Monday, August 31, 2009

Zombie Week: Link Extravaganza

As Zombie Week progresses I think it’s time to sit down and prepare a Linkage Extravaganza to honor how much the love of zombies has penetrated culture. To help me with this task I have invited my special zombie buddy Thea from the legendary Book Smugglers, who has provided the essential recommended comic book experiences with zombies, while I dig through the links and present my own link list with some of my reviews and other references.

Zombie Fiction:

The Living Dead Anthology:
~ Opening Post
~ Closing Post

Zombie Television:

Dead Set

Zombie Articles: [Found over at the most hilarious website]

5 Scientific Reasons a Zombie Apocalypse Could Actually Happen
Zombie Movies
What’s your Contingency Plan?
Zombie Survival

Zombie Comics [Thea's Corner]

Harry has graciously invited me over to help blog during his fantabulous zombie week, and I'm doing my best to share my love for the walking dead! Today, I give you some great zombies in comics that are not to be missed!

1. The Walking Dead series by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore/Charlie Adlard

As Harry's covered in his review, this is a series that is not to be missed for any zombie fan. The first issues follow cop Rick Grimes, as he awakens from a coma in a hospital room only to find that the world he's known has been overrun by zombies. Anxious to find his family, Rick heads to Atlanta. Part of the charm of The Walking Dead is that, like all the best works of zombie fiction, it is not so much about the zombies as it is about the people who have to live in a world that has gone mad. Rick and his crew of survivors overcome insurmountable odds as they try to stay alive and ahead in a post-apocalyptic world, encountering trouble not only with the undead, but with the living as well. The later issues haven't been so hot, but you gotta admire Kirkman's ever-changing situations for Rick and the survivors. Really awesome stuff, and essential for any zombie fan.

2. Marvel Zombies by Robert Kirkman, Sean Philips and Arthur Suydam

Totally gimmicky, but it completely worked - well enough to span four different miniarcs and other spinoffs. My favorites have to be this first collection and the Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness crossover, though they all are pretty entertaining (if lacking any depth or substance whatsoever). You know how it goes. In an alternate universe, all our beloved Marvel superheroes (and villains) have turned into zombies and have used their superpowers to completely devour the Earth. Fabulous fun.

3. The Goon by Eric Powell

Imaginative, funny, and smart comic following The Goon - a scarred, enormous muscley orphan raised in a Carnival - and his sidekick Franky as they face off against The Goon's archnemesis, the evil Zombie Priest. The Goon has been going strong since 1999, though I've only discovered it this year. And it's awesome.

4. The Zombies That Ate the World by Jerry Frissen and Guy Davis

The dead have come back to life, and the living are forced to coexist with them under rule of law. At least, this is how it is in Los Angeles circa 2064. This is a crass, irreverent, freaking hilarious eight-issue book. And there's no denying that Guy Davis is a wonderful artist.
5. Black Gas by Warren Ellis

I really like Warren Ellis. For all his trippy and bizarre shiz, Black Gas is a great take on zombies in comics. Smoky Island, a small island off the NE coast of the USA, lies on a fault line in the middle of Smoky's woods, forming a strange geological bump called "The Bulge." Young Tyler and his girlfriend Soo are vacationing on Smoky when the Bulge splits open, and black gas flows out from the bump and is blown over town. The gas is no ordinary gas, of course, and the inhabitants of Smoky Island become twisted creatures with insatiable urges to eat and murder and screw. It's a brutal, nasty comic filled with gore, violence and sexual depravity. In other words, it's a hard core zombie fan's dream.

6. Escape of the Living Dead by John A. Russo and Dheeraj Verma

Everyone knows that George Romero was the co-creator of Night of the Living Dead, and then went on to finish his masterpiece series (Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Land of the Dead, Diary of the Dead). But lesser known is John A. Russo - the other creator of Night of the Living Dead (who would then go on to finish another cult classic, Return of the Living Dead). This limited eight issue comic is a direct sequel to Night of the Living Dead but outside of Romero's other works. Do I even need to get into why you should read this comic?

7. Tales of the Zombie by Steve Gerber and Pablo Marcos

Going back to the '50s and '70s for this one, Tales of the Zombie (get the Essential Tales of the Zombie graphic novel) collects the tragic story of Simon William Garth, coffee plantation owner who is killed in a voodoo ritual but brought back as a zombie by cult leader Layla (out of her love for Simon). Simon is supposedly mindless (controlled by an amulet), but when his daughter or others he loves are in danger, he is able to protect them of his own volition. The thing about Simon don't really know how to feel about him. You feel for him because he's under a shitty voodoo curse, but he's also pretty scary and...well, hollow like a zombie. This trade paperback is a great deal too, since it collects essays on zombies from the originals.

8. Awakening by Nick Tapalansky and Alex Eckman-Lawn

Zombies are slowly coming back to life around the world, less of a full-scale takeover than it is a dangerous but controllable threat. In Park Falls, private eye Derrick Peters investigates a string of disappearances and deaths, and it becomes clear that zombies are the cause. The best part about this book is the artwork - it's terrifying and beautiful, like Steve Niles but much better.

9. Zombie Tales by Keith Giffen and Ron Lim and many others

As the title suggests, this is not a linear story but rather a collection of six separate zombie tales - ranging from funny to irreverent, to horrific and gory. Some are better than others, but it's still worth checking out.

10. Toe Tags by George A. Romero

Technically, Mr. Romero only wrote the first three issues of this six-issue mini, set in the same universe as his films. Ok so this is a slightly offensive comic for women (Judy, the main chick is ridiculously proportioned, cussing like a mofo and wasting zombies with nasty weapons and clad in a thong. Yeah.), but it's written in the spirit of a grindhouse b-movie. The art is solid, and though there isn't much in the way of subtlety or ingenious insights that are in Mr. Romero's trademark films, it's still worth reading. So that's my list o' comics. Which zombie titles are you into devouring? I'm all ears. And brains. And other assorted body parts...


vvb32 reads said...

Excellent! Love the comics segment!

Harry Markov said...

Don't forget to check the articles out. Fun, fun, fun as well. And yes Thea is amazing with these titles.

CJ said...

So, guy, I've got to ask...

What is it with zombies?

I mean, yuck.

Care to try and enlighten me?

Harry Markov said...

CJ: It's more or less on a psychological basis. Zombies are the sole thing that scares me as a concept, even when I think about it I shudder and at the same time I have a weird fascination with fear and trying to overcome it. So it's a thrill to get my adrenaline pumped up mixed with becoming immune to the fear of zombies. Silly, but that's me.

CJ said...

Not silly at all. It's a reason I can understand and appreciate.

But all the same, you won't see me doing anything that involves heights or spiders. I'm comfortable with my limitations! lol.


Smirking Revenge said...

Yeah zombies and even better comics. *giant psychic hug* Great pics as far as the comics go. I am a big fan of the Walking Dead series and it has proven to be quite different than I expected it to be. Black Gas is also really nice.

Of course I love my zombie fiction as well from World War Z to Monster Island to even Happy hour of the Damned. Zombies are far too much fun.

Harry Markov said...

CJ: It's teh fact that zombies lurk in the dark and if I am to be terrified non stop of them it would mean to be scared of half the day after sunset and that's not something I look forward to.

SR: I actually have Brooks' The Zombie Survival Guide, somewhere as a PDF, but I hope I didn't delete it. And you should thank Thea for the comics provided.

Nick said...

Thanks for including Awakening on your list, guys! In case you haven't seen it yet, you can check out a trailer for the book here - Awakening Trailer on YouTube. Plus, the first hardcover is now out and available at your LCS or on Amazon - Awakening on Amazon.


Harry Markov said...

Greatness. If I can get my hands on it, count it read and reviewed. :) Good luck with it.

Thea said...

Ok, I'm insanely, embarrassingly late to comment, but thank you Harry for inviting me over! Zombie lovers unite! (I feel like we should have a Captain Planet or Voltron moment here)

vvb32 - Thanks! I'm a big fan of zombies in any medium, and comics happen to do the genre proud.

CJ - Oh, what I love best about zombies besides the requisite fun blood and gore is the searing questions and insights to humanity they offer. Zombies can be...a catalyst, of sorts. When human kind is stripped of our conveniences and our thin veneer of civilization, what remains is horrific.

And of course, I agree with Harry :) The horror can be an addictive rush.

Smirking Revenge - Thanks! I had half a mind to include zombie literature too in the list, but that would have taken forever. But off the top of my head, in addition to the books you mention (Max Brooks and Mark Henry, FTW!), I'm a big fan of Daniel Waters' Generation Dead books, Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry, Kim Paffenroth's intellectual take, and of course Carrie Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth!

Nick - *falls over* Ok, fangirl moment. I love your writing (and of course the beautiful art) in Awakening! I just got my HC version from my local store last month. Truly fantastic work, and I'm excited to read more of your material! Thank you for stopping by!

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