[Interview] Dave Dwonch of SPORES: PROM OF THE DEAD

For the most part, any form of media pertaining to zombies (film, television, comic books, etc.) generally have the viewer/reader embrace the fact that the undead are just that…undead. We’ve come to accept zombification without the need (desired or given) to an identifiable cause of “the turn.” But what if there was a genuine, biological cause that can be shown as the catalyst and actually exists in nature as we speak? Well, writer Dave Dwonch is about to drop some science on the genre, while infusing it with aspects of The Breakfast Club and Mean Girls.

The former Creative Director and President of Action Lab Entertainment known for writing Cyrus Perkins and the Haunted Taxi Cab (his first crowdfunding title from 2014), Double Jumpers, Vamplets, Ghost Town, and his current series Infinite Seven at Action Lab: Danger Zone, is bringing his creator-owned Spores trilogy to life and self-publishing it to boot. The graphic novel’s first volume, a coming-of-age dramedy entitled Prom of the Dead, has recently launched on Kickstarter and is looking like it could go as viral as the epidemic found within Dave’s narrative.

The story in Spores: Prom of the Dead is set against the backdrop of the fictional Pineview Academy. The students at this Upstate New York private school, unbeknownst to them, are about to encounter a biological outbreak affecting (and infecting) the students’ big prom celebration.

We had the privilege in interviewing Dave on his latest project. Check out what he has to say and learn more about Spores: Prom of the Dead!


PopCultHQ’s Kickstarter Spotlight Interview:

Dave Dwonch (writer)
Spores: Prom of the Dead

PopCultHQ: Prom of the Dead is the first volume of a planned trilogy from you. Being hailed as The Breakfast Club meets The Walking Dead (with some Mean Girls thrown in), you propose an intriguing premise and unique approach to the zombie genre. From where did the idea of this story originate?

Dave Dwonch: I was definitely inspired by Ophiocordyceps Unilateralis, which is fungus that infects ants in tropical forests. It takes control of their motor functions, almost like mind control. It’s strange and awesome. I implore everyone to google it!

PopCultHQ: What type of comic book reader would enjoy this series? Whom is your target audience?

Dwonch: It’s definitely Rated-R, but only in that there is blood, gore and swearing. You know, the sort of thing you’d get out of a good horror flick. Still, at its core it’s a coming of age story with (I think) some strong female characters. I can see it playing on both sides of the fence. Not quite all-ages, but yeah… I think teens would like Prom, too. Like most of my stuff, reeaaalllly cool parents will want their kids reading it. 

PopCultHQ: From what I’ve seen so far, it appears to stay focused on and within Pineview Academy, the source of the spore outbreak. How much of this book, even the series, is zombie action and how much of the story deals with real-world issues and/or character development?

Dwonch: It’s all about the characters really. I think good horror comes from the connection you feel with the protagonists. At its core it’s a coming-of-age story featuring two very different girls.The zombie infestation is just the biggest test of their friendship.

PopCultHQ: Will readers connect with Erica, Christina, or other series regulars?

Dwonch: Boy, I hope so! Yeah, I’ve written some pretty likeable and unlikeable people in the series. I think they’ll all register as people you’ve known or grown up with.

PopCultHQ: Your Kickstarter for Prom of the Dead seeks to publish its initial copies just for backers, is that correct? Forgive me if I read it incorrectly.

Dwonch: Sort of. I’m actually going to hopefully get the entire print run of the graphic novel funded through Kickstarter. What is exclusive to backers is the first issue. I intend to go “straight to trade” with the series, but I wanted the Kickstarter backers to have something unique and collectable. I don’t plan on releasing floppy issues at all, so this black and white #1 issue will be very rare.  

PopCultHQ: Can you explain to our readers exactly how this trilogy plans to be published and released (KS only, b/w vs. color, 80-page volumes, monthly/quarterly, etc.)?

Dwonch: Roughly 80-100 page full-color volumes, with Prom leading the charge in early/mid-2018, and the second volume released roughly 6 months later. The final volume will be out by mid-2019 if it works out according to plan.

PopCultHQ: For this series, you’ve tapped artist Santiago Guillen to illustrate your vision. How did you come to bring Santiago on board and what does he bring or add to your story?

Dwonch: I’ve known Santi’s agent for years, and I’ve been a fan for a while. I knew eventually that we’d do something together, and Prom of the Dead felt like the right project. His sense of mood and expression are incredible. And man, there is some freaky stuff that he’s adding in!

PopCultHQ: Who else is aboard your creative team?

Dwonch: I can’t name names just quite yet, but there is a colorist hopefully coming on board that is a talented storyteller in his own right! More on that soon!

PopCultHQ: Upon a successful campaign, will fans be able to purchase Spores: Prom of the Dead online?

Dwonch: Potentially. I don’t want to dilute the efforts of the backers. Maybe in a year or two.

PopCultHQ: Will you have it available at your appearances? (This goes for the book(s), artwork, merchandise, etc.)

Dwonch: For sure. The book will travel with me on the con circuit. 

PopCultHQ: Other than being successfully funded, what is your main hope or desire for Spores: Prom of the Dead?

Dwonch: Ultimately, I’d LOVE all three parts in a deluxe oversized hardcover, but again, I don’t want to get ahead of myself!


Special thanks to Dave Dwonch for taking the time out of his busy schedule to chat with us. Here’s a look at the Kickstarter promotional video for Prom of the Dead, then head over to the Kickstarter to check out all the sweet tiers, rewards, and support this series!

Be sure to follow Dave Dwonch online to keep up on all the latest from the writer!