The Abandoned by Ross Campbell & Zombies Calling by Faith Erin Hicks

So these books were my choice, and I’m willing to stand up for that choice, if not necessarily the content therein.

I read The Abandoned by Ross Campbell first, because it was the book that got me started on the Zombie girl sort of tangent. I read it in one sitting. I was disappointed. The art was pretty dang spectacular. I was generally impressed by the unique shading and overall style of Ross Campbell. The art had been what drew me to the book, (that and Bonnie – thanks Bonnie!) and it did not let me down. Sadly, just about everything else did. Mr. Campbell may be a talented artist, but I was not into the writing at all. I wasn’t sure about the storyline (if you find it let me know), the character dialog, or most anything else. I was willing to let it go that it was set in the South, but did not seem “southern” at all. I was willing to give it a pass on some of the stereotypical character types were present. But by the time I finished giving everything (with the exception of the art) a pass, the book was over, nothing had happened, there had been no point, and I was chapped. Now, while this was mitigated by the most excellent zombie appearance (and published lyrics of) Bella Morte, it just wasn’t enough for me to really like it, let alone love it.

In the past I have talked about how much I dislike zombies in general. Vampires are definitely my monster of choice. Still, after
Shaun of the Dead, I have been trying to give zombies a chance. I read Walking Dead and hated that book. I just wasn’t buying it. But this, I thought had potential based on the fact that: it was an indy sort of writer, the art was very unique, and the main character was a teenage girl, not a chainsaw wielding manly man. I really felt disappointed by the lack of story here, because I had really been hoping for a real story, you know, one with a beginning, middle, and end. I didn’t get that with The Abandoned and that sucked to be totally honest.

On top of that, my hopes for the unique protagonist, an African-American teenage lesbian, were totally dashed upon the rocks because nothing the girl did or said felt genuine. I am a girl. “Rylie” did not read like a girl. This phenomenon is not one that is new to comics, and you would think that I would be used to it at this point, but I really keep holding out that eventually someone will get it right. So, as I finished
The Abandoned, I put it down, thinking, I wonder if this book would have been better if it had been written by a woman. Since Zombies Calling was next on my reading list I thought this would be a good test.

Zombies Calling originally began as a webcomic. As such, you can really see the transition of the characters and the development of Faith Erin Hicks as both an artist and a writer. Bad news first: the zombie book about a teenage girl was not better when written by a female. Good news: the book was overall much better. While the art was nowhere near the detail present in
The Abandoned, it was cute and I felt like it fit the story overall. The story! Yes, there was actually a story in this one! Now, it wasn’t the best story ever written, but I didn’t think it was that bad. Again, it was cute and I liked it. It did have some failings, though. Namely, it didn’t really wrap up all of the things that had been introduced over the course of the story. The list of “rules” sort of disappeared, and the bizarro professor who talked about the coffee, well, no one seemed to care that everyone was made into zombies. No big. Wait, what?

Depite falling into several rookie writer potholes, I was impressed by the dedication it took to create both
The Abandoned and Zombies Calling. Both were done as solo projects with a single creator handling the whole deal: art, writing, etc. In the end, I can’t really urge anyone that they have to go out and read these books right away, but I would definitely loan them out to someone that likes the zombie monsters to see what they think.


The Abandoned
Art: 4/5
Writing: 1/5
Overall: 2/5
Zombies Calling
Art: 2/5
Writing: 3/5
Overall: 2.5/5

From: April 13th, 2008
By: rapunxelle

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3 Responses to “The Abandoned by Ross Campbell & Zombies Calling by Faith Erin Hicks”

  1. Tyree Basom says:

    Interesting post, having a slight issue accessing the RSS feed. I would quite like to add your blog. Will try again later. Thanks again!

  2. Mask of Tengu says:

    I hated the Abandoned…even the art was not good to me…blah blah blah…it sux!

  3. sonofether says:

    I can’t really disagree with your assessment of these books, though you are more charitable toward Zombies Calling than I was. I still like The Walking Dead better than either book, and feel it has a stronger premise. A lot of the complaints people leveled at that book I felt were were actually strengths. Or at least intentional choices given the framework of the zombie genre and Kirkman’s stated goal for that book: Taking a zombie movie and continuing with the story to see how it continues to unfold. A shame it gets so silly.

    As for these books, I feel like ZC had a good concept, but sloppy execution. The idea ran out pretty quickly, and it devolved into random explosions and craziness. Abandoned didn’t even feel like it had a premise, outside of the author’s strange fascination with urination. It just kind of limped along, ultimately reaching a bewildering and unsatisfying ending.


    In the end…

    The zombies just kind of… disappear. Sort of like my interest.