Friday, July 15, 2005

COMICS: Zombie King

I keep getting all these zombie comics, out of some weird sense of obligation due to my other site, and none of them (except Kirkman's Walking Dead, which is excellent, and Zombie Tales, which was both good and free) have been especially enjoyable.

This latest one, though -- hoo boy. This is just awful. Plain awful.

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A zombie comic really shouldn't be that difficult to do passably well. Zombies + victims = entertainment! But just about everything this zombie comic can do wrong, it does. Frank Cho sure can draw women with big boobies real good, but he's pure crap as a writer.

First of all, it over-explains the zombies. There's a whole, big, interminable scene (it's four pages of talking heads, but it feels like forty) where two suits at a pharmaceutical company talk about some drug they were making that went wrong when they tested it on humans and blah-de-goddam-blah. You don't explain zombies! You just wind 'em up and let 'em go! Sheesh! And it's the clunkiest exposition I've ever had the misfortune of reading. "Tell me everything from the start," says one character. "As you know," begins the second. As you know. Could there be a more blatant signal that this is the laziest, clumsiest means of conveying information to the reader? Having one character explain to another character things he already knows? "Needless to say," the second character later says. If it's needless to say, don't say it!!

Second, the human characters are stupid and completely uninteresting. If you're gonna have humans face off against zombies, you've gotta have humans who inspire at least a modicum of interest or identifiability (if that's a word); the viewer/reader needs a reason to care if the humans die or not. Instead, we get 17 pages with two moronic hicks. Two unfunny moronic hicks -- they totally fail to work even as comic relief. Then there's the two talking heads. And some dude with a scar who makes a brief appearance. That's it for the humans. Who cares?

Third, the main zombie in this comic -- and I can not overstate the sheer, horrible pointlessness of this -- the main zombie is caught by the two hicks fucking a cow. That's the big twist: the zombies not only want to eat, they also want to reproduce. So he fucks a cow. Fucks a cow! For seven pages. Flipping through the book at the comic shop, I winced at this, but I also -- and here's the generosity I applied to this book, out of my sense of duty to buy all zombie comics -- I also thought, "Maybe this is so twisted and wrong it'll actually be good. Maybe this bizarre opening scene will lead to increasingly, ridiculously over-the-top scenarios, maybe this will lead to some great black comedy." No, it leads to the hicks shooting the zombie a bunch of times, and then the two talking heads at the end. It's not so bad it's good. It's so bad it's bad.

While at the shop, Dorian and/or Mike observed that there was no parental warning of any kind on the comic. I felt a warning tag like this might be appropriate:

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That's me: always looking out for the kids.

Anyhoo. Guess I'm off the zombie comics kick for now! Thanks for breaking my habit, Frank Cho!

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