Decapitated Dan: Hey Gary, thanks for taking time to talk with me about Deadworld: War of the Dead. First of all let’s remind everyone who you are.
Gary Reed: I’m Gary Reed, writer of the Deadworld series as well as other titles and currently Publisher of Transfuzion Publishing and I also had once upon a time, Caliber Comics.
DD: What can you tell us about Deadworld: War of the Dead?
GR: It’s a five issue series written by me and drawn by Sami Makkonen. It is coming out from IDW beginning August 1. It’s unusual because all five issues will ship in August. Five new comic days, five new Deadworld issues. One of the notable things about this series, besides the shipping schedule, is that for the first time ever, Deadworld is in full color.
DD: Were you worried about adding color into the mix?
GR: No, because I had seen Sami’s work in color before. He’s done a lot of work on “Hatter M” which is the comic series based on Frank Beddor’s “Looking Glass War” which has made the New York Times’ best-selling list. I was worried a bit about the schedule but I guess there are advantages and disadvantages so just have to take it as it goes.
DD: What’s the storyline for this series?
GR: It’s a culmination of events that have been playing out for awhile within the story. A small outpost is holding out against the zombies and King Zombie wants the people in the town so he can breed them to supply his army of the dead. Standing in his way are the Lepers, victims of cruel experiments that left them with dead flesh. So, the lepers, still human, are covered with skin that the zombies don’t recognize as living. They’re sort of between two worlds. Of course, that’s the beginning, it doesn’t stay that way by the end.
DD: Deadworld has been around a long time, like forever. Will new readers be able to jump into the series without feeling lost?
GR: I think so, I hope so. I tried to structure it that way and from the few people who have read the advance copies, they feel that it works out. And even though Deadworld has been around some 80 or so issues, since it was rebooted a few years ago while at Image, there’s really only about 15 issues of this current continuity so it was a bit easier to confine the story as there hasn’t been so many subplots as the initial series.
DD: Will we see all of the regular cast in this series?
GR: No, just a few. I have three members of the original teens and of course, King Zombie. Bowker plays a big part in it and I’ve found that he is a character that is very useful and perhaps the most enigmatic. He was essentially just a serviceable tool in the early issues but over time, I’ve really enjoyed writing him as he seems to constantly surprise. He certainly has his own code of survival. But that’s about it for the main characters. John and Joey aren’t in it and neither is the Dead-Killer but they’ll be in future stories.
DD: So, does that mean after this series, we can expect another one?
GR: I’m talking with IDW but at this time, we’re just getting the numbers in for the series. So far, they’ve said they’re pleasantly surprised so that’s a good indication. A lot will depend on their schedule as well as Sami’s. Of course, I’m first in line with the go-ahead but its IDW and Sami that will determine the next step, although I still have lots of Deadworld material in the works.
DD: Such as?
GR: Well, scheduled to ship soon, there will be the Breygent Trading Card set on Deadworld and that looks really cool. I’m also doing a special promo set specifically for War of the Dead that I’ll make available. A few cards were done for special promotions. I’m working on launching an all new Deadworld story to go online as a web comic and I am contemplating opening up a site for fan fiction as I get asked about that a lot. It’s incredible how many people want to write Deadworld. Sometimes it makes me feel like they don’t like what I’m doing with it.
The next book coming out though is “Voices from the Deadworld.” It’s an anthology type book in that over 40 artists are each doing a scene which will be accompanied by a narration that tells of that character, whether living, dead, or undead. That will come out from Transfuzion in October.
DD: That brings up an obvious question. If you have Transfuzion, why do you also publish through IDW?
GR: When Rafael Nieves and I started up Transfuzion, we decided to do only graphic novels and originally, it was all reprinted collections. I didn’t want to get into publishing comics or floppies. So, if I do a comic series, it has to go somewhere else, just as Rafael did with Bob Howard. That also doesn’t go through Transfuzion. Of course, IDW has done a number of Deadworld books such as the Classics, the Omnibus, and The Last Siesta. With “Voices”, it’s quite a bit different than the War of the Dead series preceding it so I thought it best to keep it separate. I wouldn’t want people ordering it assuming it’s a continuation of the IDW series when it’s designed to more of a book rather than a graphic novel. If more comics are forthcoming, then that will go through IDW.
DD: Why did those some of the books go through IDW since they were collections, except The Last Siesta, which was an original graphic novel?
GR: I understand the limitations of Transfuzion. Even though we have 50 graphic novels now released, a lot of people aren’t aware of it. For many of our titles, we’re not going to have great success in the traditional comics market anyway but Deadworld has a long history in the comics market so it seemed best to keep it there. I think the perception of Transfuzion will change as we have some more noticeable titles coming out in the next few months such as Inferno by Mike Carey and Michael Gaydos, Dirk Manning’s Write or Wrong, and then in October, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. But right now, with the comic of Deadworld, that will stay with IDW as will the collection of War of the Dead as they have the reprint rights, as they should. Besides, I like working with IDW, they’re a good company.
DD: Even though we’re talking about Deadworld, you’ve written a number of other projects such as Saint Germaine. What else are you working on?GR: Saint Germaine just had the third collection come out which is mainly compiling the Magus storyline which ties into Saint Germaine but does have two full length Germaine stories, one which has never seen print before. Recently, I had a short story appear in Chillers which is based on the Troma film from Daniel Boyd, and I am just finishing up a story for the second volume of Chillers. I have a short story in an anthology from Kaleidoscope which is coming out in August. In addition to the Deadworld material mentioned, I am working on a new series which I’d like to do as a comic series but not sure who will publish it as it will likely be controversial but we’ll see when we get there.
DD: Any word on the Deadworld movie?
GR: No, not really. It’s in a strange place where essentially they have the option to renew the option but they have to pay. And they haven’t paid. I don’t want to talk too much about it as I’m dealing with them and other parties so I’m not sure exactly how things are going to end up. It’s frustrating on one hand but getting a movie made is really not that big of a priority and if it happens, it happens. I can already assume that the Deadworld on screen is not going to be the Deadworld I’m writing, that’s just how it goes. I’ve always used the quote from Stephen King who may have gotten from someone else, that what you see on the screen usually has little to nothing to do with the book on the shelf.
DD: Thanks for your time. Where can people find out more about Deadworld: War of the Dead?
There’s the website at www.deadworld.info and of course, there’s the facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Deadworld-The-Comic/115213134811