‘Rex, Zombie Killer’ journey gets even more incredible

This October, one of the greatest zombie stories ever told returns with all new thrills, chills and undead drama. You’ll be on the edge of your seat as a small band of survivors struggle to stay alive and find safety in a world where danger lurks at every turn. Oh, by the way, no, we’re not talking about the new season of The Walking Dead.

In February, 2012, we told you about the awesome-cool comic, “Rex, Zombie Hunter,” the story of a band of pets (and a baseball bat wielding gorilla) on an epic zombie-infested cross-country adventure to find Rex’s owner and, hopefully, peace and safety. Well, this October, writer Rob Anderson, artist DaFu Yu and publisher Big Dog Ink are back with a four-issue mini-series that takes Rex and his scruffy team on an even more incredible journey.

Rex, Zombie Killer‘ is a nail-biting original twist on the zombie genre and an ingenious cross between Disney’s The Incredible Journey film (1963), The Walking Dead andPlanet of the Apes. Rob Anderson has created animal characters that are better developed and more credible than most human characters you’ll find in comics. And if you are a pet lover you’ll be in spine-tingling suspense as you read about the plight of Rex and his crew.

In the undead world of “Rex,” animals can also be infected with the zombie virus, so the pets have to avoid other zombie critters in addition to the ghoulish humans (both dead and alive.) Traveling with Rex, the heroic golden retriever, is Snowball, a white cat with an attitude; Brutus, a pit-bull that Rex saved in the original comic one-shot; Kenji, a sign-language speaking gorilla that carries the team’s supplies and swings a mean baseball bat; and my favorite, the loveable Buttercup, a brave little Corgi with a heart of gold.

Writer, Rob Anderson, was kind enough to entertain a few of my apish questions about the returning adventures of Rex and his gang.

The new mini-series appears to start off where the one-shot comic ended. How can readers to get their hands on the original book? Is it available digitally?

The publisher, Big Dog Ink, now has some of their titles available on Comixology, and I understand that the RZK One-Shot has been submitted to Comixology, so hopefully the One-Shot will be available before #1 of the mini-series hits stores!

Having said that, the new mini-series makes a great jumping-on point. The “outlaw biker” storyline resolved in the one-shot, and the only thing you really need to know is the animals are on their way to Rex’s human, and they’re now being pursued by some primates who escaped from a zoo. Also, we do have a brief “story so far” section on the inside front cover with more details, so we hope new fans will check it out either way.

One of the many things I love about your book is that it is completely devoid of the pretentious journal-like entries that have replaced word-balloons in modern comics.  Is that simply because animals don’t write, or was it more of a conscious decision to let your characters tell their tail in a more cinematic fashion?

A little of both. I don’t think voiceover narration would work very well for the animals, especially for Rex, since I want the readers to draw their own conclusions about the character. And I didn’t think they’d work well for the type of story I wanted to tell. I’ve definitely used narrative captions in other stories, but they’re not going to appear in RZK.

Your animal characters are so realistically portrayed. How do you get into the animal mindset of these characters and their breeds?

I’ve worked with animals, one way or another, through most of my life, whether it was as simple as playing with our pets or volunteering at shelters. So part of it is I’ve just known a lot of animals and worked with a lot of breeds. Most of the animals (excluding the gorilla, of course) are either based on real animals or blends of animals I’ve known. Brutus the pit bull is definitely the result of working with many strong but sweet pit bulls in shelter settings.

So, the mindset is just natural for me, and I hope it seems that way to the reader? I really “hear” the voices of these characters, and the process is not that much different than imagining what a particular dog’s voice might sound like if they could talk, you know?

Without giving anything away, we see Rex’s owner in issue #1 of the mini-series; is that an indication that he’s going to make it home by the end of the last issue?

I definitely don’t want to give anything away, but I will say that the first storyline — Rex trying to reach his human — will be resolved in this mini-series! Issue #4 does not end on a cliffhanger.

This comic series would make for an excellent and unique film; have you shopped “Rex” around Hollywood yet?

It hasn’t been shopped — and it would certainly make an unusual film! It was really envisioned as a comic book and only a comic book from the beginning, but seeing it as a film would be a hoot.

If you love reading great comic books, and especially if you are a zombie fan, an animal lover, or both, then you are going to be thrilled with “Rex, Zombie Killer.” Make sure you ask your local comic shop to pre-order for Oct. 30, 2013, delivery.

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