GN Volume 1 – Post Armageddon Underground Bunker Blues
GN Volume 2 – The Dead Shuffle, the Pastor Preaches at Midnight and the Stores are Always Open – A Travelogue to Romance
Black and White
Publisher: 21st Century Sandshark Studios
Created by Dan Nokes
I’ve always believed that one to three word titles works best when it comes to finding a suitable name for a comic book. However, it seems that a long and beautifully weird title can work just as well, because when it comes to this comic book, its name was the first thing that piqued my curiosity. So when creator Dan Nokes kindly sent us this book split in two wicked manga sized volumes, I called dibs for reviewing purposes. And I’m glad I did.
Before we proceed further I feel it my duty to explain that both volumes of this book were entirely created by one man; Dan Nokes and published under his one man banner of 21st Century Sandshark Studios. Although the books were published separately I’m reviewing them together because that is how I read them. So in a way I was lucky to get the complete story in one go.
Having read both volumes I have to say that the title couldn’t be more appropriate. Yes it is another zombie story, but one told from a totally fresh perspective. Think The Walking Dead, now think funny, weird and cartoon-y, throw some seriously off-beat romance and you’ll start to get the picture.
The story centres around Adam Jenkins a low level geeky soldier, Schaffer; his genetically enhanced dog and Groucho the finest computer system downloaded in a scooter. Following a zombie outbreak, Adam and his unlikely companions are the only survivors in an Army bunker designed to safely hold its occupants till the end of the apocalypse. The only reason Adam survived is because unlike the typical protagonist he is a socially inept coward. The story begins through a typical day spent in this bunker, and here we’re also introduced to his zombie ex-girlfriend Lilith. Adam appears happy in his new found routine, but all this is broken when he receives an email from Eve another sole survivor in a different army bunker. Growing a pair, Adam along with his companions decides to go on a quest to find Eve with his ex and unbeknown to him, hot on his trail. Here is where the real fun begins as our posse meets all kinds of weirdos and find themselves in tough situations.
I really enjoyed reading these books, the story does start a tad slow as the scenario and how Adam came to be the sole survivor are introduced but once the adventure begins the story picks up pace and doesn’t let go until the end of volume 2. Later on as the story progresses two other main characters; Packrat and his adopted girl Prudence join the entourage and they help to keep things fresh and interesting. The whole story is cleverly split in chapters, which works really well. To be honest I was quite impressed with how gracefully the story flows.
But what impressed me most here is Dan Nokes‘ ability in mixing a multitude of genres into one cohesive package. Because this tale really does has a bit of everything. If I had a penny for how many times I’ve seen creators attempting this and failing miserably I’ll be rich, and perhaps this is why I found Adam and Eve so remarkable. Dan Nokes‘ storytelling skills are truly something! Considering the amount of drivel that passes as movies these days, filmmakers and producers would do well to read these books and learn some good story telling skills. Moreover the situations the protagonists find themselves in range from the fairly predictable to the most off-beat and bizarre possible keeping the reader guessing every time.
The artwork is presented in a cute and slightly skewered cartoon-y style, which I found most appealing. The artwork seems to work well in all situations and captures all the different moods perfectly without departing from the overall cartoon feel. The scenery when evident is fantastic and I feel that the books would have benefited with more attention to this, perhaps through the use of more splash pages as opposed to devoting the majority of the panels on character focus. The cartoon style applied also helps to hide the occasional anatomical inconsistencies.
Considering that these books are a one man show, they do come with some obvious if not expected shortcomings that I feel my duty to point out. There are some occasional typos and the size of the lettering is not consistent throughout and on rare occasions it even sprawls out of the speech bubbles. There are also some punctuation errors, with the most pronounced being the atrocious use of the question mark. A lot of dialogue is closed through a question mark, when in reality it shouldn’t. However, in my opinion all of these shortcomings can be attributed to the lack of an editor. So I guess if one has to be anal about things, one can find issues here to complain about, but personally I prefer to judge a book by how much enjoyment I derive reading it, which is why I never give ratings. That said I really enjoyed reading both volumes of Adam and Eve, and the positives such as Noke’s penchant for proper pacing, his storytelling skills and his cartoon-y feel by far outweigh the negatives. So if you can ignore the shortcomings that stem from indie publishing than I certainly recommend checking Adam and Eve out.
Irrespective of what you may be into, be it Zombies, Romantic Comedy, Adventure, Action or any other genre you can think of, if Dan Nokes hooks up with an editor he’s certainly one creator to keep a keen eye on!
Chris Le Galle
For more info on 21st Century Sandshark Studios kindly visit: http://21sandshark.com/blog