The harsh winters of the midwest bring a multitude of snow and freezing temperatures, but this winter the people of the fictionalized town of Wausau, Wisconsin have bigger problems to worry about than the weather. Wausau is the site of a mysterious phenomenon that brought many of the town’s deceased residents back to life as intelligent, undead “Revivers” in writer Tim Seeley and artist Mike Norton’s creator-owned Image Comics series “Revival.”
Officer Dana Cypress has been tasked with handling crime surrounding the quarantined town’s resurrected dead, which has embroiled her and her Reviver sister Martha (AKA “Em”) in a number of dangerous and frightening situations. On sale today, “Revival” #24 begins a new arc as spring finally comes to Wausau and brings with it a whole new set of complications. CBR News spoke with Seeley about these complications, how they’ll impact Dana and Em’s states of mind, and his artist’s ability to draw terrifying amphibians.
CBR News: Tim, you just wrapped an arc that left the Cypress Sisters in some very interesting places emotionally. Let’s talk about their states of mind going into “Revival” #24. What kind of impact is Dana’s trip to New York in the previous arc having on her when this new arc begins? Issue #23 also ended with Em appearing to be pregnant. Is that indeed what happened to her? How’s she handling this when issue #24 begins?
Tim Seeley: Yes! Em does indeed appear to be pregnant, and that’s going to be a major focus of the series going forward. She’s going to be asking herself a lot of questions about how it happened and what it means — can the dead create life? As for Dana, she’s entering this new story with more questions than ever, but I think she’s starting to crack a bit under the pressures — we’re going to see a different kind of Dana in this storyline — a scary one.
The Cypress sisters aren’t the only changed aspects of this new arc of “Revival.” I understand winter is finally over. What’s it like writing “Revival” now that spring has come to Wausau? How will spring, which is generally seen as hopeful season, impact the tone of the book?
[Laughs] Well, spring means Mike Norton has some different stuff to draw besides snow hills and dead trees! But yeah, thematically it definitely changes the themes of the story to be more about rebirth, which will be lighter and happier for some characters and — less so for others.
Let’s talk a little more about this story that kicks off in “Revival” #24. What sets it in motion? What are Martha and Em’s immediate goals in this arc?
Em feels the need to find her errant ex-lover, Aaron Weimar, because she thinks he’s the father of this child. And Dana, while under a lot of pressure to stop an influx of illegal pilgrims coming to the town, is also dealing with a zombie deer (yes, you read that right!) as well as some vengeance.
One of the great things about “Revival” is that you have a whole town full of supporting characters to play with and develop. The solicits suggest that one of the supporting characters who will play a major role in this arc is Blaine Abel. So let’s talk a little bit about him. What inspired the creation of Blaine and what kind of role will he have in this arc? At the end of issue #23 it looked like reporter May Tao was recruiting him for something.
Yeah, Blaine is kind of a “redeemed bad guy” who we first saw as a charlatan exorcist who tried to destroy the demons he believed had come to his town, but ended up kidnapping reporter May Tao and getting in a fight with Em. But now, as we’ll see, Blaine is going to be May’s secret weapon in the search for Aaron Weimar.
Who are some of the other major supporting players that will step into the spotlight this issue? Will the events from the most recent arc with CDC worker Ibrahim Ramin who appears to have inadvertently gotten a woman killed or Dana and Em’s father, Sheriff Wayne Cypress, burning down Edmund Holt’s home be followed up on?
Oh, absolutely! All of the stuff we set up plays out in this next arc, and we’ll see some characters who haven’t interacted before go toe to toe, or skin to skin. (Ahem.)
[Laughs] Another event I’m curious about is at the end of issue #23. We see a shot of people moving underground. What can you tell us about that? Are these people escaping Wausau or coming into it? And are these the pilgrims you mentioned earlier?
They are coming to it, and they are the pilgrims I mentioned. There are a number of people who believe they can heal their illnesses by drinking from the area’s rivers.
Let’s start to wrap up by talking a little more about what you’ve given Mike to draw this arc. What can you tell us about his depiction of spring time in Wausau?
Well, for one — it’s sloppy. Spring in Central Wisconsin is a muddy mess — but it’s also full of life and returning animals. So, we’ll really be playing with that stuff in this arc — there’s a scene of a zillion spring peepers writhing all over that Mike drew that really creeped me out. (I’m afraid of frogs. I know, it’s weird.)
Finally, with “Revival” #24 you close out your second year on the book. How does it feel? About how far into the larger story of “Revival” is year three? Are we nearing a half-way point?
Yeah, I think we’ve just about gotten to the over halfway point, and we’ll see some big stuff being set up. It feels pretty good to have gotten this far — and to still have so many loyal readers. We’re really lucky, and we’re gonna work our old, hairy butts off to entertain you.
“Revival” #24 is on sale now from Image Comics.
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