IT IS every boy’s wildest dream – being immortalised as a comic book hero in a battle to save his home town against flesh-eating zombies.
That dream has become a reality for 20-year-old Scott Davidson, who is called on to save not only his mother but all of Edinburgh from a resurrected Celtic shaman in a ground-breaking 22-page comic.
Scott vs Zombies has been written by Scottish comic book author Alan Grant – a giant of the industry who has penned adventures for iconic characters from Batman to Judge Dredd.
And the publication features a lead character in Scott who is not a superhero, spy or martial artist – just an ordinary guy living with autism whose shopping treat with mother Liz Davidson in the Capital transforms into a nightmare.
Edinburgh Castle, Lothian Road, Princes Street Gardens, Waverley Station and the graveyard surrounding St John’s Church act as the backdrop to scenes in which normal people become zombies and threaten to unleash an onslaught against the city. The Evening News even plays a starring role, with the final scene showing Scott’s triumph over the zombie hordes splashed across the paper’s front page.
Both Scott and his mother, who live together in Gorebridge, were drawn from real life and are the stars of the comic.
Creating the innovative comic book was the brainchild of Artlink – an Edinburgh-based arts and disability organisation that wanted to communicate with new audiences who did not understand autism while also empowering Scott in real life.
The final product has been two years in the making and was completed after numerous brainstorming sessions between Scott and Mr Grant.
Mrs Davidson said of the project: “Scott has always been obsessed with superheroes and his way of coping with life is he would take on the personality of his heroes. He always believed these kind of personalities gave him strength.
“This was about getting Scott to realise that he was enough in himself to have confidence and be special.”
Artlink project director Alison Stirling wrote out of the blue to Mr Grant – a personal hero – telling him about the concept.
The comic book whiz responded with a resounding yes and, after teaming up with artist Robin Smith of 2000AD for the first time in 20 years, Scott vs Zombies was born. Ms Stirling said: “How many people can say they’re a star in a comic?
“Scott’s not a superhero. He’s in a comic as he is and that’s brilliant.”
Scott was 18 and battling problems with bullying when the initial brainstorming started on the comic. As in real life, the story follows Scott as he struggles to understand who he is in relation to the people around him and finds it hard to fit in.
Mrs Davidson said: “I’m very proud of Scott and proud of everybody that’s been involved in it. It shows just because you’ve got a condition or a disability, it doesn’t mean you can’t do something special.” Scott, his mother and Mr Grant will all attend the book’s launch and signing this Saturday at Waterstones on Princes Street from 12.30-1.30pm.
Run for your life
COMIC book adventure Scott vs Zombies is not the first time the living dead have descended on to Edinburgh’s streets.
Former Scotland under-21 rugby player Ian Dryburgh invented the concept of Zombie Survival Club last year. His inventive classes run at Inverleith Park involved participants being set a series of physical challenges akin to surviving a zombie apocalypse from classic films such as Dawn of the Dead. Rival Scottish city Glasgow has similarly embraced the phenomenon, hosting a large-scale treasure hunt and chase game in which players have to outrun people made up as zombies.