“KBRF AM 530 first on your radio dial. It’s Samantha. I’ll be with you all night and taking your calls.” — Samantha Stanton, on the airwaves (and unaware of the zombie outbreak…or aware but…well…you’ll see)
Hats off to Double Take Comics again, for this tasty combination of clever homage, dark zombie horror, wild twists, adult situations, and comedy relief. REMOTE volume 1 contains the first 5 issues of this ongoing horror title, and there’s a LOT to love about it (pun intended, as you’ll soon see…)
Just as Spinal Tap’s guitar amplifiers “go to 11,” this tale’s protagonist “grows to 51.”
The year is 1966, and the county is Evans, where rival radio DJs keep raising the stakes in an effort to bolster their ratings during a zombie crisis. Fans of 1968’s classic NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (and the 1958 cult favorite ATTACK OF THE 50-FOOT WOMAN,) will gleefully enjoy reading REMOTE, as the story seamlessly takes one unexpected turn after another. If it’s predictable storytelling that you’re looking for, you’ll just have to look elsewhere for that.
REMOTE was not written for readers who are easily-offended. So, avert your eyes, if need be. Otherwise, have at it!
In a world strangely similar to Romero’s aforementioned 1968 zombie masterpiece, Samantha “Sam” Stanton wasn’t always a 51-foot woman. At normal height during much of this tale, Sam proves herself to be the perfect person for the job (holding down the fort at the KBRF radio station, and keeping the airwaves alive, while zombies run roughshod over much of the neighboring townships.)
Yes, you could say that Sam really “rises to the occasion.”
Zombies in REMOTE are more interesting than garden-variety slow-footed undead (a la DAWN OF THE DEAD,) while steering clear of the frenetic nu-zombie trope that we’ve seen plenty of (a la 28 WEEKS LATER, FLIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, or WORLD WAR Z.) They’re even more interesting than those Goldilocks zombies that we sometimes see in films (a la DEAD SNOW — you know, not too slow, not too fast, “just right.”) As such, REMOTE is a refreshing departure from the expected. Zombies in this tale can actually verbally communicate with somewhat of a vocabulary, and can “obtain nourishment” from more than just brains, blood, and body parts. Some of these zombies can actually be trained, to perform certain fundamental tasks with the radio station (such as pressing buttons…or appearing as contestants on game shows, seriously.)
Bill Jemas (writer) carries most of the literary load here, with plenty of solid help from Colin Mitchell, Michael Coast, Gabe Yocum, Young Heller, and Charlotte Greenbaum. Together, they spin a yarn that’s both current and classic, in ways that mainstream comic books could only dream of getting away with (and, as is the case with all groundbreaking indie graphic lit, the readers of REMOTE are the richer for it.) Rival DJ characters Sam Stanton and “Rockin’ Ricky the Roach” duke it out with a macabre one-upmanship that’s as memorable as readers are likely to see, in any tale, ever.
The talents of cover artists Jose Luis, Carlos Reno, Jeff Dekal, Alessandra De Bernardis, and Ruiz Burgos are all on display here, and they shine as brightly as a rural starlit sky. It’s fabulous when multiple cover artists can get involved during the early goings of a fascinating new indie title. See below, for a peek at the individual cover art for each of the 5 issues in this volume.
– Gasp when seeing what Sam does with Virgil’s DECENCY parade banner
– Admire Ed Grubler’s office, even if the carpet and furniture are a trifle inelegant
– Be caught off-guard by Crispin’s flowery fishnet stockings
– Wonder what Steve Maserati looks like
– Never see Hollywood Squares in quite the same light again
Recommended for mature readers with a non-conformist sense of humor. Is that you? Congratulations! You’ve just discovered a new favorite comic book.
And with today being Halloween, there’s never been a better time for you to grab the REMOTE.
Dialogue Dandy: “Let’s meet our three suitors and find out…who will find love beyond the grave.” — Sam Stanton
Runner-Up: “Whoops! Felicia, who filled those pools with gasoline?” — Rockin’ Ricky the Roach
Final score: 11/11