Interview between Keira Kroft and Kristi 'Batz' Zerga and Richard Zerga.
Hello, welcome to Writer to Writer Wednesday, we are so very glad to have you with us. The Hellfire Herald would like to extend a warm welcome to Batz and Richard, a father/daughter self-publishing comic book creator team.
I am personally excited to have comic book folk here. Since we own a comic book store and I love to read comics…I consider them my kin.
How are you doing today?
We're good, thanks for asking. Just staying busy!
Keira: You have a number of stories coming out soon though LHV Publishing entitled 'Blood Asylum', 'Dead Alive', 'Dead Town', and 'Kitty & Batz' issue 2. What are they about?
Richard: Well, 'Blood Asylum' is about Ashley whose friend, Meghan, goes missing at the hospital/institution she works at. And she does a little investigating on her own, not a good idea. 'Dead Alive' is about a traveling sideshow performing in California near the Oregon border during the late 1800's. One of the carts is separated from the rest and it's all downhill from there. And lastly, for me, is 'Dead Town', where a secret bio lab has had a number of their specimens escape into a small town.
Batz: Kitty & Batz issue 2 doesn't really have a main plot. The issue is made up of a series of mini stories, none of which really have anything to do with each other, however, the mini stories are a great way to show more of Kitty and Batz's personalities, behaviors, and mental states. Another interesting point in this issue is that we are introducing another character, who plays an important role later on in the series.
Keira: What made you choose that title?
Richard: 'Blood Asylum' just fit the story while I was writing it. A really bloody mess! As far as 'Dead Alive', that's basically what becomes of the characters in the story. It's also the title of one of my favorite Peter Jackson movies! And with 'Dead Town', that's exactly what the town becomes by the end of the story. Not too much deep, hidden meaning in the titles, but all three of the stories have heavily, unexpected twists in each.
Batz: That's easy. “Kitty” is Dianna Spain's nickname (Dianna is the co-creator and co-writer for Kitty & Batz). Her nickname is Kitty because she has cat-like characteristics and habits. Batz is my nickname because I like Batman.
Keira: Where did the idea for your story come from?
Richard: I just love horror! Great horror, good horror or 'B' horror. With the love for comics that I have, I had a really hard time trying to come up with stories when I first started writing. At the beginning I was trying to write about super heroes, but those stories sucked! And then I thought; 'Hey, wait a minute... What about horror?' And here I am.
Batz: Kitty & Batz was both my and Kitty's idea. It all started in high school (where we met). We were in English class and we had to get in groups of four and write a fable. Kitty and I obviously paired up but we were stuck with two, completely useless people. So Kitty and I decided to write everything and leave the other two out of it, since they weren't doing anything to contribute. In the end, we wrote our very first story featuring Kitty and Batz.
Keira: Please share a particular detail about one of characters, please.
Richard: Let's go with Taffy. His full name is Taffy T. Clown. He's become the face of LEGENDS of Heroes & Villains. He's become a kind of 'Uncle Creepy' narrator for our horror comics. But his life started out a little differently. Taffy is a life size puppet that was created by our very good friends at Bump in the Night FX. They gave us the thumbs up to recreate him in comic book form.
Batz: I can't give details about Kitty without giving details about Batz and vice versa, they're always together and at times they almost seem to become one entity. ...Hey wait...that's a detail! There you go.
Keira: Please tell us about any future projects you are planning.
Richard: With my hands full with these three titles, I haven't yet thought that far ahead!
Batz: Kitty and Batz issue two is pretty much my focus right now. Kitty and I do already have stories for issue three, however.
Keira: Are you currently running any contests? What are they?
Richard: We aren't planning any contests at this time. However, we will have free sketch books that we'll be giving away for Free Comic Book Day this May.
Batz: What he said.
Keira: How many books have you written?
Richard: Not including these three, there are four others, one of which will be re-released this September with a variant cover, 'Garden of Souls'.
Batz: Three titles, not including Kitty & Batz. I don't really enjoy writing all that much.
Keira: We have a special place for unpublished writers in our hearts, here at the Hellfire Herald. So what advice would you give to an unpublished writer?
Richard: Write, write, write! If you're looking for inspiration or ideas, read some of your favorite books or comics, or you can do what I do, and watch tons of horror movies! And you cannot be afraid to let someone read your writing and have them give you honest feedback. When you have someone read your work and they get it without you having to explain any part of it, you're heading in the right direction.
Batz: Also, ask questions. Don't be afraid to go to places like comic book conventions, where they have famous writers, and ask them questions. Pick their brains for as much information as you can get.
Let’s get personal…
Please choose four of the following red questions or use four of your own, please erase what you don’t use, thank you :)
Keira: Do you work at job outside the home or is this only career?
Batz: Of course doing this is my desired career path but I do work for our friends over at Bump in the Night FX where I sculpt and paint.
Keira: What’s your favorite thing to do?
Richard:Draw! With the fun that I have writing, my real passion is drawing. It's pretty incredible to write a story and then bring those characters to 'life'.
Batz: Yeah, drawing is definitely my favorite thing to do. The characters I draw in my free time don't have to belong to any story that we do, they can just be random sketches. I love sketching.
Keira: Are you a reader?
Batz: Nooooooo. I don't like reading. I've only read a few books outside of anything school has made me read, but the books I do decide to read have to be really good for me to even finish the damn thing. This also goes for comic books actually. If a comic has too much dialogue or narrating on a page, I skip it. NO READING!
Keira: Do you have a special writing method?
Richard: I have to have an unexpected twist at the end. This goes back to what I said earlier, I'll have someone read the story and if they say 'wow, I wasn't expecting that to happen', then I feel pretty good and realize I've got something to run with. There is nothing worse than reading a story and when you get to the end you say, like I do, out loud: “What the...?!?! That was it?!?” Kind of disappointing.
Keira: Do you have children?
Richard: Two daughters. Kristi, that creates the magic with me, and Nikki, she's my oldest and the one responsible for getting me into this comic creating mess!
Keira: Where in the Hell did you find time to write?
Richard: Because I damaged my spinal cord at work almost three years ago, it's the one main thing that's kept me from going insane and becoming a couch sitting, tv watching massive puddle of goo! So I have lots of time for now.
Batz: I only work for Bump in the Night a few days a week, so LEGENDS is all I do aside from that, so I have plenty of time.
Keira: Can you share your blurb with us?
You are free to offer a free copy or download of your book if you wish.
One lucky commenter will win a free e-copy of 'Kitty & Batz' issue 1.
You can find Kristi 'Batz' Zerga and Richard Zerga at:
You can find 'Blood Asylum', 'Dead Alive', 'Dead Town' debuting at:
Miss Misery's Days of Terror Horror Convention September 28, 2012 in Sacramento, CA
Our other comics are available at:
World's Best Comics in Sacramento
Empire's Comics Vault in Sacramento
And we'll be at Waterfront Comics in Fairfield, CA for Free Comic Book Day with 50 free
LEGENDS of Heroes & Villains