In less than a week, iZombie will hit the airwaves on the CW and I’m as hyped as ever for it! But before this, I was (and am) a fan of Chris Roberson and Michael Allred’s 2010 Eisner-nominated comic of the same name. While its Wikipedia entry suggests that it’s a horror drama, don’t be fooled! iZombie is a charming story that combines mystery, horror and even comedy. It features a wide array of supernatural characters, ranging from zombies to vampires, ghosts, secret agent scientists, as well as a myriad of sexual minorities.
The main character of this Vertigo title goes by the name of Gwen Dylan – a self aware zombie who works as a gravedigger at a cemetery so she can have easy access to human brains. Gwen needs to eat a human brain at least once a month, or she will, in her own words, “Go total Night of the Living Dead.” As a not-quite-so convenient side effect of her brain consumption, she gains the memories of the brain’s previous owner. Gwen is joined by her close friends, Ellie, a ghost who’s been dead for 40 years, and Scott, a “wereterrior”.
At its core, iZombie is a love letter to everything from Scooby-Doo too Lovecraft. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and everything in between. For a comic about monsters, iZombie is one of the most human stories you can read.
Needless to say, when I heard, “We’re not sticking that close to the comic,” from IGN’s March 15, 2014 interview with Rob Thomas, I wasn’t exactly pleased.
The addition of this show to the CW network means that the CW now has a high profile show with a female lead. The lead character becomes a zombie after a horrific incident at a party of which she is the only survivor. However, it has been revealed that the show would not feature any other supernatural elements such as ghosts and vampires – and the zombies would be virus based instead of soul-based. As a fan of the comic and its diverse cast of characters, this was pretty disappointing. Losing the mythos takes away an enormous element from the comic. In addition to that, Gwen is now named Olivia ‘Liv’ Moore, and is not a gravedigger. Liv works at a morgue to have easy access to fresh brains, and eventually aids a forensics team to help solve murders while trying to hide her secret undead condition. When Liv eats a brain, not only will she adopt that person’s memories, but their personality and mannerisms as well, until she can resolve the crime and put the memories to rest. This will allow the show to have self contained mystery episodes while also working to further the overarching mystery of why Liv is the way she is after the incident.
Check out the trailer below:
The comment section is filled with premature judgments on the show – from its choice to be a crime procedural, to its divergences from the comic. However, not everything about the show is so different. Much of the creative team behind iZombie has been said to have read the entire comic and has made decisions in iZombie’s production with the original storyline mind, even if it is not being followed verbatim. For example, the main character is the same age and she similarly clings to her humanity by eating the brains of the recently dead and gaining their memories; so there’s still something in there for fans of the original.
Rob Thomas has also stated that iZombie will not be trying to one-up other zombie themed shows at their own craft. Instead, it will be making a unique identity for itself in the zombie scene. Interestingly enough, more recent interviews revealed that it will have a lot more in common with popular 90’s show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, than anything else. The show will also be incorporating the quarter life crisis, post-college lifestyle – with the added challenge of being undead.
The iZombie television show will be different from iZombie the comic. It’s taking a great deal of liberties with the source material, but that doesn’t mean it will be worse off because of it, nor does it mean that they don’t have faith in the comic’s narrative. They have a vision for a show inspired by the comic and are embracing the elements that resonated most with them, while adding their own distinct qualities to make it unique.
From the press releases, it looks like iZombie is going to be a fantastic addition to the CW’s line up of enjoyable, fast paced shows that have done nothing but grow in popularity. They are using it as a basis to create a show with a female lead that tackles an underexplored point in many peoples lives that is becoming increasingly relevant. If you’re a fan of the comic, or interested in a fun, action-packed show with a dark twist, then iZombie is for you!
iZombie airs in just 5 days. Until then, you can check out the first issue of the original comic over at Comixology for only $1!