"Living with the Dead" Trade Paperback Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Originally published as Living with the Dead #1 - #3
Written by Mike Richardson
Illustrated by Ben Stenbeck
2008, 88 Pages
Trade paperback released on June 29th, 2016
Despite insurmountable odds, Straw and Whip have survived the zombie apocalypse. They've created a safe haven in an abandoned apartment building where they can eat and sleep in peace without being disturbed by the undead wandering the streets. They pass the time by rocking out, driving around for supplies, and doing general things that bros do. This changes when they meet gun-crazy Betty, a fellow survivor. They both fall for her and start vying for her affection while the risen dead are vying for their brains. Hilarity ensues...not really.
As with most undead tales, there is no reason given as to why the dead are now walking the earth. That's not at all necessary in Living with the Dead, as the story is really about these two idiots. How they survived this long is anyone's guess. Their big secret seems to be wearing skull masks, which somehow fools the zombies. It's like that scene in Shaun of the Dead where they shuffle down the road to blend in with the undead. Their home is wired up like Kevin McAllister's in Home Alone too, which helps.
|Click images to enlarge|
Betty plays these two from the jump, especially when she learns that they have a stockpile of guns that they never use. She can definitely take care of herself and has no interest in bedding either of these guys when she can cuddle up with her NRA membership card. She has the most interesting design as well, with a Betty Page meets Tank Girl vibe. She's drop dead gorgeous and a tad crazy.
Ben Stenbeck's artwork is what really shines in Living with the Dead, especially the designs for the zombies. There are so many of them and they come in all shapes and sizes. Each is at a different level of decay. Some have their intestines spewing out; others are missing limbs or pieces of their skull. It's a gruesome sight but perfect for any fan of the undead.
|Click images to enlarge|
While most of the humor falls flat, there is a great scene towards the end as the three characters are driving in their convertible, mowing down zombies without a care in the world. They're having a casual conversation like nothing is out of the ordinary. Occasionally a body will fly overhead and Betty will blast it with her shotgun. How they aren’t covered in zombie guts is anyone's guess.
This edition also features chapter breaks illustrated by Richard Corben. They're absolutely gorgeous and Dave Stewart's colors bring them to life – or death? – very well. Corben's pencils are a nice complement to Stenbeck's interior artwork.
Living with the Dead plays like an unfunny sitcom, but with zombies. The only thing it's missing is a laugh track. It's the frat boy answer to The Walking Dead. You can see the gags coming a mile away, however the artwork is solid and contains some fantastic depictions of the undead.