Airdrie-based comic retailer Cult Empire recently launched their own comic line with the first issue of Vietnam Zombie Holocaust, available from their website or via one of several convention appearances, including the Lakes International Comic Art Festival next month.
The books went down a storm at the MCM Scotland Comic Con, confirming there’s no shortage of zombie horror fans out there – who clearly appreciated the terrific art and story featured in the first issue from George Lennox and James Devlin respectively.
The year is 1969, and President Richard Nixon has a problem: the Vietnam War. With protests breaking out all over the country and the death toll rising each week, he needs a new solution. Enter Dr Franklin Herbert, who gets approval for Operation Zombie Holocaust, in which a team of special force soldiers are selected to undergo a new program to make them into an elite fighting machine that can counter attack the North Vietnamese Army.
Meanwhile, new recruits Cooper and Clay have just been deployed with 25th Infantry Division “Tropic Lightning”. Their first duty is to search a Vietnamese farm suspected of holding weapons for the VC. But before they get to the farm they discover something too shocking for them to imagine, too shocking for them to witness, too shocking for them to believe… They have just entered the Vietnam Zombie Holocaust…
“The comic will be a four-part set which really ups the ante in each issue”, George tells us, “with a lot more cult characters to be introduced, and The Nam turns into The Wild Bunch!”
Some of you may recall I’m not a big zombie fan, but the art on this book is absolutely terrific, and without spoiling surprises, let’s just say I’ll never trust a donkey again after reading this. Once the exposition was out the way this is a great action story, with plenty of suitable macabre humour. There’s a lot to enjoy about this book, and comic fans at the recent MCM Scotland Comic Con clearly thought so, too.
“Between our two tables at the event we sold 413 VZH comic books,” says George. “We had the regular and variant cover of VZH on sale and the response was amazing over the two days.” While that may sound small compared with the sales of your average Marvel comic, that’s a staggering amount for a new indie launch, and testament to the hard work the team have put into the project.
But the Cult Empire team aren’t stopping with just one title. “Our next comic, Horror Show, is out in October and will launch at the Lakes,” George reveals. It’s a new horror anthology series which contains three stories based on real life mixed with old school horror. We have new up and coming artists working on this, with Alex Ronald (Vampire Vixens of the Wehrmacht, 2000AD ) providing the cover.”
“Cult Empire Comics is a label that I want to be able to complete and export worldwide,” says George. “…When James I first meeting about VZH the first thing we agreed on was we had to make a book that can compete [with mainstream titles]” George told us, “and I really think we have achieved that..
They certainly have. Take a look at some sample pages below. The team on this project has produced a top quality title here, skilfully combining action adventure and horror with consummate skill. This title is very definitely not for the squeamish, but it’s well told and the art if top-notch.
I’m looking forward to finding out more about their ambitious plans for zombie-backed world domination next month in Kendal!
• Check out Cult Empires’ comic line here on their website or follow them on Facebook. Cult Empire will be in the Comics Clock Tower at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival (17th – 19th October)
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.