Detective Tony Chu heads to Wisconsin for a taste of undead crime solving in an unlikely crossover event between John Layman and Rob Guillory’s “Chew” and Tim Seeley and Mike Norton’s “Revival.” Constructed flipbook style, with each team giving their take on the same case, the resulting “Revival/Chew” brings two of Image Comic’s finest books together for a single exciting one-shot.
While “Chew” tells the story of a surreal future where chicken is illegal and citizens have food-related superpowers, “Revival” is set in rural Wisconsin where the dead come back to life and one cop must deal with the aftermath. Although they might not seem to have much in common, the combination of the two worlds provides an interesting contrast, and the resulting comic could easliy serve as inspiration for other Image Comics creative teams to cross their franchises over with each other as well — hello, “Rat Criminals” and “Sex Dragon!”
CBR News: Who came up with the idea for this crossover?
John Layman: It’s my fault. I wanted it to happen, because I like “Revival,” and Tim and Mike. Everybody thought it was a bad and dumb idea, but I just kept pushing, finally writing my half and dropping it in everybody’s inbox saying, “This is what I think we should do. Here’s my half.” I think once everybody saw it, what I envisioned made a little more sense, and everybody started getting onboard with it.
Tim Seeley: This was a John Layman concoction all the way. It tookÂ relatively little to convince me, and slightly longer to convince Mike Norton. But once we read the script John sent, we were all in.
Is the crossover set within the continuity of both series?
Layman: It’s very squishy continuity. Two different stories, which in some ways contradict each other, since they both tell completely different stories about the characters’ “first meetings.” As far as I’m concerned, our story is in our continuity. But it’s for Tim and Mike to decide if their story is in their “real” continuity. Or maybe the audience can decide. It’s comics, man. News flash: NONE OF THIS SHIT IS REAL!!!
Seeley: Yeah, the “Revival” story is definitely in continuity with “Revival.” How important the aspects of the larger world are to each set of characters is pretty relative. Maybe chicken is illegal in the “Revival” story. Or, most likely, it never comes up. This is more about the characters interacting than the worlds.
Since the flipbook tells the same story from two points of view, how did your teams work with each other?
Layman: I wrote my story, Tim wrote his, and we both geeked out on somebody else using our characters. Tim gets “Chew,” and I like to think I get “Revival.” It was not a case of us correcting each other about what the characters would and would not to. We’ve both been around the block enough times that we know how to use characters that our not our own, and use them appropriately and respectfully.
Seeley: It’s like John said — we just didn’t really have to worry about it. I know John will treat “Revival” in the perfect, respectful/disrespectful manner that’ll work great for a “Chew” story. Mike drew Tony the way Mike draws. Rob drew Dana and Em the way Rob draws. AND IT IS AWESOME.
Is this a good book for new readers, or do you need to have a sense of both worlds for it to make sense?
Layman: It’s absolutely a good jumping-on point. “Chew,” at #42 out of #60, does not have jumping on points, so if you’re curious about either “Chew” or “Revival,” it’s a good way to get a taste of each without being too deep into each story. I think both stories do a good idea of introducing the respective worlds and concepts to the readers.
Seeley: I think it’s a great starting point for both. You don’t really need to know anything going into this.
On the surface, “Chew” and “Revival” don’t seem to have a ton in common — where are you finding common ground to tell a story?
Layman: Well, they are both police procedurals; they’re about a cop solving a case. Exposing each character to different worlds is really a lot of the fun of the story. (Stories!)
Seeley: At their hearts, both stories are firmly about people in a strange situation. So, that actually made it pretty easy.
What qualities from each series were important to you to bring into your story, both character wise and artistically?
Layman: Well, “Chew” tends to be oddball and quirky and a bit surreal, while “Revival” is moody and creepy and has a lot of heart. I think each story is absolutely true to its core book it’s representing in the crossover.
Seeley: It was important to me that Tony be this cop who is believed to have some kind of special abilities which no one else understands, and most don’t believe. That made him someone who stands in fairly sharp contrast to Dana, a normal, small town cop in an insane world. But they have a common ground between them — they have family that drives what they do.
Did either of you have characters from each other’s series that you were excited to write?
Layman: I stuck with the main characters, since it’s a baby-step for “Chew” into “Revival’s” world. Also, with only a limited amount of pages in this one-shot, I could only scratch so deep under the surface.
Seeley: I wanted to figure out a way to bring in El Poyo so bad! I managed to get him in there, but I think it’ll make sense if we don’t just have him running around, shooting egg missiles in the “Revival” half of the story.
John, you’ve mentioned that there are other books you’d like to cross over with. Where else can you see Tony going?
Layman: I’d love a “The Sixth Gun” crossover. I’ve got that one all planned out, but I don’t think Cullen Bunn is sold on it. I’d also like to do “Quantum and Woody,” but I don’t have the story yet. Pretty sure it would involve Poyo and Goat.
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