I recently began getting back into reading comic books here and there. Before I left Seattle for China I was still buying the occasional comic now and then and even when I could not afford them I would loiter suspiciously around the comic book store and thumb through the books that were not wrapped in plastic. For the most part after arriving to China my comic book world sort of ended. They do not do comic books in China except for a few manga or anime type things. Most of my students here have no idea really that Spiderman And Batman are characters in a comic book. When I say there is a zero comic book culture in China I shit you not. But I began collecting comics in digital format a few years back, and at such a rate I could not keep up with things. But I had issues with viewing them on a computer monitor, at least on my old one. They just looked weird. Now I have a snazzy new fangled wide, flat screen type and I am really impressed with the way the images look. Nothing like reading a real comic book of course, but I sadly have little choice here in China. And to be honest I use bittorrent sites (like The Pirate Bay and the recently resurrected Demonoid) and do not pay a penny for any of the stuff, so that is a good deal too.
Well, the focus of this post is one pretty freaked out (or fucked up actually) little series called Crossed, by original story arc writer Garth Ennis and artist Jacen Burrows. Later writer David Lapham and a series of artists revive the series with a new set of stories like Badlands and Pyschopath, but I have not gotten to them yet as I am only about half way through the first story. I cannot read a comic book if I do not like the drawings and that is that. And no problems in that department here. I like Burrows' style and I peeked ahead and like some of the later artists even more. It is finely detailed pen and ink work (Looks like some Photoshopping here and there as well, but that is still art... I guess) and some of the later stuff by Raulo Cacares reminds me of the work of underground cartoonist Rand Holmes (Harold Hedd and many of the old Death Rattle comics). The story is basically a post apocalyptic zombie type thing really, but the twist on the formula here is that the "zombies" are the infected type (not the return from the dead types) and they retain some dangerous degree of intelligence and can communicate even. They also use guns and drive cars. And they are a nasty lot, driven by the infection, which "brands" them with a cross pattern on their faces, to carry out the most unimaginable acts not only on the uninfected but on each other when they are bored. Of course there is the tattered group of survivors trying to get to Alaska who have to not only wrestle with the Crossed but with each other and themselves, in true zombie apocalypse fashion. I am telling you folks, this in not for everyone and I am a bit ashamed that it seems to be for me. I am posting some covers here and some art and the more intense stuff in in the "Read More" section. Maybe nothing to look at while eating lasagna okay.