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July 22, 2014

Kickstarter Spotlight: Stillborn: The First Zombie

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Written by: Kristin
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Meet Stillborn, the original undead, exposed to a disease in 1933, and still alive and kicking to this day. Phillip Kopp has been going to conventions and working with comic shops to sell his series, but now he wants to sell directly to you, the comic book fans. For an incredibly low $5, you can receive a digital copy of the trade paperback, which includes all five issues of this initial series. Every donation tier, from $1 to $100, has a reward, which include sketch covers, digital and physical copies of the TPB, a poster, magnet, postcard, bookmark, and button. The series is drawn in detailed black and white, dark and heavy, with plenty of gore. The Kickstarter runs until August 3rd, and has an easy to reach $1,000 goal. Currently they’re about halfway to their goal. I asked Phillip to answer a few basic questions for me about his series to give you all an idea of what Stillborn is and where it’s going. If it helps you donate, Phillip plans to give part of the proceeds to the father of zombies, George A. Romero himself.

 

ComicAttack: Where did the idea for Stillborn come from? The roots. Is it something you’ve been wanting to write for years, or a recent idea?

Phillip K: Stillborn was inspired by a cosplay character I created called Hunter S. Zombie. A zombified version of Hunter S. Thompson, the character was a hit at the 2010 Texas Frightmare Weekend Con, and I started blogging from the point of view of a zombie. I wrote this huge back story for the character and was thinking of taking it a step further by writing my own zombie story.

I saw a pattern with all the zombie films, books, and comics that I was exposed to. There was always a mass plague of zombies and a small group of human survivors. I wanted to turn that formula around and focus on just one zombie, the first zombie. Once I got the idea, I wrote a rough film script in one night and then started sketching storyboards, wanting to make a GN, but I didn’t have the skills. I took the advice of a friend and put the script into a short novel.

I was able to elaborate more with the character and map out the entire series from beginning to end. After looking over at my storyboard sketches, I went back with my original instinct and turned it into a comic book.

After two years of continuous work, I have the first story line done. Five comic books and one TPB that introduces the main character. I didn’t want to give everything at once.  I saw it more like a movie and this first set is like the first 10 minutes of a film; it establishes the balance for the rest of the series.

I just really wanted to see a story where the zombies won.

 

stillborn5cover

CA: How intelligent is Stillborn; how different is he from the average “mindless zombie”?

PK: The second book will cover all this, so I’m glad you asked because I’ve tried putting as much sci-fi as I can into the character. After speaking with dozens of comic readers, they tend to be an analytic bunch, myself included, so I had to make this good.

Stillborn was born with the virus, making it part of his immune system. Since he was “stillborn” and then reanimated, it’s as if his entire body and self have been re-booted to become something other than human. He has the characteristics of a decomposing corpse but with a catch – the virus reanimates dead cells, so whenever Stillborn is hurt, his cells are immediately replaced, making him invincible.

He is able to progress, thanks to his parents who show mercy on him, and begins to grow past the usual restraints of the undead. Becoming smarter, he develops as other humans do with thoughts and feelings. He discovers that his unique condition also gives him the ability to take control over those that he has infected, so by the end of the series the entire world is under his control.

I wanted to find a way to combine the different zombie genres into one and create one powerful monster.

CA: What is the setting for these first five issues?

PK: Like the horror stories of my youth, this one starts off in an abandoned old house.

In the small town of Heaven’s Gate, a dark past haunts them as many others do, and that past is buried inside of the old Thomas Farmhouse. Deemed ready for demolition, a group of construction workers are brought to the house for inspection. Once inside, they become trapped and are killed off one by one. Those that survive the longest uncover the dark history of this cunning and unstoppable killer.

This is the intro for Stillborn, a way for readers to meet the character and decide from there if they want to keep reading.

almostdeadpkgstillborn

CA: Why did you turn to Kickstarter to fund this set of comics?

PK: Kickstarter is typically the last step in your comic book adventure. I was holding it off even though I had a lot of people encouraging me to do so. I finally decided to after I lost money at Dallas Comic Con. I had been selling my work at their cons for years, and the DCC was one of the worst shows. Not because it was bad, but because it was so big and the indie people were shoved in the back.

I couldn’t meet the demand I had with the current comic shops. The orders were getting bigger and I had to wait for the last shop to pay before I could get to the next order. With Kickstarter, I can sell directly to fans and build enough to help start with the next book.

CA: What are your future plans for Stillborn?

PK: Doing all I can to make him America’s next great monster.

After the Kickstarter, I plan to start on the next book “Raising the Dead,” and I’d like to stop doing single issues to save time and money.

There are 7 books in all that follow this giant character arc and take the reader across the globe to see the infection from all points.

The thing that helps is to not stop. I just keep drawing, keep getting better at my art, and keep writing the story. I’m doing less con appearances to save money and focusing on just horror cons, or small ones that don’t require a huge fee up front.

Honestly, I see Stillborn rising to the same heights as Freddy Kruger or Mike Myers. After talking with the horror fans at the cons, we all agree that we want to see a new monster.

 

Act quick for a fantastic deal on this series. There’s only a couple weeks left for this campaign, and the creator has big plans for the future of the oldest living zombie. Free previews are available on the Stillborn website in case you need an incentive, but the pledge levels are honestly a steal. And by the way, August 3rd is my birthday, so give a girl a gift by helping out an awesome creator.

Kris
kristin@comicattack.net
@girlg33k_kris

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