Propaganda – “A is for Apple, B if for Bear… Z is for Zombie, trying to bite my brain right through my hair…”
This is Propaganda, I’m Richard Bruton and this is what I’ve been reading lately:
by Bob Fingerman
Zombies. The things are bloody everywhere at the moment. Personally I blame Shaun of the Dead. As is the way with these things, one genre re-inventing piece of brilliance just leads to more and more, paler and paler imitations. And just as it is in movies, so it is in comics. Specifically the rise of the modern horror comic. First came the stunning new take on vampires in 30 Days of Night, then Robert Kirkman’s hugely entertaining Walking Dead raised the zombie genre from the grave yet again (sorry). But within six months the shelves were choked with second and third rate zombie books, all talking loud but saying absolutely nothing we’d not seen before.
Luckily there are a few interesting things to be said about Zombies. First it was Jason’s Zombie Slapstick Romantic Comedy (reviewed here) and now it’s Bob Fingerman’s Recess Pieces – a George Romero influenced zombie romp. Think of it as Dawn of the Primary School.
After a science experiment goes wrong a cloud of mysterious green gas drifts though a school, slowly changing all the post-pubescents into shambling, guttural, lifeless creatures (in some schools this might not be such a big change – Joe). Only the prepubescent kids are unaffected by the zombification but they’re now the perfect buffet for the zombie’s all-you-can-eat rampage.
(just another day at Ben Turpin school in Bob Fingerman’s Recess Pieces; I wish my school had been named after a silent comedy star)
This was 94 pages of absolute, glorious fun all delivered with Bob Fingerman’s exaggerated art. He worked for Harvey Kurtzman in the 80s so the obvious artistic references of classic MAD magazine – Kurtzman, Jack Davis, Will Elder – comes as no real surprise. It’s like an eye-popping, brightly coloured MAD does Zombies issue. Every page just bursts with excitement (or blood, or excited blood) and the over the top style of Fingerman’s artwork plays brilliantly in the over the top story of Primary kids cutting a wave of destruction through the zombie hordes.
So although the wave of Zombie comics shows no signs of dying out yet, with another Marvel Zombies due soon and every smaller publisher putting out a zombie book, it’s good to know that there’s life in the undead genre yet (sorry). Bob has posted some sketchwork from Recess Pieces on his Art Blog Thinger, which are highly browseable.
(the Ben Turpin schoolyard scene again, this time the preliminary sketch version, borrowed from Bob’s blog where he has posted up a number of pages of his sketches and layouts for the book, art (c) Bob Fingerman)