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Monday, July 11, 2011

Holiday classic - hungry cadavers! Marvel Comics visits a timeless classic...with zombies

When Charles Dickens penned the timeless tale "A Christmas Carol," more than likely, he had no idea of its longevity, countless retelling and impact on the holiday season. The Englishman surely had no concept that his chronicle of yuletide redemption would so easily fit the walking dead. Critically acclaimed writer Jim McCann (New Avengers: The Reunion: Suspicion, Hawkeye and Mockingbird) has brought more than just flesh-hungry ghouls to Victorian England, he's, oddly enough, brought some life as well.

Zombies & Toys (ZT): Hi Jim, can you give us a little of your intro/background? Personally, artistically?
Jim McCann (MC): I started out in the ABC writer development program in early 2000. I was a writer for One Life to Live, wrote a couple of short stories and plays.

ZT: When did the idea of Zombies Christmas Carol (ZCC) come about? How did the idea of ZCC start?

MC: It was kind of a combination between Janet Lee (artist of Return of the Dapper Men) and myself wanting to do the traditional Christmas Carol. Marvel came back with the Zombies Christmas Carol idea and said “Do you want to do it?” At first, I thought it was a joke.

ZT: And afterwards?
MC: I realized it could actually work. I didn’t’ want to write it as a joke. It would have been lazy. Playing it straight was more scary. It was one or the most challenging projects I’ve written.Janet had already moved on to doing the adaptation of EMMA, but we ended up with amazing artists in David Baldeon and Jeremy Treece.

ZT: Whose idea was it to place zombies and Scrooge together? Did it seem like a natural fit or was it a reach?
MC: I went back and read the original tale. [A Christmas Carol] was intended as a horror story of Christmas. Scrooge was described as ‘No warmth could warm him and no wintry weather chill him.’ Scrooge was kind of like a zombie. There was a surplus population of those in need. We said let’s make them zombies, instead of hunger – hungry dead.

ZT: Will the Ghosts of Christmas be undead instead?
MC: Ghosts are spirit like and zombie like.

ZT: What is the future of ZCC? Will this have the legs of Marvel Zombies?
MC: I’ve thought about what to do. It would be hard press to find another script, maybe Oliver or Sleepy Hollow. Let it be out there, see how this, how this goes rather than beat it into the ground.

ZT: Do you enjoy the undead? If so, what zombie or zombie film is your favorite?
MC: I’m not a zombie guy. Kind of freaked out by horror and gore!

ZT: What is your next future work?
MC: A couple of Marvel one-shots, more creator-owned work and a return back to [writing] my spy roots.

ZT: Thanks Jim for a great interview and a truly horror-filled take on a classic. For more on Marvel's Zombie Christmas Carol, go to or your nearest comic book shop. For more on Jim McCann, go to

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