Bill Jemas is on the hunt to change comics — again. The former publisher and Marvel executive is currently heading up Double Take, a graphic imprint of Take 2 Interactive, where he’s the force behind the storytelling that takes place in Night of the Living Dead universe, originally created by George Romero. This past September, Double Take released 10 first issues of each of its first 10 series, encompassing both old and new characters. Along with traditional comic writers, Jemas also turned to a new creative voice: Moth Storytellers.
“We’re a very creative industry, but we’re afraid to do things different, so we figure let’s add a little innovation to the creativity,” Jemas tells EW. “I’m an enormous fan of the Moth Storytellers, the NPR program, and I think those that go beyond and surpass what we see in comic books.”
Jemas’ idea was simple — have these storytellers bring their realism to comics — but the execution proved to be slightly tricky. “The first thing we did is we said, ‘go write a comic,’ says Jemas. “And for the most part, they didn’t do very well. They think in terms of words, not pictures. But we thought, let them do what they do best. Let them tell their own stories, and we’ll combine their talents with the talents of our in-house artists and morph the two together.” Jemas explains that this is also why he thought Double Take was the perfect outlet for this project.
“I’ve been doing comics my whole life, and I didn’t come to Double Take knowing how to make comics,” Jemas admits. “And what I mean by that is, Marvel storytelling is relatively easy in that there’s a universe of characters that already exist, and more importantly, there are artists and writers who are familiar with those characters. Creating from scratch is something I’ve never done well personally. This is the kind of company that understands that. But they were willing to let us take the time and fail and try and get there, so that what was so exciting about this.”
The result? A comic experience like you’ve never had before.
“I think what makes people excited about our universe is that we sort of do deep dives into interesting areas,” says Jemas. “And I think what’s fun is a sense of realism. So people can look forward to starting to walk in the characters’ shoes, doing things they’ve done before or seen done before in the real world, and then the supernatural comes upon you so naturally that you just get immersed in this universe.” Jemas’ world is also a universe that will provide answers, rather than questions, and cater to readers’ needs.
“We didn’t want to be Lost or Leftovers where 30 years later…they didn’t really have anything, did they? So two issues is plenty to leave the openings open,” says Jemas, who feels confident about the series leaving its mark. “We’ve done some innovations that will continue to use and other creative teens in the comic industry can also use.”