I had the pleasure to ask the creative soul from Web Toon a few questions.. Taylor Grant, a modern renaissance man !
Don’t forget to download the Webtoon app free!!!
Check out his books on Amazon!
1.Tell me a little bit about the making of a comic for Webtoon. (please feel free to elaborate)
Well, I’m a big fan of author Jonathan Maberry, as well as his zombie series Rot & Ruin, so adapting it into a comic for Webtoon is definitely a dream project for me.
Of course, like all creative projects, it hasn’t been without its challenges. While the novel is filled with amazing backstory and incredible world building, the pacing of a Webtoon comic is much different than a novel—and comic reader’s expectations are different. In fact, the narrative format (a vertical scrolling format designed specifically or phones and tablets) is quite different even from print comics. So, there was definitely a learning curve to a Webtoon comic’s structure, pacing and format.
I also factored in that this particular platform (in the US) doesn’t offer a lot of this genre. So, I had discussions with David Lee, Head of Content at Webtoon, on how far to push the horror right out of the gate. I did my best to amp up the emotional and relationship story elements right away, as these are aspects that really resonate with Webtoon readers.
In other words, there was a lot of thought on the best way to tell this story for this particular audience, while staying true to the original novel’s plot, characters, and of course, the spirit of the book. I’m happy to report that the launch was a smashing success. In our first week online, we are pushing near 200,000 subscribers. That’s incredible engagement for any web comic in its first week online, much less a horror comic.
2.Who’s your favorite character from Rot & Ruin?
Tom Imura, the older brother of the protagonist, Benny Imura. Tom is patient, caring, trustworthy, and quietly confident. At the risk of sounding terribly pretentious or grandiose, these truly are qualities I admire in others and strive for in myself. But let’s face it, Tom is also a trained swordsman, bounty hunter and zombie killer—so I’ll leave all the badassery for him.
3. Is there a comic book character that influenced your decision to work in this creative area?
Absolutely. I own a complete 45-year run of Captain America, starting from issue #100, published in 1968. I suppose my admiration of Cap really drove my love of the medium as a kid (though I own over 50,000 comics in my collection, so my interest in the medium spans many genres, not just superheroes).
Cap is the guy you know you can trust- who always has your back. Sure, I love darker characters like Batman, Wolverine, Ghost Rider, and the Punisher—but with Cap you always know where you stand. You know at heart, he’s a selfless man who wouldn’t hesitate to jump on a grenade to save a stranger. In fact, I’d say he some of the traits of Tom Imura as well.
4.If you could talk to any author dead or alive who would you pick?
Rod Serling. If only to thank him for inspiring me to become a storyteller. There is no question his work (The Twilight Zone, The Night Gallery—even the original Planet of the Apes, which few realize he co-wrote) had the single greatest impact on me growing up.
I admire that Serling explored the darkest aspects of humanity with a grand imagination and an earnest social conscience. It is obvious in his work that he cared deeply about the plight of his fellow man. And in my own small way, I have tried to keep some of that alive in my own fiction.
5.Your own writing style is dark and mysterious, leaving a lot of open questions, do you ever consider turning some of your short stories into novels?
Currently, I run the film/television division of Webtoon. I have always been wired for writing for the screen. However, I grew up reading novels and short stories, and have a deep affinity for the short form. Growing up, I loved reading the short fiction of greats like Richard Matheson, William F. Nolan, Stephen King, George R.R. Martin, Ray Bradbury, and more.
For the larger part of my career, 95% of my ideas were either for a film or a short story—and almost nothing in between. But that has changed the past couple of years. In fact, I just signed a contract (literally today) with a wonderful publisher for my first novella called The Many Deaths of Cole Parker.
It’s a horror fantasy with a sci-fi twist and will be published in either September or October, 2020. You can check out my website at http://www.taylorgrant.com for updates. I also have a novel called Middle of Nowhere that’s been in the works for quite some time. It’s a dark suspense thriller that dances on the edges of horror. Depending on who reads it, some might say it’s a psychological thriller, some might suggest its psychological horror. I’ll let readers decide.
I believe The Many Deaths of Cole Parker is the best thing I’ve ever written. I hope my readers agree.
6. What is the first horror movie you ever watched? And how did it influence your creative self?
Well, the first horror film I ever saw was on TV when I was 5 years old. It was the original black and white Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney. My mom teased me about it for years. Apparently, I didn’t want to leave her side, and fell asleep on the floor next to her—with my hands literally cupped over my ears. You see, it wasn’t the visuals that scared me as much as the MUSIC. That haunting score! Ha ha.
I have vague memories of seeing a Vincent Price double feature The Masque of Red Death and The Abominable. Dr. Phibes at a drive-in theater at a very young age Those lavish technicolor images are still burned indelibly into my brain.
But it was watching Ridley Scott’s Alien during its first run in the theater that was life-changing for me. While all of my friends were fascinated by Star Wars or Star Trek (which I also loved, of course), I was completely OBSESSED with Alien. I saw it something like 9 times in the theater during its first run. I was still underage for an R-rated movie, so I literally rode my bike to the theater every weekend (you have to remember that movies stayed in theaters up to six months back then) and BEGGED strangers to buy a ticket for me. While the movie terrified me, I just couldn’t get enough of it. I bought every magazine that even mentioned it for the next couple of years.
That film’s brilliant merging of sci-fi and horror is now part of my DNA. In fact, if you read through my horror short stories, I’d say that probably 25% of them have some sort of sci-fi element.
7. A cliche question, do you have a favorite monster?
See above. Ha ha.
8. This being mostly a zombie lit related page, here’s the Zombie question. Do you prefer the idea of the slow shuffling zombie or the fast ravenous infected?
I suppose the purists won’t agree, but I actually prefer the fast, ravenous infected. Now, hold on, before you get all judgy. I have loved the slow-moving zombies all the way back to 1943’s I Walked with a Zombie from Val Lewton, through George Romero’s oeuvre, and straight into Robert Kirkman and Jonathan Maberry’s zombie universes. They are classic, wonderful, and a huge part of horror history. But something about the fast-moving ones is just so much more terrifying to me, so much more unpredictable. So, for that reason, I have to give them the edge.