Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Gilamon's Lefty Kam Says Zombies Can Save The World Too!

After stories relating to vampires and werewolves became more mainstream in novels and TV/ movies, it was only time that their not so pretty, undead cousins - the Zombies - would be enjoying their fair share of the limelight.

The 2009 "Zombieland" comedy movie about finding a family in the midst of a zombie apocalypse received critical reviews and soon after, cable channel AMC found a hit zombie TV series based on Image Comics' "The Walking Dead" graphic novels.

Red Dot Diva thinks zombies are wayyyyyy disgusting. She is sure they are fetid too, but it doesn't mean she is unable to relish slabs of entertaining stories. Even if the subject matter is putrefyingly hungry for brains.

With a rather smart twist to the usual zombie storyline, Gilamon Studio - a Malaysian-based independent comics production company - has churned out a series of graphic novels called "Major Zombie" that mashes up superhero into the mix of the undead.

To celebrate the launch of the latest book, "Major Zombie: The Blood Trail", the Gilamon guys were in Singapore recently at GnB Comic's M.A.N event and a Kinokuniya signing. As Red Dot Diva was busy with STGCC 2011, she was unable to attend either events or meet them that weekend.

Thanks to Angelia Ong from Banshee Creative, Red Dot Diva was able to get hold of one of Gilamon's co-founder and "Major Zombie" comics' co-creator, Julian "Lefty" Kam. She simply had to find out more about his fascination with zombies.

Red Dot Diva: What inspired you guys to start Gilamon Studio and how far do you think the setup has progressed since it began?
Lefty: Gilamon's main aim is to create intellectual properties from our heart and vision. It's been great so far, as this is our ninth year we are still at it in.

Red Dot Diva: When do you remember falling in love with pop-culture and comics?
Lefty: Around 6-7 years old when I saw a stack of comics my dad's friend rented (yes, rented) from the second hand bookstores. Can't remember the title specifically but there are Spider-Man, Hulk, Green Lantern & Doctor Strange in the bunch.

Red Dot Diva: For those who are unfamiliar with your comic releases, describe what the “Major Zombie” series is like.
Lefty: Major Zombie stemmed out of a love for fantastic figures in B-movies (zombies, vampires, monsters, aliens, etc.) and superhero comics. In his former life, Major Zombie lived the glamorous life as Supreme-Man, a celebrity and A-list superhero – until an incident changes his life forever. While saving a girl from the attack of the Zombie King, he was infected with the Zombie virus. Supreme-Man died in the eyes of the world, his passing mourned with a grand funeral and tribute.

A few days later, a figure rose from the grave – a shadow of Supreme-Man with only half the power and maggots coming out of his body. Only Kaktus, the girl he rescued from the Zombie King, remained by his side as his partner in duty and confidante.

His former glories as Supreme-Man all but lost, Major Zombie is now a nobody in the superhero world. But that just means he's no longer distracted from doing what he does best, defending us from evil monsters and scary aliens!

Red Dot Diva: How much of a “The Walking Dead” fan are you? And what intrigues you most about zombies or macabre things?
Lefty: A whole lot, actually. I love the comic book very much but I am also absolutely terrified by it. I think I read till volume eight or nine of the trades and just can't go on any more. It's too gritty and real! I know I know I am such a sissy. 

I love more tongue in cheek materials like "Marvel Zombies" and "Shaun of the Dead". I really like "The Walking Dead" TV series as well. It is the best zombie TV series to me so far and a great adaptation of the comics to boot. Again, I am terrified! =_=|||

Red Dot Diva: Name me your favourite zombie movie and why.
Lefty: "Shaun of the Dead". I love ideas that could bring a different mood to an obvious situation. e.g. lovely town invaded by epidemic that turns people into zombies. Love ones infected, many dead and everything has gone to hell. The obvious mood would be terrifying and scary but if you could make a comedy out of it, you can take my money!

Red Dot Diva: So what have you already thought of your best tactical move with dealing with a zombie apocalypse?
Lefty: If they are the slow "Shaun of the Dead" type, there is still hope for the living, but if they are like those in "28 Days/Weeks Later", just enjoy your life while it last, babe. My basic rule would be, no matter who he/she is, you husband/wife/mom/dad/daughter/son or any of your love ones, once they are infected, they are already DEAD. Put them down, mourn later. Mindset: You didn't kill them, they are already dead.

Red Dot Diva: Who are your artistic and creative inspirations?
Lefty: Mike Mignola and Frank Miller's works in his pre-DK2(Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again) days are my inspirations.

Red Dot Diva: What do you enjoy most about attending conventions, and is your best convention experience?
Lefty: A con done right is like a huge gathering of friends and like minded people, sharing and talking about stuffs we love. Can't get any better than that, can it? My best experience would be the first and second STGCC (2008, 2009, STCC then), the turn up and response were overwhelming. It gave us a lot of support and encouragement to push on.

Red Dot Diva: What do you think of the local and regional artists' chances of breaking into the mainstream comics industry in a big way? And what they can do to improve their chances?
Lefty: One thing for sure is we have talents here whom are on par if not better than anywhere else. Best bet to break in would be just keep doing it and show it whenever there is a chance. Stock-up as much of your work as possible. Lastly, get yourself prepare, always ask yourself can you handle it if an opportunity arise?

Red Dot Diva: What are your next projects?
Lefty: I have plenty of Major Zombie ideas floating around my mind but the Gilamon team is working on a project which is still too early reveal, its tentatively titled "Gilamon X". Will keep you posted.

Red Dot Diva is still not quite sure she could ever fall in love with zombies. Ewegh. But she likes being surprised, and she thinks that the idea of a festering Zombie Superhero is too off-kilter to be missed. So, she is going to make sure she has ample ammunition ready and will be bashing a Major Zombie book hunt this weekend.

"Major Zombie: The Blood Trail" can be found at the Kinokuniya main store and Harris Planerds. This latest issue features a cover drawn by artist Tan Eng Huat, and art by Faezel Tan.

Just make sure to grab a copy before one hears uneven shuffling noises from behind accompanied by a raspy voice hungrily moaning, "Braaaiiinnnssssssss."


Check out Gilamon Studio's blog for more news and follow the Major Zombie Facebook Page right here!

There is also a Major Zombie Universe blog!

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