Graphic Novel Review – Various Zombie Stories
As you probably have noticed, most of my reviews for graphic novels are for stories that involved zombies. I will admit its a guilty pleasure of mine. Among the stories I’ve reviewed are Dead Eyes Open, The Damned and most importantly my all time favorite, The Walking Dead. Aside from those stories, there are many others that I’ve read during the past few weeks that although interesting, I did not feel I should dedicates a whole review for each one. Some of them because they where to short, others because the good things to say about them where not that many. So I decided to compile some of these stories in one review.
The first book I’ll review is one I read two months ago. XXXombies is a 4 issues series created by writer/artist Rick Remender, Kieron Dwyer and superstar artist Tony Moore and released by Image Comics. It’s part of a new ongoing Series called “Crawl Space” in the tradition of Tales from the Crypt, Creep show and Twilight Zone. This particular series based in the very exciting 70’s, tells the story of a airplane crash in wonderful Hollywood, California. One of the passengers was infected and by the time the plane hit the ground, it seemed most of them where zombies. This all happens near a house in the mountains, where a porno movie was being filmed. During the rest of the short story, you see a plot that develops where a dad is looking for his daughter, who left home and decided to become a porno actress. There is mafia involved and money owed and of course lots of nudity and sex. For a short story, I must say its among the best ones I’ve read because for the most part short stories tend to be to simple or just try to do a lot in very little paper. Not this one. It’s a simple plot but well developed. I strongly recommend it for those who love zombies and need a quick fix.
The next story is simply called Zombie, and written by Mike Raicht and the art done by Kyle Hotz. I got a hold of this story, published by Marvel in 2007, in a Borders Express in an airport and said, what the hell. From what I understand it was originally released as a four issue series, later put together as a single book (like most graphic novels). This particular story takes us thru the life of a nice but cowardly guy that works in a bank and it just happens that he’s bank is being robbed. The robbers take him and another girl hostage and come across a spill of some sort in the road ahead. the road was closed by the military and so was the town ahead. What they find is that people have turned into zombies and they seek shelter somewhere. The story continues while developing the main character and creating an attachment towards him while allowing the reader to find out what really is going around. As oppose to the first story I reviewed, on this one you know where the zombies come from. It’s not a bad story to read for zombie fans.
Living With The Dead, is a story written by Mike Richardson and drawned by Ben Stenbeck for Dark Horse Comics. The theme is more of a horror humor than anything else. The plot is as simple as it comes. Two guys, one girl and a whole lot of zombies. These guys by wearing masks get to fool the zombies into not eating them. The funny part of the story is that it shows what most of us think of doing if we survive a zombie apocalypse…we loot. They have all sort of goodies, but in a way it would not be looting if there is nobody else in the planet, right? The plot keeps at it with it’s up and downs asking the ever eternal question: Are women always meant to come between friends? you might find an answer to that question on this series of three issues. Although the plot is not going to keep you on your toes, the book does come with a “zombie apocalypse kit”. Yes, it provides you with cut-outs of masks so you can mesh with the zombies. Now ain’t that special? That’s called caring in my book.
The fourth book I’ll be overviewing here is called Everybody’s Dead, written by Brian Lynch and the art done by Dave Crosland. It was published by IDW Publishing and so far it seems to be an ongoing series. The first four issues so far narrate the story of a non-traditional frat house full of unusual characters living in a house and partying all night when all of a sudden a meteor hits the front lawn. Next thing they know, almost everybody outside their house is a brain eating zombie. If that wasn’t enough, a brawl with the fraternity that previously owned their house, remains even after the zombification takes over them. In the middle add a little booze, some broads, and boy looking to find himself while trying to get back with his girl. I have to say that although I’m in no position to criticize anybody’s drawings since mine tend to suck, I was not attracted by the style of Crosland. It was different, and I’m sure that was intended, but I am more of a fan of realistic drawings, if ever so slightly. The story seems to be fine, although the dialogue seems more for a younger audience than for grown ups. Maybe if I was still in college I would be getting a kick out of it.
From the same publishing as the previous book, IDW Publishing, I found the next story which really needs no introduction since it’s an adaptation. Dawn Of The Dead, the masterpiece by George Romero, was turned into a graphic novel by Steve Niles in the writing and Chee in the art section and released in 2004. For anybody not related to the story, it’s based on the movie from 1978 where a few people try to survive the zombie apocalypse inside a shopping mall after landing in a helicopter. The story continues as they try to clean the place up and avoid getting killed, but as any good zombie story, the problem is not always the undead but the living and them not following good ol’ Rodney King’s suggestion “Can’t we all just get along?”. In my opinion, the adaptation was done gracefully and I was taken back to the movie, panel by panel without having it loose it’s comic magic. If you have seen the movie there is no reason for me to expand on the plot, if you haven’t, then go see it, then buy the comic. It’s a three issue series.
Now we go to a book that at first glance makes you go “really?”, but once you give it a try, you just take it by what it is…comedy. I mean if we all zombie fans, enjoyed Shawn Of The Dead, there is no reason to not enjoy that sort of comedy in graphic novels, right? Anyway this story is called The Last Christmas and its a post apocalyptic (of course) world where zombies (although in the story the call them mutants) roam the world eating brains, there’s a few humans left trying to make it and there’s some people called Marauders. But the story is not about them. Oh no, that would have been to easy. This story is about the big fat man dressed in red. You see, even though the world has turned to shit, the few kids that still believe in him, get visited by Santa in christmas and get toys and/or items they can use to play and defend themselves from the zombies. But a tragedy occurs in the North Pole and Santa decides to quit and even tries to kill himself, but he can’t. For you see, as long as people believe in him, he can’t die. So all of this happens and he finds the last kid that believes in him and well so goes the story. At first I must say that the snowman in the story drove me nuts, but after a while he just meshed with the story (it was one of those narrators bids). This was, if I’m not mistaken, the first story by writers Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn and they waited until they could get good ol’ Rick Remender to do the drawing for them (yes he’s as good a writer as he is a penciller…and that’s no easy task). The Last Christmas has some funny moments, some current events bids and a drunken, armed to the teeth Santa, ready to kick ass. Now who wouldn’t want to see that? Let’s not forget the elves, they get some fun in this too. So if you are looking for a not so serious, yet zombie related book, give it a try. Patton Oswald thought it was good enough to do a Foreword. This book was released by Image Comics.
Last but not least is back to basics. Yes, I know what you are thinking, I’ve already reviewed tha book. Well, yes, I did I gave an overview of the series, but it’s latest volume has just been released and it’s so amazing it deserves it’s own review. Of course I’m talking about The Walking Dead, created by Robert Kirkman writing the stories, and Charlie Adlard doing the pencilling and the covers of this books like always, by Tony Moore. Previously I gave an overview about what TWD was all about. I had read volumes one thru seven that would have counted for pretty much the first fourty single issues. But because I started with the volumes and not the issues, I stopped reading the issues until the latest volume came about. That date got moved quite some time until recently. Without revealing too much of the plot of this particular book, Vol. 8: Made To Suffer, I can only say that It’s the end of what we take for certain. For the past few years TWD has given us a direction and this book in a way ends that. The war with The Governor hits its peak and once again the survival instinct must come into play since there is no such thing as a safe haven. Of course for that the first thing that must be done is survive. I would like to say so much about what happens, but don’t think it’s fair to ruin it for those who have been waiting like me. All I’m going to say is that Robert Kirkman is a genious when it comes to suspense, and he knows how to make us fall for the characters and knows when to yank that feeling from us. On a side note, it’s great news to know he has become the newest partner of Image Comics. With such a great writer on staff and on the directive, this company has no other place to go but up. You can also visit his blog for more details at Kirkmania.