From Alexander the Great's Macedonian army to Genghis Khan's Mongol horde to the British Imperial machine of the nineteenth to the Soviet Union to the twenty-first century United States of America, no occupying force has ever been able to control Afghanistan — the very reason it's known as the Graveyard of Empires. Mark Sable and Paul Azaceta drew upon that history in their Image Comics series GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES, set in present-day Afghanistan, where American troops are caught in a seemingly unending conflict with the Taliban. That is, until a new enemy enters the field: the undead. The only way to defeat them is for the Americans and Taliban to unite forces, and as former enemies become uneasy allies, tension will rise on all sides.
All four issues of the critically acclaimed, controversial GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES will be collected into a new trade paperback, set to be in stores on May 1.
"Zombies are the perfect metaphor for modern insurgents," said writer Sable. "A seemingly endless foe with inscrutable motives that comes in unstoppable waves. In counter-insurgency theory, there's something we came across in our research called 'insurgent math.' It's the idea that by killing one terrorist, you can create ten more because you've inspired their friends and family. Similarly, in a world where the dead are coming back to life, anyone you kill can return to infect your comrades and turn them against you."
"It was a challenge to do the book because I wanted to get it right," said artist Azaceta. "Not just the uniforms and the guns but Afghan culture and its wonderful landscape. While digging around for reference the things that surprised me most was the beauty of the country."
Part of the research was aided by photojournalist Tim Hetherington, who co-directed the Academy Award-nominated documentary Restrepo and who was killed in a mortar attack in Mistrata in 2011 by Libyan government forces while covering the Libyan civil war. Sable and Azaceta dedicated GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES to his memory.
Meticulously detailed and boldly drawn, GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES can be pre-ordered now (Diamond Comics code MAR130502, ISBN 978-1-60706-739-9). A 128-page full-color graphic novel, its retail price $14.99. The first issue is available digitally for free from comiXology and the Image Comics iOS app.