To quote Becka Kinzie’s site:
Hello, I’m a freelance artist from the K‑W Region. I’ve also been working as a colour flatter and colouring assistant since the early 2010s. In my spare time, I create my own macabre series of comics, which are posted online. The pages are eventually made into comic book issues, and so far I have self-published 15 of them (for sale at events/conventions).
Kenzie’s first webcomic, Cadaverific, ran from 2008 to 2014.
Corey Bowman’s story should have ended the night the night he died. A minor altercation between Corey and a low-rent acquaintance ended in Corey’s accidental death. Yes, the story should have ended there, but it didn’t. Corey’s cousin J. P. just happened to have come into possession of a monkey’s paw — sorry, the Monkey’s Paw — and in an idle moment of grief, wished Corey was back among his friends.
J. P. was nowhere near specific enough about his wish.
When he was alive, Corey was never able to convince his friends — Doug, Rosalia, Chris, and the others — to go to the Manticore Metalfest heavy metal concert down in the US. Now that it is too late, they want to honour his memory by attending. The news that someone seemingly stole Corey’s body from his grave is disquieting, but not enough to keep the gang from heading south.
They are not the only ones moving in that direction.
Somalee and Rachel’s journey south is rudely interrupted when Corey’s decaying form shambles out onto the road. Corey has plainly learned nothing from his last fatal accident. Convinced they ran over a living person, the two women are delayed long enough for Corey’s friends (whom they’ve never met before) to catch up with them. It doesn’t take the crew too long to work out that Corey is a zombie animated by unknown occult forces. They overreact violently, leaving the unfortunate Corey in several pieces … all of them independently animated.
This is not necessarily a disaster. Despite his manifest decay, Corey shows none of the traditional predilections of the undead. He doesn’t want to kill anyone and he has no interest in brains. Thanks to his cousin’s phrasing, Corey is compelled to find his way to the couch J. P. was sitting on when he made his wish; Corey would also like it if bits of him stopped falling off. His friends just want to avoid getting undue attention. Somalee and Rachel want to exploit Corey’s entertainment potential to get hits on their website.
The curse of the Monkey’s Paw is that everyone gets what they think they want — but with complications they did not envision. The women, for example, will get their moment of fame and a car all the cleaners in the world won’t purify.
Just how bad things will get is an open question.
Will poor Corey ever get to see Manticore Metalfest? Read the comic and find out.
Since this is the author’s first web comic, her art is noticeably rougher than it had become later, in Gehenna (reviewed here). The art improves over six year long run of this particular comic.
Readers may be curious about how Corey reacts once he finds out where his friends are headed. “Not well,” although more along the lines of annoyed and disappointed than angry. As Corey himself realizes, getting angry almost never improves the situation. At least he learned that lesson. He never does get a clue about the dangers of running out onto busy roads.
While Corey’s friends and associates initially demonstrate the usual genre blindness of horror protagonists, it doesn’t take them too long to work out the rules governing Corey are not quite the same as the ones they have learned from movies and comics. They do try to figure out what happened and whether the Paw can used in constructive ways.
A lot of horror depends on shock value and violence. Corey may look scary but he’s rarely deliberately violent, if only because his increasingly fragile body isn’t up to much in the way of mayhem. The story’s antagonists are self-centred rather than villainous (although Derek’s treatment of gullible Rosalia is pettily malevolent); many of the complications that ensue are due to simple greed and (teenage) short attention spans.
Although this comic is often funny — if you’ve wondered what a Hope and Crosby Road movie with a hapless zombie would have been like, this may be the closest answer you will ever get — ultimately it has a melancholy tone. After all, Corey may be back, sort of, and he may have the chance to resolve matters interrupted by his untimely death, but he’s certainly not going to take up where he left off. Worse yet, It’s not clear that his consciousness will vanish after his rotting body falls apart. J. P.’s wish may have horrifying consequences for his cousin. But then, that’s how the Paw works.…
Cadaverific is online here.
Please direct corrections to jdnicoll at panix dot com.