In 1968, a horror movie from director George A. Romero came out called Night of the Living Dead. Nearly 50 years later, zombie horror is “alive” and well, with hit shows like The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead based on Robert Kirkman’s comic book series. Over the past decade, we’ve seen a renaissance of zombie fiction in all forms of entertainment, from comics to novels like World War Z (Max Brooks) and Pride & Prejudice & Zombies (Seth Grahame-Smith) to TV and film. Zombie even manage to cross over into other genres. The TV series iZombie takes the flesh eaters into the world of police forensics and the underground “brain trade.” Movies like Warm Bodies (2013) showed zombies can be romantic and of course Shaun of the Dead (2004) proved they can be the butt of jokes.
Though, there was a time when zombies were not the “it” thing in horror, but back in 1989, an undead anthology called Book of the Dead (edited by John Skipp & Craig Spector) made zombie literature cool again. Nights of the Living Dead is a collection of original zombie short stories all based in the world Romero built. What’s really interesting is reading the introductions by Romero himself and co-editor, author, and unabashed Romero fanboy, Jonathan Maberry.
Reviewer bias up front: I’m all about the zombies. I can’t get enough of them. I want it all: books, comics, games, movies, television shows, costumes, races, and pub crawls. I’m all in. However, even with my near blinding infatuation with zombie stories, I can still recognize the good stories from the bad; the originals from the derivatives. Here’s my opening argument: The Last Zombie: Before the After is a damn good comic series regardless of genre. Period.