UNDEAD, UNFRIENDLY AND UNSTOPPABLE
Shhh! Keep your voice down.
It's the zombies. They're out in force and they're feeding on the brains of anyone they can get their grub-gnawed hands on. They're crawling from the dark shadows of the alleyway and the backseat of your car and those fuckers look hungry. I've seen how they hunt, surrounding anything that moves in endless waves of bony fingers and gnashing teeth. They swarm like maggots on fresh roadkill. They're mindless, unfeeling, putrid killing machines and they're spreading an unholy infection across the face of the globe In a slow motion human holocaust.
I'm sure you've already noticed.
The zombie contagion is everywhere and the numbers of those disease-ridden walking corpses are multiplying so fast it's getting so that it seems like there's a new slime-drooling zombie crawling out of a grave or slinking from a sewer pipe everytime you turn around. These things are spreading the disease and making more brain-hungry
For me, the most recent wave of undead activity started sometime last year when one of my regular customers loaned me a copy of the uber-cool Japanese cult flick "Wild Zero," a hard-drinking, motorcycle riding, rock n' roll zombie love story featuring one of the coolest bands on the planet Guitar Wolf. From there it progressed to other movies like "28 Days Later" (for those who haven't seen the DVD, the un-filmed ending is excellent), Dawn of the Dead," and the independent cult hit from Australia "Undead." The zombies just kept coming, wave after wave after wave of the damn things. It seemed to me that the legions of the undead had infected every movie I saw. I couldn't even watch "Once Upon a Time in Mexico" on DVD without going through that awesome "Resident Evil 2" movie trailer first.
And with the word out that "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" director Tobe Hooper is working on a zombie flick of his own, Mortuary, everything in the world of cinema is looking fairly saturated with maggot-infested and brain-hungering zombies.
Now having that many contaminated creatures of the crypt shambling around Hollywood wouldn't be enough to get me stockpiling shells, strapping on some bite-proof kevlar, and practicing those head shot down at the Jackson Arms shooting range. But those walking maggot farms don't stop there when it comes to infecting everything in their path. Zombies aren't just taking over my movies, but they are invading video games and comics as well.
And let's face it, when it comes to zombies and when it comes to dealing with a brain-hungry zombie infestation on the scale we've got, undead inoculation just isn't going to happen. These maggot-ridden head-chomping monstrosities are here to stay. Our best hope is to find someplace safe and scrape out some kind of meager survival. And that means education and awareness of these foul-smelling beasts. So this week in the interests of continued survival we're going to gear up smart with some of the best zombie reading the comic industry has to offer…
"Walking Dead" by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore
Published by Image Comics
Long time Comic Pimp readers will know how much I like this series.
It would do "Walking Dead" a disservice to call it one of the best zombie comics on the market today, because this book is truly one of the best comics being published today in any genre. And it doesn't hurt that the collection just so happens to have a pretty darn good looking dead guy on the inside front cover.
Once you've caught the Kirkman/Moore bug, the only cure is picking up the other hits that this duo has to offer, their independently published series "Battle Pope,"and "Brit" published by Image Comics.
"Dead@17" by Josh Howard
Published by Viper Comics
This series has developed a loyal, almost rabid following. It could probably be best described as Buffy-esque with its cast of upbeat teenaged girls and, of course, ZOMBIES!
"Before Dawn" by Wesley Craig Green and Jason Whitley
Published by Green Fly Productions
This graphic novel is straight up classic zombie movie fare and it certainly wears its "Evil Dead" and "Dead Alive" influences on its sleeve. This is an indy book from a new publisher, and at $5.95 for a 64 page square-bound comic any roughness is easily forgiven.
"Dead Folks" by Joe R. Lansdale and Tim Truman
Published by Avatar Press
Joe R. Lansdale, the genius behind not only my favorite zombie AND Elvis movie, "Bubba Ho-Tep," but also one of my favorite Western comics, "Jonah Hex Two Gun Mojo," teams up with Timothy Truman for another classic.
In true Lansdale fashion, "Dead Folks" piles goodness upon goodness upon goodness. Landsdale adds a bounty hunter, a slew of zombies and throws in a western setting, shakes vigorously and comes out with the hilarious, violent mayhem that makes his work unforgettable.
"The Goon" by Eric Powell
Published by Dark Horse Comics
If you haven't already heard me rant about this two-fisted, whiskey-drinking, monster-fighting, ass-kicking series, then you haven't been listening! Do yourself a favor and buy everything Powell puts his name on. If Will Eisner decided to try his hand at making "Hellboy" comics they would read like Eric Powell's instant-classic "Goon" series does.
And did I mention that "The Goon" beats up some zombies?
"El Zombo" by Kevin Munroe and Dave Wilkins
Published by Dark Horse Comics
When you combine the undead with Mexican wrestling with fantastic artwork you get "El Zombo." A fun and charming series, perhaps not the most intellectual zombie comic out there, but definitely one of the prettiest!
"Lenore" by Roman Dirge
Published by Slave Labor Graphics
If you've grown tired of the usual grim-and-gritty zombie fare, but you still want to read about the adventures of the undead, you simply can't do better than Roman Dirge's classic comic about a cute little dead girl.
Simply essential comic reading.
"Demo" #6 by Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan
Published by AIT-PlanetLar
Even the best mini-series of 2004 can't stop the zombie virus from infecting its pages! I don't want to spoil the story for anyone, but this is certainly one of the most unique zombie stories. And since each of the 12 issues in this series are self-contained, starting with issue six won't be a problem.
An absolute must-read!
Published by Rebellion
I was surprised to see zombies showing up even in my favorite British comic, 2000ad! And it was made even better with art by the amazing Frazer Irving, the cream of the European comic market crop. "Shaun of the Dead" story is an adaptation of the British horror-humor movie of the same name. Let's hope we see the movie hit the States, as well!
You already know how great 2000ad is, so read about "Shaun of the Dead" instead.
"LONE" by Stuart Moore and Jerome Opea
Published by Dark Horse Comics
"Lone" is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi spaghetti western set in a small town besieged by the undead. Jerome Opea's art is a sight to behold, and is well complemented by Stuart Moore's smart and clever script. You're going to the wild, wild atomic west wasteland!
"Remains" by Steve Niles and Kieron Dwyer
Published by IDW Publishing
Just hitting the stores this week is Niles and Dwyer's glorious zombie celebration "Remains." A post-nuclear holocaust inspires the hordes of not-so-mindless undead to eat the entire world. And what better place for our hero and heroine to make the last stand for the living, but in Reno…
…Or the Isotope for that matter?
The past few weeks have been a flurry of undead activity here in San Francisco as my staff and I prepare the imminent zombie invasion of the Isotope in the form of the REMAINS ZOMBIEFEST. Author Steven Niles and artist Kieron Dwyer will be coming in for an all-night celebration of all things dead, and this event features the zombie makeup wizardry of special effects artist Jared Guenther. Mister Guenther is fresh off a stint blowing everyone's minds on the popular "Evil Dead Live" stage production, wherein his special effects mastery was truly a thing to behold!
Face facts. The zombies are everywhere. Their numbers have multiplied exponentially in the time it's taken you to read this. There is no escape and there's just no point in denying them any longer.
Pop a classic zombie flick into your DVD or VHS player, slap some Cramps in the CD player, and dig into some of the terrific zombie comics that are out there just waiting to consume your brain matter. It could even be one of the many books I suggested in this very column.
Of course, this is nowhere near a comprehensive list of all the zombie action that is going down in the world of comics and there are plenty other comics out there that celebrate the reanimated. For example, Humanoids Publishing has been publishing two zombie serials recently in it's excellent anthology, "Metal Hurlant." "Fragile" is a walking dead adventure by Stefano Raffaele starting in issue #7, and "The Zombies That Ate the World" by Jerry Frissen and Guy Davis starting in the Metal Hurlant Anthology issue #8 are both excellent as well. But with the proliferation of zombie books that keep popping up there isn't enough room in ten columns to talk about all the brain-eating undead books that are out there. The beloved indy comic "Reign of the Dead" is one I haven't had a chance to check out, but I'm told it's also a good, classic action adventure book full of rotten flesh and brain munching!
And just in case you're still not getting enough of those brain-munching walking corpses… I've got a couple links for those of you who are out there wishing that there was more zombie goodness to be had on the internet… if that sounds like you I suggest boarding up the windows, loading up the Winchester and preparing for the inevitable worst with this handy survival guide to living in a world over-run with zombies. Or you could always read this frequently updated on-line journal from a survivor in a zombie infested world. Or this one
And finally, if you're truly infected with the desire for more zombies, I suggest clicking on over to the king of zombie websites and indulging your hunger for everything rotten and reanimated:
Until next time, keep your blood clean and your pistol packed!
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