I bought The Mammoth Book of Zombie Comics last month looking for a good chunk of zombie apocalypse escapism. A unique collection of a dozen or so zombie stories, some long, some short, some hit… some miss.
The tales interweave with both widely recognised zombie fiction (Necrotic: Dead Flesh on a Living Body, Black Sabbath, Might of the Living Dead, The Haunted Ship, Pigeons from Hell and Job Satisfaction) and departures from the usual clichéd tales (Pariah, In Sickness, The Immortals, Dead Tales, MAZH, Dead Eyes Open, The Corpse, Zombie World: Dead End and Zombies) as well as including one story which has more roots in real life than in fiction (The Zombie).
By far the longest story was ‘Dead Eyes Open’, but I felt it took up a lot of space in the book. Even though it re-spun the zombie tale into a story about zombie rights, I found it a little tedious to read through to the end. On of my favourite stories of the book – also long – was Pigeons from Hell – though more for the captivating artwork and storytelling than the story itself. As I turned the pages I really felt the eeriness and sense of foreboding. It was truly scary for the first part – until the Sheriff showed up. That’s great storytelling – in a comic no less.
Other stories of note were ‘In Sickness’ – but who didn’t see that coming? ‘The Immortals’ – a classic twist. ‘Dead Tales’ – confusing at first but I eventually got the gist as a kind of ‘It’s Wonderful Life’ gone horribly, horribly wrong. ‘The Corpse’ – another classic twist. ‘Zombie World: Dead End’ – one twist I didn’t see coming which was a nice change. ‘Zombies’ – a kind of reflective story on what would happen if you were the only survivor you knew and how you’d cope – a fitting end to the book.
As I said, it’s well worth a read despite some of the less inspiring stories included in the book. There’s definitely some art that you will recognise, even if you’ve only ever stuck to mainstream comics, ‘Necropolis’ should have a familiar feel to it. I wouldn’t say it compares to The Walking Dead, though one Amazon reviewer did so unfavourably. There are definitely some stories in there that are on par with, or even surpass the storytelling of Walking Dead – but unfortunately they are dragged down by the overall mediocre feel of the lesser ones.