Marvel Comics has paid tribute to George A. Romero, who passed away earlier this week at age 77, honoring the legendary writer and director “the leading creator of an entire pop culture movement.”

Romero is credited with creating the modern zombie subgenre with Night of the Living Dead, the 1968 horror film produced for just $114,000. He followed that influential work with subsequent series installments Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Land of the Dead, Diary of the Dead and George A. Romero’s Survival of the Dead.

In its tribute, Marvel recalled its collaboration with Romero on 2014’s Empire of the Dead, a 15-issue trilogy series based on one of his screenplays, which sought to answer the question of whether humans and a more intelligent class of zombies could co-exist in a post-apocalyptic New York City.

“In creating the Zombie Apocalypse, George A. Romero provided the ultimate metaphor for mankind’s inevitable fate and the perfect creative Petri dish to examine the depths of human nature,” said Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso, who worked closely with Romero on the project. “It was an honor to help him tell a chapter of his saga.”

Marvel isn’t the only outlet to publicly pay their respects to the late writer/director. Soon after the news of Romero’s passing hit the web, The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman remarked that, “Without George A. Romero, there is no Walking Dead. His inspiration cannot be overstated. He started it all, so many others followed.”

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