Zombies are the new vampires, in my estimation. Our fascination with them has spawned many great stories and books, from The Walking Dead to Quarantined.
I’ve discovered a great independent comic focusing on this subject that’s wrapping up a successful Kickstarter campaign, and I believe it deserves your attention – Under the Flesh.
UNDER THE FLESH #1
Writer: Gilbert Deltres
Artist: J.L. Giles
Publisher: Escape Comics
INDEPENDENT COMICS ARE ON THE RISE
Look, I love me some longjohns stories from the larger comics companies as much as anyone. But as I check out independent comics more and more, I’m finding a wonderful amount of quality that I think fans should know about. Under the Flesh (UTF) is a perfect example.
Without the backing of DC or Marvel, Deltres and Giles have produced a professional, gripping comic that competes with the best the big companies have to offer.
I can relate to this because UTF was developed much like my weekly Wayne’s Comics Podcast is, by using talents and technology readily available to us today. It takes a lot of effort and love to create something like UTF, and I can tell that the book has been crafted by lovers of the industry who enjoy storytelling and do it well!
ABOUT THE COMIC
One of the most frustrating thing about tales dealing with the undead is that we rarely find out how things got the way they are. For someone like me, that’s maddening because I like to understand how we arrived where we are. Thankfully, UTF is not only explaining that, but integrating it into the story as well.
Under the Flesh combines zombies with a dash of Captain America and a sprinkle of Y: The Last Man. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, the book is rightly called a gritty blast of sex, horror and sci-fi. But it’s much more than that!
As the creators point out, the series is exploring themes like evolution, spirituality and transhumanism. It reminds of Star Trek in that way because good Trek always examines what being human is all about, and we delve into that a lot in UTF.
ABOUT THE FIRST ISSUE
Debuting as a webcomic at undertheflesh.com, the premiere issue has been released a page at a time beginning March 30. It’s fully drawn, inked, colored, lettered, and heading to the press!
The creators began a Kickstarter campaign to financially support Under the Flesh, and as of this writing, they’ve met their $3,500 goal and are working on completing stretch goals by Sunday, August 3. You can find out more and contribute by going here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/363383187/under-the-flesh.
Mr. Giles’ art reminds me a lot of Barry Kitson’s excellent offerings. He portrays action and facial expressions equally well. I often find myself gasping at what’s going on, then turning the pages quickly to see what happens next.
While zombies and the powerful art pull us in to the book, Deltres’ engaging story keeps us there. I honestly had no idea what was going to happen next, and I love that in a comic!
CHARACTERS TO KNOW AND CARE ABOUT
I really love UTF’s diverse cast of characters. Ruben Lobos, who’s been injected with a serum that’s expected to enhance his abilities, finds himself in charge of a group of humans trying to evade the “fleshers,” as the zombies are called. He’s the main focus of the comic.
Of course, with a virus that’s male-specific, the book has a lot of women in it, including Dinah, the love of Ruben’s life who becomes insanely jealous when the male population dwindles. Some of the other ladies are maternal, others more worried about the here and now, and others more ready to do battle, so we get a nice cross-section of women in UTF.
The breakout character of the book is Jewel, a green-haired, motorcycle-riding bad ass who’s very handy to have around! She’s won the fans over by being able to use a knife and a gun extremely well!
But I really like that there still are some guys around, such as Paul, the survivor Ruben finds in the library. Deltres says that why they’re still here, along with many other aspects of the UTF world, will be explained!
BOTTOM LINE: Under the Flesh Goes Where No Zombie Book Has Gone Before
When there’s a popular trend going on, it’s easy to just grab hold and ride that train until it runs out of steam. However, Under the Flesh thankfully doesn’t do anything the easy way. It’s full of engaging characters, thrills, twists and turns, making it one of the very best zombie titles I’ve read! I’m really looking forward to the second issue, expecting this high level of quality to be maintained as we go deeper into the UTF universe!
You can get a copy of the book at undertheflesh.com or via their Facebook group at this link: facebook.com/undertheflesh.comic.
You can also listen to my interview with Mr. Deltres during a recent episode of my Wayne’s Comics Podcast at this link: http://majorspoilers.com/podcasts-show/waynes-comics-podcast/.