The Webcomic Watchman

Monday, October 01, 2007

Review #30: "Now in Spooky-Vision!"

[a.k.a. "The Medicating of the Dead II"]

My thoughts exactly, Charlie.

Title: The Zombie Hunters
Artist: Jenny Romanchuk
Genre: Zombie-Horror
Updates: Weekly-ish

"Dr. Haus! Dr. Haus!"

"Ugghh, receptionist boy," I muttered as the world seemed to swim around me, "Tell me this is a bad dream."

"What are you talking about?"

"Something about brain-dead druggies being a metaphor for mindless zombies, and my humble office being overrun with them?"

"You stuck yourself with a needle full of morphine!"

"I did?" I stared for awhile at the empty syringe that I was still holding for some reason, "Oh yeah, I was gonna use it on them, but then I only had one of these and there were so many bad guys. Y'know 'waste not, want not' and all that."

"You're lucky I managed to drag you into the pharmacy, the nurses are either gone or looking for a quick fix with the rest of those druggies by now."

"Do we have more drugs in here?"

"Enough to make a small, liberal-arts college campus start 'Robo-tripping' for days, but not even this supply will hold out forever against that many druggies once they burst through that door!"

I glanced towards the door to the pharmacy that the receptionist boy gestured at, hearing progressively louder pounding on the door. Either that, or some rich kid with a pimped-out ride was showing off his massive bass system in the parking lot again. If I didn't think of something fast, I was going to have to argue for days with the insurance people about whether or not this event was covered...oh, and the possibility of being bitten by brain-dead druggies also sounded bad.

The Zombie Hunters brings us into a desolate wasteland where zombies roam the Earth and one last band of surviving humans tries to...okay, you've heard this story before, haven't you?

Yeah, that's pretty much how the story has progressed to so far, with a cast of characters that has been sorta developing over 90 pages of escaping from zombies. They run up to a roof, make an ill-fated attempt to cross a power line, hit the ground, and then continue running. Also, Charlie might be a half-zombie, or something.

One thing you can definitely say while digging through the archives of The Zombie Hunters is that even the earlier strips have a sort of cinematic flair to them. Though it seems that Ms. Romanchuk takes this a bit too literally as every other page for the first 13 strips displays some sort of "opening credits" sequence. While it might look nice in a movie or a Flash animation, in the webcomic format it just becomes annoying very quickly.

Around strip 50, it's almost like we have a brief interlude from the doom and gloom feel of the earlier strips as Jenny (the hatted one) and Sammie (the blue haired girl...wait, is that natural coloring? Who really has blue hair outside of Japanese anime?) crack jokes while their heads shrink and noses disappear.

I think this comic has the same problem as Dead Winter (see below), in that while the art has its interesting quirks, the creator can't decide which direction the story should be going. While Dead Winter has a Quentin Tarantino-esque gunfighter alternating with a Simon Pegg-like everyman (or woman, in that case), TZH goes from dire peril to a light-hearted action sequence with a brick flail and a shovel. However, I gotta say that this is the first webcomic I can think of that has juxtaposed these two scenes.

Perhaps this would be more permissible if we found out why young girls and an old half-zombie dude were sent out together in the first place, and why they couldn't bother to spare a few anti-zombie suits like these guys had. And on a side note, how does one who claims to be hemophobic in her blog entry draw a comic that depicts several pints of blood splattering every which way?

In any case, the comic has some very nice artwork, but the story is still struggling to catch up. One can only hope it doesn't take another 90 pages before we finally figure out what the hell really happened in the world of TZH.

Thinking fast, I pulled out a cell phone and started dialing a number, "I never thought I'd have to call in this favor, but desperate times call for desperate measures."

"Who are you calling, Dr. Haus?"

"My friend at the FDA, he owes me big time." I waited for the call to connect, and then spoke, "Lady, get Mr. Edwards on the line, tell him Dr. Haus needs him to drop the Big Red One right in my office...yes, I know the consequences, but this is a goddamn emergency! Brain-dead druggies are about to bust through that door...look, I'll sign whatever forms you need, just find Mr. Edwards, and tell him to get me the Big Red One!"

To Be Continued...


  • Firstly, if you took two seconds to take a gander at the FAQ, a lot would become clearer.
    I know you're just giving an honest opinion of the story, but most of your comments sound really unfounded considering, as stated, that the FAQ answers a lot of the frivolous arguments you throw out as, I'm not sure, either an honest critique, or irrational ramblings.
    Either way.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:59 AM  

  • Yes, I am aware that the FAQ does provide an alibi as to why it's taking Jenny 90 pages to get the crew to escape from zombie-ville, but the rest of it just answers my other questions as "wait and see," and I can only review what is on the webcomic at the time I write it up. I can't read her mind and determine when the story's going to start catching up.

    Or if you're directing me to the part where Jenny talks about her policy on linking reviews as a reposte to the review itself, then I guess I'm supposed to be crying or something. She wants to link this review, fine. She doesn't, also fine. I don't seek any attention unless the creator asks me first.

    And if you are the artist herself, then don't take this review too personally. Some of it is a little tongue-in-cheek.

    By Blogger Dr. Haus, at 12:51 PM  

  • I would think they might be reffering to the part where she explains the reworking of the early strips. The cinematic credits were added after the strip was reworked so the readers weren't greeted by a credit strip every other week. I thought it worked well but then I also enjoy the fact that the strip alternates between the serious aspects with liberal amounts of goofiness mixed in. A little research would have made the review more relevant though I did find it rather odd you had it sandwiched in between the Hunter S. Thompsonesque segments. There will only ever be one Hunter Thompson and there will only ever be one TZH. Stick with the originals. Flame on! ;)

    By Anonymous TheLastOutlaw, at 5:38 PM  

  • Let's be frank here. I see absolutely no problem with Dr. Haus' interpretations of THZ. Both of you, anonymous and thelastoutlaw, are way overreacting. Maybe you should read the rest of his posts concerning other webcomics. It's not as though the reviewer has ever been particularly kind or forgiving when he comes to webcomics, so the fact that he had relatively little to say about the THZ other than that it was long-winded, cinematic and vague should give you a moment's pause.

    He's called for an end for more than one comic, many of whom had been rather long-running. I would consider the fact he could only find three relatively minor things wrong with the comic as a testament to its worth.

    Frankly, you need to take the sticks out of your collective ass and realize that, through omission, THZ has been given a huge compliment.

    Just because Jenny Romanchuk is a good artist and a pretty cool person doesn't mean that a critique of her work is an assault upon her person. Were this true I would be just as up in arms as the rest of you are. However, as I am acting as an adult in this situation--as you two should as well--I am now.

    By Anonymous El Jeffe, at 11:43 PM  

  • Nicely said el jeffe. I like overreacting though :P My only real problem with the review was the implication that the credit strips were part of the week long update process which they patently were not and which, as the first commenter pointed out, would have been revealed with a little research. I'm sure if I had done some research of my own I would learn more about Dr. Haus myself but instead I opted for an purposefully ill informed and inflammatory post to prove a point. In a nutshell, illustrating absurdity by being absurd. In the realm of the internet unless a point is applied with overt force and a sledgehammer it tends not to be noticed at all. Thank you for helping me make mine.

    By Anonymous TheLastOutlaw, at 7:04 AM  

  • Okay, so the credit strips were retroactively placed in the first 13 strips, and were not part of the original script. Even if I give you that (and I haven't spotted that tidbit in the vaunted TZH FAQ), the point still stands that said credit strips break up the flow and didn't really add anything positive to the story, whenever they were placed. Nor does it really change much else in my review.

    Is that all? Or are you still mad because I didn't give TZH a 100% glowing (and not from radiation) review? In either case, The Doctor suggests you take a "chill pill."

    By Blogger Dr. Haus, at 7:29 AM  

  • "Enough to make a small, liberal-arts college campus start 'Robo-tripping' for days, but not even this supply will hold out forever against that many druggies once they burst through that door!"

    Bwaaaahahaa!! XD

    Okay, yeah, dudes, I am perfectly all right xD I have no idea what's going on. Umm it is nice that people are sticking up for me and stuff, buuuut yeaaaaah. Totally not necessary.

    And Mr. Dr. Haus man, I understand the whole omg 90 pages to do shit gaaaahh D: it annoys me to no end too, but I am so not going to blather on about this like a total spazz--your poor blogthing is already been pummeled on enough! I saw this and wanted to step in and throw in a it's all good! No worries! Before I rocketed my ass off to school and worried about this all day. Which I prolly still will anyways. Yarr.

    So yes! Carry on! :D

    - Jenny

    By Anonymous Jenny!, at 7:51 AM  

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