Comic Review: Jack and the Zombie Box

Hey there!

Comic books are one of the guilty pleasures I gained as a kid. I grew up raised by two English teachers as parents and my Mom was never too keen on me spending time reading comics. It wasn’t until I was in high school I finally picked up a few here and there, but long before then I’d found my Uncle’s stash of old Marvel comics at my Grandparent’s house in the back of a closet. Any chance I had I’d dive into classic Spiderman, X-Men, and Fantastic Four stories.

For me, comic books epitomize the marriage of storytelling and art. When a great artist and a great storyteller meet, there’s no limits to what they can accomplish. And now that I have a daughter with a knack for art and an interest in telling stories, I’m finding ways to introduce her to the wonderful world of graphic novels so she can learn more about a potential hobby or career path.

A couple of years ago I reviewed Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom by Bruce Brown and Renzo Podesta which managed to tell the creepy story of a young H.P. Lovecraft and his adventures in other dimensions and worlds inhabited by the creatures of Lovecraftian horror. Brown and Podesta managed to capture not just the horror factor but the innocence of a childlike fascination with the unknown.

Brown is back now with a new book – Jack and the Zombie Box – which brings his storytelling ability together with artists Mike Barentine, Rafel Hurtado, and Shawn DePasquale to tell the story of a father in over his head with his kids while his wife is away. Now, being a father, I understand far too well the troubles that can happen when you’re occasionally on your own as a single parent. But thank goodness Brown and his team of artists managed to capture the humor more than the horror in this particular situation.

The story starts with a quote from one of the funniest people I know – Bill Cosby – “Parents are not interested in justice, they’re interested in peace and quiet.” And I’d have to agree with that assessment 9 times out of 10! That quote however sets the stage for the magic that only children can achieve on a regular basis… the ability to take one small thing – whether it’s a phrase, a song, a TV show, or whatever – and turn it from innocent to annoying in the blink of an eye through the power of repetition.

Jack is the youngest of the three children of Brad and Teri, and he’s a handful. With his big imagination, he and his toys get into adventure after adventure that unfortunately have the side effect of driving his Mommy a bit crazy. Teri is getting ready to go to a conference, but is concerned that her husband won’t be able to handle the kids. Brad isn’t as worried and thinks he has a secret weapon – DVDs of old cartoons like “Larry and Dewby Dog.” Jack loves the cartoons and as Brad says – “It’s just Larry and Dewby Dog. What could it possibly hurt?”

The first night that Teri is gone, Brad and the kids have a “home cooked meal” from Cowboy Bob’s burgers and enjoy a night in front of the TV with Larry & Dewby… That combination repeats for the next few days and when Teri gets home, there’s a little problem. Jack wants to watch Larry & Dewby and have Cowboy Bob burgers… forever!

I won’t spoil Brad’s solution to the problem, but it made me laugh out loud.

The artwork is bright and family-friendly, the story is great fun, and the combination provides 40+ pages of entertainment. Jack and the Zombie Box is another comic book I’d be happy to share with my eldest daughter. She might even catch the Scooby-Doo-like references of “Larry and Dewby Dog,” as I’ve shared more than a few of the cartoons from my childhood with my kids. And no, my name’s not Brad!

Be sure to check out Jack and the Zombie Box when it’s released in May 2011 at Amazon and other retailers!

This article first appeared at BlogCritics.org here.

–Fitz

p.s. Pick up this and other books from Bruce Brown at Amazon below:

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Sneak Peek: HBO’s Talking Funny with Ricky Gervais, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, and Louis C.K.

Hey all!

Personally I think we all need to laugh more. Without laughter, life is damn depressing. And sometimes, even when things are down in the dumps, it’s the simplest things that are funny.

Ricky Gervais
Image via Wikipedia

Talking Funny airs on HBO Friday, April 22 at 9pm ET. It features four very funny guys – Ricky Gervais, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, and Louis C.K. – sitting around and talking about what got them into comedy in the first place and what they think is funny. It’s like taking a peek into the mind of a professional comic!

Somehow based on these clips, I think this show will have some hilarious bits. And how can you go wrong with any one of these guys? Putting them all in the same room to shoot the breeze is genius!

Here’s a few glimpses:

I actually recently signed up for HBO so we could watch Game of Thrones, but now I have even more reasons to watch!

–Fitz

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Halloween 2010, the dead rise on AMC!

Hey all…

Yes, I know it’s not even September yet and I’m talking about Halloween – one of my least favorite holidays… But this year will be different.

AMC is airing the 90-minute premiere episode of The Walking Dead… This will be a 6-episode series based on the comic of the same name written by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore and published by Image Comics.

The television series based on the comic is being directed by Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Mist) and has been in the works for a while now. But up to now (unless you were at Comic Con) you might have missed the trailer (though it’s been going around the internet like wildfire).

Yes, there are survivors of a deadly zombie plague. But like all good zombie stories, it’s less about the monsters themselves but how people deal with them. When the chips are down, how do they react? Do they do what’s right? Or what’s convenient?

The survivors are led by police officer Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) who’s simply looking for somewhere safe to call home. Rick’s wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and friend Shane (Jon Bernthal) are tagging along. And of course they pick up a few others along the way.

Here’s the trailer. It looks awesome and it’s weird looking forward to Halloween for a change! Be sure to check out the premiere on Sunday, October 31st at 10/9c on AMC.

–Fitz

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