A zombie apocalypse unlike any you’ve likely seen is about to take place…one where the infected undead aren’t humans, but animals. ‘The Final Plague’, from Action Labs Comics Danger Zone imprint, tells this unique and creepy take on a classic scenario, written by JD Arnoid. I got the opportunity to talk to JD about his series. Read on…
1. ‘The Final Plague’ has an original plot idea, with the rats being the victims/plague bearers of the zombie virus. How did you come up with that idea?
Well, without giving away TOO much, you’ll soon see that the virus is not contained to rats. We will see it spreading, with alarming speed, throughout the animal kingdom. The idea came to me while trying to find an original twist to a well traveled genre; that of the zombie apocalypse. And while The Final Plague plays out, and very much feels, like a zombie story, I think you will soon find that it is far from the typical zombie tale.
2. What are some authors and/or films that inspire your work, or are just your favorites?
Well, the obvious answer is Romero, right? And when you are doing something that is remotely zombie-ish, you really have to give credit to George. And I do! But I think I am more influenced by writers like Bendis, Ellis, Ennis, BKV, Kirkman, Pratchett, Niven, Moorcock…and these are just a few. They are some of my favorites. How much they influence my writing style? That’s up to the reader to determine.
3. How did you get teamed up with artist Tony Guaraldi-Brown?
Tony and I met about 10 years ago at Wonder Con in SF. I think I was hanging out at the Allen Spiegel Fine Arts booth, and Tony was walking around with his portfolio. He showed it to Allen. Allen, knowing I was an up and coming writer looking for an artist, introduced us. We hit it off and have been friends ever since. We had a couple false starts trying to get a project off the ground. Dave Dwonch at Action Lab Entertainment came to me, having heard me casually talk about The Final Plague a couple years back, and wanted to publish the book. He actually suggested Tony as the artist. I was, of course, delighted that we were finally going to do a book together.
4. Can you give us a hint (without giving away too much, of course) of what to expect in the series?
Well, as I mentioned above, we are going to see the virus mutate and affect much more than just rats. We’ll see a complete breakdown of the food chain. Sure, rampaging ‘Zombie’ animals will kill millions, but the real damage will come when we find ourselves on the brink of starvation, panicked, and facing extinction. Far more will perish in the ensuing chaos than by lethal bite from an infected animal.
5. What other work have you done?
My first published work was a graphic novel published by Top Shelf Productions in 2010 titled BB Wolf and the Three LPs, with art by Rich Koslowski. That book did very well, earning a Yalsa nomination, a spot on the ALA’s must read graphic novel list for 2010, 5 Glyph nominations (and 1 win), and the #47 ranking on CBR’s Top 100 Graphic Novels for 2010. I also have an 8-page story coming up in issue #2 of the newly re-launched Zombies Vs. Cheerleaders from Three Finger Prints, art by Manuel Martinez. That issue hits in May of 2013.
6. Do you have a dream character or title in comics you’d love to try your hand at?
You know, I have so many creator owned projects in the works, honestly I’d be happy doing that for the rest of my life. But if the opportunity arose…I’d love the chance to work on some of Marvel’s lesser used occult characters: Brother Blood, Man-Thing, Morbius…Doctor Strange would probably be the biggest I’d really want a chance at. Over at DC…Constantine, though with what they’ve done with him recently, not sure I’d want to now. The old Vertigo Constantine? I’d have died for a chance to write him.
7. Weapon of choice?
Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit…or a Katana.
8. What projects do you have in the pipeline for us to look forward to?
I have a 6-issue series that will be collected into a graphic novel from Markosia Enterprises titled Dark Stones: The Rise of Crox. It is a Sword & Sorcery Fantasy series co-created with, and with art by, Angel Tovar. We expect it to be released in single issues digitally in late 2013 or early 2014, with the printed collection out sometime in 2014. I’ve also written the second story arc to The Final Plague, and have a new artist, Manuel Martinez, coming aboard to illustrate. We hope that to see print in 2014 as well. Many other projects in various stages, but nothing I can announce just yet.
9. Do you have anything you’d like to say to the horror fans out there in closing?
Just that I sincerely hope you enjoy what we’re doing with The Final Plague. Early on it will play out like a somewhat typical zombie story, but there is a huge twist, even beyond the animal angle, that I think will hook readers in and hold them captivated right to the grim end. And there is an end! As much as I love The Walking Dead, this is not a story I plan to write forever. I have a definite end point in mind, and one that will see this story morph from Survivalist Horror to Apocalyptic Sci-Fi. Climb on board, and hang on! I think you’re in for quite the ride!
10. Thanks, JD.