Last year, Eibon Press created waves throughout the horror community with their Zombie series, based on the iconic tale of terror of the same name from Italian horror icon, Lucio Fulci. With their innovative releases capturing the essence of yesteryear’s horror – while providing collectable-orientated physical copies that are few and far between these days – Eibon has carved itself quite a niche in the contemporary comic climate, perfect for aficionados of cult genre cinema and horror comics alike.
The creation of Shawn Lewis (Black Devil Doll) and Masters of Horror and Shock Festival writer, Stephen Romano, the Zombie series has been retelling the story established nearly four decades ago in Fulci’s 1979 masterpiece. Like a lot of Fulci’s work, the movie is revered by horror fanatics to this day, and those are the people who are eating up Eibon’s comics like an open skull full of tasty brains.
With the latest issue, the undead have invaded New York City and made humanity their all-you-can-eat buffet, and with the first chapter in the saga is about to reach a potentially apocalyptic crescendo, how will humanity fare? However, the series will return in August to chronicle the aftermath and keep Fulci’s legacy alive and kicking into the near future. Of course, we don’t need a comic book series for the Italian Godfather’s work to remain relevant, but it is heartwarming to know that talented writer’s and artist’s who live and breathe his movies are creating their own demented stories based on them.
The fourth entry of the Zombie series, which is now available to pre-order, will be released in three separate packages. The Blood Red Vinyl Edition includes everything the other releases offer, as well as a specially pressed five-inch souvenir vinyl record containing Fabio Frizzi’s main title theme from the film – remixed, remastered and edited exclusively for the comic’s release. Additionally, there will be a brand new updated version of the track from composer, Ryan Franks. This edition has been limited to 750 copies, so when it sells out it’s gone. The Pin Up Edition comes with a double-sized signed collector’s print containing some gore-drenched pin up art, while the Dr. Menard Edition contains the comic and standard trading card perks.
However, Eibon’s Fulci adaptations don’t end with Zombie. Recently, they released the first instalment of their Saga of the Seven Gates series. The imprint’s most ambitious task to date, the series will comprise of an almighty 13-issue story arc encompassing four individual mini-series’ based on the director’s iconic Gates of Hell trilogy. The saga got underway with Paura nella città dei morti viventi (City of the Living Dead, 1980), simply titled Gates of Hell, and series’ of L’aldilà (The Beyond, 1981) and Quella villa accanto al cimitero (The House by the Cemetery, 1981) are set to follow in the near future. Furthermore, the saga will culminate with an all-new original sequel series called Escape from the Beyond. This is a project for fans of the Italian horror maestro, created by like-minded purists who just so happen to be kick ass at creating comics.
Outside of the Fulci universe, Eibon has announced plans to adapt “some of the wildest, craziest, most off-the-wall films from the first age of video in the 1980s.” Most publishers wouldn’t dare attempt to tackle properties based on vintage exploitation fare, but with their VHS Comics range, Eibon is bringing the spirit of fringe titles discovered through rummaging around in mom and pop video store to their gruesomely illustrated pages. Up first – and coming this Fall – is their Laserblast series, based on the 1978 film directed by Michael Rae. The movie tells the story of a teenager who discovers an extraterrestrial ray gun and becomes fused with it, subsequently turning him into a hideous creature determined to blow up everything and everyone. Laserblast, while being a slice of trashy entertainment, isn’t exactly the most in-demand title for a comic boot reboot; but under the creative guidance Eibon, the excellent concept might finally be updated, gloriously violent execution it deserves.
The second title to be released as part of the VHS Series will be an adaptation of William Lustig’s grimy nasty, Maniac (1980). The film – which stars Joe Spineli as serial killer and scalp collector, Frank Zito, slaughtering women on the mean backstreets of NYC – might be a cult favourite among horror buffs, but it’s the last movie you’d expect to receive its own comic book spin-off. When you think about it, however, there’s no reason to suggest that it won’t translate well to page. Zito is a complex character with a tragic backstory that can be explored much deeper, and while it’ll be far from a conventionally pleasant experience for some reader’s, it’s an intriguing premise with a lot of potential to expand on the disturbing legacy of an layered villain. It’s so crazy it might just work.
Seeing beloved horror films from the past receive the comic treatment comes with high levels of anticipation and excitement among fans. With their Fulci titles, Eibon has given the film’s they’re inspired by worthy adaptations and we’re sure they’ll do the same for Laserblast, Maniac, and any other future retelling they plan on unveiling down the line. That said, one of the joys of art is seeing talented people with creative imaginations bringing their own concepts to life. In the past, the team at Eibon has proven that they’re perfectly capable of unleashing unique horror stories conjured up in the darkest, most depraved corners of the mind. Take Romano’s short story collection, The Riot Act, for example, which Joe R. Lansdale penned an introduction for and claimed, “Stephen Romano isn’t fucking around.” Meanwhile, Shawn Lewis co-wrote 2007s sexy horror comedy, Black Devil Doll, which tells the story of a horny, racist ventriloquist dummy with a ‘fro and a penchant for slaughter. Therefore, it was only a matter of time before they released a comic book series based on an original idea. That’s where Bottomfeeder comes into play.
Based on an unproduced screenplay by Romano, Lewis and collaborator, Joseph Melendez, Bottomfeeder follows the investigation of heroin-addled San Lucifer police lieutenant, Joe Angell, as he tries to get to the bottom of a series of gruesome murders committed by a sex crazed mutant creature born from toxic waste. It’s set in a world populated by scumbags; the protagonist, in addition to being a drug addict and a monster in his own right. Described by the creators as “Humanoids from the Deep (1980) meets Bad Lieutenant (1990),” the series was scheduled for release at a later date. However, given the positive response since its announcement, we might not be waiting that long after all.
“Shawn and I are planning a really BIG ANNOUNCEMENT about Bottomfeeder in the next few months.” Romano told Diabolique. “We’ve gotten such a great amount of positive feedback on this project and we know the fans really want to see it. So they may get a chance to see it sooner than later. Stay tuned to EIBONPRESS.COM for all the dirt!” Let’s hope that we don’t have to wait too long for the big news, as this series sounds like the closest thing we’ll ever get to a creature feature directed by Abel Ferrera.
Until then, however, there is plenty of Fulci on the horizon to keep our thirst for blood sufficiently quenched. If you’re a fan of the influential director then you owe it to yourself to check out the blood-splattered pages of the Zombie and Gates of Hell comics series’. Eibon Press is a publisher unabashedly celebrating throwback horror and exploitation from the perspective of authentic fans, as well as creators with stories to tell – and they make the future of fringe genre comics exciting.
Pre-orders for Zombie #4 are now available from the Eibon website.