Double Take launched their 10 titles in a day based on the Night of the Living Dead recently and I had a chance to talk with the writer of two of the company's flagship titles, Jeff McComsey. Jeff writes Z-Men and co-writes Rise with Michael Coast. Here he talks about the two series and how he got involved.
JEFF MCCOMSEY: I had been brought in last year to develop a few idea with Double Take and they kept me on when they decided to pursue NOTLD
BC: With Z-Men, we're seeing the government response to the Zombie outbreak in Pennsylvania. Who are these two agents that got sent? What do they think their assignment is? And why were they in the motor pool to start with?
JM: Agent Stuart and Agent Clancy are the two Secret Service agents that have been given the task of investigating the events of NOTLD in Pennsylvania for the President and Secret Service Director who want unfiltered reports on what they see. They're happy to be given a second chance and to just get out of the motor pool. Clancy is a prick who ran afoul of J. Edgar Hoover during Kennedy's administration. Once JFK died Clancy had no more protection and was banished to the motor pool until he can collect his pension. Agent Stuart has some issues with alcohol which is a no no in the Service. These guys were selected more because of their expendability than their skills as investigators.
BC: Is this more of a look at how the Secret Service handles the incident or are we more focused on Agents Stuart and Clancy? What is the focus of the on-going series?
JM: Clancy and Stuart will be the stars of Z-Men with frequent cuts to Washington where we get to see the Johnson administration deal with the threat from Pennsylvania while they try and execute the vast social reforms LBJ desperately wanted for this country.
JM: We knew very early on that we wanted to follow Johnny and Barbara and give them time to become fully developed characters in their own right. They are integral to the original film but don't get much in the way of character development. They're also the perfect characters to onboard fans of the original with the new series.
BC: In the first issue we see what happens to them immediately following their encounter with a zombie. But what type of story will the on-going be?
JM: Being from out of town and just having the bad luck of arriving right as the dead rise, Johnny and Barbara want to get the heck out of town and go home, but of course that will be easier said than done.
BC: These were referred to as the "Flagship books" for the Double-Take universe. What makes them that and how do the other titles fit in around them? Is there a cohesion between the series?
JM: I think they are flagships as they deal with the two most familiar characters from the film in RISE and Z-Men details the big picture stuff by providing a window into Washington's decision making process. Those decisions will impact all characters in the series and were a lot of fun to write. There is cohesion in the series as they all take place in Evans County Pennsylvania. There are many instances where locations and characters will be crossed over by different series.
BC: Since Night of the Living Dead is the starting point for the series, anyone who likes the film should be interested in the comics… but what would you say to someone who either hasn't seen or didn't like the movie? What are the selling points for these books and this universe outside of their connection to a cult-classic film?
JM: The Ultimate NOTLD series is the perfect blend of Zombie action and historical fiction. I think those two things together make for very compelling comics that should attract fans of the films and new comers alike.