Southern Exposure Unwrapped:
Wendell opens up about Three Quarter’s
What was the genesis
of the story?
I’m a huge zombie fan, and a couple years ago I decided
I wanted to tell a story in the genre. I wanted it to be a mash-up of elements from the great zombie stories
that I loved. It was supposed to be an over -the- top spin on the zombie mythology, full of crazy ideas
at a breakneck pace. Once I started writing, it took on a more serious tone.
Well for one thing, after I decided
to base it in and around Blacksburg, Virginia, it took on a more realistic feel for me. Around that time
too the tragedy at Virginia Tech occurred, and that really galvanized some of my feelings for the town. Originally
I wanted to pay homage to the zombie mythology, but after living in Southwest Virginia and loving everything about it I wanted
to tell a story that took place there. It became my love letter to the town too. Stories
evolve anyway. That’s just the nature of writing.
the name didn’t fit anymore. Zombie Thrilla Killa, the original name, was campy and loose, and as
the story became more somber we decided to change it to Southern Exposure.
were some of the influences that you drew upon?
Well again, you’ll see
a lot of places in and around Blacksburg. On top of that I really wanted to capture some of the essence
of my favorite zombie flicks like Night of the Living Dead, Return of the Living Dead, pseudo-zombie flicks like 28 Days and
28 Weeks Later, and even newer stuff like Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake. I’m also a
huge fan of Max Brooks’ World War Z. Such an amazing book.
what’s the story about?
Well I don’t want to give away too much,
but part of what I wanted to do was tell a story that starts in the third act. There aren’t any elaborate
character introductions and we don’t see the beginning of the plague. We’re just dropped into
the story right before the protagonists try to make their final escape. It’s a very simple story
in that way; I wanted to tell a story without a long, drawn out set-up. It’s just a group of regular
people trying to get to safety.
Tell us about the art.
The art is fantastic. Chris really went out of his way to deliver something special
here. His art is always great, but he used darker tones to fit the story. Again we used
references from the town, and many of the characters are based visually on people that were friends and neighbors from my
time in Blacksburg.
Will the story continue
after Southern Exposure?
Well originally I wanted to do three books, one with
zombies, one with werewolves and one with vampires. As things evolved the long-term scope of the project
has shifted a bit, but I’ve been working with one of my buddies on a few more stories related to the zombie apocalypse.
Each one will be different in tone and subject, but they will all take place in the same continuity of Southern Exposure.
tuned for more updates!