Gary Reed has returned from the dormancy of Caliber Comics in a big way over the last year. In addition to compilations of Saint Germaine and Red Dairies from Image Comics, graphic novels from Penguin Books, and the new Spirit of the Samurai from Actionopolis, Gary has also been writing the regular series of Deadworld from Image Comics. Here, we had a chance to see what's going on with one of the original zombie comics, Deadworld.
Deadworld originally launched in the late 1980's from Arrow Comics before Caliber took it over in 1989 with issue ten. The comic launched the career of Vincent Locke who was the original artist for the first 15 issues with contributions from James O'Barr and Mark Bloodworth. "The first volume of Deadworld ended at #26," Gary recalled, "and then we started a second volume which ran 15 issues. We also had some one shots and mini-series and Deadworld had some appearances in Caliber Presents.
Although most of those back issues are almost impossible to find now, there is a CD that collects all of those issues. It's around 1,700 pages and was just released from Eagle One Media."
Fans of Deadworld were delighted when Deadworld returned last year, now from Image Comics. But the dreaded deadline problems resurfaced. "Yeah, we had problems with the first couple of issues," Gary explained, "and that's because Vince Locke, the artist, got swamped with so much work based on the success of the graphic novel he did that got turned into a movie." That graphic novel was A History of Violence with writer, John Wagner. "But starting with the third issue, we brought in Dalibor Talajic and he's just about got the book on schedule. Four came out about 6-7 weeks after issue three and five and six will be about the same for the bi-monthly series. Just as important as getting the book in on time, the fans are very happy with the artwork."
Reed also wanted to bring up the importance of the upcoming trade collection of The Dead-Killer which will be released from Image in September of this year. "The Dead-Killer will play a vital role in the Slaughterhouse storyline, so the trade will re-introduce the character. The Dead-Killer is a hunter. He hunts down zombies for sport. He doesn't like what the human race is turning into either, so he is a loner…staying away from the human race and hell-bent on destroying the zombie one. When he comes across King Zombie, he feels it is a great challenge and also knows that perhaps if he can eliminate the head of the zombies, the zombies will be easier to deal with. So, the collection of the mini-series deals with that aspect but also with the Dead-Killer finding himself having to trust other humans in order to complete that mission."
Deadworld is also getting quite a bit of attention outside of the comics market. Reed recently signed a deal with Shocker Toys to produce action figures of some of the Deadworld characters and Rotten Cotton Graphics signed a t-shirt deal for distribution into mall stores such as Hot Topic and Spencer's Gifts. The t-shirt designs are from Vince Locke.
With Deadworld being such a long running series, there is bound to be discussions with Hollywood and Reed said that Deadworld has had quite a few inquiries. In fact, Deadworld was signed up for awhile with Maysville Pictures, the company co-founded by George Clooney with distribution by Warner Brothers. "That's still a sore spot with me," said Gary, "as Warner's in anticipation, registered the domain name of Deadworld.com. But once the option expired, I asked them if I could get the domain name but they renewed it again."
So, information about Deadworld can be found at www.deadworld.info. In addition to background on the series, preview pages for Deadworld: The Dead-Killer can be found there as well.