Exclusive: Michael Colbert Talks Shambling Heat, Crazy Mary, World War Kaiju And More
You may remember toward the end of last year we had a chat with writer Michael Colbert. Mr. Colbert wrote things like Crazy Mary and the short story Car Commercials Have The Best Songs to name a few of his works. He was launching a project that got me pretty excited called Shambling Heat. I caught back up with Colbert earlier this week to talk about him retooling Shambling Heat and launching it through Indiegogo this time. There are some pretty amazing incentives this time around like a hand grenade USB drive with a ton of content included. Besides the relaunched Shambling Heat, we discussed Crazy Mary being released in trade format, the super cool World War Kaiju comic coming up later this year, and what else we can expect from him and 01 Publishing. Read on for the full chat.
So you’ve relaunched Shambling Heat on Indiegogo and retooled it a little. Can you talk about that and what’s different this time around?
Indigogo has a slightly different structure. I don’t have to reach my funding goal, of course I’d like to reach the goal, but I don’t have to to get the funding that has been pledged. Stepping back and looking at it, my friend J.K. Woodward pointed out the fact that people want to buy cool stuff on these group funding things. I had the idea for some cool to stuff to put up. One of the new perks is a hand grenade shaped USB drive. It’s 516mb and it has the logo for Shambling Heat on it. On the drive itself will be the comic book, the coloring book, the mad libs, and even a previous anthology called New Breed on the thumb drive. I figured if I saw a hand grenade thumb drive at a comic convention, I’d have to get interest because it looks so cool.
Another cool thing is a brain shaped stress ball with the logo, you know to go along with zombies. They didn’t have zombie stress balls, so I thought brains was the next best thing. I wanted to get the funding again and put some cool stuff out that people would want to buy. We still have original art from JK from the Doctor Who/Star Trek crossover and the commission sketches. When I went back and looked at the Kickstarter incentives, it was kind of same-y all the way across. I switched it up and put in some fun, cool stuff. That was another reason to relaunch.
To get us back up to speed, can you talk a little bit about the story of Shambling Heat?
Shambling Heat is a one-shot comic that is coming out through 01 Publishing. It will be available on Kindle, and it will be in black and white. What I’m looking for is the funding to pay for the printing and the coloring of the book to sell at conventions and through the website. Shambling Heat, you read it and it’s like you’re watching a trailer for a big dumb Michael Bay/Jerry Bruckheimer produced summer tent pole action movie. It’s not actually the movie, you’re watching the trailer. The opening page has the green band trailer opening. It’s for the important 18-35 male demographic. The whole thing plays out like you’re watching a trailer for a dumb action movie.
That was the fun part of putting the story together. There’s a story there, but it’s just fun to do it like that. I can’t think of anything in comics that has been done like that before. It’s about a zombie cop. It’s the tough, no-nonsense, play by his own rules LA cop who dies in a chemical explosion and comes back as a zombie. He and his fast talking black partner, Lincoln Washington, are trying to stop an evil British crime lord from selling a drug on the streets that turns people into crazy zombies. It has all the trappings of your standard buddy cop action movies, it’s just you don’t need all the details. You skip right into it, you know what you’re getting into when you look at the story. Oh yeah, there’s a kitten too.
I thought it was really unique and it really caught my attention. It seemed like something you could have a lot of fun with.
I had fun writing it! I was laughing through the whole thing. I even forced myself to go back and watch stuff like Bad Boys 2 and just painfully bad action buddy cop movies. Even more just watching the trailers for the movies on Youtube. That gets you in the headspace for it. It was a hell of a lot of fun to write because I’m a big fan of that genre and it was really fun to do that, and do it with a zombie which was more fun. Dean [Stahl] had a blast drawing stuff, I know that. He was enjoying every frame that he did. It was right in his wheelhouse. Fun from beginning to end, just smiles. It’s always fun to do projects like that where you chuckle through the whole thing.
You can definitely see that from the pages that are up.
Yeah, full on silliness. Do you remember in Iron Man 2 where Iron Man was sitting on top of the giant donut shop? That’s a real place, Randy’s Donuts. It shows up in films all the time. I thought it would be great to have a scene where the donut is exploding and falls off the building and crushes a bunch of police cars. Then you cut to the main characters, and the hot D.A. Sofie Delacruz is like that’s a cop karma thing. You can put in these silly jokes that make sense out of context, but it’s part of a larger story. It’s fun and jokes coming fast and furious.
We have some time left on the clock to get that funded, but another thing you’ve had going on recently is the release of the Crazy Mary trade. Can you talk about that and how its been going?
All the initial orders for Amazon have been fulfilled and they’re out. We’re getting the reorders and it’s still available for the 01 Publishing website. It’s been doing pretty well, I’ve been happy. I have a couple signings here in LA coming up at Comic Bug and a few other places. Josh and Kat will be joining me for a couple of those. It’s been great. We’re just trying to get the word out and get people to pick up the graphic novel. It’s been well received though.
I’ve seen where you talked about it and it seems through Twitter it’s available then a few minutes later it’s sold out.
With Amazon the initial orders sold out, so we’re refilling. Every store in the LA area has been carrying it, I’ve been putting it on Twitter that they are carrying it so they can check it out and get it. I like working with comic book stores and it’s a good symbiotic relationship. Comic book stores that are taking a risk and buying copies and putting it out, they deserve as much support as possible.
Yeah, now seems like a great time to hop in on Crazy Mary and see all the work you and J.K. Woodward did.
J.K. has a huge loyalty to it and he’s a huge supporter of it. He’s a great friend. He and I have been friends for years. He’s always been bringing support for that and for other artists and indie comics that are getting off the ground. He’s always happy to lend his name and his credibility and celebrity to projects that he believes in. It’s always great to have him in my corner. And his cover for the graphic novel cover is so great. Those three stories he did have been souped up some and are now in color. Josh Finney did the color on that. It’s muted, so it looks like it was originally done that way. Josh did a great job of taking J.K.’s black and white and putting color to it. It looks very natural. The other stories J.K. colored himself, and they look fantastic. William Blankenship did two of the stories also, and he’s a hell of an artist.
Patrick McEvoy has kicked it into high gear. There are about 12 pages left of chapter 1 and as soon as he’s done with those pages, it’s going to go out for digital release and then get printed up so we can have it at cons on the website. That’s all going to fall into our larger graphic novel that should be done by the end of the year. We’ve progressed a lot. It’s messy, and gory, and funny and just insane to look at. It’s breathtaking. Patrick’s work is stunning. The first chapter should be out by this summer and the rest of it we’re aiming for the end of the year. We are going to do a Kickstarter for that as well. We’ll have some interesting incentives, like toys. It will be a lot of giant monster fun.
What else do you we have to look forward to from you and 01 Publishing.
I have a children’s book on deck that I’m working called Maddie and the Balloon King that will be a little further down the road. We’re also working on an H.P. Lovecraft anthology. There are some big names from the Lovecraft writing community that have submitted stories. Josh has one and I have one, it’s going to be a full anthology collection. We’re looking at around 15 stories. Everything should be in around the end of May and going up on Kindle shortly thereafter. There will be a lot of chithulu and H.P. Lovecraft-esque stories in there. I’m finishing up the story for that anthology as well as scripting a Crazy Mary follow-up. There’s a lot of other ideas I’m developing, but those are in the gestating stage.
Our thanks to Michael Colbert for talking with us about all his projects. You can check Shambling Heat on Indiegogo by clicking right here. I encourage you to look at all the incentives being offered and see if any grab your interest. You can also follow Shambling Heat on Twitter @Shamblingheat to keep up with all the latest developments. If you want to chat with Colbert yourself, he’ll be at WonderCon this weekend where Crazy Mary will be making its con debut. He’ll be with Jules Rivera (Valkyrie Squadron) who is also promoting a new book called Misfortune High. To keep up with where Colbert and his 01 Publishing cohorts will be, check out 01publishing.com. As an added treat, we’ve been given some pages and images from all three big projects discussed. You can check out the gallery below. What do you think about Shambling Heat? Which of the upcoming projects will you be looking into next?