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The Deadman rises in comic book form
Twenty years ago, World Wrestling Entertainment changed forever as The Undertaker made his in-ring debut at Survivor Series. With an unparalleled career and legacy in WWE, The Deadman now makes his way into comic books with the return of the hit series WWE Heroes.
The Phenom takes center stage in WWE Heroes: Timequake -- Undertaker, written by Keith Champagne with art by Tom Nguyen. Joined by Rey Mysterio, the story follows The Deadman as he travels to Mexico to battle zombies and discover the secrets of the "Saint of Death," Santa Muerte. The first issue also features two collectible covers. (Cover 1 | Cover 2)
WWE.com asked series writer Keith Champagne about the new series and how the legacy of The Deadman plays into the title's central themes.
WWE.com: WWE Heroes: Timequake -- Undertaker No. 1 comes out 20 years to the week since The Deadman's debut in WWE. What will longtime fans of The Phenom, as well as younger fans, find most appealing about the comic?
Keith Champagne: I hope that fans both new and old will read the comic and enjoy the same things about Undertaker in four-color as they do on their TVs and in arenas. We've tried to keep our comic book version of The Undertaker faithful to the real world Superstar —that same dark intensity and integrity, determination and "intestinal fortitude," in the words of Gorilla Monsoon. Except we've got zombies.
WWE.com: Tell us what the story is about. Does The Phenom's storied career actually influence what takes place in the story?
Champagne: Not necessarily his in-ring career, but definitely his evolution. This is a story about love, death, and zombies, with Undertaker and Rey Mysterio thrown smack-dab in the middle of a world of pain. What happens when The Deadman comes face-to-face with the evil personification of Death? What lengths will he go to save his friend, even in the shadow of impossible odds, at the risk of his own life?
Those are the questions we threw at the character, and because Undertaker has defined himself so well over the years, he answered those questions for us.
WWE.com: WWE Heroes and WWE Heroes: Timequake -- Undertaker possesses some supernatural influences. Does The Undertaker's power make him a natural choice for being the focus of Timequake?
Champagne: Definitely! This is a story completely tailored to The Undertaker. This is a world he's comfortable walking in; a place where the shadows come alive and evil lurks behind every corner. No other Superstar could handle such a situation. He rolls up his sleeves and gets the job done!
WWE.com: What about The Phenom do you think will appeal most to comic book readers?
Champagne: I think it boils down to one thing: Undertaker is cool. Not only is he cool, but he's still cool after 20 years, a dark anti-hero following his own code, his own rules, who doesn't care whether or not you agree with him He's the type of Superstar that translates perfectly into comics.
At the end of the day, you know that if The Undertaker has got your back, you're walking out alive.
WWE.com: You're a longtime WWE fan yourself. Is WWE Heroes something you lobbied to write?
Champagne: Actually, no. It was complete serendipity that the assignment was offered to me when it was. Every once in a great while, I find myself in the right place at the right time, faced with the right opportunity. This was one of those times and, especially when I heard how ambitious Titan's plans were for the WWE Heroes line, I couldn't possibly say no. Not that I would have, anyway!
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