Saturday, October 23, 2010

Brea and Zane Slay Us With The Undead

Brea and Zane at NYCC (pic by Erik)
Two women on the fringes of a collapsing society must escape a zombie apocalypse in “We Will Bury You,” a horror comic set in 1920s New York. Mirah, a sex worker with a loutish husband, and Fanya, a Ukranian immigrant thief, are lovers whose unstable and chaotic world becomes all the more complicated when a zombie plague infects the city.

Brea Grant (Daphne from “Heroes”) and Zane Grant, the creators of “We Will Bury You,” are basically two of the coolest people on the planet. Both are incredibly friendly, engaging, and down-to-earth. And they were kind enough to sit with me for an interview on the first day of the 2010 New York Comic-Con.

Erik: Who are you guys?
Brea: My name is Brea Grant.
Zane: I'm Zane Grant, and we are the Grant Twins.
Brea: [Laughs.]
Erik: You're not really...
Brea: We're not twins.
Zane: No, we're not really twins. That would be funny.
Brea: Siblings.

Erik: What was the inspiration for “We Will Bury You?”
Zane: We're both horror fans, and zombie fans in particular, so we wanted to do something different with that theme. And I feel like a lot of zombie movies have, you know, a few twists, but there aren't that many historical zombie things, and there's really no reason zombies couldn't happen in another era. We really liked the 1920s as a setting. I also think it's scarier to be in an era with these lesser technologies for communication and fighting and that kind of thing. And then, we came up with a lot of characters from that period that we thought would be interesting. We didn't get to use all of them, but we settled on a sex worker and a Ukranian immigrant who were sort of shaped by their times.

Erik: Why did you set it in 1920s New York?
Brea: One of the things that we like is using zombies as a metaphor for financial collapse. It was an era of massive change. You had the sexual revolution and stuff like that going on, as well as this massive collapse of financial institutions and the economy. And so, that was our idea: to have this tumultuous time period and to throw something else tumultuous in there, because we're sort of in that era now. I think we'll look back and see this as a similar time period. It's all connected, somehow.
Zane: Timely.
Brea: Timely, thank you.

Here's the audio clip of the above interview segment:

Erik: Why did you choose comics as the medium for the story?
Brea: We're both big comic fans. I don't know. I think we both wanted to write comics, we'd read them for a long time, so it sort of makes sense.
Zane: I always perceived this idea as a comic. I don't know why. Not a film and not a novel. I don't really know. It just seemed like the obvious choice.
Brea: There are things you can do in the comic medium that you can't do in the other mediums. To do something on your own like this, you can do it. To make a film set in the 1920s with zombies, it would be pretty difficult without a lot of back funding. There's no boundaries with comics.

Erik: Do you think the story would translate well to film? Would you be interested?
Brea: I don't know. If someone wanted to, yeah.
Zane: Why not? I think it would be flattering.
Erik: So if I were to bring a script and pitch it to you...
Zane: [Laughs.]
Brea: You'd actually pitch it to IDW. We don't own the film rights.
Zane: I think it'd be cool, potentially. I think I'd be more interested in being able to continue the series. I think that would be really cool. But, either way, I really like these characters. I'd like to see them live on in some form.

Erik: Are you planning any other comics? Any new stories?
Brea: Yeah, we have a few that we've been working on. Hopefully at some point they'll get picked up. We have one we're working on with Nate Powell we like a lot. There's a couple other different ideas, most of them surprisingly set in the past at some point.
Zane: One of them is set in the present; it's a neo-giallo kinda slasher-thing about an all-girl doom metal band. Actually, I've really enjoyed writing that one, because it's a lot easier than trying to go back into 1920's novels - or people are setting novels now in the 20's now, writing historical fiction - and trying to pick up that dialog. It's surprisingly - well, maybe not that surprisingly - but I found it surprisingly difficult to write. Writing an all-girl doom metal band is like, “What would my friends say at this point? How would people I know react to this?” So you have a better idea of how people would react and what the dialog will be and stuff like that.

Erik: Your education seems to inform these stories. [To Brea] You have a Masters in American Studies.
Brea: Yeah.
Erik [to Zane]: And you have two Masters degrees.
Zane: Yeah, in Geography and International Politics.
Erik: Brains run in your family.
Brea: [Laughs.]
Zane: My dad the other day was saying, “Well, you don't use your degrees for anything,” and I was like, “this is not true,” because when you're writing, you draw on that stuff. You can tell somebody who doesn't read but has a lot of self-confidence as a writer, and has no concept of history or geography, or just social space. A lot of times you can tell because it comes out as really simplistic, the way they present characters. I mean, I'm not saying that our characters are so perfect the way we wrote them.
Brea: [Laughs.]
Zane: But I like to think, at least from some creative angle, it gave us some impetus to insert something a little different. Something else to draw on, anyway.

Erik [to Zane]: How much do you like geek girls?
Brea: [Laughs.]
Zane: [Laughs.] I love them! Let me count the ways. One of my co-workers, this lady Tracy, every time we work together I always discover something else geeky that she likes. I think the first thing was we started talking about Next Generation. So she started talking about it and I was, like, so surprised. It's not obvious, it just comes out of nowhere every time.

Erik [to Brea]: Now we have a few questions for you about...
Brea: How much do I like geek girls? Lots. [Laughs.]
Zane: [Laughs.] Almost as much as me.
Erik: Actually, the question is about geek guys.
Brea: Sure. Yeah, I guess know, I guess I do like geek guys. I'm trying to think who I date...
Zane: That's true.
Brea: I have this theory that I have trouble hanging out with people who are never identified with some sort of sub-culture, or dating people like that. So I definitely end up liking guys especially in the horror industry and in the comic world, because it's sort of where my own interests lie, you know?
Erik: I'm sure a lot of people will be interested in that answer.
Brea: [Laughs.]


Keep an eye out for more "We Will Bury You" news or information on Brea's upcoming projects in her Twitter feed. You can also check out her official website. Zane also has a Twitter account and his own official website.

And to get a copy of "We Will Bury You" online, head to IDW Publishing's website here! It'll be the perfect reading for a spooky night in on Halloween's. Just remember to secure yourself against those nasty walking undead.....

In Part 2 of the interview, Brea continues to share with us about her time spent at the "Heroes" set as well as some juice about her other very interesting projects. So, remember return to this blog next week for more!

Big thanks to Erik (@ebrown2112) for doing such a great job with this interview at NYCC. Do give him your kudos and comments too!


  1. BRILLIANT Job Erik! cool insight to the story line choice. how can you not love the "Grant Twins"??!!

  2. Haha, thanks, man! Yeah, they're awesome!

  3. Good job Erik. Those were great questions.