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.
I love Jen Wang's work: her debut graphic novel Koko Be Good was thought-provoking and challenging and beautiful; "In Real Life," her adaptation of my story Anda's Game took the tale to places that delighted and surprised me -- today, Firstsecond publishes The Prince and the Dressmaker, which I believe will be her breakout graphic novel.
Dark State is the sequel to Empire Games, a reboot/latter phase of Charles Stross's longrunning, excellent economic science fiction/high fantasy Merchant Princes series.
In 2016, Victoria Jamieson won the prestigious Newberry Honor Award for Roller Girl, a beautiful, moving, hilarious middle-grades graphic novel about friendship, girlhood and roller-derby; her 2017 followup All's Faire in Middle School will delight everyone who loved Roller Girl with a tale of Ren Faire, misfits, forgiveness and resilience.
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