Book Review: 101 Ways To Kill A Zombie
There is an unwritten classification of books out there that are meant for very, very easy reading; are usually humor-based; and can probably be burned through in a good half-hour’s time. In their most extreme cases, that would cover a fairly severe bowel movement’s countdown, so I reckon the shorthand for such publications is that of being a “bathroom book.” Some of the classics of this ad hoc genre are the Truly Tasteless Jokes series and 101 Uses For A Dead Cat. I like cats, actually, provided they don’t claw me to pieces, so my re-visitation of that book when I’m blowing up the bowl is infrequent. But man, am I sick of zombies.
As with almost any trend, there is the re-ignition (28 Days Later), the pinnacle (The Walking Dead TV show), and the subsequent beating-a-dead-dead-guy from commercials and other sales-oriented media, other zombie movies (World War Z), and comedies that want to let you know that, hey, we get the reanimated corpse thing too (Warm Bodies). That’s a long-winded way of saying I’m sick of zombies now…damn sick of zombies. So sick in fact I wouldn’t mind seeing sexy, sparkly vampires attack them (and I hate sexy, sparkly vampires). So the book 101 Ways To Kill A Zombie is right up my deserted, live-brains-baiting alley.
Written by Robb Pearlman and illustrated by Dave Urban, the book is 103 pages long, including the intro page — long enough for a decent-sized poop. While a concept as broad as this could be tossed out very quickly and brutally, the two creators wind up working in a fair amount of cleverness. Oh sure, you get your gory death by crossbow, or by electrocution, or by ice pick (as pictured, administered by Sharon Stone), but there are arcane dispatches like death by Brazilian waxing, spoilers (with the zombie’s head being literally blown), or “In the library, with a candlestick.” For the nerd-nation that is pathetically sustaining the 15 minutes of zombie resurrection in pop culture, there is death by Red Shirt, and death by a blast into his two-meter-wide thermal exhaust port (meaning an X-Wing is firing upon the zombie’s butt).
No, it is not refined literature. No, you will not look like an intellectual by having this next to the package of Cottonelle, but the ways in which the title character(s) are/is wiped out are/is funny. You’ll laugh in spite of yourself. Urban’s drawings might be bloody, but they’re mighty clever and funny. They didn’t need to be, and the jokes didn’t need to take the high road as often as they do, but 101 Ways To Kill A Zombie manages to be tastefully tasteless. It won’t rival Sense And Sensibility, but it actually tries a lot harder than most efforts probably would. Perfect for your next offering to the Porcelain King.