Being a gay erotic horror author and horror fan, when I attended the LGBTQ sci-fi/fantasy/horror convention Bent-Con, naturally one of the first things I did was walk around to check out all the other guys’ goodies. Like a divining rod, my wiener pointed me right to a table on which was displayed the gay erotic zombie comic book Beautiful Dead. To see gorgeous, graphic images of naked guys and zombies was a total thrill. I had to read this Beautiful Dead comic. And I had to get to know more about the men responsible for such a scrumptious creation. And I can say writer Robert Fraser and artist Butch McLogic are awesome and were more than happy to talk to me about comics, sex, and zombies.
(WARNING: There are explicit sexual images below!!!).
Boys, Bears & Scares: When I saw the cover of the first issue of Beautiful Dead, featuring a horde of zombies surrounding two well-hung naked guys—although there’s nothing hanging—I knew I had to have a copy and share it with everyone on Boys, Bears & Scares. But before I even get to the naked zombie slayers, let me first ask, how did you two became a team on this project?
Robert: While writing Beautiful Dead, I always had a vision in my head of how it should look, and how the comic should read. Butch was the first artist that I approached, after Patrick (Fillion) and I realized that we could live together, work together, but not really create together. Butch turned me down and I moved onto Silencio, but unfortunately he couldn’t commit to the project in the long run. After Butch finished Tug Harder #3, I knocked on his door again with a big bottle of scotch.
Butch: Fraz and his partner Patrick Fillion run Class Comics. They’ve been publishing my Tug Harder series since 2008. Fraz asked me to work on Beautiful Dead in 2010. I loved his story, but I didn’t want to lose momentum on my “Tug” series until it was completed. Fraz turned to an extremely talented artist in the meantime, but he couldn’t finish. Fraz thankfully asked me again in 2012 when I finished the Tug Harder trilogy, and I jumped on the opportunity.
BB&S: Who came up with the title, and are you suggesting that it’s the zombies that are beautiful!!!???
Butch: Fraz came up with the title. It’s catchy. I love it. The idea is taken from the main character’s narration, and is meant to suggest, not that zombies are beautiful, but that seemingly horrible situations can turn out to be wonderful.
Robert: Actually, my partner Patrick came up with the title! Beautiful Dead’s genesis was a meandering chat while going for coffee in the fall of 2009! We started talking about someone who went through a Zombie apocalypse with “rose colored glasses” and the project just popped into creation.
BB&S: Do you both come up with the plot together or do you stay strictly in your writer/illustrator corners? Butch, do you have any say in the storyline, and Robert, do you get a say in how the illustrations are depicted?
Butch: This is why I loved to work with Fraz. His story and dialog gave me a pretty clear idea of how characters would look and how events would unfold, but he left enough room for me to insert my pacing and brand of humor. We even had a few drinking-sessions at the beginning to hammer out details and possible improvements. I was very thankful to be a part of that. One major thing that came out of this organic back and forth is that Hayden is now way more selfish than when he started. This makes for a hell of a lot more drama, something for which I think we are both very happy. I think it’s safe to say that the art and story are better for the collaboration.
Robert: I loved working with Butch! It was fantastic to see what I had in my head appear in my in-tray throughout the year. Working with any artist for the first time is always a learning experience. Every artist works differently from the blank page until the final file is saved. What that means is that you have no idea how similar or different their roughs will be to their pencils, their pencils to their inks and their inks to the final colored pages. I was definitely a noisy passenger who occasionally grabbed the wheel of the bus.
BB&S: What advantages are there to creating an epic zombie apocalypse in graphic novel format? What limitations?
Butch: I love making x-rated comics in general, because really, as long as there’s some cock, the rules and expectations really do fly out the window. On that note, there’s something especially creepy about a zombie who’s wearing everything except pants, don’t you think?
Robert: Probably the same advantages of most other comic formats…you can do ANYTHING in a comic! Destroy cities, reanimate corpses, have wicked naughty sex that wouldn’t be recommended in real life, or leave the planet on a whim!
BB&S: So why erotic horror? Why such explicit sex in your zombie story rather than just a nice clean and virginal horror comic book about gay zombie slayers?
Butch: The Class Comics brand is all about celebrating gay erotica within great fantasy stories. This particular angle hasn’t been done before, so why not?
Robert: The world is ending…wouldn’t you want to have sex? One of the core reasons for Class Comics is that sex, specifically gay sex, is missing in comics. Why shouldn’t superheroes and other denizens of the comic world get it on?
BB&S: Do you think you are limiting your audience by including loads of sexual situations and illustrations in Beautiful Dead? Have you found gay horror fans who don’t want their gay horror to be defined by their sexual acts? And if so, how much does isolating possible readers concern you?
Robert: Limiting it, expanding it, finding it. I’m sure it’s all three at once. The comic has only been out for less than a month however, so we’re still discovering people’s reactions. We had the opportunity to see people’s reaction to the notion while at Bent-Con and it’s definitely a polarized one. It’s either “GROSS! I HATE ZOMBIES!” or “COOL! I LOVE ZOMBIES!” But how they relate to the sexuality in the book seems to reside outside response. Overall readers are loving the comic!
Butch: All I can say is, this is a porn comic, but it happens to have (hopefully) the bonus of a gripping story with complex characters. I have yet to encounter a gay person who has a problem with that. Certainly, any gay porn comic is for a niche audience, and a gay horror comic more so. Thankfully, that niche is significant.
BB&S: Do you feel it’s important to have gay-specific horror material to read and why? Why didn’t you opt to create a mainstream zombie graphic novel series and vastly widen your audience?
Butch: Isn’t it nice to be able to read about characters you can identify with in situations that excite you, in every sense? I don’t know if that’s “important,” but it sure is a great experience, and I’m happy to provide that experience if I can. I question whether or not I would reach more people by doing something closer to the norm. I certainly wouldn’t be reaching people in the same way.
Robert: It’s extremely important to have any, and all, gay specific material to learn about ourselves and to continue to establish the gay identity. The horror genre is one area where there has been a significant lacking of gayness compared to mainstream content. As for widening the audience, I wrote Beautiful Dead for myself, and anyone else who was interested was welcome to enjoy it as well!
BB&S: Do you have the Beautiful Dead plot all planned out, or are you going to make it up as you go along?
Robert: At this point I have a plotline for around six issues planned out, with room for other one-shots slipped within the universe. Not all of those issues however circle around Gage and Hayden!
Butch: As I said, the plot is planned out to a great degree, but there’s always room for changes or expansion. As with all things, until it’s done, it isn’t done.
BB&S: Have you projected a specific number of issues and do you have a definitive conclusion to the story?
Butch: I think it’s important to provide people a satisfying end to any series, but not close things off so completely that there’s no opportunity to expand if people demand it. That said, it’s looking like two books for now, with the possibility of mini-comics (or even full comics) to expand the story.
Robert: It’s important to realize the incredible amount of work that goes into a single comic. At Class Comic, we’ve learned to keep a specific arc to around 2 to 3 issues per creator in order to allow a storyline to conclude with a single artist. That being said, no comic character or series is ever complete!
BB&S: I met you guys at the LGBTQ convention Bent-Con, where I did a discussion panel I called “Qweirdos” to encompass all LGBTQ geeks who are into sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. So my question is, what other projects are you working on either together or solo that would be of interest to “qweirdos”?
Butch: I love the word “qweirdos.” Thank you. I’m not working on any other projects yet, but I would definitely like to suggest that all qweirdos check out my complete epic sci-fi trilogy Tug Harder.
Robert: Yeah! What a great word! I am working on two other personal projects right now, The Pack and The Bromance. The first is a modern werewolf series and the second is a one-shot exploring the internalized desires amongst buddies. And of course a SLEW of new titles slated for 2014 by other creators through Class Comics!
BB&S: When can we expect the second issue of Beautiful Dead, where can we keep up on future issues, and how can we buy them?
Butch: I’d very much like to get the second issue of Beautiful Dead done for Halloween 2014, but I have a demanding day-job, so we’ll have to see how that goes. For regular updates from me, please do a search for Butch McLogic (thankfully no one else in the World shares my name) and follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or have a peek at www.ButchMcLogic.com every now and again. From there you can also buy all my comics.
Robert: You heard it here folks! Beautiful Dead #2 for Halloween 2014! As for me you can find me on www.facebook.com/Fraserbot or www.robertfraser.com or www.twitter.com/fraserbot or www.classcomics.com!
BB&S: Anything else you want to say to gay horror fans on Boys, Bears & Scares?
Butch: I really enjoyed these questions! Thank you! We really hope you enjoy Beautiful Dead!
Robert: Thanks for asking such great questions! It’s been a pleasure thinking about them. And look out for Beautiful Dead #2 on Halloween!
BB&S: Thanks so much, for talking to me, guys!