Probably the most anticipated horror comic of this year is George Romero’s Empire of the Dead. We’re going to take a look at what we know about this addition to the legendary dead series.
The comic, which is being handled by Marvel, attempts to tackle the question – ‘When the dead fight the dead, where does that leave the living?’ Set in New York City years after a horrifying plague has swept the nation, The Big Apple is a quarantine zone, but that doesn’t guarantee safety inside! Flesh-eating zombies roam within the remains of Manhattan – and they are not alone. Vampires lurk in the shadows as well, feasting on the living and the undead, and no one is safe!
Editor Bill Rosemann explains “Like a surgeon, George Romero is once again using the horror genre as a scalpel, cutting through the surface of everyday life to expose society’s undercurrents. One could say that the vampires are the Haves and the zombies are the Have-Nots. And us poor humans? We’re the ones getting caught in the crossfire of their escalating war. It’s a violent clash indeed, and Alex Maleev is bringing this undead battle to horrifying – but beautiful – life!”
The 15-issue series written by Romero and illustrated by acclaimed “Daredevil” and “Scarlet” artist Alex Maleev, with covers from go-to zombie illustrator Arthur Suydam.Announced late last year and first discussed by Romero a year ago. The book has been confirmed as not involving any existing Marvel characters. Romero grew up reading comics, and his film Creepshow was heavily inspired by the artwork he loved in his youth. He has cited them as influencing him – “Comic books didn’t really make me want to be a filmmaker. They made me want to learn how to be a storyteller.” While fans have expressed mixed opinions on this story being told in comic form rather that an addition to the main film series, Romero had stood by the decision, explaining “Empire” was thought of as a comic book from the beginning. It’s not a movie or TV series that I decided to convert to a different format. I wanted to do something different, something on a broader scale, and comic books allow you to stretch things as far as your imagination can go.”
Romero has also stressed the emphasis of the series is to develop more distinct personalities for the undead characters. “You know, humans, living humans, aren’t all the same as each other, so why should zombies be?” he explained, “They’re not so different from you and me, except for being dead, of course. They have their own personalities, their own strengths and weaknesses, their own memories of the kind of people they used to be. So what if those memories started to reawaken? The living dead would become even more individualistic. And formidable.”
The comic book was officially released today, so if you’ve read it, let us know your thoughts!