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She’s an Academy Award-nominated screenwriter, an actress who has appeared in films such as Dazed and Confused and Waking Life, a former singer in an all-girl rock band, a creative writing teacher and an Anaïs Nin scholar. And now Kim Krizan can add “comic book writer” to her resume, having contributed three stories to BOOM! Studios’ Zombie Tales anthology that are being collected into one volume.
I spoke with Krizan, who wrote the films Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, about Zombie Tales 2061, which comes out in July.
JK: When you wrote the first short story that kicked off this trilogy, did you know you wanted to do more with it beyond that initial tale?
Krizan: I wasn’t thinking of anything beyond the first story, but I just naturally create dramatic endings, so I guess “Spring 2061″ lent itself to having a sequel and BOOM! asked me for one. I wrote another story and then Boom! asked for ANOTHER sequel, so I guess this could go on forever!
JK: What are some of the reactions to the story you’ve heard from fans?
Krizan: A few of the things I heard were that the story is a twist on the usual zombie tale, that it was original, and that it crossed over into sci-fi. This was all great with me because I’m not a genre purist at all. I was told it got right to the heart of what makes zombie stories appealing. I just aim to write and I’m happy that the zombie people out there liked it. My favorite review said my story has “balls to spare.” I’ll take it!
JK: Beyond the obvious horror overtones, there also seems to be a bit of an allegory in there. What is the message (if any) of the story?
Krizan: Well, I know what I think the story’s about, but I believe readers should decide for themselves what it means to them. If a writer sits around intellectualizing his or her story, all is lost. It’s better to shut up and let people have their own experience.
JK: Looking at your resume, you’ve been involved in many different sorts of creative endeavors — you’ve acted, you sang in a couple of bands, and of course you write comics and movies. What do you like the best about each of these pursuits?
Krizan: They’re all about personal expression and having a voice. You discover a little of yourself with each project you pursue. I particularly like writing and most of the projects you mentioned involved my sitting down and writing something…lyrics or lines of dialogue or a fully-blown story. I wrote my lines for Slacker and Waking Life, and — aside from the cockrock songs we covered — I wrote the songs in those bands. So I guess I have a thing for writing because it feels like direct communication, missives from me to the world.
JK: You also teach creative writing, and as a published comics writer, what advice do you have for folks who want to write comics?
Krizan: It’s important to have a strong point of view, so if you don’t have one you’d better find it. Don’t try to please people — please yourself. Forget credibility; trying to maintain credibility with a peer group is for kids. Think big and go for the jugular. Show more than you tell. Don’t hold back.
JK: Are you currently working on any other film or comics projects? Do you have anything else planned with Jon Reed?
Krizan: BOOM! is talking to me about another project but it’s on the DL and very hush-hush. There’s nothing particular in the works with Jon, though I’d love to work with him again. Right now I’m working on a book, but I’ve been asked to write an article for a literary magazine so I’ve got to plow through that first.