Zombie Wife and Other Tales of Supernatural Law
The most recent Supernatural Law collection, Zombie Wife and Other Tales of Supernatural Law, came out last year after a successful Kickstarter campaign. (That link also has the information on where the stories originally appeared.)
I was reminded of the series when I read Comic Book Creator #8, which concludes a two-part interview with creator Batton Lash. It had been a while since I’d read any issues. I think, like so many other independent, self-published comics, it changed from print to digital serialization, although the webcomic is no longer running.
I was reminded of the webcomic, because several of the reprinted stories here show that origin. The storytelling is lumpy, with each half-page having to have something happen, evoking the original serialization. Reading one after the other can be repetitive, as the premise is restated frequently. Lash’s work was never that visually exciting, although effectively atmospheric. Broken into these chunks, it relies even more on talking heads. One sequence, in fact, consists of nothing but a character’s head repeated 30 times, with different expressions. On the bright side, any new reader can quickly follow along, as everything is explained clearly.
The title story, “Zombie Wife”, features a man, acquitted of his wife’s murder, followed by her returned corpse. “The Gods Must Be Litigious” is the longest in the book, and as a result, the most successful. Medusa has authored a book, and she’s unhappy with attack cartoons created by the lawsuit-happy “Red Thrall” (based, one assumes, on the similar real-life fight-picker Ted Rall). The case turns on the nature of free speech, even speech someone dislikes, although the ending, as you’d expect from a story with the mythical gods, is a literal deus ex machina.
“This Man, This Demon?” is about a guy who refuses to believe he transformed into a monster and caused havoc. When Wolff and Byrd try to get his competency questioned, he fires them as his lawyers, choosing to represent himself. I bet you can guess what happens.
“Something Wicca This Way Comes” pits witches against Wiccans in a short Halloween tale. “Werewolves… And the Women Who Love Them” satirizes the Dr. Phil show, with an abrupt, unsatisfying ending that leads into “A Vampire in Hollywood”, about a fifth-generation bloodsucker who signs with an agent.
The legal jokes are the funniest, in my opinion. For example, when Alanna Wolff is facing down Zeus, an observer warns her partner that she should be careful what she says, and he responds, “No sweat… Wolff’s argued before Rehnquist.”
Supernatural Law is reminiscent of chain restaurant comfort food. It’s not outstanding enough to rave to your friends about, not thrilling, but it’s reliable. You always know what you’re going to get, and it’s pleasant enough. I admire Lash for still going after so many years. That kind of longevity is rare, and I want to continue reading his comics just to applaud it. Will there be more? I don’t know. If there is, I’ll check it out; if not, I’ll read something else.