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Dead to the World (iZombie) Paperback – March 22, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Alex Carr Reviews iZombie for Omnivoracious

While fans of AMC’s The Walking Dead gnash their teeth in anticipation for the second season, Vertigo offers a surprising new take on the zombie genre this month with iZombie. Written by Chris Roberson and with artwork by cult favorite Mike Allred, Volume 1: Dead to the World is a significant tonal shift from most zombie comics on the market. It’s told from the perspective of a female zombie named Gwen Dylan, whose undead existence comes with a great twist: in order to maintain the pretense that she’s alive, Gwen must consume human gray matter once a month or else her zombie instincts take over. Along with the brainy aftertaste comes selective memories from the deceased, and Gwen is cursed with flashbacks that are not her own. It’s a tough gig, coupled with a job digging graves (bright side: her day job provides those necessary late-night snacks that she reluctantly craves), and the irony is not lost on her:

This is, by the way, totally some kind of symbol for my entire existence. Digging holes in the morning, filling them up in the afternoon, and sneaking in at night to dig ‘em back up again. Over and over. Like that guy in the Greek hell who rolled a big rock up and down a hill all day. What was his name? Syphilis? Something like that, anyway. Whatever. Seriously, though, I’d switch places with the dead Greek guy in a second.

Gwen’s best friend, Ellie, is a lonely ghost stuck in 1960s fashion, but she wears it well. Her melancholic state is just as interesting as Gwen’s predicament, and Roberson develops both female characters with an easy-going, natural manner, giving iZombie a refreshingly frank attitude. When Gwen’s oblivious coworkers ask her to join them after work, she off-handedly dismisses them: “I’ve got to wash my hair, or something suitably girly like that.” Even undead, Gwen is too cool--a graveyard hipster, hiding her secret under a thick coffin liner of aloofness.

Once Gwen cracks the latest cranium and devours its innards, however, she uncovers a murder mystery that threatens to spoil her detached routine. She, Ellie, and their were-terrier pal, Scott, form an askew Scooby-Doo alliance to solve the case, and along the way they cross paths with a sorority comprised of vamping vamps, a pair of strange men in white coats, and a Hugh Hefner-esque mummy who might hold more answers than Gwen imagined.


Mike Allred’s pop art leanings imbue iZombie with a sly, ever-smirking temperament. His characters inhabit a canvas that’s instantly recognizable as his own: bold, unblended lines case characters who seem partially aware of the comic panels that frame their stories. They knowingly pose, at once a part of and removed from their backgrounds. The artwork is muddier than Allred’s Madman series, yet not as sharp-edged as his X-Force/X-Statix run. The paperback collection includes over ten pages of sketchbook material from Allred, and it’s fun to see his pencil-work before it gets handed off to his wife, Laura, for coloring.

Seattle fans of Chris Roberson can catch up with the writer at this weekend’s Emerald City Comicon 2011, to be held in the Seattle Convention Center. The official website has the full list of attendees and events, including panel discussions with creators and publishers, a list of comics vendors, a map of Artists Alley, and Q&As and autograph sessions with media guests. It’s an impressive batch of comics celebs, and I have my backissue checklist already queued up on my phone.


About the Author

Chris Roberson's writings include the novels Here, There & Everywhere, The Voyage of Night Shining White, Paragaea: A Planetary Romance, X-Men: The Return, Set the Seas on Fire, The Dragon's Nine Sons, End of the Century, Iron Jaw and Hummingbird, Three Unbroken, and Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War II, and the comic book series Cinderella: From Fabletown With Love. His short stories have appeared in such magazines as Asimov's, Interzone, Postscripts, and Subterranean, and in anthologies such as Live Without a Net, FutureShocks, and Forbidden Planets. Along with his business partner and spouse Allison Baker, he is the publisher of MonkeyBrain Books, an independent publishing house specializing in genre fiction and nonfiction genre studies, and he is the editor of anthology Adventure Vol. 1. He has been a finalist for the World Fantasy Award four times--once each for writing and editing, and twice for publishing--twice a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and four times for the Sidewise Award for Best Alternate History (winning the Short Form in 2004 with his story "O One" and the Long Form in 2008 with his novel The Dragon's Nine Sons). Chris and Allison live in Austin, Texas with their daughter Georgia.

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Product Details

  • Series: iZombie
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Vertigo; 1st edition (March 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401229654
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401229658
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.3 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,303 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

New York Times Bestselling author Chris Roberson is best known for his Eisner nominated ongoing comic book series iZombie, co-created with artist Mike Allred, and multiple Cinderella mini-series set in the world of Bill Willingham's Fables. He has written more than a dozen novels and numerous short stories, as well as many other comic projects including Superman, Stan Lee's Starborn, Elric: The Balance Lost, Memorial, and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?: Dust to Dust. He has been a finalist for the World Fantasy Award four times; twice a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer; and has won the Sidewise Award for Best Alternate History in both the Short Form and Novel categories. Chris lives with his wife and daughter in Portland, Oregon.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Dusty Bottoms is Dead & Gone on May 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
I am a huge HUGE fan of Mike Allred; I'll buy anything with his name on it. That said, you might not have as much enthusiasm as I do for him, and his art, in my opinion, is the main selling point for iZombie. I am a reluctant fan of the series. It's definitely not the first thing I'd recommend for those browsing for a new comic to read.

Chris Roberson has dipped his hand in many cookie jars, when it comes to literary genre's and mediums. He's written post-modern, mystery and science fiction novels, as well as numerous comic issues of Vertigo's Fables and related titles. I'm not exactly sure where his strengths lie, though sci-fi is his said preferred and most praised area of expertise. iZombie is not sci-fi, and I'm not sure he fully understands the comic medium enough to keep readers attention long enough to see the series through.

It's the pacing of the series, that for me, is all wrong. The characterization is solid, though I think a few characters are weak and generic. Also, not a whole lot happens. Aside from getting to know Gwen, her Friends and weird world they live in, 'Dead to the World' really doesn't offer much except a twist at the end that admittedly does make iZombie more interesting.

The premise is intriguing, but it's pretty simplistic, enough so, that it shouldn't take an entire 5 issue story arc to lay the foundation for it, which is all volume one really does. I'm not even sure it's necessary to read this arc to follow the rest of the series. The characters really don't need much of an introduction. The premise is pretty self-explanatory, and Gwen's self-revelation in issue #5, which could have easily of happened in issue 2, will be inevitably gone over and mentioned numerous times to keep new readers up to speed.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A. KAPLAN on March 28, 2011
Format: Paperback
Gwen Dylan works as a gravedigger in a Eugene, OR cemetery by day. By night, she hangs out with her friends, tries to figure out the meaning of her life, and tries to just survive.

But her friends are a ghost and a werewolf (or, more accurately, were-terrier). Gwen survives by eating brains once a month, in the process absorbing the memories of the recently-deceased and -consumed and finding herself compelled to resolve any unfinished business they've left behind. Because Gwen is a zombie, but not just a mindless, shambling corpse. She is still the same person she was before she died (as far as she can remember, which isn't 100%). Why is she so special? That's what she wants to find out.

She and her friends aren't the only monsters in Eugene. There's a pack of vampires, running a paintball range. And there's a couple of monster hunters, including Horatio. Gwen should probably stay away from him, before he finds out who, or what, she really is. If only he weren't so darn cute!

Chris Roberson creates a group of interesting, three-dimensional characters in iZombie, and through them tells a story that's both hilarious and horrifying. But it's never predictable. Mike Allred's art is clean, clear, and detailed. He gives each character their own distinct look, and perfectly captures the tone of Roberson's story.

This is only the first installment in the adventures of Gwen and her friends, collecting the first five issues of their monthly comic. I can't wait to read more!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By chh1138 on January 11, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you're looking for something similar to The Walking Dead, this isn't it. This is a much more light-hearted comic. Great art by Mike Allred (but am I the only one that thinks Gwen looks like Debbie Harry? Not that that's a bad thing). If you're looking for a fun, quick read about zombies, vampires, and were-dogs, with a bit of Portlandia thrown in, this is for you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 16, 2015
Format: Paperback
This is an abridged version of the complete review as it appears (http://ianwoodnovellum.blogspot.com/2015/05/izombie-dead-to-world-by-chris-roberson.html) at my blog dedicated to reading, writing (no 'rithmatic!), movies, & TV.

This is the first of four in a series that was pretty awesome. I am not typically a fan of series, but I got into reading this because I first watched the TV show, which is completely awesome. I was initially disappointed in the comic because they changed a heck of a lot for the TV show and I really liked that, but the comic grew on me as I read it and now I am a fan of this, too. Volume two dropped a bit and was not quite up to par for me, but three and four came roaring back so I recommend the whole thing.

There were some issues with it, nevertheless. For example, in this series, Gwen (who is Olivia in the TV show) is not a doctor who conveniently now works the medical examiner's office, but is working on a crew of grave diggers. She doesn't live with a room mate, but in a crypt in the graveyard, and she isn't in touch with her family or her old boyfriend. Nor does she work with a cop pretending to be a psychic to solve murders.

Everyone she knew in her old life thinks she's dead. Her grave is right there in the graveyard. For me the TV scenario was smarter. It's highly unlikely they would have four people working in a cemetery digging graves full time. Don't they have one guy with a little backhoe working part time these days? The expense of having four people would be way too high. OTOH, this is comic book fiction, so I guess we shouldn't expect too much realism.
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