Boom! Studios & Zombie Tales

I’m rather impressed by Boom! Studios‘ success. They’ve developed a couple of clearly understandable niches — more on that later — and they’re not aiming for more growth than they can handle. When they launch titles, they do so with focus, one at a time, instead of scatter-gunning the market. Their books have recognizable names doing good work and are well-reviewed (and they support the press nicely). Boom! books have been selling out as word spreads, but they don’t crow about disappointing customers (because that’s what sellouts ultimately mean).

So what are the books like?

Zombie Tales: Oblivion cover

One of their popular lines is Zombie Tales, 48 pages of horror stories published in color Prestige Format-like books for $7. Three one-shot anthologies collect work by writers such as Mark Waid, Keith Giffen, and several folks labeled TV writers. (With the company headquartered in Los Angeles, that’s not surprising.)

I don’t much care for zombie comics, but it’s certainly a timely subject and a hot genre. Given my taste, I was surprised that the first story in Zombie Tales: Oblivion, about zombies in the Arctic, was so thought-provoking. John Rogers writes a fresh take on the subject, and Tom Fowler’s art is clear, easy-to-read, and not overly gory. It uses detail instead of overkill to build horror.

Mike Nelson and Andy Kuhn put together an action piece with a killer punchline I could really get behind, while Mark Waid and Mark Badger contribute a story that uses mass apocalypse as background for a greeting-card-style reminder about what’s really important in life. The rest weren’t as memorable, with a reliance on the black humor that’s so common in the genre. Keith Giffen writes something set in Washington, DC, for Ron Lim to draw, and then Giffen draws something overwritten by Johanna Stokes.

There’s also a two-issue miniseries called Death Valley, which reads like a combination of Night of the Comet, Cujo, and Dawn of the Dead if populated by the cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In other words, it all feels familiar, but I was still rooting for the characters, even through the increasingly more unbelievable final chapter. The art by Rhoald Marcellus has a lot to do with keeping me interested, as does the longer length, which allowed me to get to know the characters.

I’m going to cover their other titles in a later post. Their website appears to be a work in progress, since several of the navigation links (including Contact) don’t work yet. If you’d like to find out more, though, they have a blog and a message board.


5 Responses to “Boom! Studios & Zombie Tales”

  1. Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] (This follows from the first part of my Boom! coverage.) Aside from monster books, Boom! has been tackling two other main types of comics: men’s adventure and superhero humor. With the latter, Hero Squared has a special, a three-issue miniseries, and soon, an ongoing series written by the team of Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis, best known for the frat-style humor of Justice League. [...]

  2. Boom! Studios » Blog Archive » Boom! books worth reading… Says:

    [...] “I’m rather impressed by Boom! Studios’ success. They’ve developed a couple of clearly understandable niches — more on that later — and they’re not aiming for more growth than they can handle. When they launch titles, they do so with focus, one at a time, instead of scatter-gunning the market. Their books have recognizable names doing good work and are well-reviewed (and they support the press nicely). [...]

  3. Anonymous Says:

    I recommend Giffen & DeMatties’s HERO SQUARED for all your thought-provoking superhero comedy needs.

    1st issue of the ongoing series should be out sometime in the next 30 days. The earlier chapters are definately worth checking out too.

  4. Johanna Says:

    I commented on Hero Squared in the second part of my Boom! coverage. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as blown away by it as you seem to have been.

  5. Interview with Kim Krizan, Oscar Nominee & New Comic Writer » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] Zombie Tales as a monthly ongoing anthology series starting in April. (I enjoyed some of the earlier issues.) It’s 24 pages for $3.99, with two alternate covers, and can be ordered with Diamond code [...]

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