Zombies – Review by David Hailwood

With the rapidly-approaching arrival of Accent Press Robots anthology (see news story), David Hailwood kindly provides downthetubes with a review of last year’s collection, Zombies

As a good friend of mine once said ‘Zombies are in many ways like skinheads. Quite comical when they’re on their own, but get them in packs and you’re in for a pasting!’

Well, the anthology from Accent UK certainly packs in enough zombies to give anyone a good pasting. The cunningly titled Zombies anthology weighs in at a hefty 168 pages, costs a mere £6.00 and contains the work of 50 creators from the small and large press comic scene.

With so many strips crammed inside (and indeed so many zombies) it would be natural to expect quite a few stinkers; fortunately these are few and far between.

What’s perhaps most impressive about this anthology is the sheer variety of stories on offer. Every creator seems to have tackled the zombie theme in a new and inventive way. There’s Zulu zombies, Big Brother zombies, Stuffed Rabbit zombies, Dole zombies, Boy Band zombies, Nightclub zombies, Carnival zombies and, of course, zombies from Cornwall.
There’s also a decent mix of comedy and tragedy. In ‘House Of The Dead’ Beano cartoonist Laura Howell does something I never would have dreamed possible – she actually manages to make Reality TV look interesting, providing a wealth of characters that it’s an absolute pleasure to see get eaten.

In contrast, Kieron Gillen and Andy Bloor provide a dark and gripping tale about one mans gradual loss of humanity as he attempts to survive a life among zombies, eventually resorting to cannibalism.

Other strips worthy of mention are ‘The Zombie Interviews’ by David Baillie, which contain possibly the worlds greatest collection of zombie fart gags, ‘Sacrifice’ by Kieran Brown, Nolan Worthington and Shaun Mooney, which has a very clean and dynamic art style, and the hilarious ‘An Alphabet of Zombies’ by Steve and Daniel Bissette (any strip that contains a zombie wearing his own backside as a hat is fine by me).

Fans of zombie movies will also enjoy the intertextual layers of many of the strips, with just about every famous zombie movie being referenced in some way inside (my favourites being the Umbrella contraceptives machine in Chris Doherty’s ‘Nightclub of the Living Dead’ and two Rome holiday ad posters put side by side to cunningly spell ‘Romero’ in Andrew Cheverton and Tim Keable’s ‘The Scent Of Coriander’).

People who aren’t fans of zombie movies will enjoy the … uh … shiny paper. In fact, yes, let’s talk about that shiny paper for a moment. This certainly isn’t just your bog standard small press affair put together on a photocopier at work whilst the boss’ back is turned. This is a professionally produced tome of a comic, wrapped in a blood-red card cover brilliantly illustrated by Steve Bissette and Shane Oakley (the only thing that could’ve possibly made it better is if it was bound in the flesh of the living, but you can’t have everything).

If the cover doesn’t attract you and the contents don’t attract you, chances are you’re dead already. In which case there’s little left to do except send Ash from Evil Dead round with a chainsaw to lop off your head. So, you see, there’s really no excuse to not go out and buy this Zombies anthology now, is there?

Go on… Join usssssss!

• If you can’t find the Zombies anthology in your local comic shop, you can order it online from either www.accentukcomics.com or www.forbiddenplanet.co.uk. Zombies is also available to order at comic shops through Diamond order code MAR083380 and (re)listed in March 2008’s Previews catalogue.

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



Categories: British Comics

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