of a strip. The zombies entered into it as things progressed… I read world war z, the zombie survival guide… I started to get hooked… At some point, after the obsession had deepened, I found myself getting into the whole prepper thing. After a while, I realized I just had to do a zombie comic, if only to exorcise the zombies from my brain.
RB: What sites did you get info from? honestly I thought it was a little weird that zombiehunters.org existed as a serious resource for survival, but after I joined I was glad i did.
Jim: I actually started out on survival sites and whatever forum day by day Armageddon has. Survivalblog I think was one of them. I think it was a combination of this research, and a dissatisfaction with how a lot of comics treat zombie situations that got me interested in doing my take on it. Don’t get me wrong, I like to see a hero slaughtering hordes of undead as much as the next guy but part of the allure of the zombie genre is that we can all imagine how we might try to survive it.
RB: 2. Why the lack of dialogue in your first comic? Was it a personal challenge to deliver a compelling story and do away with the dull “talking head” fillers we so often see in comic strips?
Jim: no, it was more due to two factors. 1: I didn’t want to do a self-narrated journal like start to my zombie comic. And 2: I started with one man alone surviving… Who was he going to talk to if he didn’t narrate? Plus I just kinda liked it that way. Everyone likes to start with narration in zombie stuff it seems like. I figured I’d try to stay away from that as much as possible. I kinda wanted to let people draw their own assumptions and conclusions, and fill in the blanks. Plus, I wasn’t exactly sure what I was doing, so I like to leave myself as many escape routes as possible.
RB: So will we see the hero from the first strip again or is his demise/escape up to readers to decide on their own?
Jim: Heheheheh… That’s tough to say.
RB: Oh you bastard. After you started the next strip I was like WTF
Jim: yeah. I’d hoped for that.
RB: 3. We noticed you drew up a lot of real deal gear in the comic. How important was it for you to show real survival gear, and by doing so, was the core audience you had in mind survivalists like us?
Jim: I’d say it’s pretty important to show real gear, even if technically, my comic takes place in some sort of future world, in part because the people who design the gear put way more thought into it than I ever could while also trying to work out my comic so it’s good reference. And it’s partially because I f*cking love gear. The fact that it appeals to other survival minded types is just a side effect.
RB: 4. What’s your scariest scenario in a zombie filled world?
Jim: Good question, this one is tricky… In one sense, the scariest thing is being cornered and out of bullets… that sort of helplessness with no escape. But at the same time, I think the scariest thing in a zombie-filled world, wouldn’t be the zombie scenarios, it’d be run-ins with certain types of survivors. But more than that, it’d be people who just snapped… People who thought the world had ended, people who’s moral compass gets out of whack. I’ve got a couple storylines planned about this sort of thing.
RB: 5. This always gets a variety of responses from friends and family when i bring it up. what’s your zombie killing tool of choice?
Jim: Slow or fast zombies?
RB: Both. and maybe some of the ones from Left 4 Dead just to make it interesting.
Jim: Hm, for slow zombies, I’d want something with reach. Maybe a tool similar to what’s described in World War Z, the Lobo. For faster zombies, I’d still stick with melee, but shorter range. Probably a crowbar.
RB: Nice. Always a classic
Jim: For sure.
Jim: Hah.. Just had to Google. FOR SURE.
RB: 6. Five people real or fake you’d want to have with you during the apocalypse.
Jim: Damn. Just five huh? 1. – FAKE – Jack Reacher, a giant bad-ass killing machine. 2. – REAL – My buddy Tim… Really good with mechanical sh*t… Never know when you’d need to get an engine running or fabricate something. 3. – REAL – Someone with medical knowledge. 4. – REAL – My girlfriend. Aside from the obvious reasons, I’ve got little doubt she could be a very efficient zombie-killing machine if needed. 5. – REAL – Any one of the dudes I’ve trained jiu jitsu with. ALL standup guys who would have my back no questions. I’d rather just bring them all though (and the chicks of course).
RB: you’ve got all the bases covered man, esp when it comes to repopulating the planet.
Jim: Hahaha… Yeah.
RB: 7. You’re currently in Milwaukee, known for its brews. The angel in the second comment pretty much describes us to a T during happy hour. We love alcohol, so what’s your ideal last meal + alcoholic drink to enjoy before you go Rambo on a bunch of the undead?
Jim: Oh sh*t… this totally reminds me, for the previous question – I’d f*cking love to bring someone with who knows how to homebrew. I’ve been planning on working that into my comic for a while now… For #7, I’m thinking it’s gotta be kept simple. Probably a burger and a beer, medium rare, with bacon and a fried egg on it. For beer, gotta be either an IPA or an IBA. It might weigh me down a bit, but considering it might be my last meal, gotta make it count.
RB: To be fair, both brews will get you messed up faster than a lager or Belgian.
Jim: I’ve learned that from experience.
RB: There’s a place out here that makes some of the best burgers i’ve ever had man. 1/3 pound hand ground patty, fried egg, white American cheese, 2 bigass slices of bacon, and beef chili all on a hawaiian bread bun.
Jim: That sounds f*cking delicious.
RB: Alright obligatory question time. 8. favorite zombie flick ever?
Jim: I for sure like the classics, but as of right now, I’m loving Zombieland. Totally goes against my interest in realism though, but it’s so much fun.
RB: Definitely. Woody Harrelson and the nerds wet dream Emma Stone are guaranteed to make good cinema. And the appearance by bill murray? So much win.
RB: 9. Is a tough one. Are you a supporter of helping everyone in need during the apocalypse, or striking out on your own and only with people you know?
Jim: Oh yeah, that’s tricky. As a general rule in life, I try to help everyone. But in that sort of situation, I think I’d go more middle of the road. Help some, avoid the sh*t out of others. If that wasn’t possible and I had to pick one or the other, then I’d go with the latter option and strike out with only those I knew I could count on.
RB: 10. There’s a shitload of zombies coming your way and you’ve got your crowbar, lobo, and a solar powered Ipod. What song are you blaring on repeat for your last hurrah?
Jim: Murder by Death – Rum Brave.
RB: Seems appropriate. I’ll have to check it out now. (Note: listened to it, and it’s a pretty badass song). Alright man, that rounds out the interview. i really appreciate you taking the time out to do it.
Jim: No problem, it’s been fun. Also – damn you for telling me about The Crovel. I have to own one.