Fanboys vs. Zombies is not a groundbreaking series. As a matter of fact, most of the story is a bit cliché in a market where zombies have pretty much dominated every facet of fanboy-dom. The characters are silly, the dialogue a bit cheesy, and the art is unsophisticated and cartoony. The comic offers no social significance and isn’t something that will have you up late at night thinking about it. That being said, it is a blast to read and a must-have for any comic collector. Especially considering the fact that those of us that attend San Diego Comic-Con on an annual basis are pretty much characters in this book.
Sam Humphries is great. He gives us a popcorn flick in the form of a comic book. There are plenty of Easter eggs for those that manage to snag tickets to the Con every year and there are fun cameos to chuckle at. Seeing this mayhem unfold in a setting that is immediately recognizable is pretty awesome. There will be plenty of readers that will be delighted when they are treated to shots of the San Diego Convention Center inside and out. Of course, there are plenty of references to geek culture favorites like “Pokemon,” “Dungeons and Dragons,” cosplaying, etc., as well as quick jabs at the “celebrity” status that some of those signing in the Autograph Pavilion still retain. Add that to the hot dog of death and not only can you tell that Humphries is a frequent Con attendee but that he has also had plenty of fanboy experiences of his own. The dialogue is exactly what you would expect it to be. It’s cheesy and predictable, and there will be a few times that readers are going to roll their eyes. This is actually a great tactic considering the subject matter and the supporting artwork. Instead of turning this into a serious series like his run on The Ultimates, Humphries has elected to make this a fun romp through the eyes of a fanboy and it works well.
Newcomer Jerry Gaylord does a fun job with the art. It is always refreshing when you can tell that the writer and artist(s) are completely on the same page, and that is exactly what happened here. A perfect support for Humphries’ writing, the artwork is cartoony and fun. The zombies are gross but in a really enjoyable way and they are drawn well. Whether it is an action shot or a still, a single character or multi-character panel, Gaylord captures the mood of this book excellently. The attention to detail that he has given to every panel is wonderful and, like Humphries, you can tell that he has also attended a Comic Con or ten. The only fault that can be found at all in his artwork is the unnecessary and inaccurate shadowing that is present in a few panels. This is easily overlooked, however, since it is only a couple of panels and since the art is meant to be almost campy.
Nolan Woodard also seems to have been on the same track as the rest of the team, as his colors are exactly as cartoony and fun as they should be. His colors combined with Gaylord’s art almost make this book feel like a funny, violent Saturday morning cartoon. The colors aren’t super realistic but they aren’t supposed to be. Instead he has opted to go with bright colors, mainly reds and blues, though readers do get a few shots in the shadows. Steve Dukeshire also decided to have some fun here and has given us some great fonts for our zombie’s voices as they say a bit more here than “want brains”. He also made sure to give us an idea of the excitement and fun that The Wrecking Crew is experiencing. He isn’t the type of letterer to stay in the lines when he feels a more vocal proclamation must be made. Instead, when we see his bright yellow lettering extending beyond its intended space, readers get a sense of excitement which is what Dukeshire seemed to have been aiming for.
There are many important titles out there right now that will greatly shift the balance of their respective universes, e.g. DC’s New 52 relaunch, Marvel’s Avengers vs. X-Men. This book doesn’t fall anywhere under that shadow. There are no intellectual benefits of reading this book and if you are looking for a thoughtful soap opera, look elsewhere. However, if you would love an entertaining alternative to the summer blockbusters that are about to be unleashed, go out and grab this book. It is definitely worth the $3.99 and you can always tell a friend that as a regular attendee of San Diego Comic Con, you are officially a zombie.