Undead Uprising

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The Walking Dead, Issue109

Board up your windows, hide your kids in the loft, shut the curtains and stock up on tinned food because tonight old pop stars and that woman who used to live opposite you are on their way back from the dead, for this is the age of the zombie uprising.

There was a time when zombie flicks were consigned to b-movies, poor sets and the ugly side of horror. In the past film fans, critics and producers have treated them as an ugly duckling with no chance of flying, something that will never blossom – the heroes were just out of shorts; the heroines were in no way going to get their white cotton gowns covered in brain goo.

In recent years however, zombie based entertainment has risen. George Romero revolutionised the way we approached the genre, giving accessibility to Pegg and Frost’s Shaun of the Dead to storm worldwide box offices. On top of this there are a number of movies clawing at our windows and going in for the bite from the shelves of the world cinema aisle, Rec, Horde and The Siege to name a few. Most prominently on our screens as of late is The Walking Dead, which is about to embark on a second series. Based on the series of graphic novels by Tony Moore and Robert Kirkman, The Walking Dead uses various personal dramas and sultry looks to take the zombie genre through a roller coaster of brains, crying and out the other side with a barrel load more style than we see on something that generally ends up being aired somewhere between a dodgy roulette show and teletext highlights.

We’ve all decided to have a night on the sofa, a tub of Rolo ice cream and a hope to be scared until our pants turn brown, but often we’re let down and it’s the comedy aspect of these zombie flicks that get us through melted toffee and iron brew.

Could it be then that graphic novels have taken the once hated Zombie, the untouchable curse, and nurtured it? Have graphic novels taken in an unwanted orphan and raised it upwards into a fine specimen of man that holds court in the most elegant of situations? It is entirely possible.

Graphic novels were, for a very long time, the only place a zombie could go in this world without fear of being shot at, feared and made an outcast by bit-part mayor with nothing but the price of oil on his mind. Titles such as Fubar and Zombifrieze have been instrumental in the genre’s growth and of course The Walking Dead being on the receiving end of endless praise. Since the late 2000’s the books have been on the increase tenfold, and the ugly duckling of the 80’s reached swan-like status gaining notoriety in places they were mocked before, Colin stormed Cannes and the pre-mentioned Shaun of the Dead took a clean headshot at to the world of cinema.

There may of course be other factors involved in this growth, but the nanny role the graphic novel has played in keeping the zombie safe has seemingly been invaluable in recent times. It has seen the little un-dead gem grow from the first day of school, before biting his way through classes and lessons, the good and bad times, the first kiss and the high school dance before coming out the other side a very employee, in demand and much loved young man – with a hell of a future ahead.

Keith Hodges

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