(Escape Comics, 2014)
Created and Written by G. Deltres
Illustrated and Lettered by J.L. Giles
Under the Flesh is a zombie story. It’s a good zombie story. With that out in front, I must digress a bit.
I’m moderately frustrated with the entertainment industry. Don’t get me wrong, I love where it’s been going in the last twenty years, and the content in the last ten has been fantastic. We all love the films that have been produced. (Blanket statement of course, but if you think of how we would have dug Green Lantern if the same film had come out in 1990, well…enough said on that.)
My beef is not with the types of entertainment; it’s with the saturation. The sheer amount is staggering, oft times nearly impossible to keep up with. I don’t necessarily think that you need to either. There are just too many movies for the number of babysitting vouchers allowed by my over-taxed parents and in-laws. I don’t have to see The Wolverine right now; I can wait…its okay…spoilers and all.
That being said…I have loved the zombie infestation that’s happened in mainstream media. With the advent of The Walking Dead as one of the most-watched shows on television, and also one of the best, we have seen the rising of “geek” culture to mainstream culture status. But with that are many more zombie books and films that are pushed through just to hop on the trend. It gets so that you shudder to read some of them and because of that might miss some good stories.
To be perfectly clear…Under the Flesh is a great zombie book.
The first issue, called “Desolation Day”, was recently published, and the creative team of G. Deltres and J.L. Giles (Jurassic Strike Force 5, Grimm’s Fairy Tales) are planning on launching a Kickstarter for the second issue on July 6. (That’s this coming Sunday, mark your iCalendar.) Deltres has concocted a new spin on zombie lore; just enough of twist to keep the standards there but refresh the premise. This is a mash of Y: The Last Man and The Walking Dead. The virus that has taken humanity out at the knees, both literally and fugitively, only infects men. The other twist is that the zombies don’t just roam about, randomly attacked those they come into contact with, they hide, they hunt, and they work as a group. It makes sense when you’re dealing with an always-hungry mob. He has also added the twist that the libido isn’t always dampened by the fact that the person is a walking corpse. A strange twist indeed, and I’m not sure a needed twist, but for a nearly all-female population, definitely a scary twist.
We’ve jumped on board this story with Lt. Lobos, the last survivor of an experimental military program (darn military) that injected him with nanobots right before the outbreak took hold. The ‘bots keep him healthy and have also increased his agility and strength, which could make him a force to be reckoned with in this new world. He’s holed up in a library with a couple of other survivors, and they are dealing with some internal conflict (expected at the end of the world I suppose) as well as a band of outlaw bikers who have espied the library as a place worth checking out.
J.L. Giles does a great job with the art, bringing a realistic feel to the comic. I think that this book has the ability to become a longer series. I like the story, I like the characters, and I can see the potential here. If you’re a lover of the zombie story, of the post-apocalyptic world, this will be right up your alley. Remember to check out the Kickstarter as it launches this week and lend some support to a good story with professional art. Help Under the Flesh rise above the rest of the flotsam that is on the sea of zombie entertainment, and when you’re floating out there, keep your hands and feet inside the boat at all times. You never know what might be reaching for you from beneath the waves.
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.