Thursday, June 16, 2011

"How To Be a Zombie": living your undeath to its fullest

Serena Valentino wants every budding zombie to get the most out of being dead. To accomplish that, she offers "How To Be a Zombie: The Essential Guide for Anyone Who Craves Brains."

The self-help guide starts by offering tips on how to recognize whether you are becoming a zombie or not, what kind of zombie you are and likely causes of your zombification.

The how-to's are filled with references to zombie films ranging from the classic Romero zombies, the new-fangled "rage" zombies of "28 Days Later" and even "Pirates of the Caribbean."

Let's be honest. There aren't many things in the world cooler than pirate zombies.


The real meat of the book details how to fit in with zombies if you are just another human. It serves as a quick guide to make-up and fashion for those all-night zombie parties or a zombie walk through a major city.

(You know, like Red, White and Dead, the July 2 zombie walk in Seattle that hopes to reclaim the Guinness World Record for zombies walks for the third time. Warning Signs is hoping to be there. Click on a few of these ads and "hoping" will become "see you there.")

The make-up tips are simple, with good illustrations. You may have to try it at home before venturing out, just for practice. My favorite tip in the book is filling a plastic bag with fake blood and rigging a straw up to your mouth from the bag. This is meant to produce a blood-vomit effect, but could be used to seep blood at various points of your body.

"How To Be a Zombie" is a glossy book with plenty of illustrations. Some are still from zombie films and some are originals to the book.  Most are presented as stand-alones, opposite from the text. The glossy finish comes in handy late in the book.

Valentino is primarily a comics writer, serving up horror-tinged fare such as "Gloomcookie" and "Nightmares & Fairytales." A Valentino-scribed zombie love story is the oozing icing on this undead cake.

Threat level: YELLOW. Strictly for newbies. Hardcore zombie fans won't find much new here, but if you are preparing for your first zombie walk (or a young adult looking into horror), this book is for you.

"How To Be a Zombie: The Essential Guide for Anyone Who Craves Brains," by Serena Valentino. $14.99, published by Candlewick.

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