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Mar. 20, 2009 2:07 pm

Friday Q&A: John Zito and Tony Trovarello of the Black Cherry Bombshells

Like other media, comic books have had to deal with the paradigm shift of the Web. Comic book artists that were previously limited to just ink on paper, now can use a wide variety of technologies to show the world their work. Just like the Internet has given independent musicians an alternative to record labels, […]

Like other media, comic books have had to deal with the paradigm shift of the Web. Comic book artists that were previously limited to just ink on paper, now can use a wide variety of technologies to show the world their work. Just like the Internet has given independent musicians an alternative to record labels, the independent comic book artist can reach audiences like never before.

Tucked away in South Philly are two members of the city’s booming comic book scene, John Zito and Tony Trovarello who are riding the new wave of comic distribution. The two have been using the Web to publish Black Cherry Bombshells, a comic about a post-apocalyptic world where all of the men have been turned into zombies leaving the women to fend for themselves.

What sounds like a description of last week’s South by Southwest festival, is actually a entertaining read full of everything a comic fan for ask for: “gratuitous” violence, zombies and women who could take you in a bar fight. Technically Philly sat down with John and Tony to talk about the city’s comic book scene, the Web’s effect on comic books, and who played Lynne Abraham in their Ed Rendell musical.

Who are you guys and what are your roles on the Black Cherry Bombshells?

Tony: I’m Tony Trov, and he’s Johnny Zito, South Philly residence. Together we write the Black Cherry Bombshells.

John: The Bombshells is a Web comic on DC’s digital imprint, Zuda. You can read it for free at Black Cherry Bombshells. The comic is about a world in which all the men have been turned into flesh eating zombies and women band together in ultra violent gangs to survive in post apocalyptic Las Vegas. The BlackCherry Bombshells are an up and coming gang of bootleggers. Regina is their leader. Megan, the ex-magician, is their newest recruit. There’s lots of twists and turns along the way.

Is it available in paper form? Or only online?

Tony: It will be available as a collected grapgic novel next holloween-ish.

So, for now, strictly Internet distribution. What do you guys think are the advantages and disadvantages to that?

John: The Internet is the future. Magazine and newspapers are shutting down everyday. But I’m on CNN.com like a fiend.

Tony: Also, floppy comics are dying. Embrace the Web.

John: I think we are part of a new model of distribution: find an audience online and collectors will follow you to Borders.

Tony: The iPhone comic apps are awesome too.

I’ll admit, usually when I read comics I stole them from my older brother. Reading yours was the first time I read one online.

Tony: Exactly but you probably saw the Dark Knight. Franchise!

John: So the Internet becomes R&D for something bigger. The freedom and smaller overhead allows for experimentation.

You alluded before that newspapers and magazines are getting hammered by the Web. Do you think comics are in the same boat?

John: Comics, like usual, are ahead of the curve. DC is adapting to the Web, and other publishers are following. The editorial cartoons are all syndicating online too.

Tony: But one will never fully replace the other. Bands still print vinyl records while releasing mp3s.

John: All of these things will coexist. And thanks to Amazon, iTunes and eBay you can get the Watchmen as a hardback book, Web comic, DVD motion comic, several different cuts of DVD, and I’m sure there’s a novelization around. Franchise.

Is that what you guys plan down the road?

John: We should be so lucky.

So, to change gears, how is the comic scene in Philadelphia?

John: Booming. There’s a thriving cartoonist scene. Lots of art and indie projects. The Philly Cartoonists Society is full of talented sequential artists. There’s always events too.

How are you guys and other comics using the Internet for promotion?

John: We’re on MySpace, Facebook and Twitter (Tony|John). We’re always looking to make new friends. It’s great to meet people with similar interests. Social Networking has a wide reach and makes it possible for those people to get in touch.

Tony: But most people know us from our hit show: “Ed Rendell: The Musical”

John: I played Lynne Abraham.

And finally, What makes you Technically Philly?

John: You mean some historical factoid you woudln’t know unless you lived here?

No, I mean, what are your ties to the area? Although an historical factoid would be appretiated.

Tony: We’re townies. Born and raised, and both went to Temple U.

John: I’m from East Passyunk Ave. Trov is from the other side of Snyder.

Tony: And I’m listening to Motown Philly as I type this.

John: And uh, an historical factoid?

I know you have one, don’t hold out.

John: Poe wrote the first dectective story EVER while living in Philly. Murders at The Rouge Morgue. Take that Baltimore.

Nice, you win.

John: Philly wins.

Every Friday, Technically Philly brings an interview with a leader or innovator in Philadelphia’s technology community. See others here.

 

 

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Sean Blanda is an adviser to Technical.ly, the local technology news network, having cofounded its flagship Technically Philly in February 2009. He is a media consultant, engagement editor for Behance and lives in Brooklyn, NYC.

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Comments

  1. @tonytrov / March 20, 2009

    Interviewed by @TechnicallyPHL with @JohnnyZito read it at http://tinyurl.com/de52zz

  2. Technically Interviewed | Tony Trov Dot Com / March 23, 2009

    [...] Zito and I were interviewed over at Technically Philly about living in town and writing the Black Cherry Bombshells. Because technically we are Philadelphians since we technically have never lived anywhere else. Technically.  Click HERE to read. [...]

  3. @JohnnyZito / March 23, 2009

    is Technically Philly and has the interview to prove it: http://tinyurl.com/de52zz

  4. @JohnnyZito / March 23, 2009

    is Technically Philly and has the interview to prove it: http://tinyurl.com/de52zz #webcomics #zombietalk #philadelphia

  5. Technically Philly Interview | Johnny Zito -- writer / artist / futurist / March 23, 2009

    [...] and I were interviewed over at TechnicallyPhilly about living in town and writing Black Cherry [...]

  6. Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources - Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment » Slash Print | Following the digital evolution / March 24, 2009

    [...] | Technically Philly talks with Philadelphia creators Johnny Zito and Tony Trovarello about their Zuda webcomic The [...]

  7. Digital Strips: The Webcomics Podcast / March 28, 2009

    [...] meantime, check out all the anniversary happenings on their MySpace blog. And look, here’s an interview by their local [...]

  8. Technically Philly » Technically Not Tech: Graphic novelist Duane Swierczynski | Covering the Community of People Who Use Technology in Philadelphia. / April 6, 2009

    [...] month, we spoke to the South Philly minds behind the Black Cherry Bombshells. But Swierczynski, 37, who has blogged since October 2004 and tweeted since last summer, recalls [...]

  9. tperko / April 18, 2009

    hilarious interview. you two are incredible. technically philly, you have a killer logo.

    peace

  10. Technically Philly » Page not found | Covering the Community of People Who Use Technology in Philadelphia. / May 27, 2009

    [...] Johnny Brendas … againPhilly regional entrepreneurship lagging, says annual Kauffman studyEventsFriday Q&A: John Zito and Tony Trovarello of the Black Cherry BombshellsNorth Philly YouTube stars unhappy with PW exposureSoftware development firm Avencia releases Philly [...]

  11. Technically Philly » Friday Tech Links: SEO with Duck Duck Go, 8-bit music and More | Covering the Community of People Who Use Technology in Philadelphia. / July 17, 2009

    [...] reports that the Black Cherry Bombshells online comic team, whom we have covered, is video podcasting its trip across the country to the San Diego Comic book [...]

  12. Technically Philly » TNT: “The Carrier” gives comics the iPhone treatment | Covering the Community of People Who Use Technology in Philadelphia. / October 20, 2009

    [...] Previous comic coverage: The Black Cherry Bombshells. [...]

  13. Technically Philly » Links: Lower Merion settles webcam lawsuit, ‘fledgling’ community and more | Covering the Community of People Who Use Technology in Philadelphia. / October 20, 2010

    [...] Vanguard Moon: How Johnny Zito and Tony Trov Reinvented the Future of Comics [Pop Matters] — The South Philly online comic stars with whom we spoke back in 2009. [...]

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