Shaun is a man lacking direction. Happy to sit around his
filthy flat with his filthy flatmate Ed, his vision rarely
extends further than the pub. But when his girlfriend Liz
leaves him - and Britain is swept by a devastating plague
of zombies - there's only one thing to do: get the girl, kill
the zombies, and save the day! Assuming he can get off his
backside, that is...
graphic novel is billed as a "director's cut" adaptation of
2004's well-received British "rom-com-zom" movie. Shaun
creators Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright (the people who brought
have overseen the project, and the comic's writer Chris Ryall
has worked in scenes that never made it on to the big screen.
humour of the piece comes across pretty much intact - though
this is decidedly adult humour and definitely not for kiddies.
I was laughing out loud after only the second page, on which
the arcade-game-playing Ed's expletive utterances punctuate
Liz's attempt to discuss her relationship with Shaun. This
is an American adaptation, though, so it is strange to see
US spellings in such a British narrative.
Howard's art is heavily inspired by Philip Bond and Jamie
Hewlett (Atomtan, Deadline), and as such suits
the tone of the story down to the ground. Only a vague attempt
has been made to match the likenesses of the actors in the
movie. Rather, Howard seems to have taken the approach of
accentuating the appearances of the characters rather than
the actual actors who played them. Therefore, while Ed, Liz
and Philip appear recognisably like their screen counterparts
played by Nick Frost, Kate Ashfield and Bill Nighy, and Shaun
himself resembles Simon Pegg, though with a fuller beard,
David and Dianne look nothing like Dylan Moran and Lucy Davis.
In fact, it's almost as though the graphic novel came first
and the film came second, with actors cast to fit the look
of the characters in the comic strip.
zombies of Shaun of the Dead remain true to those of
George A Romero's seminal Dead saga, from which Pegg
and Wright drew their inspiration. The creatures are slow,
clumsy and self-replicating, and the only means of killing
them are to destroy their brains or behead them. Their sluggish
movements provide plenty of comic potential, including a scene
in which Shaun and Ed futilely hurl various household objects
at the approaching undead, and have ample time to stop and
argue about which records from Shaun's vintage vinyl collection
are dispensable. In the comic, we now get the added humour
of sound effects such as "SPA-TONG!" Comparisons made between
zombies and everyday commuters, shoppers and workers also
contain a heavy dose of Romero's sly brand of social commentary.
is a dead good adaptation of a bloody (very bloody) great
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