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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

A brave new world of comics. 

Maybe this is just too easy, but, okay. I saw this at Newsarama (after neglecting to visit the site for several weeks) and I can't help but comment:

How did writer Rick Spears come up with such an idea to combine two different and distinct genres [zombies and westerns]? “Well, the two genres came together for me because of the Italian filmmakers,” said Spears. “Two of the best strings of Italian genre films are the spaghetti westerns and the Italian zombie (or zombi) films. When you’ve got Corbucci’s Django sitting next to Fulci’s Zombie on the shelf it just sort of seeps into the brain. I just know I like westerns, the gritty brutal Italian ones, and I knew we could make it awesome.”


Right. Or you used to play Deadlands.

It's not hard to connect the dots. Both westerns and apocalyptic zombie stories share a common trait: what humans do when they exist in an essentially lawless and fatal situation. Do they flourish or fold?

(Deadwood gets this better than perhaps any other western in a long time, including that firesale-at-the-Western-clichés-depot bonanza that was Firefly.)

This, Mr. Spears, is pretty fucking far from new territory.

Here's what we don't need any more of: zombie westerns. World War II stories with supernatural elements. Reworked origin stories (or as I like to call them, "fan fiction with a budget.") Transparently obvious JLA proxies as parables on power or juvenilia. Post-apocalyptic stories with marauding vampires or whatever. Ripoffs of the Terminator, that involve smart and rebellious machines. Black leather trenchcoats. Characters named Lazarus, Cain, Caine, Kane, or Kain.

And we sure as shit don't need any more superhero books.

Hey, Writers of America, try something wild and original. Write a straight western that doesn't involve a big heist. Write a zombie story that isn't a Romero ripoff (Romero did a pretty good job of that, himself.) A straight war story, because war is pretty goddamn dramatic and macabre and funny and sad all on its own. A post-apocalyptic scenario that stars nothing more than completely average humans (please, no ex-SEALs), because shouldn't that scenario, handled well, be utterly captivating on its own? Write a good story and, if you feel the flow and the audience does too, build a strong character out of it. Don't walk into your comics thinking "franchise."

And don't create another goddamn superhero. Believe me, you have nothing new to contribute. No one is interested on your very slightly different interation of Iron Man.

Name your character Jeff or Lisa. Something nuts like that.

Understand your genre, inside and out, intimately, before you even think about slapdashing bits and pieces of other genres in there for "flavor." You need to know why something works before you start fucking with it.

Discipline yourselves.

Why?

Because I'm fucking tired of zombie westerns.

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