The Dynamite Interviews: Brandon Jerwa Interviews Fred Van Lente

Dynamite have been conducting creator-on-creator interviews over the last few weeks, sending out the transcripts to various websites – ComicVine, Bleeding Cool, and so on. And here’s an interview between Vampirella writer Brandon Jerwa and The Mocking Dead’s Fred Van Lente – but what is The Mocking Dead, exactly?

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Brandon Jerwa: THE MOCKING DEAD seems like a pretty self-explanatory title, but how would you explain the book to someone who might be picking it up for the first time?

Fred Van Lente: The Mocking Dead follows a team of genre nerds turned government analysts who suddenly become useful when an undead apocalypse breaks out all around them — in a way that seems identical to a long-thought-lost Grade-Z drive-in zombie movie,The Mocking Dead. Our team of agents fans across the country to track down the last known print of the film before the entire world collapses into horror all around them.

Brandon: We’ve seen horror-comedy reach a new height of popularity over the last 15 years or so. Any particular favorites in the genre

Fred: Oh, that’s a good question. Is it wrong to call Cabin in the Woods a comedy? It’s definitely a satire. I remember laughing out loud at numerous scenes. Polanski’s Fearless Vampire Hunters still holds up pretty well. And so much of the later campy Vincent Price stuff is so great at both laughs and chills – Abominable Dr. Phibes and Theatre of Blood in particular.

Brandon: Even when they’re embracing comedy, most fans seem to retain a high level of expectation for the actual horror content. How do you balance the two?

Fred: The emphasis in The Mocking Dead is more on outrageous gore and gags than scares. The zombie apocalypse is less of a threat in itself than how society and the government and individuals react to it — or screw it up.

That said, one protagonist meets a particularly spectacularly gruesome end in #5… A death that rivals any of my Marvel Zombies stuff… (laughs evilly)

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Brandon: Is it difficult to bring something new to zombie fans? What do you think this book delivers especially well?

Fred: Yeah, it’s very hard. I still can’t believe I’ve written so many comics in this genre! What I wanted to do with The Mocking Dead is to go “behind the scenes” in the apocalypse — to show the chain of screw-ups and incompetence that leads from an initial outbreak to a full-blown Walking Dead type apocalypse situation. So the focus is on a zombie threat that’s just beginning — and it’s human stupidity that makes it dangerous. (And funny.)

Brandon: Are you prepared for the zombie apocalypse?

Fred: Nah. An apocalypse is the nihilist’s afterlife — the chance restart your whole existence over from square one. The truth is life keeps shambling on, from day to day, over and over, with no major changes on the horizon, only gradual incremental adjustments to deadening monotony…

Huh, maybe the zombie apocalypse already happened and none of us noticed?

 

Than you to Misters Jerwa and Van Lente for their time – and for that worrying social commentary at the end there. Vampirella Vol 4 is out now, as is The Mocking Dead.

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