It’s been rumored and teased for months, but today director George A. Romero made it official at USA Today: he’s writing a 15-issue zombie miniseries for Marvel Comics. Entitled Empire Of The Dead, the story will be set in a post-zombie apocalypse New York City:
“It’s still the major metropolis everybody knows but a few years into its zombie apocalypse. Some things have reverted to a prior state—there are sheep grazing in Central Park’s Sheep Meadow. Yet there are strong social and political elements: The mayor is one of the main characters and a female member of the living dead starts to show some real smarts.”
This is a weird circle of (undead) life moment for zombies. Romero’s films, from 1968’s Night Of The Living Dead to 2010’s Survival Of The Dead, inspired an entire horror subgenre that spread, like an infection, through movies, television and, eventually comics. About a decade ago, zombies became extremely hot in the world of graphic novels, spawning the original The Walking Dead series by Robert Kirkman and a whole fleet of Marvel Zombies books (set in an alternate universe where all the Marvel heroes become undead flesh eaters). The Walking Dead comic begat the Walking Dead TV series, whose stellar ratings helped begat a full-scale zombie revival, which has now begat a Romero zombie comic book.
The series, which will be illustrated by talented draftsman Alex Maleev, will allow Romero to exercise his imagination in ways he could never afford to in his independent films. He promises additional revelations about Empire Of The Dead at this month’s New York Comic-Con; the first issue debuts in January.