*Obie, through his dabbling in arcane magiks mixed with ancient corrupt business practices, has had not just the colors of his fur switched, but a complete overhaul of his work ethic as well…I think I’m kinda okay with the mishap.
Not sure what “Comics Lust” is about? Take a look at the Introduction to “Comics Lust” post or take a look at the static “Comics Lust Table of Contents” page to jump to a topic.
Hey Hey We’re the Zombies!
I want to say that because it’s the beginning of October, it’s the time for spooky comics, but for me, scary comics are a year-round event. This goes doubly so when it comes to monsters. I don’t care if they have fangs, or claws, or scales, or if they’re big as buildings. They can come from the farthest reaches of outerspace or from the darkest depths of the ocean; I’m in. Today, however, we’re staying on land. Rooted. Grounded. Six feet under, to be precise. This genre is by no means dead but is rather evergreen. Whether it shambles or moves with a hunger-driven fury, we’re talking about…zombies.
Night of the Living Dead style of zombie. Meaning, they are slow, shambling, rotting corpses that are frightening enough on their own, but when two, three, tens, or hundreds show up, that is when things become utterly terrifying. But the zombies aren’t necessarily the worst this world has to offer. It’s the other survivors that pose the biggest threat: the ones who have cast aside the morals of their former world to gather power, to survive at any cost, and to take what they want from whoever crosses their path. The term “the walking dead” does not mean the dead who have risen with their ungodly hunger, but rather it refers to the still living whose days are numbered until they too die and turn into a flesh-eating monstrosity; there are plenty of threats living and undead eagerly wanting to help the cast of characters find their ultimate end. If you have been holding off on reading this powerful and compelling series, then you simply must pick up the first massive compendium and see for yourself why this comic has taken the world by storm. Be warned, though, it will not be an easy ride, but as devastating as certain events are you won’t be able to turn away or resist seeing what comes next.
Tales of the Zombie, but it is of course currently out of print. This story originally appeared in a 1973 black and white magazine that ran for ten issues and an annual and featured partial nudity, some profanity, and was a lot more graphic in its violence as it was able to skirt the dreaded regulatory Comics Code Authority. Originally based off of a short story from the ’50s by Stan Lee and artist Bill Everett, the zombie idea was resurrected by fan-favorite-of-the-bizarre Steve Gerber along with co-writer Roy Thomas who told the story of Simon Garth, a man brought back from the dead to seek out vengeance upon those who wronged him. Artist Pablo Marcos illustrated the first few issues of the magazine before a rotation of different artists and writers took a turn at telling Simon Garth’s story. I am committed to finding and reading Tales of the Zombie in the very near future. The search is on.
28 Days Later. Originally a fantastic movie (one of my favorites), and with a possibly even scarier followup film called 28 Weeks Later, the comic focuses on the time between the two films as a survivor from the first film, Selena, returns to the UK in an effort to help save a lost team from the infected, US forces, and impending doom. Not everyone will make it out alive. Written by Michael Alan Nelson, illustrated by Declan Shalvey and Alesandro Aragon, published by Boom Studios, this tense 24-issue thriller works perfectly on its own, but is made even better if you’ve already seen the movies. I anticipate coming back to this some day soon.
Marvel Zombies. A double bonus for fans of The Walking Dead is that the first mini was written by none other that Robert Kirkman. Now, I have little experience with this fan-favorite pocket universe of series, but from what I did read the gist is that an alien virus brings the dead back to life, infecting numerous deceased heroes and villains, who go on to infect living heroes and villains, who then try to infect everyone else, all while retaining their powers and abilities. What I did read of the series was quite fun and a nice break from the usual events and continuity challenges, and something I might eventually return to. Here are the books that comprise the Marvel Zombieverse:
- Marvel Zombies #1–5 (2005)
- Marvel Zombies 2 #1–5 (2007)
- Marvel Zombies Dead Days #1 (2007)
- Marvel Zombies The Book of Angels, Demons, and Various Monstrosities #1 (2007)
- Marvel Zombies Army of Darkness #1–4 (2007)
- Marvel Zombies 3 #1–4 (2008)
- Marvel Zombies 4 #1–4 (2009)
- Marvel Zombies Return #1–5 (2009)
- Marvel Zombies Evil Evolution #1 (2009)
- Marvel Zombies 5 #1–5 (2010)
- Marvel Zombies Supreme #1–5 (2011)
- Marvel Zombies Christmas Carol #1 (2011)
- Marvel Zombies Halloween #1 (2012)
- Marvel Zombies Destroy #1–5 (2012)
- Marvel Zombies #1–4 (2015)
- Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies #1–4 (2015)
I’m certain I missed something in the Marvel Zombieverse list above, but given the vast amounts of material out there, there’s plenty to work through before you scramble to find the odd one-shots and specials I managed to omit.
Deadworld comic from the Arrow/Caliber publishers and written by Stuart Kerr and illustrated by Vince Locke. Where as most zombie stories have the dead rise as a result of humanity meddling where it should not, Deadworld opted for more of a supernatural explanation. Of course, there were your regular zombies decimating the world while pockets of surviving humans struggled to survive, but this series had brutal, towering four-armed monstrosities and an unnerving, highly-intelligent, motorcycle-riding Zombie King commanding them all. Like The Walking Dead, which followed many years later, major characters in this series died and suffered throughout the course of the story. I somehow lost track of the series given the many jumps from publisher to publisher and there was even a reboot at one point. The best way to get the full Deadworld experience is through Calibers’s nine Archive Editions and then move onto the reboot with IDW’s Deadworld Omnibus. Just thinking about this series from my youth has me eager to see how it all ended and how it all began anew.
Marshal Law (written by Pat Mills, illustrated by Kevin O’Neill, published by DC Comics), my favorite post-apocalyptic anti-hero comic, is a humorous, sarcastic critique of the superheroes and their nonsensical stories and featured zombie heroes in The Hateful Dead. I will definitely touch upon the good Marshal in another chapter, as I love all of his appearances, but just know he gets to slap some zombies around and it’s a heck of a lot of fun. Speaking of fun, and another title that will get a couple extended mentions in the future, is The Goon, which sees the goonish Goon and his pal Frankie fighting the Zombie King, zombie mobsters, fishmen, robots, hobos, and all sorts of oddball characters in a humorously written and gorgeously illustrated series by superstar Eric Powell. Finally, with the dreaded holidays rapidly approaching, you might just want to see what happens when Jolly Ol’ St. Nick has to take on the wicked dead with guns and knives and whatever comes to his mittened hand in The Last Christmas (written by Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn, illustrated by Rick Remender, published by Image Comics). There are plenty of other fine zombie books out there, but those are for another day.
The Week’s Reading List
Strikeforce: Morituri Volume 1 (Written by Peter B. Gillis, illustrated by Brent Anderson, published by Marvel Comics) I really don’t know how this gem got by me back when it came out in 1986, but after hearing some of my comic book buddies heap tons of praise on the series, coupled with a massive digital sale at Amazon, I decided to give it a shot; I’m glad I did. After an alien invasion pummels the Earth, humanity decides to strike back with a might of their own. Through the Morituri process, carefully chosen soldiers are given immense strength and endurance as well as other random abilities. This is good. This is great. There’s only one drawback: the process will kill the host at some point before a year has passed. Anderson’s art is stunning, the story and characters are compelling, and the mystery of never knowing when a hero’s time is over creates tremendous tension throughout. It’s startling when one character can be saving the day one moment only to have their life extinguished immediately afterwards. I have heard the last third of the series whiffs after a creative team change, but I definitely need to see what happens up until then.
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!