Zombies Are My Neighbors

An article by, Aaron Burton

Whether you view them as a form of societal collapse, or a symbol of herd conformity, you can't deny that Americans love zombies. Not only are they an important folklore creature, they are also an important character archetype in entertainment. This is especially true in the realm of comics. Outside of the obvious Kirkman property we have access to a plethora of living dead books such as Image's '68 and Dynamite's Raise the Dead. Even Batman has spent decades squaring off with the reanimated Solomon Grundy.

Z-People is written by Darin Henry. The art is by Tom Richmond with coloring by K. Michael Russell and Glenn Whitmore. The book is published by Sitcomics. Z-People premiered in January of 2018 and there are currently two issues. Z-People is a horror comedy with a television sitcom twist. It is self-described as "Gilligan's Island meets The Walking Dead". Though this description is fairly accurate, Z-People brings its own creativity to the table.

A zombie outbreak has occurred in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Though the zombies have been contained in a quarantine zone, there are still survivors in the area. The government cannot remove the survivors from the affected area, but has given them a special task.  On top of staying alive, the group must also ear tag all of the zombies like farm animals.

The diversity of the characters in Z-People is where this book really shines. The group features characters such as a high school star quarterback, a snooty news anchor, and a foul mouthed redneck. Each survivor has their own distinct personality. Much of the humor in the book is based around the group's dynamic. Clashing personas drive a lot of interactions between the characters.

In the middle of each issue the main story pauses to go to commercial break. It is here where we are treated to advertisements from the universe of Z-People. These short comics offer humorous takes on popular products as well as social satire. We can prepare ourselves for the zombie apocalypse with an insurance plan based on monster attacks. We watch a businessman stumble through sales pitches for his risque titled mattress company. The slogan of Sitcomics is "It's TV You Read", and this book really feels like a 90s half hour comedy.

Richmond's art fits the writing style well. The characters are drawn with exaggerated features and animation. This style, paired with silly and slapstick humor, gives Z-People a hilarious and entertaining atmosphere. I also enjoyed that the art style for the advertisements are slightly different than the main story. This takes me back to the days where comic book advertisements adhered to more of a comic book style.

I am eager to read more of Z-People, as well as other titles by Sitcomics. Humorous comics typically make me snicker and smile. Z-People is the first comic in a while to make me laugh out loud. Darin Henry has a legendary list of credits for television and this really comes through in the book's writing. I like the television sitcom style, and hope the other titles I read follow this theme. In a time filled with monster and zombie-based dramas, it was refreshing to read a book that takes a more lighthearted approach.

Z-People is available on Comixology, as well as Sitcomic's website.

No comments:

Post a Comment