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ROSEMONT, ILL. -- The 40th anniversary of Night of the Living Dead is next year, and Avatar Press' William Christensen and the film's co-creator John Russo plan to celebrate in style.

A multi-city tour, including Russo, Geroge Romero and cast members, will be announced in October.

"We're going to make sure we cover the whole country," Christensen said. "It will be the big reunion tour that everyone wants to see."

The tour will be tied to other shows, and will include such cities as Atlanta, Chicago, Baltimore and Dallas.

Christensen said Avatar is ramping up for the tour.

"There will be a whole line of merchandise. It will be pretty extensive," he said. "It will include T-shirts, hats, action figures in the style of the old Mego figures, busts and statues."

On the comics side, Avatar Press will release a 240-page Escape of the Living Dead collection in November. Next year will see collections for Night of the Living Dead and Plague of the Living Dead and a new Night of the Living Dead series.

"This is one of the greatest working relationships I've ever had," Russo said.

Russo said a film version of the Escape of the Living Dead is in development, with financing being arranged.

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