Greeting boils and goils, creeps and creatures of the night, welcome to the first installment of a series I once had an idea for but never saw to fruition. When the West goes dead basically, the first installment comes complete with an interview with author and writer Rick Spears.
Welcome to Lazarus, a small blooming town in the Old West. Don't expect to live long if you visit it though, the town's under a curse. "In this town nothing stays dead for long..."
Many years ago there was a tribe of Native Americans living where Lazarus now stands. Everything was peaceful until one day, the white man came to lay claim the land as their own. The Chief believes there is no way one can "own" the land. The white men return to wipe them all out and kill all but one, the Chief's son. With his dying words the chief tells him to remember what took place that day.
The son kept his promise and years after it had all been forgotten he unleashes an ancient curse in the cemetery by taking his own life thus bringing the dead back to life, just like old biblical Lazarus himself.
A tall steely-eyed bounty hunter chases his mark across the desert and into the town not knowing the danger the lies in wait. As a result he's drawn into a Mexican standoff between his fat mustachioed bounty who has sought refuge with a sherriff who doesn't take kindly to bounty hunters in his town and the entire undead population of Lazarus led by the Chief's son who is on a personal vendetta of his own to avenge his tribe and honor their memory.
The Man With No Name faces off against the living dead
Fans of the spaghetti western and classic zombie films need to head no further than Dead West. Dead West was written by Rick Spears and illustrated by Rob G. Single Bullet Theory got a chance to talk with Rick Spears, author of Dead West some time ago but now it is being unearthed for your reading pleasure:
SINGLE BULLET THEORY: I LOVED THE STORY, TO ME IT PLAYED OUT LIKE A SERGIO LEONE FILM IF DIRECTED BY GEORGE ROMERO. THIS WAS ONE OF THE FIRST TIMES I'D EVER SEEN THE OLD WEST TURN INTO SOMETHING OUT OF A SATURDAY NIGHT HORROR MOVIE, WHERE DID YOU DRAW YOUR INSPIRATION FOR THE STORY?
Rick Spears: Yeah, Rob and I are huge Leone and Romero fans. We had just finished our first comic series Teenagers From Mars and were tossing around ideas for a new project. i can't remember who said it first but doing a Zombie Western popped up and it just sounded like too much fun not to do. We talked a lot about style and tone with Leone and Romero as guideposts and then just went for it.
BEING FANS OF THE SPAGHETTI WESTERN WERE YOU FANS OF ITALIAN ZOMBIE MOVIES LIKE LUCIO FULCI'S ZOMBIE?
I'm a big fan of everything Fulci! The zombie shark fight is one of the greatest scenes of all time!
I love his horror, westerns, and giallo films. The Beyond and Zombi and Four of the Apocalypse are my favs.
THE CHARACTERS BEAR STRIKING RESEMBLANCE TO A CERTAIN BLONDE AND A CERTAIN UGLY FELLOW, WAS THIS COINCIDENCE?
No, we were pretty blatant about our character influences.
AND THE SHERIFF?
The Sheriff was more of an evil Henry Fonda ala ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST.
HOW D'YA THINK THE DUKE WOULDA HANDLED THINGS HAD HE RODE INTO THE TOWN OF LAZARUS INSTEAD OF BLONDIE? D'YA THINK OL ROOSTER WOULDA FARED BETTER OR WORSE?
Well the Duke has his own style but ultimately the result would be the same...lot's of spilled brains!
WHAT SORT OF MOVIES DID YOU GROW UP ON AS A KID?
I grew up with HBO playing all sorts of awesome movies late night. Then every weekend was all about riding bikes to the video store and haunting the racks in search of the goriest trash we could find. So yeah, lots of horror, slashers, zombies, euro stuff... I love the Universal monsters too. Can't wait to see those on Blu-Ray!
WHICH OF THE UNIVERSAL MONSTERS WAS YOUR FAVORITE? I WAS ALWAYS A CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON KIND OF GUY WHEN I WASN'T WATCHING MONSTERS DESTROYING TOKYO.
Man, that's really a hard one. The Creature was always cool because he was so original. But in all honestly it was love at first sight with Elsa Lanchester as the BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN.
MOST OF THE UNIVERSAL MONSTERS HAVE A CERTAIN TRAGEDY ABOUT THEM: DRACULA LOST HIS LOVE, KING KONG WAS BROUGHT OUT OF HIS WORLD AND INTO OURS AND FRANKENSTEIN WAS CREATED OUT OF DEAD TISSUE. EVEN GODZILLA WAS THE MISTAKEN PRODUCT OF NUCLEAR TESTING. IN YOUR OPINION DO ZOMBIES HAVE THIS KIND OF TRAGEDY TO THEM AS WELL, OR DO WE VIEW THEM AS WE WOULD A SHARK (JUST AN UNSYMPATHETIC KILLING MACHINE BORN AND BRED)?
I think zombies have (or should have) a lot of tragedy in them. For me, DAWN OF THE DEAD played it best with the zombies stumbling around the mall. "We" are what become zombies, mindless flesh just going through the motions. Being eaten alive is a primal fear but so is the fear that you could loose our humanity, or individuality and become just a mindless part of the mass, just a consumer. When played up in a zombie story that always resonates with me. Getting eaten alive hopefully will never happen but we all could very easily become just a worker drone mindlessly going about our life, just another tax paying, product consuming, cog in the machine. For me that's a terrifying tragedy.
WHEN IT COMES TO MIXING GENRES, DID YOU EVER SEE RED SUNWITH CHARLES BRONSON AND TOSHIRO MIFUNE? WOULD YOU CONSIDER THROWING A SAMURAI AND ADDING A DOSE OF KUROSAWA INTO THE MIX FOR A POTENTIAL SEQUEL?
RED SUN, holy hell, I've never seen it. Just watched the trailer on and it looks amazing. I'll have to track it down. Yeah, Samurai and westerns have a real nature overlap. I mean A FIST FULL OF DOLLARS was basically a remake of YOJIMBO. We looked at a lot of BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL comics as we were doing Dead West and that is something I'm sure we would explore in a sequel.
ARE THERE ANY PLANS FOR A SEQUEL?
Rob and I have batted around a couple of ideas, but we're only interested in doing a sequel if we can really bring something fresh to the table. We're not interested in repeating ourselves. We'll see.
DO YOU AND ROB HAVE A Z-DAY PLAN?
Rob is half zombie already so he'd probably just blend right in. I may have a shotgun and a "go bag" at the ready but that's all I'm saying. Loose lips sink ships.
We'll check ya'll later on the trail when the riding gets rough and Rotten with Mark Rahner.