We've covered Riley Rossmo's previous work on Green Wake and I was excited when I first heard about Rebel Blood last year. Zombie comics are not uncommon, but this series does something different by focusing on infected animals. I'm really interested to see where they take the series and have a brief Q&A with creator/artist Riley Rossmo, who lets readers know what to expect from Rebel Blood:
Thank you for taking the time to talk with Daily Dead. Can you tell us a bit about what inspired you to create Rebel Blood?
Riley Rossmo: I’d been thinking about trying to plot a book for a while. I wanted to do a short horror narrative, My brother and I had been watching a lot of horror films and started talking about building a narrative that might measure up to some of the films we had been watching.
I’d also spent a little more time than usual in the wilderness. I fish a little, but I’m not a great outdoorsman. I get a little unnerved in remote natural environments. The final piece was the H1N1 and avian flu epidemics. I started putting the pieces together that would become Rebel Blood.
How did you end up pairing with Alex for this project? Why did you think he was the perfect choice to handle the material?
Riley Rossmo: I’ve known Alex for a while. We met through a mutual acquaintance that was interested in making a action/adventure comic that never panned out, but Alex and I got along pretty well. Alex has a great knowledge base in comics and horror fiction. He took my plot outlines elaborated on the rough parts, and plot issues, but made sure to keep true to my concept. Alex is super easy to collaborate with and he doesn’t get disturbed by intense imagery
This isn't a typical zombie series. When you and I talked earlier, you mentioned that this was more of a mutation like The Omega Man. Can you tell me more about this world and how the infection/mutation works?
Riley Rossmo: I think of the Rebel Blood as a hybrid of Ebola and Rabies. The major difference in our infection is that it travels cross species. The infected aren’t undead; they’re still susceptible to injury. They’re hyper-aggressive and suffer from rapid mutation, and cellular growth.
Other properties insist that they won't reveal the origin of the infection. Is that something you're interested in exploring? Why or why not?
Riley Rossmo: Some of it will be explained in issue 4. I’m not a biochemist or epidemiologist so in my case at least I didn’t want to get to involved in the scientific aspects of how the infection/disease spreads or originates. Alex and I do have a potential follow up that would explore the roots of the infection more. I do have a friend that’s a biochemist I can bounce thoughts off which helps a little.
The first issue focuses on Forest Ranger Chuck Neville. Will he always be the main focus of the book? Is Rebel Blood more of his story than infection on a bigger scale?
Riley Rossmo: The mini-series is about Chuck and his choices. Being my first foray into writing, I wanted to keep the story streamlined. I feel I can relate to the problems and emotions an individual might face in a disease outbreak. I think anything on a bigger scale would just be hard to deal with for me at this point.
The original announcement mentions that the book pays tribute to classic horror comics. Are there any specific characters/scenes that are a nod to the older comics?
Riley Rossmo: Without giving too much away Rebel Blood is structured like a Tales From the Crypt narrative or Twilight Zone episode.
Right now, Rebel Blood is just listed as a 4-part miniseries. If the first 4 issues are successful, are you interested in continuing the story? Do you already have story ideas mapped out?
Riley Rossmo: Alex and I have a potential 4 issue follow up that explores more of the roots and characteristics of the outbreak.
Can you give our readers a little tease as to what you have in store for issues 2-4?
Riley Rossmo: There is some pretty graphic imagery, 4-5 more species of infected animals, a flare gun, some cannibalism, and a car chase.
For readers who are interested in learning more is there a website/Facebook/Twitter account that they can follow?
Riley Rossmo: You can find me on Twitter at @rileyrossmo1
Want to learn more about Rebel Blood?
Read our 7-page preview of the first issue: http://dailydead.com/preview-7-pages-from-zombie-miniseries-rebel-blood/
Check out exclusive infected artwork from Riley Rossmo: http://dailydead.com/exclusive-teaser-art-for-zombie-miniseries-rebel-blood/