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Daybreak Hardcover – September 27, 2011
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"Brian Ralph’s adventure stories combine the hand-crafted charm of indie comics with the well-thought-out thrills of good pulp. A-" —The Onion, The A.V. Club
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The beautiful thing about Daybreak is that the main protagonist, an unnamed one-armed survivor speaks to the reader/'unknown addressed' directly. An off screen character is addressed by this survivor as he takes you to a safe-house, provides you with food, information, and most importantly - weapons.
The artwork is simple but very effective. I won't get into the circumstances surrounding this particular Zombie infestation/apocalypse. It is enough to know that we the reader/'unknown addressed' follow along and must somehow survive a very dangerous world.
The books are simply drawn but with a lot of thought put into them which makes you go back over the book trying to figure out the exact sequence of things (not in a annoying way though as in many badly planned comics)
The best thing about the books for me though was the personal nature and the way the first person perspective and minimal use of words made you feel you were there. Clever writing and composition helped too.
In the end a moving story despite it's relative short length. It's a real sum of it's parts experience.
The story of two people trying to survive in post-apocalyptic zombie wasteland has been done many times, but this work brings a completely new perspective to its challenges.
Great and subtle details make these episodes repay close attention. They combine to show extremely interesting and sympathetic characters.
This five-star review should be taken to apply to all three episodes in the graphic novel: they're all superb, combining humanism and artistry in a crisp, sharp style.
By having the viewer as an active participant in the action, a strong atmosphere is created that grips the reader until the very last page. We become emotionally invested in the story's outcome and are curious to see what fate lies in store for us and our one-armed pal.
Daybreak isn't like anything else in the 'zombie' genre of fiction. It is a sweet and heartfelt look at friendship during times of survival, and the zombies are just the element of distress that add to the story's overall landscape. This is a must-read comic for anyone who pines for a fresh look at visual storytelling.
The drawing style is similar to James Kochalka's, which is no bad thing by the by, he's an excellent artist, but the story is really great, sweeping you up in the confusion into a fast paced plot and ultimately a personal tragedy. The point of view way of telling the story is different from how usual zombie stories are done and Brian Ralph does a fine job of telling the story via this approach.
The character of the one-armed boy is well written and his story arc is dealt with brilliantly, from a rapscallion you feel sorry for to ultimately a real person who bravely faces up to their fate.
I really enjoyed this book and felt that it deserves a wider audience, especially those who enjoy the zombie sub-genre of contemporary horror, but who also like really well done indie comics. Brian Ralph has written and drawn a wonderful comic that I loved reading, one that is definitely worth checking out for yourself.