Tag Archives: zombies

Afterlife with Archie: Issue #7 (Pursued by the Past)

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This comic never ceases to impress me.

This issue is written from the perspective of Betty, who has acquired a blank diary and is attempting to recreate memories from her lost diaries as the group tries to make its way toward the CDC. Her diary entries form a narrative that blends past and present, which works incredibly well. In essence, she is using her journal as a way to dig up the dead, or the past which has been buried in the deep recesses of her psyche. It is almost as if she is undergoing a therapeutic self-analysis.

There is one journal entry which really stands out for me:

… they were all there, Diary. The “dead” we’d just “buried.” They were following us–pursuing us… That became our life. Running, always running, barely ahead of the monsters chasing us…

We often think that our past pains and demons are dead, but this is never really the case. We can bury the past, but never kill it. It is always there, waiting for the opportunity to rise and overtake us. This is the root of addiction, trying to escape the past which never ceases to pursue us. And no matter how fast or how far we run, our internal monsters are right behind us.

While this is a horror story and depicts a “zombie apocalypse,” it is the psychological horror that is truly the most terrifying aspect of this comic. We all have our psychological monsters which haunt and torment our memories, and like Betty, many of us turn to journal writing as a way of dealing with our painful memories. This often helps, but sometimes, it just reopens wounds that we thought had healed.

Happy Friday the 13th!

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Afterlife with Archie: Issue #5

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Another excellent issue! In this installment, Archie and the gang formulate a plan to escape Lodge Manor, which is being overrun by zombies. This segment of the tale is narrated by Smithers, the Lodge’s butler. There are some great insights into what it is like to serve as a butler, to be the eyes and ears in a grand household, but to move silently and remain unseen. It’s very well done.

There is a quote that I found interesting. Fireworks are set off to distract the zombies so the group can make their escape. Smithers makes an astute observation regarding the zombies’ reactions.

There was something… child-like about them; they were captivated; as if some sliver of their former selves existed beneath the corruption…

I believe that our past always remains with us. Our experiences form who we are, and no matter what we become later on in life, we always retain a part of who we once were. It is impossible to completely sever yourself from your past.

Something I have failed to mention in my previous posts regarding this series is that each issue includes a short black-and-white horror vignette at the end, reminiscent of the classic horror comics which I grew up reading. The one in this issue is definitely worth mentioning. It concerns a person who creates a modern golem, which he unleashes to seek revenge on his girlfriend and his best friend, who are having an affair. The myth of the golem fascinates me, and I have to say that this tale is pretty true to the myth. It was a nice bonus for me.

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Afterlife with Archie: Issue #4 (Oedipal Archie)

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This comic is graphic, scary, and now I can add intellectually engaging. I have nothing but praise for this.

This issue begins with a flashback to when Archie is young and his parents took him to adopt a puppy. Archie’s mom, Mary, is struck with sadness as she remembers having a dog as a child, and when the dog died, having to face the realization that death is an inevitable part of life, something her own young son must one day learn.

Mary: …I’m just remembering the dog I had, when I was a girl. Spotty. How overjoyed I was when I got him, and how utterly devastated I was when… when…

Fred: Spotty was a good dog.

Mary: He was, and it was the most awful feeling, Fred, and I can’t bear the thought of Archie going through it.

Fred: Yes, but that’s years from now, Mary. And sad to say, a part of growing up. Comes a time in every young person’s life when they realize that not everything is forever…

Mary: Too, too soon… when they learn that death’s a part of life, even their own.

Archie makes it home where his dog, Vegas, fights with the infected Hot Dog and becomes a zombie dog too. But the real dark twist in the story comes when Archie enters his house and discovers his mom is alive but that his dad is infected and has become one of the walking dead. As Fred gets ready to attack Archie’s mother, Archie comes to her defense and violently kills his father, having flashbacks of their happier times together as he is forced to smash his father’s skull with a baseball bat.

It is a very dark and disturbing sequence, but very symbolic. Archie assumes the role of an adult male and the master of the household upon the killing of his father. He then escapes with his mother in an attempt to make it back to Veronica’s house and rejoin the others. Even though there is no sexual innuendo concerning Archie and his mother, this is a clear reference to the Oedipus myth.

I am still amazed at how complex and dark this series is. I applaud the writers for taking risks and making Archie into something modern and engaging.

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Afterlife with Archie: Issue #3 (Things Fall Apart… Quickly)

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Archie and the gang trying to survive the zombie apocalypse; it just doesn’t get much better than this.

Issue 2 left off with Archie and the gang holed up inside Veronica Lodge’s mansion, but with the revelation that one of them was infected. That one turns out to be Midge. Meanwhile, Archie sneaks out to find his parents and discovers that chaos reigns in Riverdale.

My favorite passage from this issue is spoken by Veronica’s father, Hiram Lodge. After his butler reports on the status of things, Hiram comments: “Good Lord, how did it all fall apart so quickly?” We all like to think that our social structure is so secure, but the reality is that is not the case. Things fall apart, and when they do, it happens quickly. I remember being in Miami when Hurricane Andrew struck. What I witnessed first-hand changed my view of society’s stability forever. In no time at all, people were shooting at each other over water, breaking into each other’s homes to steal food and supplies. It was complete chaos.

Our society has become so digitized, I shudder to think what would happen if there was a collapse in infrastructure. How many people have money or food stores on hand? Very few. If all of a sudden no one could use a credit card or withdraw from an ATM, what would happen? Things would fall apart… quickly.

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Afterlife with Archie: Issue #2

AfterlifeArchie_02

After picking up the first issue of this series I knew I had to acquire the rest and read them. Being a horror fan, this comic was right up my alley. I found issues 3 – 6 easily enough, but locating Issue #2 took some effort.

This issue was not disappointing in the slightest. It is graphic and bloody and definitely fits into the classic horror genre. The artwork and writing is great and I love that it deals with modern themes, such as the concern teenagers face about being open regarding their sexual orientation. I would say the only thing I was slightly disappointing was that it lacked the mystical references which were in the first issue, such as when Sabrina used the Necronomicon to raise Jughead’s dog from the dead. But the scenes of Jughead tearing into Ethyl’s flesh with his teeth and then Ethyl reanimating as a zombie definitely makes up for it.

The issue leaves off with the surviving teens hiding out at Veronica’s house. The closing panel displays all their faces and cryptically warns that one of them is infected… but who? It definitely makes me want to jump right into the next issue. Since I have all of them, expect my review of Issue #3 soon.

Cheers, and never stop reading.

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Hellboy: 20th Anniversary Sampler

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I picked this comic up on Free Comic Book Day a couple months ago and have just now gotten around to reading it. I have to say that I really liked it. If I didn’t have so much to read and was not invested in following several comics, I would start reading Hellboy on a regular basis.

The issue is comprised of three vignettes and also includes a section of “funny pages,” which are a tribute to the short comic strips published in newspapers. The short strips are adaptations of classic newspaper comics such as Popeye, Dilbert, Peanuts, and so forth. But the characters are morphed to represent those from Hellboy. I loved them! They are very creative and witty, and they brought back memories of reading the comics in the newspaper when I was a kid.

The three vignettes are short and well-written. The first one, “The Coffin Man,” is about a brujo who digs up fresh cadavers to use for dark magical purposes. The second, “The Ghoul,” was my favorite of the three. It was about a ghoul who feasts on the flesh of the deceased. What I loved about this is that the text and dialog is all constructed from the 18th-century poems “The Pleasures of Melancholy” by Thomas Warton and “The Grave” by Robert Blair, as well as from Hamlet. It works magnificently. The third vignette, “Another Day at the Office,” is about a resurrected tyrant who raises an army of zombies. They are all very good and definitely worth the read.

I usually say how each time I read something, my list of things to read increases exponentially. Certainly, I now feel I must read the poems referenced in “The Ghoul.” If I had the time, I would start reading deeper into Hellboy also, but that may have to wait until I retire.

Cheers, and enjoy your reading!!

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