cover image The Living and the Dead

The Living and the Dead

Rebecca Kai Dotlich, . . Fantagraphics, $9.95 (48pp) ISBN 978-1-56097-794-0

With the plethora of zombie comics and films out there, the idea of one more hardly sounds appetizing. But no matter what genre Norwegian cartoonist Jason touches, he owns it. His style is too inventive and distinctive to be overpowered by any of the latest trends, and it's this art style that makes the book work. It's not that the plot is anything new: a young chef falls in love with a young prostitute, but a gang of zombies show up to complicate the romance. Being on the run from a flesh-eating horde has never been so funny. All the characters are anthropomorphized or birds, all lanky and resistant to big facial expressions. His storytelling is lean and every panel counts, with the action told in an efficient and droll manner with few words: there are only seven lines of dialogue in the entire book. The sweet but irreverent sense of humor reaches its high point with the little twist ending—it's romantic but not in any conventional way, further testimony to why Jason is one of the most dependable talents creating comics today. (Mar).