Hi Danny. So, you originally self-published Life, Death and Sorcery under a different title? How was the initial introduction received and what has changed since that iteration?
That's right, "Life Death & Sorcery" was originally called "Sorcery." I decided to change the name so that we could really shine a light on character driven nature of the series, an aspect of the story I am really proud of. Other people noticed as well, I received a very generous and thoughtful review from Bleedingcool.com
The self-published version differs from the Chapterhouse version in so many ways it’s hard to know where to start. For one thing, the original release is in black and white. That was less of a creative choice and more because I couldn't afford to print in color. There's also a lot less content. When I was adapting "Sorcery" for Chapterhouse I realized there were these narrative gaps I could fill. I had a whole bunch of scripted and penciled material that I could re-incorporate to flesh out the conflicts and situations. Whereas before, a supporting character might get a few lines here and there, now they can really open up and the reader can really get to know them.
To someone just reading the book for the first time you have a sort of time traveling, “world of hidden magic” theme. How would you classify your book and why would it fit a specific genre?
If you were browsing in a library I think "Life Death & Sorcery" would fall under the category of fantasy, but there's a bit more to it than that. That fantastical imagery is really just an allegorical window dressing, it's really a melodrama. The sorcery is all smoke and mirrors to disguise the philosophical themes.
What would we need to know when we pick up your first issue from Chapterhouse Comics on May 25th?
This is only the beginning...
Of the characters we meet in that first issue, who is your favourite or the one you see yourself enjoying writing the most in the book?
Well they're all my favorite, but if I were to pick one character it would be Amelia Achar. She's a joy to write and draw. I'm a big fan of the John Hughes oeuvre of film making. I love coming of age stories because, a very visceral way, it transports me back to the amazing and terrible horror show of being a teenager. When I write scenes with Amelia I'm right back in the sights and sounds of 1995, for better or worse. I could even tell you what she's listening to on her Walkman.
What inspired you to make this particular story?
I can't remember a time where I haven't been working on this story. It's a world that took shape in my teenage sketchbooks and found its voice on late nights in my old Montreal apartment. That said, like most career daydreamers I didn't actually start to plot the story or do any kind of serious work, until I found the right motivation. It wasn't until I met my wife Rebekah that everything snapped into place. After we started sharing our lives and travelling the world together the story just started to pour out of me. Although I'm sure this will elicit many eye rolls on her part, she's the one that inspired me to finally put this story together. I owe it all to Rebekah.
How did you come to partner with Chapterhouse Comics to publish and distribute your book and will there be more from you coming down the line?
I was hooked up with Chapterhouse through the Creative Director, my old friend George Zotti. In turn, he introduced me to Fadi Hakim and we hit it off. Over the past several months Fadi and I get together and we talk shop over some beers, whiskey and chicken wings. He's a great guy and he really understands what I'm trying to attempt with this series. We're also talking about publishing a collection of my webcomic "Obsolete Heroes" (www.instagram.com/dannyzab/). It's very different in tone from "Life Death & Sorcery" but I love it just as much. "Obsolete Heroes" is a celebration of the mundane. It's all about those little details in our lives that we ignore and take for granted, for better or worse.
What is Danny Zabbal reading?
These days I'm really into Velvet written by Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting. My dad is a big Bond fan and this series captures a lot of that larger than life early 60s spy fun. It still manages to stay grounded in a kind of stark realism though, both through the incredible writing and Epting subtle noir-esque style. I find myself reading and re-reading the entire series constantly. Love it.
Lastly, can you tell us something about yourself that you might deem quirky or unique? An interest, Hobby or favorite thing to do that fans may not know about you?
Every morning, after I drink some coffee and do a bit of studio time I have the most wicked thirty minute solo dance party. I put on some Clash, Iggy and the Stooges, maybe some Damned or Joy Division, and I just go for it. I've been doing that since I was twelve. I highly recommend this little ritual for anybody who wants to start the day right.