Dynamite's Prequel To SyFy's Z Nation

 

An angry scared mob is about to come to comics. You’ve seen them before. They’re trying to escape carnage from bloodthirsty mobs that are chasing THEM! Sound familiar? It should. It’s called the SyFy Channel’s wildly insane zombie epic, Z Nation, and now it’s coming to a comic shop near you with Z Nation Volume 1: Sea of Death (9781524104542) courtesy of the folks at Dynamite Entertainment. Read this exclusive interview with the comic adaptation’s writers Craig Engler and Fred Van Lente!

Z Nation Volume 1: Sea of Death (9781524104542) will be available January 2, 2018. For a preview of the graphic novel, see below.

 

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Diamond: In the all-new Z Nation series, you 'll delve into "Black Summer ," the dark period that precedes the television series. What are your thoughts about telling a new story during this crucial period, exclusively in the comic book medium?

Craig Engler: Comics provide the best of both worlds for our "Black Summer" storyline : the episodic storytelling of  TV, but an unlimited production budget for special effects. That's a huge opportunity for us because we have great ideas for new stories and new zombies that we wouldn't be able to do on a TV budget, but that we can in a comic. And there are some epic - and epically insane - things we pull off in "Black Summer" that will be new not only to the world of Z Nation, but to the zombie genre as a whole.

Diamond: In the new comic series, fan-favorite character Charles Garnett makes an appearance. With so many captivating cast members to choose from, what is it about Garnett that made you want to bring him back?

Craig Engler: Garnett was a great but tragic character because we knew from the outset that 1) He'd be beloved by fans and 2) No one would see his death coming in the show. While that was great from a storytelling perspective, it understandably left viewers wanting more. So this is a nice way to bring him back and see what he was doing before the events of Z Nation, and to also have him bless the new team we're introducing in the comic.

Diamond: How would you describe the distinct feel of Z Nation, and what comic readers both existing fans of the TV show and horror­loving newcomers  might expect from your new comic?

Craig Engler: Karl Schaefer, the showrunner and co-creator of Z Nation, says that every episode always has three things: horror, humor, and heart. We're the zombie show with competent survivors making life-and-death decisions every day, but also the one with insane action like bowling over zombies with the Liberty Bell. But most importantly, through it all you root for our characters because no matter how bad (or goofy) things get, they're always doing their best to save the world against virtually impossible odds... not to mention billions of zombies .

Diamond: SyFy's super-popular Z Nation isn't like anything else on television. What do you like most about the series?

Fred Van Lente: They do a great job mixing really diverse kinds of heroes, and sending them along through a zombie apocalypse that doesn't take itself entirely seriously, while at the same time providing you with action and chills every week. That's definitely the same ethos of our "Black Summer" series ; we're trying to bring that philosophy of the show through a different part of its history.

Diamond: You're working alongside series co-creator Craig Engler; how would you describe the collaborative process of bringing the "Black Summer" event to comics?

Fred Van Lente: We are having a great time meeting and batting different ideas back and forth. Craig, obviously, as the show's co-creator, knows the world of Z Nation backwards and forwards and is good at saying, "No, we did that already," or "This might be a different take." Because, unlike a TV show, we have what amounts to an unlimited budget, and we can do things in the Z Nation universe that would be a lot more difficult to bring to the screen. So we're having a lot of fun the fact that we were friends beforehand doesn't hurt, either.

Diamond: You're no stranger to irreverent takes on the zombie genre, considering your past work on Marvel Zombies and The Mocking Dead. What keeps you coming back?

Fred Van Lente: Like a lot of genres, superheroes or space operas, or whatever, the zombie apocalypse can explore different aspects of society and themes,  and with each different project I've found a different way to do that. Doing the same thing over and over again doesn't appeal to me you gotta keep things fresh . In this instance, with "Black Summer," we're dealing with the backstory before the Z Nation series even began, the famine that tips the world over the brink. So we have desperate characters , even more so than usual, who are trying to survive beyond even the Zs, but secure a resource (food) vital to having hope at all of making it out of the apocalypse alive.

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