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REVIEW: The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks by Max Brooks and Ibraim Roberson

REVIEW SUMMARY: A wonderfully illustrated complement to your zombie library.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A graphic-novel depicting zombie attacks throughout history.


PROS: Wonderfully detailed black-and-white illustrations by Ibraim Roberson; interesting storytelling format.

CONS: So many historical snapshots in a 144-page books means none of them can offer any amount of depth, storytelling-wise.

BOTTOM LINE: A worthwhile (and quick) zombie read.

October has been a busy month, but it seemed like I should be able to squeeze something horror-related into it. The graphic novel The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks seemed like the perfect candidate. It’s a one-sitting read graphic novel written by Max Brooks (the author of The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z, neither of which I have read…yet) and it’s got some fantastically detailed ink illustrations by Ibraim Roberson.

The format of the book, interestingly, is a series of short snapshots depicting the history of zombie attacks spanning the past 62,000 years. Each glimpse into history is relatively short; there’s not much room for in-depth storytelling, just brief overviews of a zombie encounter. Many of these stories suggest alternate reasons for some historical events and all of them prominently feature some gruesome flesh-chewing imagery. The overall picture portrayed by these stories is one of a persistent problem throughout history, although one that the human race is consistently able to overcome. (Makes sense…otherwise there would be no history to tell!) Still, one wishes for a good-old fashioned humans-lose scenario beyond the one suggested by the final story.

While there may not be much exposition, there is some fantastic pen work by Ibraim Roberson. (You can get a sample at the publisher website.) The black-and-white illustrations are meticulously detailed and filled with gore – exactly what you’d expect (an want) from a zombie tale. It’s a nice complement to the mini-stories being told, whether it be portraying the futility of the ignorant in fighting the undead, or the helplessness of the victims after they are bitten. In other words, creepy imagery rightfully accompanies the creepy subject matter, ultimately making Recorded Attacks a worthwhile read.

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.
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