All Dressed Up #1

Posted: Tuesday, March 11, 2003
By: Darren Schroeder

Cover of All Dressed Up #1 Creator(s): Robert Elrod
Publishers: Swine Song Comics
From: USA
Price: $2.00 US

In which a whole lot of zombies, dead people and cuddly cannibals get to muse on life and eat each other.

Death, it's the inevitable end for all the stories that there are to be told, but it is all the conclusion that we all try to ignore for as long as possible. It has been said that it is impossible for the living to really comprehend what death is. Perhaps it's like trying to get a drunk person to pretend to be sober. So instead we have to focus on what leads up to the moment of death, be it the heroic or tragic process. We can also image something after death; an afterlife in heaven or hell, or rebirth.

Robert seems to think about death quite a lot by the looks of this comic, and in the grisly illustrations of these stories he manages to inclose some serious thoughts on the matter. We see the rat race of the 9 to 5 office job as a living death. The illustration of death shed tears for the man who has to escape into fantasy to give some meaning to his life.

These are thoughtful stories which give the reader much to contemplate. Robert isn't just a depressing writer though, he throws in some cartoonish humor in the adventures of a bunch of cannibal apes. They can't get through a strip without eating somebody. There's also a quite funny take on the dating game show which mixes both some black humour, grisly illustrations of rotting corpses and comes up with some laugh out loud moments.

The drawings of the grisly characters are gory without being silly and show a sound understanding of basic anatomy for comics. The use of a range of grey tones works well, giving the illustrations a polished finish. At 16 pages of standard comic format at first seems a bit thin, but it has plenty of meat on the bone and a nice color cover to make it a barging at the price.

In a Word: Lively.

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