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George A. Romero’s ‘Empire of the Dead’ Heading to AMC

George A. RomeroThis last weekend at Wizard World Comic Con Louisville, Artist Arthur Suydam was interviewed and he announced that Empire of the Dead, the Marvel Comic he works on just got signed on as a program on AMC. This comic is written by zombie king and horror icon George A. Romero. Suydam told WHAS11, and it was reported by bloody-disgusting.com:

“The series that I just finished up, for Marvel Comics, as a matter of fact … so this is me and George Romero … this just got signed to AMC. This is gonna be the new big zombie series on AMC, it’s expected to be this one right here.”

There has been an explosively growing interest in zombies in the last several years with programs like iZombie, Z Nation, Fear the Walking Dead, and the juggernaut The Walking Dead, all finding extremely devoted audiences, the latter becoming the most watched show on television, now in its 6th season and averaging a minimum of 18 million viewers a week. No small feat for a cable network. It will be interesting to see how AMC handles this as Romero has been very vocal about the fact that he is not a fan of The Walking Dead calling it a, “Soap Opera with a zombie in it occasionally,” and telling the Telegraph:

“That’s what I don’t particularly like. Even though I think Frank [Darabont] did a great job. I don’t know what the hell happened there, something political no doubt, when they canned him after the first season.”

The comic synopsis reads:

Welcome to New York City years after the undead plague has erupted—but just because Manhattan has been quarantined, don’t think that everyone inside is safe! Not only do flesh-eaters roam within Manhattan, but there’s another ancient predator about to take a bite out of the Big Apple!

The mini-series Marvel comic lasted 15 issues and ended this past August.

One has to give props to Romero. He created the look, feel and backstory of the whole contemporary zombie genre. Nathan Shelton is Executive and Artistic Director of Arcane Productions, creator of the critically acclaimed, international award-winning web series/motion picture Shadow Bound and expert on the Horror genre. Of Romero, Shelton says:

Romero is the originator of what we (in our society) thinks of as the zombie; a flesh eating shambling corpse, who is incapable of speech or thought other than to consume the flesh of the living. His film in 1968 set the stage for a plethora of nightmarish knockoffs and sequels that have defined a sub-genre in the world of horror and opened up a vast pop culture phenomenon that has effected not only the film industry, but television, games, toys, books, and comics as well.

Without Romero there would be no Walking Dead, iZombie or any other show of that ilk. Modern horror owes much to this true master of terror. Before him zombies were thought of as soulless creatures primarily controlled by a voodoo master who would use his “slaves” to work his evil bidding. It wasn’t until Night of the Living dead that we found the terrifying new idea of the “zombie”, which is strange because all many of the modern rules for zombie films started with that flick, including the fact that no one in the story actually refers to them as “zombie”… A fact played up in The Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright penned, Shaun of the Dead with, “don’t say that!” “What?” “The Z word… Don’t say it!” “Why?” “Cause it’s ridiculous.”

Well ridiculous it May be but it sure scared the hell out of us and continues to do so to this day. So much so that the CDC has had to make public announcements to state that no such zombie virus exists. Crazy right?

Well, what do you think? Can AMC sell us a third zombie show? The Walking Dead continues to bring in mammoth viewership and the companion series Fear the Walking Dead performed more that admirably in its own right during its first season, but how many times can they return to the same well and produce compelling storytelling? What is the Law of Diminishing Returns where zombies are concerned? AMC is certainly off to a good start with Romero involved. 


 

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About the author

Tim Piland

Timothy Piland is a classically trained tenor and opera singer. He was born and raised in the Springfield, Mo. Area.

He has performed Roles for Springfield Little Theater, Vandivort Theater, Springfield Regional Opera and Mobile Opera. He has also worked for the Puccini Festival, and the Kansas City Lyric Opera.

In his performing career he has performed roles in: Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Man of La Mancha, Die Fledermouse, La Fanciulla del West, Gianni Schicchi and many other shows.

In 2007, he toured the United Kingdom with the Church of the Incarnation out of Dallas, Texas. This included a week long engagement at Westminster Abbey, as well as a 9 day engagement at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland.

In 2009 he originated the role of the Priest in "Frankenstein, Monster" by Le Wlhelm at the Gilloiz Theater.

He appeared onstage as Rupert Giles for, "A Class Act productions," in their ongoing presentation of Buffy The Vampire Slayer: A Reader’s Theatre Parody, from March 2010-July 2013.

In November 2011, he made his directoral debut, directing "Star Trek Live Onstage: The Trouble with Tribbles," also for "A Class Act." He went on to direct 14 of the next 17 episodes of that live stage show.

Each Christmas you can also catch him at the historic Pythian Castle where he performs in a, "Night of the Dueling Santas," a Christmas dinner show of his own writing. He has been the Ghost Tour Guide for the castle since 2010.

He has been featured on The Discovery Channel, SYFY Channel, The History Channel, NPR.

He is the founder of Harvest Moon Productions and oversees events ranging from concerts to straight plays. He is currently writing a book called "Ghostly Tales From Pythian Castle," which hopefully will see production at some point in 2014.

In 2013 he was cast as Dr. Howard Lagrasse in the 5 episode silent Horror web series SHADOW BOUND, for Arcane Productions. Most recently he was cast in a role in the feature film EVERYTHING, for Parallax Studio.

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