Gwen Dylan is a gravedigger, and a zombie, and a detective, and she has to eat brains once a month or she degenerates into a “Night of the Living Dead” extra, and when she DOES eat brains she inherits the memories of the dead and has to fulfill their requests. Also, there are handsome mummies and handsome monster-hunters, ancient societies, vampires who play paint-ball, a swinging ghost from the 60’s, a were-terrier, a “Frankenstein’s Monstress” called Galatea, a possessed chimp, a white leopard, and a Lovecraftian Big Bad who goes by the name of “Xitalu” and is trying to bring the
Apocalypse “Convergence” to Sunnydale Eugene, Oregon.
Too much? Everything about Chris Roberson and Michael Allred’s “IZombie” suggests a mess; “Being Human” or “True Blood” pushed to their most nonsensically excessive. But it works on the page, thanks to outstanding characterization, witty dialogue, and most of all Mike Allred’s pop designs. Allred is a true artist, and here favors Ben-Day dots to conjure Roy Liechtenstein’s work. That’s not to slight Roberson, whose work in a couple of “Fables” miniseries I’ve greatly enjoyed; but this is truly one of those comic books where the artist merits an extra minute of standing ovation after the writer gets his dues. (Allred gets occasional help; the stand-alone “Ghost Stories” has art from the Gilbert Hernandez.)
Over its 28-issue run “iZombie” offers several additions to supernatural lore, among them the idea that zombies don’t have to deteriorate as long as they sporadically feed on brains. (Ingesting memories from body parts in order to solve crimes took me back to John Layman’s “Chew”.) Cleverest of all the aspects in the sometimes ramshackle mythology is the quasi-Freudian idea of twin souls within us all: an oversoul vs. an undersoul- combinations of which create all sort of critters.
There IS a TV version crawling its way to the CW. They’ve already promised to “deviate considerably from the source” because WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO DO THINGS RIGHT when you can SCREW THEM UP INSTEAD?
Must. Remain. Hopeful.