Recently I had a chance to bend the ear of illustrator/author Kevin Gentilcore, creator of the “Teenage Love Zombies” series, among other cool projects. Check out the info that Kevin shared with me below, and be sure to hit up his “Teenage Love Zombies” Kickstarter, now in it’s final week – I’m a proud supporter, and you should be too! Enjoy the interview!
AUTHOR BIO: Down in the damp, dark basement dwells a beast of unholy persuasion. Day and night he toils endlessly, never knowing what could be outside of this existence. He knows only of hunger. He knows only of pain. He is the illustrator and his fate is sealed.
KEVIN ON FACEBOOK: Creephouse Comics page
THEGORESCORE.COM: Please give us the best pseudo-online-dating-site introduction/overview of yourself.
KEVIN: Well, I’m 33, live in Denver, CO with my amazing girlfriend. By day I’m a mild mannered graphic designer but by night I’m independent comic creator. Along with my business partner and writer William Tooker we run Creephouse Comics, a place to get all your all-ages horror comic needs satisfied.
THEGORESCORE.COM: What exciting projects are you currently working on?
KEVIN: Aside from the Kickstarter for Teenage Love Zombies and Never Send a Monster, I’m currently working on the second issue of my comic series The Haunter. William has handed in the script for the second issue of Krush McNulty, our love letter to old pulp sci-fi and I’ll be starting that soon. I’m also in the middle of working on a heavy metal themed comic with my buddies and fantastic artists Patrick Hoover and Robert Elrod.
THEGORESCORE.COM: What was it that first got you interested in drawing/graphic illustration?
KEVIN: Plain and simple. Comics. I think it was about 3rd grade, an older kid showed us some Marvel comics and I was hooked. He also happened to draw his own superheroes which I thought was even cooler and I wanted to do that as well. My fate was sealed. I knew then that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. The road took some twists and turns along the way but I would say with the formation of Creephouse Comics five years ago, I’m on the right path.
THEGORESCORE.COM: You wrote “Teenage Love Zombies” in addition to creating all of the artwork. Did you find the writing or the illustrating more challenging?
KEVIN: The art is always the hardest part for me. Not that it’s hard to draw, it’s that in comics the storytelling comes with the art and I strive to be a good storyteller with each panel. I wouldn’t consider myself a writer. I utilize writing as a tool to tell my stories and my scripts are pretty bare bone. I only write down dialog and notes for visuals later so that when I go to actually draw out the comic I can recall a visual I was thinking of when I wrote that part or a feeling I had about it. I’m constantly learning more about storytelling and trying to push it more and more with each comic.
THEGORESCORE.COM: As a fellow “independent creator,” I’m always interested to hear other creators’ best and worst rejection stories. Do you have one and/or the other that you’d like to share?
KEVIN: Oh brother, rejection. Do you ever really get used to it? I’ve developed a thick skin for it but I do recall once, maybe 8 years ago I had submitted some comic work to an “artist rep” and was so sure of myself. When he called to drill me about how “amateur” my work was, I was crushed. He of course was right, and he put it in a very direct and helpful way but still, it stung. I like to think I took what he said to heart .
THEGORESCORE.COM: Here it is, the $100 question: why are zombies so damn popular?
KEVIN: Because zombies are us and they are the great equalizer. In a zombie outbreak, everybody is the same and suddenly we all have the same motivation… stay alive. Of course how we stay alive is different for everybody.
THEGORESCORE.COM: What are some well-done comics/novels/anthologies/short stories/articles written by other authors that you’ve enjoyed recently?
KEVIN: Some recent stuff I’ve been enjoying lately is Barbarian Lord by Matt Smith, Lumberjanes by Grace Ellis and Brooke A. Allen, Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarksy, God Hates Astronauts by Ryan Browne, Sing No Evil by JP Ahonen and KP Alare, and I’ve been re-reading the Star Wars Tales comic series.
THEGORESCORE.COM: If you could create a tale about any object or character, fictional or real-life, and not have to worry about pesky things like copyright infringement, the truth, cold hard facts, or pretty much anything else that might get you sued, who/what would you use, and why?
KEVIN: I would do a metal comic featuring real metal musicians getting into crazy adventures and having to put up with each other. I also really want to do a short story about Porkins from Star Wars. A buddy of mine suggested we do it and damn all legality but I can’t do that without having permission. A boy can dream though. Something I can do and have always wanted to do is a scary Bigfoot story. I miss when Bigfoot was scary.
THEGORESCORE.COM: What are some of the most challenging struggles you think creators face these days?
KEVIN: Getting your stuff out there and seen. There are so many people swimming in the same pool, it’s a challenge to get noticed. You have to really work at it, tirelessly and give it your all.
THEGORESCORE.COM: Looking back on your career, what is the one thing you wish someone would have told you when you first began?
KEVIN: I’ve kind of figured things out on my own as I go and I think that’s been valuable. I’m not sure you can adequately prepare anybody for this except to emphasis just how much work and time it takes. I’ve always admired artist, teachers, professionals who don’t sugar coat things and just tell you flat out so I would have wished more people would have been blunt with me when I started, about my art and storytelling.
THEGORESCORE.COM: Do you have an all-time favorite comic book? Novel? Movie? Music album or band?
KEVIN: Favorite comic book is Daytripper by Gabriel Ba nd Fabio Moon. My favorite novel is Just a Couple of Days by Tony Vigorito. Favorite movie is The Empire Strikes Back. Favorite album is Panopticon’s Roads to the North.
THEGORESCORE.COM: Do you attend conventions or book signings/appearances? Do you think these events hold value for creators to participate in, and why/why not?
KEVIN: I do attend conventions and I used to think there was tremendous value in doing so. The convention scene is changing drastically and I’m starting to think that these larger shows don’t have as much value as they used to. I’m not mad about it, I just feel that for independent creators doing their own thing, it’s hard to break through in a sea of fan art and media frenzy. The internet is such a vast place and you can find your audience there and communicate with them directly. I think building an audience first and then going to do shows might be the better approach. I’m trying to find more niche type shows that I think I might do better at. I recently attended the Mile High Horror Film Festival and did extremely well there.
THEGORESCORE.COM: This is a topic of great debate: do you listen to music when you create? If so, what types/genres/artists do you find yourself gravitating to?
KEVIN: I absolutely listen to music when I create. I listen to music constantly. I’m a huge metal fan so generally I’m listening to that. Black metal in particular and this year has been an absolutely phenomenal year for metal. Some of the best music I’ve ever heard has come out this year. I grew up listening to punk so I still like a lot of that. I also listen to country and folk music.
THEGORESCORE.COM: What do you think is one of the biggest mistakes that creators might make when they are first starting out?
KEVIN: Don’t be a jerk. Be humble and gracious. Remember you are just starting out and don’t act like a diva.
THEGORESCORE.COM: Do you have any particular quotes, serious or humorous, that have meaning to you or that you try and live by?
KEVIN: “So now you say life sucks? Well, ninety-nine percent of it’s what you make of it… So if your life sucks, you suck.” –Suicidal Tendencies
THEGORESCORE.COM: Is there anything else you’d like to share that we haven’t already discussed? The world is your stage – nothing is too much here!
KEVIN: If you like an artist or writer, buy something from them. It’s usually cheaper than a specialty coffee drink at Starbucks and much more satisfying, for you both. We often give our new books away for short periods of time so the best way to get free comics from us is to sign up for our newsletter. We’re also running a Kickstarter that is set to end on Halloween. We have two new, all-ages friend horror graphic novels up along with other goodies. We could use all the help we can get!