Zombies in Florida: Fred Van Lente on Marvel Zombies III

Van Lente on Marvel Zombies III

They’ve eaten their way right into any good Marvel Zombie’s heart and mind. That’s right, folks; the Marvel Zombieverse returns this month in the third installment of Marvel Zombies. Written by Fred Van Lente and drawn by Kev Walker, Marvel Zombies 3 delves into the time period between Marvel Zombies 1 and 2—exploring what more of the zombified characters were doing during the 40 year span between the first two projects. Set in 616 Marvel continuity, it appears that zombies from the Zombieverse are pouring into the Nexus of All Realities—in Citrusville, Florida—home of the Man-Thing. The cover of the first issue all boasts appearances by The Machine Man and Jocasta!

Newsarama contacted Fred Van Lente to discuss just who is to be dined upon and who will be doing the dining in this four issue mini-series…

11 page preview here

Newsarama: First off, let's talk about the status of the Marvel Universe post Marvel Zombies 2. Where does this story pick up or take place in lieu of the other two stories?

Fred Van Lente: In the Zombie Universe, MZ3 takes place in the five-year gap at the very end of Marvel Zombies 1, after the cosmically-powered undead went off to explore strange, new worlds and devour them. But before the folks living on Magneto's Asteroid M came down to Earth and said, "Hey, where did all the zombies go?"

In the Marvel Universe, MZ3 takes place right before Secret Invasion.

Whether or not you can now triangulate from when Ultimate Reed went into the Zombie Universe and develop a parallel timeline for the Ultimate, Marvel and Zombie Universe when things happen simultaneously with each other, I will leave to those with way more time on their hands...

NRAMA: What role does Citrusville, Florida play in the story? Man-Thing is from Florida...

FVL: So he is! Also in Citrusville is the Nexus of All Realities, where many other universes converge. And therefore it's the perfect place for a denizen of, say, I don't know, the Marvel Zombie Universe to stumble into our very own Marvel U and unleash a plague of undead on the Sunshine State.

NRAMA: This mini sees the Marvel Zombie-verse cross into the standard '616' Marvel Universe, correct? Do any 616 characters play crucial roles in this mini?

FVL: Let's just say the Florida Initiative team has a really, really, really, really bad day.

The sister agency to S.H.I.E.L.D. in charge of guarding against interdimensional threats -- Alternate Reality Monitoring and Operational Response -- A.R.M.O.R. -- which is headed by a returning MU mutant we haven't seen since, gee... Since the 1990's, I don't think -- they gather together a team to go into the Zombie Universe and get bring back the one thing blood expert and "living vampire" Dr. Michael Morbius needs to save the entire Marvel Universe from being completely overrun by cannibalistic superhuman undead.

And as those of you who've seen our first issue cover know, who better to send on a mission to the Zombie Universe than heroes who can't possibly be infected by zombies for the most obvious reason?

NRAMA: Do you have any connection to zombie movies or fiction? What are some of your influences for this project?

FVL: The original Night of the Living Dead is one of my all time favorite movies, and I love Peter Jackson's Dead Alive/Brain Dead. One of my best friends from college is famed zombie novelist David Wellington, who I was working with at the U.N. (of all places) when he was writing his great zombie trilogy, Monster Island, Monster Nation and Monster Planet. He would bounce ideas off me and he would tell me about how he was struggling and working with the genre.

So even though MZ3 is my first major work in the zombie world it felt familiar to me -- like coming home. A rotting, blood-spattered, intestine-spilling home.

NRAMA: The previous two stories are pretty shocking and/or horrific. Does this new mini up the ante in terms of shock and gore?

FVL: All I know is the climax of the second issue is the single most disgusting thing I've ever written. And Kev Walker captured it brilliantly -- and by "brilliant" I mean "horrifically and disgustingly." I wanted to take a shower after I saw the boards. Come to think of it, I still do...

NRAMA: Are there any surprise characters making an impact in pages of this project?

FVL: Well, he's on the cover, so I don't know how big of a surprise he'll be at this point!

We're definitely going to be seeing a lot of zombie characters we haven't seen in the past, what the villains have been up to in the Zombie Universe, some of the robots... What's been going on in the Blue Area of the Moon...

Let's just say certain zombies have taken advantage of the advanced science of a superhero universe to solve their food shortage problem...

By employing a device from one of the single most controversial Marvel story lines of all time...

NRAMA: Will the zombies infiltrating the 616 continuity have any long-lasting effects on any standard Marvel characters?

FVL: Yes, one in particular, who's one of my favorites of all time.

NRAMA: In six words, give readers a solid tease for Marvel Zombies 3.

FVL: Delicious brains oozing from costume -- YUM!

Wow. I think we can get a whole "Zombie Haiku" movement started if we try hard enough...

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