Fanboys vs. Zombies is a tongue-in-cheek indie comic based on the giant ‘what if’ premise: “What if there was a zombie outbreak at San Diego Comic-con?” Would the overactive imagination of the fandom world be able to save humanity in the face of the ghastly gore and general grossness of falling-apart, flesh-craving monsters? Whilst I haven’t been to SDCC (yet), I have been to many Supanovas (smaller, Aussie version of SDCC) so I know and love the con atmosphere.
Probably the biggest question with this idea of fanboy’s facing the zombie apocalypse is whether or not they’d go with a defensive or offensive strategy. Would they try to escape, hide and survive? Or would they feel confident enough in their strategy and combat skills to try to push back the zombies, and rescue some people? Also since it’s at Comic-Con, you have to wonder how long it would take for somebody to realise it wasn’t just an awesome cosplay.
The series follows a band of Con friends called the ‘Wrecking Crew’ who meet every year at Con. It’s not entirely clear if they’re all friends outside con as well, but there’s definitely some relationship history – almost a love triangle – that has disrupted the crew a little bit. Expect a ton of awkwardness and displaced anger. Even in the middle of zombie fighting.
The genesis of the zombie virus is kind of weird – it happens when some disreputable con food mixes in with a weird energy drink, and then something else spills on top of that, and then somebody sneezes on the mess. Somebody then of course has to pick up the abandoned hot dog and eat it. BAM! Zombies. It’s all very silly. ‘Fanboys’ is also a bit of a misnomer since there are two female characters in the ensemble. They’re not as accurately drawn, or even fully dressed as I’d like (and not cosplaying either, as far as I can tell), but they are snarky and able to kick some pretty serious zombie butt, so I’ll let that slide for now.
The way that the groups’ personal issues interrupt their dealing with the zombie outbreak is hilariously melodramatic. On one hand, you’d kind of expect people to be focusing on the issue at hand, i.e defending their lives, but then again, the ways in which people react to stress are strange and unpredictable. It doesn’t take long for one of the Crew to get bitten. He somehow gets the idea to pour energy drink on the wound, and it seemingly keeps him from becoming infected. I’m pretty sure it’s the same energy drink that was involved in the genesis of the virus. THAT CAN’T END BADLY AT ALL.
Maybe it’s just because I’ve never been to an actual Comic-Con, but there are a few incidents that strike me as particularly unrealistic. I know some replica and prop weapons can pack a pretty good punch, but… how the heck does Missy Portman find a crossbow?! Don’t even get me started on the mecha.
This series strikes me as more of a satire than anything else – enjoyable for its references to pop culture and other texts than anything truly original. If you go into it expecting too much, or even expecting it to be serious and tense like The Walking Dead, you’ll be disappointed. Kudos to Sam Humphries and Jerry Gaylord for forging ahead and putting their idea out there, but I think this is a comic you should borrow from a friend before you plunk your cash down. I’m going to stick with it for a few more issues to see if there are any interesting developments, but so far there are too many attempts at cramming in puns and gore for there to be any actual story or character development.
I think the cover of issue 3 sums it up best:
If you can’t quite read the cover of that book, here it is. Yep, it’s a real book.
If you picked up any of these issues, let me know what your thoughts are in the comments!