By Brian J. Apodaca, co-creator of Zombie Outlaw.
Comic-Con. 2008. My friend, Topher Davila (of www.geekdomwear.com fame) had invited me and my future-fiance, Laura, to stay in one of the rooms he was renting at the Embassy Suites. Usually, we stayed in one of the same rooms out of the block of rooms he was renting, but this year his room was completely packed! With this information in hand, we nonetheless adjusted and settled on sharing a room with some other individuals, none of whom we really knew except for one: the incredible artist Benny Jordan.
I’ve known Benny for quite some time, dating back to high school. Topher (Benny and I know him as Chris) met Ben one legendary weekend in the summer before either freshman or sophomore year.?That weekend, we stayed over at Ben’s house and watched the seminal ‘Troma-Classic’, The Toxic Avenger. Our lives would never be the same.
Benny is a huge fan of horror and sci-fi flicks. My interests run the gamut from science-fiction, to fantasy, to melodrama. I’ve grown up reading the adventures of Marvel and DC superheroes, and following the artists of Image (like many, I’m sure) as they departed Marvel and made a name for themselves outside of the industry of comics. Jim Lee and Todd Mcfarlane were, of course, the top of the totem pole in the eyes of most of our friends. Chris (ahem, Topher) and I were stunned (!) to find ourselves in the same elevator as Todd Mcfarlane one summer at Comic-Con as we were descending from a high floor at the Hyatt. Another year, we encountered the booming voice of Stan Lee in the Marriott elevator, and half-expected an Animated Incredible Hulk to come bashing through the metal doors!
Anyhow, before I lead you too far astray, this year was memorable not for any comic-creator elevator run-ins. No, what happened this year was far more pivotal than crossing paths with Frank Miller in a urinal at the Eisners, or walking alongside Lou Ferrigno amongst the crowds of costumed sweat-emitters. No, this year was the year Benny (aka B. Paul) Jordan and I originated plans for the creation of the “Zombie Outlaw.”
Topher had settled myself, Laura, and Benny in a room with “Batman” aka ‘Bats,” and another individual with ‘Two-Face’
make-up, as well as a friend we knew on some level, from some other conventions, known as Cat. Their collective group, including Topher as the “Penguin,” was (and still is, to my knowledge) known as ‘Gotham Public Works (www.gothampublicworks.com). There were some cool side benefits to this, such as meeting the creator of the Joker, Jerry Robinson (rest in peace), and chatting him up at Comic-Con around that time. Their group would also go on to shoot a video trailer for a proposed “Batman” fan-film, Batman: Forsaken, which would screen at a comic-con off-site party. You can watch the trailer for it at youtube.
So Benny, Laura, and I roomed with ‘Bats’ and Cat, and took part in the lovely “Managers Reception,” which is held every night at most Embassy Suites, wherein the drinks are free, but tipping is expected!
The morning awaited us with a nice, continental breakfast, but the evening’s “Managers Reception’ is where the Embassy blows all of the other hotels out of the water. Many hotels offer a free or discounted breakfast, but few offer any drinks or food vouchers at night, unless you’re a Diamond, Gold, Platinum, or some other level member of their traveling rewards program. Embassy cuts through all that class-warfare nonsense and just allows all of their guests to enjoy watered-down drinks with the understanding of a dollar or two-tip to come.
Sharing a room at the convention for four nights gave Benny and I a chance to talk, and we settled on the idea that we would work together to produce a comic book. We had no idea what form the comic would take, but I suppose somewhere back in the recesses of our brains, there was a faint hint of an idea that, whatever we decided upon, it would have some resonance with the film that we watched that first weekend we met, as young high-school students, awaiting the rest of our lives. Who knew that meeting while watching The Toxic Avenger would lay the groundwork, years later, for a goofball, college-based cowboy-zombie hybrid comic book?
We do now! Issue #1 of Zombie Outlaw has garnered some good, bad, and ugly reviews, and issue #2 is on the way!! Hopefully, by the end of the year, or sooner. We had a great experience at the Comikaze Expo 2011, and hope to exhibit at what is now known as Stan Lee’s Comikaze. B
rian J. Apodaca is the co-creator, with Benny Jordan, of the comic-book, “Zombie Outlaw,” also known as the greatest Irvine-College-based Zombie Comic on earth!! Follow him on Twitter: @Capn_Midnight Check out “Zombie Outlaw” at http://www.zombieoutlaw.com and on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/zombieoutlawcomic. Benny Jordan, aka B. Paul Jordan’s artwork can also be checked out at: http://bpjillustration.daportfolio.com/