The 1920s were a tumultuous time. Lindbergh made the first solo, non-stop trans-Atlantic flight. Telephones were en vogue. Women fought for their rights. Prohibition kept boozin' on the DL. Pole sitting and marathon dancing were popular. Then there was that zombie outbreak in New York City.
Yes, zombies in the Big Apple...so goes 1927 as imagined by writers Brea Grant, Zane Austin Grant, and artist Kyle Strahm. Before it gets to the zombies, though, We Will Bury You offers a fascinating glimpse into the sexual politics of the day. Our heroine, Mirah, is all flapper chic, enticing men to spend their money dancing with her in a clip joint. She 's married to Henry, who finds his wife's profession and attitude wanton and her morals loose. Mirah rails against his misogynist attitude.
While at her place of employ later on, Mirah meets up with her lover Fanya, a cross-dressing Ukranian immigrant. Before we delve too deeply into their relationship, there's a zombie outbreak in the club. The women end up on the street, in the midst of bedlam.
Until the undead showed up, I almost forgot that We Will Bury You is a zombie horror comic- and that's not a bad thing. The brother-sister writing team of Zane and Brea Grant set the story in an interesting time period, one that's politically charged; as zombie films (particularly those from George Romero) tend to be rife with social commentary, so it should come as no shock that a zombie comic can be the same. Still, I almost didn't want the zombies to show up quite yet, for I was enjoying the character development at play. I'm anxious, though, to see how the rest of the mini-series plays out.
Not gonna lie: it took me a while to get used to Kyle Strahm's artwork. Photoshop and Illustrator have all but taken over the mainstream comics industry; there's a slickness to most modern comic art that's pretty but oddly soulless- sometimes there isn't any paper involved in the process at all. Strahm's art seems to be the opposite of that. There's a tactile quality to it, as if he's dug the pen into the paper. Of course, this fits with the whole "rotting corpses" angle quite nicely. His R. Crumb meets Rick Geary meets Richard Corben style is gruesome...so much so that it can be difficult, at times, to discern the living from the dead from the undead.
Overall, I'd say don't avoid We Will Bury You, even if you think zombies are overplayed. This book shows there's still some meat left on those rotting bones.