Thursday, April 14, 2011

Art & Culture: Zombies!: An Illustrated History of the Undead by Jovanka Vuckovic

Say what you like about zombies, the undead have never been quite as popular as they are right now. Between books -- mash ups and other kinds -- television shows, movies and more, just about everywhere you look in entertainment and the arts, a zombie can be found.

So what could the enduring charm of the undead be, to warrant such faithful followings? In her new book, Zombies!: An Illustrated History of the Undead (St. Martin’s Press) this is the question that writer and documentary filmmaker Jovanka Vuckovic strives to explore:
They are lifeless, gloomy, and sometimes smell worse than a meat-rendering plant after a month-long power outage. Some lumber about aimlessly with vacant stares while others sprint -- blackened teeth gnashing -- in hot pursuit of our brains. They are zombies. And despite their offensive odor and relentlessly poor fashion sense, they’ve managed to worm their way into the hearts of the living all over the world.
Vuckovic, who has appeared in zombie movies by Zack Snyder and George Romero, not only explores the cultural phenomena that is the zombie, arguably “the most beloved mythical monster in mainstream popular culture,” she also looks closely at the films, books, television shows and other popular media that have brought us zombies over the last several decades. And George Romero, who also writes the foreword, gets a whole chapter: “Romero’s Flesh-Eater Renaissance and Spanish Zombies of the 1970s.”

Zombies! works on every level. Beautifully illustrated and carefully rendered, you won’t realize until read it how much zombies have infected our lives. ◊

David Middleton is art director and art & culture editor of January Magazine.

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Blogger Shayla said...

This is bad ass! My boyfriend and I are huge zombie fans...he is a fan of all the old movies...especially George Romero and I dig the newish stuff. Great post yo!

Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 1:56:00 PM PDT  

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