It was supposed to be a fun camping trip for a group of senior high school students. Instead, it turned into a nightmare dominated by three flesh-eating foes.
That’s the basis for Witch Creek Road, a survival horror comic book series created by Nanaimo-based writer Garth Matthams.
“Probably the best description I heard for Witch Creek Road was from a review where they described it as Mean Girls and the Evil Dead universe,” Matthams told the News Bulletin.
The first issue of Witch Creek Road was released online last month. The story revolves around a high school cheerleader named Sara Greene who agrees to go camping with some friends in a remote forest. On the way to the camping area, Greene and two other girls turn down a long dark stretch of road and encounter three zombie-like women.
Matthams said while there aren’t really any morals to the story, there are elements are underlining messages of equality, adding that Witch Creek Road is simply intended to entertain.
Matthams, who released his first comic book called The Living Finger last year, said he got the idea for Witch Creek Road 10 years ago, but decided to act on it only a few years ago after realizing he was getting older.
“You realize there are all these things you wanted to do when you are younger,” he said. “A lot of those things you grow out of them, but some of those things you don’t. Some of those things stay with you and you still want to do them and writing, whether it was comics or novels was something which I decided I have got to try.”
One of the main challenges for was financing the project. Matthams said the biggest expense was finding someone to do the illustrations.
“If you can’t draw you have to find somebody who can draw,” he said. “And when you find somebody who can draw, generally they need some kind of financial compensation because they are spending a lot of their time doing the artwork, where they could be doing something else.”
Matthams ended up hiring Kenan Halilovic, an artist from Bosnia and Herzegovina, whom he connected with online.
“Kenan is great. Working with someone who can bring your vision to life and do it so well is really gratifying,” Matthams said. “Whenever I get an e-mail from him, it’s like Christmas in my inbox. I just can’t wait to open it and see what is there.”
The Nanaimoite worked two jobs in order to pay Halilovic and used a crowd-funding website called Kickstarter in order to help finance the printing costs for Witch Creek Road. Matthams ended up raising $2,140 from 277 individuals, which was far more than he expected.
“A lot of people didn’t know who I was and with crowd-funding you need a crowd behind you to make it work,” he said. “If you don’t have a crowd, it is very difficult. So, the fact that I not only got my 100 but more than doubled it was nice. It surprised me. It was shocking.”
Matthams is planning on releasing the second issue within the next couple of months. He said he’s hoping to get picked up by a larger publisher to mass produce the series in paperback.
“Financially, it will be a lot better if I can get signed by someone who has deals in the publishing industry,” he said.
For more information and to purchase a digital copy of Witch Creek Road, please visit https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1502783258/witch-creek-road-1/description.