There is little dispute among horror fans who the father of the zombie apocalypse is—George A. Romero. The late director left behind a series of beloved films in his “Of the Dead” series, beginning with Night of the Living Dead and extending to other installments such as Land of the Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and many more. According to an exclusive at SYFY Wire, Romero’s legacy will now continue in comic form, thanks to his son George C. Romero and Heavy Metal. The Rise, according to the younger Romero, is “not a prequel” but a self-contained story that will take place at the beginning of the zombie apocalypse seen in Night of the Living Dead.

The writer/filmmaker was hesitant to enter the world his father created but decided about a decade ago to try his hand at a zombie story. The initial script for The Rise had a few false starts. Nothing felt right for Romero, especially if it meant compromising his vision. The story remained in stasis until Heavy Metal CEO Matt Medney and the writer connected during a recent virtual convention and chatted about projects.

“When I saw the The Rise poster in the background of his video. I was like, ‘What is that?’ He told me, and I was like ‘Send this to me immediately,'” Medney told SYFY Wire.

Now, the tale will be published as a graphic novel. Chapters will be serialized over several issues of the magazine before the single edition will be collected.

“It was that fluid, it was that organic,” Medney said. “It really is just two legacy brands figuring out how to gel.”

Still in initial stages, the book has yet to have a full creative team, but the buzz has already started.

“Matt has come on the Indie Brigade podcast and both of our respective fanbases are so engaged it’s not even funny,” Romero explained, noting the connection between the publication and his father’s legacy. “In the ‘80s, if you had a copy of Heavy Metal and you had a VHS of Night of the Living Dead, that was like your street cred.”

“When my father released Night, there were people in the United States government saying that filmmakers like him… they’re dangerous,” Romero added. “It’s why I started my whole tagline: ‘Films used to be dangerous.'”

Romero continued, “There’s a reason kids used to hide that magazine from their parents. It wasn’t just because they would get in trouble. It was because their parents were scared of the fact that this whole new generation of independent thought was being formed.”

Stay tuned for updates on the rest of the team and release date for The Rise.

The Rise