Tony Moore sits down with us to chat about The Walking Dead. He gives us his take on the upcoming films The Green Hornet and Green Lantern – and which comic book character would he most like to trade places with? We want to hear your thoughts on The Walking Dead
DRC: Joining us on DownRight Creepy we have one of the hottest hand in comics right now, illustrator Tony Moore. Tony what’s up? Thanks sitting down to talk with us today.
TM: Oh, p’shaw. I don’t deserve an intro like that, but I appreciate it. Just trying to keep my head above water, finish off all my old odds and ends before new stuff kicks up, and chasing a newly-mobile baby.
DRC: Congrats on the baby! I would be dumb to not ask you about The Walking Dead right off the bat. The cinematography, the makeup work on the zombies is phenomenal – and the vision of the series is basically interrupted through your eyes from the beginning. How amazing is it to see your work come to life to this magnitude?
TM: I’ve said it before, but surreal is really the only word that does the situation justice. It’s one thing to see the book brought to life, but the degree of fidelity they’ve held to the visuals really gave me goosebumps. It’s uncanny, really. I’m honored and amazed.
DRC: We have the transformation video for “Bicycle Girl” up on the site. When that image was released I feel like the buzz went up 200% for the show because it really showed that AMC is getting it right! Were you surprised at all by how the zombies turned out?
TM: Well, when I saw that Nicotero and the boys from KNB EFX were in charge, I definitely got excited. I knew they’d be great, sight unseen, but admittedly, I was worried about how gory they could go on basic cable. But when they showed the first image of the infamous Bicycle Girl, I was truly floored. No punches were pulled on these bone gnashers, and it shows. Brutal and amazing. As good as or better than any movie zombies I can think of, which is exactly what a show like this needs and deserves. Anything less would feel… well, less.
DRC: AMC released the Animated Comic of The Walking Dead and even that looked fantastic. Is this something that will continue to be made – about how long does it take you to sketch an animated episode?
TM: That turned out pretty wild, huh? It was actually produced from the artwork i did for the comic, which took me anywhere from anywhere from a month to 2 months, depending. I don’t know if they plan to produce subsequent episodes from the remaining issues, but they did a stellar job on that one. It was Juice Films, the same company that did the motion comics for the Watchmen, but aside from it being personal, I think this one is the best job I’ve seen.
DRC: An AMC executive said they really want The Walking Dead to do for zombies what Mad Men did for advertising. Do you think it can reach that level and branch out from typical horror fans?
TM: Well, it’s definitely racked up the ratings to back that claim. As it bears on, and the character drama really starts to manifest, I think non-horror fans will suddenly find themselves a lot more engaged than they had imagined they would be.
DRC: It’s always some kind of virus that starts these zombie epidemics – where are these viruses coming from!? How would you survive a zombie apocalypse? Do you have a special plan in place or are you just going to hunker down in Kentucky with some Whiskey and a shotgun?
TM: The mention of a virus in the show is just a hypothesis, and in the book, no explanation at all is given. That said, of course, it’ll surely be the government’s fault. Some horrible bioweapons experiment carried out by Big Pharma gone awry. That’s how I see us all going down. I live in the woods, on a hill, and I’m well armed. Plus, I grew up on a farm. My family will be okay, but don’t come knockin’ unannounced.
DRC: There are so many comics that are being brought to a broader audience on the big screen lately – possibly more than ever before in the last 10 years. We had Spiderman, Batman and the Sin City films and Locke and Key just got a series commitment with Fox – but on the horizon are The Green Hornet, Green Lantern, Scott Pilgrim vs the World came out not to long ago and many more to come. What are some of your favorites – or which ones are you looking forward to?
TM: I’m a sucker for the old EC stuff, and I loved all the adaptations in HBO’s Tales from the Crypt. I also loved Zwigoff and Clowes’ film spin on Ghost World. And of course, Cronenberg’s take on History of Violence. I’m excited for all of the stuff coming up, really. Whether I’ll actually get to see it or not, however, remains to be seen. I recently heard something about Guillermo Del Toro being the show runner for a new Hulk series. That really got my nethers in a tizzy. I just hope they keep doing them justice. A handful of Catwoman and Daredevil flicks, and the public will go back to thinking about comicbook movies the way they did a few years ago, which is no good for nobody.
DRC: How do you feel about the casting of some of these movies? For instance Seth Rogen playing the Green Hornet and Ryan Reynolds as the Green Lantern.
TM: I love Seth Rogen, and i think he’ll bring a great humanity to Green Hornet. Ryan Reynolds is always fun to watch, especially when he’s got a clever script. I just hope Green Lantern doesn’t kill his involvement with Deadpool, though, because that role suits him like a damned glove. One that breaks my heart is Nic Cage as Ghost Rider. That whole franchise is a wreck. They treat him like a superhero, when they need to be treating him like a movie monster. And Cage is way too old for me to buy him as Blaze. Get Charlie Hunnam from Sons of Anarchy or something. Somebody people want to watch. It’s Evel Kneivel meets Faust. I don’t know what’s so damned elusive about that.
DRC: I have always questioned Cage as Ghost Rider, as most people do.
If you could trade places with any comic villain or hero who would it be and why?
TM: Hmmmm. That’s a tough one. Obviously, I’d want to be Doctor Manhattan, as he is akin to a god. But I’m pretty lazy so I don’t know that I’d really put all that power to the best of use. Maybe in the old west like Blueberry, but realistically, I’d be a lot more like Tumbleweeds.
DRC: What would you consider your favorite character from all the things you have worked
on and why?
TM: Heath Huston is easily my dearest creation. Rick Remender and I put a lot of ourselves into Fear Agent. He’s definitely our lovechild and our baby. As far as my mainstream work is concerned, I’d say Ghost Rider. I’d have a hard time choosing which iteration, but I did particularly love working with Jason Aaron on the issue where Danny Ketch comes face to face with the Highwayman. Neither were characters I had a lot of love for beforehand, and I’m typically in the Johnny Blaze camp when it comes to Ghost Rider, but Jason and I got to put our own serious spin on things, and we produced some stuff i’m immensely proud of. I’d also be in remiss if i didn’t say I loved getting to run wild with the Legion of Monsters in FrankenCastle. I would draw a book about those dudes, any day.
DRC: You need to have us out to Kentucky sometime so we can shoot some zombie sketch cards together. For those that don’t know what I’m talking about you did some zombie sketch cards awhile back for Comics For Cures and then took them out on your property in Kentucky and shot some holes in their head. I must say you are a pretty good shot. It was amazing to see you sketch them so quickly – I actually bid on a couple of those on ebay but missed out. Do you work with charities quite a bit?
TM: In fairness, that sketching video was speed up 3 times actual speed. And I actually live right across the river in Indiana. I can see KY from my porch, if that counts. I was pretty pleased with my shooting, despite never nailing the squib on that one card. Not bad for me, especially with iron sights. I’ve done a few charity events. Anything for the American Cancer Society usually gets me, because my wife’s father recently died of brain cancer, so the cause is pretty dear to us. I also try to give frequently to The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, because I abhor censorship and the dangers to civil liberty it can lead to, and I try to support The Hero Initiative, because I wouldn’t have a job if our industry hadn’t been built on the backs of these poor old guys that need our help now, and being in the same job, I hope to make things better for myself and my brothers in arms in the future.
Sorry you missed out on the auction. I plan to do some more art like this pretty soon. Probably bigger scale… both paper and the ordnance I use on it.
DRC: Good to hear – we will look for those auctions and your future charity events.
Do you have any advice for aspiring illustrators out there?
TM: I say this all the time, but I’ll say it again. If there’s anything else in the universe you can fathom doing with your life, go and do that thing. Living off your art, especially in comics, is not for the weak of heart or spirit. It requires you to be completely eaten up with the sickness of being an artist, to the point that you cannot imagine doing anything else with your life. Only then can you survive the horrible times you’ll no doubt endure, and yet despite it all, still love it enough to somehow climb back behind the drafting table and do it all over again.
DRC: Before we let you go – I know you have a lot of other stuff going on right now. The Exterminators, FrankenCastle and FearAgent just to name a few. You also released an exclusive t-shirt that is available over at Threadless – So tell us about some these projects and any conventions you have coming up.
TM: Well, all those books are in my bibliography. If you’ve checked out The Walking Dead and liked what you saw, perhaps drop by my website and click through some of my other projects. I’ve got everything I’ve done rounded up in my Amazon Store, which you can access through my site. I’m in the process of making some new art prints, including some high-end serigraphs, and some new exclusive merch that I think folks will really dig.
The Threadless shirt was part of a great project called “Every Night I Have the Same Dream,” which was written and orchestrated by the inimitable Jill Thompson. If you can catch it in print, jump on it. They’ve reprinted it a couple of times, and it tends to go pretty quickly.
I’m working on the final ever issue of Fear Agent right now, which kind of breaks my heart, but you can find the complete saga collected in trade paperback very soon. And keep an ear to the ground, because Remender and I have a pretty killer new collaboration coming up at Marvel. I think people are gonna really enjoy this one.
DRC: We will be sure to check all of those things out. Some very cool projects. Thank you so much for joining us on the Downright Creepy – Everyone look for The Walking Dead on AMC Sunday nights at 10:00 PM EST. Pick up Tony’s comics on stands now!
TM: Thanks for having me! I look forward to doing the podcast in the future!