Thursday, 21 April 2011

I see dead people: The zombie hunters

First off the bat the name of the strip, the Zombie hunters, has to be the most direct webcomic name I've  seen in a while, it's pretty naff. Don't worry though, if the name looks nondescript you'll soon be drawn in by a visually appealing mix of cute banter and slithering undead terror.

The use of colour as in the cartoony character segues look almost manga style chibi, it's a mixture of realism and goofiness in a dreary grey pop-apocalyptic  background. It's the humour that drew me in here, when end of the world scenarios crop up they are mostly affecting and stoic epics like Crossed (the first time Garth Ennis has made me cry) and the Walking Dead. Instead, this isn't  straight-out humour parody strip but it is a self-aware show of fear induced rage and its affects on people, a dark humour created under duress. It changes frame by frame from harsh realism to kawaii cute and I think it works quite well.

One thing to consider is the emphasis placed on morphology of these munted monstrosities, there's lots of varieties. It's good to see a division between  mere shamblers and speed-driven undead hunters with numerous other classes of zombies. In video game terms the Left 4 dead & Deadspace series are the most obvious indicators of this new specialisation of the undead and the categorisation of these monsters is shown in a succinct 'encyclopaedia' section. Where a strip like Dead Winter possibly developed ad hoc, this looks planned from the get go and it's all the better for it. The idea of a group living infected as existing in a social limbo is quite intriguing, the vampire hunters are disaffected killers because there's no other role for them.

Yes, the zombie trope had been done to death (heh), but that's never the point, survival and its associated discontents are the point of the zombie/ post apocalyptic genres. The point of the strip is seeing characters interacting in fear and rage,  trying to survive the night. You'll need to go through the archive twice this as there's a bit of interplay between the current storyline & the past, it only started to click together after comparing different chapters. There's no slow build up here, it's all action and anybody with a soul will like this strip.

Musical accompaniment: Gallows, Orchestra of wolves. Shouting, rage, psychosis, aneurysm, rinse and repeat.

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