Kenric and John had the wonderful please of sitting down and chatting with the creators behind the quirky OGN form Oni Press, Dead Dudes. Christopher Sebela and Ben Sears!
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Dead Guys Conversation with Chris and Ben Interview
[00:00:00] Kenric: alright guys, we are back in today on the show. It's going to be amazing because we have two wonderful people here with us today that maybe you're a friend.
Maybe you read crowded last year or the masterpiece test. Or maybe, you know, all about night air and double plus by Ben Sears. I don't know. But right now we have Ben Sears and Christopher Sabella on guys. Thanks so much for joining.
Ben: Thanks for having us.
Chris: Yeah. Thanks. Thanks for letting us come on.
Yeah. So you guys are out there right now. You have a new book out called dead dudes with Oni press. And maybe you can give our audience in an elevator pitch of what it's about and what they can expect.
Chris: yeah, just, basically it's about, it's about three dudes, who are there in one of those ghosts hunting shows that you see plastics and everywhere on cable.
I love it. and. So their [00:01:00] show is about to get canceled. And as a last ditch measure, they go to this place they've been saving well, like the most haunted place in the world. and when they get there, they get, they die and then they come back as ghosts. and then it's the year anniversary of their death.
And their biggest rivals have shown up to do a big, special, and all the ghosts want to kill all the living people. So now our three, titular, dead dudes have to. Save the living while also trying to prove to the world that ghosts actually do exist. It's funny.
Kenric: That sounds silly. How did you guys get together to even do this?
Because Ben you're like in Kentucky, Chris, you're on the West coast or an Oregon, and then you have Warren out in Dallas and Ryan in California. How do you guys even keep all this together and find each other
John: for this?
Ben: Yeah, I think, I can't remember. I [00:02:00] guess, being Chris through like mutual tumbler followers, that gives you an idea of when this
Ben: Okay. So yeah, I think we just kind of linked up on the air and then.
John: I guess
Ben: he just said it's either Chris or someone to own. He was like, Hey, do you want to work on this with Chris? And I was like, yeah, of course.
Kenric: Yeah. Yeah. Chris, how did the idea come to you? Did you, is it something you've been toiling around with for a long time and finally just put it to paper or is this something that kind of like a bolt of lightning and you sat up straight in bed and said, I got to write this.
Chris: but more, it was that like, I used to watch, I used to watch ghost adventures, which is a list of all the, yeah. Like three stupidest people you could ever meet, locked in a sane, in silence together, like, who don't. Yeah, they're just like complete idiots. and it, I really enjoyed it.
I just enjoyed the fact that like [00:03:00] somehow they were making it work. And, basically like I had sort of come up with this rough idea, of, you know, ghost hunters, dying and coming back as ghosts and. Then one night, my vent editor at Oni just texted me and he was like, how come? you've never pitched us a ghost hunting.
Book. And I was like, Oh, I totally have an idea. I'll write it up tonight and send it to you. And that's what I did. I just sat down, wrote it up, like sort of figured out how to
John: make it
Chris: an action. Cool story. Instead of just like, here's a funny joke. I came up with,
But yeah, it just kind of all mostly spilled out at once.
that's awesome enough that like, I felt confident to send it to Oni and then they said they weirdly said yes to it. and then, yeah, I never expected to, like, I never expected to work with Ben period, much less on something like this. Like it's just, but, all the stars aligned in a very weird way.
And we've been working on this for like the last. [00:04:00] six years or so. Wow.
Ben: So yeah, well not full time, but
Kenric: yeah. Yeah. That's awesome. So when you guys, so Chris, I watched some interviews with you today on YouTube. And you made me laugh because one of them, you're talking about one, you're sick of seeing just a bunch of stories that are the same with white heterosexual men.
So you really wanted to do something that was out of a comfort zone. And two, you didn't know, you don't always know exactly what you're writing about as you're writing it. You let it form in front of you as you're going through the process of your writing. Does this story kind of fall into that realm of.
Hey, you know, once I got like halfway through, I kind of understood what I had or did it get to the end? You're like, Oh, now I totally know what I'm doing here.
Chris: now, like, yeah. I don't know. Dead dudes is such a weird area. Yeah. Like
Kenric: I love the title by the way.
[00:05:00] Chris: Oh, there's a whole story behind the
You got to tell us.
Chris: I mean, originally it was called a ghost bros. Cause that's what I used to call it. Ghost event.
Kenric: That's not bad either.
Chris: No, I thought it was great. And I was like, here's the one title I never have to worry about. No one's ever going to take this title. Like why would they, and then.
Yeah. I think our editor emailed us and was like, Hey, Lauren Michaels just filed a trademark on the word ghost bros. Or like he had basically it's like the show or movie.
Kenric: Yeah. Oh.
Chris: so he's like, yeah. So now we can't do ghost bros. So then, yeah, after much struggling, I was just like dead dudes basically sums it up.
But, yeah, for dead dudes, like, it was very much just like, I mean, I wanted to, my main goal was to find a way to make this feel a bit more than just like the funny joke of like ghost hunters coming back as ghost. Like I wanted it to, [00:06:00] I don't know. it's not a super deep book and I don't think we're like handing out life lessons or anything and this, But, yeah, I don't know.
I wanted to make it feel like it was worth the reader's time, to sit down with it and plow through it and, you know, like make it more satisfying than just like, I don't know, sometimes you watch a movie and you're like, Oh, this should have been a Twilight zone episode, but they made it three times as long.
so I just wanted to not do that. I wanted to like pack it as full of like cool, funny stuff as we could, and, you know, get in and get out without wearing out. Our welcome,
Kenric: yeah. has the pandemic and the. Changed how you're writing at all.
Chris: It's made it worse. Has a bye productivity is just like in the toilet.
so yeah, I don't know why either. Cause like my life wasn't that different before we went to lock down. I think it's just like knowing that [00:07:00] like, Oh, even if I wanted to go somewhere else, I just can't. Right. so yeah, I just like things just. You know, every time I look at the news, it's like, Oh, this is getting worse and worse.
Yeah. So, so yeah, no, I don't think it's really changed anything about how my work, except that it's harder to do.
Kenric: Yeah. Then when you started working on this script, when Chris was sending you the script over and you started drawing it, you know, what kind of direction were you thinking of as you're going? Because you have a very distinct art style. That is fantastic by the way. And you know, when you're going through it where you're like, I want to do some things differently.
Or did you have a vision in mind as soon as you read that script the first day?
Ben: Well, that's a good question because. I think, I guess thinking back and the first issue, I think I drew in like 2015. [00:08:00] So that would have been like the second, like real comic that I'd ever drawn. So basically it just was like excited to, you know, sit down and dry it.
I didn't really have like a vision in mind, I guess it wasn't, I didn't
Chris: really have a style,
Ben: but it wasn't like. Completely nailed down. so when you sent the script, it was just like, okay, so you can kind of picture what all of these guys look like, just by the way Chris wrote them. Which, you know, I don't want to judge books by their cover, but with ghost burrows, I feel like you can do that.
Right. so yeah, it was, I dunno, it wasn't really a challenge or anything. It was just like, yeah, these guys look like this and you know, that go to the gym all the time and dress like jerks. So,
Kenric: Oh, that's hilarious. [00:09:00] Chris you've had some real good success. The last few years crowded was a big hit test was a big hit. And now if you go, when, if, and when cons come back, when you go to a con, you're seeing people cosplay as your characters, what goes through your head when you see that? Cause to me, if I feel like I saw somebody dressing up as characters that I've created, I, I might, I don't know how to process it.
Chris: Yeah, no, that's the first like minute or two. and then I, it's just super cool. Like it's a, yeah, I don't know. I don't know if there's like an, like an experience I can draw a connection with in comparison. It's just like, I, and it's not even so much the costume it's that like, somebody out there like likes your book enough that they're gonna like go to the effort of putting together an outfit, the mattress like.
What's on the page. It's just, yeah. it's still bizarre to me. Like, so yeah, I don't know. I spent so long just like writing for myself and never [00:10:00] showing anybody that like now that like people are actually like reading my stuff and reacting strongly enough to like, like just people reading my stuff is weird or like the fact that they are taking it an extra step is like, Good.
It's already like there's already icing on the cake. So this is like dropping a bag of M and ms. On top.
Kenric: That's how you get diabetes.
Chris: Moderation is the key. You don't want to
John: do that every day.
Chris: That's why I only experienced it at cons.
Kenric: Oh, that's hilarious. But. How has only press with you guys right now. And there, I feel like for create our own and independence are like one of the better companies to work with. We have one of the guys that has a podcast with our network.
His name is Greg Smith and he writes junior Brays of the apocalypse with Michael Tanner. And he says nothing but great things. What's that?
Chris: I actually let her the first book of [00:11:00] that.
Kenric: Oh, cool. Did you really? That's cool. It's a good friend of ours. Yeah. He's a really good friend of ours. He lives right down the street from us
Chris: and he has podcasts.
Kenric: That's funny. But how so you started lettering. Is that how you got into the comic books? Did you start lettering first and then kind of build up the ability, not the ability, but the bravery. I think it is to show your work to get into comics itself. No, I
Chris: went about it really weirdly.
Like I basically, I just like packed up. I live in Kansas city, Missouri, and was running out of money and didn't know what I was going to do. And I was like, screw it. I'm gonna, I'm gonna move to Portland where I know there are two publishers and a bunch of people in comics, and I'm gonna try and break into comics.
Kenric: one's a great time to do it.
Chris: And I got here. Yeah, no, and I did it like, as soon as I got here, like my biggest client was like, yeah, we're moving everything in house, so we don't need you anymore. I'm
Kenric: like, nice
Chris: bye. [00:12:00] So then I just started looking for gigs that were like comics adjacent. Right. I spent three years doing a flatting, which is basically like, you know, coloring in the pages before the colorist makes them look like good.
Kenric: yeah, flattening the image and stuff. That's important. Yeah.
Chris: Yeah. And I did that for three years and then I learned how to let her by lettering my first book. And then, you know, I was never super good at it. So like even on like junior Braves, like someone came in and cleaned up all the mistakes I made and made it look legitimately good.
So I don't want to take too much credit, but let me feel like I was sort of part of the industry when I was still like on the outside, looking in.
John: That's cool
Kenric: though. But the lettering is so important. So now when you on your books and you're seeing the lettering come across, are you hypercritical or are you yeah, that's better than I could do so, or I'm happy.
Chris: now because it's all, it's always like. I [00:13:00] stopped lettering my own stuff and started hiring letters C cause like they legitimately know what they're doing. and yeah, they always make it better, like a hundred times better. And like so much that like when we took high crimes, my first like real book back the press.
I hired a letter, to go in and clean up my lettering on it. Cause I was just so embarrassed.
Kenric: Ben, when you are guarding it, when you got into working and doing your own stuff, at what point did you think? Yeah, I think I can do this for a living or are you still at that point of thinking maybe a little bit more and then I can do it for a living.
Ben: Mmm. I don't know. I think when I first started, I was like, so caught up in just doing it. And then I was like, I'll just keep doing it. And, you know, luckily wasn't concerned about the money part. cause I was [00:14:00] just doing self publishing. It's like make 50 copies of this and all of them that's a total success.
but I mean, I've been doing it pretty much full time for like, Four years now, four or five years. So yeah, I mean, it's comics, like the money is never enough to just make your living off of one thing. So it's a lot of money from different, not a lot of money, but it's money from different places.
Chris: yeah, like,
So I don't know. I mean, It would be pretty cool to make a living from comics, but I feel like there's a lot of different stuff. You have to juggle to fund the things that you want to do.
Kenric: I gotta be honest, Ben, it's hard to come up with pointed questions to ask you because there's just, wasn't a lot, like Chris was a lot easier.
I mean, he's got, you know what I mean? There's a lot of stuff out with him right now. And then. He's there's quite a few interviews on YouTube and other places. So it was easy, but [00:15:00] with yours it was difficult. And, but one of the funny things, I don't know if you know, but there's a guy there's a yoga master guy named Ben Sears.
And he has a whole thing. I was like, is this him? Is he a yoga man and a comic? And I was like, Oh no, that's not the same guy.
Ben: No, not a fan of that, but it did get the Ben Sears handle on every social media platform before he did
Kenric: so. Well, good for you. I know there's a, there's somebody that has kendrick.com and I was so mad because they do like, they make like brackets for sports betting and I'm like, and it was so bummed cause he got the URL like in 97 and I checked in like in 1998 and I was just like,
Kenric: so that's good.
Ben: I'm not the yoga guy.
Kenric: You should make a yoga character though. And just, you know, you could really give it to them.
Ben: I feel like that guy [00:16:00] would be friends with the ghost versa. Cause he looks like a total moron.
Kenric: He looks a little douchey.
Ben: Yeah. I mean, he's like a yoga instructor. I think he does like that weird, like cult yoga. I dunno. It's like, it starts with a B,
Chris: but yeah,
Ben: man, I couldn't tell you.
Kenric: Yeah, I just saw it. I just saw all the YouTube stuff he has and I'm just like, this can't be the same guy. You know what I mean?
Ben: Now he's always got his shirt off and it's like, dude.
Kenric: Oh yeah. Oh yeah.
Chris: Oh no shirt. He's just circles all the time.
Kenric: What's that? You
Chris: probably don't even own a shirt. Always shirtless.
Kenric: Yeah. I got a, I have a buddy that is always has a shirt off and I finally was just teasing him so much. So now when I come around and he's always putting his shirt on. He's like, why do you care?
I'm like, cause dude, I don't want your testicle here all over the [00:17:00] place. Seriously. I don't want to deal with that.
John: I ain't got time for that.
Chris: So never that hot.
Kenric: So double plus is a web comic and a you and I think when did you release the volume one? Cause you can get on Amazon, right?
Ben: Mmm. So it's got a diverse publishing history.
Ben: Because it's like it actually, it didn't start off as a web comic. it was just on it ran on a website after I'd finished the print version. Yeah. so like, the first one was self published and then I got picked up by Koyama press.
which is a publisher out of Toronto. Did a series of four books with them, but in between all those books, I would do like, you know, some self published side stories or something.
So [00:18:00] yeah. It's like, it's hard to describe what exactly it is, but I don't know. It's kind of leaning into like, Detective Steph now, like it started off as kind of a venture read Saifai and now it's more Rockford files with kids,
Kenric: Rockford files with kids. I love that. Yeah. If people don't know, you should look up the Rockford files cause James Gardner in that was amazing.
So when does dead dude officially release so people can get out there and pick
John: it up. I
Ben: think September 16th,
Chris: that sounds right.
Kenric: So we're gonna, so this is going to be released in late August. We want people to be able to go down to their LCS and order it, say, Hey, I want dead dudes number. I went dead dudes as it comes out.
And, so then it's coming out in September. So we were told to release
Chris: this as coming out as one volume.
Kenric: Yeah, just to it's just like an OGN right.
[00:19:00] Chris: we started working on it as issues, but, I think we all just kind of decided it works better just as one big thing.
Kenric: So is it going to one complete tight story or is there chances of more coming out later down the
Chris: I could definitely find didn't excuse, yeah, to do more. I don't know if there's really more to be said. you know, it's like,
Kenric: but you had fun.
Chris: Like, it's been like seven years since, at least since I started this crazy on it. So, you know, it's like one of the great things about doing a book about something that, you know, you're mildly obsessed with or like super into, is that when you're done with the book, you can be done with that thing too.
Yeah. so I don't know, like, it can become very
Kenric: good, like Arctic.
Chris: Yeah. And I'll just like close the chapter on like that period of time when I was super into these knuckleheads, [00:20:00] hunting for ghosts.
Kenric: I can't wait to read this because all you've guys done is talked shit on the main protagonist, and I'm just so excited to read this thing.
Chris: It was a struggle to like, like that was the hardest part. It was like trying to make like these do too. I would never like want to hang out with, somehow like lovable at least like tolerable. But, you know, it's a challenge. Like that's why like a writing is like a, it's like, how do I make a bunch of assholes, enjoyable for, you know, 120 pages?
Kenric: I love it though,
Ben: because bad things happen to them.
Chris: Yes. When bad things happen to assholes, it is a good time. There's plenty of that.
Kenric: I'm excited. I'm really excited to read this because, just the way you guys are describing it and the fact that they're assholes, just you don't get a lot of books.
That do that. Some people can do like captains, like stern. Do you ever read that the, Bernie writes and comic?
Chris: Oh no, I never had heavy [00:21:00] metal.
Kenric: Oh, okay. Well, captain stern was that he was a lovable asshole, you know, and it's the same kind of thing. And I just love those stories because you don't get characters like that very often that are done well.
So I'm excited to read this. Yeah,
Chris: no, I like to, I sort of specialize in assholes, so it was good to do one that was like, just sort of like flat out funny. and just kind of weird. I don't know. it's a it's. There's the album never do another book like that. Dudes it's like, it is its own thing.
It's so weird art object. and I'm super happy about it. That's
Kenric: awesome. how has working with Oni press on this?
Chris: They let us take our time. cause you know, Ben was working on his stuff. I was working on my stuff, and you know, they were never like, you need to be done with this right now. They understood that. Like, you know, we, you know, everybody's like juggling a million things to stay alive and thrive.
[00:22:00] So they just gave us the room to like do it at our speed.
Kenric: That's awesome. That's awesome that all the publishers out there, man, some of them are doing really well with everything that's going on and understand the creative process. And you have a few that are very stringent. Put it that way. So it's good to hear that they're giving you the room and giving you the time to breathe, to be able to make this thing happen.
Chris: Yeah. You know, at a certain point they were like, you know, okay, we should wrap this up. which I think is it's good to have limits, like somebody who say like, okay, like you're never going to make it perfect. Like, let's just, let's just settle with like really good. so yeah. I like boundaries.
Cause as a, as somebody who like works from home, I don't have any,
Kenric: I like it. I like it. I don't. I don't have any boundaries either right now, because I work from home and it's tough because, I don't know people person, I like to be around people. I'm very extrovert, more than an introvert. Jonny is the introvert of the group.
He loves the [00:23:00] freedom to work from home. Don't worry about it. He wants to work on his comics and do his art and not have to worry about anything. And then I like to be out there talking with everybody. So this is a weird time right now, you know? So.
Chris: This is our time. This is the introvert's time, right?
It's our time to shine.
Ben: Yeah. It's not really been that different from normal. So
Chris: yeah, like we've been training for this
Kenric: Q Rocky music.
Guys, thank you so much for joining us, everybody out there. Get on this, go to your LCS. Check out. Dead. Dudes comes out in September, get it ordered right away, because I think this one's going to be very special and a lot of fun. And you're probably going to sit there and laugh your butt off as you go through it.
So, Chris Ben, thank you so much, man.
[00:24:00] Ben: Yeah. Thank
Chris: you. Thank you.
Kenric: All right guys. Thanks guys.