Z'ISLE - TRAPPED IN CANADA WITH A HOARD OF ZOMBIES

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Now imagine you're trapped on a deserted island with no place to go. When suddenly, through sheer whim of fate, you're quickly approached by a man with an idea for a great new series. So what do you do about it, eh? Run away, perhaps? Hide before he can spot you? Or better yet, why don't you do what I did, and sit down have a chat with my new mate, Lateef, who has a great new series about zombies.





1) What are your own origins, Lateef? Plus what path did you take in life to get to where you are today? I was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. I've been drawing since I was a kid. I dabbled in music as well with a couple bands and collaborations. I've always been a fan of sci-fi comics and games.

Montreal, Quebec, Canada
2) How did 'Z'Isle' come about? It's 'secret origin' so to speak.   A buddy of mine by the name of Dan Buller and I had been wanting to collaborate for over a decade, but we've always been busy with our own projects. Dan's an incredible illustrator with a keen sense of story plus a sci-fi fanatic. For years we'd discuss what comics, TV, films and games were good, or why they were bad and how they could have been better. I 'm not quite sure how we got onto the topic, but we had wondered 'Whatever happened to the serial comic? The 4-5-panel strip that would come out once a week', and wanted to do something along those lines.

I think we zeroed in on horror because no one was really doing it, and at the same time we were huge fans of 'The Walking Dead' comic. We decided to do our own twist on the genre: everyone is always trying to find that safe place away from zombies, what if we were to set our story in such a place?

So we figured a deserted island. I started working on story ideas. Then Dan said 'Have you watched Lost?', and when I did, I realized that half my ideas were explored through that show. From there the project lost momentum. Then I explained it to my girlfriend, Isabelle Duguay (whom I got addicted to the Walking Dead, but who is already into the world of the fantastical) . She aptly remarked: 'Well, Montreal is an island'.

BOOM. And it grew from there, with her on board as co-writer. Dan isn't able to work on Z'Isle full time anymore but is a valued contributor and consultant.

Z'Isle evolved further when I decided weapons should be made from bike parts. We've all seen zombie stories with guns so we wanted something different. Also, Montreal is a bike city and we wanted to focus on what makes Montreal great.

I started a facebook page and uploaded images. I asked people to comment on them as if they were characters in that world. The result were dozens of incredible personal accounts and anecdotes I could never dream of. From there we ran an Indiegogo campaign to help fund the creation of the comic. What began as one graphic novel became a trilogy, each consisting of 6 issues that would come out approximately every two months.

Z'Isle ArtworkTo continue the participatory aspect of Z'Isle, we offered perks for contributing to our campaign that would allow people to be characters in the comic with their own backstory woven into the overarching Trilogy. You can see just how much people loved the idea by clicking here.

3) In your own words how would you describe this story?   Z'Isle is set on Montreal seven years after an undead infestation. After such a long time people have learned how to live around the problem, creating new systems of travel, trade, combat and sustainability. The world has been turned on its head: the poor are now in control of things and there is a massive DIY ethic to every survivor. Bike-forged weapons & roof-bound communities have kept people safe. But for how long?

4) What song would you say best represents this project and why?   It wouldn't be so much a song as it would a 'sonic aesthetic'. Bear McCreary's music from 'Battlestar Galactica' comes to mind as it has a very earthy, tribalistic sound to it. Hans Zimmer's grandiose soundtrack to the Batman Trilogy also fits too. They, and a few other composers, are huge influences for the upcoming soundtrack. We will also be creating a game and webisodes as Z'Isle is a transmedia project.




5) If you could get a celebrity - either living or dead - to promote your wares, who would you choose, and why would you want to choose this particular person?   Funny you should ask, because we're promoting in Montreal, so many local talents will actually be characters in the comic with the backstories they've written themselves. This includes a few of the actors from 'Helix', the new series on SyFy written by Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek producer, Ronald D. Moore. Local comedian, Ali Hassan, from the 'Three Things' panel of the 'George Stroumboulopoulos Show'. Metal singer, Alissa White-Gluz, plus a few other surprises.

 Z'Isle
6) What have you learnt about yourself through this endeavour? And were their any unforeseen obstacles you had to contend with along the way?   Checking my ego. That's a constant battle, but when your creative partner is your girlfriend -- who is also a leader and has strong opinions and incredible ideas -- you need to learn how to make space.

7) During your time in this field, what is the one thing that has kept you in good stead?   My belief that I could create something great and the support of my friends and family throughout the years. Also the great team that helped Z'Isle become what it is. From Natacha Giguère, the director of our Indiegogo short, to our props masters, Benedicte and Kevin, to our actors, Tiemana and Bogdan, and all our friends like Robert who contributed ideas to the world of Z'Isle. The support has been enormous and deep-rooted.

8) If 'Z'Isle' had a motto, what would it be?    Enjoy the moment.

Well, you heard the man, people. Go on. Enjoy the moment by clicking on the Z'Isle facebook page today. Quickly. Click-Click. Cause you be glad that you did.