Comics Features

INTERVIEW: Ricky-Marcel Pitcher on Zombies Hate Kung Fu

Zombies Hate Kung Fu is an awesome new series currently raising funds on KickStarter. Here’s our exclusive interview with creator Ricky-Marcel Pitcher.


AP2HYC: What is it, in your opinion, that makes both zombies and Kung Fu so awesome?

RP: Well, I am a big Kung Fu fan. I’ve had a go at learning it, and been amazed by the skill of some of the martial artists I’ve met. It’s like a real life super power when you think about it, a highly skilled Kung Fu practitioner is literally superhuman in their ability. And as for zombies, there’s a reason they’re used in horror fiction so much, they are just great characters. For some reason, zombies hit a nerve with the audience in a way that goblins or giant spiders just don’t. I think it’s because they used to be ordinary people, now they are suddenly super dangerous, AND IT COULD BE YOU NEXT!

AP2HYC: The two seem like a natural mix. How did the idea to merge these two genres come about?

RP: I’d been planning to write a Kung Fu comic for a while, and real Kung Fu breaks bones and destroys bodies, so if you want to portray it realistically in fiction, you need the primary recipients to be someone who the audience doesn’t mind seeing hurt. I wanted this project to pull no punches (PUN BONUS!), so it was a natural fit to have zombies baring the brunt of the violence. As much fun as it might have been to have the hero ripping apart Triads and assassins on every page, it changes the tone of the story. Someone who kills human beings every day is a different character to someone who destroys monsters.

AP2HYC: Which films of both genres did you draw inspiration from?

RP: In terms of Kung Fu films, I mainly like the ones with pure Kung Fu, no magic and little wire-work. And that’s what I want to do in the comic, apart from the zombies, this is the real world, pure, real Kung Fu! That’s why I’m working with a Hong Kong film fight choreographer to do all the fight scenes. If you haven’t seen the 2008 film Ip Man, I highly recommend it. I love zombie films too, but I can’t think of one where the zombies are much less of a threat than the other human survivors (reader: please spam this website with this info if known). I generally prefer the zombie films with fast zombies, and any zombie fiction where the humans are having a bleak time (see Walking Dead comic). Like I say in the KickStarter video, this is set AFTER a zombie apocalypse, the zombies are a diminishing threat. And that changes the dynamic of the world, some people are doing well out of the fear brought from the zombies.

AP2HYC: On the Kickstarter page you talk about how you are using techniques similar to Rotoscoping to give Zombies Hate Kung Fu and unique feel. How did you get the idea to do this?

RP: Exactly! Master Leo will choreograph and act out every fight scene, just like he was on the set of a Hong Kong punch-em-up blockbuster. I will have a team film the action and then we will review the footage and pull out the key shots, finally the artist will faithfully reproduce the action, seamlessly into the final comic!


AP2HYC: Was it a challenge to use these techniques?

RP: It’s not easy, but the sample art produced for the KickStarter looks great, the technique works! You just need to work with top professionals and you can achieve virtually anything in comics! It’s an amazing medium, as expensive as a top artist is, it’s nothing compared to the budget of doing it all in a Hollywood film scenario!

AP2HYC: Because of its interactivity would you describe the project as a comic or as another form of media?

RP: I’ve never understood why people get caught up in trying to define ‘comics’ as separate to ‘graphic novels’, or perhaps ‘photo-realistic fight art’ might be more appropriate for this? No. If I call it a comic, people can still see that a lot of effort has gone into making the fight scenes something special. If people read it, I’m happy, they can call it what they want.

AP2HYC: As you describe on the KickStarter page, this will be a self-contained story, but would you ever be interested in revisiting this world?

RP: Oh my yes! I have big, HUGE plans for these characters and the world of Zombies Hate Kung Fu! But I want to give KickStarter backers value for money, if you go in for this comic, you can stop there and feel fulfilled. Small steps.

AP2HYC: Referring to the title, why exactly do Zombies Hate Kung Fu?

RP: One time, my Kung Fu instructor was explaining that Kung Fu was particularly effective if your opponent has a rigid stance, and gives you a lot of force, then it hit me: a Zombie wouldn’t stand a chance against a well trained Kung Fu practitioner.

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Davidde Gelmini