Thursday, August 25, 2011

'68: a year to dismember

I admit that I sometimes find good comic books well after everyone else learns of their awesomeness. So it wasn't until yesterday that I picked up issue #1 of '68. Yes, I got the second printing, that's how behind I am.

'68 is exactly what you might think it is from the covers: a bloody historical revisionist tome, rife with tunnel rats, suicide bombers and G.I.s who don't seem to give a shit until one of their buddies is on the slab.

Writer Mark Kidwell takes the Viet Nam modern Americans have seen in films such as "Platoon" and "The Deer Hunter" and somehow made zombies seem like we should have expected nothing less. When undead arms burst through the dirt of a Viet Cong tunnel it's surprising but also played as if we (and the Asian-American soldier in the tunnel) should have expected it.

My favorite image -- and it's difficult to choose just one -- is of an undead VC sniper seen through the sights of his American counterpart. Gray-green skin, yellow eyes and an open, hungry mouth ... Killing him only made it worse.

Pens and inks for the first story, including the aforementioned image, are by Nat Jones (a scheduled guest at the upcoming ZomBcon in Seattle) and the second story is handled by Tim Vigil. The vibrant and properly gory colors are courtesy of Jay Fotos (Spawn, IDW's "Land of the Dead). The team is strong and I hope they can stick together for a long run.

'68 comes to us from Image Comics, home of "Spawn" and "The Walking Dead." The plan for '68, for now, is four issues. Let's hope for more. The places this book could go (zombies at a hippie music fest?) are almost endless.

Threat level: RED. Seriously. Issue #1 is on its second printing. Get it while the getting is good.

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