Combining the zombie horror and western genres opens up many interesting possibilities. I want to create a thought-provoking adventure that is not only smart, but fun to read. This is the first time I've ever worked on a period piece, which gives me the opportunity to test the limits of my writing and artistic skills.
I believe many of the issues Americans were struggling with back then still exist today. I plan to use this project to draw parallels with class and political struggles of the time with troubles we face in current society. The difficult part is blending the social commentary with the adventure that propels the story. I don’t want to be heavy handed or condescending towards my audience and I think the medium of sequential art is perfectly suited to tell a story of this nature. The zombie genre when done properly is open as a vessel for social commentary. This dates back to George Romero’s classic film Night of the Living Dead. Released in 1969, the film touches on race issues and social unrest without preaching to the audience. Romero returns to the zombie genre in the 1976 film Dawn of the Dead, which draws a metaphor between the rise of the undead and the destructive nature of American consumerism. In the more recent novel World War Z, writer Max Brooks uses the zombie genre to explore many current atrocities including human trafficking in China and apartheid in Africa.
My work has many influences, and there is a certain era of sequential art in particular that I’ll be looking at specifically for inspiration. For example, I’m very fond of the classic horror and war comics that EC comics published during World War II including Tales From The Crypt and Two-Fisted Tales. These classic comics have recently been repackaged as handsome hardcover books and I want to evoke that classic comics feeling for a new and modern audience. Similarly the amazing horror magazines Creepy and Eerie published by Warren publishing in the 1970s have been receiving the same hardcover treatment. I’ll also be looking at many European illustrators for inspiration such as Jordi Bernet. Other European artists I’ll be looking at include Moebius, Milos Minara, and Herge the creator of the famous Tin Tin series. There is a certain verve to the European illustrators’ work that is very inspiring to me.
Spaghetti westerns of the 1960s and 70s are also a huge influence. Specifically the way I'm designing pages, including widescreen panels and extreme close-ups are directly inspired by the films of Sergio Leone like The Good, The Bad And The Ugly and Once Upon A Time In The West.
The objective of this project is to post eight page installments of the story weekly on the Working Class Press website, then announce on all the various social networking sites I’ve joined every time I update the site. I've already posted several installments of this project on my site, so feel free to check it out. I intend on using the funds raised for production costs to get the first issue of the comic printed once it's completed. The finished book will be slightly oversized, 8x12 inches 32 pages in full color. My goal is to release the first issue this summer.
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