Sunset man draws fame by luring fan base for ‘Zombie Nation’
SUNSET — Sleek, sexy vampires had better watch out when it comes to the public’s monster of choice. Slow-footed, stumbling zombies appear to be gaining on them.
Carter Reid, a Sunset cartoonist, illustrator and owner of “The Zombie Nation,” is eating up all of the monsters’ popularity, similar to how a zombie devours its prey. Vampires are inherently more serious, the 38-year-old father of two said, while zombies tend to be less serious in lending themselves to humor.
“They are kind of the country cousins of vampires. It’s hard to think of a super-sexy vampire doing something humorous,” Reid said in explaining the surge in the popularity of zombies, and as a result, the surge his three-year-old side business is experiencing.
The Zombie Nation, run out of Reid’s home studio, offers such merchandise as books, sketchbooks, glassware, stickers, posters, water bottles, home decor, mugs and shot glasses.
Zombies also lend themselves to social and political commentary, said Reid, a full-time graphics artist for a Salt Lake City business.
Zombies are the monster no one feels bad about killing. “So they make perfect villains in video games. The world is just realizing what an awesome monster they are.”
A zombie takeover taps into the public’s fear that everything that is sane and normal may be under threat, Reid said.
But zombie creation hasn’t always been Reid’s obsession.
Reid said he was traumatized at an early age by watching the 1968 classic by George A. Romero, “The Night of the Living Dead.”
The film left a lasting impression.
“That is pretty shocking if you’re a little kid,” Reid said, who went on to incorporate zombies into his artwork.
“Initially, it was a way to keep drawing that has grown into a obsession,” Reid said.
He said he blames his parents for cramming art supplies into his hands all those years.
The art skills were something he used to keep out of trouble while attending Davis High School, Reid said.
“Being a super-shy and unpopular kid, you have a lot of time on your hands,” he said.
Reid went on to expand on his talent by attending Weber State University, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in art.
And now the young father sees his craft as an opportunity to someday establish his own full-time business, while at the same time being popular, something he wasn’t in high school.
“They call me zombie daddy, and they think that makes me the coolest daddy around,” Reid said of how his business has captured the attention of his 7-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son.
“I do it so my kids will like me,” he said of his work.
His work doesn’t win him quite as many points with his wife.
“My wife is not really a horror fan. When it comes to the zombie stuff, she’s timid,” Reid said. “She does support my madness, which is kind of nice.”
And at this particular time of year, with Halloween around the corner, Reid can use all the family help he can get as his zombie business picks up speed, most recently as a vendor at last weekend’s Utah Anime Banzai convention at the Davis Conference Center.
At the conference, Reid said, he sold more than 50 custom zombie sketches.
“Anything zombie-related goes through the roof (at this time),” he said.
Sadly, Reid has been so busy between his full-time job and zombie obsession on the side that he has found little time to put up any exterior Halloween decorations at his home.
“I maintain a low profile. My neighbors tend to think I’m weird enough,” Reid said with a laugh.