Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Interview with iZombie creator, Chris Roberson

To celebrate a readership milestone here at www.thestevestrout.com and with the inagural season of CW's newest hit show, iZombie coming to a close tonight (June 9th) I set up an extra special Q&A session with one of the creators of the DC/Vertigo comic series that spawned the show, and part owner of the great indie comic publishing company, Monkeybrain Comics, and award winning writer, Mr. Chris Roberson...hope you all enjoy and keep spreading the word and supporting this site.

Since the debut of the CW network show based on the comics is gaining popularity, I'm going to jump right in with the I Zombie questions ...

-Are you and Mike Allred, one of my personal favorite comic artists, involved in the creative aspect of the show in any way?

I like to say that we are informed, not involved. The producers have kept us in the look at each stage of the process, but aside from Mike contributing the art for the opening title sequence, neither of us has been involved in a creative capacity.

-What were your initial thoughts when the deal was made to produce the television show?

I was all for the idea! When iZombie was originally pitched to Vertigo, even before Mike was attached as co-creator, I thought that the concept had the potential to work in other media. It’s heartening to know that I was right!

-As a fan of the comics and tv show, I am really impressed how well the comics have adapted to the small screen. Do you feel like the network is doing the books justice? 

I usually describe the TV series as the Earth-2 version of our comic (or rather, our comic as the Earth-2 version of the TV show): it has the same title and basic concept, but otherwise it is its own thing. So our plucky zombie heroine is the Jay Garrick to the Barry Allen of the TV show. And yes, absolutely, I think they’re doing a fantastic job with that idea!

-As for the comic series, was it DC/Vertigo that decided to end the series, or was it a creator decision?

It was ultimately cancelled due to declining sales, which is unfortunately the fate of the vast majority of new titles these days. But we had time to tell the story that we wanted to tell.

-Were the plans to end the comic series in place before the CW got the ball rolling on the show?

I’m not sure when the folks at DC and Warner TV were first talking about the idea of taking iZombie to TV in general principle, but the first I heard about Rob Thomas being brought onboard to develop it for adaptation was about a year after the comic wrapped up.

-Back to writing...Does your approach differ when doing the writing for comics, versus novels and short stories?

Yes! And differs from project to project, too!

-Eisner Award nominations...New York Times best selling author...multiple awards...The list goes on...What do you feel is your biggest accolade as a writer?

As it stands? Probably being the co-creator of a comic that inspired a TV show that a bunch of people are enjoying!

-What are you working on as of late? 

I’m doing a lot of really cool projects for Dark Horse Comics that have not been announced yet. I’m keeping busy!

-Now that a project you've created is being brought to our tv screens, has any of your other writings been looked at for potential television or movies?

Oh, sure. iZombie was just the first one not to fall at some hurdle or other.

-Tell me a bit about your publishing company, Monkeybrain Comics? It's to my understanding that Monkeybrain titles have recently starting going to print to go along with the digital format you initially distributed? 

Yes, Monkeybrain Comics is a digital comics imprint that I started with my wife Allison Baker in 2012. Digital versions of our titles can be purchased through ComiXology and read on computers, phones, and tablets, and print editions of some titles have been released by a number of different publishers, including IDW, Dark Horse, and Image Comics.

-Outside of Monkeybrain titles, who or what are you reading nowadays (comic book or novels)?

The “Mignolaverse” titles (Hellboy, BPRD, etc) are perennial favorites, as is Astro City, Atomic Robo, and The Sixth Gun. I’m loving The Wicked + The Divine, The Autumnlands, and the new Star Wars titles that Marvel is publishing, and I’m really looking forward to the 8House anthology that Brandon Graham is putting together.

-I feel like I've used enough of your time, so as I always like to end my interview, I'd like to "open up the floor to you". Is there anything you'd like to share? Any advice you can give to aspiring writers or comic creators? 

Don’t give up your dreams. Unless your dreams are stupid. In which case you should probably find better dreams.

IZombie airs on the CW network Tuesday night's. Be sure to go find the Vertigo/DC comic book series back issues and check them out too. For more info on Chris Roberson check out www.chrisroberson.net. Check out his comic publisher, Monkeybrain Comics at www.monkeybraincomics.com

Steve Strout is the media mastermind behind this site, host of the Comic Book Swap Meet, nerd, terrible artist, gamer, convention goer and comic book reader who spends more time rescuing toys from thrift shops than a normal adult should. He is also known around the northwest for his promotion of live music and stand-up comedy events and is the creator/producer of the Comic Book Swap Meet mini convention, and Olympic Peninsula Comedy Competition (which will make it's big return in 2015). Follow him on Instagram at http://instagram.com/thestevestrout, and  He can be reached for comments at ptcomedy@yahoo.com on twitter at @thestevestrout