"I've tried uni, and now I'm having a crack at romance" - Zombolette
Finally collected in one volume are a whole bunch of early Zombolette scripts, cartoons, adventures, everything including the kitchen sink. Milk Shadow Books have happily compiled a collection by Scarlette Baccini that resolves anyone's longing to search out that Zombolette script they may have missed. We're talking a collection here not a graphic novel, though there's common story arcs between some of the scripts. So how does the modern day thinking zombie cope with life, love, and mutated talking guinea pigs? - this book might just have the answers, let's crack open the covers.
For anyone unaware of Zombolette we're talking a muffin top challenged chick zombie who doesn't know how she became a zombie, but is going to make the best of it as she fights decay and tries to find her place in the world. Helping out are Cameron, a large mutated chain smoking guinea pig who can talk, and an unnamed walrus, who can also talk. Zombolette has no idea of who she is, what age she was when she died, or why exactly she occupies a large inner city house. We do know she has a science degree, a lab in the basement, and meat. If this is all sounding like the makings of comedy, then you wouldn't be far off the reservation. While including more zombie tropes than you can throw a z-virus at, the scripts are pretty light hearted in an offbeat fashion.
While there have been the odd attempt at viewing things from a zombie's perspective, no one has quite gone the distance Scarlette Baccini is prepared to take her imagination. Yes this one is high on the comedy quota, but don't let that fool you, Baccini simply revels in getting her gross on. Ever wondered about zombies and stomach gasses? Baccini has you covered. Ever been confused about zombie dietary requirements? Our Writer goes with chicken, brains, and body parts. So we're talking Romero meets Return of the Living Dead's O'Bannon in an orgy of consumption that actually brought a smile to my dial. Through a series of story arcs, single panels, and all manner of departures from the norm, the reader learns it's not all blood drenched rampaging when it comes to being a zombie, there's a lot more than simply mindless predator behind the decaying brow.
Which of course brings us to the central character, the titular Zombolette, who while being all zombie also displays a marked young teen chick attitude to the world. There is no room for Twilight in Zombolette, though our zombie gal is infinitely more interesting than the rather droll Bella. Baccini develops her character well, doesn't let the overall personality falter at any stage, and for mine presents a concept that should have most dark genre dreamers taking names and notes. Zombolette joins Killeroo as one of the great Aussie creations that alas remains under the radar of the vast majority of comic book readers. I'm not going to say much more, read the book to get the good oil, but if the concept of a zombie with body armour made up of tampons, with an IUD helmet appeals, then dial on in, that's just for starters. Scarlette Baccini is either stark raving mad, or an unsung genius of the script, your call!
Backing Zombolette up, in a sort of wise teenage sidekick fashion, is Cameron, an overly large, self-aware guinea pig who has escaped the labs of medical research. While Baccini lets Zombolette have full rein on whatever insane idea takes her fancy, Cameron is the handbrake, keeping it all under control where possible, and providing the adult commentary throughout. There's good fusion between the two characters, Baccini is all up on the concept and nails it.
I'm not quite sure how to describe Baccini's artwork. It's the style where it appears simple, deceptively so, yet glimpses of a more refined pen leak through on the odd panel. Outlines are drawn in heavy style, the panels have a tendency towards clutter, that's the objective and it works, you are left with the feeling that the art is being used to illustrate the script rather than being art for art's sake. I certainly grooved to the whole look and feel, but don't expect grandeur or poster style creations, Baccini gets the comic book requirement.
Okay so invariably our North American readership want comparisons to the comic strips they are used to, and naturally I'm not the right person for this job, but hey ho let's go. If your very favourite comic is Cathy, then get the frack out, Zombolette is going to curdle the milk on your overly sugared and strangely coloured cereal. Assuming here you hit the comics while having brekkie, I've mentioned vegemite before right? So anyway I'm going to go with Get Fuzzy as a comparison, Baccini throws down the same offbeat humour vibe that Darby Conley has happening, the artwork is completely different though. Don't ask me for a comparison on the panel front, told you I suck at this, maybe it's something a little original?
You know every now and again the long nights, early mornings, and generally ploughing through the dark genre fields, does uncover a gem, and for mine Zombolette is an uncut diamond that we wouldn't want any other way. Where else are you going to get a self-obsessed teen zombie chick, a talkative mutant guinea pig, and snide comments on subjects ranging from vegetarianism to Quentin Tarantino? I would tend to add some comedy to my horror diet in the form of this book, full recommendation, Scarlette Baccini is our new bestest friend.
[Editor's Note: Oh crap, another restraining order on the way. Can we avoid stalking this time, and no one mention this one to Dan, need to know basis people].
Publisher Milk Shadow Books has gone with the U.S comic book size, for all those who collect their comics and keep them under plastic, and present Zombolette in a colossal 120 pages of black and white glory. This book is well constructed, it'll take some wear and tear during the zombie apocalypse, and presents good value for money at $17.99 AUD. You can check out the finer points over at the official Milk Shadows site. I'm certainly on the prowl for more Zombolette, fingers crossed Milk Shadow pick up some of the back category.
Before closing, and it's not like I've really overrun the word limit or anything, Zombolette would make a great birthday gift or xmas present for any young ladies you need to hit the present trail for. While it's gross and all, it does so in the nicest fashion, and hey anything to move away from Paranormal Romance is a good thing yo.