I’VE BEEN THINKING a lot about driving lately. That’s mostly because my 16-year-old son recently got his license, which was preceded by the 40 hours of practice with a parent the state requires, the many weeks of drivers ed and the first few terrifying days of letting him out in the car on his own.
You can understand why driving – and the zombie apocalypse – has been front and center in my brain lately. So it made sense that a couple of weeks ago “Driver for the Dead,” caught my attention. It was all that driving – and the fact that Scott at my comic store had it as his weekly pick.
I had “Driver for the Dead” in my hand and was debating whether to buy it when I saw it was one of Scott’s picks for the week. Scott’s kind of like my Roger Ebert of comics – I almost always agree with Ebert on movies, and I almost always agree with Scott’s picks. (So, OK, I’m totally not on board with his choice of “True Blood.” But then I didn’t agree with Ebert on … OK, I can’t ever remember disagreeing with Ebert. On the other hand, Scott also likes “The Boys,” the raunchy Ennis and Robertson series that I love, even if I hate myself for it.)
“Driver for the Dead” is published by Radical Publishing, described by Radical Publishing as “committed to creating quality published works featuring character-driven storylines that truly reflect the creators’ vision.” Or, more succinctly, comics that cost $4.99. But they’re big comics – well over 50 pages, so I really can’t complain. Or I could, but I won’t.
“Driver for the Dead” is sort of a horror noir story about Alabaster Graves who drives the dead – and sometimes the undead – to their final resting places. He also happens to be totally ripped, the better to fight monsters with, I assume.
The story starts with a family who has a problem with their child – don’t we all? Mine won’t clean his room. Theirs is possessed. Dad and mom – who looks kind of like Martha Stewart in knee socks – call on
Mose Freeman – looking suspiciously like Morgan Freeman – for help with their problem child who is doing the darndest things like spewing snakes out of his mouth. That’s actually kind of funny since the story was written by John Heffernan, screenwriter of the brilliant “Snakes on a Plane” movie. By brilliant, I mean so bad, it’s good. And come to think of it, I think Ebert hated it.
Freeman runs into a small problem – of the deadly kind – and in his dying words, asks the family to call Graves to fetch his body and drive it back to the family crypt.
Add Freeman’s great-grandaughter Marissa, and that’s the set up. With a good story and fabulous illustrations, “Driver for the Dead” issue 1 has me eagerly awaiting issue 2. In the meantime, I’m off the to comic book store. The new American Vampire, Daytripper #10 and The Calling are all out this week and they’re calling my name. All is right in the world.
Except for the possibility of a zombie apocalypse – I just hope it waits until after issue 2 of “Driver for the Dead” is out.