By TygerLily Ernst
Written and Illustrated By Faith Erin Hicks
Slave Labor Comics
Cover price: $9.95; On sale now
Do you believe that zombies will take over the world someday? Do you spend a lazy evening watching Shaun of the Dead or 28 Days Later for the fortieth time? Did you know that a spork can be a handy weapon when the zombies come? Do you insist on buying every zombie movie and comic book the day itâ€™s released? Do you eat, drink and breathe all things zombie? Or wish that George Romero was your grandfather? If you do then Zombies Calling is right up your alley.
Already noticed for her online comic Ice, which was nominated for a Joe Shuster Award in 2006, it was Zombies Calling that actually earned Faith Erin Hicks the prestigious award in 2008. This 104-page graphic novel, the first print work to be released by the newcomer, is set in an urban college town in Canada. Thatâ€™s where we find our protagonist, Joss, enjoying a lazy evening watching zombie movies with friends. She has an obsession with all things British; from the slang she uses right down to the Union Jack tank top that she always wears. However, she also has the normal trials of a college student — exams, financial aid, and what not. Her dorm-mate, Sonnet, is the intelligent, Gothy, level-headed member of the group. Then there is Robyn, the cute (but somewhat clueless) boy who rounds out the crew. Each is recognizable to the reader; weâ€™ve all known these guys. Theyâ€™re at every university and coffeehouse in any college town.
While explaining the importance of zombie movie rules, Joss realizes that they have slipped into a zombie movie just by walking down the hall. They soon find themselves trapped on campus by a legion of the walking dead. Joss takes the lead, using her knowledge of zombie films to help the crew make its way across campus. With no guns available to the trio (it is Canada you know) they must depend on their â€œbad ass zombie-ass-kicking-skillsâ€ and, yes, a spork.
I love the heavy black lines and strong manga style of this comic. The details are there and visually you really couldnâ€™t ask for moreâ€¦except maybe color, but then youâ€™re just being picky. The story itself is an easy one, as simple as it is enjoyable, but it left many holes. The reader finds out the source of the epidemic but it doesnâ€™t go into it any further than that. You know the who, but the question of why they turned is unanswered, and because there is no sequel the story may leave you feeling a bit hungry for more.
Reading this story was a pleasure. The feminist in me loves the strength of the female leads and admires how they never want to cower in the closest corner. This story would be a great introduction to anyone new to the zombie scene. Itâ€™s really an instruction booklet for how to handle an outbreak and get out alive. Add Zombies Calling to your reading list. With the darkness of a zombie student body and the humor of the average college student, this is a graphic novel for us all.