You wake up in the rubble and see a ragged, desperate one-armed man greeting you. He takes you underground to a safe space, feeds you, offers you a place to sleep. And then announces that he’ll take the first watch. It’s not long before the peril of the jagged landscape has located you and your newfound protector and is scratching at the door. What transpires is a moment-to-moment struggle for survival—The Road meets Dawn of the Dead. Daybreak is seen through the eyes of a silent observer as he follows his protector and runs from the shadows of the imminent zombie threat. Brian Ralph slowly builds the tension of the zombies on the periphery, letting the threat—rather than the actual carnage—be the driving force. The postapocalyptic backdrop features tangles of rocks, lumber, I beams, and overturned cars that are characters in and of themselves.
Ralph’s stunning debut was the wordless graphic novel Cave-In, created while he was one of the founding members of the influential Fort Thunder art collective. Drawing inspiration from zombies, horror movies, television, and first-person shooter video games, Daybreak departs from zombie genre in both content and format, achieving a living-dead masterwork of literary proportions.