Thursday, September 3, 2015

STGCC 2015: Meet Seth Adams At Artist Alley - But Look Out! There's Going To Be An XMas Zombie Apocalypse!

There is an XZA coming to STGCC.

Yep. An Xmas Zombie Apocalypse. In the middle of September. Never mind that it's not the winter solstice yet. (Zombies, after all, aren't the most reliable source for time-keeping.)

But you have been duly warned, and it would be best if you head to Artist Alley Booth 96 during STGCC to get prepped about the XZA. Ask for Seth Adams. He will tell you more about the impending invasion of the undead.

Who? You ask.

Seth Adams. Artist. Creator. The tough-looking, bald, beardy, bicepstuous one-half of the booth occupant who knows the details behind XZA because he is the source. (Besides, the other guy who will be there is neither bald nor beardy, tho' still bicepstuous, so it would be doubtful you'll make a mistake. Also, the other dude's name is Kelly Bender. ;) )

To help you get a little more comfortable with Seth Adams, Red Dot Diva huddled down with him, all whispery and in camouflage, so as not to attract any hungry zombies who may be lurking around.

Red Dot Diva: Tell us a bit about yourself, including how you end up being on this (very hot) island, and other essential info like have you finally acquired a taste for durian?
Seth: I came out here in 2009 to open USS. It's sounds pretty top secret to say we sign a contract for life not to talk about it (it's not that exciting), but I will say after 2 years back in LA, I was excited to come back to Singapore in 2013. I really like the quality of life here. As for durian, I still haven't tried it! I've heard you smell like it all day and into the next. That worries me. This is a crowded place.

Red Dot Diva: Have you acted in anything locally produced? And do you think we might soon see you on stage at a local theatre production? 
Seth: I did a great show called Ox written by Adeline Pang and a production of Take Me Out. There were some small films here and there, and the occasional project that happened to be filming. I don't have anything currently lined up in Singapore stage wise. There are some things I'd like to do in the future, and there have been a lot of people I've met or seen that I would love to work with if given the chance. I'm pretty impressed by how much this country embraces live theatre.

Red Dot Diva: Please, give us a some tidbits regarding your graphic novel XZA: Xmas Zombie Apocalypse. 
Seth: So XZA is about the adventure of a boy who wakes up Christmas Day seemingly the only one not affected by a Zombie plague. He is saved from a horde of undead by a large robot and learns that he is the possible the last hope for humanity and must trek with his new robot companion to the North Pole, as Santa may be the only answer to save humanity.
Red Dot Diva can't help but wonder if this Santa is also silver-foxy bicepstuous.... hmmm.....

Red Dot Diva: What inspired you to start your own comic and what were the challenges you faced while working on it? 
Seth: I had been acting in a movie in The Philippines in 2010 when I had an idea for what would eventually become XZA. For the longest time, I thought the story was a screenplay for a feature. I developed and played with the world for a few years but usually had something else at the forefront. 

In 2014, I had some downtime and locked myself down and after a lot of work realized the whole story was better suited for a much larger format then a 95 minute film. I learned that screenwriting, at least when it's good, is very very difficult. And I also learned that sometimes you find out that your story maybe needs a different format. As the story changed the tone was changing. I had been catching up on reading "Saga" and was introduced to "Attack on Titan" on Netflix. What initially was kind of a homage to 80s children's films was evolving to be a bit darker and much more vast. The side stories and world was growing faster then I could format into a three act structure. The whole thing very well could still be 90 minutes, but I don't have the screenwriting skills I guess.

So when it came to the comic, a lot of the heavy lifting had been done structurally. Initially, I was looking for an artist to work with. But I started challenging myself to draw everyday and was introduced to some new tools that made it fun in new ways. I hope I'm not pulling a George Lucas here, where my enjoyment of the process maybe takes away from the finished project, but it's quite a fun process to figure out how exactly to draw this story.

Red Dot Diva: Who are your primary influences in your artistic style? 
Seth: We could do this alllll day. I used to think I would just steal from everyone. "I like how this artist poses his figures and I like how this guy paces things and this guys hair and this guys lighting" I still do that. If I see you do something that works I'll knick it. That maybe comes from acting. You can learn something from another actor or performance but no matter what you still have the instrument that is you. Your strengths and weaknesses.

I wish my art was as good as the people that influence me! There are guys I think of as completely influential that my stuff doesn't look anything like. I think I'm still growing as an artist. I hope. I put in my 10000 hours long ago, it's just been a matter of reviving those muscles and fine tuning and revisiting all the core basics in order to pull off XZA. All that being said. Jae Lee, Ben Templesmith, Ashley Wood. Michael Turner. David Mack. How has it Jim Lee has just gotten better? I follow a ton of artists on Instagram. The new generation of artists are just killing it. I get great daily of inspiration and "you better step it up" each day. This Jim Mah guy? Good god. Jock! So many new-to-me folk. Fiona Staples. If I could afford her I think she would do a great job with XZA! :)

One of the biggest challenges has been modifying my own fairly messy style into one suitable for the what I think the tone for XZA should be. 

Red Dot Diva: How did you end up deciding to share STGCC booth space with Kelly Bender? Seth: He was stealing hubcaps off my batmobile. No. I lucked out! ;) I was gonna fly solo but the organisers put us in contact to see if we wanted to team up. We had lunch and it was kinda a no brainier.
Red Dot Diva: And, lucky for us. *grin*

Red Dot Diva: What kind of goodies will you be offering at the booth? Will there be artistic or writer-ly biceps-flexing sessions with Kelly at the booth?
Seth: There will be prints and I'll be taking commissions. We will have some kinda freebie stuff for sure. Kelly is pretty fit and has a wicked fastball so I'm guessing he is pretty strong. I won't arm wrestle him publicly, but I may challenge him to a push up contest. 
Red Dot Diva: ooooh!
Red Dot Diva: What other conventions have you attended or worked in?
Seth: My first San Diego Con was 1993. I think there were less then 30,000 people and that seemed just massive. I took a train and was about 15. I went the next 3 years toting a portfolio. I didn't head back until 2007, and it was a beastly then. By then I was involved more in the film side of entertainment. It was nice to go and enjoy it without walking around with a portfolio hoping I would be discovered.

Red Dot Diva: Do you have a memorable fanboy comic convention experience to share with us?
Seth: In 2007, I went with an actress I had worked with, whose husband had just worked on Rob Zombies Halloween. That experience in itself was pretty incredible, hanging out with Rob. As I remember I even was lucky enough to go to the premiere of the film, and like a total geek I wore an old White Zombie Tshirt under my suit jacket on the red carpet. I had been a fan of his since I was 13, you know? A lot of the other moments where just getting to meet and shake hands with all these creators I idolised. I got to meet Jack Kirby, Frank Miller, Stan Lee. All these legends. And the superstars at the time, all those image dudes. David Mack talked a 14 year old me into buying the entire Kabuki series well before anyone had heard of him. Brian Michael Bendis was busy hawking an indie called Jinx. It was a fun time.

Red Dot Diva: What advice do you have to give to aspiring writers/ artists on how to get started with their own creative ideas? 
Seth: Did you talk to Kelly? He will give you an earful! And largely he's right. You have to stop asking for permission. You have to gain control of your time and resources. Mostly you just have to put it first. Resistance is the great killer.

I think a large part of why I am working on XZA now is because I'm constantly frustrated with waiting to be hired as an actor. There are 10000 reasons why you don't get an acting job. I wanted to find a way daily to empower myself doing something where I can Do The Work. I love making movies, and hope I will get to as long as I'm alive. But I really enjoy the balance of having something that is MINE where I'm not waiting on a thousand other people to create something huge that I may only get to put a small part of the overall effort into. I love the team making element of film making. I also love sitting at home in front of my dancing around and creating something. Sometimes I find that control balances things out and I feel much more fulfilled. I would love to someday be spending 80 percent of my day in a complete creative zone. That's the constant fight!

Red Dot Diva: Last question.. *ahem*... what are your tips on staying bicepstuous?
Seth: Biceps. Sure! I'll get all geek on you! I'm long limbed. I had to build up a base with 10 sets of 10 with my 70 percent max. That created some hyper-trophy. Also, it's aesthetics. So the leaner you are, the larger any muscle mass on your arms will look. There's diet. And that's tough. Have you had the food here?!! Roti Prata! Mee Goreng. (Red Dot Diva: And LAKSA!) So essentially. Lift heavy. Eat less. Still working on all that. Like everything else!!!

While Seth: continues to work on his biceps in preparation for STGCC and step up work for XZA goodies for the convention, you can keep up with the teasers at the XZA Facebook Page! Just make sure you have your survival pack ready in case there is a stray zombie or two skulking around Artist Alley Booth 96! Or better still, use these cool stickers to paste them on suspected hazardous beings!

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