|Do you love half naked sorority girls running around?
Do you love zombies? Mix them together and you get Chaos Campus from Approbation
Comics. We sat down with Bart A. Thompson and talked about his upcoming
book, Chaos Campus.
TheBigBadWolf: How did you get your start in the comics field?
Bart A. Thompson: I self
published my first comic, Vampires Unlimited: Shades of Things to Come,
around 2002. It was distributed to Diamond, full color, and for an unknown
title from unknown creators it sold very well. The cost of printing full
color wasn't something I was prepared for as the first issue wiped out
my life savings and the profits from the first issue were nowhere near
the print bill for the second. So fans have been waiting years for the
rest of the story, and I've just been able to deliver a bit more.
If you mean a complete start, I've been writing and drawing comics since
grade school, but I never realized that making comics was what I was doing.
I loved telling stories and I'd make up characters with my friends and
I'd document and expand on them (if you've ever seen the Dangerous Lives
of the Alter Boys, it'll give you an idea). I didn't really "get
into" comics until high school. I sold candy, cards, whatever, and
a guy was selling comics cheap, so I decided to sell those, too. But then
I read the books I bought and I was hooked. I was always exposed to cartoons
and TV shows spun from comics, but I never got into the original art form.
And I was doing it all along. So I wrote and drew mini comics I ran off
from a school or work copy machine, sold locally, and soon distributed
nationally through that Pen Pals section Wizard used to have.
TheBigBadWolf: How did you come up with the idea
for this comic?
Bart A. Thompson: Joking
around with my friends. We were laughing at all the "blank versus
blank" movies that were starting to become popular, and knowing Hollywood
will take a decent selling idea and run it into the ground (remember natural
disaster movies, buddy comedies, and now comic movies and 70's/80's TV).
So we were messing around with what they could come up with next, and
one of mine was "Zombies vs. Cheerleaders." Then with another
set of friends we had a game of how adding "zombies" to any
known property would make it even better. Like "Married with Children"
could be "Married with Zombie" or "Zombies with Children"...
and so on. So all that stuck with me and I was like, "This is a great
idea! Too bad I can't write comedy." But for like a year it kept
hammering at my subconscious and finally I discovered a way I could write
a one shot... that grew into a two issue miniseries... that became a six
issue first storyline arch... and so on.
Tell us about the main characters in this comic.
Bart A. Thompson: Paige is
the lead character of the three and sort of the reader's gateway into
the series (she's the short haired brunette with the purple eyes). Paige
has a very academic family, but her gypsy grandmother showed her the fun
side of life with her stories and magic tricks. When her grandmother died,
this also killed the fun/inner child within Paige, but before her grandmother
passed she gave Paige a necklace that's been in the family for eons. Fast
forward to now- Paige is trying to re-discover her fun side and self confidence
and one of those ways was to join a sorority. After the zombies hit she
discovers the necklace gives her powers, but with her self doubt and more
academic mind she can't use the powers well.
Brittany is the comic relief and the more stereotypical sorority girl
of the group (she's the curly haired red head that's super tall in the
catholic schoolgirl outfit). While Paige learned to repress her inner
child at an early age, Britt over embraced hers and she's always seeking
fun and to be the life of the party. Her sexual desires and saying whatever
crosses her mind when it crosses her mind can get her in trouble. But
her strength is her genuine concern for those she cares for and that she
wears her heart on her sleeves.
Jamie is the take no mess action junkie of the trio (she's the short one
with pink pigtails). She was raised by her single father and became a
tomboy and a loner, but coming to college she wants to try to gain friends
so she joins a sorority though she really isn't the standard sorority
type. When the zombies hit she's the best prepared already trained in
weapons, fighting, and survival tactics. She's always on the aggressive
side and her personality clashes very well with Brittany, which is always
fun (for us anyway).
TheBigBadWolf: How did this zombie outbreak start
and how big is it?
Bart A. Thompson: We don't
really know for sure, yet. The girls are really hoping it's just a local
thing and that eventually they can find a place that's zombie free and
zombie proof. So far things are looking pretty bad for that hope, but
we'll see through their further adventures.
TheBigBadWolf: Are the girls stuck on campus
fending off the zombies or do they head for safer grounds?
Bart A. Thompson: They're
free to go wherever, but with the stress of the situation within the first
six issue arch they're trying to get their bearings on this new situation
and stay one step ahead of the zombies. In the second arch they try to
take a stand and make their own safe haven, but trouble comes from within
their proposed safety zone. Third arch they take their show on the road
trying to seek the cause of infection and trying to find that safe place
where they can finally lay their troubles down. Volumes four and beyond...
ah, we'll get to those eventually.
TheBigBadWolf: When will this book be available?
Bart A. Thompson: Until I
can get the regular series published (another full color series, so this
time I'm going to make sure ALL my ducks are in a row so there will be
no serious problems) I've been self publishing Preview comics to give
people quick tastes into the series. The Preview books contain different
short stories involving the girls fighting the zombies done by different
artists. Four Preview issues are planned, but I will keep putting them
out until the real series is solicited and ready for full Diamond release.
Preview issues #1 and #2 are already available online or by sending a
money order directly to us. For the online choice, those links are:
TheBigBadWolf: Is it an ongoing or mini series?
Bart A. Thompson: Both. You'll
find this is a theme with me, but it's the way I write. I write within
self contained story archs that end up being chapters within a larger
run. Think of each issue as episodes, each arch as a season, and the greater
look being the full run of the show/storyline. I've done the same thing
with Vampires Unlimited, ChiSai, Lethal Instinct already. Just another
way to try and give new readers easier jump on points (though this will
be much easier with Chaos Campus as most of the issues will be issue contained
stories, though there are two-parters throughout each arch).
What can we expect from future issues of this book?
Bart A. Thompson: Hot girls,
action, humor, and zombie gore... but with an in-depth underlining story.
I hope from the surface you'll be entertained and laughing your butt off,
but then before you know it you're addicted to the series and finding
yourself actually caring for the well being of these three gals.
TheBigBadWolf: How can fans get this book if
they don’t see it at their local comic shop?
Bart A. Thompson: Right now
just the Preview books from our online store or by mail. Those links again
But yeah, becoming part of my "street team" would help! Buy
the Preview issues and leave your positive comments and reviews on the
site. Send letters and e-mails of your thoughts, comments, and support
to us directly. Tell your retailer about the series and that you want
copies ordered and held when it's solicited and released. Get your retailer's
contact info (store name, owner name, mailing address, phone number, e-mail)
and send those to us so we know which retailers are interested for more
updates on the series progression. Spread the word to friends and buy
copies for them if you need to (we need to get more people into comic,
too... Chaos Campus is intended to be a "gateway comic").
TheBigBadWolf: Tell us about the Chaos Campus movie that you are planning
Bart A. Thompson: Here is
the press release about the movie.
“CHAOS CAMPUS: SORORITY GIRLS VS. ZOMBIES INDEPENDENT MOVIE”
Bart A. Thompson, up and coming writer, artist, and publisher of Approbation
Comics is now currently in pre-production of a live action feature adaptation
of his creator owned property “CHAOS CAMPUS: SORORITY GIRLS VS.
ZOMBIES.” Thompson is sharing directing and screenwriting chores
with independent movie maker Matt Niehoff while also co-producing the
film with newcomer Sara Eberhardt.
Quickly becoming an established name in the comic book industry, Thompson’s
name is attached to many projects including LETHAL INSTINCT through Alias
Enterprises, BLOOD, SHELLS, & ROSES through Arcana Studios, along
with CHISAI, MIKAYLA, PANDORA’S BOX, MYRIAD, VAMPIRES UNLIMITED,
the LAZARUS FACTOR, the METAMUTOIDS, and the aforementioned CHAOS CAMPUS
all through Thompson’s own Approbation Comics. With comic books
depending so much upon graphic storytelling and sharing so much with cinema
and television, switching between mediums is not only a logical movie,
but also something Thompson planned to do for a while now. “Make
no mistake,” Thompson begins. “I’m not leaving comics
for movies. Creating comics is in my blood and you couldn’t pay
me enough to stop. But I am a work-a-holic and the opportunity arose to
do both, so I ran with it!”
The story behind CHAOS CAMPUS is pretty much summed up within the subtitle
of “SORORITY GIRLS VS ZOMBIES.” The series is a pop culture
and horror parody filled with action, adventure, drama, and character
development to go along with the “cheesecake” visuals and
gory violence. “If you mixed the American Pie films with Charlie’s
Angels and Shaun of the Dead, you’d gain a decent idea of what CHAOS
CAMPUS is like.”
The CHAOS CAMPUS series is already gaining acclaim within the comic book
community. Daniel Schaffer, writer/artist/creator of Dogwitch through
Sirius says that CHAOS CAMPUS is “Great with brilliant comical moments!
The perfect blend of cheese, gore, & shocks””
CHAOS CAMPUS will be shot primarily in Louisville, KY and surrounding
areas during the months of May through September. Thompson is seeking
actors, actresses, prop designers, special effects wizards, and in general
“anyone available and willing to work on the film for credit and
the overall fun of the experience.” Thompson is also seeking local
musicians to contribute original music for the movie’s soundtrack.
“Oh, yeah... and if anyone has a well behaved Jack Russell Terrier,
please come to us with more info!”
Issues of the CHAOS CAMPUS comic can be purchased at local comic stores
or online via the Approbation website. Anyone wishing to contact Thompson
regarding the movie is welcome to do so via e-mail at ChaosCampus@yahoo.com.
TheBigBadWolf: Thanks for the info Bart, good luck with the comic and
Talk about this interview here.