Real Interviews: Dave Shabet

Nerdcenaries: Greetings Dave Shabet of Dead Winter. How is it going?
Dave Shabet: Hello Lucas Herr! It is going well.
N: For the people who have unfortunately not heard of Dead Winter, how would you describe it without mentioning zombies?
DS: When I pitch the book at cons I describe it as “a tongue-in-cheek action-adventure comic set in a post-apocalyptic city that has no name,” and I think that about covers it without dropping the Z-word.
N: Well the reason I wanted to describe it without mentioning zombies is that your comic does a really good job of not focusing on the zombies andmore on the characters. Now are you a big fan of zombies in entertainment?
DS: Why thank you! Honestly I think it’s interesting but I’m not an expert on the subject. I’ve seen one or two of the _ of the Dead movies and played the first part of Dead Rising. So I guess I’m interested in “zombie entertainment,” but not because of the zombies in entertainment.
N: What got you into the undead?
DS: My friends, mostly. I think it was probably old World of Darkness pen-and-paper games, if I had to pinpoint it. I’m not afraid to admit that.
N: You mean the classic Whitewolf D10 RPG?
DS: yeah, that’s the one. I was a big tradgamer before I was into zombie stuff. I’ve played Munchkin with the White Wolf writing staff. True story!!
N: What did you play in the World of Darkness?
DS: We ran a couple campaigns. First character was an Innocent Hunter, then I did an Obrimos Mage later. But that’s a little beside the point.
N: Haha. Was there ever any consideration to put in other supernatural elements into the comic?
DS: A couple thoughts, but I want to play more to the human element without adding anything really extra-human to bend the rules. Humans are capable of lots of cool stuff, so at least for this comic I want to stay within that realm.
N: Now, you are more of a webcomics person but do you read a lot of print comics?
DS: I used to borrow a couple from my friends, but I don’t read a whole lot myself, sadly. I spend all my time drawing. The last book I bought was Aaron Renier’s Spiral-Bound, though. That’s a really good one.
N: How long do you spend on a page on average?
DS: When I started it was about six hours a page. Nowadays they take between 30 and 40 each from start to finish. It’s about 12 hours a day six days a week.
N: And then you are also working on your second print collection of the comic correct?
DS: Yeah, I am currently raising money for the print bill for that one.
N: Are you going to be adding any bonus material in the next book?
DS: Absolutely. I’ve got lots of bonus material I couldn’t put in Book 1 because it didn’t fit within the timespan of the book, so it’ll be in Book 2
N: Since you are more of a webcomic person, are there any smaller series that you’d like to advertise?
DS: Hmm. I’ve gotta mention Jenny and The Zombie Hunters since we’re a genre of two on the web.
N: Oh yeah, I’d interviewed her back on my old site. She is a pretty great person and does a wonderful comics as well.
DS: Kate, the author of the now-finished Darken actually just started a new series, Widdershins. And I’d also have to recommend Ryan and Three Word Phrase and Tom’s Non-Canon to round out the bill. There’s plenty to read there.
N: Now you mentioned Darken as a comic that finished. What is your view on comics with a more limited storyline like that?
DS: Story-comics?
N: Well, as opposed to comics that just continually go like PvP as opposed to limited series such as Darken or other comics.
DS: I find there’s a yin and yang to gag and story comics. Gag comics are easier to get into, since you read one strip and you’re satisfied, vs. needing to read a whole archive; but a long-form story can hook readers and more deeply invest them. Gag comics draw in a larger crowd, but storys comic fans are a bit more loyal.
N: I was referring to story comics that have a limited story as opposed to ones where the creators keep them going. I think story comics can still advance stories while having gags. Like a miniseries of a comic as opposed to a continuing series.
DS: Well, if you’re writing a story comic you ought to have an end. An end means your plot points are leading somewhere.
N: So there is going to be an ending to Dead Winter then?
DS: And that’s what hooks a reader. Yeah, there’s going to be an end to Dead Winter.
N: Are you thinking at all about anything post Dead Winter? or is that so far off in the future that it isn’t even a blip?
DS: I have another comic idea I want to work with, either after Dead Winter or if I find the time, alongside it.
N: Well, as we start to wrap up is there anything you’d like to “pimp”?
DS: Yes! Kory Bing’s Skin Deep and Magnolia Porter’s new comic Monster Pulse They’re good people and they make good comics, like the four I mentioned earlier! All of them, excellent.
N: Awesome. Well thank you for your time Dave.
DS: Thank you for having me!