Looking for a good read? Here is a recommendation. I have an unusual approach to reviewing books. I review books I feel merit a review. Each review is an opportunity to recommend a book. If I do not think a book is worth reading, I find another book to review. You do not have to agree with everything every author has written (I do not), but the fiction I review is entertaining (and often thought-provoking) and the non-fiction contain ideas worth reading.
Reviewed by Mark Lardas
July 16, 2023
“Black Tide Rising: The Graphic Novel, Volume One,” scripted by Chuck Dixon, drawn and inked by Derlis Santacruz, Baen, 2023, 56 pages, $18.99 (Trade Paperback) $7.99 (Ebook)
In 2013 John Ringo wrote “Under a Graveyard Sky,” a novel about a zombie apocalypse. While zombie apocalypse stories are almost as done to death as vampire stories, Ringo put an original spin on it. The book caught fire. There are now four novels in the mainline series, four spin-off novels, and three collections of short stories in what is known as the Black Tide Rising series.
“Black Tide Rising: The Graphic Novel, Volume One,” scripted by Chuck Dixon, drawn and inked by Derlis Santacruz, colored by Brett A. Smith and lettered by April Brown, adds a graphic novel version of the story. It is the first installment of what promises to be a series of graphic interpretations of the series.
The book is slim, 64 pages with 52 pages of story, giving it the feel of a comic book. It only covers Book 1 of “Under a Graveyard Sky” – “Light a Candle.” These are the events from the time John Smith receives a message from his brother Tom that the apocalypse is at hand until the Smith family evacuates New York City after the final concert there.
It is a good graphic interpretation of the novel. The artwork is first rate, the colors brilliant. It is not appropriate for young children, due to the nature of the zombie apocalypse in the story. There is gore and occasional (though not prurient) nudity. Teens should be fine with it. The book includes four pages illustrating the creative process.
If you only read e-books this probably is not for you. Reading it on an e-reader obscures much of the artwork, and the only practical way to read it electronically is as a pdf on a monitor capable of a 1920x1080 resolution. Get a print copy for satisfaction.
Another criticism is that this is like reading a movie version of the novel. Even though it only covers “Light a Candle,” it compresses the story to just the parts involving the Smith family. The background, including much of the back story explaining the virus is excised from the graphic version. The format should work excellently for the short stories in the three anthologies, however.
If you enjoy graphic novels and are a fan of the Black Tide Rising series, “Black Tide Rising: The Graphic Novel” is a must-get book. It is an excellent, if necessarily compressed rendition of the first half of the first novel.
Mark Lardas, an engineer, freelance writer, historian, and model-maker, lives in League City. His website is marklardas.com.