ZOMBIE JAMBOREE

On the Far Side with Dead Folks # 1-2
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Writer: Joe R. Lansdale
Artwork: Timothy Truman
Review by Abner Senires



Now this is a post-apocalyptic world.

Take Midnight Run, Sergio Leone's "spaghetti" westerns, and throw in a healthy dash of Night of the Living Dead and you've got the three-issue mini-series On the Far Side with Dead Folks, the latest offering from Joe R. Lansdale and Timothy Truman.

When a deadly virus brings the dead back to life, everything goes to hell in handbasket. into this post-holocaust world rides Wayne, a bounty hunter on his final run. All he has to do is bring in a scumbag named Calhoun, get his money, and go back home. Enroute with his quarry, the two men are waylaid by Brother Lazarus and his army of Dead Boys.

Based on his short story "On the Far Side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks," Lansdale serves up another heapin' helping of over-the-top storytelling. Lansdale wastes no time. As soon as we finish the set-up and back story, Lansdale punches the gas and away we go, guns a-blazing and blood a-splattering. I haven't read any of Lansdale's fiction yet, but after reading this, my curiousity is piqued. I'll be hunting up his stories, particularly the one this book is based on.

My favorite part: the dialogue. Offbeat humor at its finest. As a horde of undead swarm around our two "heroes" in issue #1, Calhoun screams: "Dinner time, maggot bait? Then eat me! Eat me and choke!". Issue #2 opens with Wayne: "It was shaping up to be a really shitty day." A few pages later, upon hearing a group of zombies singing a hymn, Calhoun asks: "Hey, ya'll know any Hank Williams." And Wayne later comments: "Mister, this place is the dumbest idea since dog sweaters."

Classic camp. Bruce Campbell would be proud.

After their pairing on three Jonah Hex miniseries for DC/Vertigo, Timothy Truman (Scout, Grimjack) teams up with Lansdale for more wild and wacky--and excessively violent--fun. Truman's linework echoes Kubert (which seems fitting; Truman's an alum of the prestigious school). The character designs have a very "Wild West" feel, if not for the Cadillac, you'd think this was a Jonah Hex book. Overall, Truman does a great job bringing Lansdale story to life. My only gripe was the apparent stiffness of the characters in some of the action sequences. For instance, the bar fight in issue #1; the movements look cramped by the panel borders.

Maybe it's just me.

If you enjoy post-holocaust westerns, zombie armies wearing Mickey Mouse hats, and good old-fashioned campy dialogue, pick up Dead Folks for some rootin'-tootin' mayhem.

p.s. If they ever turn this into a movie, I hope they cast Bruce Campbell as Wayne. We know he can do camp (Army of Darkness) and we know he can do westerns (The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. ).

p.p.s. Speaking of--Bruce Campbell stars in a film version of another Lansdale story, Bubba Ho-Tep, playing an elderly Elvis living in an East Texas retirement home.

But that's enough movie talk. Back to the funnybooks...

© 2003 by Abner Senires


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