Two more comics left to review. Let’s start with Zombie Nation.
Category: Graphic Story
Slates: Rabid Puppies & Sad Puppies
Zombie Nation by Carter Reid is a horror-themed gag strip webcomic. The information about what strips are actually included in the Hugo-nominated collection Reduce Reuse Reanimate is nowhere to be found, so I took a look at some random strips that were published last year.
Judging by the reactions I have seen elseweb, many Hugo-voters — especially those unhappy with the Puppies — are giving Zombie Nation the cold shoulder. And now that I checked, Vox Day himself is doing the same thing: he tells on his site that he is going for No Award in the Graphic Story category and has placed Carter Reid last in the Professional Artist category, below the only artist not on his preliminary slate.
Reid is truly out of supporters, it seems, so let me say a few kind words for Zombie Nation. It’s actually not that awful.
Zombie Nation is a gag strip, so you can’t expect an elegant storyline or the sort of a satisfying dramatic arc that’s possible in long form comics. There has to be one joke per strip and you have to deliver it in three or four panels. Gag strips are a hard to do, and amusing gag strips are infinitely harder.
Some jokes make me smile, most did nothing and only few are embarrassingly bad (many are just weird, which is better than bad). Technically, most punchlines are delivered decently, and the rhythm and timing usually work. That is all that I can realistically hope for when reading a gag strip. Zombie Nation is no match for the other comics on the ballot and it shouldn’t be there in the first place, but it is not a bad comic of its kind.
Next: Saga Volume 3
Category: Graphic Story
The first volume of the science fantasy series Saga won a Hugo award two years back, and the second volume nearly managed to do the same thing last year. Now we have here the third collection and the third Hugo nomination.
During the summer, I reread the whole series after getting my hands on the nice hardcover omnibus that collects volumes 1-3, and I ended up liking the series even more than I used to. It’s an extraordinarily good comic full of engaging characters, lying cats and weird worlds. Occasionally, the action takes some melodramatic turns, but I can’t help loving it.
It’s hard to put my finger on the reason I like Saga most for, but it may have something to do with the subversive feel or quirky tone of the storytelling. The TV heads and various things that slip on their screens, the virtual reality slash interactive theatre form of entertainment, the protagonists’ baby as an extra narrator and countless other delightful details add to the impression that Saga is saying lots of complex and interesting things in imaginative ways. Even though it’s a war story of sorts and terrible things do happen, the comic manages to stay cheerful and fun. What mad scripting skills Brian K. Vaughan has.
The third volume ties up neatly all the story threads of the first two volumes, and I guess that the series is going to take a new direction now that the protagonists have dealt with all the immediate threats. I’m pretty certain I’ll stay reading.
That wraps up the graphic story category:
- Sex Criminals Volume 1: One Weird Trick 9/10
- Saga Volume 3 9/10
- Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal 8/10
- Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery 5/10
- No Award
- The Zombie Nation Book #2: Reduce Reuse Reanimate 4/10