Many of us are zombie fans and if you’re like me you probably played with LEGOs as a kid. I had buckets of the things, mostly bought at garage sales from rich kids, and I spent hours building huge castles and spaceships. I’d go on building sprees where I’d use every single piece I had or make as many different spaceships as I could. Or I would build sets to use with my other toys.
Even until recently, I had quite the LEGO Star Wars collection. I had the big Batmobile too. But I sold them when I knew I was moving to Korea.
Anyway, I was searching out zombie blogs and came across Bricks of the Dead. Zombies + LEGOs = Badass Mashup
I knew that I just had to share it with you! Luckily, Dave was cool enough to agree to an interview. So, here we are.
Be sure to drop by Bricks of the Dead and enjoy the story.
Bricks of the Dead Interview
Tim: You’ve been doing BotD for 4-years now, how long do you plan to continue making episodes?
Dave: That’s a hard question to answer, honestly. I don’t really have an end-point in mind for the story, just some plot developments I want to get to over time. I change things from my original plan quite a bit too. I suppose I’d have to say “when I get sick of it”. If I hit the point where I don’t enjoy making the comic anymore, I’ll call it quits.
Have any interesting opportunities or friendships come about from running Bricks of the Dead?
Absolutely! I’ve met a ton of really cool people, many of whom I talk to by email and text quite regularly. That’s been the most unexpected positive side-effect of doing the comic. I’ve also had the opportunity to work with a few publishing companies and developers for reviews, which has been really interesting. You get a bit of insight into things that you tend to take for granted. It’s a lot of work to put out a book, movie, or game, and a lot of that work is stuff you’d never think about unless you were in the industry or knew people who were.
You have buildings, vehicles, and houses, how big is your LEGO collection?
I’ve got a fair bit of LEGO. I still have all my collection from when I was a kid, minus a few of the pieces the disappeared over the years. Since then, I’ve been supplementing pretty regularly. I break down most of my sets, with the exception of the modular buildings, and keep everything as organized as possible. I’ve got lots of organizers and bins, but there never seems to be quite enough. Luckily, I’m obsessive compulsive enough that I don’t mind sitting around and organizing. The short answer: quite a bit, but never enough.
What do you like about zombie stories?
I’d have to start with the monsters themselves. Zombies are just creepy. They’re human enough to be unsettling, and that makes defending yourself harder. In the beginning, people will hesitate because they’ll still believe they’re somewhat human. I tend to favor the slow, shambling style of zombie, because I find that creepier. Sure, you can get around one or two, but once you settle in place, the zombies start to surround you. Eventually, there’s a thick blanket of them around you, keeping you there unless you’re feeling suicidal. There’s a lot of psychological challenges for characters here: feeling trapped, personality clashes with others there, hunger, thirst, dealing with the noise from the zombies outside. It’s a lot to deal with.
Of course, characters have a lot of other things to worry about beyond zombies: hostile survivors, lack of supplies, personality issues within the group, et cetera. There are a lot of different avenues to explore in a zombie story, and every character is different, so their reactions to each situation is unique. There’s just a lot of storytelling potential.
Ted reminds me a little of Dan Rather. Did you have an anchor in mind when you created him?
I didn’t have anyone in mind specifically when I created Ted; I just wanted to play with the trope of the clueless, self-obsessive news anchor. Ted’s a coward and kind of an idiot, but I hope to redeem him a bit as the plot moves forward.
For the character faces, did you have to draw any of those? Or are they all stock LEGO creations?
They’re all stock. I can’t draw, try as I might. I considered Photoshopping the faces, but I wasn’t able to do it well in my early testing, so I settled on just using stock faces. Luckily, LEGO has gotten a lot better about giving us more expressive faces, especially for men without glasses or facial hair. I wish there was a bigger selection of women, and hopefully that will be the case eventually.
Other than survival, what themes does your comic hit on?
I try to hit on a lot of different things. Group dynamics, for instance, have always been interesting to me, so I really try to focus on that. I like to see what happens when you mix together very diverse people. Everyone has different goals and motivations, and a lot of people think they should be in charge, or harbor some sort of resentment for authority. Put enough people in a house surrounded by zombies, and you’ve got a pressure-cooker situations.
Do you have a favorite character?
I certainly do: I’ve always had a soft spot for Sam. He’s sort of soft and docile, but that’s because he’s had a lot of loss and doesn’t really know how to cope with it.
How much story planning do you do? Or do you improvise a lot?
I’ve got a lot of the big story movements mapped out, but I try to leave a lot of room to fill in the blanks in between. I think this works pretty well, because it allows me to be creative and come up with new ideas, but also keeps me moving on the story I set out to tell.
Is there anything else you’d like people to know about BotD?
The comic is a ton of fun to do, but for people out there interested in starting their own, I’d say don’t underestimate the amount of work that goes into it. You can put together one comic pretty quickly, and it seems easy to do, but keeping it going over the long haul is a job. It’s a rewarding job, but it’s still work.
Dave, thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. Keep up the great work, BotD is a cool project!
If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below.
Bricks of the Dead Episode 9 picture used with permission.