I recently had the opportunity to speak with Nate "Rock" Quarry (former UFC fighter and current co-host of SpikeTV's MMA Uncensored) regarding his latest project. Entitled "Zombie Cage Fighter", this new comic is about an aging MMA fighter who has thrown himself into the world of full-contact fighting against the undead in hopes of making a better life for his young daughter.
ZT - What would you say was the basis for the creation of the comic ?
NQ - Everyone has always been bugging me to write a biography about my life, but that sounded so boring...the kind of thing that comes out every 2 years or something like that. So I sat down and started writing about things that I'd seen and done, adventures that I'd been through in my MMA career, but I added zombies as the antagonist. So it's more to me than just about zombies, it's about what a father is willing to do to feed his little girl, and that's been my journey, so the story that I wrote is that I'm 45 years old, and I'm STILL fighting in the small shows for food money, my little girl is 8 years old, and I'm going to do whatever it takes to make sure that she has a better chance than I did.
ZT - Have you always been a fan of the zombie genre ?
NQ - It's really been recently, but before The Walking Dead comic came out, I'd seen alot of zombie movies and I thought that they were the same old horror movies. Not a whole lot of plot,or storyline and then I started reading The Walking Dead, and was just blown away, and the issue that got me was when it was said that "The Walking Dead aren't zombies....they're us., and I could really see the characters come to life, and that's what it's all about, because if you can't relate to the characters or want to see how they deal with their struggles, then it's just a waste of time. Overall it has been fun to get into the genre, and reading World War Z was just a great book too.
ZT - Is there one zombie movie or book that you consider your favorite ?
NQ - If I had to say, I would say Zombieland - I mean the movie is hilarious - but as far as the genre overall, I look forward to The Walking Dead comic every month.
ZT - Will this be a continuing-series or will it be a one-time comic ?
NQ - Well, I'm hoping to make it a continuing series - it's very hard to find a publisher, so I've had to self-publish this. I went to 2 well-known comic book publishers (names withheld), and they both shot me down - I was in shock. They had said that it wasn't fitting with what they were trying to do, and I'm thinking to myself "we've got a really good story, we've got amazing artists, I've already launched this on both SpikeTV & G4, I'm doing interviews all over the place for this book, but for some reason you think that this didn't fit in with what you are trying to accomplish?" That was just a little shocking to me, so instead of me trying to convince a bunch of people and publishers that would be trying to take half of my money while they sat back and did nothing, I just said "screw it", I'll just do it myself and trust advertisers and people that are still behind the series that believe by word-of-mouth alone that this thing is going to get bigger and bigger.
ZT - Are you hoping to turn this into perhaps a movie or TV adaptation ?
NQ - That's been my plan from day 1 - every t-shirt & comic that I sell is really, to me marketing towards that movie adaptation. When I started writing, it was with the hope that I would someday have a completed screenplay, which I now have, and there was a pretty big Hollywood producer that got wind of it, so I sent him a copy and we sat down for a meeting, and he just said straight up " I wanna make this movie - here's a contract", but the contract was so bad, it was like your stereotypical Hollywood contract where you get your name in lights, and they keep every dime. So I said no - I've already been on TV, that's not my motivation....my motivation is to put out a really good story with a great team and have fun. I recently had a meeting with a West Coast lawyer, who contacted another lawyer on the East Coast, both of who have seen me on SpikeTV's MMA Uncensored, and were really into what I've created here and let me tell you, I rarely get excited about much, but I'm pretty excited about this.
ZT - My last question will appeal to both zombie & MMA fans - What would your game plan be for a one-on-one confrontation with a zombie (no weapons)?
NQ - That's a really good question because when I was sitting down writing out the movie, I had to visualize if I was going to fight a zombie, how would I do so ? I've done a little bit of training against a knife, and in a fight you can take a kick or a punch, but if the knife cuts you, dependant upon how severe of a cut you get, you're dead. So the metaphor with a zombie is to defend against the bite, so you could employ long-range weapons like front kicks, or if you have a shirt on, you can wrap it around your knuckles so you can still punch without the risk of cutting your hands on the zombie's teeth. Then you can close the distance, but you have to be very controlling, and there is this technique in wrestling where you put the crown of your head into their jawline and drive against them so they can't turn towards you, and once you have that position, you can sneak around the back using a duck-under. Under normal circumstances you could go in for a rear-naked choke, but since the zombie is already dead, that won't work. So you can improvise with a kick to the back of the knee which will drop them down, and from there you can snap them down onto their back, and then proceed with the big old bootstomp !
ZT - Anything else you would like to add ?
NQ - People are getting tired of the same old stuff, they don't want to see the same old everyday guy doing things that you can just turn on the TV and watch. You want superheroes, you want something bigger than life, and that's the difference with Zombie Cage Fighter....he may be an everyday guy, but he is in a crazy, obscure situation where if he doesn't win his fight this week, he will be on the wrong side of the cage next week.
ZT - Thank you for your time, Nate - we are all behind you in support of the comic !
NQ - Well Thanks, that means alot - this is 100 percent me at this point - I'm financing this, I approve all aspects of the comic & T-shirts. and it's just fun, and when others get excited about my world, it's just rewarding. It doesn't matter how confident you are when you throw an idea out there, you're hoping that everyone will like this, and so far they have...and it's been a blast.
PLEASE make sure to click on the main pic to be taken to the Zombie Cage Fighter website, where you can grab this awesome comic (in either hard or digital copy), T-shirts with insane designs, and killer decals as well !!