The GeeksverseTalking Infestation: Outbreak With Waltz & Ryall

Talking Infestation: Outbreak With Waltz & Ryall
Published on Monday, April 18, 2011 by

You’ve seen the teasers, now hear about the upcoming book.

Hot off the heels of their Infestation crossover, IDW Publishing is launching a new CVO (Covert Vampiric Operations) series. The new series will bring in elements from IDW’s own properties including CVO, Groom Lake and others. The Pryde got a chance to talk with the co-writers of the new series Tom Waltz and Chris Ryall.

Thanks for taking the time to talk with us.

What is Infestation: Outbreak? Judging from the teasers it appears as if it picks up the CVO team after the events of the Infestation event.

Tom Waltz: INFESTATION is a new ongoing series from IDW (and featuring IDW characters/properties from multiple IDW titles, including GROOM LAKE, ZOMBIES VERSUS ROBOTS, CHILDREN OF THE GRAVE, and others) that flows out of our massive INFESTATION event. This story begins shortly after the closing events of INFESTATION #2, with CVO (Covert Vampiric Operations) in disarray after agent Cross was able to eliminate the Undermind threat with his newly formed (and uber-mysterious) demonic/vampire/zombie powers. Cross is struggling with these new powers and has separated himself from CVO and his longtime teammates, agents Britt and Bools. Agent Britt — who was being manipulated by the power of the Undermind throughout the entirety of the INFESTATION event — is recovering from her ordeal and has been placed in involuntary quarantine by CVO Director Overmars, who does not yet trust that she has completely returned to normal. As a result, Bools has been placed in charge of a new team of CVO field agents, including a reptilian shape-shifter named Yumiko, and a hulking genius named Isaac. This new group is having many troubles coming together as a team as Bools, always a loose canon in the past, is not exactly leadership material. All this, and a new, bizarre threat is surfacing that will force the entry of other IDW Universe special guests into the battle for Earth.

Does someone need to have read Infestation to be able to understand what has happened?

TW: We will be recapping many of the most important plot points established in the INFESTATION event, so reading those books is not a prerequisite for enjoying INFESTATION: OUTBREAK, but it would certainly make the overall experience more fulfilling and complete.

How much will the various Infestation liscensed property books (G.I. Joe, Transformers, Ghostbusters, Star Trek) impact the new ongoing?

TW: The licensed property books will not have any direct effect on INFESTATION: OUTBREAK, though the events of INFESTATION do carry over into their own titles/canon, including the GHOSTBUSTERS monthly comic, which starts in September 2011.

What kind of an impact will Infestation have on the liscensed books? Does each creative team get to choose how big the impact is or is there an effort to make it as strong in Transformers as it is in G.I. Joe for example?

TW: The impact will vary and it will be up to the creative teams and editors (and licensors, of course) to ultimately decide the scope. As is always the case, whatever best serves the story being told is the rule of the day.

How soon after Infestation #2 does Outbreak pick up?

TW: We pick up a few months following the events of INFESTATION #2.

Infestation was my first experience with CVO, which is a shame because I really like the concept and will be tracking down the prior issues. Are these new CVO agents new characters or have they appeared before?

TW: Agents Yumiko and Isaac are brand new to the CVO universe, created specially for INFESTATION: OUTBREAK, and we are already having tons of fun with them. I really think fans are gonna dig these new members to the team.

As a new comer to the world of CVO, it appeared that the team was all vampiric in nature. Why add non-vampires to the team now?

TW: Actually, Isaac and Yumiko are vampires who happen to have extra powers to go along with their vampirism.

Are Latricia and Archibald new characters and what are their roles on the team? I also noticed that Benny The Smith isn’t in the teasers. The end of Infestation kind of left him up in the air. Will he return?

Chris Ryall: Leticia Pope and Archibald were both introduced and featured in Groom Lake, our little alien-conspiracy comic from 2009. Leticia used to run the secret Groom Lake alien base, but lost her job when the aliens busted out. And one of the escaping aliens was Archibald, the little grey alien who’s so enamored with all the bad things we do to ourselves (like smoking, drinking, eating chocolate, wearing t-shirts with stupid slogans on them). Archie is kind of like the typical interstellar tourist, and at the end of Groom Lake, he and Leticia wandered off to go see the world. So what they’re doing back in Infestation: Outbreak is all part of the larger story we’re telling.
Benny will be back, too, albeit with one less arm…

Not having read Groom Lake or Children Of The Grave (but I will be running out to get them), how much prior knowledge is needed to understand how those books affect Infestation: Outbreak?

TW: No, you honestly won’t have to read those Groom Lake or Children of the Grave to understand what these characters and/or their role in Infestation: Outbreak, but a reader certainly does have an advantage if they do seek them out and read them. If anything, we like to think it’ll add an even more complete satisfaction to the new series.

Was this always planned on being the end result of Infestation, the reason why Infestation happened?

TW: The plan was always to spin out an ongoing from INFESTATION, and the success of the event has allowed us to do so. We’re excited that we can accomplish this with not only our CVO characters, but with characters from the greater IDW universe, as well. We’ve got a lot of cool things planned, and plenty of surprises.

How tightly was Infestation planned out? Was it decided before Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning got involved that this was Point A and you wanted to be at Point B at the end in order to launch Outbreak?

TW: Yes, we had an editorial plan in place from the very beginning to get us to where we are now — we knew we wanted to do bigger and better things with our IDW properties and felt the event was the best way to establish a foundation for that effort. We just lucked out and had the added bonus of DnA kicking things off for us in INFESTATION. They did fine work and Chris (Ryall) and I are honored and excited to pick things up where DnA left off.

I noticed in Zombies vs. Robots: Undercity that Infestation took place prior to the first ZvR. This in effect makes Infestation the origin of the ZvR world. Was this always the intent?

CR: Technically, that’s not true, since the first ZvR series started at the end (with the zombie plague far along and the world getting nuked at the end of issue 2). The origin of the ZvR world is in a prequel story that ran in the collected edition, and was recently re-released as a dollar “Hundred Penny Press” edition. Infestation takes place somewhere in the middle there. But essentially, the way Abnett & Lanning wrote it, CVO existed on “our” world and the zombies inhabit Dimension Z. So Outbreak takes place in that same CVO universe and the new ZvR book takes place in Dimension Z.

Yes, this sounds a bit confusing and we don’t really spell that out too clearly in the new comics, but only because it doesn’t ultimately matter to the stories.

Will Infestation have an affect on the ZvR world beyond the mentions in Undercity #1?

CR: It won’t, no. This ZvR story was already planned out before Infestation, so I didn’t want to shoehorn in more Infestation elements just for the sake of it and risk derailing the story.

Essentially, we’ve got parallel worlds here, so in the ZvR world, there is no CVO, but those Dimension Z zombies did spill into the CVO universe. But while there’s no CVO in the new ZvR series, “UnderCity,” we do have the Rapture… and molemen!

Since Infestation is in the title, will we see more of the Undermind and the zombies in Outbreak?

TW: Oh, I wouldn’t count the Undermind out just yet…

What makes David Messina the artist for this project? I’ve enjoyed his work since first saw it in the first True Blood mini-series and really liked his work on Infestation #1 and 2. Was he always intended to be the artist on the ongoing?

TW: We wanted Messina on the ongoing from the start, and, truth be told, David couldn’t be more ecstatic to be a part of INFESTATION: OUTBREAK. He was adamant that he be allowed to continue after INFESTATION, as he fell in love with the characters and the overall concept, and he’s been a huge driving force creatively to keep the momentum rolling forward. And, if his early pages and designs are any indication, fans are going to see his best work yet!

How much of the designs on the new characters and the look of the old was David Messinas? Did you guys give him anything to go off of or was he left to his own imagination?

TW: David used existing CVO designs for Britt, Cross, Bools, Nikodemus, and Director Overmars to create his own vision for those characters, adding nice new touches to their uniforms, as well as giving them a few more individual traits than they possessed in CVO books in the past. Dave was the sole designer for the new characters, Yumiko and Isaac, taking a few notes from Chris and I and transforming them into exciting new additions to the CVO pantheon.

How does the writing process work between you two?

TW: Ha! We’re still trying to find a “process”! So far it’s been sheer luck, flipping coins, and lots and lots of duct tape.

Why is the title Infestation: Outbreak?

TW: Well, we felt that the Infestation main title made sense because we are continuing from the events of the Infestation event and we want fans to know that is the case, especially those who enjoyed Infestation #1 and #2 and wanted to see more from our CVO characters. Outbreak details the fact that, with the changes brought on by Agent Cross at the end of Infestation #2 to the IDW universe, a whole new kind (or, kinds) of infestation is breaking out — big, bad things that had been in check up until now, forcing CVO, as well as our other IDW universe properties, to come together once again to battle this new onslaught.

What made now the perfect time to relaunch CVO?

TW: With the excitement generated by the INFESTATION event, we felt that now was the time to strike with a CVO-based ongoing series. Fans of the event really seemed to take to the CVO bunch and we received plenty of email requests for more adventures featuring Cross, Britt, Bools, and crew. We’ve always felt that our CVO team — as well as our characters from Groom Lake, Children of the Grave, etc. — have a lot to offer to comic book fans and just needed the right kind exposure to garner the attention we’re confident they deserve. Fortunately, INFESTATION provided that exposure, and now we have INFESTATION: OUTBREAK to keep the positive momentum rolling forward. The best is yet to come!

We’d like to thank Tom and Chris for taking the time to talk with us and look forward to the first issue of Infestation: Outbreak.

INFESTATION: OUTBREAK #1 will hit store shelves in June 2011 and is currently available for pre-order in DIAMOND PREVIEWS with order code: APR110296.

Check out the teaser images here.

Go to the Pryde’s forums and share your thoughts on this interesting new series.

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