Thee Comic Column #45: Night of the 80’s Undead

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Ok, this was a total impulse buy. I stopped at The Comic Bug today and my subscription box was light so I began to look around. I missed my column last week for, I think, the first time since I started it here on Joup almost one year ago. Because of this I was really looking for some inspiration for this week’s feature and I found a lot of it today by investing  in a bunch of first issues of new series that I might have missed had I already had a heavy pull to pay for. It’s always nice to get an unexpected exploration day every once in a while and today it yielded some great results. Lots of cool new stuff I sped home to read. However amidst the Ruckas, the Bendis, the Stelfreezes and the free Vertigo preview book – not to mention all the juicy stuff coming out of Comic Con and my regular books – Night of the 80’s Undead was the one I could not wait to write about.

It is at this point I would like to point out two of the most awesome aspects of Night of the 80’s Undead: the alternate title (or more likely the real title) for this book appears on page four as “Night of the Coke Heads” and on page five there is a link to a Spotify playlist that serves as a soundtrack (you can check that out here). Pretty damn cool, right? Whay? Okay, so yeah, that’s all great, but you’re wondering what the hell this book is about? Well…

Imagine crashing a raging, all-night party in a plush Hollywood Hills home circa 1986 only to find Tom Selleck (or is it Burt Reynolds?), Tom Cruise and Ahnold Schwarzenhooha snorting mounds of Bolivian Marching Powder – Powder that the Soviets have infected with a dastardly virus that transforms users into blood-crazed monsters that massacre everyone around them (including, in some cases, themselves). Can’t imagine it? Well luckily, you don’t need to anymore, cause this comic is on the stands via Action Lab!

Do you, like me, think this bizarre concept for a comic sounds terrifying in a weird, Night of the Comet/Zucker Brothers kind of way, right? Well, that’s Night of the 80’s Undead in a nutshell. Of course the celebs are never identified by name and I may be off… but I don’t think so. The art is just too on, in characterizations of people and the era. Flash bulb pastel and bright, solid colors create an electric 80’s backdrop for some of the most bad-ass debauchery to smack the era of Reagan upside its head since… well, since Reagan ruined everything for everyone*. Everything about this book sets out to evoke 80’s pop-culture particulars and I am here to tell you that it does so quite wonderfully. There’s such a genuine yet still ridiculous tone here that its hard to pin down whether exactly this is satire or homage. Well, after reading it a second time I realized the book is a straight up homage (confirmed by author Jasin Martin’s afterward) to a decade that has perpetually become its own weird, nostalgic send-up. The 80’s were so overblown that to properly pay tribute one has to become at least partial satire. Coke, explosions, synthesizers that look like guitars, coke, explosions, boobs, high-hair, Coke, explosions… did I miss anything? Maybe, but creators Jason Martin and Bill McKay certainly didn’t. This is a fantastic book from a waaaay independent press – Action Lab Danger Zone (Danger Zone being Action Lab Entertainment’s ‘adult’ or ‘mature’ line) – and as much as any other book you’re likely to buy the next time you’re in the comic shop it deserves your money!

And maybe your coke. And your explosions.


*Okay, an exaggeration, but not by too much!


Can’t find a comic shop? You can always use old reliable Comic Shop Locator at 1-800-COMIC-BOOK. Or you can take some of my recommendations. If you live in the greater Chicagoland area I recommend any of the wonderful four locations of Amazing Fantasy Books. In Los Angeles it’s The Comic Bug. Las Vegas it’s Alternate Reality Comics. San Francisco? Try the Isotope Comic Lounge and if you happen to venture a little further North I’d say you have to visit The Escapist Comic Book Store in Berkley (with the wonderful Dark Carnival Books next door and owned by the same folks). Read on!!!

Shawn C Baker

Shawn C Baker

Shawn lives in Los Angeles where he co-hosts Drinking w/ Comics, writes screenplays and fiction and has been known to drink quite a bit of beer. Good beer.

One Response to Thee Comic Column #45: Night of the 80’s Undead
  1. Jason Martin Reply

    Glad you liked the book Shawn!
    Wait til you see issue 2!!!??!!?? :o

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