For many (me included) the best part of Max Brooks excellent Zombie Survival Guide are the pages at the end where fictional documented cases of zombie outbreaks throughout history are recorded. Tying into cultures & real historical events & places, it’s worth a read even if the guide itself doesn’t interest you.
This graphic novel takes many of those stories & brings them to life with incredibly detailed artwork.
Completely in black & white, considering the lack of colour throughout, the novel still manages to appear vibrant. Both the living & the dead stand out from the pages with blood flying & flesh being ripped. You can see the fear in peoples eyes, see the desperation as they try to save themselves but most of all you can see the unrelenting devastation that the walking leave wherever they go.
Starting with an event that took place in 60,000 BC in Katanda, Central Africa & ending in A.D. 1992, Joshua Tree National Park in the US. There is a wide span of historical events but it does miss out some of the more interesting ones from the Survival Guide. That being said, the ones chosen for this graphic novel do allow for some of the more disturbing images.
My personal favourite is the one that took place in A.D. 1690 somewhere in the Southern Atlantic Ocean. We see a lost slave ship found & boarded only to discover the upper decks completely deserted. However in the hold rows & rows of the undead lie chained together, still moaning & moving as best they can. These were once slaves & the images created show one slave being infected & as he turned infecting the next & so on. Imagine that…imagine being at the end of this chain watching what was happening, seeing your fate & not being able to do anything about it.
That is terrifying & the artwork illustrates that perfectly.
Sadly they don’t all work as well. The event that took place in A.D. 1611, Feudal Japan is uninspired & a bit boring, the artwork reflects that. It is very short though, only a few pages long.
Overall you get 12 events to enjoy with hardly a foot put wrong with the story-telling or artwork. If you’re a fan of zombie artwork than you will thoroughly enjoy this & I don’t think I need to remind you of just how good Max Brooks is at making zombies not just feel like it could happen but feel like it has already happened.
The Zombie Survival Guide Recorded Attacks (Max Brooks)