Archive for the ‘Robert Kirkman’ Tag


ALARMING rise in zombie cases has medical experts scratching their heads.

ALARMING rise in zombie cases has medical experts scratching their heads.

By C. Michael Forsyth

ATLANTA — The swiftly widening zombie epidemic does not owe its origin simply to a rogue germ – it’s God’s way of punishing Americans for smoking marijuana, a respected preacher claims.

“Every major plague of the past 2,000 years has been a form a divine retribution,” declared the Reverend Harvey Stintland, a leading theologian and author. “Leprosy, for example, was sent to punish the Roman Empire for its decadence and debauchery.

“AIDS was, of course, His punishment for homosexuality, just as herpes was His wrathful response to the Sexual Revolution. What we’re seeing now across the country is, once again, the Lord using his tiniest creatures — viruses — to teach sinful humans a lesson.”

The earliest known zombie outbreak in the United States was reported in June 1964, just as pot use was emerging among hippies, the Baptist minister points out.

“This was literally days after Bob Dylan introduced the Beatles to ‘grass,’” Rev. Stintland notes. “Now, just as states like Alaska, Colorado and Oregon legalize marijuana, we’re seeing a record number of zombism sufferers. Can that be merely a coincidence? Logic tells us otherwise.”

LIGHT 'EM UP! Weed is now legal in many states.

LIGHT ‘EM UP! Weed is now legal in many states.

Statistics show a troubling rise in the bizarre ailment, called Sarcophagic Lazarus Syndrome by medical professionals. At least 675 cases nationwide were reported in 2014, three times the figure from the previous year. Yet government scientists dismiss Rev. Stintland’s claims.

“You don’t have to bring God or the supernatural into it to explain zombies,” observed a CDC insider. “It’s a matter of cold, hard science.”

According to the clergyman, the Almighty smacks the human race with epidemics from time to time for our own good.

“Our Lord is a loving God, but he is also a stern disciplinarian, not unlike a father who must sometimes take his children to the woodshed. He’s not above using biological warfare to whup some sense into mankind when we disobey His law,” explained Rev. Stintland, author of the upcoming book Germs From God.

SPANISH FLU was God's punishment for the senseless slaughter of  World War 1, according to expert.

SPANISH FLU was God’s punishment for the senseless slaughter of World War 1, according to expert.

Here, from the theologian, are other major epidemics and what God was punishing people for:

Plague of Athens (426-429 B.C., death toll 100,000) — Punishment for paganism
Black Death (1346 -1353 A.D., death toll 50 million) — Punishment for false piety, i.e. being “too” religious
Yellow Fever Epidemic (1793-1798, death toll 5,000 ) — Punishment for secular humanism
Cholera Pandemic (1816 -1828, death toll, 30,000) — Punishment for slave trade
Smallpox epidemic (1827-38, death toll 1800) — Punishment of Indians for resisting Manifest Destiny
Spanish Flu (1918-1920, death toll 75 million) — Punishment for World War I

“Contagious diseases don’t just happen,” the clergyman says. “They are God’s holy will.”

TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING? In the 14th century, when the Black Death struck, belief in God was at an all time high.

TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING? In the 14th century, when the Black Death struck, belief in God was at an all time high.

Copyright C. Michael Forsyth

If you enjoyed this mind-bending story by C. Michael Forsyth, check out his collection of bizarre news, available on Kindle and in other eBook formats.

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ZOMBIE master Robert Kirkman's graphic novel  "Thief of Thieves" is even better than his "The Walking Dead."

ZOMBIE master Robert Kirkman’s graphic novel “Thief of Thieves” is even better than his “The Walking Dead.”

As I prepare to launch my first graphic novel, I’ve been boning up on the format, and one of the best I’ve come across was written by Robert Kirkman of The Walking Dead fame. Thief of Thieves is even more cinematic than the zombie comic that spawned the hit TV series. It’s essentially a movie on paper. What makes it unusual is that it doesn’t look like a movie storyboard. The layout is almost entirely narrow rectangular panels that stretch across the page, stacked horizontally. As you get used to the steadfastly unchanging aspect ratio, it becomes like watching images flickering on the screen. The caper story, akin to a movie like The Italian Job, is twisty and adult. The charismatic, broad-shouldered, hairy chested hero is presented so vividly, you think, “They’ve really got to cast the same actor in the movie” — until you remember he’s not a real person!

CINEMATIC panel shape, realistic facial expressions and Kirkman's trademark  timing make "Thief of Thieves" feel like a movie.

CINEMATIC panel shape, realistic facial expressions and Kirkman’s trademark timing make “Thief of Thieves” feel like a movie.

In the purely horror vein, I’ve also become hip to Crossed. It’s a zombie apocalypse saga, but makes The Walking Dead seem optimistic and wholesome as milk by comparison. In this version of hell on earth, the infected legions don’t just cannibalize victims, they gleefully rape, sodomize and mutilate them in an orgy of violence. Then eat them — although in some cases, the atrocities are simultaneous.

PLAY BALL! Mayhem ensues when the contagion hits a football stadium.

PLAY BALL! Mayhem ensues when the contagion hits a football stadium.

The disease, which brands those who’ve been bitten (or otherwise taken in bodily fluids) with a distinctive cross-shaped rash on the face, erases all inhibitions, turning them into rage-fueled, sex-crazed killing machines who love to disfigure both hapless victims and themselves. Worse still, unlike your standard shambling walker, their minds still function — albeit far from rationally — allowing them to use weapons, drive cars and operate motorboats. Imagine 28 Days Later meets Road Warrior meets Hellraiser. Crossed is definitely adults only, due to the unrelenting sexual violence, and not for the faint of heart.

Speaking of crime dramas like Thief of Thieves, if you enjoyed the writing in this article by C. Michael Forsyth, you might enjoy his novel The Identity Thief.

The tables turn on an identity thief in the latest thriller by C. Michael Forsyth.

The tables turn on an identity thief in the latest thriller by C. Michael Forsyth.

A Brain-eating Bonanza! “The Mammoth Book of Zombie Comics.”   Leave a comment

By C. Michael Forsyth

In my scariest childhood nightmare ever, a man hears a weird whistle that draws him like a siren into a ruined mansion — where he’s cut into mincemeat by an unseen, supernatural entity. In the scariest play I’ve ever seen, “The Woman in Black,” a vengeful undead wraith preys on whoever sets foot in her decaying home. In the last movie to genuinely frighten me, “The Grudge”, a hideous harpy with wild, ragged hair hides out in a haunted house and murders every unlucky visitor (even tracking down and dispatching folks who heed the obvious warnings to get out).

So it was quite an unusual, sum-of-all-fears reading experience to find those elements combined in a single bone-chilling, atmospheric comic titled “Pigeons from Hell.”

The ultra-creepy comic is based on a 1932 short story by Robert E. Howard. (Yep, Conan’s creator did more than just churn out yarns about pumped up he-men with Viking hats. A buddy of H.P. Lovecraft, he too was a master of the horror genre and the pair engaged in a robust correspondence about the supernatural.)

The chiller is just one of 30 great zombie tales in The Mammoth Book of Zombie Comics, edited by David Kendall.

An eerie whistle lures a victim to the lair of this zombie she-devil in “Pigeons from Hell.”

You might expect that a 453-page anthology packed with nothing but zombie stories would get old in a hurry. But nothing could be further from the truth. What I love about this book is the astonishing variety of plots, themes, and visual styles.

In the blackly humorous “Dead Eyes Open,” the theme of discrimination is explored when millions of people return from the dead with their minds fully intact. The first celebrity “returner” is Wil Wheaton of Star Trek: The Next Generation fame. The undead former child actor pleads for acceptance of the new minority group and an end to the “re-murder” of his kind by trigger-happy vigilantes.

Based on an old folktale, “The Zombie“ takes place in Africa, where voodoo has its roots and zombies are the tragic victims of sorcerers.

In “Necrotic: Dead Flesh on a Living Body,” an Egyptologist discovers that mummification provides the key to immortality — with a terrible price.

An Egyptologist’s bid to cheat death has a few glitches in “Necrotic: Dead Flesh on a Living Body.”

The book offers a visual buffet, featuring styles ranging from the three-dimensional realism of the space-zombie story “Flight from Earth,” illustrated by Roman Surzhenko, to the minimalist avante guarde approach taken by artist Iain Laurie in “Pariah.”

Previously, I’d never found zombies either interesting or all that scary (after the shock of my first viewing of “Night of the Living Dead” as a kid). Unlike vampires and werewolves, who have an inner life and are often tortured by guilt, zombies are almost always presented on film as mindless, flesh-eating killing machines. And usually pretty easy to kill, once you figure out to shoot ’em in the head. (Often they can be taken out of commission by a baseball bat or solid uppercut).

But the stories in this collection pose some deep philosophical questions. “Zombies,” for example, explores that old trick of mimicking the infected to slip by them — dating back at least as far as “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and parodied to hilarious effect in “Shaun of the Dead.” The shocking ending raises the question, “How far would you be willing to go to survive?”

This interview with a zombified Star Trek C-list celeb Wil Wheaton would have been the perfect finale for Oprah’s TV show.

Varying rules and explanations for zombism abound; the creators are not restricted by the mythology established in Hollywood by Romero. Some zombies are created the old fashioned way by wicked voodoo practitioners, while in “Amy,” disembodied alien invaders travel light-years to animate the corpses of earthlings.

You know, when “28 Days Later” came out, many reviewers praised director Danny Boyle for “reinventing the zombie genre.” Bull. While deserving of kudos for its grim, digital-video look, artistic flourishes and thought-provoking climax, the zombies themselves were the same brainless, cannibalistic monsters of “Night of the Living Dead” and its sequels — just a whole lot quicker.

And while the character-driven “Walking Dead” graphic novel and the TV series based on it boast some intriguing situations and relationships, these truly ARE your father’s zombies. Comic book writer Robert Kirkman makes no claim to have re-invented the genre. He doesn’t believe it needs re-invention. In his intro to Volume One, he extols the virtues of well-scripted zombie flicks like the “Dawn of the Dead” remake, acknowledging his debt to them. Really, the mess hero Rick Grimes and his fellow survivors find themselves in could have been ANY end-of-the world scenario; those shambling, “classic” zombies are just a plot device.

But in “The Mammoth book of Zombie Comics,” you WILL find the genre re-invented again and again in delightful, deliciously scary way


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Vampires run amok in a women’s prison in the gorgeously illustrated, 80-page graphic novel Night Cage. When a newly made vampire is sentenced to an escape-proof, underground slammer, she quickly begins to spread the contagion.

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