Everybody's Dead #1


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Everybody's Dead #1


  • Words: Brian Lynch
  • Art: Dave Crossland
  • Inks: Dave Crossland
  • Colors: Leonard O\\'Grady
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Publisher: IDW Publishing
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Mar 19, 2008

The five active brothers of Beta Eta Delta, the smallest and worst fraternity on campus, host a huge Halloween shindig off-campus, on the grounds that once belonged to the biggest and toughest fraternity (The Omegas).  The house in question, having been taken from the bigger fish and given to the smaller, has sparked a small war between the two, and now, the festivities in full-on, late-night swing, a throwdown is about to go down!  And then a meteor crashes into the Earth and everyone becomes a zombie.

Well, no, not everybody, though the title claims thus, but nearly everybody.  Everybody’s Dead #1 starts out quiet and chill and relaxed, hysterical from page one but focused on establishing characters and a setting right out of Animal House or Back to School.  So focused is writer Brian Lynch on this, that by the final page I’d forgotten the comic was even meant to be a horror one!  Lynch is very skilled in rhythm, dialogue, and pacing, so that the story flows naturally and even deceitfully smooth.  The shallow fraternity folk are given personalities that bolster the comedic effect and even manage to prove likable, not really fleshed-out but recognizable caricatures that turn the story into an engrossing thing, like the best of Archie tales.

Lynch has proven himself in handling humor (Monkey Man Unleashed), but can he do horror?  Interestingly, no one will know until issue #2—the meteor doesn’t hit until the very last page!  This entire first ish is sheer build-up, though it’s awesome build-up, entirely entertaining in its own right.  The humor is high and there’s even a little bit of well-plated action in the second half, when the two fraternities come to blows.  Lynch provides a script that’s hard to beat for a first issue, as everything comes together, the ensemble cast properly presented, each and every one, and then the big bad surprise at the end.  Even with the title and conceit as obvious as they are, the script is so dense and the events so fulfilling that the horror still surprises when it hits.  You mean this isn’t a college gross-out humor B-movie dramedy?!?

Artist Dave Crossland (of Puffed and Stay Puffed fame) is also an old hand at funnybook humor, and his characters, layouts, set-ups, and send-ups all strike home.  Again, the book looks and reads and feels like a comedy with a hint of melodrama, a true-blue slice-of-life indie with wild and Jim Mahfood-esque representational art.  But something tells me Crossland’s semi-grotesque style is going to be marvelous when the actual grotesque stuff starts to occur.  His figures are small and stunted in an animation-flavor way, though he’s a pro at utilizing the oddity of his art to show character strengths and flaws by visual alone, via pose and expression and the chosen details of each character’s model and make.

Everybody’s Dead #1 may lose a few readers for its daring approach—a horror book without any horror—but for my tastes, this issue showcased how incredible a steady and careful set-up can be, to forego all genre elements until the story was damn well good and ready for it.  Lynch and Crossland could screw the whole pooch from here, but Everybody’s Dead #1 was a stellar attempt to give fans something different.  It works and it works well, soon to be bringing major chill-thrills in the very next issue.  A cast you can care for and humor you can laugh at and horror you can wince at.  That’s a horror comic!

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