Quick! What is the most over-saturated genre in recent times?
On one side, people will say vampires. The vampire genre got a significant boost after the post-Twilight era. We’ve seen a lot of TV series about it, and boatloads of books with suspiciously similar cover designs. Some are good, some are awfully bad, but one can’t deny that there seems to be some kind of vampire-fascination that got all the fangirls drooling all over.
On the other hand, we got the zombie genre. There are a lot of movies about it and even anime and manga rode on the hype of it. It’s more particularly saturated on videogames, with a lot of zombie titles churning out every year. If there’s one thing that would unite all the geeks in the world, it would be the zombie apocalypse. The pinnacle of all the zombie enthusiasts out there. The Great Dream of Humanity.
Now both genres got saturated to the point where it sometimes get borderline annoying. I’m a zombie fan myself, but I can’t help myself from whining whenever a new zombie-themed videogame is released–especially when it’s absolutely bad. I can’t stomach going at my local bookstore and see all the best-selling books are vampire books without being a literary-elitist. That’s how bad it got, and there is almost little room for new ideas, for both genres.
So what is this about The New Deadwardians that is particular interesting? Well, it combines both genres in an alternate post-Victorian England that has detective elements! Yep, you heard that right. Vampires and zombies in a fancy England era doing detective stuff. All that’s missing is some steampunk and I could have drooled all over the pages!
The basic premise of the story is that there has been a zombie outbreak in England. Most of the population have been ravaged, and the lower classes with no means of protection, healthcare, or proper shelter were the first to be severely affected. But, the government found a solution–a way for someone from being infected with the zombie plague. The only way is to be dead, or more precisely, undead. That’s where the Cure comes in, which is basically some bizarre stuff that turned humans to vampires. Since they were technically dead, zombies avoided them but this also meant that they were cursed with all the disadvantages of being a vampire.
Most of the upper classes took it as precaution, sacrificing their humanity, along with their human desires. Hunger, sleepiness, and even sexual desires were not something that the vampires felt. Worse, they were immortal. Imagine living way past your age and not having any form of physical desire.
Also, since the Cure is very expensive, most of the lower classes weren’t able to afford it. This not only caused disdain from the lower classes, but a form of segregation and social-isolation. Throughout the comic, there is class struggle and species struggle which was also interesting to see.
Have I mentioned that it’s also a detective comic? Without giving away too much, the main character is an inspector trying to find out one of the deaths of an upper-class citizen. However, it’s more than what meets the eye and is filled with a great deal of intrigue because of his particular and peculiar death, since he died without exploiting a vampire’s particular weakness. Think a water-downed vampire Sherlock Holmes without Watson, investigating a crime on a zombie-plagued world.
Visually, it could have been done better. I’m not a huge fan of the art used, and I prefer a more noir approach to it. There are some instances where it felt too cartoonish, or scenes that needed a sense of mystery were too bright.
But, the plot and setting was interesting enough to hook me in. I would love to see a TV series about this comic, since it’s gritty and mysterious, and it would also provide a great boost on the crime drama genre–which has also been over-done and has reached its plateau. Something akin to the Sherlock (2013) TV series, with its cinematography and style would be an interesting fit for this story.
Recommendation: Read it! The comic has an interesting premise, a plot worth following, above-average characters with interesting personalities, and a wonderful setting. Visually, not too much but it also complements the story.
*The New Deadwardians is a Vertigo comic, written by Dan Abnett. It has 8-issues and a trade paperback has been released