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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Brian Ralph's "Daybreak"

Author:  Brian Ralph
Title:  Daybreak
Plot Type:  UF (Zombie Apocalypse)
Ratings:  V5; S0; H2
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux (9/2011) 

     This is a graphic novel that tells the story of an intrepid young man—ragged and one-armed—desperately trying to survive in the aftermath of a zombie plague. The nameless protagonist treats you, the reader, as a new acquaintance who has joined his horrific existence. He takes you to underground safe spaces, finds food for the pair of you, and alternates look-out watches with you during the night. 

An early scene: The unnamed protagonist welcomes you, the reader, into his world.     

     This is not a Walking Dead read-alike. Instead, it focuses on the zombie threat rather than on scenes of bloody carnage in a suspense-filled, moment-by-moment chronicle of a survivor's perilous struggle to remain alive. The story follows you and your companion (and, eventually, a wayward dog) as you make your way across the remains of wrecked building, overturned cars, and mountains of trash—with the zombies (shown mostly in solid-color profile) staggering along behind. The entire landscape is a rubble-strewn wasteland inhabited only by you, your companions, the zombies, and an occasional unfriendly and untrustworthy fellow survivor

     The story is, ultimately, about the power of friendship under dire circumstances. Although we travel with the protagonist for a only few days, we begin to bond with him in an odd, superficial kind of way. No deep personal secrets or stories are shared. This friendship is based solely on living through the nightand the next day, and the next

     If you’re looking for something different in zombie fiction, you should check this one out

     The artwork is drawn in dark brown in six-panel grids on off-white paper, emphasizing the stark desolation of the landscape and the desperation of the survivors.

The zombie arm-grab in the last panel above (along with a few more
undead grasping arms in the next few frames) is the peak of zombie action actually seen in this story. It's all about the tension
not the blood and guts.

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