For the record, I’m not really a fan of zombies. I spend a lot of time reading about folklore, and when something as boss as a pontianak is excluded from horror stories to include…slow walking dead people, I get a little upset. Even when I do find an exhilarating zombie tale (Walking Dead, I’m looking at you) I’m loathe to read it. If you know me, you know I’m a big ‘ol chicken. I don’t watch scary movies, I quit scary video games. I run away and don’t look back.
That is why Daybreak is such a complete win.
First page you meet this guy:
That is the best flippin’ character design I’ve seen in a long time. It’s so simple and wonderful for a zombie comic. Just looking at him, you want to know his story. Where the crap is his arm? Why is he almost naked? And one of the most telling qualities – how can he be smiling at a time like this? This picture is an altered recreation of the first panel of the book – and I already have a huge investment in this character. What strength of storytelling!
Even though the start is stellar, my favorite part of the book is not the character work, it’s the perspective we read the story from. From start to finish, you see the entire book in a first person perspective. SO COOL. If you’re not getting me, let me explain. You, from page one, are part of the story. The gentleman that greets you does exactly that. He’s talking to you, the protagonist. Whether you like it or not, opening the book is a first class ticket to zombie apocalypse.
This functions smoothly because you don’t talk. You will say nothing the entire book, but conversations will be had, crazy actions will commence, and all the zombies will be in your eyesight. You might feel like you can’t hold a conversation when you’re not actually in the story, but that is the most enchanting part – you are. Our underwear-clad friend will respond to your fear, and answer your questions about your surroundings. The narrative anticipates questions you have (aided since the story can generate questions to be answered) and it feels authentic. By seeing the story through your eyes, and never hearing yourself, you can be as scared or hungry or as curious as you want. You don’t need to disagree with the author about word choice or a dramatic beat, because how hard those hit are entrusted to you.
I fell quite deep into the story, so I got a nice punch in the gut for my troubles. Ce la vie as far as zombie stories go. Hurt or not, any book that can register a strong emotional reaction from it’s reader is working magic.
Another quality of this book that I dance around and celebrate: It’s a comic. The reason that this is exceptionally cool – this story, this wonderfully horrible immersive story – could only be told in comic form. Other media might be able to come close, but I doubt any could capture this experience as viscerally as it is as a comic. It’s not everyday that a comic comes around and justifies the uniqueness of the form, so Daybreak gets a big tip of the hat from me.
Bottom line: Go read this comic. It is damn fine.
Thanks for stopping!