I have been a fan of zombies since I first saw the music video for Michael Jackson's “Thriller” as a child. I remember that we watched it, along with the making of it, in school; it was probably in first grade. From that point on I have always loved the living dead as my favourite movie monsters.
Zombie movies tended to be a little hard to find over the years. Of course there was the Romero series of films, and the Return of the Living Dead” series (which are inferior to Romero's films, in my opinion), and that was pretty much it for a long time unless you wanted something really odd or schlocky. Then suddenly zombies exploded in popularity. “The Walking Dead”, “Zombie Survival Guide”,“World War Z”, “28 Days Later”, a sort-of remake of “Dawn of the Dead” (which is fairly meh in my book), “Left 4 Dead”, “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”, etc. I was in absolute zed heaven.
The resurgence of zombies along with inspiration from a number of podcasts finally got me to write a book (well, it turned out to be two books) that I had been tossing around in my head for years: “Mallville – A Journal of the Zombie Apocalypse”. I had finally achieved a long time goal, and had more zombie fiction available to me than I can actually read/watch/play. Of course it also brought out a bunch of bandwagon-jumping fans, or zombie-come-latelys.
One thing I would like to make perfectly clear about Mallville. I did not write it because zombies were becoming popular again; I had the original idea for it back in 2004 or 2005, and started writing and posting it to challenge myself to get back into writing. I didn't realize how popular zombies were becoming again until I was already posting it. So while it may look like I am one of the zombie-come-latelys, I do not consider myself such.
Of course when something gets too popular, there naturally has to be a backlash against it. We've seen this recently with vampires thanks largely to the “Twilight” series, but, and this is just my opinion, sparkly vampires deserve it both for being pretty lame and for the rabid fangirls that think it's romantic for a man to break into their bedroom and spy on them while they sleep. I don't think zombies deserve this kind of backlash.
Zombies seem to be attacked based either on their sheer popularity, or based on the fact that the Internet treats them as if they were a meme, and has run them into the ground a bit. I have been disheartened to see people that I respect expressing their dislike of both the living dead genre, and fans of it; in particular fans who only jumped onto the zombie bandwagon. I understand why some people are getting burnt out on the genre: once I saw both a Lake Wobegon zombie story and one that takes place at a Star Trek convention I knew things were going a bit far. Of course Marvel Comics did not help things any by not stopping “Marvel Zombies” after the “Army of Darkness” crossover, and instead running the series into the fragging ground.
Don't get me wrong, I don't have a problem with people disliking zombie fiction; everyone has their own likes and dislikes. What I do have a problem with is acting like all fans of zombie fiction are teenage basement-dwellers who glom onto anything that is popular on certain Internet message boards. I have liked zeds since the 80's, and when they finally burn out this time around, and all of the zombie-come-latelys have moved on to the next meme, I will still be here; a fan of the living dead.
Hopefully by the time zombies roll around to the top of pop culture next time around, I'll have the Mallville books completely re-written and ready to pitch to someone looking to cash in on the craze. It shouldn't be too hard when polished up; hell, the first draft version that I posted online is already better than “Twilight”.
Okay, that's enough babbling for today. Until next time, watch the shadows.
Hmm, better, but still not quite right.