Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Comic Book Finds: Zeke Deadwood: Zombie Lawman

Zeke versus Bloody Bill Rojas from Issue 1.
Sometimes a "mash-up" (when two seemingly disparate genres are "mashed" together for a single narrative) just presents itself on the comic book rack just when your reading tastes are looking for it. One such title which worked that magic for me was one I just came back across as I was "filing" away some recent purchases in my "Independent Western/Horror" long box.

Created, drawn, and co-written by award-nominated artist Thomas Boatwright with Ryan Rubio, and published by SLG Publishing, I  first unearthed Zeke Deadwood: Zombie Lawman online while clicking through some randomly selected "independent" comic book publisher sites last summer.

Zeke Deadwood: Zombie Lawman is printed in black and white (with fantastic visual panache, care of grey shading a la The Walking Dead), a choice which suits the B-movie manner in which the comic tells its story. (Note: The second issue does feature a noticeably "cleaner" style of grey shading--not necessarily "worse" or "better" but certainly "different.")

Utilizing a radio show framing device to give the stories an added air of the imaginative, Zeke is a zombie lawman "who will not kowtow to the brutish" and travels from town to town looking to right wrongs in an effort to redeem himself for past misdeeds. Little back-story is provided, but in the spirit of the Spaghetti Westerns which must surely have influenced them, little is necessary. Zeke is simply a lawman doing his job, albeit against adversaries such as a talking steam-punk robot gunman and the "legendary" Bloody Bill Rojas. The smell of rotting flesh and slow paced shootouts (such as the one above), among other tropes of both genres which find their way into the stories which, given the radio show deceit, have the feel of Lone Ranger episodes from the slightly dark side.

As seems often seems to be the case with smaller creator published works, there was quite a gap between the self-contained stories presented in issues 1 and 2. Despite reading Issue 2, subtitled "With A Hammer In My Hand,"   which came out in May 2011, issue #1 was released in 2009. Though the first issue's "radio show", or issue, ends with the promise of "another exciting episode" in the near future, delivered in the #2, the second issue concludes in such a way that the announcer tells us that "He (Zeke) leaves behind a world that no longer wants men like Zeke Deadwood, but never needed them more" implying that a third issue could possibly be in the offering... but unfortunately, no third issue of Zeke Deadwood is currently scheduled for publication.

Worth seeking out, my local comic store had no trouble ordering copies of the first two issues for me. If you're interested in this littel gem, I would suggest checking with them first. If you (God, forbid) don't have a local shop you can support, there is always the online route.

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