Got a hankering for the undead but don’t know where to start? The Game of Nerds has you covered. Here’s five of the best comics out there to sate your need for brains!
Ongoing – Horror, Science-fiction, Mystery
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Tim Seeley
Art: Mike Norton
Colorist: Mark Englert
I admit I’m not fully caught up with this series and it has been a while since I have read the first few issues, but what I have read of it I really enjoyed. In this unique take on zombies, rather than the dead coming back to life and attempting to feast on your brains and various other parts, we have people who have experienced death and survived (–and I’m using the word ‘survived’ very generously) to tell the tale. They are still functioning (for the most part) and have retained most of their memories from their previous life. The most interesting part is these zombies — or ‘revenants’, as the book calls them — start to lose control of their actions, and in turn their loved ones die because of it. However, the scariest part is that these revenants don’t even realize that they’re doing this! If you are looking for an action-filled adventure, you’ve come to the wrong place with this series — but if you are looking for good art and amazing character development as well as a different take on the traditional, you will be in for a fun ride.
4.) Hack/Slash Meets Zombies vs. Cheerleaders
One-Shot – Horror, Comedy, Action
Writer: Steven L. Frank
Artist: Ben Glendenning
Cover Artist: Tim Seeley
Letterer: Bill Maus
Colorist: Joseph Barker
Hack/Slash alone is one of my favourite comic book series, but this time we have a one-shot titled Hack/Slash Meets Zombies vs. Cheerleaders. What really drew me into this one was the cover artwork (which is done by the ever-amazing Tim Seeley, also known for Revival – see above.) In this story, Cassie and Vlad go undercover at a local high school where there has been several disappearances of students. Things begin to go all Archie’s Weird Mysteries on our collective asses when our crew begins to discover what is causing the disappearances… but it might not be quite what you think it is. I can’t think of a single Hack/Slash comic that I wouldn’t recommend to any horror fan, and this is one for the ages. Packed full of hilarity and craziness, I highly recommend this stand-alone issue to anyone — even if you haven’t read any of the series prior.
3.) Army of Darkness: Ash Gets Hitched (2014)
4 Issues – Horror, Comedy
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Writer: Steve Niles
Artist: Nacho Tenorio
Cover Artists: Jae Lee and Lucio Parrillo
What do you think of when you think of chainsaws, a twelve-gauge double-barreled Remington, Kandarian demons, the Necronomicon, and an army of darkness? Why, weddings, of course! Wait… were you thinking of something else? Our saviour Ashley Williams is at it again with his crazy antics and his stumbling, bumbling idiocy — but this time we hear the sounds of wedding bells and the undead, as he is about to get married to the love of his life, Sheila. Will the army of darkness’s undead leader, The Faceless Man, be the one to finally defeat Ash before he gets to say ‘I do?’
2.) Marvel Zombies vs. The Army of Darkness (2007)
5 Issues – Superhero, Horror
Publisher: Marvel Comics in association with Dynamite Entertainment
Writers: John Layman
Artists: Fabiano Neves, Fernando Blanco, and Sean Phillips
Letterers: Randy Gentile and Rus Wooton
Colorist: June Chung
Alright, true believers! It’s time for alternate universes, Deadites, and zombie superheroes to collide in one action-packed epic adventure. In this mini-series, the love of my life (Ashley Williams, of course) meets face-to-face with many of Marvel’s most successful superheroes like Daredevil, Spider-Man, and Scarlet Witch. Ash makes a few poor choices (as per usual) and winds up in a self-made mess after accidentally turning several superheroes into zombies. To fix his mistakes, he must begin his search for this universe’s Necronomicon to help rid the world of the Deadite superheroes and return things back to the way they once were. This series mixes together two of the things that I love most – Evil Dead and superheroes. Although I am not as well-educated on the backstories of some of the characters in the Marvel expanded universe, (Howard the Duck, Doctor Doom and Dazzler, to name a few) this story is a hell of a good time and I never found myself lost or confused. If you have little to basic knowledge about who everyone is, you should be able to read and enjoy this series with no problem at all. And if you love Ash Williams, zombies, superheroes and dark humour, then you will absolutely love this series!
1.) Afterlife with Archie
Ongoing – Horror, Post-Apocalyptic
Publisher: Archie Comics
Writer: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Artist: Francesco Francavilla
Inker: Francesco Francavilla
Letterer: Jack Morelli
Colorist: Francesco Francavilla
This is where I have to depart from Ash Williams and move onto something else I enjoy (I’m sorry baby, you know I still think you’re groovy) but come on. I can’t compile this list of only the Evil Dead and Army of Darkness comics. Well, I could… but perhaps we’ll save that for another article. Here we have another alternate universe story — this time not set in the Marvel universe, but rather in the beloved town of Riverdale, home to Archie and the gang. In this unexpectedly dark and gruesome series, our story begins when my favourite character Sabrina the Teenage Witch, at the request of a distraught Jughead, brings his dog Hot Dog back from the dead. However, it’s not all rainbows and Frankenweenies in this tale as instead Hot Dog returns as a flesh-eating zombie and kills his owner and best friend the first chance he gets. Patient Zero—err… I mean… Jughead then rises from then dead, and instead of his regular Pop Tate’s burgers and shakes he turns his insatiable appetite on the good people of Riverdale, creating a horde of the living dead! This comic’s success spawned a ton of other horror-related Archie comics – and even a new imprint strictly for Archie Horror – with titles including The Chilling Tales of Sabrina and another of my personal favourites Archie vs. Sharknado. I highly recommend giving this series a read, because even if you aren’t an avid comic reader everyone knows who Archie, Jughead, Betty and Veronica are. It’s a thrill seeing the old gang be put in a position that most people would have never expected to see them in. The atypical colour palette consisting of shades of reds, blues, purples and oranges was absolutely genius, and that alone really drew me in to reading this series. With Afterlife with Archie, they stayed away from the ‘50s-era neat lines and bright colouring and went with something a bit more messy, dark and full of shadows — which was a brilliant direction to head in. Whether you are a fan of the classic series or not, this series is a lot of fun and a much more gruesome then you could ever imagine. And that’s not to mention this is written by the executive producer and showrunner of The CW shows Riverdale and the upcoming Chilling Tales of Sabrina, both of which borrow their dark theme from this series!
What are you reading this Halloween? Keep your eyes peeled on The Game of Nerds for all your spookies this hell-iday season!