David Hine Talks "FVZA"

Tue, August 25th, 2009 at 10:28am PDT | Updated: August 25th, 2009 at 12:30pm

Comic Books
Steve Sunu, Staff Writer/Reviews Editor

"FVZA: Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency" #1 on sale in October

This October, Radical Comics releases “FVZA: Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency” based on the website FVZA.org, with longtime comics scribe David Hine (“Spider-Man: Noir”) behind the helm. Set in an alternate reality where vampires and zombies have been a part of everyday life for years, the world of “FVZA” is one of constant danger and duplicity from intelligent vampires who use the zombie and vampire viruses to infect the innocent and attempt to takeover the world.

“At one time 300,000 people were infected. After the Civil War, the Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency was set up to deal with the problem,” Hine told CBR. “A scientific wing worked on developing a vaccine for the diseases and the military wing hunted down infected survivors. The agency was so successful that by the mid-seventies vampires and zombies were declared extinct and the agency was shut down.”

Unfortunately for humankind, the undead just won’t stay in their graves. The dwindling numbers of vampires are back, and they’re out for blood. “They are back with a vengeance, using the zombie virus as a biological terrorist weapon,” Hine said. “Former Director Hugo Pecos, convinced that the Undead would return, has brought up his own grandchildren, Landra and Vidal, to be the perfect warriors, trained in armed and unarmed combat. They are now leading the first search and destroy operations by the reformed FVZA.”

The title is based on FVZA.org, a website created by Richard S. Dargan that includes a database of history and science of the vampire and zombie threat. “As I’m writing the series I find myself constantly referring to the site to check on details of the viral symptoms, the development of the FVZA, weaponry and unarmed combat techniques,” said Hine. “It’s like having a reference library at my fingertips, a bedrock of facts that gives the series a realism and consistency.”

"FVZA: Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency" #1 on sale in October

This mythology served both as a reference tool and a personal challenge for Hine. “I did feel a responsibility to Richard’s original concept so I’ve tried to keep within the parameters he has laid down on the web site and then turn in the best possible story,” Hine said. “It’s a real challenge to come up with something original with a genre like this. What I’ve concentrated on is making the story as realistic and plausible as possible and to create solid complex characters. I’m interested in getting into the heads of all the characters, not only the humans whose way of life is under threat but also the vampires and even the zombies. How does it feel to see your own body rotting and feel your mind and your humanity gradually slipping away? If I’ve succeeded in making all the characters convincing then the horror becomes even more effective and disturbing. My goal has always been to write stories that are unsettling and nudge the readers out of their comfort zone.”

According to Hine, the draw of “FVZA” is not only its mythology, but also the central concept and the unique take on the undead. “I have always been fascinated by the conflict with a creature who, rather than just killing, can also transform its victims into the thing they most fear,” he said. “A vampire can drain your blood but a single bite will condemn you to the same blood lust. Likewise with zombies, one bite or scratch and you become the monster. Although the vampire mythology has been with us for a very long time, it is the perfect touchstone for modern anxieties and obsessions – sexual desire balanced by fear of sexually transmitted disease, a quest for longevity countered by the fear of losing one’s humanity. Zombies represent a more primal need – to feed. Cannibalism is the ultimate taboo and a perfect metaphor for modern greed. The society that consumes without thought or discrimination ends up feeding on itself. And I can’t deny the gross-out appeal of zombies. Brain eating, gut spilling, maggot raddled walking corpses are fun.”

“Working on this book has been a great experience,” said Hine. “Roy Martinez has drawn the best pencils of his career to date and he obviously revels in drawing the undead. Our digital colorist, Kinsun Loh, is a stunning new talent. His paints have taken the art to a new level and he’s sure to become one of the most in-demand colorists in the business. Editing is by Luis Reyes, who was my editor at Tokyopop, Clint Langley and John Bolton have turned in some stunning covers and letters are by the guys at Comicraft. That’s one damned fine team.”

As for the book itself, Hine is hopeful that “FVZA” will be the title to unearth the closet zombie and vampire fans. “I’m hoping a lot of people who wouldn’t normally bother with a vampire or zombie book will pick this up,” he said. “I’m sure we’ve achieved the goal of taking a couple of sub-genres of horror that have been done to death recently, and rejuvenated them - or maybe that should be ‘resurrected them.’”

TAGS:  radical, david hine, roy martinez, fvza, fvza: federal vampire and zombie agency

 
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