As a kid in the 80s there was a sub-genre of movies, books and TV that I was addicted to focusing on kid adventurers. I think these stories really struck a nerve with me because I could identify with the characters so closely. They didn’t have super powers, weren’t typically super well off, and yet they all had a thirst for discovery, exploration and adventure that led them to unlocking mysteries, fighting against villains and monsters, and basically becoming heroes. You see this in movies like the Goonies, Monster Squad, the Explorers, E.T. and Stand By Me, books like the Choose Your Own Adventure or the Samantha Slade: Monster Sitter series, and TV shows like Whiz Kids and Voyagers. Though the genre has persisted through the 90s and on to today the tone has shifted dramatically and these days to a point where these kid characters are either super powered themselves or live in a world so unrelateable that it doesn’t feel that the kid audience could ever stumble into the same story (I’m looking at you Hunger Games, Maze Runner, Harry Potter, et al.)
So, when my artist friend Scott Serkland reached out to me about his new comic book Young and the Dead I was super stoked to see what he has in store! Set in the 80s, the story follows a group of neighborhood kids who find themselves in the middle of the zombie apocalypse. From the kickstarter page:
“Young and the Dead follows the adventures of 11-year-old Sam Young and his little brother Tad, who wake up one morning to find that most of the adults in their quiet suburban neighborhood have fallen victim to a nasty virus that has transformed them into flesh eating zombies. Together, with a rag-tag team of neighborhood misfits: Sam’s wisecracking best friend Mitch, a live action role-play aficionado named Lloyd, a tough as nails tomboy named Oxsana, Sam’s secret crush Stephanie, and her overprotective older brother Ricardo, aka Rocky. It’s a race against time as these unlikely heroes fight to survive and unlock the clues to a cure that could possibly reverse the effects of the deadly zombie outbreak and save the world in the process.
Young in the Dead is an homage to all the great kid-centric adventure films of the 1980’s. Films like The Goonies, Monster Squad, Explorers, and ET The Extra Terrestrial, to name a few. Think Goonies meets Night of the Living Dead. Young and the Dead combines 80’s nostalgia, adventure, humor, horror, mystery, and danger, and throws in a healthy helping of zombies (You all remember the zombie apocalypse of the 1980s, right?) There will be thrills, chills, and guts will spill (mostly zombie guts)!”
I’ve been a fan of Scott’s artwork for years and it’s really awesome to see him branching out into sequential storytelling. He has a really great design aesthetic that bleeds out of his art and into his presentation at conventions and appearances. I mean take a look at his setup!
I’ve gotten a chance to read the first two issues and I fell head over heels for the story. I love Scott’s attention to detail and his take on these kids coming from some semi-broken homes.
He also has a great sense of whimsy, yet when it comes to bringing the violence and gore of the zombie horror he pulls no punches!
All in all, I think fans of 80s nostalgia, horror and most importantly the kid adventure genre will really dig Scotts new comic. You can find the project over on kickstarter where he’s making the story available in a number of formats with a lot of cool perks and add-ons. In particular I’m hoping that the project reaches the Trading Card stretch goal as I’d love to see some Young and the Dead wax packs!
So again, if you dig horror, the 80s or kid adventure, take a moment to head over to the funding page, watch Scott’s introduction video and consider backing the project. I know I did…