The Romero name is inexorably linked with zombies and horror filmmaking as much as Bugatti is to high-performance vehicles or Coca Cola is to soda. Even those unfamiliar to horror know that Night of The Living Dead (1968) is the wellspring from which all zombie culture was born. Unfortunately, George A. Romero, the director responsible for so many horror classics like Dawn of The Dead, Creepshow and the television series Tales From The Darkside passed away in 2017. Luckily, his son George C. Romero is taking the mantle in continuing to bring shock and terror to horror fans everywhere. His next big comic project will revisit what his father began.
Heavy Metal will be publishing George C. Romero’s upcoming graphic novel, The Rise. Romero, an accomplished writer and filmmaker hosts the podcast “Indie Brigade” is adamant that the project is “not a prequel.” As he told SyFyWire, it’s a story that takes place at the genesis of the zombie apocalypse from Night of the Living Dead, but it’s self-contained with its own themes, ideas and arcs. This project has been a decade in the making. For years, Romero was asked if he’d ever make a zombie movie and he’d answer, “No.”
It wasn’t until someone posited the question from a different angle: “Okay, but if you were to tell a zombie story, what would it be?” Soon after, he wrote a script for The Rise. Time after time, the project was almost made, but the terms would have sacrificed the integrity of his vision, a price he wasn’t willing to pay. So, The Rise remained unproduced until the right partner would come along.
Romero met Heavy Metal CEO Matt Medney at DefCon, a digital “convention” held over live streams. The two instantly hit it off and found themselves discussing projects. Medney spotted the Rise poster in the background of the video and asked, “What is that?” After Romero delved into the project Medney asked him to, “Send this to me immediately.” A few short days later a plan was made. The Rise will be a featured Heavy Metal graphic novel, which will be serialized across several issues of the magazine before being collected into a single volume.
George C. Romero’s poster art for The Rise.
Currently, a creative team is being put into place to bring Romero’s vision to the illustrated page. As Romero remarked his podcast, “In the ‘80s if you had a copy of Heavy Metal and you had a VHS of Night of the Living Dead, that was like your street cred.”
It’s time to create new street cred for a new generation of fans.