Sami Makkonen Interview- Deadworld: War of the Dead
by Decapitated Dan
Decapitated Dan speaks with Sami Makkonen, artist of the weekly IDW series written by Gary Reed, Deadworld: War of the Dead.
Decapitated Dan: Hey Sami, thanks for taking time to talk with me about Deadworld: War of the Dead. First of all lets talk about you. Who are you and what do you do?
Sami Makkonen: Living and working in Helsinki, Finland. Comic book artist, horror and fantasy genre. I`ve illustrated books like Deadworld Slaughterhouse and volumes 2 and 3 of Hatter M. Vol.4 coming soon.
DD: How did you find yourselves getting into making comics?
SM: I`ve wanted to do this stuff ever since I was a kid. My parents used to read me comics (mainly Marvel stuff) the time I could`t do it myself. While other kids at first grade at my school drew cars and flowers and I don`t know what, I was trying to do Incredible Hulk. There was a few years break after highschool but after graduating from the university (chair of painting) it all came back. I decided not to paint so much but see if can make my living by doing comics. And to do the comics to United States which was an obvious choice since most of the artist I appreciate are coming from the US.
DD: So what can you tell me about Deadworld: War of the Dead?
SM: The book is first time in full color. I would have wanted to do the Slaughterhouse in color too and even wanted to color it afterwards when IDW republished it. I then contacted Gary (Reed) and we decided to do this whole new book. I told Gary I wanted to do a book with masses of zombies in it. Gary agreed with the idea and the result is the War of the Dead.
DD: What's it all about?
SM: It`s a post apocalyptic story of humans trying to survive in a world that went mad years ago. About a year has passed since what happened in the Slaughterhouse. A group of people has been forced to stay in fortified old campus area and an intelligent zombie leader, the King Zombie is about to wipe out the whole place with a big horde of zombies. But that`s just the main plot. Besides that a lot of other things are happening.
DD: Who are the main characters?
SM: Very much the same bunch of people than in previous Deadworld stories. That said, the War of the Dead is written so that you don`t have to have read the previous books; it is suitable for new readers too. Dan is kind of a lonely wolf, a guy with an attitude and assault riffle. Donna is his ex girlfriend, now possessed by a dead spirit and slowly succumbing to the dark side. Mike is Dan`s old friend but now turned into a leper. Deake is a madman who seems to have some hidden knowledge about the zombie plague. And King Zombie is the intelligent leader of the dead.
DD: In terms of horror what can we expect?
SM: Very interesting, and different kind of zombie story with normal shooting the brain thing going on. An eerie and agonizing atmosphere and for old fans there is going to be couple of BIG surprises.
DD: You began your Deadworld career on Slaughterhouse. Can you explain things came together for you to become the artist on this title?
SM: I did Blue to Desperado Publishing. Right after Blue was finished, Joe Pruett, the publisher, asked me if I was interested in doing the Deadworld. Gary was looking for a new artist. And I was, and am, a big Romero fan so...
DD: Deadworld fans are a very loyal and loud bunch. How have the reacted to your art style so far?
SM: Some people seem to like it a lot. Then there are those who want Vince Locke to come back. But I guess it`s understandable from the old fans point of view. I think the color is a big change now and it should be a positive change for everyone.
DD: This is the first Deadworld book to be done in color, were you worried about adding color into the mix?
SM: Not a bit. I think my art looks a lot better when in color. I also had a very strong feeling of how it should be colored, as it was me who suggested to do it in color in the first place.
DD: You have a very GORE-Geous art style, who were your influences?
SM: From the comics field, artists like Bill Sienkiewicz and Kent Williams. And then painters like Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt just to name a few.
DD: Can we expect you to be the artist for more Deadworld series the future?
SM: I hope so. If I just have time I would love to do it. I have three different comic projects on my desk right now. Deadworld is one of them.
DD: Can you talk a bit about your experiences so far with working in comics?
SM: Everything has gone very well. And for me it`s all fun. I`m having the time of my life. And I do want to do this for the rest of my life, trying to get better all the time.
DD: Any strange or interesting stories from shows you care to share?
SM: I could have one when in Helsinki comic festival I accidentally kicked the bad leg of Warren Ellis. While showing him my portfolio, and trying to borrow his smokes...
DD: Were you into any horror titles growing up that lead you to want to create a book like this? What comics are you currently reading?
SM: Well I read some titles like Tales from the Crypt and similar stuff. Basically anything I found. But it wasn`t as easy as nowadays back in the days in Finland. The internet didn`t exist and there were not so many comic shops that had a good selection. But more than that I`m a huge horror movie fan. I have seen them all. I don`t read much comics now `cause it seems I don`t have time for that. From time to time I go to my bookshelf and pick up a legendary title like Stray Toasters and just stare the good art at pages.
DD: So where can readers find out more about this book?
SM: From the puplisher`s site idwpublishing.com and sites samimakkonen.com and garyreed.net for example. I`m on Twitter and Facebook too where I try to post all the news.
DD: So in summary give me a quick recap on Deadworld: War of the Dead and why fans should give it a try.
SM: It`s a very original zombie story you can get once a week so you don`t have to wait. The book is shipping weekly in August. It`s a must for the fans since there is going to be a major change in the overall plotline but at the same time the series is planned so that it`s perfect for a new reader too.
DD: Thanks so much for your time Sami.
SM: Thanks to you, Dan.
"Decapitated" Dan Royer
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