For more than a decade, THE LAST PODCAST ON THE LEFT has been attracting audiences with its weekly offerings of all things macabre and strange. Hosts Marcus Parks, Ben Kissel, and Henry Zebrowski have made a name for themselves for their well-researched and comedic explorations of serial killers, aliens, cults, ghosts, cryptids, infamous historical figures and events, as well as the occasional talking mongoose. Last year, the New York Times best selling authors made their comic book debut with Soul Plumber, a bizarre and bloody tale of biblical conspiracy, alien possession and DIY exorcism, released by DC Horror. They also teamed up with Z2 Comics to release The Last Comic Book on the Left, a quarterly title with a rotating cast of contributing writers and artists. Merry-Go-Round had the opportunity to attend Wonder-Con in Anaheim, California to chat with the guys about the recently released Volume 2, their favorite comics, video games, Vladimir Putin, and much more!
I appreciate you guys doing this. I’m a huge, huge fan,
Henry Zebrowski: Dude, thank you so much, man. We need the bump!
So I guess my first question is why True Crime now?
HZ: YOU GET OUT OF HERE!
Ben Kissel: People keep killing each other man.
HZ: It’s not good.
BK: It’s not good. People keep on committing horrible acts of, what is it called? Violence! Yeah, violence.
HZ: I actually think that the True Crime Wave is passing.
Do you think so?
HZ: I think that people have sort of hit a saturation point, but otherwise, it’s about serial killer exhaustion.
BK: They made Dahmer too sexy. They did a great job, but he was way too hot.
Oh yeah, Evan Peters in the new one [Netflix’s DAHMER-MONSTER: THE JEFFREY DAHMER STORY]?
BK: He should have been much uglier.
HZ: Too hot. But you know, true crime is just a part of humanity. I mean, everyone’s interested in why people commit crimes and the people that commit the crimes because it’s like, you know, why did they go that way and I’m an accountant? You’re like, I hate people, I want to kill, kill, kill, kill, kill all night. All I do is think about kill, kill kill, kill, but why don’t I do it though?
BK: Focus on the spreadsheets.
I appreciate the real answer, because I was totally fucking with you guys trying to get thrown out.
BK: He literally wrote it down on his notepad, it’s right there!
Congratulations on The Last Comic Book on the Left: Vol. 2! This is super cool. I loved the first one. I know you’ve got some new contributors for this volume, but I am especially excited for some of the continuing stories. Henry, what is it like for you to see Detective Popcorn come to life on the page? I am very excited to see where that one goes.
HZ: Honestly it goes pretty crazy. We’re taking it to the ceiling. I had this concept a long time ago, and it’s essentially “True Detective Popcorn.” It’s just gonna keep unfolding into a whole fucked up angle—
BK: —time is a flat kernel.
HZ: Oh, yeah, big time. We’re going to have a spin off comic which I think is really cool. It’s kind of funny because on the show, there’s a surface level Detective Popcorn, obviously. But in my head, I’ve had this 3D fully formed version of him and I’ve got a whole world in my head for this shit.
BK: And the comic will come with a little butter packet. It’ll be really awesome. Buttery pages.
That goes with what I was going to ask you next, which was are you guys considering doing anything else outside of The Last Comic Book where you write everything, like you did with Soul Plumber for DC last year.
Marcus Parks: Yeah, we are. We’re working on something with Dark Horse right now. It should be out in October.
HZ: Operation Sunshine. It’s a Vampire heist. Vampire on Vampire Crime.
I am so excited about that. Soul Plumber was incredible, one of my favorite titles from last year.
MP: Thank you so much man
HZ: This whole experience has been so cool. We all grew up being super into comics and this was like the thing that really meant a lot to us. Now we actually get to do it with cool-ass people who know what they’re doing. Tom [Neely, artist for The Last Comic Book] is a genius. David Rubin is one of our artists and is a fucking genius. The fact that we got PJ Holden and John McCrae for Soul Plumber, was like, we shouldn’t have had them. Like—they are literally too good. But it was so nice. We could throw anything at them and they could just draw it, except I do remember one time we wrote like, “the dismantling of the Sistine Chapel,” and John was like, let’s just look at my skills here. Can I do this? But it was great.
Speaking of some big hitters from the comics world, how did you guys get involved with James Tynion IV for this volume of The Last Comic Book?
MP: Actually he’s a friend of mine. He is a huge fan of LAST PODCAST and I love Department of Truth. When I read the first Department of Truth, I was like, this man has very similar interests to us, and I wanted to get a hold of him and be like, “Hey man, love the comic” and when I went to get a hold of him, I found out he already followed us. He was a fan of the podcast and we got a hold of him and then he just got to work. Super nice guy and knows his conspiracy shit forwards and backwards.
I am super behind on Department of Truth, but I remember getting through that first issue and thinking that this dude fucks with LAST PODCAST.
MP: Oh, absolutely
HZ: He’s a true student of the esoteric.
I just picked up the first issue of his new one, Blue Book.
MP: Blue Book is incredible.
Yeah I am really digging it so far. I was stoked going into it with the background knowledge of the Betty and Barney Hill abduction thanks to you guys.
MP: That story is like THE abduction story, the number one UFO story of all time. We actually got an advanced copy of the whole Blue Book, I can’t recommend it enough.
HZ: Well, maybe besides Whitney Strieber and whatever they did to his penis hole.
MP: Oh yeah. Did he have butthole stuff? Do aliens really get into butthole stuff? I know that the anal probe is like a big—
HZ: The anal probe is honestly way more of a joke. It’s really way more urethra probe.
MP: Yeah, that’s what I was thinking.
BK: I would want to go stomach first.
HZ: Urethra Probe is actually opening up for Cannibal Corpse next week.
You mentioned all of you guys grew up reading comics. I’ve definitely got into a few titles like The Invisibles and The Pro you have brought up on the show before. Are there any other books that you were super into when you were growing up?
HZ: Savage Dragon.
Savage Dragon? Is that another band opening for Cannibal Corpse?
HZ: [laughs] I LOVED Savage Dragon.
MP: He’s a dragon cop.
HZ: It’s by Erik Larsen. Really early Image Comics. I loved all that stuff, like The Maxx.
MP: The Maxx was huge for me. The Maxx was one of my favorite comics; it was also one of the first Image comics. The rest of them were fine, you know like the superhero type stuff, but The Maxx was just truly strange. There’s a lot about like dreams and alternate realities, but it was still a superhero book. It went for 32 issues and it’s fucking incredible. I mean, some of its ideas are a little outdated now. They’re very 90s on some of its ideas, specifically like women and rape and things like that. They are very central to the book and definitely not the best takes on it. But the art is incredible. Sam Keith doing the art for the dream stuff is really incredible.
HZ: I also was a huge X-Men person. I love the X-Men and Spider-Man. Spider-Man was from my neighborhood where I grew up in Queens. So it was exciting to have a feeling like “Oh, Spider-Man is just like me!” except he wasn’t a 190 pound eight year old.
BK: I liked Chick Tracts.
Oh I’ve got a couple of those I’ve found laying around at the public library.
BK: They are very powerful. Let’s you know what’s gonna happen if you’re gay, or do anything fun. If you masturbate your penis will fall off right into the mouth of your pastor.
MP: Swamp Thing was huge for me, Bone was huge.
HZ: Oh yeah Bone!
I see the Bone collections everywhere and I have always wanted to read them.
MP: It’s worth it. It’s so incredible and it’s such a good, clean, wholesome fantasy story. Super fun throughout, all the characters are fully fleshed out. I’d recommend that to anybody on Earth.
One of the other continuing stories in Volume 2 is by Bill Fingerman, which portrays you guys as a SCOOBY DOO-esque gang of detectives hunting down the “Well, Actually Serial Killer.” I love the idea of all three of you living together, with a three tiered bunk bed and was wondering if you guys have actually ever lived together?
HZ: Well we might as well have because we spent so much time together.
BK: Yeah pretty much. I was living off Metropolitan Avenue in the apartment that Henry had Murderfist (Zebrowski’s sketch comedy group) rehearsing in. I lived with Holden [McNeely, host of WIZARD AND THE BRUISER on Last Podcast Network] who was in the group and they would rehearse almost every day.
HZ: We ruined your life.
BK: Yeah exactly. So we might as well have lived together. But Marcus, he always had his own place.
MP: Yeah I liked to live separately.
So I think I know the answer to my next question now, but I’ll ask it anyway: if you guys had to live together as portrayed in the comic, who would crack and leave first, and why?
MP: Yeah, I would want to leave.
BK: You would want to leave immediately. The fight would be about food, or Henry—
HZ: It would be about food, or silence level, or who was coming in and out of the house, what are you allowing to happen here?
BK: Weed smoke.
HZ: What are we watching on TV?
MP: I’m a very solitary person. I like my alone time.
BK: I’d be throwing his records across the room like “oh frisbee toss!” and he’d be like, “Oh my God!”. He would be the first one to go.
How long do you think you could last?
BK: Oh, he could last a while.
MP: Maybe like a month, a month and a half? Actually, it would probably be like eight months, but the last six would be really awful.
BK: You’d be sad.
HZ: Well I mean, I am an extrovert, but I also need cryptic silence. So I might leave too.
BK: And then I just get the place to myself. That’s my master plan all along.
Anything you guys are reading right now that you’re into?
MP: Ice Cream Man and Department of Truth are the two best comic books out right now. Those are the two that I’m really loving right now.
HZ: I just keep reading Hellblazer really, I’m like in the middle of a giant Hellblazer thing. And then because we’ve been working with Dark Horse they sent us a bunch of stuff, so I read all of The Mask. That’s great.
MP: It’s fun stuff right?
HZ: Like I didn’t understand just how violent the comic book is. It’s awesome.
MP: I had the third one, The Mask Strikes Back? I think that was it. It is so incredibly violent, with the big guy that crushes peoples heads?
HZ: Yeah, it’s sweet. Yeah, I love that
BK: I’m playing ATOMIC HEART right now and that’s been fun.
I’ve heard good things!
BK: [Sarcastic Voice] Yeah, I feel like I like Vladimir Putin more now, and the Russians.
Do you want me to put that in the interview?
MP: Is this print?
Yeah, I’ll type it up and it’ll be on the site.
MP: Is there anyway you can put quotes around him or—
HZ: Is there a sarcasm voice font?
MP: Or actually write “sarcastic voice”—?
Yeah whatever you guys want! I’m not trying to bring any heat down on you.
HZ: [Imitating BK] I’m just saying that he’s got a lot of ideas and he’s suffered from unfair representation!
BK: [Sarcastic Voice] I mean look, I like Chris Gaines more than Garth Brooks and I don’t like the music of Staind, I like their politics.
So all in italics right?
MP: All in italics please.
BK: Alright fine, Garth is better than Chris and Staind is horrible.
HZ: Really good. Good cover.
Back to regular text now?
BK: Yeah, that was pretty bad.
Speaking of games, I heard you started PERSONA 5, Henry.
HZ: Yeah, man. I’m on fucking hour 25 of that, dude. I’m now in the second castle or whatever, and I do like it. It’s fun, but it’s just a lot.
Are you playing the vanilla version or Royal?
The whole thing is like 140 hours
BK: Oh my god.
I get so much shit for playing that game.
HZ: Why? What else happens in it? It’s like right now I’m trying to stop a teenager from posing nude?
Well the one coach assaults a student, there’s a lot more child abuse and corruption. So you have to build a team of teenagers to stop all that, but then you also have to go home and study and water your plants.
HZ: Yeah, it’s intense.
The soundtrack is so good.
HZ: I have it in my head right now! I absolutely love the soundtrack, it’s killer.
If you ever want to isolate yourself further from your friends and family, PERSONA 4 is also really cool. Are the rest of you guys playing anything?
BK: I finally got a PS5 like two months ago, and I’ve been playing a lot. I played CYBERPUNK 2077 for a while, then it got a little weird on me and glitched out a little too much. I played ASSASSIN’S CREED: VALHALLA and it was really fun.
HZ: I can’t wait to play GOD OF WAR: RAGNAROK.
BK: Oh I beat that.
It was so sick.
BK: I just played through it on story mode difficulty, and I fucking loved it dude.
HZ: I am over playing difficult games. I know Marcus loves them.
BK: I know Marcus is really good at doing them, but I am just not that good.
MP: I like the challenge of it. That’s part of that’s part of my relaxation. I know a lot of people find really difficult games frustrating, but for me, it’s relaxing because I get to focus on something. and forget about everything else completely. It completely wipes my mind.
Did you play ELDEN RING?
MP: I played through ELDEN RING three times. I’m on New Game Plus Plus.
I’m almost done with my second playthrough. I love that game. It made me pick up DARK SOULS III, but it’s pretty different and I’m moving through that one way slower.
MP: Oh yeah, have fun with that one.
BK: I haven’t ventured into ELDEN RING. I’m excited for RESIDENT EVIL 4.
Yeah the remake looks super fun
BK: Yeah I’m gonna play the hell out of that, I can probably do that one on Normal because I’ve beat it like five times.
HZ: Life is hard enough as it is, why do I want to bring more struggle home?
MP: Right now I’m playing. I’m playing WITCHER III again.
I still haven’t played that one yet.
MP: It is one of the best games ever made. I think it’s my fourth or fifth play through and I am like 20-30 hours in. You can do it in like 80 hours with all the DLC.
HZ: That’s what I’m going to try to do next after PERSONA 5.
BK: I played Call of Duty, the campaign is super fun. It’s very realistic war against people in Afghanistan and you’re like, I’m against this, but then it moves out of that and there is a little bit more of a story. But man those Call of Duty games. Holy shit—
HZ: They’re too complicated!
I have always sucked at them. I can’t play online first-person shooters.
BK: Oh no I don’t play online, I’d get smoked.
HZ: I am done playing against the kids.
MP: I don’t really like first-person shooters in general.
Yeah, I can’t do it.
HZ: I miss my HALO 3, man. I miss HALO 3…
MP: You get an Xbox if you want to…
BK: You probably should
MP: They are pretty cheap.
HZ: It’s just not the same! I miss suicide grenading people.
Congratulations again on the new book—I hope it’s not weird to get into, but I found THE LAST PODCAST around the time I got sober four years ago. I was unemployed and driving PostMates all day to pay my rent, and I just started at the beginning of the show and listened to everything you’ve done. Your show really helped me power through the rough shit and I can’t believe that I’m sitting here talking to you. I really appreciate what you guys do.
MP: Thank you so much, man. And congratulations, that is awesome.
BK: That means the world to us.
HZ: Thank you for listening, because that helps us out a lot too. I mean if we didn’t have a show to do for people like you during the last three years, I don’t know what the fuck we would have done. That’s awesome, man.
BK: It would have been crazy. I would have been on the news, yelling “And I’ll do it again!” We are so blessed to be able to have this community and truly the horror, the comic book, this whole community here is just the sweetest bunch of people.
MP: We are very lucky to be a part of all this.
BK: I’ll take any amount of smells because I love the people so much.
Wait, are you trying to tell me something?
BK: No No! I’m the one. I was sweating driving over here.
MP: Actually the smells here are quite nice.
It’s different from Comic-Con. There’s more breathing room.
HZ: Yeah, you can feel the A/C and you can actually like really walk without someone being right up your fucking ass. It’s really nice. I love smaller cons like this.
Volume 3 on the way?
MP: Oh yeah! And four!
The Last Comic Book on the Left Vol. I and II are available now from Z2 Comics!