[Interview] ‘Eibon Press’ reveal Lucio Fulci gore-soaked comics.
Author: Lisha Blackhurst
Something wicked has come your way; Eibon Press are releasing Lucio Fulci-inspired limited edition collectors comic books, and if you don’t know about it already – where the hell have you been?! Fulci most definitely LIVES.
These iconic pieces are going to be a must-have for every avid horror fan of all giallo cinema when Fulci’s most infamous and goriest moments are coming to a new life, blood-splattered across the pages in their most beautiful form yet! I caught up with Stephen Romano, one of the founders, to discuss horror, cheesy dubbing and what the controversial Lucio Fulci himself would think of Eibon Press!
– A huge welcome for Eibon Press to Elite Mag! Tell us what exactly it is you have in store for us horror fans this summer?
Well, we’ve got some retro blood and guts on tap for sure! We’re big fans of 1980s horror and Lucio Fulci, so we’ve taken his most well-known horror film – in fact, one of the most legendary and notorious horror films of all time – and we’ve made it into the most ass-kicking movie comic you’ve ever seen! It’s an on-going premium collector’s comic series based on Lucio Fulci’s ZOMBIE, and the first issue hits public air in July. I want to make it clear that this will not be available as a digital download, nor will it be like any other printed comic you’ve ever seen. These are really awesome books with innovative printing and packaging that make them instant collector’s items. Plus, we’ve done a pretty great job with what’s on the pages, if I do say so. This begins a new age of Fulci Comics, with issue 2 coming for Halloween, and a series based on Fulci’s CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD (GATES OF HELL) in early 2017. We’re rolling out the first two issues of ZOMBIE slowly, to gauge fan reaction and get the buzz going, but I guarantee you’ll be just blown the hell away by the first two issues. The artists have done absolutely amazing work.
You have taken the beautiful gore-soaked set pieces and made them into artwork; which scene in particular would you say inspired you the most, and was the most exciting to get down onto paper?
It’s funny you mention that, because in addition to the most well-loved mayhem that’s actually in the film version of ZOMBIE, we’ve added quite a few nasty visions of our own, expanding and refining the story into a new medium. But we’re not just throwing new stuff in all willy nilly – it’s been carefully written and designed to really accentuate what’s in the movie. Issue 1 actually begins with the voodoo witch doctor of Matool being summoned from a pit of living death and dis-emboweling an infant baby! Which is very Fulci, you know? Then of course, there are the most beloved scenes of carnage. Our vision of the Shark Vs. Zombie scene in issue 2 is way cool – and what’s even cooler is that if you can’t wait for October to see it, there’s a big preview of that scene in our quarterly magazine THE BOOK OF EIBON, which will be out at about the same time Issue 1 hits!
Dubbed dialogue in Italian cinema can be extremely entertaining; what are some of your favourite quotes?
Again, it’s a little ironic you mention all that, because as the writer of ZOMBIE, one of my mission goals was to make it all a little less surreal in that way and slightly more “human.” I re-invented all the characters in the story, for example, and gave them actual backstory and personality beyond what they were in the movie. We’re not playing this for laughs. This is a dead-serious horror story with the courage of its convictions. But, yes, the dialogue in those films can be downright surreal. A point in fact is that it’s not usually because of the English actors dubbing the lines. Most of those films were shot with English speaking performers – to cover the international market, you know? But they’d have such impenetrable accents that they’d need to use looping guys later. That happened even with Sergio Leone movies! But the reason the dialogue was always so arch and corny was because the guys actually writing that dialogue were people whose second languages were English! It makes the experience of watching one of those films completely surreal and unique – one might even say otherworldly. It’s one of the great treats of an Italian horror film of the 1980s, actually.
My favourite line in ZOMBIE is the most iconic line: “The boat can leave now. Tell the crew” – which, of course, is spoken dead seriously by a British actor. That dark tone was what we were striving for with the comic series. There are a few funny moments, too, but it’s all on purpose. I think we’ve taken the best of what these films were going for and made it sing in a new way that is reverent and progressive at the same time.
Fulci most definitely lives, but if he was here today, what do you think he would say about Eibon Press?
He’d love it. There are dead babies on page 3 (Laughs). And by the way, the very first page of Issue 2 goes even more berserk with an image that will truly separate the weak from the strong. It’s really over the top. Fulci never flinched in his films and so we go even further. I have to say, if he were alive today, we’d actually be in touch with him. We’d want his blessings and his input on this stuff. My partner Shawn met him in NYC before he died and bought all his drinks! Apparently, he was a very interesting man. He had a habit of talking through his own movies in screenings – like really obnoxiously LOUD – and the audience would scream at him to shut up and he would yell “FUCK YOU!” Stuff like that, mad genius behavior. Amazing. When we do these comics, we’re always thinking of how he might react, and we think we’re mostly getting it right. I wanted to do a remake of ZOMBIE before we started on these comics, had the whole thing scripted and storyboarded. It would have been the ultimate tribute to Fulci. He would have been amazed at how many fans he still has today, I think.
Finally, is there anything you would like to share with Elite readers?
I’d like to point out again that innovation is key at Eibon Press. We’re a small indie company and our print runs are very low, but what we do is of the highest, most professional calibre. We don’t run our books through the print-on-demand machine. We make really slick collector’s item comics designed to give fans and non-fans a great experience, both with reading and owning some great books. The most innovative thing we have is the EIBON SLEEVE, which is a vinyl album style jacket that each issue of each comic comes packaged in. The whole thing is shrink-wrapped and stickered just like one of these cool collectible record albums you see these days. That’s something ever done before in the history of comics. Also, you won’t find our books in ANY store. It’s all exclusive to our website, which launches on June 10. We’re taking the time and care to do some truly amazing things and we hope you’ll come along for the ride!
Pre-order Issue 1: ZOMBIE #1 now: http://www.eibonpress.com/