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October 5, 2013

Webcomic of the Month! October: A Ghost Story

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Written by: Dr. Bustos
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Welcome back to Webcomic of the Month! It’s October, the month of Halloween! So what a better time than to pick a comic that has ghosts in it? Not only in the comic, but in the title This month we got Bea‘s A Ghost Story! It’s a comic about to working class ghost hunters, Maxine and Jack, as they try to keep their apartment and survive a world where ghosts are very real. Bea was able to take some time to answer some questions and so I thought that with this being Webcomic of the Month, I’d share them with you, enjoy!

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How long do you want the comic to go for? (Hope it’s several years, at least.)

Ideally for a few years! I don’t have a strict time table, but I do have an overarching plot I want to unravel between self contained stories. So it’ll be a good while before it ends!

Is there anything you can tell us about the story’s world that may not show up in the comic?

I’m pretty sure it’s not going to come up, but there are some towns that were ravaged so hard by disease, natural disasters or man-made disasters that they become overpopulated by ghosts to the point of being uninhabitable for living humans. They are literal ghost towns.

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What are some of your favorite and least favorite ghost stories that you’ve heard or read?

My favorite ghost stories are either the ones that are hilarious and strange or ones that have outright scared me. One that comes to mind is the story of the samurai that was walking home one night and heard someone calling out to him and when he turned and looked, there was a man stripping his clothes off and bending over to show off an eye where his anus should be. It’s just so bizarre. That story is usually my go to for favorites because it’s just gross and stupid in such a good way.

I don’t know if I have a least favorite ghost story. I guess if I’m allowed to choose really contemporary examples, I absolutely loathed “Paranormal Activity” (even though I guess technically that was a demon and not a ghost). Paranormal Activity was atmospheric with absolutely no payoff. I felt cheated out of the experience. Ghost stories with no payoff are the bane of my existence.

You’ve mentioned on Tumblr that Achewood had an influence on relationship stuff for the series, what other pieces of media influenced you?

Oh geeze, I pull and borrow from so many different sources. My gateway comic and biggest inspiration was Steve Purcell’s Sam and Max “Surfin’ the Highway”, which I think has influenced the way I write dialog heavily, not mention it kicked off my love of dubiously unscrupulous duos with no regard for the law. “Ghostbusters” pretty much sparked the idea of further exploring the concept of low income ghost exterminators. Jack and Maxine (and some other main characters we’ll meet later) are based heavily on my love for unsympathetic protagonists (At San Diego Comic Con I pitched the comic as “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia meets Ghostbusters”). Junji Ito’s comics, especially Tomie and his series focusing on Souichi, had a big influence on my tastes in horror and the grotesque, as well as their melding of humor and horror into a pretty seamless package. Sorry for rambling, I have a lot of influences! So many. I could go on forever. I’m already planning to have some pretty overt references to great horror movies, including a character based on Herbert West.
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Do Ghost Dad type ghosts exist in this world?
I can’t believe you just made me remember Ghost Dad. But yes, absolutely. The rules of ghosts in the comic work off the “whatever seems coolest/funniest” at any given moment. Playing fast and loose with the definition of ghosts, dads and ghost dads.
What other comics (web or otherwise) do you read, if any?
I read way too many web comics for my own good so I’ll list some that are nearest and dearest to me or need more love. I am absolutely in love with a lot of my friend’s web comics: Glam Rock Gorilla, Poppy O’ Possum, Drunkards of the Cosmos, Monster’s Garden, Bounty, Manly Guys Doing Manly Things, Evil You Know and Attendance. I also am in love with the world of Judecca, the tone and execution of the horror themes in Broodhollow, the art of Helvetica, the characters of Sakana, the weird humor of Achewood and everything about Gunnerkrigg Court. Pictures For Sad Children, Gunshow/Horribleville and Three World Phase hold a personal place in my heart too. I’m sure I’m missing so many.

Oh, and Jerkcity. Of course.
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If you could bring in any famous ghost (Funky Phantom, for example) into the series, which would it be?

Hmm. I think if I could steal any ghost for a story arc I would pick Beetlejuice. I think he would fit in pretty well.

What’s your favorite holiday and how do you best like to celebrate it?
Unsurprisingly my favorite holiday is Halloween and last year I spent it at the local zombie crawl getting super drunk. Usually I curl up with a load of scary movies and have a quiet night in. I guess I treat the entire month of October as an extended version of Halloween.

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What inspired the series?
Hahah, this is such a good question. I think I first came up with the concept when I was in middle school and dropped all my ideas for it for about 6 or 7 years (which is the best choice I could have made; nothing you make in middle school is ever good). I picked it back up almost two years ago when I reworked everything from the ground up and decided I wanted to make something that I would want to read. The comic was also a means for me to work out some personal stuff I was going through at the time.

I guess the comic was just inspired by a hole I wanted to fill. Something that I wish existed that didn’t. I finally made the comic when I had affirmation that other people would want to read it too.

You’re off to save the day, what dinosaur do you ride in on and why?

Definitely the Euoplocephalus. That thing means business.

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Read this comic! NO EXCUSES.

There you have it! I want to thank Bea for not only doing this interview but also for the fun comic. It’s really starting to get scary and I know I’m going to see her black-eyed child ghost’s face when I least want to in the middle of the night. I hope you enjoyed this interview and go check out A Ghost Story. Have a great October and Halloween! See you next month!

Dr. Alexander Bustos

drbustos@comicattack.net

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