Admit it. You love zombies. How can you not?
I mean – Night of the Living Dead. Do we have to go on?
Yes. We do.
It doesn’t mater if they’re darkly gothic and horrifying – The original, classic Night – or modern and stylish (28 days later). It doesn’t matter if it’s horrifyingly serious, or vaguely campy (Night of the Living Dead, with it’s surreal shopping mall), satiric Evil Dead 2, or outright zany (Shaun of the Dead, Return of the Living Dead).
One of my great addictions – my only real video game addiction – is to the Resident Evil game series. Alone, only the most minimal weapons, and shambling, moaning monsters coming to get you from all sides. How can you not love this?
Now, these came out a while ago. They were published in comic form in starting in 2003, and the first graphic novel was published in late ’05. And I vaguely recall seeing mention of them on BoingBoing. But I finally got around to picking up the first couple collections, Days Gone Bye and Miles Behind Us.
They’re fantastic – beautifully drawn by Tony Moore. This is a graphic novel version of the way Resident Evil feels, while also getting into the heads of the people who’ve survived this un-named zombie holocaust and have to deal with living in a world where they’re prey. The first issue is absolutely harrowing, starting with the protagonist, Rick Grimes, waking from a coma to find himself in the middle of a zombie movie.
They owe a vast amount to George Romero’s films, as well as to many other classic zombie films (and I think to the survival horror game genre, I keep seeing things that look like Resident Evil 2 and Silent Hill); Kirkman isn’t trying to break new ground here. What he’s doing is trying to tell the ongoing story of the survivors, not in two hours, but, as Kirkman says in his intro, but the whole story, what happens to these people after the first night. How they live with this day after day.
It’s grim. It’s scary – which really isn’t easy in a graphic novel. The end of the first volume left me almost gasping. These characters live in a world where violence erupts from nothing, absolutely without warning. And what might be scariest is watching what it does to the people who live through it.
I’m only a little way in so far. And I just had to go order the whole rest of the series (1-6 are out, 7 is due later this year). If it stays this good – wow.
Zombies. You just can’t say no.