Livermore Falls native Michael Mitchell writes and draws the retro-feel comic book “ZOMBIE SUB-920” — about zombies, on a sub — and he’s a guest this weekend at the Bangor Comic & Toy Convention.

He’s based the dashing captain on himself, the dashing nurse on wife Michelle and the dashing zombies on, well, you’ll have to see.

Mitchell, who worked at Verso paper until moving to New Hampshire in 2012, self-publishes through Mitchell Comics.

We asked about influences, the book and channeling Captain Walters, hat and all. 

Name: Michael Mitchell

Age: 49

Current hometown: Tilton, N.H.

What comics did you pick up as a kid? Growing up in western Maine in the 1970s, comic choices were limited to whatever the local drugstore carried. Unless you were lucky enough, as I was, to live in a town with large families who had lots of kids collecting comics and getting them passed down from older siblings. This led to lots of trading back and forth and also resulted in me being exposed to lots of much older comic titles and art that I probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

I gravitated away from what everyone else liked and more towards the mystery, sci-fi and monster comics. Titles like ” Unexpected,” “The Witching Hour,” “Weird War,” “Unknown” and “House of Mystery.” When none of my buddies were looking, I would check out “True Romance,” “Teen Love” and “Midnight Nurse.” These comics were beautifully drawn and the female figure was celebrated. I actually learned to draw women by studying these books.

Describe the plot to “ZOMBIE SUB-920”: “ZOMBIE SUB-920” takes place in a world that has suffered an alien invasion. The aliens have spread a virus that has turned many humans into zombies. The humans were nearly wiped out until they found a serum that could arrest the spread of the disease and, if given early enough, prevent someone from turning completely into a zombie. These serum-fed zombies are human in every other respect, they talk and have feelings and character. In the pages of our story, they have been pressed into the decimated ranks of the service to fight off the alien invaders. Along the way they surface to find strange pockets of their broken world where talking apes, muck monsters and bubble-headed aliens reside.

What’s up next for the book? We are working on our sixth issue now. There is the slowly simmering romance between the captain and nurse. There is the hot tension from the recent discovery that the serum may be breaking down, the burning corruption of the talking ape allies, the smoking mystery of the strange stowaway boy from issue #3 whom nobody is certain about. Those fun kind of things that keep the pages turning and our fans returning.

Dressing the part: Shortly after we came up with the idea for “Z-SUB,” Michelle and I found ourselves at an antique mall where a much older fellow was selling this Navy cap. He said it had belonged to his long-dead son who was once an officer aboard a submarine. I bought it for $5. At first it just sat in the studio as inspiration, but when we did our first debut of issue #1 in Portland (November 2013) I decided I was going to wear it. Michelle got the giggles seeing it atop my big, swelled head and decided to join in the fun and get a stethoscope, and so it has just become a part of our routine. We have fun making our comics, but I think we have even more fun selling them to people and getting to act like kids again.

Fellow guest you might go full-fanboy on this weekend at the Bangor show? (At past con appearances) I did meet Captain Kirk and I met Adam West, my generation’s only Batman . . . my knees were knocking together. I bumped into Peter Tork of the Monkees, literally bashed right into him as I was looking for the restroom, nearly knocked him flat. So many, many more, even little Eddie Munster, Butch Patrick! Still, even though I had a pretty good run of pop culture meet-ups, I still get pretty excited to know I could be crossing paths with some of the stars and heroes we all identify with, and BCTC in Bangor is going to have a bunch of them. The original first four “Power Rangers”; not one, but TWO actors from the original “Star Wars” trilogy; Hacksaw Jim Dugan; Deep Roy, who played the multiplicitous Oompa Loompa in “Willy Wonka.” Maybe I can bump into Billy Dee Williams . . . he once got to fly the Millennium Falcon you know.

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Sci-fi stars shining in Bangor this weekend

You saw the new “Star Wars” trailer last week, right?

Here’s your shot to ask Lando what he thinks of it.

Actors Billy Dee Williams, Ernie Hudson (“Ghostbusters”), Doug Jones (“Hellboy”) and sci-fi author Timothy Zahn are among the media guests along with four — count ’em, four — former Power Rangers headlining the Bangor Toy & Comic Convention.

The show runs Friday through Sunday, April 24-26, with most of the panels and signings on Saturday and Sunday at the Cross Insurance Center. 

For more information and ticket prices, check out: Bangorcomictoycon.com 


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