Richard Matheson has passed away. I’m not particularly familiar with his work. On a personal level, and shit. However, I do know that his contributions to horror and science-fiction have no doubt influenced a lot of the material I have enjoyed throughout the years.
The ferocity with which some fans yearn for ‘traditional’ survival horror from the Resident Evil series often blinds us to just how diverse a series it has managed to become. Throughout its history we have seen it shift to a more contemporary, action-centric pace with Resident Evil 5, have seen it re-interpreted as a lightgun shooter with Darkside Chronicles and now, we see Operation Raccoon City recalling the often forgotten co-op experience of Resident Evil: Outbreak. At first, the idea of setting a team-based, 3rd person tactical shooter within the Resident Evil universe may seem a little jarring, but when you consider the breadth of the series so far, it doesn’t seem that odd after all.
We start this week’s episode with a simple scene. Shane is shaving his head like it’s his first day in Leavenworth and he wants to suck up to the white supremacists. Its short, it’s concise and it sends a clear message; “This is where the episode will end up.” Then we are greeted with another voice over. Rick is telling Lori a story about how Shane was a pimp in high school and he got all the ladies. Great, he was O’Bannon, we get it, stop with the voice overs, you’re not Michael Westin. This episode dealt with more storylines than any previous ones, so there was a lot of jumping around. Because of that, this write up will also be jumping around, try to keep up.
OCTOBER 27th, Zombies
“Yea, I know I’m ugly … I said to a bartender, ‘Make me a zombie.’ He said ‘God beat me to it.’”
Today’s fear comes out of the world of horror stories and voodoo religions. Originally the term was meant to describe a person who was hypnotized or under a spell, it wasn’t until recent times that it was applied to animated corpses.
[images & words is the comic book pick-of-the-week at OL. equal parts review and diatribe, the post highlights the most memorable/infuriating/entertaining book released that wednesday]
iZombie is the story of Gwen Dylan, a zombie with a heart of gold. She doesn’t particularly like the fact that she’s undead, nor does she revel in having to eat a human brain every month. In fact, she says that the fleshy snack “tastes awful. Combine the two most horrible tastes you can imagine — like motor oil and someone else’s vomit — and you won’t even come close to this level of nasty.” But Gwen chomps on brains as it prevents her from having a really bad hair day.
To atone for her less-than-delicious sins, Gwen solves crimes using the powers endowed to her. Specifically, every time that a brain is consumed, memories of the once-living individual are accessible. Since this is a comic book Gwen just so happens to eat the brains of people murdered in mysterious ways, thereby leading her on strange adventures!
In addition to Gwen, iZombie features a slew of supernatural characters. There’s Scott, the werewolf-computer-nerd who is pining for the pallid protagonist. There’s Ellie, the ghost of a best friend who resides in the cemetery Gwen works at as a gravedigger. Nemia’s a man-hating vampire living in a virtual vamp sorority, encouraging her roommates to seduce men to their deaths. And the list goes on, including vampire hunters and maybe even an incarnation of the Invisible Man (or is he a mummy?!).
On paper, iZombie may just seem like another cash grab at one of the newest trends of fiction – the saccharine supernatural. Yeah, we’ve had plenty of wannabe vampire-studs (this is a hunky vampire) and lighthearted romps through post-apocalyptic zombie-lands. So the territory is familiar. But in this instance, the comic succeeds more because of execution than the premise.
Through the course of the first two issues (okay, I admit it — I picked up the first issue of iZombie today as well) writer Chris Roberson manages to make the reader care about the characters and the conflict at hand. With concise exposition, Roberson expresses just how bummed out Gwen is about her whole not-alive-but-not-dead disposition. The reader feels for the first victim whose murder the protagonist investigates after reliving his final moments through memory. And humor runs abound, such as with the inclusion of Scott’s video game-lovin’ coworkers who just don’t understand why he never hangs out on full moons (DUH!).
Most important to iZombie’s success, however, is the stunning art of Mike Allred. I’m not going to waste your time with my half-accurate, feeble minded descriptions. Instead, I want you to feast your eyes:
iZombie was an impulse purchase, an attempt to make up for the fact that this was a relatively light week at the comics shop. But it paid off, and I was presented with a solid tale of horror supported by the authentic work of an enthralling artist. Buy this book.
I had a terrible realization on Wednesday night. I was catching The Crazies with a friend, and there is a part where the good-looking guy and the good-looking chick need to get the fuck out of some place quickly. But here’s the thing? The dude was totally hauling ass in some big-rig zillion-wheeler. I’m sitting there, and I’m like sweet, burn rubber motherfucker! Get the fuck out of there.
But then I had a less sweet epiphany. When the zombie apocalypse finally hits, I’m totally screwed. I can only drive automatic. Seeing that dude save his own life in car with a manual transmission was portentous of my own dumb ass once the flesh-eaters rear their ugly heads. In a way I almost appreciated this coming to understand my lack of ability. While we’re probably only days or weeks away from the first brain-rot knuckledragger biting the first unsuspecting person in a dark corner somewhere, I’ve been given a second chance.
I need to start practicing driving manual. Like, soon. I’ve been slacking on a lot of my zombie survivalist techniques. Mainly, the only thing I can really do in any situation, zombie apocalypse or not is make people laugh and pen juvenile prose. So I mean, maybe there will be some sort of tension-breaking websites once they arrive and I can derive my usefulness from them. Do you really think we’re going to stop tweeting and checking websites after the first zombie rises up?
Or perchance sages and orators will once again take preeminence upon the world stage. Forget Homer, I shall tell of the Mouth That Launched A Thousand Zombies, and other awesome shit.
But more than likely, I’m just fucking dead. Or I guess undead. Rimshot! Groan! Eyeroll! I need to start taking my Dad’s truck out in the middle of the night, honing my driving skills. I need a steady diet of manual transmissions, and learning how to drift. Nothing says effective way to zoom yourself to safety like downshifting or uh, upshifting, or uh, something around a corner powersliding while you mash the kneecaps of zombies with your sweet whip.
You’re all welcome for this immeasurably valuable wake-up call.