Comic book review: “Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency No. 1”

(Courtesy of Radical Comics)
(Courtesy of Radical Comics)

The modern vampire has become a highly romanticized and glamorous creature thanks to the popularity of films and books like Stephanie Meyer’s “Twilight” series. Graphic novel writers are looking to change this. The first of a three-issue series from Radical Comics, “FVZA: Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency” looks to returns vampires to their horrific, bloodsucking roots.

David Hine, a graphic novel writer since the 80s, was brought in by Radical to adapt a story from the Web site and turn it into a comic book. The comic tells the story of an alternate history of the U.S. where zombies and vampires were a very real threat from Civil War times onward. This caused the formation of a federal organization charged with exterminating the menace, the titular Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency.

Eventually, vampires and zombies are supposedly wiped out and the FVZA is disbanded.  The comic picks up the story in modern times, where one of the former members of the FVZA, Hugo Pecos, is teaching his grandchildren, Landra and Vidal, to defend themselves from the threat of zombies and vampires should they ever return.

The storytelling is done surprisingly well given the subject material.  There is no real explanation of where the zombie or vampire viruses came from, but the foundation and backdrop for the world are well-constructed with loads of small and interesting details.

There has not been much development of the characters of Pecos, Landra, Vidal, or the vampires who appear in this issue. However, the setup for the entire comic’s premise is told masterfully. The flashbacks showing the history of the zombie and vampire outbreaks and the formation of the FVZA are definitely the strongest story points of this issue. The history of the world is well-mapped out and organized, and the entire timeline of this world is presented both intelligently and creatively. It uses real-world people and events, such as President John F. Kennedy and World War II, and inserts elements from vampire and zombie lore.

The artwork is also beautiful. While much of it is dark and gore-filled, it still manages to keep a majestic and unique look to it, thanks to the paintwork that keeps it different from most other comics on the stands. The colors are kept dull and dark-looking without holding back on the blood and gore when zombies and vampires do appear. The book is also twice as long as most comics these days, which gives the series more time to develop the world and its characters throughout its three-issue run.

It’s good to see vampires as the dark, frightening and gruesome beings they used to be. Anyone who is a fan of zombies, vampires or just a dark story would be wise to pick this book up and give it a try.

Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Ryan Brooks at

CU Independent

The CU Independent, or CUI for short, is the student news outlet for the University of Colorado at Boulder. We cover news, sports, politics, opinion, arts and entertainment and more. Our mission is to provide news and commentary that's for students and by students — about the things we care about.

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