USMZ, a free zombie web comic, is the work of Roman Montes de Oca, a US artist who cites the legends HR Giger and Watchmen, V for Vendetta and From Hell comic book creator, Alan Moore as his influences. We have had the great pleasure of talking with Roman about his work, his inspirations, future plans and zombies.
We are big fans of USMZ at The Evil Eye, what inspires your artwork?
My past experiences, and just life itself.
Were you interested in art from a young age?
Yes. I remember drawing on paper bags from the grocery store because we couldn't afford paper. The only reason I looked forward to school was for the art supplies. It's something that's always been with me.
What mediums do you work in?
As in all forms of art, creativity simply has no limits. I enjoy the mechanical, and geometric shades of drawing, but have recently explored painting, as well as sculpting. I enjoy the free flowing abstract nature of creating something from my hands.
How would you describe your style?
I haven't been in the field long enough to say I have a style yet. The dark undertones definitely speak for themselves. I'd say it's old school comic art mixed in with some modern horror themed genres as well.
Where did the idea for the comic come from, and have you always had an interest in writing?
I left for deployment to Somalia as a young Marine in 94', not knowing what to expect once I came back. (This was before texting, Skype, and all these Internet social networking sites, so contact with the outside world was rare.) I couldn't wait to come back home, to paradise. I kept imagining coming back on a ship to a red sea of blood, with the strange smell of death in the air, and off in the distant horizon of home, nothing but pain and destruction. And so the embryonic stage of USMZ came to life (or from the dead). I've always considered myself story teller more than a writer, and have always wanted to tell my stories ever since I could remember staying up late on school nights watching countless horror movie after another.
What does USMZ stand for?
I don't want to give away too much, but it's a secret that will be revealed later on in the series. Let the suspense continue.
Zombies are the closest horror creature to humans. It's a representation of ourselves, and horrible potential invested in us all when we lose control. To think that our neighbors, family, and friends can turn to something with so much rage and power and yet still retain human like qualities, is horrifying. We fear what we do not know, and what greater fear than ourselves?
What is your favourite zombie film?
The original 'Dawn Of The Dead', to me, was ground breaking in the sense that it showed us how quickly such an epidemic can spread. It showed us the reality of how delicate our social psyche is when pushed to the brink of extinction. We crumble.
What are your future plans with the comic?
I plan on getting to issue 10 on the hard copies of USMZ, and then see where I go from there. As far as my web comic, I plan on continuing to release a new page once a week to show some deeper cuts of the USMZ story. I also have a few rough drafts for story lines that don't contain zombies. Zombies are my passion, but telling a good dark story is what I love to do best.
Thank you for taking the time to talk to us, Roman, and we look forward to following USMZ’s progress.