Story – Stephen Vold
Lead Artist – Steven Williams
Cover Artist – Malcom McClinton
Most people I know, over 30 geeks, hate to admit they’re part of a trend. It is abhorrent to admit that you follow the “in” crowd, especially when you’ve spent a good part of your life socially ostracized because of your passion for geeky things. (i.e. comic books) When you get to the age I’m at now there is a certain amount of pride connected with “going my own way” and “loving the things I love because it’s what I love”. But popular culture has a way of sneaking up on you like a ravenous undead neighbor, looking to slurp the brains out of your waiting ear hole.
Zombies are at the height of popularity. With this surge of love for the undead comes the following wake of undead everything. Plush toys, phone apps, television shows, more films than you can count…and comics.
Enter Zombie B.C., and independently published comic from writer Stephen Vold and artists Steven Williams. Oh yes…it’s exactly what it sounds like, it’s the zombie apocalypse vs. Captain Caveman. (Basically.)
I’ll not go too deeply into the plot, you get the idea just from a one-sentence description, but what I find really interesting about this is that, as a take on the zombie menace, Vold has come up with something a little more original than most. (Although I have to admit that Zombeaver has me intrigued.) Take the most regressive form of human, the early Neanderthal, and infect him with the zombie virus. We always get the picture of hacking away at the undead with fire axes and shotguns, but what to use if you’re just at the cusp of getting fire? Of course they would resort to hand-to-hand combat, the only thing they really know other than a few primitive bows. (Although the ever popular “rock” has been proven now and again to be a good zombie deterrent, and is shown here as a acceptable alternative.)
Vold takes what is arguably the most primitive form of man and pits it against an even more primitive version of himself. It’s a battle of the will to live versus the need to eat. It’s the basic struggle faced throughout the ages, and one that the Neanderthals would have faced every day against all manner of creatures larger than himself. (Though less contagious.)
Williams art is gritty and bloody and violent, everything you expect from a zombie book, with more panels of flesh-rending and brain-oozing crushed skulls than you can shake a stick at.
The success of this book I think is that Vold has you rooting for the humans of course, but also has them, with limited vocabulary; show their feelings, their rage and loss. There are limited dialogue boxes with inner monologue, but nothing more than grunts and roars, sound effects, until the final pages.
I freely admit to being stuck in the trend of zombies, and fortunately there is no shortage of media that will satisfy my brains-like need for new stuff constantly. Zombie B.C. works, whether as a one-shot or a prequel to other books (a 90-page graphic novel is in the works), Vold has something here, and has gotten into the trend as well, with something just different enough to make it interesting, and executed in a way that makes it stand out from it’s brain-eating competitors.
For those who want to order Zombie B.C. here is the link:
Brad Gischia is a writer and artist living in the frozen Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He is married and has three kids and a dog, who all put up with his incessant prattling about comic books.