In 2009, Zombieland was a big blockbuster and the following year brought the premiere of the long-awaited television adaptation of The Walking Dead. In that context if you found a comic book called Snow White: Zombie Apocalypse -- a tale that pits edgy versions of fairy tale characters against the undead -- it would sound like it's breaking some new narrative ground! Except...
It's actually 2019.
These trappings from ten years ago likely stem from the fact that Snow White: Zombie Apocalypse (SNZA) is an adaptation of a stage play that writer Brenton Lengel first released in 2009. And the story feels like it hasn't changed since then. While Snow White is ostensibly the main character, the plot largely follows a hard-talking, sharp-shooting Rapunzel and a randy, dandy Prince Charming as they attempt to survive against a number of grisly foes.
Until the arrival of Snow White, the plot feels its checking off a list of plot points and references. It doesn't feel organic. However, Snow's strict adherence her traditional fairy tale representation breaths some much-needed life into the narrative, and the latter parts of the issue are stronger for her presence.
Luckily, the visual world of SNZA is quite stunning, as artist Hyeondo Park (Veda: Assembly Required, My Boyfriend is a Monster) gives life to a script that deals in tropes and by-now-unoriginal takes on fantasy characters. There is a delightful two-page spread where, after meeting Snow White, Rapunzel explains the fate of Snow's dwarf friends. It shows Park's creativity and flair rather eloquently.
The lettering from David Byrne is also refreshingly experimental. From using sheet music as a background to bubbles where characters are singing to a number of distinctive sound effects, Byrne shows a willingness to try ideas outside of the norm. Not all of them are entirely successful, but they are at least interesting.
Not every zombie film is Shaun of the Dead or 28 Days Later. Not every comic book that attempts to look at fairy tales or zombies from a new angle is Fables or The Walking Dead, and SNZA is unlikely to join such a lofty pantheon. But, it does have points of merit: Hyeondo Park's eye-catching art, the bold lettering and the clear love that Brenton Lengel has for his tale. All of these provide enough undead meat on the bones for those interested in the concept. It's just not quite enough to warrant a read if you are already worn out by dark twists on fairy tales, with or without zombies.
Snow White: Zombie Apocalypse is available now.<