Originally posted on 03/01/2011 on cxPulp.com. Read and comment on this article here!
Reviewer: Craig Reade
Quick Rating: Braiiiiiiiins…..
Asylum Press treats you to a collection of Zombie horror.
Contributors: Frank Forte, Arzynat Studio and Doug Sirois, Royal McGraw and Adauto Silva, Doug Williams, Dwayne Harris and Bernie Lee, Craig Wilson, Tim Vigil and Joe Vigil, John Ho and Santosh Kumar Rath, Szymon Kudranski, David Zuzelo and Billy George, David Paleo, Bartosz Sztybor and Maciej Wodz, Joie Simmons, J.C. Wong, Robert Steven Rhine and Nenad Gucunja, Pawel Wojciechowicz, Aaron Rintoul, Pyko, David Hartman, Steve Mannion, Jason Paulos, Jason Edmiston, and Nenad Gucunja
Cover By: Aly Fell
Editor: Elizabeth J. Musgrave
Publisher: Frank Forte, Asylum Press
The title of this one says it all. If you are a fan of zombie horror, this one is for you.
Especially with the arrival of the AMC series, The Walking Dead has become synonymous with zombie horror in comics. While you simply can’t tear that work down at all, it does eliminate the element of fun from the zombie comic. A lot of that can be found in this collection.
As with any anthology, a variety of creative teams creates a variety of stories – some better than others. Taken as a collective, one of the strengths of Zombie Terrors is the story diversity. You might wonder how a zombie book can have diversity, but some of the writers did an excellent job telling these stories from a unique perspective. The lead story by Frank Forte – Beheaded – follows a swamp dweller who beheads zombies, and hangs their heads on a wall for decoration. Only – as zombies are – their heads are still alive on the wall. Royal McCraw‘s Feast follows the old Masochist’s Meal/Fugu Chef trope with a gangster blackmailing a trained chef into serving him the edible parts of a zombie. Pyko‘s Hunger: Evolution of Zombie Kind told a decent story from the perspective of a Zombie, which I found kind of original. Bartosz Szybor‘s Bond told the story of a guy who kills zombies to buy raw meat to feed his zombie mother. Weird stuff.
It is absolutely correct that Zombie horror is a somewhat limited genre, which is why I was so surprised to see such a diversity in story concept out of this one. With only one or two exceptions, I really enjoyed the writing in this anthology. Even the more common, generic stories had something about them that were worth reading.
The art in this one wasn’t nearly as consistent. There were a ton of different artists lending themselves to a wide variety of styles – some clicked for the stories, and some just did the job… which is good enough in most cases. One or two kind of hurt the story a little bit – but in each of these cases they were fairly generic zombie yarns and you are able to suffer through the pages pretty easily.
I do particularly want to complain about Aaron Rintoul‘s When We Disappear. I am sorry – getting together a few of your friends, posing them for pictures, and then using Photoshop to jazz up the backgrounds is not artistic storytelling. I’ll grant that he is pretty good with his Photoshop filters, and that a couple of these panels would make fairly good looking standalone shots, but that does not make it comic art. There is a great deal more to artistic storytelling than slapping together a pretty picture, and Rintoul absolutely fails to use his “art” to advance his story. Yes – this is one story in an anthology of otherwise passable work, but there is a very good reason most of this kind of art is limited to ashcans and really, really independent comics. It is pretentious and the mark of a poor comic artist. Frankly praising it is an insult to the folks who spend years honing their artistic craft. I’d take this kind of think a lot more seriously if he took the photos and then used them as models to digitally paint his characters.
Sorry for the digression there – that “art” style is a real pet peeve of mine, and I probably went on about that one short story near the end of the anthology for longer than was warranted. But boy does it bug me!
Overall, this book is solid. If you are a fan of zombies or horror in general, I really have to recommend it. Some of the stories have really interesting looks, and on the whole the stories are interesting. Recommended.