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Michael Alan Nelson Talks Zombie Infestations in 28 Days Later

Boom! Studios writer Michael Alan Nelson gets interrogated about the infected.

Last week, we reviewed the final issue of 28 Days Later by Boom! Studios. Almost immediately afterwords, we got to do a sweet interview with 28 Days Later writer Michael Alan Nelson about his love of the films, and the possible future of the franchise.

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Michael Alan Nelson has written numerous books for Boom! Studios including Fall of Cthulhu, Dominion, and Hexed. Currently, he just finished up his run on 28 Days Later, but he is still writing Malignant Man and Insurrection v3.6. We interviewed Michael about the recently wrapped-up 28 Days Later and how he got involved.

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ComicVine: How did you get involved in this series?

Michael Alan Nelson: I've always been a huge fan of the film, so when I had heard that BOOM! Acquired the 28 Days Later license, I went in and told them that I wanted to write the series. They just kind of smiled and said, “That's nice, but it's not going to happen.” The folks at BOOM! Felt I could do a great job with the series, but no one on the Licensing end had really heard of me before and they weren't about to trust such a high-profile property to an unknown. They had a short list of possible writers they wanted for the series and I just wasn't on it.

I tried bribes, threats, tantrums, self immolation, anything I could think of. But nothing worked. So I decided to write a short story about Selena to show everyone what I was capable of doing with their character in their universe. They read it, loved it, and gave me the gig.

CV: What did you like about the the original film?

MAN: Wow, there's really so much. But the one thing that stands out above everything else is just how wonderful the characters are. It's not a film about rage zombies, it's a film about the people who are surrounded by rage zombies. The story is all about the characters and how they deal with what's happening. My favorite scene in the film is where Mark and Selena explain to Jim what's happened. There's a point in that conversation when Mark talks about being at the train station when the virus sweeps through the crowd of people.

Now, from a traditional writing standpoint, this scene should fall under the “Bad Writing” headline because it goes directly against the golden rule of writing: show, don't tell. Yet, in this scene, it's Mark telling us what's happened. And it works SO well because instead of relying on gratuitous flashbacks to augment his story, the film relies on the actor to convey the horror, loss, and despair of that event. It's so powerful. And that's what I love about that film. It isn't about seeing people being ripped to shreds, it's about watching the people dealing with the aftermath of this apocalyptic event.

CV: Are there plans for another 28 Days Later series?

MAN: Not that I'm aware of, no. But I hope that if there ever are plans to do more in the 28 universe, they'll come to me to write it. I'd love the chance to tell more stories in this world. It's a great sandbox to play in.

CV: The last issue ends a lot like 28 Weeks Later concludes, with the infected storming Paris, which is this really cool tie-in with the films. If the book were to continue, would you keep them as true to the films as possible or would they become their own entity?

MAN: Since everything I wrote is considered canon, I couldn't stray from the films. And I certainly wouldn't even want to. I wanted to make sure that I respected the source material, not only as a professional working with the license but also as a fan. And for me, part of the fun was finding a way to weave the comics and the films together in a way that made them all part of the same universe, yet separate stories in and of themselves. It's a bit of a delicate balancing act. I'm playing in someone else's sandbox, but I'm still building my own sand castle.

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CV: There are currently trades of 28 Days Later, but are there any plans to release the entire run in more of an omnibus format? Or possibly a hardcover edition?

MAN: I'm sure that there will be an omnibus collection someday but I can't say for certain. I don't have any control over the publishing aspect, which is a good thing, trust me. If it were up to me, I'd have all my books collected into leather-bound hardcover editions with gilded pages. I'd bankrupt the company within a week. So it's in everyone's best interest to keep me as far from that part of the process as much as possible.

CV: Other than 28 Days Later, you've been writing with the Fall of Cthulhu books. Is there anything else you're working on or upcoming projects you're excited about?

MAN: Yes, there is a BOOM! project I'm writing that I am VERY excited about. But because it's still in the early stages, there isn't much I can say about it. I know how frustrating it is to hear that, but I promise, as soon as I can talk about, I'll be shouting it from the rooftops.

CV: If you could have the infected invade any other Boom! book/universe, what would it be and why? (Boom! Kids books are fair play)

MAN: Oooooo...definitely Roger Langridge's new Snarked for sure. He's such a talented guy that I would LOVE to see what he could do with the 28 universe in a comedic context. It would be brilliant!

Many thanks to Michael Alan Nelson and Boom! Studios for the interview! Be sure to check out 28 Days Later from Boom! The final issue has been released, but the rest the issues are currently available in trade.