As some of you may be aware DC Comics has been printing English-language editions of some of the best European graphic novels in the Humanoids imprint. This week we received Stefano Raffaele’s Fragile: Love Never Dies in the Humanoids range. A post-apocalyptic world where the dead walk the earth may not sound like the most original premise, but Fragile is a very unusual take on the zombie genre.
Alan lives in one of the few fortified towns left. Zombies roam outside and within the town when someone dies they will comeback if not dealt with swiftly. Alan is killed in a foolish DIY accident and wakes up dead. No heavenly light or tunnel – he just opens his eyes and knows he is dead. Deciding not to stick around until his neighbours call in the Disinfestors he high-tails it. Once on the road he encounters Lynn, undead, decomposing yet still strangely attractive to him. The dead aren’t supposed to feel anything, but both of them do and decide to try and grab as much time together as they can share before their crumbling bodies fall apart. They hear about a town where the dead keep on ‘living’ instead of simply rotting away and embark on their adventure.
This is a really unusual graphic novel; although many of the ideas here have been seen in one form or another before – love between the undead, a virus causing zombification and so on – Raffaele uses them in a unique way. He draws on the Road Trip as much as the horror genre, with nods to classics such as Night of the Living Dead’s redneck zombie shooting party (except here the rednecks are zombies shooting other more decrepit zombies) and Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend (can a new society arise from the mutated?). Add in a very touching (and unusual) love story and some genuinely horrific moments which deal more in the power of ideas than simple gore (knowing you are dead, but still being sentient and self-aware, being able to realise your dead body will rot from under you and so will your lovers – terrifying, like facing a dreadful disease like cancer).
As I say the Humanoids range doe have some really interesting and unusual titles among them which will appeal to those who are always looking for something new and different in their graphic novel reading, so please do check some of them out.