Printed Perversions: Pieces for Mom – A Tale of the Undead (2007)
If you thought Norman Bates had mommy issues, wait til you meet Mike.
Last week, comic scribe Steve Niles unleashed this little Halloween treat for fans on his personal website. It’s an older book, first released by Image Comics back in 2007, but one I’m not familiar with so I was more than happy to check it out.
Part Mother’s Day allegory, part übergross zombie tale Pieces for Mom is stomach-churning story about two boys (Mike and Derek) in a post-zombie apocalyptic world who have been tasked with taking care of their mother… who just happens to be one of the undead herself. So how exactly do the boys go about tending to mother’s needs? By feeding her other people, of course!
Right from the beginning we learn that this is a world full of all kinds of zombies – sprinters, slow-mo, talkers – so much so in fact that one character even remarks on the difficulty of telling them apart from the scavengers that have survived. I love the unpredictability of this take and to this end, Mike’s mother is a bit of a talker (though she only knows a few words like “Miiike” and “Hungry”). This leads to Mike having to venture into the zombie-infested wasteland in search of “food” for his mother, resulting in a bit of ghoulish slaughter and a kick ass twist worthy of a Tales from the Crypt episode.
Niles does a great job of capturing the polar opposite perspectives of both Derek and Mike, both of whom seem like real kids and offers just a bit more depth to Mike to make his “turn” at the end of the story pay off in a big way (Niles also credits Rob Mattison in helping to adapt the original prose). I won’t spoil the ending, suffice to say that it’s TOTALLY worth the price of admission… which in this case is FREE so there’s really no excuse not to read it.
On the art side, Andrew Ritchie delivers an equally eerie atmosphere filled to brim with half decomposed corpses, gloriously gruesome kills and more than a few Easter Eggs for eagle eyed fans on the genre. No detail seems spared as Ritchie offers tons to look at in each panel, but its his zombies that really elevate this zombie tale to spine-chilling levels of awesome. This is the first I’ve seen of Ritchie’s work, but apparently he’s contributed to a few more tales of terror in Cthulhu Tales and Necronomicon (both from BOOM! Studios).