Nick Ford: I’m Nick Ford at Boston Comic Con and I’m here with Tim Seeley and Mike Norton of Revival, which is a comic for Image.
Tell me a little about yourselves as comic creators and a little bit about Revival.
Tim Seely: My name is Tim Seeley and I live in Chicago. I’ve been working in comics for 13 years. Revival is the story I do with Mike Norton. It’s about a small town in which the dead come back to life, which basically causes the town to go under a quarantine. So it’s a rural crime story with people who are not zombies, but they’re not quite right.
Mike Norton: I’m Mike Norton and I draw that book! [laughs]
NF: [laughs] Thanks.
What inspires your guys’ writing and art for the book?
For example, did you have any certain influences in terms of writing zombies or “farm noir,” as we learned earlier today. Were there any particular people that inspired the art or writing for Revival?
MN: I’m pretty sure there’s no zombie influence besides Tim having a love for that.
TS: An encyclopedic knowledge.
MN: Yeah. [And] a love of those kinds of movies. But I don’t think that was an influence at all in making this book. We wanted to do something scary, but it’s much more influenced by Cohen brother’s movies or like a Romero movie. So that’s my sort of touchstone on how it looks.
NF: Do you have any particular artists who influenced you?
MN: No, I mean I developed it on my own and tried to draw like the artists I wish I drew like. I mean if Tony Moore could draw this book instead of me that’d be great! I just draw like I do now. I was gonna’ make it so this was the book where people would draw like me for a change instead of me drawing like them.
NF: It’s a very distinctive art style.
TS: I wanted to do something that was a horror story that didn’t use the usual tropes with what makes zombies scary, which is just a survival story. What makes that scary is that we have no government and we have no power, we have none of the things that make a society. This is sort of the opposite of that, where we still have a society and everyone deals with the problem differently.
So we cause those who are religious to have certain reactions; cause the scientists. Everyone has a certain reaction. It might make it more difficult to trust people who you used to trust.
NF: Why did you want to do a Midwestern noir type of thing? Do either of you have experience there in real life?
TS: I’m from the town in the story but the idea originally—most crime stories tend to take place in big cities and I live in Chicago. But I would go back to my hometown and every time I’d go back I’d hear a new strange story about, for instance, in the first issue there’s a zebra in Wausau that someone painted.
That wasn’t made up, that actually happened.
So I think the way that crime happens in small towns is so much different than the way that it happens in big towns. That, I kind of wanted to deal with. And plus I grew up there, so I didn’t have to do any research because I know everything about it already. And I just thought that Mike would be really good at drawing a quiet—small ya’ know—beautiful small town that’s sort of middle-America in the winter. I thought he’d be good at it. And he is very good at it.
MN: Yeah, I mean, [Tim] was the basis for it. I mean, I’m from a small town in the south and it doesn’t snow there but otherwise it’s pretty much the same. And I think it’s a familiar touchstone that everybody can associate with. So it pulls you into a story where we can scare you quicker than if you have to establish another kind of world or something like that. Everybody recognizes your grandma’s home town, ya’ know? You go to visit her every year. That sort of thing.
If your grandma wanted to eat your face off it’d be a whole different story.
TS: Or would it?
NF: Or would it just be like Thanksgiving?
MN: Yeah, exactly.
NF: On the Image panel earlier you guys said that you’ve known each other for a long time. Where did you guys meet and how did this all come together?
TS: Mike and I both got hired at Devil’s Due after Josh Blaylock got the rights to do GI Joe comic and he had too much work, so he hired Mike and I to move down and basically be like art directors and editors and staff artists. So he and I would both move down there and we shared a studio with Devil’s Due.
And we always kind of talked about stuff we wanted to work on. So that’s what, thirteen years ago now? So 2001.
NF: Zombies are pretty popular in today’s culture. You have The Walking Dead, you have all of these zombie movies coming out, doing a lot of different spins on it.
What makes Revival stand out from all of the other zombie stuff today?
MN: The difference between Revival and a regular zombie thing is that it’s more about the loss than it is the monsters trying to kill you. It’s much more about confronting death than it is about survival horror, which is what you get mostly with the zombie stuff.
TS: That’s it exactly.
NF: So please tell us some places we can find your work and what you guys are working on besides Revival. Best places to get in touch with you, etc.
TS: I’m also working on a book called Sun Downers for Dark Horse. I’m doing the Hack/Slash, which is from Image. Then I also write Batman Eternal and Grayson for DC. And I’m on Twitter on @HackinTimSeely. I’m easy to find on the internet. I also have a blogspot, TimSeelyart.blogspot.com
MN: I do Revival and I do my weekly web comic Battle Pug at Battlepug.com. I’m doing a miniseries for Oni called Sixth Gun: Days of the Dead. You can find me at ihatemike.com and fourstarstudios.com.
NF: Great, thanks so much guys!