Comics

Mondo: Best Posters of 2012

It has been another amazing year in the world of screen printed cult movie art work. One of the best sites out there is Mondotees.com, they work with tons of artists across the globe and have created a collective dedicated to putting artistic spins on your favorite movie posters. They put together art galleries and also do a lot with the Alamo draft house which has many screenings for fans of 80′s horror and sci-fi cult flms. This is an extensive collection of all my favorite screen prints from this past 2012 year! enjoy!

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Alex Sanchez to Release Mad Max Web Comic

This years NY Comic Con was a blast and I was fortunate enough to run into Ironhed comic artist Alex Sanchez. Set up at his artist alley table was a ton of his brilliant art work for purchase. Sanchez is known for his work on comics like  Tales of the Vampires, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Fleshdigger, and Batman: Jokers Asylum. His artwork is uncanny and he’s done tons of work for DC, Marvel, Top Cow, IDW, and Dark Horse. Sanchez has been working on an up and coming Mad Max  web comic which should be dropping sometime soon. Being a huge Mad Max/Road Warrior fan, this could not be more exciting! I’m a huge sucker for post apocalyptic fiction and can’t wait till this comes out. Here’s a few images from Alex’s collection!

Comic Review: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

do androids dream of electric sheep header philip k dick science fiction

Science fiction is constantly pushing the limits of our imagination, forcing us to question the paths in which human progress and ingenuity will take us. However, very rarely in history do many works reach levels of such philosophical, social, and emotional depth  that they force us to look not only inside ourselves, but at our society as a whole, and to the core of what makes us human. Philip k Dick‘s work has always brought these things to light, pushing fans to think outside the box and really see the truth through the smoke and mirrors.

Synopsis (spoiler alert):

I recently picked up BOOM studios release of “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”, which is a verbatim translation of the book but in graphic novel form. Tony Parker‘s dark renderings of Dicks dystopian-noir future, immerse the reader in a world where massive corporate structures reduce the average person to ants, and technological perseverance has outgrown whats left of a post “World War Terminus” planet Earth. Many people have left earth for off world colonies and as an incentive for emigrating, have been given an android companion. Those left on earth live in the remaining city filth, which often does not see sunlight due to toxic clouds that fill the skies almost all of the time. In this future people utilize machines called “mood organs” which allow them to punch in any kind of emotions they wish, for any number of feelings or situations they could be in. Many are reliant on these machines and have forgotten how to really feel, as the world has degraded around them, leaving little in the way of personal happiness.

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Bounty hunter Rick Deckard awakes to an argument with his wife about her use of her mood organ because she frequently punches in negative emotions like sadness and depression. This has put a strain on their relationship and Rick protests against using the machine. He leaves to go up to his hover car parked roof where his neighbor and him discuss the value and status of owning a real life animal. Many animals are extinct due to the ash left by world war terminus; and since humans have grown a intense sentiment for their companionship. Rick fantasizes about owning a real life sheep some day and will stop at nothing to feel the attachment that comes with a living animal. He leaves for work and is surprised as to what he finds when he gets there.

Upon his arrival Rick Deckard finds that he is now responsible to retire 6 rogue “Nexus 6” androids, which have apparently escaped from an off world colony and have attempted to settle in San Francisco. Rick is to administer the Voight-Kampff test on them, which is a test involving a series of questions to determine empathy, a trait that androids lack. Rick is assigned the task of retiring the androids because his senior officer Dave Holden, was attacked while giving the Voight-Kampff to one and is in a hospital recuperating. Rick sees this hunt as a chance to get enough money to finally afford a living sheep, which he is constantly researching in his Sydney’s catalog. This begins Deckards 24 hr manhunt to find the androids and….himself. On his journey, Deckard finds that the androids have integrated themselves into many aspects of society already and that the nexus 6 is the closest thing to a human he has ever seen.  He eventually catches up with them and learns a lot more about himself then he ever had imagined.

blade runner do androids dream of electric sheep philip k dick city

Alongside the story of Deckard is that of J.R Isidore, who is a “special”, someone genetically damaged and unfit to leave earth and emigrate  to the off world colony. He lives alone in an abandoned apartment complex and is in constant use of his “Empathy Box”, which allows him to completely immerse himself in the pain and struggle of Wilber Mercer. Upon use of the Empathy box, ones mind is transported, along with thousands of other users, into the mind and body of Wilber Mercer. Mercer is an old man, constantly climbing a mountain and having rocks thrown at him. This is a very real experience for those using the empathy box and any pain inflicted by rocks is actually done to them in the real world. This shared mutual pain and struggle has created somewhat of a religious cult called Mercerism. Those who follow Mercer believe in his existence and the idea that no matter how bad things are, you are never alone and that their are others out there like you who feel the way you do. At the same time throughout the story their is an opposing television icon called Buster Friendly who is most likely an android, as his show runs for 23 hours a day and is only off for one hour. Buster Friendly is the force of anti-Mercerism but provides hours of entertainment for those willing to watch. He ends up exposing/debunking Mercerism on live television in a grand announcement which is televised worldwide. Isidore’s loneliess turns into a desperate friendship with android Pris, who uses J.R’s apartment as a hideout for her and the rest of her android comrades. The escaped androids believe that Mercerism is a hoax and discredit Isidore’s beliefs leaving him empty.

Thoughts:

This book was also made into a Ridley Scott film titled “Blade Runner” in 1982, starring Harrison Ford, which received critical acclaim from fans of the book as well as general fans of science fiction. I personally think that the message the book attempts to convey, is not as directly portrayed in the film. The book really emphasizes Deckards aloneness, emptiness, and his questions on the morality of what it means to be human. Many other aspects involving the two major religious themes in the book (Buster Friendly and that of Mercerism) are lost in the movie. Many more things also happen in the book that develop these ideas more thoroughly, while also painting a deeper picture of Deckards inner turmoil, and the desperate cling to empathy to retain his humanity. Deckard questions if he is any different then the androids he is hunting.

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One thing that i found interesting about Dicks character Buster friendly is the channel that one must dial in to view him: 888. In the bible the number of man is 5, the devil 6, and god 7. As i was reading this i wondered if this was Philip K Dicks way of telling us that television is the next religion. Television provides people with an escape from their everyday life by creating dramatic fantasies. It allows them to relate to something imaginary and be controlled and influenced by pixels of light. In a post apocalyptic future where everything has gone to hell, it is not hard to believe that humans would yearn for an escape as simple as this, and we see Buster Friendly’s influence in his discredit of Mercerism.

Overall, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep is a masterful work and deserves every bit of credit that it gets. This story leaves the reader with many questions of their own and i believe that any writer that can make his audience question what makes them human, well they’ve done their job. If you haven’t read this book pick it up!

Thank you PKD.

The Underwater Welder: Comic Review

Taking place in Nova Scotia, Lemire introduces us to our flawed protagonist, Jack Joseph. Jackie, as he’s often called, finds himself back in his hometown and working on an offshore rig. A college grad, he takes a job as a diving welder, hence we get our title. He’s a man that is troubled by his past, especially when we first meet him. It’s only days before Halloween and we’re allowed into the memory that has haunted the main character for the majority of his life. This was the holiday his father took a dive and never returned. The similarities between the two are overwhelming as you read through the pages.

Already, you have the makings of a great Twilight Zone episode. All that’s left is to add in a certain something and let it stew. The “certain something” is always different between episodes. It can be big or small, reality or illusion, and then or now. Lucky for us, we get a little bit of everything. Lemire shows the reader that something as simple as a pocket watch can turn our welder’s life upside down. Spiraling into utter madness, Jack is transported to a place and time that is absolutely worthy of an introduction by Mr. Serling himself. Damon Lindelof does a great job of impersonating Rod for the novel’s Introduction, but the nerd in me really wants Serling to step through a screen and turn the page for me.

By Jackie’s side is his loving and very pregnant wife. With just a few days until she’s ready to pop, you can tell that Susie is lonely and wishes for her husband to remain at her side. Throughout the novel, she fights against the ghost of Jack’s father for just a moment of attention. Adding to her already fragile state is the fact that moving to Jack’s hometown was not in her plans. These elements make for a very strained relationship and a household that just doesn’t seem ready to take the next big step of having a child. Unfortunate for them, but great material for the reader. But your heart goes out to Susie in one very specific panel.

There she sits, on the floor of their empty baby’s room, trying to piece together a crib that Jackie has neglected to assemble. The thought of this scenario should be enough to stir up some emotion in the reader.

Thankfully Lemire’s artistic abilities help convey emotion in a way that I haven’t been able to find in another writer/artist combo. Truthfully, he takes it to another level with The Underwater Welder. The amount of emotion that is present in this book is staggering. The panels and back to back pages with no dialogue do more for me than today’s blockbuster hits. With his “sketchy style” (thanks Ralph), I really wasn’t expecting to be blown away by a tear coming down Susie’s face. To go from The Nobody, a story about a man who is completely wrapped in bandages, barely showing any facial emotion, to one with a character whose sunken in eyes tell you everything that they have gone through, is an incredible feat. Watching this story unfold in a style that only Lemire has been able to hone-in is reason enough to check this book out.

A great read for fans of Serling and Lemire’s work, I highly recommend you pick up The Underwater Welder.

The Nobody: Comic Review

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Vertigo is known for releasing some of the most compelling tales in mature storytelling. Stories that not only pull the reader into a new world, but often make them reflect on their own. No writer does this better than Canadian Jeff Lemire. Lemire is famous for his popular works: Essex CountyAnimal ManSweet Tooth, and the just recently released (and amazing), “The Underwater Welder“. These works have won him tons of awards for not only his unique storytelling abilities but artistic approach to his work and to the medium.

Lemire’s art style is uncanny, often his characters appear thin, are almost blank and at times almost emotionless or expressionless. Some even look broken, shattered, flawed or with a sense of desperation behind their eyes. It is in his panel to panel framing that he generates such true to life drama between characters. Lemire sketchy style deliver breathtaking emotion that can only come from a true talent.

Lemire’s 2009 graphic novel “The Nobody“, is a modern-day tale of the HG Wells story “The Invisible Man” but with a small town twist mixed with a fear of the unknown. The Nobody focus’ on mysterious and lonesome individual John Griffin, who suddenly appears in the fishing village of Large Mouth. He is bandaged from head to toe and stirs up quite the controversy among locals. Though he has a friendly and cordial demeanor, his appearance frightens them, leaving them only to question what caused his freakish appearance and why he has come to their small town. This questioning leads to paranoia, and even to unintelligent blind hysteria, putting this loner at the focal point of a very precarious situation.

Brief Summary

His connections with the townspeople are trivial and he spends much of his time alone, working in a hotel room attempting to find a cure for the disease which keeps his physical body invisible. Though accepted by them, he gradually fades away and the towns people begin to forget about him; all except for one girl who attempts to get close to him and uncover the mystery of John Griffin’s past. Along the way, pressure builds among the paranoid people of Large Mouth and finally boils over. As soon as Griffin gets comfortable he is greeted by a mysterious partner from his past and the plot unfolds. In time you find that there is a lot more to Griffin’s invisibility than just a scientific accident, and the result of his playing god is much more scarring and tragic then original HG Wells tale. Lemire does a great job of keeping you on the edge of your seat guessing till the very end.

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One scene in which i found to be of particular importance involves an altercation with a dog. Griffin’s invisible hand becomes exposed, when he gets home he spends time re-bandaging it and finally says to himself “i see you”. It would seem as though Griffin’s sense of self has diminished since the accident. This conveys an interesting idea about how human beings perceive their sense of self. If one cannot see ones body, does one truly exist in physical reality? Does it only require a consciousness or independent thoughts to be alive? is Griffin a man or has he become a ghost left to haunt those left on earth?

The Nobody is a graphic novel classic which is certainly a personal favorite as well as a fan favorite. Fans of mature storytelling will love Lemire’s twist on the horror classic and the drama that unfolds. Lemire takes us on a journey to his own “Twilight Zone” where anything is possible.

I was fortunate enough to meet Jeff at NY Comic Con 2012, he was a really great, humble guy and couldn’t thank us enough for the continued support.

Check out Jeff Lemires blog here! - http://jefflemire.blogspot.com/

The Walking Dead Issue #100

the walking dead amc robert kirkman zomibes issue 100 tv show

All i can say is “Holy fucking shit!?”……The walking dead series has been ongoing for quite some time now and i can’t believe that it has come this far! Robert Kirkman continues to deliver some of the best emotional story telling in the modern comic book medium today. This epic tale of the zombie apocalypse has taken us through many hills and valleys and to hell and back again. I’ve only really had deep connections with a hand full of comic book characters (silver surfer/swamp thing/constantine to name a few) where i completely understood their perspective/outlook and feel the pain as they feel it. Its insane that the walking dead has triggered this emotional reaction and has frequently made waves inside the hearts of myself and readers around the world. Kirkman makes you fall in love with every character and when they pass you feel as though your losing a piece of yourself. But it doesn’t end there….You almost feel worse for the people who have to continue on without that character in their life. As people cling so deeply to one another in such dire times their loss would be devastating.

the walking dead twd amc rick grimes zombies comic con robert kirkman charlie adlard 100th issue twd100

I feel as though Kirkman is preparing us for the apocalypse, almost as if to force the reader to tap into the innate “survival of the fittest” part of the human psyche. In this grim world death is a way of life. Survival forces you to keep your distance from the ones you care about most, for it will only make you and the group weaker. We are all however, subject of the human condition. Kirkman is teaching us to let go of everything we thought about what it is to be human, and to become re-acquainted with the part of us that got us where we are today. It would seem things are getting harder and harder for the survivors and that their world is getting even more ugly than they would’ve imagined. All they can really do is try and adapt while retaining their humanity. Rick and his survivors are a drop in the bucket for hope and to return to the way life was. This is important because there is more to human beings then just survival (culture, arts, ideology, progress), and if we are to leave anything behind as a species for future generations or even outer worldly anthropologists to discover then it is important to show that human beings lived with compassion, and were not just bloody savages.

The last 4-5 issues of this series have really turned me back on to the walking dead story. Though i am sad to see one of my favorite survivors go (rip), i am now re-addicted to the franchise and cant wait to see what happens next! If you haven’t read the walking dead yet, i recommend picking up the compendiums online. You can get them for fairly cheap and you will not be disappointed. Issue to issue it will deliver everything from drama, philosophy, sex, violence, politics, great social commentary, and of course …. zombies! TWD has it all…end of story..

In celebration of the release of issue 100 of TWD here’s a look at some of the awesome covers for the issue.

New Dead Space Motion Graphic Novel

The Dead Space official website has released a graphic novel short of a potential new character in the Dead Space universe. This may give us some hints into potential story lines and characters of the highly anticipated Dead Space 3.

Check out the short here!

Comic Review: Sweet Tooth

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Vertigo has had many amazingly gritty and off-beat titles through the years; Hellblazer, Transmetropolitan, Preacher, and V for Vendetta to name a few. The stories they put out push the boundaries of the comic book medium and create worlds we would never get the chance to experience without the talented writers they have on board. One newer release that i believe has become highly embraced by the comic book community is Sweet Tooth, written by Jeff Lemire (Animal man, Jonah Hex, Superboy).

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Sweet Tooth is a post-apocalyptic story about a boy named Gus who lives with his father in a cabin in the woods. The interesting thing about Gus is that he was born with antlers and thus opens the main mystery. Since he can remember, it has only been him and his father and that is all he knows. His father is a religious man who tells him that the world outside of the woods is dead and that there are evil people there who will harm him. Unfortunately, his father’s lunacy is not far from the truth, and we find ourselves in a torn world where people scavenged for food and survival of the fittest is king. This new world has become stricken with a plague that has wiped out most of the human population and many remaining survivors attempt to find out the cause. Eventually, Gus’s father passes from the plague, leaving him with his fathers journal alone to face the world; Gus’s curiosity of the land beyond the woods fascinates him, despite his fathers warnings of the evils that exist. His curiosity is cut short by the presence of a few men who attempt to capture Gus, they are slain by a man named Jeppard, whose sordid past has made him cold to the horrors of the new world. Jeppard deems Gus “Sweet tooth” for his candy obsession, and offers to take him along and protect him in the world outside the woods. Thus begins Gus’s journey through the wasteland and a long quest to find out what caused the plauge, where he came from, and who is Jeppard? The story takes tons of twists and turns, with a healthy amount of violent realism, and a lot of quirkiness to follow which makes it a really unique book.

Sweet Tooth is a fantastic piece of post apocalyptic fiction and fans of the genre can definitely appreciate the spin that Lemire has put on the genre. Where the story is going, I can only imagine what will happen next!

Check out issue #1 of sweet tooth here!

Comic Review: Y THE LAST MAN

y the last man yorick brown brian k vaughan post apocalyptic feminism

I have been waiting to share my love for this particular graphic novel for quite some time (since i actually read this story about a year ago). It is continuously a book that i tell others about and truly believe it may be one of the best comics i’ve ever read. Y: The Last Man is a post apocalyptic graphic novel comic series written by Brian K Vaughan. The series ran from 2002 – 2008 and is now collected in 10 trade paperbacks which can be found at most major book stores and pretty much every comic shop. The graphic novel has been well received by many forms of media and their are even rumors of a movie to come some time in the future.

The story of Y: the last man takes place in a contemporary United States. Its about main character and wanna be escape artist Yorick Brown, whose life is changed drastically due to the catastrophic end of the world. In short, the world ends for an unknown/mysterious reason and happens to kill everything on the planet with a Y chromosome (all male mammals), leaving only females to try to pick up the pieces and put them back together. However, Yorick and his pet monkey Ampersand survive and are the only two remaining males alive on earth. For some this would seem like a great thing, being the only guy left in the world would leave quite a few sexually charged cats without a scratching post (score!) but what Vaughan shows us is quite the contrary. In all the chaos that is the extinction of males and the destruction of infrastructure, females are left with the impending realization that humanity as a whole will soon be extinct.

After the world collapses Yorick tries to reunite with his mother, who is a member of congress. She then commissions agent 355, a special US agent who has been trained since childhood, to protect Yorick and get him safely to Boston to meet with a geneticist named Dr Allison Mann. From there they begin their quest to find out why man has perished and what the plan will be for humanities future. For Yorick it is more of a quest to find the love of his life Beth, who, when last spoken to, was in Australia. Yorick knows in his heart that she is alive and tries desperately, with every chance he has, to find her. As the story goes on the plot thickens, twists, and turns. YTLM is filled with more drama, sex, laughs, nerdy references, scissoring, and action then you can chain up in a straight jacket. You’ll find that as Yorick and his friends get closer to finding out the truth, the truth gets further and further away.

There are many themes that play a large part in what makes Y the last man a great book. I think the largest being that of feminism. Vaughan’s interpretation of how women would react to an extinction of men is interesting because you have a large portion of the female population who believe that men were killed off because they are weak, evil, greedy, power-hungry chauvinist’s, (many of who go on to become Amazons). These females believe they can reshape the world in their image and rewrite his(her)tory. The amazons have an extreme hazing ritual: you must first cut off one breast to show your allegiance to the group and become a member. By that alone, you can tell these chicks are hardcore and are not to be messed with. The other group of females misses men terribly and never had anything against them, most feel helpless because without men you can not have babies. Lots of feminist view points come into play in this book and really do a great job of showing how even extreme feminism can cause women to turn on each other. The other thing that is so interesting about this book is all of the theories that come into play about why men were killed off. Some groups come from a more spiritual ideology, that mother earth no longer would accept the wicked ways of men so she wiped them out. Other explanations also come into play from characters of science or even other countries. This opens up the question for more wondering while you progress through the story.

Overall, Yorick Brown is a great character, whose wily charm, comic relief, and nerdy intuitions make him a really enjoyable character to read about. He makes dorky references to movies and comics throughout the series, and because Yorick was an English major in college even makes references to some of the very popular writers of English literature (Shakespeare etc). Yorick even makes a great reference to the graphic novel preacher written by Garth Ennis. Yorick Brown is basically the guy you would want to restart the world if it were to end. He’s kind-hearted, faithful to the girl he loves, nerdy as hell, not a douchey jock who bullies others, has a great positive outlook on life and who aspires to be a magician, how cool is that?

Y The Last Man is a fantastic read and i definitely recommend it to anyone, even first time readers of graphic novels or comic books because of its ease, page flow, and overall interesting concept. It’s a very accessible book because it’s not pigeonholed to a super hero genre or anything like that. In my mind Vaughan hit a home run with this book and it has turned me on to all his other work as well! Y the last man is just a good time front to back!

you can download issue #1 here!

enjoy!

http://www.mediafire.com/?zgekzdpn2dptude




A Good Time for Comics: Swamp Thing/Animal Man…

With it being wednesday and all, I figured id put up a few of the comics from my pull list that i’ve been pretty damn excited about lately. DC’s “the new 52″ has really taken some of these characters to another level and revamped a lot of the personalities we know and love (but in a good way!) My favorites at this point being the new SWAMP THING and ANIMAL MAN, which have come a long way in a mature direction since their inception (i will try not to spoil anything)….

The new Swamp Thing series again follows scientist and slave to the green Alec Holland, who finds himself in an endless struggle against enemy to life itself “The Rot”. This cancerous evil is slowly spreading across the world, causing animals to drop dead and Holland once again finds himself summoned by the parliament of trees to utilize the gift he was granted and to save all life. This particular swamp thing series carries severely dark undertones (not that past themes weren’t dark) but presents them in an accessible yet modern fashion. Though i am a huge fan of Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing, I think that Scott Snyder is doing a great job with the book thus far!

Swamp Thing The new 52

Animal Man is another book that i have been glued to as of late. The adventures of Buddy Baker and his monotonous life as a family man, washed up movie star, activist, and ex super hero, are quickly stripped from him as he is forced to protect his family from the same plague that effects the Swamp Thing, “The Rot” (i smell a cross over). This rendition of the Animal Man story is extremely cryptic and presents Animal Man in a light we have not seen him in before, while still building on the character were familiar with. The first issue has tons to offer, family drama, horror, action, suspense, and the art style is just out of this world. Sketchy and spastic line work fill the pages of Animal Man, while also creating some of the most disgusting imagery to showcase the Rot’s disfigured sentries. If you like comic books Animal Man is a must have!

Animal Man The new 52 DC Comics

Marvel has also started another book based on the ex-marine vigilante Frank Castle aka The Punisher. Which, despite a lot of pretty weak books and series starring Castle in the past, this one is not so much a shoot em’ up action story but is more a psychological crime story following the detectives who are hot on castles war path. Though it does have a ton of blood, minimal use of gratuitous violence make this a more refined Punisher tale with a progressive story line. I might even go as far as saying this may be one of the best renditions of the character yet! Rucca’s Punisher is a cold and quiet executioner, who’s characterization is mostly summed up by his actions and lack of emotion. I foresee this book reaching great heights!

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One book i still can’t put down (though it’s been a depressing/wild ride/fun read) is The Walking Dead. Though the book in my opinion is much different then that of the television show, i still feel the book has it’s moments where it really shows us what human nature really is and that through solidarity, humanity does have a chance (in a zombie apocalypse). I still really like the show, but have come to terms with its differences from the comic. Not all forms of media can really be interchangeable, so to some degree i understand the need to change plot lines and drag out certain parts. They are trying to make a television show about zombies (which has never been done before) and in my opinion, i think they’re doing a great job with it. However, the roots of TWD are in comic book form. I think anyone who hasn’t read the Walking Dead should honestly just buy the compendium ($60 new, amazon $34), it outlines issues 1-48 and is so good that any reader would be hesitant to put it down. It features some of the most memorable scenes in the book and really gives you that great character development that Robert Kirkman is known for. It’s also got a ton of action, gore, interpersonal drama, sex, more gore, and of course zombies! Kirkman really hit a home run with this series and though the more recent issues have slowed things down a bit i feel the new “A Larger World” story arc may resurrect the series for fans on the fence. The Walking Dead is a great story and if you don’t have it already, you really should find out what all the buzz is about!

The walking dead robert kirkman issue 93 zombies

The walking dead robert kirkman issue 93 zombies