The zombie genre has seen quite a bit of the spotlight over the 2010s. And it doesn’t seem to be losing too much steam with comic creator Steve Urena‘s latest comic, Zombie Date Night, having launched on Kickstarter on July 15, 2021.
Zombie Date Night is the second comic that Urena has crowdfunded on Kickstarter and is all about a first date gone very wrong. Featuring a first date between two characters that swiped right on each other, Zombie Date Night follows a first date that quickly turns into a zombie invasion. In our conversation with Urena, we learned more about the inspiration behind the story and setting.
So the premise of Zombie Date Night is absolutely a fun concept: a first date that goes about as south as it can go. For those that might be hearing about the comic for the first time, what’s your short and sweet summary of the story?
Absolutely! What makes a first date more awkward? Zombies of course! Zombie Date Night tells the story of boy and girl match on a dating app. Girl and boy meet up for a first date. Boy and girl face a zombie invasion. It’s the zom com you’ve been waiting for.
Can you share what the initial inspiration was for Zombie Date Night? Were you influenced by other stories in the general zombie genre while you were working on the story or was it more of a story that you wanted to tell that you had yet to see?
I always had a story idea for this in the back of my mind during my single days. I gauged the dates I went on with the zombie rule: If a zombie outbreak happened during the date, would I stick around? If I answered yes, then that meant the person that I’m on a date with is a keeper. I kept this concept in my back pocket and thought it would make a great story. When I sat down and put pen to paper, it all came out and Zombie Date Night was born. I definitely got some inspiration from zombie movies over the years, but I wanted to make sure to add personal touches from my life as well.
Based off some of the art I can see on the Kickstarter page, the story seems to be set around Christmas time in a mall. I can bet that has plenty of possibility for shenanigans tied in with the zombie outbreak premise. Was there any particular reason you went with that setting/time of year for the story?
I just wanted to see zombies in the snow. I did a summer theme for my first comic, Slow Pokes, and wanted to switch it up. I also grew up in the northeast and wanted to pay homage to my Jersey and Pennsylvania roots. There are lots of crowds due to holiday shopping and a peak time for a zombie outbreak. Also, who doesn’t want to see a zombified Santa?
I can see that a group of five characters (including the chancleta-wielding grandma) come together at some point. What was it like coming up with the characters for Zombie Date Night? And I have to ask specifically: the spiked chancletas. Were those a post-outbreak improvisation on the grandmother’s part?
I always try to have as much fun as possible when creating characters. I take from within myself and from people I have known throughout my life. My grandmother and I had such a great relationship. She is no longer with us, so I wanted to pay tribute to her with my Abuelita character. My grandma could whoop some ass with her chancleta and zombies are the perfect casualties.
With the Kickstarter campaign already being funded with an end date of August 14, 2021, what has it been like as a creator to see such a positive response to your work?
For me, I can’t thank everyone enough. I am nothing without my team. Shoutout to my artist Sergi Domenech, my colorist Josh Jensen, my letterer Anthony Rella, and of course my editor Allegra Calderaro who is also my girlfriend. This is only my second comic. Every penny I make from these will go directly into creating new projects. I’m still learning and as long as I get better with every project, then I’ll be happy. These comics are a labor of love and I can’t wait to see the journey this takes me on.
In terms of presenting something different in the zombie and horror-comedy genre, what do you hope to see Zombie Date Night accomplish?
I want people reading to have fun. That is what I’d like to accomplish. I tried to do something a little different with the genre, so I am excited to see the response.
Lastly, while writing the story, what was your favorite part of putting everything together?
The finished product. Seeing ideas come to life in the way you had planned in your head is an amazing experience. I also love connecting with new people who are willing to check out my stuff. Every Thursday until the Kickstarter is over, I am doing Zombie Date Night Thursdays. Every Thursday at 8:30 Eastern on discord, I will be watching a different zombie movie. All are welcome and we just have so much fun. So if you want to join in on the fun of Zombie Date Night, follow me on twitter and Instagram @Zombiedatenight or @TheSteveUrena.