You may know Arthur Suydam for his brilliant, blood-drenched cover work on the Marvel Zombies comic book series, which featured zombified versions of Spider-Man, Captain America, Wolverine and other Marvel superheroes. But the A-list artist has also delved into making cover art for another zombie venture -- namely the DS rail shooter/survival horror game Touch the Dead. Recently, Arthur took the time to answer some questions about his undead artwork, his favorite zombie flicks, and why he's just so damn awesome...
How did you end up doing the box art for 'Touch the Dead'?
I was approached by Kevin Gill at Eidos, who had seen my work for the Marvel Zombies series; my schedule at that time was -- and still is -- really tight. But Kevin had a great concept, and we hit it off right away, so it was off to the races.
How did you feel about making video game box art?
Video games are a welcome new forum for artists, from concept design to box art. Any opportunity for an artist to collaborate with new technology is also welcome. For me, doing box art is the same as doing covers. The challenge for both is to tell the story at a glance and be creative enough in your final painting to really hook passersby into wanting to pick up the product.
Do you play any video games, like the zombie-filled 'Resident Evil' or 'Dead Rising'?
I honestly wish I had the time to play. We don’t own a console, but my birthday is coming up next week!
How did you get into zombie art in the first place?
I spent a lot of cold hours in refrigerators surrounded by corpses during my anatomical studies. They were on tables and hanging from hooks on the ceiling. So yeah, we bonded. At one point, Chris Allo of Marvel passed on some of my darker artwork to editor John Barber, who really dug it for the series. [Marvel Editor-in-Chief] Joe Quesada gave the thumbs up, and the rest is history.
Out of all the Marvel zombies you've done, which character is your favorite?
Whichever one I’m working on at the time is my favorite. I spend a lot of time designing each zombie to get it right. Zombie skin is the hardest thing for me to paint – I reckon it to painting dollar bills. There are so many nooks and crannies in there that you have to get just right, otherwise they just look like mush. I like to make each one different. They have to have a back story and a character that’s unique to them, so at a glance you can figure out who they were before they became undead, and how they bit the dust. For example, Captain America. He had an accident and lost the top of his head. When he came to, birds had moved in. For Wolverine, he has a taste for eyeballs. That’s a caviar thing. For the cover of 'Touch the Dead,' you’ve got a hep cat party boy with a clear conscience, laying out the welcome mat.
What are your favorite zombie movies?
Evil Dead 2 and Return of the Living Dead – a couple of the best horror films of all time in my book. The right mix of horror and camp. For me, as a kid I was terrified of zombies; these days I see them as pretty fun creatures actually. The more skin you strip away, the bigger the smile. There has to be humor in zombies. And they make great target practice.
If you were a zombie, what you be like? Whose brains would you like to eat?
I’d be an Elvis Zombie. I’d go after all the double-talking evil-doers first. The people who make your life hell just for the fun of it. If I was in the mood for a light snack I might go after “Dubya.”
Why are you so awesome?
Chalk it up to clean livin’ and an awesome woman.