Graphic Horror Guest Post: Revival
When I put the call out for this blogathon, I was hoping for both people looking at horror movies that could become graphic novels as well as horror comics that could make the transition into becoming a movie. And Vic over at Vic’s Movie Den answered the call. But of course, since it’s Vic’s Movie Den and not Vic’s Comic Book Den, I offered to post his look at the horror comic “Revival”. So without further ado, I shall leave the rest of this post to Vic!
“Revival” from Writer Tim Seeley and Illustrator Mike Norton is an exceptional “Rural-Noir” comic book from Image Comics. It is a horror title that has remained fresh, unique and absorbing from issue #1. The book is full of engaging characters, cold and isolated locales and dynamic story-lines that deftly covers racism, religion, science, law, morality and family. All with equal respect and love for the genre without being trite or distracting.
Seeley’s world is made up of small town complexities and idiosyncrasies. Taking place in Wausau, Wisconsin, “Revival” is a mysterious tale of the recently dead returning to life during what the locals called “Revival Day.” Those who have died do not return as zombies per say but as confused, lethargic, dull and apathetic individuals who react more like shell shocked, needy and traumatized people. Some of them even try to go back to living normal lives.
Local Constable Dana Cypress is the protagonist of the story and she, along with her sister Em and their father, Sheriff Cypress are left to deal with the affect the “revivers” are having on the town and the local town folk. In this part of the story is where Seeley’s writing elevates the material with great enthusiasm. Seeley paints a great picture of local life, paranoia and dread. His horror story, while revolving around the Cypress family, also touches upon peripheral characters. Some of them revivers and some being religious zealots, scared Government agents, CDC folks and even news reporters.
Seeley even throws in scared and rebellious farmers, distressed meat processing workers and the young and introverted Cooper Cypress, Dana’s son, who seems to have a predilection for seeing ghosts-like apparitions wandering through the woods. But Seeley, being on top of his game here, fills the horror story with smart, contemporary and intriguing dialog and events. His characters, one for example, Ibrahaim Ramin, a CDC liaison investigating the revival situation in Wassau, is a very interesting, amiable and charming person that has great chemistry with Officer Dana Cypress. Or even, Lester Majak, who is the town’s quirky, aloof and dedicated fitness guru.IAllnndcnfnnfamin
All of Seeley’s characters are fresh, distinctive and complex (they each have roles to play) but in the female lead of Dana Cypress we get a strong female protagonist who is sensitive, winsome and strong. She is by far the one character who propels the story and keeps Seeley’s material grounded in reality despite the horrific and mysterious things that happen in Wausau. Many other characters like Em, Cooper and other family members play big parts in this tale as well.
Artist Mike Norton (All New Atom and Gravity) is to be given just as much credit to making “Revival” work the way it does. His art is just so well done, here. Norton succeeds greatly in making all of his rendered characters come alive and look distinctive and distinguishable from others. His art is solid and very acute when it comes to displaying the graphic violence that often occurs in the story. He is able to weave his art to look dark and vivid whether it be an insignificant panel of characters speaking or a few panels of extreme violence that the creators never shy away from.
“Revival” takes it time to find it’s ground but when it does it is thought provoking and unique. It is a blend of the horrible, the unspoken and the simplicity of what makes a small town “horror noir” what it should be. Seeley and Norton balance their mysterious themes very well while providing a spooky and creepy excursion into a compelling and uncommon story. It is a very rare but particular look into the highly coveted zombie genre except these creatures do not walk slowly and are motivated to eat flesh. Also, there are bigger mysteries in “Revival” that Seeley and Norton are exploring and they have only brushed the tip of the iceberg with this Title. “Revival” plays out like an episodic TV show, like, say LOST. Yeah, it’s that good.
Image’s creator owned books are refreshing and fun to read. “Revival” has proven itself more than once during it’s short issue run, thus far, but the book, with Seeley and Norton at the helm is showing potential that is out of this plane of existence. Just hope you don’t “Revive” one day. Because you’ll be out of luck in Wausau, then. Highly recommended!
And to finish things off, here’s a “Dream Cast” if they were to make “Revival” into a movie
Cast of Characters / “Dream Cast” For “Revival” Comics –
Dana Cypress / Megan Boone (Blue Bloods, My Bloody Valentine)
Em Cypress / Taissa Farmiga (American Horror Story, The Bling Ring)
Sheriff Cypress / James Remar (Dexter, 48 Hours)
Ibrahaim Ramin / Amir Arison (The Blacklist, The Visitor)
Blaine Abel / Meegwun Fairbrother (Helix)
May Tao / Jamie Chung (Sucker Punch)
Cooper Cypress / David Mazouz (Touch)
Edmund Holt / Scott Wilson (The Walking Dead, The Last Samurai)