#1) Stop Trying To Imitate Ben Templesmith
Just stop it. Yes, I understand that Templesmith doesn’t seem bound by the chains of anatomy or staying within proper ink lines, which is appealing to artists of limited talent, but that was a conscious choice on Templesmith’s part for 30 Days of Night. He doesn’t always draw like that. He can draw other things. In the decade since that book came out, he’s done so. Templesmith was just riffing on Brian Froud anyway, for God’s sake.
It’s getting to the point where horror comics in general and zombie comics in particular have a canned, cliched art style not unlike the Jim Lee look you find in way too many superhero books to this day. It’s getting to the point where a book like Revival can have an art style that’s way too Jim Lee-esque and I’m happy to see it because at least it’s not another Templesmith knock-off.
#2) Don’t Just Recycle The Same Goddamn Romero Plot
The best current example of this is the superb Vertigo series The New Deadwardians. It’s basically a Masterpiece Theater murder mystery with more vampires and ugly death, but what makes it work is that Dan Abnett makes zombies a key element of the setting without having a bunch of survivors holed up in the Tower of London arguing over who’s better at ruling over the ashes of the human race.
Dan Abnett has instead turned zombies into a commentary on English class structures, but that’s just the setting for a curious and involving story. Half the time the zombies aren’t important…but they’re always there.
In other words, stop trying to rip off Kirkman.
#3) If You Have One Unique Idea, Go With That and Ditch the Cliches
Deadworld: War of the Dead, just released, is a great example of what could have been. Most of the book is essentially a litany of cliches: chick with a katana, dude with long coat wandering post-apocalyptic world, survivors holed up in some military facility that was formerly the site of awful crimes. I’m aware that this is building on a book that’s been publishing sporadically since 1986 but cliches are cliches.