This week Dave Shabet was kind enough to sit down with me to discuss his webcomic Dead Winter. He is releasing a collection that I'd highly recommend.
Koltreg: How would you describe your webcomic, Dead Winter?
Dave Shabet: You mean thematically? In short it's a character-driven adventure comic set to the backdrop of a zombie apocalypse. In even-shorter short it's a zombie comic for people who don't like zombie stuff.
Koltreg: By zombie stuff do you mean focusing on zombies and gore or something else?
Dave Shabet: I mean the general culture and media-presentation of zombie movies and comics as the same run-scream-die human buffet of the living dead that lots of people either don't care for or have grown tired of.
Koltreg: Is there any zombie media like that, that you enjoy?
Dave Shabet: I like Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead- up to a point- and I've enjoyed the handful of zombie films I've seen, but a lot of the one-shot print comics I've seen come out really haven't been very fulfilling, like they were just dogpiling on a zombie craze. No interesting or sympathetic characters, no real motivation to survive. They were really so bland I couldn't even tell you their names.
Koltreg: Ah yeah. I ended up getting the Walking Dead Compendium. It is a pretty great series, it has me excited for the tv show.
Dave Shabet: I have to get back on reading it. I've seen a little past the part I left off at and it seems to be picking back up
Koltreg: I will probably wait a few years for it to build up as well.
What was the first webcomic that you ever read?
Dave Shabet: The very absolute first webcomic page I ever read was a page of Real Life Comics where techno-prankster Tony changed all the laptop marquis screen savers at a local Fry's to say "All Your Base Are Belong To Us"
Koltreg: And I'd take it that you don't read it anymore?
Dave Shabet: Not for a while, no.
Koltreg: What was the first one that you found that you still enjoy?
Dave Shabet: That's hard to say. After I first found out about webcomics at all I just kinda jumped on reading a whole bunch- at a point I had like 50 bookmarks. Nowadays I try to keep up with the ones I link to- that little linkbox is like my bookmarks, in addition to friends' twitters- but now that I'm making one I don't have the time to keep up that I used to.
Koltreg: What got you to start making Dead Winter?
Dave Shabet: After college I did some freelance work here and there and I didn't really care for the jerky nature of starting out in that business so I decided to build an art business for myself. And I was tired of drawing one-off poses and pictures so I decided to try stringing together a narrative to keep me drawing different stuff. The comic originally started as a sort of artistic laboratory and quickly grew into itself from there
Koltreg: What did you study in college?
Dave Shabet: Illustration. It was a watermedia and oil-heavy curriculum. Lots of classical painting and portraiture.
Koltreg: Your art definitely does have a very digitally painted feel to it and I like that. It is a lot more organic looking that just filling in with the paintbucket tool.
Dave Shabet: I don't use the paint bucket at all. It's probably a waste of time but I paint in all my flat tones with the brush, just to make sure it all gets under the black lines how I like.
Koltreg: You are coming out with a book collecting the first few chapters of your comic. Is there anything else that the book will have in it?
Dave Shabet: Yes. It'll have adjusted artwork from the old pages- anatomy and proportion stuff- in addition to a couple pages of additional concept art and sketches in the back
Koltreg: That sounds pretty awesome. I look forward to getting it.
What is one webcomic you think everybody should read that not enough people are?
Dave Shabet: HMMMMMmmm.... Heliothaumic ( http://www.thaumic.net ) is definitely an underrated comic. It is a wonderful comic about a world where magic meets science and the author puts a lot of thought into every little detail building the world.
Koltreg: You hear a moan outside the front door to your house and you look out. A swarm of the undead line the streets. Do you have an escape plan in case of zombies by which I mean the classic slow styled ones?
Dave Shabet: Yes. I have like three ways out of my apartment.
Dave Shabet: Jenny's a good person, don't be pickin' on her or you'll need an escape plan... from me.
Koltreg: Oh she is.
Dave Shabet: (do you have one of those??)
Koltreg: Yes, yes I do.
Dave Shabet: You're a man of great forethought.
Koltreg: Indeed. "Never talk to somebody without picturing them dead." Somebody said that. I just did. I prequoted myself.
Any important things you'd like to say on the record about your comic, grudges against people or anything else like that?
Dave Shabet: Grudges against people are not something one should hold or foster, since they bring everybody down and no one wants that. As for my comic: I am happy people enjoy it.
Koltreg: Well I am glad to hear you are against beefs. I wish you luck with your webcomic and continued success in everything else.
Dave Shabet: Thank you kindly, sir.
Coming up this week, more Socialfist in the Making.