Reviewed by Mario Guslandi

It's not easy to define and explain what Brainchild is. The publisher of this 64-page unusual booklet describes this work as “a collection of artifacts”. Correct, but still too vague, hard to understand for anyone who hasn't seen the volume.

Let's say this is a very atypical anthology collecting a bunch of very short “stories” (?) and a number of stunning, disturbing drawings, all about the Undead. So, if you don't care much for zombies, better keep off.

Contributors, either writers or illustrators, include a total of fifteen people. There's a certain, gradual progression throughout the volume, which, despite the patchy nature of the booklet, resembles a kind of plot.

Starting with the vivid report of a zombie outbreak and the desperate efforts of a group of people on the run, searching for safety on a highway (Running), we end up in the tense atmosphere of the after-horror, when adaptation to the peculiar, tragic circumstances takes place as a natural, human reaction (On the Western Front and Finnegan's Scoop). To kill the undead is the only way of trying to restore normality and of staying alive. But people's worries include how to avoid the curse of dying and turning into zombies themselves (Book of Matches).

In between, several fragments of melancholy, horror and gloom. And everywhere incredible artwork where death is represented in full colours and in its many faces.

Being a collective work, to mention names of single authors would be unfair. I'll make an exception only for Rebecca Brock's Black Days: Sandy which seems to me the most accomplished among the fictional items. Imbued with a claustrophobic undercurrent, it's a piece of pure horror, where the main confrontation with the undead takes places in the ladies bathroom of an office building in New York.

It's not entirely clear to me if I liked Brainchild. That would be a simplistic way to put things.

Browsing the book was unsettling and fascinating at the same time, like watching a fatal car accident and being unable to leave the scene.

So I won't offer any bottom line. Just try it.

Brainchild. Pb, 64pp, $15. Published by Omnibucket.

Website: -

Return to Whispers review archive