Enjoy this Monday with Mildred!
This is also a Zombie World Tour post!
There was a good chance, I knew, that I would like the graphic novel iZombie because I had liked both fictional pieces it seems to be drawn from. I read that there were lawyers called about the whole thing but it was determined iZombie was an original work. I don’t appreciate that kind of big money theft of other peoples’ work, but it does make it easier to choose reading material if you’ve already liked the story before.
My Life as a White Trash Zombie is a novel set in Louisiana with a young woman who wakes up dead and has to eat brains to not “go all mindless and shambling” as the heroine of iZombie describes it. In White Trash, Angel gets a job in a morgue to ensure access to the brains she needs, and when she eats them she not only is saved from degeneration but becomes supernaturally strong. She has a problem boyfriend and an interesting crew around her including a dangerous secret organization. In the tv show Tru Calling, the heroine works in a morgue and discovers she has the power to help the dead in her care. There is a problem boyfriend and a secret organization working against her.
- graveyard job (close to morgue but more earthy) ✓
- must eat brains to remain “human” ✓
- the ingested brains give Gwen that person’s memories and she helps them ✓
- heroine is cute and resourceful and quippy ✓
- an interesting case of characters surround her, especially “difficult” boyfriend ✓
- a secret organization makes her life more dangerous ✓
Good thing Tru didn’t have to eat brains. That totally would have made it infringement.
The artwork is equally light fingered in its homage to earlier works, but as with the text that just made me like it more since I’m not a big fan of most modern graphic novel art which I think tends to look flat and cgi-y. I prefer iZombie’s old fashioned look. From the first pages the artist messes with the reader’s concepts of time and continuity with transected gutters and intrusive word balloons that suck the reader into the story quickly. The book is liberally laced with ben-day dots and girls wearing mini-skirts with shiny high boots, enhancing its pleasing retro look. Panels range from languid wide shots with a deep focus to series with close, closer, closest shots when the action moves along at a sharp clip. Nicely done inflected lines give the art a subtle depth. Altogether, this colorful novel is deceptively complex.
iZombie’s story is one I wouldn’t normally consider good zombie fiction because, as I’ve mentioned before, I prefer my shamblers to be dumb and slow and focus the story on the surviving humans. This burgeoning form with “partial” zombification has so far been well written, therefore interesting. Plus, in this universe the reader will also follow stories of vampires, a ghost and a wereterrier. On one of my favorite pages an ancient creature explains monster types and how they came to be.
The first book, iZombie – Dead to the World, offers an extended setting up and backstory to the series of books, but stands alone very well. It’ll be interesting to see how well the CW network translates them to the small screen, beginning March 17th. There’s a little content available on-line if you care to take an early look.