By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
January 22, 2020
Dark Horse Comics
Mild Spoiler Alert
While we’re waiting for the next season of Netflix’s Stranger Things, the gaps not explored in the live action material are being filled in with this upcoming comic book release. Zombie Boys sees Will Byers having a rough go at life since his return. He’s labelled just that at school. This tale by Greg Pak answers all those lingering questions we had since we don’t often see him interacting with the rest of the school. Here, we see he is treated like a freak. If he’s not bullied, he’s shunned. The only kids who understand him are his pals, Mike, Dustin, and Lucas.
Joey Kim is a new student and wants to make a movie; he easily convinces everyone to take part in his latest epic, to make a George Romero style film, and as for whether or not it’ll be therapeutic for Will, that’s up in the air.
Pak’s tale is one I wish is realized in the main series. He knows the series very well and is no doubt a fan himself. Byers inner dialogue is nicely realized not only with the thoughts but also with his doodles. He’s suffered and is still suffering. The fact he feels dead inside is the reason behind the name of the series. He’d rather be alive, and what he was—before all this chaos which makes up Stranger Things took place.
Instead of dealing with that invisible terror that’s lurking in Hawkins, Indiana, the psychological battles is more at the forefront with this tale. The talented Valeria Favoccia certainly emotes the fear in her art. The colours of Dan Jackson give an added vibrancy.
Can life become better for Will, Mike, Dustin, and Lucas? The reveal is hard to say since this tale takes place in between seasons one and two. Certain experiences leave a lasting mark, and they are tough to erase away. Pak injects a measure showing where the silver lining lies in the gray cloud that looms over everything the lads have experienced.
We are in store for at least one more season. Boys grow up fast, and if the performers appearances in other works are any indication, just whether or not the show will keep on going depends on whether or not they want to continue ghost busting or not.