ZOMBIES! An Illustrated History of the Undead is the first book to take a long, putrefying look at the entire zombie phenomenon. From origins in Haitian voodoo zombie lore and the literature of Mary Shelley and Edgar Allan Poe, the undead began to slowly seep through the pulp magazines and silent cinema of the early twentieth century, and on to classic 1970s and eighties undead flicks like Lucio Fulci’s Zombie and George A. Romero’s legendary Dawn of the Dead.
Written by famed horror expert Jovanka Vuckovic, and featuring an exclusive foreword from Romero himself, ZOMBIES! brings you all this and more, coming right up to date with movies like Zombieland and [Rec], the new wave of zombie novels, The Walking Dead comic book and TV show, and even zombie walks. Despite numerous attempts to assign the rotting corpses permanently to their graves, there is no end in sight to our thirst for the horror and drama that the undead provide. ZOMBIES! is a fascinating and visually arresting roam through a still-vital sub-genre. (From the Back Cover of the book)
During my horror-obsessed life, I’ve read a fair number of books whose sole focus is on the rise of the zombie through fiction and all types of media. Ranging from dry, historical tomes to a mix of current fiction with historical perspectives, all of them seemed to follow the same path. Not much jumped out at me to set them apart from other books in the same genre.
Jovanka Vuckovic wrote a zombie history book from a different perspective. While there is still a historical aspect of zombie media (books, movies), Vuckovic also presents the reader with a plethora of media outlets that have been overtaken by the walking dead. Zombie walks, zombie comics, and zombie video games are all discussed in undead detail. With amazing illustrations (see the picture below), this book gives us a more entertaining view of the rise of the zombies.
The illustrations create a counterpoint to what some might consider a dry subject, except in this book. With the entertaining writing style plus the concept illustrations, this book breaks down the historical importance and development of zombie culture into the individual decades. You are able to not only read about the variations to the myths and tales, but you are able to view the development of today’s living dead in the illustrations.
I really enjoyed reading this book. While I have read several books that talk of the early days of the zombie subculture, it was interesting to read the most current perspective of the living dead as they impact television, comics, video games, etc. Living and enjoying zombie walks, games, and media and then being able to read a history of how we reached this point of zombie proliferation is highly entertaining and enjoyable. Having the grandfather of zombie films (George Romero) pen the foreward indicates the importance and influence behind the book.
I recommend this book for all true zombie fans and those who dabble in the genre. I’m not sure if any of you are like me, but I love to read what others have to say about movies, books, games, etc that I’ve enjoyed. Comparing their thoughts with my own helps expand the genre for me and allows me to discuss it freely with others. Zombies! An Illustrated History of the Undead is an enjoyable book that I think you all should check out.
A little bit about the author (from Amazon.com):
Jovanka Vuckovic is a Gemini award winning filmmaker, author and artist. Her first short film The Captured Bird (winner of four international Best Short Film awards) was executive produced Guillermo del Toro (Pacific Rim, Pan’s Labyrinth) and was an official selection at over 50 festivals around the globe including the Worldwide Short Film Festival, Fantasia, Sitges, Fantastic Fest, Atlantic Film Festival and many more. It will have an unprecedented theatrical release in Canada at 25 Cineplex Odeon theatres across Canada in May of 2013.
Her second short film Self Portrait was created for and showcased at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. In 2013 she was selected by the Toronto International Film Festival as one of 25 filmmakers from around the globe to participate in its high profile Emerging Filmmakers Competition. Her third short film, The Guest, was created for the competition.
Vuckovic studied Physical Anthropology at McMaster University and spent five years as a digital effects artist at CBC Television, where she earned a Gemini Award for Best Visual Effects. She became a celebrated genre film expert during her tenure as Editor-in-Chief of Rue Morgue Magazine and twice was named one of the most important women in the history of horror alongside Mary Shelley (Frankenstein), Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker) and Debra Hill (Halloween).
Vuckovic is the author of Zombies! An Illustrated History of the Undead (St. Martin’s Press) and the upcoming Vuckovic’s Horror Miscellany from Ilex Press. She appears frequently on television and in documentaries as a genre film expert including the Blade Runner (Five-Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition), Zombiemania and Universal’s The Future of Fear. Vuckovic is is currently in development on her first documentary feature. She lives in Toronto with her husband Shane and daughter Violet.