By Josh Speer / April 11th, 2015
Hello, and welcome to the first episode of Comic Crossroads! Much as I love video games, I also have a strong, nerdy passion for comics, i.e. graphic novels for sticklers. I thought long and hard about what my next editorial after Smashing Saturdays! would be, and one tackling two of my favorite hobbies seemed like a natural fit. After all, there are many gamers who avail themselves of graphic novels, be they physical books, digital or live action, as is the case in movies and TV shows. Though the format for my discussing topics in Comic Crossroads will vary from week to week, I will always discuss one graphic novel medium and compare and contrast it with a video game that has something in common with it. For the very first episode, I decided to go with one of my new favorite graphic novel-based TV shows, iZombie!
Liv Moore is a zombie, but not your standard fare. Generally, they are shambling monstrosities, rotting horrors or, on rare occasion, bounding ghouls. What they typically are not, however, are pale-skinned, platinum-haired folks who, aside from their odd demeanor, could pass for human. Liv is a new type of zombie, one who talks, thinks and feels emotions. The downside? Like most zombies, she hungers for human brains. Without this (nutritious?) gray matter, Liv turns to a more stereotypical zombie, overwhelmed by her hunger. While in this state, she is also supernaturally strong, not unlike a zombified Hulk. But, so long as she gets her fix, which is manageable since she works in a morgue, Liv can function. Another unusual side effect is Liv gets, for lack of a better word, psychic flashes from the minds she consumes, often telling her pivotal personal details about the corpse she munched on. Somewhat surprisingly, Liv uses these insights to help solve crimes in Seattle. It’s a very strange premise, but a very fresh one, as well. Generally the zombie genre is over-saturated with gore and violence, but iZombie walks a fine balance between mystery, horror and humor. Which is probably why I’m such a big fan of the show. It may be a fledgling show on the CW, but I have high hopes for its success. Now let’s compare it to a more traditional approach to zombies found in a well-known video game series.
Remember when I was talking about gore and violence? Those definitely apply to the Resident Evil series. Despite how much it scares the living crap out of me, I’ve always been inexplicably drawn to the series. There’s something beautiful about the horrible monstrosities Capcom has designed. You typically don’t think of Lickers, Nemesis or Tyrants when you think zombies, but Capcom managed to give the zombie genre new life when they started the series back in 1996. They also helped define the survival horror genre, for which I am thankful. It’s hard to believe there was ever a time when we as a culture were bereft of survival horror games, but Resident Evil not only popularized it, they steamlined it into a successful series as well. While the series may have evolved in less than desirable ways recently, I still fondly remember the first couple games, as well as Resident Evil: Revelations.
There is no question that zombies are bad in Resident Evil, but I dare say that if Liv Moore found herself in that universe, she would side with Chris and Jill to take her nasty cousins down. Another thing the series has in common with iZombie is that, seemingly, a manufactured product has turned men into monsters. Liv was inexplicably infected on a boat party, but it’s unclear what specifically made her into the zombie she is today. Much like the bio weapons found in the series, I keep hoping Resident Evil will evolve to a more interesting state from the dark path 5 and 6 took it down. This is not a series that should ever resemble Call of Duty, and I hope Capcom can continue going back to their roots and keeping zombies scary.
So, there you have it! Your very own mint origin story of Comic Crossroads! Let me know in the comments what you think, games or comics you would like me to talk about in the future, or just shoot the shit with me! I love talking these topics, and especially how they intersect to make fandom a better place.
Also, many thanks to Brodie for helping with the awesome featured image!
Comic CrossroadsiZombieLiv MooreResident Evil