The Zombie Apocalypse Comes to Hannibal in ‘American Revenant’
Have you ever watched a show like 'The Walking Dead' and thought, "I wonder what it would be like if that happened here?" Hannibal author John L. Davis IV is hard at work on 'American Revenant,' a series of books that brings the zombie apocalypse to America's Hometown.
Davis lives in Hannibal with his wife and two daughters. He has been writing since he was 14 years old, but 'American Revenant' is his first attempt at fiction "fit for public consumption." Davis took a moment to discuss his work with us.
Tell us a little about your American Revenant project.
The American Revenant series is a zombie apocalypse survival story set in and around Hannibal, Missouri. The books, while filled with zombies, bad guys, action, and adventure, are more about the characters, and what they must do to survive. I can’t say how many books there will be in the series, but I will tell you that I’m enjoying the time I get to spend involved in the characters' lives and their struggle to survive.
What inspired you to write your own zombie stories?
Reading a lot of the post-apocalyptic and zombie sub-genres and thinking that I could write those kinds of stories, as well as conversations with friends on how we would escape Hannibal in the event of a disaster. Once I made the decision to write these stories I knew I had to also write a response to the types of characters often seen in zombie cinema and television. I wanted intelligent, capable characters that knew how to handle themselves, which seems to be the opposite of most characters seen bumbling around, looking to get eaten.
American Revenant is set in Hannibal. What will locals recognize?
Most of the locales in the book will be easily recognizable to Hannibal residents. A few places in the books are completely fictitious, but I hope that people read the stories and envision the events as they drive through town. (I do that all the time now. There’s a certain section of Broadway that I can’t drive down without seeing Dean’s run play out in my mind. People will have to read the book to find out what that means.)
Name a Hannibal resident in real life that you wish would be devoured by zombies.
Oh wow, this may end up being a long list…
Just kidding on that last one.
I’m just kidding, too! But people should always be on the lookout for zombies; you never know when you could get bitten.
There have been several zombie-themed events and activities in the area over the past few years. There have been zombie runs, zombie pub crawls, zombie paintball at the Hannibal Jaycees Haunted House, and a zombie movie was shot partially in Edina. Have you been involved in any of these activities, and just why are zombies so popular at the moment?
I have not been a participant in any of the events, not for a lack of trying though. I would have loved to take a trip to Edina to see the filming of a zombie movie in action!
I think zombies have become as popular as they are because they allow us to examine the Human Condition from a different perspective. The existential ideas often put forth in modern zombie cinema, television, and literature offer us a metaphorical view at mankind and how we see each other through the hazy cataracts of … OK, OK … Maybe zombies are just fun, and scary!
In your opinion, what are the best types of zombies: Night of the Living Dead zombies that move slow, 28 Days Later zombies that run fast, or Return of the Living Dead zombies that tell funny jokes?
Return of the Living Dead was the first zombie movie I can remember watching, and I loved every second of it. The slow, shambling creatures that, while creepy and unsettling, aren’t truly horrifying until you turn around and realize that you’re surrounded by them, those are my favorite of the genre.