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First-Person Zombies and Autobiographical Demons

By Jess D'Amico in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 14, 2007 7:50PM

daybreak2.jpgThe former Highwater Books was one of the first publishing companies that made us pay attention to comics and graphic novels. After a financial failure, Randy Cheng, a former employee, started Bodega Distribution to continue Highwater's mission. Recently, Randy sent us a sampling of Bodega's wares, and we feel the torch is being carried well.

Daybreak, by Brian Ralph, is a first-person narrative set in a zombie-run world. We read the second, and latest, in the series. It was a little jarring, what with waking up and zombies ruling the earth, and a one-armed man and stray dog as your only friends. But add a broken-down fourth wall, and it works. We've enjoyed Ralph's sketchy and muted illustrations for a while and feel perfectly at home with them in this space. We anxiously wait to see what happens to us in Daybreak's next installment.

The second book, Service Industry, by T. Edward Bak, is an autobiographical, dystopic musing on life. It was first published as a weekly page in Flagpole in Athens, GA. and chaotically flips between an everyday story (which can be overwhelmingly text heavy )and a mysterious world, with demons who may or may not be evil, where the dialogue is minimal. Bak slowly reveals painful pieces of his childhood, including his abandoned baby sister and the father he never knew. We have to admit that at first, we hated Service Industry. It was sort of Bukowski and Kerouac-esque, but not in a fresh way. After the first few pages, however, we found ourselves falling for the art and wandering through the pages more than reading. Service Industry is worth the read, even if it sometimes feels like a long LiveJournal rant.