Archive for Zombies!

What is Best in Life?

People, I don’t have much of anything I want to blog about today, so I’m just gonna sit here and deliberately stir up trouble.

What I am about to reveal here is the complete, objective truth.

For example:

Who was the best Green Lantern?


Answer: Kyle Rayner.

No, definitely not Hal Jordan. He’s always been a shallow, generally uninteresting character. “Fearless test pilot” isn’t a personality all by itself, and the people out there who seem to freakin’ worship Hal strike me as some of the weirdest people on earth. Yes, that includes the “Hal’s Emerald Attack Team” fanatics and Geoff Johns. As for the rest of them, Guy Gardner’s generally fun, but he’s mostly a gag character. I like John Stewart, especially in the Justice League cartoons. Simon Baz is too new. But Kyle, the last Green Lantern, uncertain, awkward, crab-masked, completely aware of his own fears, freelance artist with the no-yellow-impurity power ring? Kyle was the best.

Who was the best Flash?


Answer: Wally West.

Definitely, definitely not Barry Allen. Having a crew cut and a bow tie makes him the *worst* Flash. Wally was funnier, cooler, more interesting in every possible way — and of course, he was far, far, far faster.

Who was the best Robin?


Answer: Dick Grayson.

Really, I guess the best answer would be “Anyone but Jason Todd.” Because I really like all of the Robins. But Dick was the first Robin, he was Robin for the longest time, and he eventually ended up being the best possible Nightwing, so I’m giving the circus kid the crown.

Who was the best Batgirl?


Answer: Stephanie Brown.

Not to take anything away from Barbara Gordon or Cassandra Cain, because they were pretty cool, but as grim and gritty as the Bat-verse generally is, it was just plain awesome to get to read a Bat-title every month where the lead character wasn’t an emotionally-crippled basket case. Steph was fun and funny and had the best dialogue.

Who was the best Aquaman?


Answer: Bearded, hook-handed Aquaman.

Because I don’t care who writes him, the clean-shaven, orange-shirted nonentity from “Super Friends” just sucks on every possible level.

Who was the best Hawkgirl?


Answer: Kendra Saunders.

Mostly because I liked the idea of a Hawkgirl who, at least initially, didn’t want to be the back half of “Hawkman and” — she didn’t love Hawkman, and she wanted to be her own person. She was even in relationships with people other than Hawkman. Eventually, she fell in love with Hawkman in a way that felt more organic, realistic, and worthwhile, and that was fine with me. She certainly didn’t deserve to get exit-stage-lefted the way she did…

Who was the best Green Arrow?


Answer: The one with the beard.

I liked Connor Hawke, but he’d never be the equal of his dad. And Ollie without a beard just looks like a dork, so he’s gotta have the ridiculous beard.

Who was the best Hulk?


Answer: Angry green stupid Hulk.

I liked the Professor Hulk, actually. And the Green Scar was cool. Joe Fixit is always fun. But angry green stupid Hulk is the strongest one there is.

Who was the best Spider-Man?


Answer: The Peter Parker married to Mary Jane Watson.

Because Spider-Man isn’t Otto Octavius, and he doesn’t make deals with the Devil.

What are the best zombies? Fast or slow?


Answer: Slow zombies.

To quote Max Brooks: “Ha ha, there are no such things as fast zombies!”

So there we go, friends and neighbors, all the mysteries of life cleared up. Go on about your business, please.

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Dead Baby Jokes

The Littlest Zombie #1

Okay, I think we’re quite aware by now that I’ve got a weak spot in my heart for zombies.

So it’s the end of the world, the dead have risen from their graves, and only a few survivors continue to struggle against the inevitable. Of course, we don’t care that much about them, ’cause our main character is an adorable little kid who ain’t exactly on the breathing side of things and who likes to nosh on cerebellum. All the little tyke wants is the occasional decapitated head, but the bigger and meaner zombies knock him around and take all the good bits for themselves. But things change when a bunch of human survivors get trapped inside a bank, stuck between a bunch of hungry zombies, including one of the zombie tyke’s tormentors, and their own greed, addictions, deceit, and weaknesses. Is the rotten little squirt going to be able to get some dinner out of all this chaos?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Simultaneously adorable and disgusting. Huzzah! It’s like Christmas came early! Writer/artist Fred Perry is best known for manga-esque cheesecake/furry art, like in his “Gold Digger” series, but this definitely shows he’s hidden talents for both pitch-black humor and nicely tense drama. Good fun — go pick it up.

Justice Society of America #37

Twenty years into the future, Mr. Terrific is a prisoner of an all-powerful Nazi army that’s on track to conquer the whole world. He’s recounting events from our present for the benefit of his captors — Alan Scott has been killed, Flash and Liberty Belle have been defeated, Obsidian has been kidnapped. Lightning and Mr. America take down a dragon-riding Nazi, Dr. Mid-Nite squashes Kid Karnevil, and Wildcat and Mr. Terrific take out three different super-Nazis. But the Nazis have a secret weapon — something called the Darkness Weapon that uses the kidnapped Obsidian as a power source. It’s a machine that drains superpowers, and it can be turned up high enough to kill anyone within its range. The JSA decides to surrender, hoping to rally back later… but that chance to rally never comes. And in the future, Mr. Terrific and a small number of remaining superheroes are held powerless and scheduled for eventual execution. Is there any hope for either the future or the past?

Verdict: Thumbs up. I was generally unimpressed with the stuff set in the present, but the future-world gets points for being unusually depressing. Bruce Wayne is scheduled for a dawn execution, Clark Kent lost an eye, and they’re all trying to put some almost hopeless plan into effect to topple the entire Nazi empire. Of course, we know it’ll be successful, but how is it supposed to work, and what kind of monkey wrenches are going to get thrown in the way?

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Ghost Week: Walking Dead


Ever since the late ’60s, the zombie movie has been the king of the horror-movie heap. Dozens of well-made and very scary movies have been made, and the genre has spread to books, comics, video games, and beyond.

Zombies are so popular, people make up rules about how to survive a zombie apocalypse and fantasize about how long they could last when the dead rise, despite the complete improbability of animated, flesh-eating corpses. I mean, a virus can’t affect a dead person at all. They’re dead, they’ve got no blood pumping or respiration or brain activity for a virus to take advantage of.

Still, bet you didn’t know Lubbock had a zombie connection, didja? Way, way back in the 1920s, there was a small mortuary that, one day, turned up with an unexpected deficit of dead people — they’d had six the night before, but when they got in the next morning, they were all gone.

The initial assumption was that someone had broken in and stolen the bodies — the back door was open, the place was a mess, and it looked like an unusually weird burglary. There were no leads, and the authorities weren’t able to find any of the bodies for a day or two.

After that, all the bodies turned up within hours of each other. One was lying on the porch of his family home, one was lying on her bed at home, one was on the floor of the office he used to work, one was inside the sanctuary of the church she attended, one was found at the home of his mistress (!!!), and the last one was found seated at the wheel of his new automobile.

None of them were ambulatory, none of them ate anyone. No one knew how they got there, and the police never found anyone they could say was responsible for the burglary of the mortuary. The police and the rest of the community wrote it off as a sick prank, and that’s what it might have been.

But it’s interesting that all of the bodies were found at locations that had been important to them in life. That isn’t the type of thing you expect a bunch of high school pranksters to come up with, is it?

Ultimately, there was no real explanation offered by anyone for what happened. Were they zombies? Probably not, I guess — it does sound an awful lot like a really tasteless joke — but there’s no way to be sure, is there?

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Big Zombie on Campus


Okay, most of y’all saw the news story on Friday about the University of Florida making a humorous emergency plan for dealing with a zombie outbreak. But most of y’all didn’t get to see the actual emergency plan itself, mainly because UF came over with an attack of “Oh crap, people think this is awesome” syndrome and removed the PDF from their site.

But Google automatically makes HTML documents of all PDFs they find.

Here it is.

Go read it, it’s hilarious.

EDIT: Oh, poo, it’s been deleted for good now. C’mon, Google, it’s worth keeping around…

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Poetry of the Undead

It’s been a very busy month for zombies, what with DC’s “Blackest Night” and — well, I guess it’s mostly just “Blackest Night.” But still, it seems like a good time to hit a thematically-appropriate non-comics book review…


Zombie Haiku by Ryan Mecum

Published just last year by Ryan Mecum, a Presbyterian youth pastor in Cincinnati, the book is pretty much what you’d expect from the title — a bunch of 5-7-5 haikus about zombies. What makes this book so cool is its format — it’s told as a story, starting with an amateur poet writing cliched haiku in his writing notebook, advancing through the first day of the zombie apocalypse as our hero is bitten by a pack of zombies, dies, and rises from the dead with a taste for brains. Our poetic zombie ends up eating his way through his family home, a nursing home, a picked-clean city, several farmhouses, and an airport. And wrapped in among all the haikus are zombie polaroids, bloodstains, crude sketches of brains, and poems on torn paper “taped” into the book with duct tape. It’s beautifully illustrated, at least for those of us who love zombies.

Clearly, I couldn’t write a proper review of this book without including some samples of the haikus. So let’s start with our hero, still alive, on the run from the undead:

They surround the car
and are all moaning something.
Is that the word “trains”?!

In the early hours of his reanimation:

They are so lucky
that I cannot remember
how to use doorknobs.

In the process of eating everyone in the big city:

A man starts yelling
“When there’s no more room in Hell…”
but then we eat him.

And much later, during an assault on a farmhouse:

Nothing hurts me now.
Normally, the screwdriver
wouldn’t have gone there.

So basically: funny, gross, very imaginative, and messily drenched in modern zombie lore. And not too expensive either — the price tag on the cover is just ten bucks. Definitely a thumbs up from me.

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The Evil Dead


Blackest Night #1

We reviewed the prologue yesterday, but DC’s big summer crossover officially gets started with this one.

It’s semi-official pay-respect-to-your-superheroes day in the DC Universe, giving lots of super-people opportunities to visit the gravesides and memorials of their fallen comrades. Earth’s Green Lanterns do a flyover of Coast City, the Kents visit Jonathan Kent’s grave, Flash’s Rogues hold a wake in their secret graveyard, Hawkman and Hawkgirl reflect on their never-ending cycle of death and reincarnation, and the recently resurrected Barry Allen learns how many of his friends have died in the years he’s been gone. But bad doin’s are afoot. A bunch of mysterious black rings descend on Earth and into the Green Lanterns’ mausoleum on Oa. And holy gee whilikers, the dadgum rings actually raise the dead as horrific zombies! Among the confirmed zombies we get here are a gobsmackingly staggering number of dead Green Lanterns, the Martian Manhunter, and Ralph and Sue Dibny… along with a surprise couple of recent deadlings leftover from “Final Crisis”…

Verdict: Thumbs up. So far, so good. I really hope they can sustain this. But for this issue at least: ZOMBIES!

Crossed #6

Our small band of survivors continue their trek north, where they hope they’ll have a better chance of survival. They’re still running into packs of the deranged and diseased serial killers/zombies called the Crossed, and they have to deal with personality conflicts within their own group. We get some flashbacks back to the earliest, most terrifying days of the Crossed outbreak, the group acquires a new canine buddy, and learns that some monsters don’t come with bloody red cross-shaped rashes on their faces.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Outstanding characterization work in this issue, along with a genuinely surprising twist. Garth Ennis and Jacen Burrows are really doing great work with this one.

B.P.R.D.: 1947 #1

The sequel to the earlier “1946” series focusing on the early days of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense opens with a bunch of captured German SS officers mysteriously getting slaughtered in Nuremberg. Back in New Mexico, Professor Bruttenholm suspects the vengeful vampire, Baron Konig, has committed the murders, and he receives a visit from Varvara, the impossibly creepy, vodka-swilling little girl/demon who appeared in the last series. The BPRD designates four new operatives to travel to France to investigate the killings, which also seem to be tied to a terrifyingly blasphemous opera performed in 1771. But as always seems to be the case in the “BPRD” stories, ominous things are on the way. Can any of the new operatives survive what’s coming?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The story by Mike Mignola and Joshua Dysart pops along very well, but the art by Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon is just plain awesome.

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Hey, Hey, Do the Zombie Stomp

As I believe I’ve said before, I think a zombie walk in Lubbock would be beyond awesome.

What’s a zombie walk? Basically, a bunch of people get together, dress up as zombies, and go for a shamble. You hit a few appropriate locations (shopping malls, cemeteries, pubs with excellent jukeboxes), maybe make a few new zombies on the way (always with “innocent bystanders” who know what’s coming and are wearing easily rippable clothing), and just enjoy getting your zombie apocalypse on.

Some cities turn their zombie walks into charity events — food drives and blood drives are especially popular — and some places just do ’em for fun. The largest one ever happened last Halloween in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where over 4,000 people showed up to stumble around and groan “Braaaiiinnssss…”

Why do I think a zombie walk in Lubbock would be great? Very simply, it would be cool, and it would be hilarious. And Lubbock needs more cool and hilarious things. Really, that’s the full extent of my reasoning here. Who needs complex and rational arguments on why to do fun things, right?

Of course, I could certainly foresee some problems with a zombie walk here. Some folks in Lubbock tend to be, well, gee, how can I say this diplomatically…?

You’d have to do a lot of legwork before the event making sure that business owners wouldn’t totally freak out about it. You’d have to talk to the police beforehand to make sure they didn’t decide to shoot everyone. You’d sure need to make sure all your zombies knew not to involve anyone who wasn’t already in on the joke.

So which of you go-getters wants to organize this thing?

(In related news: ya seen the new game trailer for the “Left for Dead” sequel?)

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Zombie Apocalypse!

Well, now, y’all know about my MMORPG of choice, right? City of Heroes/City of Villains is all about playing as a superhero (or a supervillain) using your powers to fight evil (or to rob banks) and styling around town in your spiffiest spandex outfit.

Well, a few weeks before October 31, they start up the annual Halloween Event. Most years, it’s involved some giant pumpkin-headed monsters roaming the city and a chance to go “trick or treating” — click on some doors, and you’ll either get a treat (an in-game reward of some kind) or a trick (an attack by vampires, werewolves, or other monsters).

This year, they’ve added something new. At random times in each city zone, the sky will suddenly turn an ugly reddish-black color, a short snippet of spooky music will play…

…and the zombies come out.

And not just one or two — hordes of the rotting flesh-eaters…





Whoooo! Whattarush! Halloween really is the best time of the year, ain’t it?

(P.S.: Ya know what Lubbock needs? A good ol’ fashioned zombie walk.)

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Corporate Necromancy and You

Installing Linux on a Dead Badger (And Other Oddities) by Lucy A. Snyder

Taking a short break from comics stuff to review some non-comics lit. This is “Installing Linux on a Dead Badger (And Other Oddities)” by Lucy A. Snyder. It’s a short story collection about cybermancy and necrotechnology — most of the stories are set in a parallel reality where you can use the dark arts to raise the dead, and then use the other dark arts — computer programming — to control them.

One of Snyder’s strengths in this collection is disguising her fiction as news articles or technical writing. The title story is actually written like a software guide, instructing readers on what kinds of software will need to be installed to raise the dead (like a Duppy card, FleshGolem software, or ItzaLive programs, for you Mac users), and well over half of the other stories read like something out of the business or technology sections of your local paper or a national newsweekly.

Can’t imagine necromancy as big business? Obviously, you’ve never considered the financial benefits of replacing your living employees with zombies who will work for 20 hours a day for a bucket of cow brains. Not to mention the benefits of networking your office computers with eldritch extra-dimensional demons who will deliver your e-mail and make market predictions for the price of a few delicious kittens. Sure, there’s a problem with cthonian horrors sucking out your soul, but everyone’s gotta make sacrifices in business, right?

Business trainer Laura Loveblut, author of Who Moved My Spleen?, stresses that new vampires need to educate themselves to stay competitive.

“Knowing the ins and outs of being a modern corporate vampire is like knowing how to dress properly for an interview, knowing to send a thank-you note, or knowing that you shouldn’t slaughter the secretary on your way out of the building. It’s simply not your prospective employer’s job to tell you these things,” says Loveblut.

Verdict: Thumbs up. If you like your fiction with healthy doses of humor, horror, and computer in-jokes, this is definitely something you’re going to enjoy. It’s a fairly slim book, at just over 100 pages, but it won’t cost you but about eleven bucks. You can find ordering information on Snyder’s website, so go pick up a copy for yourself or the Linux geek in your life.

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Bite me.


Oy, I’m in a rotten mood. Yesterday started out just fine. I got a half-day off, ate a stellar lunch, and watched “Shaun of the Dead.” And then I sat down to make Halloween cards for the first time ever, because the Halloween cards in the stores are frickin’ awful. “Oh, look it’s a happy pumpkin, and he wishes you a ‘Boo-tiful Halloween!'” DIE, HORRIBLE SAPPY HALLOWEEN CARDS.

Anyway, I put a pretty good design together, went to start printing them out, and bam, the printer starts fritzing up on me. Can’t afford to get it replaced or (Hah!) fixed before, um, 2014, so Halloween cards will have to wait for some other year.

So anyway, I’m cranky, and the only thing that gives me joy is zombie movies, so let’s look at dead people.


Marvel Zombies

This series has been Marvel’s big cash cow for the past couple of years. The series, which made its debut in 2006, was written by Robert Kirkman and illustrated by Sean Phillips, with gory, hilarious covers by Arthur Suydam. The series gets its name from a nickname for die-hard Marvel fans, and it gets its premise from dozens of zombie movies over the years. It’s set in an alternate universe, where every Marvel Comics superhero and villain has been turned into a flesh-eating zombie. Oh, but these aren’t the mindless shamblers from the movies — they’ve got all their powers, all their intelligence, and they’re almost impossible to destroy. But they have so little willpower that they actually manage to completely strip the planet of all meat-based lifeforms in just 24 hours.

After that, the zombies fight non-zombified characters like Magneto, the Silver Surfer, and Galactus hisself. The zombie-heroes are already pretty gloppy at the beginning, and they keep losing more and more chunks of themselves as the series goes on. Spider-Man loses a leg, Wolverine loses an arm, Captain America gets the top of his head lopped off.

Since that first series, there have been three follow-up series, including one that guest-starred Ash from the “Evil Dead” movies. The Marvel Zombies have been made into toys, action figures, games, T-shirts, and probably Christmas ornaments, lingerie, and breakfast cereals at this point. Seriously, Marvel will slap the Marvel Zombies on anything.

In the end, honestly, I give the miniseries a thumbs-down. The plot is shallow and predictable, and the characterization is just bloody awful. Sure, getting zombified is sure to wreck your psyche, but the only character who expresses the slightest regret about eating his friends and family, much less committing global genocide, is Spider-Man. Dialogue is also fairly weak, just because the Hulk is the only character with any sort of unique voice. The rest of the dialogue is pretty interchangeable.

Like I said, the covers are just plain awesome. They’re all zombified parodies of classic Marvel covers. But if you want some good zombie mayhem in your comics this year, shamble past this series and sink your teeth into “The Walking Dead” or “Zombie Tales” instead.

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