Editor Will Dennis talks THE NEW DEADWARDIANS--The Pitch
As I told you during SAUCER COUNTRY #1 week (not too late to pick that issue up!), all projects start with a pitch. Now some writers want to do the Hollywood two-minute pitch version, some write quick emails, some hand you elaborate documents in fancy folders – there’s no end to the ways that writers will try to get your attention. But there is one thing that all pitches have in common and it’s that the writers always try to make you see that “you’ve never read anything like this before.” I can’t really blame them (and sometimes they’re right!) because if they don’t believe the idea is brilliant then how can they hope to convince me? It makes perfect sense and it’s always part of the pitch.
See, when Dan Abnett first emailed me his pitch on THE NEW DEADWARDIANS, he started with an apology. Yeah...that’s not a typo. He literally said he was SORRY that he was pitching me another zombie/vampire story. I think his exact words were, “I promised myself I’d never do this!”...What a salesman, right?
But oddly enough, it really got my attention. It was just so refreshingly honest and upfront. And the idea was so cool to me that I couldn’t say ‘NO’. He’d taken what felt like a pretty oversold genre and breathed some fresh life into it. Maybe it didn’t hurt that I was fast becoming a huge fan of DOWNTON ABBEY and had always loved a good vampire tale. Whatever the reason, it was all in the pitch and by the time I was done reading it, I was totally sold.
So sometimes it pays to come at life from a completely different direction. I’m very glad Dan Abnett had the guts to do it and I hope you’ll check out THE NEW DEADWARDIANS #1 on sale tomorrow!
(Below is a heavily redacted version of Dan’s original pitch. No spoilers! Note especially the name change of our hero, GEORGE SUTTLE. These things happen.)
THE NEW DEADWARDIANS (A Seance Fiction)
Written by Dan Abnett
Art by I.N.J. Culbard
This is a story about zombies and vampires, but don’t reject it wholesale on those grounds. It’s essentially a Victorian Gothic detective story set in an alternate history England, circa 1900. It’s Downton Abbey (hugely popular British period drama) meets THE WALKING DEAD. I imagine it having quite a formal, serious style, like From Hell as drawn by Herge. With an emphasis on the Victorian/Gothic/Literary aspects and less on the whole Vampires vs. Zombies thing...which has worked to great success with books such as PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES.
Here’s the premise:
In a world where everybody is either a vampire of a zombie, someone is actually killing people. The central character, a police detective named INSPECTOR DEKAY tries to track down the murderer. In doing so, he explores the nature of this alternate England for the benefit of the reader, and exposes a few darker-than-dark secrets.
What he reveals is this:
when Prince Albert died in 1861, Victoria was grief stricken soREDACTED!!!!!!
Zombies are EVERYWHERE, eating the living, making more zombies. The zombies are known as THE RESTLESS.
British Society undertook elective vampirism and, by becoming undead, became invisible to the zombie masses. Vampires are known as THE YOUNG.
Other cultural details:
Some men are slave to the passion of vampiric cravings, and secretly visit Bloodhouses or Thirsty shops, where underclass women are procured for their lusts.
Vampirism is an upper-class thing. Many lower class people didn’t get the chance to become Young.
People who aren’t Young or Restless are called BRIGHT.
Vampirism is an antidote to the Restless Curse. If a bitten human gets a shot of vampire bloodREDACTED!!!!!!
Anyway, our hero (the only traditional homicide detective left at Scotland Yard because actual murder happens so rarely), is called in because an eminent gentleman, a Young, has been murdered. And he has not been killed by any of the conventional “three methods” (silver bullets, a stake through the heart, decapitation). One of the undead has been made actually dead.
DeKay’s investigations take him toREDACTED!!!!!!