Staff Writers



Zuda Comics is a new online, digital comics venture backed by DC / Wildstorm. The basic idea is that creators submit one 8 page story featuring their characters, and readers vote for the story they would like to see continued. There have been a few success stories so far on Zuda, from Jeremy Love’s lyrical and evocative ‘Bayou’ and Sharam’s post-apocalyptic saga ‘Road’. Perhaps the most original and exciting entry so far however (and currently in pole position), is a small, manga-influenced strip called ‘The Black Cherry Bombshells,’ by Johnny Zito and Tony Trov, with art by Sacha Borisich.

Coming on like a cranked-up dose of Tartakovsky’s early Powerpuff Girls, but co-directed by Russ Meyer and Rikdo Koshi, The BCBs are fast winning over the hearts and minds of the Zuda faithful. Weaponizer was lucky enough to catch up with the whole BCBs crew for a conversation about zombies, girl gangs and Vegas. Read on, and remember to vote Black Cherry!

For our readers who haven't yet encountered the BCBs, can you please introduce first yourselves....

Johnny Zito I'm Johnny Zito, and along with Tony Trov we wrote the Black Cherry Bombshells. Our amazing artist Sacha Borisich came to us through ComicJobz and Al Bruno, our colorist, took a break from his day job inventing new shades of blue to help finish the project.

... and now the BCBs!

Johnny 'The Black Cherry Bombshells' is the tale of ultra-violent girl gangs fighting for supremacy of a doomed future. There; every man on Earth has been mutated into a flesh eating zombie. The Black Cherry Bombshells - wild, tattooed bandits - are gaining a reputation as the baddest bootleggers in Las Vegas. That doesn't sit well with the local crime boss; the woman they call 'The King.

How did you get into writing and drawing comics? Is BCB your first project, or have you been doing this for a while?

Johnny I've always been into comics. When I was a kid I used to hang out on my front step all day making my own from scratch. I've worked as a political cartoonist and I've made a hand full of short films but the Black Cherries are the closest I've ever come to my dream job working for DC Comics.

Tony Trov I got into writing during college. My band would perform huge, campy rock operas about alien abductions and talking dogs. People dug it and I've been telling goofy stories to anyone who'll listen ever since.

Sacha Borisich I've been illustrating for as long as I can remember. I don't know there was a time in my life when the pencil or pen wasn't glued to my hand.

The post-apocalypse background of BCB is a nice contrast to the frenetic, almost comically accelerated pacing. Which came first, the idea for the setting, or for the characters?

Johnny We actually started with the idea of an all female cast. Then we tried to find a genre that might be considered traditionally male to see what would happen.

Tony When we settled on the all male zombie setting the characters just kind of emerged from that world.

In the artwork for BCBs, I can see influences from Genndy Tartakovsky and Manga comics. What appeals to you about this style of art, in terms of the story you are trying to tell?

Sacha The style was generally decided when I came on board but I think it's perfect. There's lots of blood and guts, people die and get eaten but that round cartoon-y style makes it palatable for all ages.

How big a challenge were the limits placed on you by Zuda?

Tony It's hard to get all your ideas out there in 8 pages. We tried to write each page as a stand alone strip; something that could be read as one chapter of the story and be psychologically satisfying.

Johnny It's a new medium, too. Just the size and shape of the screen presents its own challenges. If we win we hope to experiment with the screens more.

What are your opinions on some of the other work shown so far on Zuda? Any favourites?

Tony This is the best month at Zuda so far.

How far ahead have you planned the BCBs saga?

Johnny We know where it's going and how it ends. Nothing is written in stone but when we came up with the idea we roughed out the whole arc. Beginning, middle and end. Your vote guarantees you a year long zombie vs. tough chick epic with crazy gangs and ruthless kingpins.

Tony Where else can you get a guarantee like that?

The character of The King is a classic. Do you ever intend to tell the story of how The King came to power?

Tony Absolutely! The King's rise to power is integral to the Black Cherry Bombshells' story. She's a lot more complex than you'd think. I mean why would you want to rule over this world anyway? Everything has gone to crap. So we're gonna get into her and why she does what she does.

Johnny Plus we have to meet the rest of the King's gang. The Slamazon, her Mexican wrestling body guard, is only one of many loyal soldiers who serve the King.

Showing lesbian relationships in a strip like BCBs is a daring move on your part, and certainly makes the comic stand out from others on Zuda. How did you arrive at the concept of a world where men are zombies and girls are hot, gun-toting lesbians?

Johnny Ha Ha, would you believe the gun toting lesbians are a natural progression of the world they live in?

Tony Someone left us a comment mentioning how all the men in her life are already a bunch of flesh eating zombies.

Johnny There's something to that. When it was decided that we were going to use an all female cast we just employed the same power-fantasy tenets that comic books are famous for. So, the girls rule and boys drool… and hiss and bite.

Tony Plus, this isn't lesbians for lesbians sake. Starbuck and Frankie are in love. In this terrible situation their relationship is probably the only thing they have to hold on to.

You clearly have a love and appreciation of pre-exisiting zombie lore. What is it that has made zombies so popular recently, and are you a fan of zombie crossover hits like 'The Walking Dead' and 'Shaun of the Dead?'

Johnny I'm a big fan of Dead Alive. Shaun was awesome, too.

(Editor's note - 'Dead Alive' was the USA-release title of Peter Jackson's classic 'Braindead.')

Sacha / Warren Ellis' Black Gas is awesome too.

Tony The Romero Classics (Night, Dawn, Day) set zombies up as the perfect cultural metaphor. It's great short hand for calling attention to conformists and other people obsessed with themselves.

You've also drawn my attention to How active are you in the campaign for zombie rights?

Sacha Equal rights for all, even the undead.

Tony Says so in the Declaration of Independence just above Zombie John Hancock's signature.

Johnny is sponsoring a Black Cherry Bombshells' contest. After you VOTE for the Black Cherry Bombshells leave us a comment on the comic about how much you like/love/lust for zombies and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a free Black Cherry Bombshells t-shirt. Contest ends this weekend. Winner should be announced Monday.

Finally, can you tell us who influenced you to start drawing / writing comics, and what inspires you to keep going?

Tony I find Dan Slott's seminal Ren and Stimpy issue where you could chose your own adventure to be particularly inspiring.

Johnny The amazing-ness of Jim Steranko nourishes me.

Sacha Classic films and 80's cartoons, respectively.

Thanks to Johnny, Sacha and Tony for the interview. Now, Weaponeers, it’s time to do your part! Sign up here for a Zuda account, log in and vote for the Black Cherry Bombshells, or they’ll blow you up with bazookas and feed you to the zombie dudes. You were warned!

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