Recently, we had a chance to talk face to face with multi-talented comic book writer and artist Tim Seeley at New York Comic Con about his and Mike Norton‘s rural noir zombie thriller Revival, providing a contrast for The Walking Dead, becoming a highly sought after team with Norton, the status of the rumored Hack/Slash film, his interest in bringing his comics to TV or the big screen, and knowing where Revival will end thanks to Lost.
Hack/Slash, is there a film update or any news on that?
Tim Seeley: Not anything recent. Last time I heard something, they were talking about a TV show. I think after The Walking Dead sorta broke the mold and became the most successful thing of all time, they were sort of more interested in a TV show. But I haven’t heard anything real recently, I should probably check up. I just hate that stuff. I’d rather just make comics and not have to think about that.
Is it the politics of it?
Seeley: Yeah, it’s just like… I don’t know. There are guys whose job it is to do that and it’s a full time job to just go to lunches, to talk to people and find out what’s going on and I have another full time job. I don’t want to track down people who, you know… So, I don’t know much, but hopefully something happens someday (laughs).
I know the Revival TV show kinda went away and then there was another show that kinda seemed similar, does that weigh in on why you don’t really have much of a taste for that side of things?
Seeley: No, I mean, when you work in entertainment and in comics, you have to do this. But you don’t have to make it your focus, it’s like, someone else’s job. I just make comics. But if I get money for an option or if someone makes a TV show and it sells my comics, I can make more comics. That’s how I think about it.
So you don’t want to be like Kirkman, where you have a hands on role on a TV show?
Seeley: No, I just have no interest in it. I really respect that he’s that guy and he can do that. But I would rather make the comic and if people recognize it and want to make something, that’s great, that’s awesome. But I’m not actively interested… I’m not doing comics so I can make films. I have no interest.
Was there a deliberate effort to make Revival something like a tonal counter-program to The Walking Dead [comic]?
Seeley: Not to The Walking Dead at all. It was definitely counter-programming to Hack/Slash. Basically, I’ve loved zombies since I was a kid and Robert and I have a lot of the same influences…
To me, The Walking Dead, it took that initial Romero idea of this sort of like man eating each other, sort of using the voodoo idea of a zombie and making it an infection and all that — Walking Dead takes that to the end. I don’t know if I have any other ideas for that kind of zombie story, I feel like, Walking Dead does it, and so, I knew I wanted to do something that was like a zombie story but just took a different take on it, you know?
Inherently, most zombie stuff is about survival and I didn’t want to do a survival story. I wanted to do a story about people and about relationships and about what would happen after that. About life more than survival. So yeah, I guess it is [counter-programming], but it wasn’t on purpose, it wasn’t intentional to try to foil… not the way that Three was, you know, Kieron [Gillen] was talking about Three being sort of a foil against 300*. This was more, “I don’t have ideas for that one kind of story, but I do have ideas for this other kind of story”.
Do you guys have an ending mapped out, do you know where you want to go?
Seeley: We do, yeah. Mike’s a really big fan of the show Lost, and one of his biggest heartbreaks was that he got to the end of that and realized that he didn’t really know what they were going towards. I don’t think Lost was about the ending, but I think to most people, they thought it was. They thought that that’s what it was about.
I think that finales — it’s just that last taste. Like, if you walk away from a meal and your last bite is shitty…
Seeley: Yeah, it taints it. But I think that that was a show about characters, but people got into the mystery. We’re like, well lets do a “show” [meaning the Revival comic] about the characters and the mystery and lets actually know what we’re doing. Let’s go into it knowing what that’s going to be and work towards it the whole time. So we weren’t going to even start it unless we knew the ending. Which obviously they probably didn’t have in Lost. They didn’t have that opportunity. But yeah, so I think that maybe it makes it more coherent and tightly plotted, which I think people are sorta responding to. That it seems like we know what we’re doing, because we do!
Working with Mike so closely, is there a bad side to working with another illustrator/writer?
Seeley: Not with Mike. I think the nice thing about it is, we can split up some duties. I mean, obviously, he has to draw the whole book and I have to write it. But as far as character design, I know he can… Like basically, when we went into it, I said, well you make up Dana and tell me what she looks like and I’ll make up Em and I’ll write the character based on what you’re thinking and what she looks like. I can trust him to do that, I don’t have to worry about it. And that’s actually so relieving. I don’t lose any sleep trying to make sure that it’s in the right style or it’s the right character design. I know he’ll get it right.
Would you guys ever consider switching roles for an issue?
Seeley: Yeah, we’ve talked about it. Originally, we were going to do it at issue 14 but our story went long and then we just said, we’ll save this. Someday we’ll do it, Mike will write it and I’ll draw it.
Other projects for you and Mike?
Seeley: We’re doing The Occultist for Dark Horse together too. And that’s partially because when people want to hire me, they think, “we need to have both of you”. I think we’re such a unit that people, like for Dark Horse, they didn’t want just me, they wanted me and Mike. So maybe that will be our thing in the future. Like, a lot of our stuff will be collaborations, which I think we’re totally fine with. We did a Superman story for DC and they wanted both of us. So, yeah, that’s kinda cool. That just means, to me, that people are seeing that we work on Revival well together.
You can get your hands on Revival from Image Comics every month at your local comic book shop and wherever fine digital comics are sold. If you’re behind, you can also get your hands on the hardcover collected edition for $34.99 that came out on 10/30.
*Seeley is referencing something that Kieron Gillen said about his new book, Three, during an Image creator panel at NYCC. We’ll have our exclusive interview with Kieron up in the next couple of days for more on Three and the differences between it and Frank Miller’s book.