Tomm Coker and Daniel Freedman Talk Image's "Undying Love"

Tomm Coker ("5 Ronin") and Daniel Freedman, from Corvx Studios, have collaborated on several projects over the years including Daredevil, Punisher, and Wolverine. The two decided to take a step back from the superheroics and try their hand at a supernatural war story with a touch of romance -- "Undying Love." The book is being published by Image Comics and will hit stands on March 30th, but you can get your exclusive preview here! We chatted with Tomm and Daniel about the book, working on creator-owned material, and lots more!

MTV Geek: What is Undying Love about, and how did the book come together?

Daniel Freedman: UNDYING LOVE is the story of, John Sargent, American ex-soldier who has fallen for a beautiful Chinese woman named Mei only to discover she is a vampire. To free Mei from her curse, the couple sets out to destroy the vampire that made her. The only problem: Mei was bitten by one of the most powerful vampires in history...

Tomm Coker: Horror, action, fantasy, romance, etc. Equal parts vampire mythology and Chinese folklore, set in modern day Hong Kong.

As far as how the book came together – Daniel and I met a few years back, I had directed a film for Lions Gate and Daniel was hired as editor. We ended up spending the better part of a year together, sitting in a dark editing bay, talking ideas and stories. Pretty soon we’d worked out Undying Love and decided to write it as a team.

DF: This was right before Twilight hit and vampires were absolutely dead. We felt like, with the right story and re-imagining, the bloodsucker could be resurrected – turns out we were right – just didn’t predict the whole glimmer and rock-hard abs thing.

TLC: Hopefully people are ready for fangs and blood again.

Geek: For Tomm – what is it like writing a comic as opposed to just illustrating one?

TLC: Hands down Undying Love is the most fun I’ve ever had drawing a book. The freedom and control are obviously great and things I don’t enjoy to this degree while working on a company title, BUT the best part is the complete understanding of the story. Knowing why something is happening and how it will effect events to come. It allows you to think multiple steps ahead of the scene you’re working on at the moment. You can plan things. Set up moments that are entire issues away. Stay ahead of the reader. That’s awesome.

Geek: What is the collaborative process like between the co-creators of the comic?

TLC: It really depends what part of the process we’re talking about. Writing was all about tossing ideas back and forth, seeing which ones worked and then boiling them down to the simplest version you possible – drafting an idea over and over again in order to REALLY understand what it is you’re trying to get at.

DF: Tomm and I write at different speeds: I write too fast and Tomm writes too slow so we tend to balance each other out. I’m great at getting an idea on paper almost as quickly as we can say it while Tomm tends to sit with a scene and dissect it until he can explain the “how” and the “why”.

TLC: Now that we’re dealing with art it’s up to me to take the script and make it work as a comic. I layout scenes and discuss, with Daniel, whatever changes I think need to be made. Then he comes in with color and makes what I do look better.

Geek: Compare working on a creator-owned project to working on another publisher’s properties. Is there a sense of freedom to it? What are the advantages/disadvantages?

DF: The freedom we’re having is fantastic. Both, Tomm and I, were working in Hollywood and dealing with the studio system and experiencing some success and some failure but at the end of the day it's nearly impossible to do what you want. Even the most successful filmmakers have to put up with endless compromises in order to get something made.

TLC: But with Undying Love and the comic, it's just us, and we have full creative control, (thank you Image Comics) which is almost unheard of in comics or film.

The only disadvantage is not getting paid or getting paid on the backend based on sales. I’m more accustomed to Marvel and DC where I get paid by the page. But, if Undying Love is a hit then we can make more (and hopefully some cash) and we control it. That’s the long-term vision.

DF: Undying Love is a passion project and we hope it does well and we can reap the rewards somewhere down the line, but, for now, were doing the work because we want to get this story out and into the world.

Geek: Do you plan to take Undying Love to other media?

TLC: If something were to happen with Undying Love in other another media that would be cool – but right now Daniel and I are trying to produce the very best comic book we can and that’s it.

Geek: What other projects are you working on right now, or are coming out soon, that you’re excited about?

TLC: Right now producing Undying Love is taking up every moment of every day.

DF: But we do have a handful of scripts we’re working on ranging in topics from voodoo, Satan, pre-apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic, not to mention a few aimed at younger kids.

Geek: What would you tell a comic reader about Undying Love to convince him or her that they absolutely need to pre-order this comic now?

DF: A better question would be: why not pre-order Undying Love? It's got monsters, sex, drugs, demons, gods, fortunetellers, spirits, violence... What else do you need?

TLC: But at its core, Undying Love is a story of unlikely romance. It's also a ton of fun and a complete story from beginning to end.

DF: The only way your local comic book shop is going to know to stock Undying Love is for fans order it. Otherwise no one will ever see the book and it will go away.

TLC: I hear fans say they’ll just wait for the trade paperback and my response is always the same: waiting for the trade is too late. By then most creators are broke and discouraged because no one bought the monthly and sales don’t justify a trade. That’s the reality of doing creator owned titles.

Buy "Undying Love" #1 from Image March 30th!

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'5 Ronin' Bring the Marvel Universe to Feudal Japan

First Look: Wolverine as A Rogue Samurai in '5 Ronin' #1

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