Although The Walking Dead source material ended in 2019, we are witnessing the end of the TV show that revitalized the zombie genre. Zombies as a plot device in comics accomplish two things. First, it gives readers an idea of how people act when all semblance of order is lost. Second, it allows artists to go wild with blood and gore, often with reckless abandon.
Comics have walked the gauntlet of artistic and philosophical explorations from the zombie apocalypse to brainless gorefests purely written for fun. Whatever the goal, there’s no denying that the comic book industry has benefited greatly from the genre.
ten Zombies versus robots
Zombies vs. Robots may sound like a silly gorefest (and it sometimes is), but the art and story have a dark, philosophical tone. In the zombie apocalypse, robots are tasked with protecting the world’s only remaining human baby.
Soon there is only one robot left, a combat unit named Bertie, designed solely to fight zombies. This is one of the few “Crisis Crossover” events in IDW history, as this same virus reaches its other properties such as ghost hunters and StarTrek.
iZombie is an unorthodox story in the zombie genre. Instead of being an apocalypse, it’s in a relatively normal world similar to our own, only with supernatural elements lurking. Gwen Dylan, the protagonist, is a “ghost” who can pass normally, but only if she eats brains once a month. With each piece of brain, however, comes a series of unwanted memories.
iZombie revolves around the concept of “oversoul” and “undersoul”. An “oversoul” was a being’s thoughts, memories, and personality. Meanwhile, “undersoul” is the seat of all emotions and appetites. The lack of either is how you get zombies (no upper soul) or vampires (no lower soul). Gwen must deal with all these supernatural threats while juggling her “normal” life as a gravedigger in her twenties.
8 Night of the Living Deadpool
Night of the Living Deadpool may seem like a roaring good time full of gory banter and good deeds, but that premise is viciously subverted. Night of the Living Deadpool is a dark look at a future dominated by the undead. There are no cameos from other Marvel heroes or villains.
The only remaining hero is Deadpool. The comic manages to portray the complete desolation of the apocalypse in an amazing way. Deadpool’s fun dialogue and colorful costume contrast with the completely monochromatic wasteland he now inhabits. Even more gruesome, the zombies in this universe are fully aware of what they are doing. They just can’t stop eating flesh.
7 Scooby Apocalypse
Scooby Apocalypse is not limited to the zombie threat, although they are a constant presence. In this universe, not all of the supernatural threats the gang faces are businessmen looking to pull off a scam. The threats are very real dangers to the gang, and they must do more than solve mysteries to survive.
The storyline is about as absurd as you’d expect these types of stories to be. The tone is a bit more serious than most Scooby Doo stories, but they still retain that Mystery Inc spirit. For readers in the mood to see some classic childhood characters battle a bunch of monsters, Scooby Apocalypse can scratch that itch.
6 The realm of the gods
The realm of the gods is the source material for the hit Netflix series Kingdom. For strangers, The realm of the gods takes place after the historic Imjin War in Korea. Everywhere, a mysterious disease seems to be killing hundreds of people at once, and no cure can be found. Soon, however, the disease would turn out to be something far more sinister.
The realm of the gods is a unique take on the genre. Instead of being set in modern times, it gives readers insight into how people without modern conveniences such as cars, guns, or even modern medicine cope with a mysterious zombie virus.
5 I am a hero
I am a hero is an ideal zombie manga for resident Evil fans and is equal parts uncomfortable and downright absurd. The story centers on 35-year-old Hideo Suzuki, a struggling and deeply troubled artist whose series was axed six months ago. Soon the zombie apocalypse begins and the depressed Hideo sets out to find meaning in his life by being someone’s hero.
The story is set in a very authentic incarnation of 2009 Japan, but the zombies themselves look gruesome. Often mingling with each other in Cronenbergian body horror, these disgusting scenes are juxtaposed with Hideo’s ramblings on the manga industry. I am a hero is a confusing roller coaster of emotions, but well worth the read.
4 Afterlife with Archie
For people who thought Punisher’s visit to Archie’s school was weird, Afterlife with Archie must sound downright crazy. Often credited as the inspiration for the equally bizarre stories of Riverdale, Afterlife with Archie explores what the cast of the 50s romantic comedy would do in a zombie apocalypse.
The storyline begins quite simply. Sabrina the Teenage Witch is awakened by a distressed Jughead. His beloved dog, Hot Dog, was dead, and he begs Sabrina to find a way to bring him back. Naturally, things go to hell real quick, and Jughead, Archie’s best friend and one of the original series’ most popular characters, becomes Patient Zero for the zombie virus.
Not wanting to be outdone by the massive success of their rival Marvel Zombies scenarios, DC took a swing at its own massive zombie crossover event. Died is an Elseworlds story in which the infamous Anti-Life Equation is corrupted. Instead of controlling all life, the Anti-Life Equation turns the infected into viciously violent undead monsters.
A little like Marvel Zombiesthis story gives readers an idea of just how terrifying the idea of superpowered zombies would be. Died doesn’t shy away from killing off famous people, but despite that, the story is actually much more upbeat in tone than its wonder counterpart.
2 Marvel Zombies
Marvel Zombies takes place in an alternate Earth where the “hunger gospel” infects all of Marvel’s iconic characters. In a few days, the the whole world they live is consumed. Now they cross universes to spread the infection and feast on the remains of everyone they encounter.
Each Marvel Zombies The miniseries has a completely random tone, but that’s what makes the concept fun. A story could be a world of depressing sadness where there is no chance of recovery, like the first Marvel at zombies. Other times it’s absolutely hilarious shenanigans like Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness. Ash Williams’ bad luck manifests itself in the weirdest ways.
1 The Walking Dead
To no one’s surprise, The Walking Dead sits atop the zombie apocalypse genre, and it’s well deserved. Comics are responsible for revitalizing a genre that had been bled dry at this point. Instead of being an action-packed zombie action series, it’s more of a deep dive into the hidden savagery of humanity when the end is upon them.
Although the TV series has also become a messy corpse, there’s no denying the impact it has had on pop culture. When people think of zombies, it’s not just the classic George A. Romero movies anymore. Now they’ll be thinking of Rick Grimes and his ragtag group of survivors, searching for ways to live in an already dead world.
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