Well, this is one of the more interesting crossovers I can imagine talking about. From a pop culture perspective, as peanut butter and bacon will always be the most interesting crossover. The father of the modern zombie and the comic company that turned Wolverine into a zombie are putting their minds together for an all-new tale of horror with the 15-issue miniseries Empire of the Dead.
George Romero will take his fans somewhere they’ve never gone with him before: New York City. And why haven’t we been there with him? “I could never afford to shoot there,” he joked to USA Today. And because NYC will never die, the story can take place a few years after the zombie apocalypse began, as life in the city is in some ways like it was before. But society is a fickle beast, and Romero will be taking on the social and political aspects as you’d expect. In fact, one of the main characters is the mayor.
The threat here lies in a population of wandering corpses that become gradually more intelligent, and one of the project’s larger themes involves the coexistence of humans and smart zombies. Sounds crazy, right? “These zombies are starting to show sparks of real care and concern for each other,” Romero says. “I’m not going to go all the way to Omega Man where they take over the work, but I’m having a lot of fun with it. We’ve got some new rules and some new characters, and we’re taking it in a completely different direction.”
He wrote a 300-page script for Empire, which he then gave to Marvel and artist Alex Maleev, who will be illustrating. Maleev recently worked on Brian Michael Bendis’ Age of Ultron series, among many other series, including Batman, The Crow, and Daredevil. He also did the art for the comic adaptation of Stephen King’s N., which is one of the creepiest stories I’ve ever read, and did the art for the animation, which you can see below.
Romero will be sharing a major twist within the series when he speaks at New York Comic Con from October 10-13. And judging from how he describes his writing process, it could be anything. “It’s a comic book, which means we don’t have to go out and shoot the stuff,” he said. “You can let your imagination run wild and do pretty much anything you want, assuming it’s within the bounds of decency.”
Are you guys as excited about this as I am? Sure, it’s yet another zombie story, but it’s a new iteration on the subject matter from the granddaddy zombie storyteller. Plus, it’s in a new format, so we’ll see just how wild his imagination can shamble. And if nothing else, at least it’s not a Living Dead remake or a Day of the Dead remake.
Expect to see Empire of the Dead hitting comic shelves in January.