Posted by: ryalltime | February 22, 2011

Zombies vs Robots vs Hollywood

ZOMBIES VS ROBOTS, the comic series that Ashley Wood and I created back in 2006, has been acquired by Sony Pictures, and word about that has made the rounds online today. I’ve seen mentions at Entertainment Weekly (“The series began in 2006, written by IDW’s version of Mad Men‘s Don Draper, chief creative officer Chris Ryall“), Deadline Hollywood, Coming Soon, Bloody-Disgusting The Film Stage, Comic Book Movie, Spinoff, HitFix, Comic Book Resources, and Slash Film (thank you, Google Alerts!) so far, and an official release is up at IDW’s site, too. That’ll give you the specifics on what’s up with the potential film.

Instead, here, I thought I’d do a short Q&A to introduce potential new readers to the ZvR world and talk about what we’ve done so far, and what’s coming up.


ZvR started as a humble little 2-issue miniseries that Ash Wood and I did in 2006. We talked about a series where, you know, zombies fought robots. I tried working up a story that was something more than that, because on the metallic surface, a fight between rotting organic creatures that exist on brains and metallic constructs that have no brains seemed a bit ludicrous. So we embraced the ludicrous rather than trying to overthink things. I dropped a single existing infant into a post-apocalyptic world overrun by zombies, with different “classes” of robots that were only programmed to do certain deeds. They want to restart the world and safeguard the baby, but things go, as they do, awry, and it all blows up nicely. I had a much different, more uplifting ending in mind for the story but as I approached it, that ending started to feel too safe, so I dropped a bomb on the ending, and on the robots and zombies. Which might seem like the end, but it wasn’t…

Where Do You Go Next After Zombies Fight Robots?

Well, among Ash Wood’s other interests as subject matter for his art, beyond just zombies and robots, are girls. So he said “gimme some girls in the sequel.” So I gave him ZOMBIES VS ROBOTS VS AMAZONS, which even included an appearance by a zombie minotaur.

We ended this one with a hint of a larger ZvR world, since by then, I’d been having all kinds of thoughts of expanding the world. Not to add another “vs” each time, but… well, it’s like this. We didn’t initially envision the comic being more than that first two-issue thing, and suddenly it had a chance to become something more. After I’d already nuked the world in that first two-parter. But since we’d aimed to not ever take this series too seriously, finding a way out of that and into this series and beyond was no problem at all. ZvR is essentially artsy stream-of-consciousness comics and my consciousness heads in all kinds of random directions at any given time.

How Do You Follow Up Amazons?

We started spreading the ZvR world a bit in a book Ash started called D’AIRAIN AVENTURE. It was a bit of an anthology series, and we serialized a ZvR prequel in the first two issues, showing how the whole zombie mess got started in the first place, and it was there that I planted the seeds for what would become our first big “event,” INFESTATION, which launched last month and is going on now.

When D’AIRAIN (which also featured two chapters of a story called “Black Magick,” something I do intend to make happen in another form) folded, we did the final chapter of that prequel story in the trade paperback. Meaning, if you can’t or don’t want to track down those issues, everything from the three prequel chapters to the original series and the Amazons sequel has been collected in a COMPLETE ZOMBIES VS ROBOTS TPB or hardcover.

The next series picked up Ash’s “Aventure” title, in the form of a 4-parter last year called ZOMBIES VS ROBOTS AVENTURE. That was the first series where other artists played around in the ZvR world. I did three stories in that series, “Kampf,” a more straightforward humans vs. zombies war story that got even creepier than intended thanks to Menton Matthews III‘s great artwork; “Masques,” by me and Paul McCaffrey, about a dipshit who builds himself an iron suit and tries taking on zombies; and “Zombies vs Zuvembies,” about a plan in Haiti to bring the dead back to life to help fight the living dead. Artist Gabriel Hernandez did great things on that one.

Which Brings Us to the Movie Deal

If you saw the news, you know nearly as much as I do. I’ve read the screenplay, though, and while the potential flick is headed in a different direction, it’s a very fun interesting one, and it’s in great hands, too. So I’m excited to see the story they developed come to life. I’m even more excited about the prospect of new people checking out the source material and seeing Ash and my skewed take on this premise. I’m happy that the movie folk saw something in our goofy little comic and developed it like they did, and I really hope there’s a day where the comic and the movie are both co-existing in the same world.

What About Next, Is There Something Next?

But of course. The “something next” actually got started in January, since, like I say, ZvR was the fulcrum point for our big INFESTATION event. And from there, we’d already been working on another ZvR series, UNDERCITY. That one is coming in April, and features the IDW debut of Mark Torres on art and colors. Ash contributed a cover to the first issue, and while I’m showing that one here, I’ll show much more of what Mark, variant cover artist Garry Brown, and I are all doing in this series. This series *does* have another “vs” added to the zombies and robots, though, and in Mark’s hands, it’s a pretty nicely terrifying threat.

For anyone looking to check out the ZvR world, in addition to collections of the above books and this new series, we released in January a dollar version of the prequel story, too — those stories have never been released as a single comic before, and you can check out the real start of the ZvR story for only a hundred pennies.


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Chris Ryall, Ray Dillon, BeauSmithRanch, Phil Jimenez, Fictional Frontiers and others. Fictional Frontiers said: RT @chris_ryall: Zombies vs Robots vs Hollywood […]

  2. Awesome news! Congrats Chris! 😀

  3. This is awesome, man! Congratulations! Fingers crossed that Hollywood will do it right!

  4. Great news Chris.

    Does this mean that there will be a reprint of the previous collections or some more complete collections?

    • The Complete ZvR book is in print now, there was a new printing recently. So we’ll always keep that one in print, and hopefully anything that follows, too. The TPB for Aventure is out second week of March, and there should still be some of the oversize HCs hanging around out there.

      Soon as there’s real movie activity, you can expect all-new printings of everything, too…

      • Thanks Chris. I only asked because I’ve lost my complete ZvR whilst moving and was looking for a new copy at a reasonable price. Luckily I’ve found one over the weekend.

        One other question, what’s the current thinking behind the title ‘Inherit the Earth’?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: