Your character Super
Inga - in a few words, how would you describe her and the adventures she tends to
is strong and self-possessed. She's a blast for me to draw
and for readers to look at... AND she's a total magnet for weirdos! She
constantly gets herself into and out of bizarre situations... as if they
were skimpy costumes.
Inga first saw the light of day in Caleb Emerson's movie Die
You Zombie Bastards! [Caleb
Emerson interview - click here] - was she initially created specifically for
this movie, or did you have her in mind as a series-character from square
She was one of the smorgasbord of colorful characters
Caleb and I created for the world's first ever serial-killer superhero
rock'n'roll zombie road movie romance Die
You Zombie Bastards!.
Super Inga (Sandra Kennedy) with Red Toole (Tim
Your sources of inspiration for Super
Inga, the character?
Well, the character of Super
in the all-female Swedish village that
we encountered in Die
You Zombie Bastards! was conceived as a tribute to Russ Meyer.
Caleb and I share a deep admiration for Meyer's individualistic vision
and maverick sensibilities. Super
was intended as a tip-of-the-hat
(or brassiere) to the tremendously powerful, hyper-sexualized female
characters that populated Russ Meyer's larger-than-life universe.
My comic book Super Inga is another iteration of the character from Die
You Zombie Bastards!, emphasizing different aspects of this archetypal female force of
nature. When we met her in the movie she was in her element, in charge -
the alpha female. In the comic there's no doubt that she's the top dog,
but everything hinges on the fact that she is OUT of her element, like a
Gordon. And like Flash, we all know that she will prevail
no matter how the odds are stacked against her.
Let's return to Die
You Zombie Bastards! for a bit - how did that project come into
being in the first place, what can you tell us about your writing
partner/director Caleb Emerson [Caleb
Emerson interview - click here], and what was your collaboration like?
Caleb is a genius. Fortunately, so am I - and somehow we work totally
naturally together. We share a lot of the same obsessions but he and I
each have enough diversity in our own interests that can allow for
somewhat disparate ideas to pile up nonsensically but still ultimately
make sense. Does that make sense? I think we both come up with things
that the other never would have, while at times it's like we are
thinking with only one big, throbbing brain between us. Wait, would that
count as genius or a mental disability? Sometimes it's hard to tell.
have described Die
You Zombie Bastards! as "Troma
on speed" - a comment you can at all live with?
Absolutely. Your comment is great because it acknowledges that we are
born from the same toxic sludge as Troma, but we don't make "Troma-movies". Only
Troma can make
Troma-movies. Although we are inspired
by Troma, we also draw inspiration from
a lot of other areas, so
ultimately what we make is our own - it may be loaded to the gills with
hommages, but we don't manufacture imitations. We only put the Zombastic
label on products that are 100% genuinely authentically ours.
Anyone who does a little bit of digging will find that our connections
to Troma are too many to explain in a single interview, but we certainly
love, respect and owe a lot to Uncle Lloyd. If you can imagine, for a
moment, a planet of Truly Independent Filmmaking, Lloyd Kaufman would
actually BE its white-hot, sizzling core that most people on the surface
are content to ignore. If he were to then take the form of a human
living in that volcanic core, he would be a sulphurous, shirtless
god-beast like Hephaestus at the center of it all, sweating bullets,
screaming fiery vengeance and forging armor and hammers for our
demon-horde of staunchly original cinematic visionaries.
few words about Sandra Kennedy, who played Super
Inga in Die
You Zombie Bastards!?
What a gal. Thank you, again, Troma. When Caleb was working on Citizen
Toxie back in 1999 with Joe James (Officer Konash), we had just
finished up the script for Die
You Zombie Bastards! and Joe had just finished
working on Wet Hot American Summer with Sandy Kennedy. So that's
how we found her, and were we ever lucky that we did. She was a
consummate pro and committed pages and pages of our ridiculous
monologues to memory. We were on SUCH a tight shooting schedule... if
she hadn't been able to run through almost everything in a single take
we would never have gotten that scene. If I remember correctly, after Die
You Zombie Bastards! she went on to be an arena football cheerleader, a TV
sportscaster, some kind of high-end celebrity stewardess, had her own
radio show and god knows what else. Oh, and she was on Blind Date once.
You have turned Super
Inga into a comicbook only now, some seven years after Die
You Zombie Bastards! - to put it bluntly, why the gap?
We've always had spin-off and
sequel ideas... I actually have a full script for Die You Zombie
Bastards! 2 that's a wilder, hairier ride than the original - I mean, half of it
takes place at SEA! We really would love to make it, but the thing that
has been holding back sequels, comic books, etc. is one very, very
mundane thing, that root of all evil: money.
creativity - be it film-making, music, art, whatever - tends to not
generate a lot of income. Without a lot of income, it's hard to keep
making what you want to make. So this slows down the output. Since we
You Zombie Bastards!,
Caleb has managed to make another, TERRIFIC film (on a shoestring), Frankie
In Blunderland. You do what you can and it is what it is. When
you get down to it, do Caleb and I wish we could make, say, a film every
year? Sure. And I think Caleb is probably heading in that direction [Caleb
Emerson interview - click here]. But
time and money are always in short supply.
People ask all the time how come there hasn't yet been a sequel. It will
be a tough one to pull off, on a number of levels. But with the right
amount of moohlah, we could do it. In fact, we've done an awful lot with
the WRONG amount of moohlah. So, if anyone wants to fund the sequel, get
ahold of me or Caleb. I guarantee that it will be amazing.
Inga-comicbook come about?
former student of mine, Adam Miller, played a zombie in Die
You Zombie Bastards! - he's the one who kills
Stavros in the woods of West Virginia. Well, Adam got infected with this
zombie thing. He went on to become Creative Director for an indie comic
company and he co-created this really top-notch, dynamite comic anthology
Anyway, given my zombie background, he asked me to write a 3 to 5 page
story for it and that's when I started to develop this Super
They were knocked out by it and said they wanted to do it as a stand-alone
book - which I never expected. But what a dream-come-true... the
opportunity to completely write and draw whatever I wanted, from the
ground up, and know that it would be professionally lettered and colored
and treated to a lavishly printed format? Hell, yeah! So with Adam's
encouragement, I plunged headlong into Super
Inga's past, present and
Give us a quick lowdown, what
is the Super
Presents: The NEW Adventures of SUPER INGA is basically one wild-ass
day in the life of a sci-fi comicbook heroine... it ties into the Die
You Zombie Bastards! mythos and should give fans of the movie some morsels to sink their fangs
into, but it's also an old-school sci-fi comic book romp with elements of
horror and superhero comics. It should entertain anyone into this kind of
stuff; it's got a bit of everything.
To me at least,
Inga is among other things a loving hommage to vintage pulp
entertainment with its wild mix of semi-naked voluptuous women, zombified
batmen, Aztec mummies, wormholes, spaceships, dinosaurs and the classic Batmobile. Is
there any truth in that assumption, and would you like to talk about your
love for pulp fiction in general for a bit?
You get it, Mike. As in Die
You Zombie Bastards!, I'm interested in drawing on lots
of familiar motifs... almost like comfort food, stuff that you can just
really enjoy... while at the same time twisting it around a little,
sprinkling it with irreverence, and coming up with some new inventions
in the process - like the Zombatmen. You've never seen anything QUITE
like that before: FLYING ZOMBIES that are part zombie, part bat and part
Your art on Super
Inga reminds me first and foremost of European (especially
French) genre comics of the 1960's and 70's. Is that at least vaguely
accurate, and some comicbook artists who have influenced the look of your
Growing up, I read comics from the 1960s, 70s and early 80s. All of that
influenced me deeply, as did reprinted 1930s and 40s comics. I can't
point to any one or two artists who were a specific influence - I feel
like over the years I've absorbed bits and pieces of tons of artists,
from Moebius to Frank Miller, Herb Trimpe to Walt Simonson, Barry
Winsor-Smith to Dick Giordano, and the list could go on and on and on.
Kirby and Ditko are the giants to whose altars I always return.
Regardless of who, what, when, I am always impressed by clear, dynamic
storytelling and powerful graphic delineation. That's what makes comic
books really rock for me. When there's too much "noodling" I
just get bored and feel like the authors are avoiding something... like
how all those Yngwie Malmsteen-types never really wrote any memorable
songs, but could solo the pants off of Satan himself. Give me Motorhead
or the Ramones any day - straight-ahead, hard-as-hell and smart enough
to know how to keep it stupid, balls-out and locked-on-target. That's
what I have in mind, pretty much all the time.
art by Kevin Ilacqua
Besides the comic itself, Super
Inga the comicbook also includes a hilarious
"history" of Super
Inga-comics from the Great Depression to the 1950's. How
did you come up with that, and could you talk about the retro-art that
comes with this story for a bit?
Anyway, this is going to sound pretentious, but it's true: no matter how
silly the subject matter, the characters, the situations, I have to GET
TOTALLY INTO IT. I can't help it - if I don't, then I just can't produce
anything. So my mind was always churning about Super
context, creating background. In the comic itself are references to past
comic book appearances (that never existed), in order to put us right
into the action that's unfolding. This first comic book isn't an origin
story, it isn't a first chapter - we are dropped in the middle of
So the 2nd feature in the book is a history of the character and the
people behind the legend of Super
Inga, especially her creator, Hack
Derby. Hack Derby was a pseudonym I had used a few times on some poster
art for Die
You Zombie Bastards!. The art had a bit of Jack Kirby to it and Hack
Derby and I share the same initials, so I thought of him as something of
an alter-ego. Secret identities are always fun, right? Now I got to
create his story, Spinal Tap-like.
As for the art intended to be from the 1930s, 40s and 50s... I
contributed to some of that, but I wanted to get some other peoples'
hands on it too. Adam rounded up some great artists to ghost for Hack
and the result is totally gangbusters. I love how it turned out.
Oh, and there's a pin-up section at the back of the book. Die
You Zombie Bastards! fans
will positively drool at the pin-up by Tim Gerstmar, the multi-talented
star of Die
You Zombie Bastards!.
Inga the comicbook seems to almost demand a sequel - so, is
there anything planned down the road?
There's PLENTY of
material, that's for sure. But, ZombieBomb Presents: The NEW Adventures
of SUPER INGA was planned as a one-off. I would love to keep going,
but we'll have to see.
The $64 question
of course: When and where will Super
Inga be available?
Well, the book is set for a big debut at Boston ComicCon April 21 &
22. I'll be there along with Adam Miller and the ZombieBomb team to do
the whole signing ballyhoo. Super
Inga will be there as well, leaping
straight out of the comic book to round up fans old and new.
You're actually the first to get this breaking news: right now we're
putting together a very special Deluxe Premiere Edition to be sold at
the Con. I'm really excited about this because people will be treated
to a very unique collectors item package. Of course it includes the
full-color 32-page book containing 2 stories and a pin-up section. The
inimitable Adam Miller has created a stunning, exclusive signed print
especially for this edition. And finally, every Deluxe Premiere Edition
will include a unique hand-drawn sketchcard by me. This is not a print,
but an actual signed, india ink drawing by the guy who wrote and drew
the comic book. I think that's pretty cool. There will only be 75 of the
Deluxe Premiere Edition, so when they're gone, they're gone.
Sometime soon after the ComicCon debut, we'll be launching the online SuperIngaMarket. You'll be able to purchase the book there as well as
You Zombie Bastards! T-shirts and who knows what else.
Connect with us at http://www.facebook.com/SuperIngaComic in order to
be kept abreast (ahem) of any and all developments.
Inga has already made the jump from film to comicbooks - will the
character ever return in another movie?
Officially, there hasn't been an announcement, but Caleb and I are
planning to make something happen before the end of this year. It will
probably have something to do with Super
future projects (both in film- and comicbook-format) you'd like to talk about?
There are tons, for sure. But let's focus. For now, please go like http://www.facebook.com/SuperIngaComic
and you'll be on the leading edge... the first to know about my future
Maker of Monsters
from the Castle Ambras-series
Even besides Super
Inga and comicbooks, you have built yourself quite a reputation as
an artist. How would you describe your art, and artists who inspire you?
was trained primarily as a printmaker, but I rove between media - I do
what I want to do and am inspired by artists who follow their vision. I'm
not into complacency, I'm not into predictability - I like art that
challenges. Hopefully, my art does that. The downside is that I am hard to
pidgeonhole and so, hard to market. I have been OK with that for the past
20 years or so, since I got into art because I want to make what I want to
make, regardless of whether or not anyone else needs it. If anyone else
does, I am thrilled and grateful, but that's all just bonus.
read somewhere that you're also an art teacher, right? Any
one-sentence-advice you can give aspiring artists?
Keep working and be true to yourself. If you wait to be inspired, you're
screwed. Inspiration comes while you're working. Matisse said something
to that effect.
you at all follow current comicbook-series, and some (present and/or past)
comicbook favourites of yours?
Lately I've been really engrossed in the 2 volumes of Fletcher Hanks. I
always go back to my EC reprints...
Tales from the Crypt, Vault of
Horror and all that business.
Currently, I love what Dr. Muerte has been doing. He posts a daily comic
that is absolutely positively inane with no apologies. They're really
quite sublime. Better than Family Circle or even Marmaduke
Dr. Muerte is an alter-ego of Geoff Mosher who is the true identity of
none-other than Baron Vaclev Mummyhead von Nefarious. All of which is
pretty darned super-duper. I'm not sure that I was supposed to reveal
any of that. Oops!
And since this is a movie
site - your favourite movies?
There are so many, but... The Old Dark
Pussycat Kill! Kill!, Beneath the Valley of the
You Zombie Bastards!, The Black Cat (1934),
Plan 9 From
Outer Space... those are some of the movies that, if they were to
somehow disappear from the planet, I would turn to dust and blow away
like Chris Lee at the end of Horror of
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
... and of course, films
you really deplored?
Van Helsing made me crazy. Such a waste of everything.
Your website, Facebook, whatever
See my art at:
Anything else you are dying to mention and I have
merely forgotten to ask?
No. You hit everything.
Thanks for the interview!
Thank YOU, Mike.
It's sites like yours and your authentic
enthusiasm for offbeat visions such as Die
You Zombie Bastards!, Frankie
In Blunderland and ZombieBomb Presents: The NEW Adventures of SUPER INGA
that is truly encouraging to those of us working outside the mainstream.
Thanks for getting the word out there!