Issue by Issue – Tales of the Zombie #1

Writer – Roy Thomas, Steve Gerber, Stan Lee, Kit Pearson, Marv Wolfman, Tom Sutton
Artist – John Buscema, Bill Everett, Dick Ayers, Pablo Marcos, Tom Sutton, Syd Shores
Inker – Tom Palmer, Syd Shores

Beginning with the very first story by Steve Gerber and John Buscema called Altar of the Damned, it would be narrated in second person, a rarity as most books or comics are either told in first or third. It adds a level of uniqueness to what takes place which is the damning of Simon Garth who though a man that might have his faults, is transformed into a zombie by story’s end. It continues with a tale by Stan Lee and Bill Everett simply called Zombie! which sees Garth raised from the swamp to obey the commands of the man who holds the talisman that matches his own, the man responsible for his death and resurrection. Ironhead is fun tale by Dick Ayers which sees a man’s greed become his own undoing and then there is an article on zombies in film, a good read for those that enjoy horror on the big screen. A short epic by Marv Wolfman and Pablo Marcos about black magic and those that reside beneath the bogs in Denmark entertains with some strong horror until finally after a quick two-pager by Tom Sutton, it all culminates in a final tale from Steve Gerber and John Buscema once again featuring the star of the show, Simon Garth. While overall, the magazine is highly enjoyable with strong work from those mentioned, the better stories are those with Garth – his origin by Gerber, his revenge by Lee and finally Gerber again in a tale that finds him called forth from his grave while his daughter seeks answers as to what became of him. The stories are phenomenal and presenting them in second person is a stroke of genius, setting this horror magazine apart from all the others that were being released at the time. As for the artwork, it too is quite strong with all of it from Buscema to Sutton delivering some incredibly detailed and beautiful work. Never has a zombie looked as good as Simon Garth does and when one factors in everything else from witches to voodoo to good guys and bad, the book looks absolutely gorgeous. As stated, the best stories are those that feature Garth from the incredibly suspenseful opening tale that finds Garth a man who finds little enjoyment out of life at the moment, his waking life either being taken up by his work or trying to run his home and the picture he paints does not make the reader very sympathetic towards him at first. Though he may not be the friendliest or most considerate of people, one can empathise with him a little when it comes to a job, understanding the stresses and responsibilities of the daily grind. Be that as it may, love or hate the man, nobody deserves to be sacrificed upon an altar or turned into a zombie and just when readers think the man will get away to safety, Garth’s fate is soon sealed and thus the lead character of the book is born. One of the more interesting characters to be introduced is Garth’s daughter Donna and hopefully, she continues on in the supporting cast so that she may find out one way or another, just what happened to the man she used to call her father. From start to finish, Tales of the Zombie is an incredible read and those that love horror will find few magazines better than this.

5 out of 5

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