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The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks

Joshua Chaplinsky's picture Posted by Joshua Chaplinsky

The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks

"The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks" by Max Brooks
Joshua Chaplinsky
The Zombie History of the World Part II

Those who don't learn from zombie history are condemned to repeat it. Fortunately, those who didn't learn from the Recorded Attacks section of Brooks' original Zombie Survival Guide have been given a second chance, in illustrated form.

Which is one of the major complaints skulking around the web. I personally have never read The Zombie Survival Guide, but hear tell these depictions are just graphic retellings of the faux-historical accounts found therein. Not having read said book, my potential for geek outrage is rather low, so there will be no vitriolic backlash here. I quite enjoyed Brooks' followup, the epic World War Z, in which he documented the world-wide battle against the reanimated flesh eater, so I am feeling rather charitable towards him at the moment.

For those who don't know, Max Brooks has an interesting Hollywood pedigree. He is son of legendary director Mel, and was an Emmy winning writer on Saturday Night Live during its notoriously "unfunny" years (2001-2003.)  As an actor, he has been featured on the likes of Roseanne and 7th Heaven (damn you, Aaron Spelling!) and has a successful career as a voice artist. As if that weren't enough, he is now the guru of all things undead, and loving it (you see what I did, there?)

Recorded Attacks
puts a unique historical spin on the tried and true zombie genre, collecting a dozen visceral vignettes depicting the human struggle against the undead. From the dawn of man to the present, Brooks shows us how mankind has survived against the deadliest of foes and lived to tell the tale. Cavemen, vikings, ninjas; they're all here and they all take on the zombie horde. The only thing missing is some Nazis!

Brooks' sparse narration is accompanied by the handsome line-drawing of Ibraim Roberson, who seems to have gotten second billing despite doing the lion's share of the work. His name doesn't even appear on the front cover, which is a shame, because if there is anything new here, it is what Roberson's art bring to the table. The stories themselves have a history book quality, and are somewhat lacking in character depth. It is the art that puts a human face on the tragedy, despite the broad strokes of the storytelling.

Seeing an old favorite in a new milieu like this is a breath of fresh air. And considering all the rotting flesh, that is an impressive feat. At times I found it slight, and wished there was more meat on these bones, but zombie aficionados and Brooks completists will find much to like. Comic book fans as well. For all else, it is an entertaining diversion worth thirty minutes of your time.