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Mel Rubi’s “Super-Zombies” Sketchbook

by  in Comic News Comment
Mel Rubi’s “Super-Zombies” Sketchbook
“Super-Zombies” #1 on sale in March

When it’s time for the heroes and villains of Dynamite’s March-launching “Super-Zombies” series to rise from the grave, their reanimation will come at the hands of artist Mel Rubi. Most recently known for a lengthy strech on the publisher’s “Red Sonja” series, the penciler noted that “Super-Zombies” marks a return to capes and tights. 

“The transition from playing with the sword to laser guns isn’t new to me,” Rubi told CBR. “I’ve had more experiences drawing capes and tights than the sorcery end of comics in my 16-year career. So it wasn’t something that I haven’t done before, but I was happy to do it again. Although it is great to be back to drawing super heroes, I wouldn’t mind staying a little longer in the sword and sorcery world of comics.”

Luckily for the artist’s personal tastes, the series comes part and parcel with nearly 40 super-powered characters who take inspiration from everywhere, including modern police and classical gods. And while series scribes Marc Guggenheim and Vince Gonzales both shared their take on the series with CBR, today Rubi dug into his sketchbook to explain what the process of designing the “Super-Zombies” world has been like.

“Marc and Vince were great enough to provide me all the necessary information needed to design the characters, so it just made it that much easier to develop their costumes,” Rubi said. “There were some incidents where I had to base some of the costume elements off of the characters bios and sometimes their physical descriptions.”

Neuron, NANO and Ambient

Neuron, NANO & Ambient

At the heart of the series stands Neuron, a scientist whose research helps to spread both the prevalence of super powers and the so-called “reviver” plague that overtakes the super community. “I didn’t think Neuron needed to be anymore of a down look. He’s stressed enough as it is,” Rubi explained.

The character’s disheveled look doesn’t come from stress so much as a possible connection to his partial alley, the A.I. called NANO. “I don’t want to spoil the connection between Neuron and NANO so I’ll just leave it up to you to find out from the series,” the artist teased.”

As for the lab technician tricked out with some kind of bio-technology, Rubi explained, “Ambient is her name and she is basically Neuron’s assistant. I see her as a mediator between Neuron’s Super Zombies and the world. That’s how the writers described her to be and that’s exactly what I gave her.”



A former New Jersey supervillain turned…well, turned not quite supervillain in the wake of the reviver plague, Blowtorch teams up with the superhero once tasked with bringing him in. “Blowtorch is probably one my favorite characters in this book,” said Rubi. “This character seemed too quiet for me, and I really needed to get this guy to be more aggressive. So I made him look like Wolverine. As you can see from the sketch he has the same facial hair of Logan and instead of having blades but flame shoots out from the back of his hands. This is what will make this character interesting throughout the series.”

Solid Citizen & Wither

On the flipside from Blowtorch stands Solid Citizen, a superhero who also happens to be a racist jerkwad. “I looked up Nazi soldiers for reference, because this guy reminds me of Hitler,” explained Rubi. “He just has that dictatorship in him. The baggy pants, high boots, gas mask and holsters will certainly do the job.”

Solid Citizen & Wither
Solid Citizen & Wither

As for the rest of the crew in the piece, Rubi admitted that “these three heroes are just samples that I created to try out for the book before receiving the actual description of each character,” and specifically noted that the morbid looking Wither “was suppose to be a female instead of a male” so expect a few changes when the series hits the stands.

Ignition, Volcano & Amalthea

Rounding out Rubi’s first run of character designs came three preliminary sketches for some of the many super-zombies inhabiting the series. “Well, I don’t want to give away too much,” Rubi said. “Let’s start with Ignition with the flames. He does belong to a larger group and a good friend of Blowtorch. Next is Volcano. I did try using some elements from the medieval era just to see if it’ll work. But I doubt if we’ll see him in the book. Last is Amalthea. She does appear in the first couple of pages in the first issue and like the rest of the characters we’ll need an ongoing series to get to know more about them.”

“Super-Zombies” #1 goes on sale in March from Dynamite Entertainment.

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