Yesterday I reviewed a realistic and unusual novel called Dead Inside: Do Not Enter: Notes from the Zombie Apocalypse. Twenty-four hours later, I figure it's time to review another zombie book. This one is a graphic novel called Daybreak, by Brian Ralph. He's a "professor of sequential art" at the Savannah College of Art and Design, but don't let his academic title scare you off. His 160-page novel is a creepy look at a day in the life of people who are scratching out a miserable existence in the aftermath of a zombapocolypse.
Ralph cleverly presents the story as if you, the reader, are living in this grim, horrid wasteland. Each panel is angled from the perspective of the reader. The characters talk to you. Here's the first page:
Your companion in this story is a young one-armed man who discovers you staring in a field of rubble and takes you under his remaining wing by inviting you into his hideout. He has good intentions, but since this is a zombie novel, things quickly go to hell. And while the threat of zombies is ever-present, the real trouble comes from another source. I won't spoil the story by telling you what happens.
Ralph's fine storytelling is matched by his textured, deceptively cartoony artwork. After reading Daybreak (it's a fast read), I went back and studied the panels so I could soak in the backgrounds and linework. I missed Ralph's earlier work, the award-winning Cave-In, and now I'm looking forward to reading it.
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Annie Duke dropped out of a PhD in cognitive psychology to become a professional poker player; now she runs a nonprofit devoted to improving decision quality by merging the practical cognitive tools of the world's greatest poker players with the leading edge of cognitive psychology, a method she describes in an excellent and charming new book called Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts.
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