Tim Seeley has made a name for himself when it comes to horror comics. Tired of seeing the same remakes over and over again, the writer and artist created his own horror brand in 2004 with "Hack/Slash," the story of a girl and her deformed friend killing slashers. Since then, he's become something of a go-to guy when it comes to dealing with the undead.
It should come as no surprise then that creator Rob Liefeld and Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson tapped Seeley to resurrect "Bloodstrike" along with many of Liefeld's other creator-owned properties from the Extreme Studios imprint. Like the other titles in the relaunch, Seeley will be picking up "Bloodstrike" where the previous creators -- and the books' numbering -- left off, meaning Seeleye first "Bloodstrike" issue in March boasts a #26 on the cover.
CBR News spoke with Seeley about what being dead really means to these soldiers, working with artist Franchesco Gaston and Rob Liefeld's claims that Seeley had been sending him "Youngblood" and "Bloodstrike" pitches for years.
"Years?" Seeley asked. "God, has it been that long? I pitched Rob a 'Badrock' mini back in like 2001, which I bet even he doesn't remember. I tried like hell to get a 'G.I. Joe' cover from him when I was at [Devil's Due Productions]. And I pitched a 'Bloodstrike' mini in 2008, which sort of led to me pitching for the relaunched 'Bloodstrike.'"
Seeley said his reputation in the world of horror comics definitely helped him get the gig, as well as his well publicized love of Liefeld and his creations.
"I think when editors think 'Undead people and exploding heads' they think of me," Seeley told CBR News. "I'm not sure how I exactly ended up with the gig, but I know Rob, Robert Kirkman and Eric Stephenson were aware of my affection for 'Youngblood,' 'Supreme' and 'Bloodstrike,' so that may have helped. My previous pitch may have had something to do with it as well."
The original series was created by Liefeld, who also helped plot some of the early stories with Stephenson, and Seeley promised the original continuity will be respected. Well, most of it.
"It picks up after issue #25, sort of... The problem was that towards the end of the 'Bloodstrike' run, things got a little confusing, with the Image of Tomorrow issue, and such," Seeley explained. "Our story completely recognizes and acknowledges everything that happened in that series, but issue #26 is very much an accessible, clean start, taking place at an indeterminate amount of time after #25. There's no reboot here. Our Cabbot Stone is the exact same Cabbot Stone from 1993's 'Bloodstrike' #1."
But, just who is Cabbot Stone? Aside from being the team leader, Seeley also said he's dealing with a few issues that come from his very rare condition of being a zombie.
"Cabbot is the old pro at being dead," Seeley said. "He's a guy who has been doing this job so long, he's not really sure what living is like anymore. He's looking for something, because he doesn't have the fear of death anymore. Even worse, he doesn't have the comfort of it. He's basically Zombie-Captain America [or] Corpse Superman with a big handgun."
The whole idea of undead soldiers and how they handle themselves in the field was a big part of what Seeley wanted to explore in the undertaking of a new "Bloodstrike" book.
"There tends to be a feeling among infantry soldiers that they're viewed as expendable," Seeley remarked. "How does it change your view of war if you can't die? How does affect your view of religion, and the afterlife, if you've been through death's door already? I think each person would handle those experiences differently, and that'll be at the heart of our story. The rest of the book will be made up of exploding heads, sexy zombies, and mummies with laser guns."
Of course, Cabbot isn't the only zombie solider running around kicking ass and taking names -- he has a whole team behind him. Seeley said the names will be familiar even if the faces matching them are not.
"At the end of the previous series, the implication was that the members of the team had went the big A-way," Seeley said. "That worked well for my take, because it'll let me add a new cast who play well into the story thematically. But I felt like it'd be just wrong to do a 'Bloodstrike' book without characters named Fourplay and Deadlock, so we have a new team using the old monikers."
When it came to bringing Cabbot, Fourplay, Deadlock and the rest to four color life again, Seeley turned to a friend and former collaborator for some potential new blood.
"Franchesco is a friend/student/studiomate of my old friend and 'Hack/Slash' collaborator Stefano Caselli who now draws '[Amazing] Spider-Man' and 'Venom' for Marvel," Seeley said. "Stef and I still work together, and he likes to send me his up-and-coming artists. I'd been looking for a book for Franchesco for a year or more, and when Eric asked me who I wanted to work with on 'Bloodstrike' he was at the top of my list."
Since the Extreme Studios relaunch was announced at this year's New York Comic Con, Liefeld and company have been doing everything they can to get behind the new books. Seeley said that while the Image founder might not be his direct editor on the book, he does fit a very important role.
"Eric Stephenson is doing most of the editorial stuff," Seeley said. "I believe after the initial pitches were approved, Rob's job has been to be our inspiration, our Stan Lee if you will, and generally the guy who's having fun watching other people come up new ways to play with his cool old toys. So far, this has been a pretty awesome gig, with Eric and Rob both giving me the freedom to tell the best damn 'Bloodstrike' story I can tell."
"Bloodstrike" #26, Seeley and Gaston's first issue on the title, arrives in March.