David Gallaher: For over a decade, I've wanted to write a story about the American Civil War. I grew up in the heart of old army battlefields, with Antietam and Gettysburg pretty much in my backyard. I've also always loved werewolves … I mean, I'm old enough to remember the WEREWOLF television series that used to be on FOX back in the 80s. HIGH MOON was an extension of that line of thinking, taking those elements and blending them with my love of Old Time Radio shows like HAVE GUN, WILL TRAVEL and GUNSMOKE. The first draft of HIGH MOON was written over three years ago. In that time, I've accumulated three years worth of story notes and research … the mythology, the setting, the character they are all so much more than just what you see on those 8 screens.
AA: What do you think the next step for High Moon is?
DG: If we win the competition, the next step would be to continue our business and contractual obligations to DC. If we don't win, Steve and I will either continue HIGH MOON … maybe over on ACT-I-VATE, another publisher, or find something else to work on together.
AA: Why did you choose Zuda to be the vehicle for High Moon? What do you think that Zuda can offer that a traditional publisher cannot?
DG: We chose Zuda, over Image, Vertigo, or other traditional publishers because it was the chance to be on the forefront of something new, unique, and different. I got my start editing webcomics for Marvel, but Zuda is something different and new for DC. The chance to work with Kwanza Johnson was also a major selling points.
AA: How has working in the 4:3 aspect ratio been? Do you like it better than the traditional comic book format? Why?
DG: The 4:3 ratio adds a great widescreen element to what we are doing, so in that regard, its perfect for HIGH MOON. However, having to work with the 4:3 ration and only have 8 screens to tell our story was more difficult. 8 screens is 4 pages of a standard comic – and every screen I wrote had to advance the plot, establish mood, and reveal character while still giving the reader a reason to advance to the next screen. So, there was a bit of a learning curve – adapting to the reading rhythm of the new format.
AA: Do you have any other plans to submit more content to Zuda?
DG: Let's see how well HIGH MOON does first, but I'm certainly not opposed to it.
AA: What has been the most surprising part of being in the first round of competition?
DG: The most surprising part of being in the first round of Zuda creators – or rather – the thing that has surprised me the most is how super cool and professional all of the other contestants have been. I mean, if you look at the site, everyone is immensely talented – and to see everyone being so cool to each other is really rather awesome.
AA: What has been the hardest to adjust to?
DG: The hardest part to adjust to, I guess, would be all of the negative criticism targeted at DC and Zuda itself. Reading some of the negative comments and vitriol has been tough. Zuda is something new and there is bound to be a learning curve, but I didn't hear this much negativity when Minx, Vertigo, or CMX were launched. With Zuda, DC is opening its door to new talent – and those doors were closed for a long, long time. I think it is something to be celebrated rather than be looked upon with such disdain.
AA: Do you see yourself sticking to the once a week minimum, or do you see you adding more content?
DG: Personally, I'd like to do a scene (like 3 to 5 screens) a week till our first arc is completed – but that's just me. If we win, it's something Steve, Scott and I will discuss with Zuda editorial.
AA: What would you suggest to others that are interested in getting into Zuda?
DG: Comics area business. Whether you are working in print or on the web, it is critical that you develop a professional looking property and a professional attitude toward what you are doing. Secondly, if you are accepted for the next contest, you have to be ready to market the hell out of your strip, quality is great – but quality means nothing without word of mouth buzz.
AA: Have you been surprised at the diversity of your competitors? What do you think about them?
DG: I hate each and every one of them. Yeah, I'm looking at you J. Longo … you too, Rey! Seriously though, as I mentioned before, I think they are all incredible. I'm friends with a few of them – and a fan of the rest of them, so it makes it hard to compete against such talented professionals. There is something I love in each and every strip on Zuda.
AA: Do you see the web as the future of comic books? How so?
DG: In a way, it already is. There are fantastic comics that made their start on the web and exploded in print. THE PERRY BIBLE FELLOWSHIP is a exceptional example. DEVIL'S PANTIES, PvP, and ATHENA VOLTAIRE are just a few more examples. Every day, I see more and more creators establishing their names, building their brands, and increasing their fanbase with fantastic webcomics. But, since you can't sell webcomics at a convention, more of these creators are printing collections of strips to sell. It's a fantastic business model, if you ask. As opposed to cold launching their book through a publishing company, they are going out and doing all the legwork and marketing themselves, all while making some great entertainment. It is rather awesome, actually.