As a long-time fan of paranormal fiction, I was thrilled to check out the inaugural issue of RIGOR MORTIS. I’ve read about a zillion vampire books in my life, but I’ve never felt the same pull toward zombies.
Enter DeadVita and Dread Sockett. Within the pages of RM, these two masters of the undead analyze anything and everything related to the genre – books, movies, graphic novels, theories, and other fare.
Two recent occurrences in my life made RM even more fascinating to me. First, as of last year, I’ve stumbled into the weird, drama-filled world of fan fiction. The fandom often feels like a sociology experiment gone horribly awry, and I’ve learned that people hold very strong views on the “rules” of the fandom (and uphold them viciously.) There are camps of fans who demand canon only, sticking to the details of the original books. Others sprawl into alternate universe, smut or all-human, foregoing any resemblance to the original material other than the names of the characters. The two sides battle it out on blogs and discussion boards, each bashing or ignoring the other. Like fan fiction, zombie fans seem divided into two camps.
The first, filled with mostly the young ’uns, believe that movies like 28 Days Later set the bar for the causes, behaviors, aftermath and limitations of zombiedom. Zombies are linked to an apocalyptic event on the planet, whether due to an infection, manmade contagion or other cosmic catastrophe. This version of the undead can talk, think, plan and outsmart humans and may include crossovers into other non-human creatures (think zombie pets, birds, zoo animals, etc.). The second camp seems to be made up of long-term fans of the genre with a dedication to the vision of Romero and his movies. While the cause of becoming an undead may remain the same, these zombies are silent or moaning, lurching, flesh-dropping and flesh-eating monsters.
Secondly, at work I frequently read about new trends in the publishing world. By every indication, vampires are out, and both readers and publishers are searching for the next trend. Zombies are hot at the moment. To me, they symbolize the apathy and laziness in our culture right now, under the fog of two wars, economic collapse, pandemics and globalization.
Both DeadVita and Dread Sockett hate the talking/smart kind of zombies. I do too.
Despite their negative review of The Rising, I started reading it. I had to stop about fifty pages in. I couldn’t get past the reanimated fish and lion, speaking in English and Sumerian, and filled with the souls of demons waiting to take over the bodies of humans and animals alike. WTF? Thankfully, RM lists plenty of other recommendations that are more to my liking, including several amazing books and movies. I highly recommend this zine, both because of its interesting content and because of its intriguing glimpse into a fandom full of dedicated enthusiasts.