A zombie plague is on the rise and is bringing down civilization as we know it. Zombies are real. And we made them! Are you prepared for the zombie apocalypse? The Smith family is.
The graphic novel is an adaptation of the Book Series Black Tide Rising Anthologies by New York Times bestselling author John Ringo. The graphic novel is the first volume of what appears to be a fascinating series.
The story is about a family that is trying to survive a zombie apocalypse that started with a man-made virus, called H7D3, that was widely spread. It was clearly adapted to include the covid narratives and pop culture references.
THE CREATIVE TEAM
The book is written by Chuck Dixon. Chuck is an American graphic novel editor, writer, and publisher that contributed over a thousand scripts to publishers like DC Comics, Marvel, Dark Horse, Hyperion, and others featuring a range of characters from Batman to the Simpsons. His comic book adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit is an international bestseller. He is the co-creator of the iconic Batman villain Bane. He is a prolific writer for GI Joe and A-Team for IDW Publishing, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for Dynamite, The Simpsons for Bongo Comics, and many creator-owned projects including Joe Frankenstein.
He is the co-publisher of a line of graphic novels based on the American Civil War and wrote the graphic novel adaptation of Amity Shlaes’s The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression. He is the author of two series of action novels, Bad Times and Levon Cade, and a co-adapter and writer of the New York Times #1 and Amazon #1 best seller, Clinton Cash: A Graphic Novel. The Levon Cade book series is currently in TV development with Sylvester Stallone’s Balboa Productions.
The interior art of the book is done by Derlis Santacruz. Derlis is a veteran comic book artist born in Paraguay. At an early age, he and his family moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina. In 2012, he started his career in commercial art as Walther Taborda’s assistant in short stories published for the Italian market. His introduction to the American market was as an assistant to Andres Ponce for Avatar Press.
Since then, he’s contributed to a wide array of titles for Marvel and DC Comics, including Detective Comics, Batman: The Dark Knight, Batgirl, Justice League of America, Vibe, Fantastic Four, and Iron Man. Additionally, he illustrated the Spike Graphic Novel and Tomb Raider series for Dark Horse Comics and Blood the Graphic Novel for Permuted Press.
BRETT R. SMITH
The book is colored by Brett R. Smith. Brett is an American professional commercial artist working in the comic book industry as a color artist, a storyboard artist in the advertising industry, and a graphic artist for multiple clients. He has worked with many clients, including Marvel and DC Entertainment, Hasbro, Cartoon Network, McCann Erikson, BBDO, and Saatchi & Saatchi.
Brett has contributed to multiple premier properties and licenses including, The Avengers, Batman, Superman, GI Joe, Wolverine, Suicide Squad, Guardians of the Galaxy, Hulk, Detective Comics, Heineken, Chase Bank, Miller Beer, Cheerios, Pillsbury, Birds Eye, and many others. Smith was a co-adapter, editor, and creative director for the New York Times #1 and the Amazon #1 best seller, Clinton Cash: A Graphic Novel. He is also the project manager of the crowdfunding campaign.
Lettering is done by April Brown. April was fresh out of college when she was thrown into the deep end of the comics industry and told to sink or swim. She never looked back. She has worked in the comics industry for over 17 years for clients, including Kodansha USA, Platinum Studios, Soaring Penguin Press, and many others.
She worked on the Harvey-Nominated Only Living Boy by Bottled Lighting and the Eisner Award-Nominated To End All Wars: A WW1 Graphic Anthology by Soaring Penguins Press. April has also worked with some of the most talented artists out there on a variety of independent projects.
Cover art is done by Dave Dorman. With a career spanning 40 years, Dave is an American Eisner Award-Winning artist who has also done extensive design work for Hollywood film productions and major toy companies like Hasbro.
He is best known for his Star Wars book and comic cover art and was voted the #1 artist of all time by fans of the franchise! Dave’s art has also been featured in Topps trading cards for franchises like World of Warcraft, Star Trek, Harry Potter, Battlestar Galactica, and Lord of the Rings.
The book design was created by Color Fusion. Micheal J. Lermon and Richard E. Rosenthal are the producers and executive editors. The original story was created by John Ringo and Mike Massa and co-produced by Baen Books*, Lee Miles, and Jeff Shabel. Toni Welsskopf as the executive editor. Video Artwork by Howell Upchurch with Brian Troxell as the newscaster and Casey Holloway as the narrator.
The book has 64-pages consisting of 56 full-color pages with fresh, original content in an age of endless reboots and warmed-over hashes, one page for the foreword, a dedication page, 4 pages with the backers’ list, one page showing the creative process to make a page, and one page with the creators’ bio which was very much appreciated. When you have professionals working on the project, it is important to disclose their work which also helps to sell the project.
At the back of the book, there are several positive first impressions and reviews from the entertainment industry including Larry Correa (Author), Nick Seavy (Actor), Graham Nolan (Writer, Illustrator & Publisher), Dean Cain (Actor & Filmmaker) and Christian Toto (Editor).
The softcover is hard-quality printing, and the binding is almost perfect. The spine of the book is blank. The quality of the interior pages is really good almost similar to those of Through the Woods.
The book is published by Hound Dog Media, American Veteran-owned and operated Publishing and Production Company, specializing in the development of the literary intellectual property into graphic novels, comics, and other audio-visual mediums. The book is produced via permission from Baen Books based on the Black Tide Rising 7 book series and the novel Under a Graveyard Sky.
Let’s meet the characters of this story…
THE SMITH FAMILY
Steve Smith is a paratrooper turned college professor; Steve heeds his brother’s warning to leave the family’s former life behind during the early days of the outbreak. A calm and soft-spoken man with an iron resolve, who will stop at nothing to protect his wife and daughters. Steve “flips the switch” back to the combat-hardened mindset of his Army days and looks to the lessons of the history he taught to bored college freshmen in his pursuit of safe harbor.
Stacey Smith is a savvy mechanical engineer who keeps her family running as smoothly as the engine of their stolen boat, procured in no small part by her quick thinking. Stacey and Steve are low-key “preppers” who raised their daughters to be capable and independent-minded, with lots of self-defense training on top of sports and education.
Sophia Smith is the older daughter of Steve and Stacey. Sophia takes after her mother, especially when it comes to logical thinking and planning. She is often frustrated at having a “little” sister who isn’t so little, and her conscientious wisdom often clashes with Faith’s impulsive nature.
Faith Smith is the younger daughter of Steve and Stacey, a high school student who is especially tall and strong for her age. The fire to Sophia’s ice. Extremely competitive, often hot-headed, and impetuous, but tempered with a compassionate heart. Faith adapts very quickly to fighting the infected, to an almost frightening degree, and buries her fear by treating the “zombie apocalypse” as an exciting game.
Tom Smith is Steve’s brother, former Special Forces. Head of Security & Emergency Response for Bank of the Americas, one of the elite institutions funding its own efforts to produce a vaccine. His keen sense of honor creates conflict between his obligations to the bank and his family loyalty. Tom struggles to maintain a fragile truce between ruthless bankers, vicious gangsters, beleaguered cops, and grasping bureaucrats…all entangled in a deadly game of brinksmanship and hidden agendas.
As former Special Ops colleagues of Tom Smith, Jim Kaplan, and Dave Durante are the most trusted members of the bank’s executive security team. Kaplan is non-descript in appearance, with a sixth sense for impending trouble. He and Durante share a strong sense of gallows humor.
Dave “Gravy” Durante is Kaplan’s executive security counterpart, tall and lanky with a perpetually relaxed demeanor. Durante is given the task of minding Tom’s thrill-seeking niece Faith, while he struggles to keep her out of trouble and himself clear of his boss’s wrath.
Staff Sergeant Marcus Copley is a veteran of the Iraq & Afghanistan wars and section leader in the New York Army National Guard. Copley’s small squad of surviving troops encounters the Smith family during a bizarre melee in Washington Square Park.
The media calls it the Pacific Flu. The CDC calls it H7D3, and it spreads like wildfire. The virus combines the worst symptoms of Rabies and the common flu and is suspected to be man-made. The first reports of feral, cannibalistic “zombie-like” symptoms were met with disbelief and skeptical amusement, but nobody’s laughing now. Scientists, backed by the world’s governments and its wealthiest institutions, race against the clock to develop a cure as infections rise and cities fall.
A glimmer of hope appears as a vaccine is discovered, but its production requires harvesting the spinal tissue of the infected, a grim task that tests the limits of human morality. With no other choices apparent, time is quickly running out before hordes of infected overwhelm the last remaining bastions of civilization.
In the first days of the outbreak, Steve Smith, a college history professor, receives a cryptic warning from a trusted source. It’s a baffling, yet unmistakable message “AlasBabylon Q4E9” that could be translated as “PACK UP, GET OUT, AND GO NOW!”. Steve and his family don’t waste any time; they leave their normal, comfortable lives behind to get ahead of the inevitable panic and survive the end of the world.
They take a sailboat to avoid the chaos on the land. Tom reaches them and requests his brother to let him take Sophia to help at the lab of the company where he is working. They are trying to develop a vaccine. Faith being how she is will self-invite herself. When they reach the facility and start working on their assigned jobs problems start to rise. How will they come out of these challenges?
Let me first start with what I didn’t like which will be really quick. There is not much to tell. The trailer could have been better with a little restraint and copies the sin of most movie trailers: The trailer tells too much of the story.
The foreword is specifically towards Americans that would better understand the current political and the deplorable state of Los Angeles. While I somewhat understand the complaints as an international reader, I found it quite annoying at this point because the topic has been constantly on the news. With the foreword, I was expecting the views from the writers and creators sharing why and how they came up with the idea for the adaptation.
CARING FOR THE MAIN CHARACTERS
Now to what I liked. Faith is Amazing! While I identify more with Sophia, I couldn’t help to care a lot for Faith. And I’m not caucasian but that doesn’t stop me to relate to fictional characters. It is sad that this needs to be said nowadays.
COMMITTED RELATIONSHIPS AND PARENTHOOD
Their mom and dad are an aspirational married couple. Both are committed individuals. They try to keep their love flame alive while nurturing their relationship with their daughters. I love the panels where they show that parents love each other and their kids, even when they are the most annoying. I love the sister bond too. I expected that Faith was going to get into trouble.
I thought her mother’s support during that difficult time was important to illustrate. The value of parents’ support is unmeasurable. In this story, you feel how they would go beyond the limits to save each other.
BE PREPARED, BE INFORMED, AND STAY ALERT
Having the freedom to make a plan and be prepared while at the same time paying attention to the changes surrounding the zombie apocalypse and adapting are highlights of the story. You can only achieve that with the proper knowledge and critical thinking. That can only be achieved with free thinking and proper education.
EXERCISE CRITICAL THINKING
What struck me most was the concert sequence and the whole mentality of the attendees. They resemble people that don’t follow the logic in extreme situations. Now we know that what we lived through was not an extreme situation such as a zombie pandemic but some people took it to that extreme.
The concert sequence is the perfect example of clearly explaining to someone what the whole mentality is of people living rule-free/religious-free/commitment-free life and how some gain common sense at some point in their life and get away from that way of life. And there is even a Jessie Smollett reference in the story. If you know of the incident you will get the reference but if not. It’s ok. I thought it was funny.
REACHING THE END
I reached the end of the book and I have so many questions. Why does the head of security of a major bank know about viruses? How do they have access to that information? The pathogen is man-made but they have no clue where it came from? Or who has the knowledge and technology to develop it? Really?
This is a world similar to ours which I assume has the same level of security with information gathering from the NSA, CIA, MOSSAD, and other similar organizations that globally work together through G7, G10, WFE, and the like. The origins of the pathogen do not come up. Also, what was that sound in the end? Maybe the answers will be shared in the next installments.
EXPERIENCE WITH THE CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN
By the time I decided to back this crowdfunding project, I choose the “GRAPHIC NOVEL + ART PRINT” tier which includes the graphic novel plus a cover-sized art print by Dave Dorman. I have received the package with no issues that contained the book and the print. It was a surprise because I didn’t receive a tracking number. I knew that the shipping process started but I was not expecting it to arrive so soon.
It is worth mentioning that the crowdfunding campaign updates were provided on the status of the project which was greatly appreciated. As of date, the campaign is closed but I hope the physical copy and digital copy of the book will be sold in (online) stores in the near future.
“Black Tide Rising: Volume 1” is a must-read for everyone. The story is engaging and you can’t help but care for the Smith family. The art is beautiful. I hope the book will be available for sale somewhere since the crowdfunding campaign was closed.
This story has themes that are great topics of conversation. There is so much to get into that you have to read it yourself. The book got me interested in novels by John Ringo that the story is based on that I didn’t know about. I hope it will not take long before we get Volume 2.
Interested in more titles? Check the latest publications from the “EYES ON” series wherein I documented my experience with crowdfunding campaigns and shared my notes on the products I received:
- EYES ON JETTA RAYE ADVENTURES
- EYES ON INFINITALE CHRONICLES BOOK 1
- EYES ON STAR CIRCUIT CHAPTER 1
- EYES ON GUARDIANS OF ERLOTH
*Updated on August 11, 2022
My notes are all set. Let me know what you think.
See you on the next page!