Monty and The Mongoose are the creative team behind Flying Zombies, an ongoing web-based comic telling "the story of two best friends trying to find a decent place to eat during the Flying Zombie Apocalypse." They recently talked with guest editor Liz McCollum about storytelling, comics, art, and their lighthearted perspective on zombie apocalypses.
Liz: How long have you been doing comics?
Monty: As long as I can remember, when I was younger I didn't have any friends so I used to draw pictures. [Liz: Aww] It's not sad, it's good. I'm glad I didn't have friends because I was that socially awkward kid and so I drew pictures. Then I learned how to talk to people because I made friends with drawing.
Liz: Mongoose, how did you get into comics?
The Mongoose: I was in the drug store picking up a cream from a rash that Monty had generously given me. While waiting in line I glanced over at the comic book rack and saw... it. It was like a beacon, a light tower guiding me in the night. I made may way over and picked up the book that single-handedly changed my life forever. Mr. T and the T Force. I knew then I would dedicate my life to breaking into the comic book industry.
Liz: Why comics, why not novels or Monet paintings?
The Mongoose: I get bored rather fast and novels have so many words. Comics seemed to be the happy balance for me. Writing a comic is like writing an essay with a picture... but with 50 words or less.
Monty: I'm a fan of the art of comics, the story telling in comics. There's something really beautiful about being able to tell a story without having words there. I'm a big fan of comics as an art form. The draw to me is I love being able to read without having to read. Not that I don't like to read. But if you look at Will Eisner's work, it's just beautiful.. It's one of my all time favorites. The fact that he can just scribble a bunch of things on a page and you can read it without reading it, it's just beautiful to me.
Liz: It reminds me of something I heard about one time in history class, that a long time ago when most people were illiterate stories were told through pictures. Like stained glass in churches.
Monty: Hieroglyphics. I think in that Scott McCloud book, he references hieroglyphics as the first form of comics.
Liz: Comics stretch a story out across time, whether it's a page or two a week, or an issue a month. How does that affect the way you tell the story, if at all?
Monty: Our approach is to tell our story one page at a time, and we try to make sure that each page is a punchline so that anybody can read any page and even if they haven't been following the story can laugh at the joke on that page. It's a lot like our style of comedy, people always tell us "You guys are funny... but I have no idea what you're talking about."
The Mongoose: It doesn't weigh too heavy on us. We keep it simple with each page that goes up. There is only one rule we follow and that is we make you laugh with each page.
Liz: How did Monty and The Mongoose team up? Clearly it's a match made in Heaven, so how long have you guys been working together?
Monty: We've been working together off and on for a few years now and just recently started working on Flying Zombies together and it has been awesome ever since.
The Mongoose: Monty and I have been working on the comic for a year but we have known each other over ten years. If you count it as dog years we have been doing this for over 70 years. We tried applying for social security but the government refuses to accept our dog year analogy.
Liz: Flying Zombies isn't particularly serious in content. Why did you choose to go the lighthearted route, rather than the more serious route some comic writers and artists choose (Maus comes to mind, for example)?
The Mongoose: We both share the same sense of humor of people and situations being juxtaposed. Having two best friends trying to find a place to eat during the flying zombie apocalypse just naturally appealed to us.
Monty: The simple answer is, I like to laugh, and if I can share a laugh with other people and make some one smile, even for a second, that makes my day. I like to keep the serious and depressing things to "real life" - to me comics are a means of escape, and why would I want to escape to a place where things are just as "real" and sometimes "sad" as real life. Let's have a little fun.
Liz: Who are some of your influences?
Monty: Will Eisner, Humberto Ramos, Thumbalina, and Lester.
The Mongoose: Joe Kelly, Ed McGuinness, Sam Rami, Guillermo del Toro, Flash Gordon.
Liz: Favorite comic(s) of all time?
The Mongoose: Deadpool when Joe Kelly was writing.
Monty: My all time favorite comic is X-Men #4. It's the first comic I ever read and the day I read it was the moment I fell in love with comics.
Liz: Anything else people should know?
The Mongoose: I drink lots of coffee.
Monty: The Mongoose is stupid.
Thank you to Monty and The Mongoose for talking to me about comics, and entertaining me at the same time! If you want to find out more about Monty and The Mongoose, or check out their very lighthearted take on comics, check them out on their respective twitter feeds or read their comic on their facebook page!