Independent comic Review: The Zombie Years
Writer(s): Juan Navarro
Artist(s): Juan Navarro
US Publisher: Creature Entertainment
I mentioned in a previous post that while walking around the NYCC 2011 I bumped into the really cool and well stacked stand of the guys from Creature Entertainment.
I jumped ahead to the review of Ravenous because it really got me excited about the Werewolf theme, but the story starts, here, when I strike a conversation with the man manning the shop, publisher John Ulloa, who readily engaged me, like a savy sales man, onto checking out his wares.
He had on hand Juan Navarro, illustrator, and both gave me a few seconds of their time covering their titles.
I picked up a couple of issues of The Zombie Years and one of Welcome to Miami.
Another zombie apocalypse comic.
Can we have enough of those?
Is this one of those titles, that makes you feel enough is enough? Hardly.
These collections of comics are published combining a series of “pulpish” factors, such as using a landscape format, instead of the standard portrait orientation . That brings a certain Old Style flavor that takes you back to the beginning of the comic book industry, in the early 20th century, when comics were reprinting newspapers strips (and publishing landscape Tijuana Bibles).
The great cover art by Patrick Reily and Joe Javarese cinch the deal and give these comics a great look particularly the one for Welcome to Miami, where Patrick Reilly does a nice satirical play on the Coppertone advertisement, but doing it justice while adding the right amount of cheesecake.
I couldn’t help myself, had to add a piece of clipart I made to give you a point of reference for this much imitated and emulated piece of advertising! The original is (of course) the one on the left.
Back to the Zombie Years
These titles look flashy on the stand, and they are fun to read. I see people perusing through them and deciding to take them home, even though the interior is black and white and half-tones. You know that some people still get turned off by the lack of colors, right? It’s like with shinny things… same principle.
Juan Navarro threads a worthy tale of zombie survival. His art style is half-underground half self-taught, that brings gloominess and darkness to the pages of the story.
These books are not about breaking new ground, like Kirkman did in his now famous series for Image (Kirkman breaking new ground on zombie comics, not on the genre per se). Navarro plays with ethnic conventions of the Latin community, and presents characters ethnic enough to make them interesting, but I am not sure how long the interest of the reader can be sustained using over and over this device in a series like this, but time will tell.
It makes me take pause and wonder who the main target audience is for this comic, and I am inclined to think that is young adults crowd. The ones who are not yet over-exposed to the zombie phenomena, and are not overly-discerning, the crowd that don’t spend time discussing “types” of zombies (Shuffling zombie, sprinting zombie, enraged zombie, etc). I think that’s the market demographics the guys at Creature Entertainment are aiming these books at.
Taking into account the sum of the parts, this collection is a worthy addition to the Zombie themed comics that proliferate the comic landscape nowadays.
I am not sure whether the collection would capture my long-term interest, but this is a personal opinion on the matter, very subjective, based on how over-exposed I am to the zombie genre.
As an independent title it bears distinction and recognition. If your taste for horror comics is restricted to the most famous title that everyone currently measures zombie titles against (you know which Image title I’m talking about, don’t you? Of course, I’m refereeing to Savage Dragon, the one who keeps coming back from the dead!)
Unfortunelty I can’t say I find anything earth-shattering, or ground breaking on this series, besides the ethnification of the main characters (making them of Spanish origin). It still comes across as a capable and entertaining addition from the realm of independent publishers.