Zombies Can’t Swim


By Kim Herbst (Borderline Press)
ISBN: 978-0-99269-726-6 (PB)

It’s pretty certain now that we can’t escape the our own – metaphorical – oncoming Zombie Apocalypse, since dealing with the shambling horrors has even been added to the “What Would You Do…?” topic list of idle pub chatter and polite dinner party conversation, right below “… if you had a million dollars?” and “…if you had a month to live?” but still above “…if you were irresistible to the opposite sex?”…

British publishing house Borderline Press sagely took those idle musings and gave them concrete form in a deliciously wry and whimsical horror fantasy that is sublimely enchanting and gloriously engaging.

Kim Herbst was born in Taipei and taught to toddle in Tokyo before learning how to slaughter the Undead growing up tough in New Jersey. After graduating the Illustration course at the Maryland Institute College of Art, she moved to San Francisco and pursued a commercial art career, with various illustrations in children’s educational books, magazines like GamesTM and Rhode Island Monthly, plus covers for Boom! Studios, all whilst pursuing the day-job drawing for mobile games company Juicebox Games.

Her first full comics extravaganza, Zombies Can’t Swim apparently developed out of a casual conversation with her fiancé whilst sitting on a hill in idyllic rural Japan, and that’s where this mordantly gripping, breakneck-paced visualisation of that idle chat begins as big hulking him and cute little her are compelled to continue their debate on the run. That’s because assorted apparitions and rampaging reanimated revenants are trying to make the couple the next appetiser in an orgy of unending consumption…

In a country where guns are scarce, motor cars can be stolen on every street corner and fantastically lethal exotic medieval weaponry can be found in any museum, the fantasy within a fantasy follows our philosophical debaters in a gruesomely gory two-player re-enactment of every zombie flick you’ve seen in the last decade as the famished Dead keep Walking towards them and the young romantics make their way towards some sort of safe haven.

Amidst frantic combat, abortive rescues, crashed copters and incipient immolation, the frantic morsels make a decision. Japan is an island so if they head for the harbour and steal a boat, they’ll be safe.

After all everybody knows Zombies Can’t Swim

This wild and witty two-colour tome is a brief and vivid vignette all horror fans will adore: captivating cathartic, violently vicarious fun against a foe everybody knows it’s okay to kill (Kill again? Put an end to? Unmember? Render finally harmless?) but sharp enough to blur the lines between fearful frenzy and frantic frolic.
© Kim Herbst 2014.