"The Hidden" by Richard Sala (Fantagraphics)
Graphic novelist Richard Sala cures the zombie apocalypse malaise with a new book that takes the basic set-up of those tales and turns it into an artsy, comical, downright weird exercise in terror that brings together several slices of the horror genre for one onslaught.
Something weird has happened to the world -- there’s a full-scale slaughter being enacted by monstrous creeps who are tearing apart the cities and leaving trails of bodies. One mysterious man flees the scene and is found much later, practically catatonic in a cave. His rescuers, Tom and Colleen, embark on a quest for safety with him and, along the way, encounter more nightmarish tales of what is going on in the world, as well as the secrets of why it is happening.
Sala initially introduces a world beset by zombie creatures, but he brings in elements of vampires and, most importantly, Frankenstein, for a well-rounded horror tale that blends these three traditional horror elements into something modern and surprising.
Equally, Sala’s art style helps the story ride high -- his dark cartoons manage to suck you into the narrative while still highlighting the meta quality of the story. This is a story about horror as much as it is a horror story, examining the themes that draw us into these stories as much as they are utilized by authors to comment on the real world. Somewhere between those two intentions lies "The Hidden," a modernist horror tale that acts like the zombies it evokes, cannibalizing the genres from which it sprang and spewing out something new from those entrails.