Zombies Calling Review

Zombies CallingI have a new habit these days. Ever since I arrived home from San Diego Comic-Con in July I have briefly stared at the pile of comics I bought there with curiosity, excitement and mild disdain at not organising them yet (especially as said pile is sitting next to my bookshelf crammed full of unread stuff from last year’s SDCC). However since I’ve been getting the train to work I now have an hour each day to get some good reading in and watch the pile slowly diminish, or at least, be rearranged.

So, each night I grab a random book and throw it in my bag for the next morning’s reading, and that’s how I came to read, and enjoy, Zombies Calling by Faith Erin Hicks and Slave Labor Graphics. Man, that was an unnecessarily long intro.

Zombies Calling is a 112 page black and white digest that was created in 2007. Hicks’ blog details her submission process that got it noticed. Her next project is Brain Camp about “a creepy summer camp and how there may be monsters in the forest, and it’s all a metaphor for how puberty is scary as hell.” Cool.

So, ZC is about Joss and her two room-mates at a Canadian university. Joss is fixated on England, and more importantly zombie moves. She knows the rules of said films, (think of the rules for horror moves as stated in Scream) and thankfully, her skills must be put to the test when zombies invade her campus, or rather students are transformed into the shuffling undead.

Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much and only picked it up at the Con as it was cheap, but I was pleasantly surprised. After the first few pages I thought it may just veer dangerously close to the kind of playful tale we’ve seen before in which all the characters are witty and reference pop culture to show the readers/audience how they’re just like them. Hicks is wise and creative enough to not let that happen though. By sticking to only 3 main characters and giving the zombies an unusual origin that doesn’t require lengthy exposition, she can focus on showing just enough tension, tenderness and humour that could comfortably exist in an average episode of Buffy.

Besides Joss, there’s so-called ladies’ man Robyn and Sonnet, who is more serious and goth. There’s nods to Shaun of the Dead and the non-zombieness of 28 Days Later, and lots of running, hiding and zombie hurting.

It’s the combination of action, character development and touching scenes, such as the discussions of virginity, and death, all in just over 100 pages that make this an entertaining read. It’s also great to look at. Hicks does wonders simply with the page layouts and knows how to use space, and silence to great effect. It’s just a pleasure to look at and not like all the manga-lite artwork currently flooding the shelves. She knows how to render detailed backgrounds, and make the characters emote, and even a nerd like me can appreciate the hip fashion choices.

Also included are a few pages of character sketches and preliminary cover designs. Zombies Calling is a refreshing, done-in-one read that you wouldn’t be ashamed to pass onto your curious friends.

Zombies Calling p6

TwoMorrows Mag Sale

TwoMorrows produce some quality magazines and books dedicated primarily to comics of the 1970s and 80s. I pick them up quite often to reminisce or to be educated about the rich history of sequential art. Now they have a sale for September. Details below.


Back Issue MagTwoMorrows Publishing, publisher of award-winning books and magazines about LEGO® and comics history and appreciation, is offering their complete magazine line at 50% off, as part of a “Half-Price Magazine” sale, now through September 30, 2009.

“An awful lot of people have enjoyed our magazines over the last 15 years,” said publisher John Morrow, “and this is a chance for them to fill the holes in their collections without leaving holes in their wallets. By my rough count, there’s well over 200 different issues on sale. For about the price of the Digital Edition of one of our mags, they can get the print version—and in many cases, they’ll get a Digital Edition thrown in for free.”

The “Half-Price Magazine” sale includes issues of these titles:

Alter Ego MagBack Issue!

Jack Kirby Collector


Alter Ego

Rough Stuff!

Write Now!

Comic Book Artist

BrickJournal plus other miscellaneous humor and one-shot magazines, each at 50% off cover price. The only magazine-related items excluded from this sale are subscriptions and the most recent and upcoming issues of each magazine. As a bonus, a selection of books are also offered at 50% off during the sale period.

This sale is only valid for orders placed at www.twomorrows.com through the end of September, and does not include shipping costs. A special “Half-Price Mags” category is listed atop the TwoMorrows’ home page, which includes the issues on sale.

NOTE TO CUSTOMERS OUTSIDE THE US: We had a temporary glitch at our online store, where the US Postal Service rates displayed for non-US shipments ONLY included the most expensive “Priority Mail International” shipping option. That problem has been fixed, so that now you’ll also have the much less expensive “First Class Mail International” option available. If you tried ordering before and were dismayed by the postage costs, please try again.

Ultimate Alliance 2 Launch Trailer

A sequel to the excellent Ultimate Alliance game starring a bunch of Marvel characters, Ultimate Alliance 2 hits shelves on September 15. Here’s a new trailer, (with a catchy song) showing plenty of in-game graphics and some of what made the first game so memorable – excellent cut scenes. The game is based on the awesome  Civil War series from 2006-7 which had Iron Man and Captain America on opposing sides of the Superhero Registration Act. Now that Disney has engulfed Marvel, hopefully we’ll get an entire movie made like this.