It’s always a good sign when my main complaint about an artist is that their comics are too short/come out too infrequently, as it’s clear that I just want to see more of their stuff. That problem is taken care of in this masterpiece, as it’s gigantic. And yeah, I did just call it a masterpiece. This comic is damned near perfect while still telling an epic story, often without using words. Shall I try to sum this up? It’s a hopeless task, but I’ll at least mention some highlights. If you’ve never heard of Zombre, you might want to at least look through some old reviews (or, better yet, read previous issues in this series, although it’s not required to enjoy this one). Basically Zombre is one of the more harmless representations of a zombie that I’ve seen, as he is basically a friend to small woodland creatures and doesn’t seem interested in hurting anybody. This time around, as Ansis has room to wander, we start off with a small hungry dog who’s having a tough time of it. This dog has been separated from his human, but he detects a scent and sets off in pursuit. As his human is a forest ranger (not that the dog knows this yet), this leads the dog through some dangerous woodland territory, until he is eventually saved by Zombre in one of the more cute and heroic acts that I’ve seen. From there we check in with the ranger, learn how he became a ranger, see his co-workers, and meet a horrific actual zombie from the forest. This zombie is also wrapped up with some creepy bugs that have a disturbing tendency to form into one giant bug or dog, and things get intense from there. But! Some comics like this just veer into weirdness and stay there, content to leave things as ambiguous as possible. This issue of Zombre, on the other hand, wraps everything up fairly neatly, while also still leaving some mystery and plenty of other questions to be explored. It’s my favorite issue of the series, and I was delighted to see (in the note that Ansis sent along with the comic) that he’s drawing for 3-4 hours a day. The man deserves to be rich and famous, and I absolutely believe that if I’m reviewing #6 a year from now, he’ll be well on his way. Not that the act of my reviewing his comics has anything to do with it; I’m talking about the places he can go if he sticks to the comics and keeps up a consistent schedule. The only possible complaint I could see anybody having is that this issue is $20 but, like I said, it’s gigantic, and it’s that rare occasion where a $20 comic is worth every penny. Buy it and enjoy, you will absolutely not be disappointed. $20
Magic Forest #1
Ansis mentions on the inside front cover that this may be considered Zombre #2.5, but I refuse to go along with that. No Zombre in the comic, no Zombre in the title! I am cruel but fair. Anyway, don’t be too alarmed about Zombre, as #3 is almost done, and this is a little something to get us through until that comes out. This one has three stories, all dealing with something fantastical. Up first is a story about a park ranger who meets a singing mermaid. He tells her the rules about public nudity in the park, then they exchange names, which is when it gets weird. The second story deals with a forest gnome (or some other sort of woodland creature) who goes out hunting to prove his worth and ends up in an unfortunate encounter with a bear. Finally there’s the last surviving elf telling the story of the final battle with the spider army to the guardian of the forest. Of course there’s more to it than that, but I’m not going to ruin it for you. And then there’s that back cover that you’re just going to have to see for yourself, as there’s no way I’m going to try to describe it. It’s a damned funny comic, and you should be reading it. Simple enough, right?
Zombre #2: The Magic Forest
I have one problem with Ansis, and one problem only: he doesn’t make enough comics.Â Yep, if you’re looking for the final verdict on this one, you can probably figure it out from there.Â Getting a new Zombre comic is like a ray of sunshine being belched into my face by a unicorn. And even if the man does take some time to put out individual issues (making him right in line with every single other small press guy on the planet not named “Brian John Mitchell”), he really delivers when the issue does come out.Â This is a behemoth with a large cast of characters and it’s absolutely gorgeous.Â My scanner couldn’t handle the sheer orange of that bird and had to tone it down a bit.Â This time around we’re introduced to a hippy park ranger and the forest in general before finally getting around to Zombre.Â He eats a butterfly, gets his eyes seared by the sun and terrorizes some campers before using his mildly defective problem solving skills to throw a tire through the ranger’s car window.Â A daughter and her overprotective father enter the picture, Zombre eventually meets them, and I used one of the very few menacing pages for a sample.Â Hey, he’s not a bad guy!Â I will say no more, as each bit of this should be read and savored, but I will say that I noticed the “to be continued” after that fantastically ridiculous ending.Â It’s huge, it’s only $4, and it’s Zombre.Â There’s still time to get in on the ground floor (more or less) of this soon-to-be global phenomenon.Â Hey, “The Walking Dead” did huge numbers, just think of how a zombie with a heart of gold would go over with the public…