Comic-Con@Home: Remembering Romero & Anticipating ‘The Living Dead’
by Ben Martin
Much of writer-director-producer George A. Romero‘s filmography is seemingly prescient of the times in which we’re living. I’ve recently re-watched Dawn of the Dead (1978), Day of the Dead (1983), and The Crazies (1973) as a way of processing these past five months. Let’s face it: Romero hit the nail on the head regarding how humans would behave during a pandemic, mishandling the situation would be an understatement. After all, in creating the modern zombie with Night of the Living Dead (1968), Romero provided the ultimate metaphor for the complexities of the darkness dwelling within humanity.
If 2020 doesn’t deserve further commentary from Romero on the subject, I don’t know what time would. Thankfully, said commentary arrives in novel form this August from genre publisher Tor Books, who is bringing us The Living Dead!
To promote the book, Comic-Con@Home offered a panel moderated by Richard Newburgh of The Hollywood Reporter. Newburgh interviews The Living Dead‘s co-author Daniel Kraus and Romero’s widow Suzanne Romero, who is also the founder and president of The Romero Foundation. The first half of the panel is devoted to providing us some background on how The Living Dead came to be and what we can expect from it.
Shortly before Romero’s passing in 2017, Krause was chosen by the filmmaker and his family to finish The Living Dead. He worked off a number of documents written by Romero — a 200-page manuscript, a short story from the point-of-view of a zombie, and a 10-page letter/outline. The co-author assured fans that the story will take place in the continuity of all six Dead films. More importantly, Krause said he studied all of Romero’s work to capture his voice and inform the finished novel. As such, he promises that The Living Dead provides, “Sharp, brutal commentary on American society.”
The remainder of the panel was dedicated to remembering Romero and his work. Suzanne Romero led this legitimately heartfelt portion of the proceedings. She spoke about her late husband’s creative process, his prolific nature as a writer, and his view on humanity. Unsurprisingly, she sums him up as a man who was simultaneously a pessimist and a humanist; a quality I find evident in his work. The discussion ended on a lighter note, however, as both panelists assured fans of Romero’s work that there is more on the way. For example, a further peek inside the forthcoming novel contains a list of Romero’s unproduced screenplays and other projects.
Frankly, folks, this panel caused a myriad of emotions to wash over me. Of course, I’m anticipating the novel, which I’ll be purchasing. Aside from that, though, I felt myself actively missing George A. Romero as a creator while basking in an appreciation for his work. I believe any of my fellow Romero or Dead fans out there will significantly enjoy this panel!
The Living Dead is currently available for pre-order & will be released on August 4th.