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THE EVOLVING ZOMBIE METAPHOR
If there’s one thing I’ve heard time and time again in recent years (and indeed, have even said it myself), it’s that zombie fiction is tired and lazy. It’s had its day, and has nothing new or interesting to contribute.
While it’s often the case that a great many entries in the genre can be repetitive and derivative, there’s still no shortage of intelligence, quality and innovation to be found, if we’re willing to look for it.
The very best of classic zombie fiction acts as a critique of human nature, of the collective human experience, a witty indictment of mob mentality, and presents at its very core a species vainly struggling against extinction at the hand of its own darker nature.
But if there’s one thing that the last fifteen years have shown us over and over again, it’s that there are plenty of variations on the zombie genre that can do quite well. We’ve seen comedies (Shaun of the Dead) and romance (Warm Bodies) blossom out of zombie apocalypses, and in addition to a glut of gleefully B-grade gore porn, we’ve seen some thoughtful and considered character pieces that prioritise the development of human characters above the zombies they struggle to survive against (The Walking Dead).
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Every time I start to feel tired of zombies, I’m reminded of one of these titles, and their own individual claim to creative legitimacy.
Undad, published on May 1 by Deeper Meanings Publishing, is not about the apocalypse. It’s not about the decay of humanity. It’s about one man (Brett) who struggles to keep his own darker nature at bay and his family together, while feeling (literally) dead inside. His world begins and ends in the family home; its implosion is the apocalypse he is struggling to avoid.
In the forthcoming Undad Volume Two, the metaphor will be pushed ever further. Zombie fiction revels in dehumanising the undead, presenting them as other. Brett will experience this social segregation firsthand, and will be forced to reconsider his place in the world.
It would be disingenuous of me to pretend that Undad has a corner on the zombie-with-a-twist market. It’s merely carving out its own little place in the great and fast-broadening zeitgeist of zombie fiction, by rooting itself firmly within a family drama and a treatise on depression.
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About the Book
Undad is a comic series spanning eight issues of 40 pages apiece. Every issue has a different artist attached, each one carefully selected for their skill, professionalism, and ability to draw out all the subtextual nuances of the script.
The series was created and written by two-time Aurealis Award finalist Shane W Smith.
The first volume of Undad, collecting issues 1-4, was published on May 1st, 2015, by Australian publisher Deeper Meanings. The second and final volume of Undad, collecting issues 5-8 (and possibly a bonus issue as well), is currently being funded on Kickstarter.
To pledge to the Undad Volume Two campaign, please visit: https://kck.st/1GZ1aBF
Thank you for reading this post. I hope I’ve convinced you that Undad is a book worth owning. Thank you also to James from HorrorTalk for allowing me to post here.
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