I broke my iron-clad “no zombies” rule to read Eating Steve when sent a review copy, only because I so very much enjoyed J. Marc Schmidt’s previous graphic novel, Egg Story.
I shouldn’t have bothered. Not because of the subject matter, but because it’s not very good. It’s not really about zombies — it’s about a young woman finding herself after the abrupt end of her relationship and life to date. Schmidt postulates a disease that causes people to suddenly eat the brains of others. Jill catches it and attacks her boyfriend Steve.
The premise exists only to spur Jill onto her journey, so don’t expect any sort of thought-out background or ramifications. Her life trip meanders through the book, and things happen randomly and unbelievably. (That’s often justified as being realistic, but I don’t read fiction for realism, I read for plausibility and insight into human nature. If I wanted to see wandering, I’d sit on a park bench.) I didn’t get a good feel for why Jill was doing what she was doing, and some of it just made me think “really? the guy she bumps into is a TV producer?”
When I did understand her reactions, they sometimes didn’t make sense to me. Like being surprised that her boyfriend wanted nothing more to do with her after the attack. That seems rather stupid on her part, to think that nothing will change after such a traumatic event.
The art is reminiscent of a coloring book or your less-developed comic strips. I was confused by the occasional inset photograph of Jill’s meals, especially when they weren’t reproduced with enough resolution to understand what they were supposed to be.
I suspect that Schmidt wants to deal with karma and the way good things can happen to people if they allow themselves to experience life, but I’m only guessing at that based on my knowledge of his previous work. If that is his theme, it’s not at all clear from this book. I’m also guessing that some of the events shown here have meaning to him based on things that have happened to him. It’s a shame that he wasn’t able to better work them into a story that would be as rewarding for other readers. (The publisher provided a review copy.)