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Zombies: The New Vamps?

I love zombies & I’m proud to be an Undeadhead.  Some of my favorite films are Night of the Living Dead (1968), 28 Days Later and Zombieland.  Why are zombies to popular right now?

Maybe it’s a backlash against vamps. I’m a fan of vampires too but zombies are more accessible somehow.  Ordinary people can be extras as zombies in movies, but professional actors always get the vampire roles. Many great characters from comics and graphic novels have been adapted for films and TV and zombies are no exception. Robert Kirkman’s excellent zombie comic series The Walking Dead has been developed into a fantastic series on AMC.  I’m psyched that the series has been so good and gotten such good ratings. I’m only sorry that the series was only 6 episodes and now that they’re over I have to wait until next year for season two.   Entertainment Weekly (12.3.10) said The Walking Dead is the Best New Show on TV. I agree.  EW (12.3.10) quotes Frank Darabont, the filmmaker who developed the series, saying, “We’re not in a rush for the Walking Dead to die anytime soon” and I’m not either.
If you’re a teen’s who’s watched and liked the series and want something to read to tide you over until it’s on again, there are quite a few good zombie books out right now.  Charlie Higson’s Enemy is about a world where anyone over 16 is a zombie-like creature who craves human flesh and the kids are dinner. The Dead, the upcoming book in Higson’s series takes place 1 year before the action in the Enemy.  The teen in Jonathan Maberry’s Rot & Ruin reluctantly joins his brother as a zombie killer and learns that the zombies might not be the crazy ones.  One of the creepier books that portray zombies as mindless, insatiable flesh-eating monsters is Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Tooth and her companion book the Dead-Tossed Waves.  The kids who had to survive the Maze in James Dashner’s The Maze Runner, have even more trials in store when they encounter the Cranks, flesh eating humans infected with The Flare in The Scorch Trials.

There are a lot of recent adult books with teen appeal about zombies too.  Justin Cronin’s bestseller The Passage features a 6-year-old girl who is a refugee from a doomed scientific project that has created a world of zombies and she’s the only one who can save the survivors.  The Reapers Are the Angels by Alden Bell features a tough chick who’s survived the zombie plague her entire life.  For a funny look at zombies, check out A. Lee Martinez’s Gil’s All Fright Diner. Earl (aka Earl of the Vampires) and Duke (aka the Duke of Werewolves) are just looking for a good meal but end up having to help a waitress fend of a zombie attack on the diner.  If you’re into steampunk, Cherie Priest’s action-packed novel Boneshaker is set in an alternate 1880s Seattle where a toxic gas explosion has turned people into ravenous zombies.

For teens who want more than books, there’s plenty of zombie websites out there too. You can even predict what you’d look like as a zombie on www.zombieme.net or learn that May is Zombie Awareness Month (www.zombieresearch.org) because of the number of major zombie films that are set in May (Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead).  For those of you who love zombies, this is just a small sampling of what’s available. For the rest of you – don’t worry – I’m sure something else will soon come along to replace them.

–Sharon Rawlins, Youth Services Consultant, NJ State Library, Trenton, NJ

6 Comments

  1. librarycynic librarycynic

    I have to say that I wasn’t too impressed with the ending of the Walking Dead. It had great build up, and then the end just kind of happened.

    That being said; let’s not forget about the great Zombie video games that have come out recently: Dead Rising 1 & 2, Left 4 Dead 1 & 2, The Resident Evil Series, Zombie Apocalypse, I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MBIES 1N IT!!!1, Dead Nation, Call of Duty Zombies (thankfully brought back in Black Ops), Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare, etc… Hours of fun for all.

  2. meghancnyc meghancnyc

    I predict mermaids will be the new vampires. They’re good looking, mysterious and their flesh doesn’t fall off…

  3. Michelle Michelle

    As I look at current YA offerings, I think angels, especially fallen angels, are the new vampire.

    • Hannah Hannah

      I have to agree with the angels theory, but the zombies are picking up a lot of stream to roll right over our wingged fallen friends.

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