The Outhouse's expert on Horror takes a look at a different kind of Zombie book.
Credits & Solicit Info:
Writer : Nick Tapalansky
Artist : Alex Eckman-Lawn
Manufacturer / Publisher : Archaia Studios Press
Description : "The once peaceful city of Park Falls has been tainted by a series of gruesome murders and missing persons. Cynthia Ford, known as the town crazy, finds retired police detective Derrick Peters and relates to him her belief about what's going on in town. Her explanation? Zombies! Unable to ignore Cynthia's information, though not sharing her beliefs, Derrick and others in the town explore the mystery as weeks turn to months and the death toll rises. Could Cynthia be right or has she finally gone insane?"
"It's a really cool zombie/noir thing from Archaia," Lee told me in trying to talk me into reviewing this book. I was hesitant due to my busy schedule and work load but I got the book, skimmed through the art and thought, "Screw that, this is being read!"
The Awakening is a cool zombie/noir thing from Archaia, written by fellow New Yorker Nick Tapalansky and art by Alex Eckman-Lawn. It was a pleasant surprise to find out that this was both of the creators' first work! And a cool first work it is. Nominated for 4 Eagle Awards, the Awakening follows a retired detective, Derrick Peters, who returns on a case to figure out a mysterious disappearance of a family man in association to various killings in the city of Park Falls. He is visited by the town crazy, Cynthia, complete with a surgical mask to match her paranoia of the town being infected with something. Cynthia knows whats going on and has no one willing to listen. So she turns to someone who will: Derrick. And for the big reveal: Zombies! Of course, she gets the typical response, "Get out of my house." But we're horror fans. If the town crazy has something to say, you listen!
Derrick teams up with a doctor, Daniel Howe, from a mysterious source in trying to uncover these strange murders. As he goes further into his investigations, Cynthia doesn't sound quite as crazy anymore as zombie-like people are starting to pop out of corners and attacking civilians, survivors being rare. Writer Tapalansky does a good job setting us into this city and getting to know our protagonist. He's very likable and has a good relationship with his former chief who, behind his superiors back, gets Derrick set up and involved in unlocking this strange mystery. Derrick's voice is grasping as we get into his head with each chapter showing us more of a side of the character. Derrick isn't the only interesting character, Cynthia, Daniel, the Chief, Sandra (an earlier victim) all play solid good parts in trying to uncover what exactly is going on in this town with their own voices to make them stand out. Tapalansky also does a good job in presenting the civilians' of the town getting concerned and paranoid of the whole situation. One of my favorite things in this book was the recaps in between each chapters used as if we were reading Derrick's journal entries that represented even more info without dragging the story down.
The art by Eckman-Lawn is absolutely superb. The art is moody and dark, giving a great atmosphere to Tapalansky's writing. Lawn presents us pages of mix-media, using photographs, news paper clippings, along with his own quirky style. His style reminds me a little of Ashley Wood, Ben Templesmith, and Riley Rossmo, and you can see the amount of care and enthusiam on each panel and page as the story gets more and more creepy towards the end where Lawn's art really starts to become a character on its own.
Awakening Vol. 1 is a nice little treat for horror fans. It is packed with good character work and luscious art. It's hard to place a specific finger on this book due to not knowing where this may go. This isn't the typical zombie story which is truly a nice change in pace with all the same ol' zombie stuff coming out lately. But for now, this is definitely a book to check out.
You can check out the entire first chapter at: http://www.nicktapalansky.com/blog/comixography/awakening/awakening-volume-one/
Review by: Greg