Tuesday, August 23, 2011

TPB Tuesday - FUBAR: European Theater of the Damned

A smidge of R&R and an overabundance of time meandering from one convention to the next means this hardy captain of the road trip war (who's never, ever sick in the car) has been doing a lot of reading. I was overall very pleased with this twisted, spooky, sometimes triumphant, often bitingly (pun not intended) hilarious mashup of alternate military history and zombies. This anthology takes a variety of figures from World War II- from anonymous Jewish refugees to the most famous and notorious players on the world stage- and puts them in some of the creepiest or craziest post-apocalyptic scenarios imaginable. And yes, they thought of a way to make General Patton seem even tougher and larger than the real life legend.

I only have two nitpicks. One is that the theme of suicide echoed perhaps too often. It's one thing to highlight the sheer desperation of the circumstances, but when it occurs again and again, it feels too heavy and depressing. On a lighter note, the epilogue done by Stephen Lindsay (of Jesus Hates Zombies and Lincoln Hates Werwolves fame) presented me with the only moment in the book that made me scratch my head in confusion. The book, though an anthology, stuck consistently with George Romero's version of zombies- ghoulish, cannibalistic undead that can be taken out with a blow or bullet to the head. And then zombie/ghoul Abraham Lincoln showed up with a bullet hole in his head, taking me out of an otherwise perfectly sick, twisted, and funny vignette to wonder if he was supposed to be a Romero "zombie" or a more traditional ghoul.

Otherwise, it was a wonderful way to pass the time on the road. It read like a literary horror candy shop crammed cover to cover with so many gory and grotesque goodies I couldn't possibly list them all. "Killroy Was Here" by Jeff McComsey, artist, writer, and "supreme commander, allied forces" featured my favorite moment of sheer awesomeness. "The Brief" by Phil McClorey, Steve Willhite, and Jef McComsey highlights the ruthless, deliberate, devious, and all-too human evil behind the zombie apocalypse. "Stalemate" by Dominic Vivona and Jeff McClelland succinctly highlights the desperate position, motives, and modus operandi of all the major players in the war."Golem's Last Stand" by Shawn Williams, Darrin Stephens, and Stephen Lindsay combines different, contrasting kinds of undead lore to fascinating effect. I very definitely want to read more of "Mother Russia" by Jeff McComsey. Thanks to all the creators involved for making my latest cross-country road trip this memorable.


  1. Thanks for the awesome write up, Alex!
    If you want to snap up volume 2 we're running a kickstarter campaign to finance the offset print run of volume 2. You can pledge for $20 and receive volume 2 WITH a custom WW II zombie sketch on page 1.

    -Jeff McComsey

  2. Hey Alex, thanks for the well thought out review. To lay the blame where it's due, though, I'm responsible for the Lincoln zombie appearance in the final story of the book. I pretty much ignored all the rules of the collection for the "FDArrrgh" farce at the end, and meant it to stand alone and not be a part of the book's larger sense of continuity.

  3. Thanks for clearing that up, Jeff. I kind of figured "FDArrrgh" threw the rules out the window- and that I was overthinking it. If I were in a zombie movie, I'd be the geek who dies while nitpicking about different kinds of undead lore and whether or not the undead are "Romero zombies." Anyway, those cheering kids were priceless.