Walking Dead's Tony Moore On Creating Rob Zombie’s Assassin’s Creed Unity Animated Short
Tony Moore is best known for co co-creating The Walking Dead. He drew the comic's first six issues and its first 24 covers, but he has also worked on properties ranging across Battle Pope, Ghost Rider, Punisher, Venom, Deadpool, and many more. His latest project is a collaboration with Rob Zombie and Ubisoft to create an Assassin's Creed Unity primer. The short premiered at Comic Con, and you can see it below, as well as our discussion with Tony Moore where he talks about Goldeneye and how he's tired of drawing tri-corner hats.
How did this come about? Have you worked with Rob Zombie before?
Tony Moore: I had worked with Rob before. I did some covers for his Spookshow International comics right after The Walking Dead. My friend Angry Blue is a poster artist. He did all the finishing on the artwork [in the short] and he had actually been talking to [the prodcuers] before I was ever brought in. They wanted someone who had more of a storytelling background and Angry Blue and I were friends. He’s from Kentucky, too. So we hit it off and he reached out to me and they brought me in, and… yeah. I knew it was going to be fun because I had worked with Rob before and was familiar with his work. I knew it was going to be a good time.
Did Zombie write the narration?
He wrote the script. I don’t know the full extent of what he did on his end, but they gave us the script and I went in and drew it. Pretty much like a comic book. It was kind of like a movie script.
And your art was animated?
Yeah, when I drew it, a lot of it was focused on the idea that it was going to be cut into little pieces and moved around. Some of it was just drawn as you see it, and some of it was drawn as multiple layers so they had assets that could be broken up and moved around and stuff. I had no idea what the animation crew was actually going to be doing with it. And they went in with way more detail than I’ve ever seen. I was kind of expecting a motion comic. They went in and cut out every little tiny thing and moved it all around and animated the hell out of it.
It seemed like there were even some small 3D elements in it.
Yeah, they did some 3D mapping stuff. I’ve seen a lot of motion comics, but never anything to this level. It was very exciting.
What kind of direction did you get from Ubisoft? It seems to serve as primer for Assassin’s Creed Unity, to give some context for the era. What’s the goal of the short?
It’s about setting the stage for the game itself. Kind of getting people into the head-space of that time period, and detail what people just went through after the French Revolution and all that stuff.
Are you a fan of the games? Do you play Assassin’s Creed?
I love video games, but I am kind of a recovering addict. I can’t have them in my house, or I’ll lose everything. I know they’re kind of like a time warp. When all the new generation consoles came out, I thought, “Oh these look awesome. I would never get anything done if these were in my house.” I just couldn’t buy them.
What were some of your favorite games? What pushed you over the line?
When I was in college I could have majored in Goldeneye. That was it. And we had T3 connections, back when that meant something, and I would play Goldeneye until all my friends went to sleep, and then I would get online and play Quake all night until I had to go to school. And then when the new consoles came out and they were so much better I thought, “This is going to be bad.” And it was right when I was trying to get a foothold in my career, too. I said, “I probably shouldn’t do this again.”
How much did you work with Zombie?
I did have any direct contact with him. We would get notes like, "Hey can you punch this up here?" or whatever, or if he called for something specific in the script, I tried to make sure I addressed it. Rob’s aesthetic has kind of specific things that he targets – which is gore.
Blades in eyeballs.
Yeah. I know this was a big departure for him [laughs]. I tried to give him what he does. I tried to cater to that, and it was fun. It’s not like I’m a stranger to gore. Anytime he had notes about specific parts of the script or whatever and they called for something like that, I would try to really sink my teeth into it and if it was gory I tried to make it worse. But, no not really any direct work [with Rob Zombie].
Are you tired of drawing bandages?
Not as tired as I am of drawing tri-corner hats.
Why do you think of zombies – not the guy you worked with but, you know, the living dead. Why do they endure? Why are they so popular?
I don’t know, man. I think it kind of appeals to the collective consciousness. I think we still have this romantic notion of the wild west and frontiers and living off the land and making it on your own and the whole survivalism thing. I think that’s a little seed that ticks in the back of your head, and all of our minds still. I think that appeals to people.
And zombies – they’re one of the only monsters that has no romantic side. It can’t be made glittery or anything like that. It just is a zombie. It just is what it is.