John Rozum is the co-creator of “Xombi” which was just recently resurrected from the dead to become an ongoing monthly series for DC Comics. After reading the first issue of the new version of the book, I had an opportunity to talk to Rozum and dig deep into the world of “Xombi” and the writer himself.
First, give us a little background on John Rozum.
I was born in the latter half of the 1960s and grew up on a steady diet of cartoons, dinosaurs, and monster movies. Even as a kid I was predisposed towards serial storytelling.
I went to New York University to study film and television production. It was here that I met Dwayne McDuffie. When Dwayne began working at Marvel as an assistant editor, I’d often meet him after work to get dinner or catch a movie. At some point, wandering the Marvel offices while he was finishing up, I decided that I could probably write comics. I’d read them my whole life, and even made a bunch as a kid, but it never occurred to me to try and do it professionally.
A few years later I found a home for all the weird concepts I had when Dwayne offered me the opportunity to write “Xombi” for Milestone Media, the comic book company he’d formed with Derek Dingle, Denys Cowan and Michael Davis. I’ve been working pretty steadily in comics ever since with some side trips into other things such as television, magazines, and some other things.
What were your inspirations and influences for the character of Xombi when you were creating him?
Looking back, it’s really hard to say beyond the simple needs of the story. The original concept for the character was very different. It was more of a revenge story built around a regenerating Punisher-type of character. I spoke to Dwayne McDuffie about how I thought that would start getting tired after a few issues of finding new ways to damage David in gory ways so we could see him regenerate before he blew away the bad guys with firearms. That’s when he told me to just take the basic concept of a man who couldn’t be killed and do whatever I wanted with it, and take it as an opportunity to tell all the weird supernatural types of stories I’d been trying to tell at other comic book companies to no avail.
From there I just really moved forward by looking at just what that would mean to never have to worry about dying, or getting hurt, or being sick, or growing old. If you have a character who can never really be in any physical jeopardy then where do the stakes come in that keep the reader invested? Everything that came along happened because of these basic questions. There wasn’t really an existing template that I built this on. It was really just finding a way to keep me interested in continuing the story of David Kim so that readers would also remain interested and to try and tell a story that seemed new and different in the world of comics.
Continued in Part Two to be posted in the future!