It started in the latter half of 2010 as a horror web-series concept. Writer & Editor Mike Garley began developing a series called “Dead Roots” with a view to production the following year. I was recruited to write one of the episodes. But as production continued to be delayed, Mike made the decision to move the project to the world of comics, so as to not lose momentum. The human side of Zombies have always intrigued both of us, for different reasons. Mike approached me to write for the comic anthology because he thought my style of writing would suit the genre. I was tentative at first but very excited. And so began an incredible creative journey. But not just for me.
Dead Roots is a very cool and unique exploration of zombie mythology that has enticed comic creators and drawn talent both established and new from the world of games, television, and film. Some well-known contributors include James Moran, Paul Alexander, Jason Arnopp and Tim Clague. The concept focuses on the human side of the first few hours of a zombie invasion, not months down the line, but those first pivotal moments of horror and transformation as the world falls apart globally and for each individual. Many different styles of art and writing combine to create something distinct in this genre and in comics. Through the use of flashbacks Dead Roots tells personal journeys in the midst of blood, horror, and chaos.
Or, as the website states:
“Dead Roots is a comic anthology based on the initial outbreak of a zombie plague. The anthology focuses on the emotional state and experiences of everyday people, and their journeys as they search to find their loved ones in an apocalyptic setting. The anthology will consist of multiple short stories of related – by blood or love – characters as they come to grips with this new horrific environment. The stories will include flashbacks and/or items of significance, to expand on their relationships and motivations, and bind the characters together.”
This has been my first comic script. My story “The Problem with Longing” tells the tale of a teenage ballerina in her final moments as she reflects on desire while transforming from a thing of beauty into a thing of terror. The beauty and terror of my own vision to my surprise and joy became something that helped to inspire the rest of the anthology (although I have yet to see quite how it informs the idea as a whole. Only Mike knows that).
As a script writer who had previously written scripts primarily for film and television, the journey into comics was at first strange, but the transition has been magical. The joy of comics is the intense creativity afforded to all contributors. The truly collaborative elements make it unlike any other form of writing I have experienced. As a writer for comics my words inspire paintbrushes, and in turn the artwork inspires me to create stories that are not just narrative but intensely visual. Using art to create the illusion of time, or claustrophobia, beauty, or anger in a story is an incredible opportunity. It is an intimate and bold art form which in many ways has set me free as a writer.
The Dead Roots anthology has been born out of passion and interest in zombie stories, human nature, and evocative storytelling. While I would still love to see the web series evolve, the comic medium is perfect for this type of storytelling. From what I have seen of the stories and different styles of artwork involved so far, the level of artistic integrity–the writing and the artwork– is inspiring and the stories are new, exciting, and engaging. This is something different, something daring. I am so proud to be part of it.
When she’s not enraptured in the wonderful world of writing comics, Kimberley Newey is a copywriter for a digital marketing agency. One of her current clients is Global Integration who specialise in intercultural training, which could come in handy in the event of a zombie apocalypse.