Since 2003 The Walking Dead has a been pop culture phenomena. In 2010 the television series would air, infecting a much wider audience. Social issues and humanity at its worst has been the foundation for a good zombie story. This has been the way since the Godfather of zombies, George Romero, created the blueprint with his early films. But while TWD was captivating audiences, there was a little story written and drawn by Garth Ennis and Jacen Burrows. This new depraved apocalypse was Crossed. A new type of zombie story unlike anything else. Crossed went to places that would make even the most full-fledged gorehound squeamish. But also, Crossed covers social topics both similar and different from TWD. This retrospective will dive headfirst into the nitty gritty of one of the best horror comics ever conceived. This is the not so walking dead, The Crossed.
Originally conceived as a one-off story by Garth Ennis in 2008, Crossed tells the story of survivors of an infection that makes its victims partake in sadistic and heinous acts of violence. This new type of zombie is far from the walkers of TWD. The artwork of Jacen Burrows paints a beautiful picture of blood and guts, but also raw emotion. The reader can feel each gruesome act in each panel. The infection could be spread through exposure to bodily fluids. I will leave your imagination to digest that. This story did not just go for the shock factor.
Much like TWD, the story depicts a realistic group of survivors as they attempt to get as far away from the infected as humanly possible. The survivors are pursued by an interesting cast of villains. In this story, the infected are still people. However, they give into their baser impulses and inflict pain and suffering on the non-infected.
Because of this unique twist on the genre, the infected are rather clever in their methods. This leads to some startling discoveries by the survivors as the story progresses. There are also revelations about the survivors themselves that can unsettle the reader. In addition to secrets and danger around every corner, Crossed forces the characters into dreadful dilemmas. Some situations requir the most devastating of decisions from each of the main characters. Again, this is part of the impact of the Crossed comics. An uncompromising story both visually and emotionally.
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TWD established longevity with spin offs like Fear The Walking Dead, Dead City, and a Daryl Dixon spin off. Some fans of the comic wondered if Crossed could ever see a live action adaptation. The impact of the Crossed comics would inspire one filmmaker in 2021, the Taiwanese film The Sadness unraveled a plot very much reminiscent of the work of Ennis and Burrows.
Crossed would continue with different creative teams until 2018, with Alan Moore even penning a few stories. It may have borrowed from its cousins in the zombie genre but it carved its own blood soaked path. Crossed is a story worth your time. If you have the stomach for it.