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Thursday, 20 November 2008

Zombie Cop - Graphic novel that would make a good film

When it comes to horror, Jeff Mariotte knows of which he speaks. The best-selling novelist has numerous horror and tie-in books in print, and as the former editor-in-chief of IDW Publishing, he oversaw such fright titles as “30 Days of Night” and even wrote some of that series as well as comic books like “Desperados” and “Covert Vampiric Operations.” Just as Mariotte mixed horror with the Old West in the former and horror and espionage in the latter, the writer’s once again crossing genres with “Zombie Cop,” a new Shadowline graphic novel fully painted by Szymon Kudranski that’s one part police procedural and one part tale of the undead.

CBR News sat down with Jeff Mariotte to talk about “Zombie Cop,” his take on the current boom in zombie fiction, and what’s coming up in his future.

“The title makes the book's subject pretty clear,” Mariotte told CBR. “When describing it this year at conventions, I've often said, ‘He's a cop! And a zombie!’ But in fact, it's a little more complex than that, thankfully.”

“Zombie Cop” follows Joe Mundy, a detective looking into a missing persons case in a city that has just been struck by a plague of zombies. “His missing persons case dovetails into the mystery of how the zombie plague started--and while working the case, Joe is attacked, becoming a zombie himself,” Mariotte explained. “That's where the book opens, when Joe is recently turned. He still considers himself a cop, and is trying to do that job, and solve that final case, even as he's losing his mental and physical faculties and slipping deeper into zombie-dom. So the ticking clock element drives the story, as he's desperate to find an answer while he's human enough to do so.”

The initial inspiration for “Zombie Cop” came about while in conversation with an editor about a different zombie project. “I'm not a writer who chases trends, and didn't have any intention of doing zombie comics,” Marriote remarked. “They seem to sell, but the market might be a little glutted with them at this point. At the same time, after I came up with the title, Joe's story clicked into place, pretty much beginning to end. It was the story that compelled me to write it, because I became so fascinated with the idea of following this honorable man's gradual deterioration. So I'm doing a zombie comic after all, albeit one that I think is very different from anything else out there.”

As Mariotte indicated, there is no shortage of zombie stories in the market, but his view is that zombie stories come in cycles, and that we're deep in one now. “I think it started with George Romero's ‘Night of the Living Dead,’ in 1968, before which most zombies in fiction and film were the voodoo kind,” Mariotte said. “In the late '80s/early ‘90s, my pals John Skipp and Craig Spector revitalized the zombie genre among the horror fiction crowd with the anthology books ‘Book of the Dead’ and ‘Still Dead.’ Now, thanks largely to the success of ‘The Walking Dead,’ comics are leading the way. I suspect at some point, the zombies will shamble back into obscurity for a while, only to return again when our guard is down.”

Mariotte hopes “Zombie Cop” differs enough from other tales of the undead to make an impact on readers. “The viewpoint character is a zombie when the book opens, but we go back to his human days during the story, and we see every step of the dissolution of his humanity,” the writer explained. “Most zombie stories are about the people who are trying to survive zombie plagues, but this one focuses on a single zombie, how he got that way, and what he's dealing with as he tries to hang onto some shred of what made him who he is.”

“Zombie Cop” shambles on to stands January 28 from Shadowline and Image Comics.

Sounds pretty cool. Will you be picking that graphic novel up? If it was made into a film who would you like to play the Zombie Cop?



Anonymous said...

Zombie Cop ? Vinnie Jones !

Live for films said...

Hmm, maybe Vinnie. Not sure about that. Any advances on Vinnie?