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Sean Patrick Murphy

5 Questions with... 
Creators Richard Zerga and Kristi 'Batz' Zerga

1) On what project are you currently working?

Batz: We currently have several projects in the works. The two priorities at the moment are "Kitty & Batz" #4 which is going to be a Halloween edition, and "Goldilocks in Zombieland" #4. "Thumbelina Smash" #1 and "Taffyís Nightmare Tale" #4 are also in the works. Hopefully I can get to "Sugar Rush" #3 this year. I am also finishing my first pop culture pinup calendar which will be released later in the year. The awesome thing about my calendar project is that 30% of the profits will go to breast cancer patients at the Northbay Medical Center. Iím also freelancing at Chiodo Art Development in Napa as a mold maker, painter, and apprentice sculptor of fine art statues, and Halloween/horror masks and props.

Richard: Basically, all of the same above mentioned titles, and toss in commissions and a new horror coloring book. And yes, all of these being worked on at the SAME DAMN TIME, just the two of us!!! The release date for all of these is August 20-21, 2016, at StocktonCon. 

2) Whom in your field do you admire most and why?

Batz: My first major inspiration was Michael Turner. I loved his style and still do. As my style evolved, however, I started paying more attention to J Scott Campbellís artwork. Campbell is my favorite mainstream comic book artist. Johanna Vasquez, Roman Dirge, Jamie Hewlett, Olivia De Berardinis, Norman Rockwell, Alberto Vargas, and various anime and manga artists are my many inspirations for art.

Richard: As far as influencing my style, the list would be something like this: Bernie Wrightson, ĎGhastlyí Graham Ingels, Wallace Woods, Al Feldstein, Johnny Craig, Jack Davis, Frank Frazetta, and Walt Simonsson, in no particular order. The line work, paneling and moods they created, with the fantastic stories presented them, is really quite spectacular. I do not draw in the mainstream style, and with horror being my genre of choice, their techniques used in the EC Comics universe, made perfect sense to me (and Warren Publishing with Wrightson).

3) How did you get into the comic book field?

Batz: Iíve drawn my whole life. It was always fun for me. It wasnít until my sister made a comic book for her high school senior project that I actually considered working in the field. 10+ years later, here I am.

Richard: Same reason as Batz! The last time I drew anything was back in high school, and Iím not saying when that was! And while in high school, comic book art was frowned upon, it was all about fine art. So the first time I drew a comic book or a comic book character, was in 2005, and it was apparent that I had never drawn comic books or comic book characters before! I guess everything happens for a reason.

4) On which title would you most like to work and why?

Batz: I wouldnít want to. As much as I enjoy major titles, itís just not for me. Itís far more entertaining to work on my own comics. Like with "Kitty & Batz," I can do whatever the hell I want with the characters and the storyline and I donít have to deal with any crap from the publishers. I donít have to worry about angering the fanbase or any hardcore nerds. Doing your own thing gives you so much more freedom.

Richard: None! The freedom and fun we have producing stories and characters that weíve created is too much of a blast. I mean, how many times can Marvel or DC reboot a title, character, or universe before the readers ask, ďWhat the hell?!?Ē And when was the last time either company introduced a new major character? Donít get me wrong, I still read mainstream comic books, but for me, it really has to be more about the art than the story, and even more on who the artist is.

5) On what project will you be working next?

Batz: "Kitty & Batz" and the pop culture calendar will continue to make annual appearances. As for future titles, outside of the ones we are currently working on, Iím not sure. You canít plan out when inspiration will hit, it just hits you when it wants to. I would really like to break into other art forms, more specifically, animation. To me, having "Kitty & Batz" as a cartoon would be hilarious, and an animation degree is literally the only thing I can see myself going back to college for.

Richard: Most of the comics weíre working on currently, are ongoing series, so thatíll keep us busy! More commissions, and thereís a rumor that I may be hired on to do illustrations for a certain studio, but no contracts have been signed, so mum's the word!

Find more about Richard and Batz Zerga's work here, here, here, here, here, and here.

(posted March 4, 2016)