Saturday, April 9, 2011

Dead Winter (a webcomic)

This week, I have another zombie apocalypse webcomic for you. Dead Winter, by Dave Shabet. In many ways Dead Winter is both a counterpoint and a complement to The Zombie Hunters. It is far more stylistic in just about every way possible, yet it deals with many of the same themes of survival and human nature just as seriously.

Let's start with the art. The art is very good, but it's somewhat more cartoony, with a  highly stylized color scheme of black and white. The only color ever shown is red, and it stands out. (However, there are parts of the story that take place in the main character's subconscious, and those are completely in color. An interesting juxtaposition of reality seeming less realistic and more stylized than the inner workings of a our hero's subconscious.)
Then we have the characters. They are just as deep and entertaining as the characters in The Zombie Hunters, but they are also less realistic. Instead of just normal people thrust into extraordinary circumstances which, due to the passing of time, have become ordinary circumstances, we have a mix of normal people and people who are action movie stereotypes (ranging from the bad-a anti-hero to the corrupt executive to the worthy, but evil, opponent, to the... you get the idea) thrust into the beginning of the zombie apocalypse. And because of this, we get a lot more action. There are shoot-outs with guns, high-speed car chases with guns, high-stakes games of the most dangerous sort with world-class assassins (some of which have guns), and a bazooka or two. That's quite the difference from The Zombie Hunters which doesn't have anything near like this. The closest it gets is a single flamethrower, which is pretty cool, but nowhere near the level of summer-blockbuster action scenes that Dead Winter has.
Still, even though it has a lot more action, Shabet still knows how to show that his comic is about the people. You care about them and their stories, you hope for their survival (which is never certain), and through all the depressing elements, he keeps a strong sense of hope and optimism. I think some of my favorite parts of the comics are the short vignettes between chapters. Some of them are about minor characters and others are about characters we never see again, but almost all of them are optimistic. It keeps a strong sense of humanity and decency in the crazy, dying, barbaric wasteland that the city is turning into.

Bottom Line: This is a good comic. It doesn't update as quickly as I'd like sometimes, official update schedule is "as often as possible," but that's okay. I'd rather have a good comic that updates slowly than rushing the creator and ending up with a bad comic that updates on time. So, it's different from The Zombie Hunters, but just as good. So head on over, give it an archive binge, and (if you're so inclined) buy one of his books.

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