Graphic Novel Review 144/365: Junior Braves of the Zombie Apocalypse

Please keep up with all of my old Graphic Novel Reviews here as I quest for 365 in 365 days! Or hit up #GN365 on Twitter.

You are going to get some fun ones this week because I just can’t even…

Title: Junior Braves of the Zombie Apocalypse 

Author(s): Greg Smith, Michael Tanner, and Zach Lehner

Publisher: Oni Press (2015)

Age Rating: 13+

I met Zach Lehner around a year ago at a small comic-con at a local library where he was promoting and selling Junior Braves of the Zombie Apocalypse, a Oni Press graphic novel for which he has done the art.  A fan of zombie tales, I bought the book.  And I ended up seeing Zach again at ALA this past summer when Pop Culture Classroom had a table right next to Zach’s.  We got more time to hang out and chat.  At the time, my wife had recently had an accident that left her with a scar on her nose, and I asked Zach to draw her all tough with the scar:

She looks pretty bad-ass, right?!  Zach is a great artist, and I knew that I would like the book, not because Zach is a cool guy (although that helps) but because his art is amazing and…zombies.  I’ve always been a fan of zombies.  Especially zombies with a bit of levity.  Like many people I know, I had to stop watching The Walking Dead because NOTHING GOOD EVER HAPPENS!  However, in Junior Braves, there is humor; there is levity; there is a bit of fun.

The premise is simple.  A troop of scouts are out in the middle of nowhere, and return from a week in the wilderness to the zombie apocalypse.  They have theories of where their families could have fled, but nothing is certain.  They have a couple of adults looking out for them, but the zombie apocalypse takes not prisoners, and per usual, no one is safe.

The book is done in simple black and white with splashes and shades of green on each page, giving the book a sick, infected look.  Considering Zach had only green to work with, I must admit, I’m impressed that I can tell the difference between the handful of Junior Braves in the book.  The creative team of Greg, Michael, and Zach did a good job of having the characters call each other by their names quite a bit, helping hammer home who is whom.

Little treats like Junior Brave Field Manual pages written on by our Junior Braves separating chapters are a neat addition to the theme and look of the book creating an overall pretty cool book one.  I know there will be more…I saw Zach working hard on book two!  If you are a fan of survival/zombie horror, check this one out.  Add it to your zombie collection or a member of the living dead’s collection in your life!  A little violent, but nothing too extreme; this book might even be a cool gift for the teen horror fan as well.

This 365/365 project has allowed me to meet some cool people and publishers, and I can say without a doubt that Zach and Oni Press are a couple of my favorites.  I’m just happy that I genuinely liked this book.  It would have been awkward if I didn’t, right?

Happy reading!

Eric

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