The Webcomic Overlook #34: Last Blood

Bobby Crosby.

Creator of webcomics with questionable quality, such as Pupkin and Marry Me (which I reviewed here). However, has managed to win over several skeptical reviewers with +EV, a webcomic about online poker. (The world is full of surprises, huh?) Burns with the passion of a thousand suns, and has a flair for drama punctuated by groanworthy goofiness. Fancies himself as a movie director in the making. Love him or hate him, his webcomics seem to draw a good number of loyal fans… so he must be doing something right.

Chris Crosby.

Co-founder of the popular Keenspot webcomic hosting site, which will always have a soft place in my heart for hosting Matt Wilson’s Bonus Stage webtoon. Creator of well-received webcomics Superosity, Sore Thumbs, and WICKEDPOWERED (reviewed here). A mad genius, his webcomics seem to always be perched precariously on the fine line between sheer brilliance and sheer stupidity.

What happens when you bring these two together? I imagine it would be a combustible, brotherly alliance not seen since the Duke brothers ran roughshod in Hazzard County, or since the Undertaker and Kane joined forces to become the Brothers of Destruction, or since Peyton and Eli Manning grafted on a pair of laser rocket arms and…. No wait, that’s getting a bit indulgent and way inaccurate. However, the Duke Boys and WWF tag team analogies still apply.

Add Keenspot veteran artist Owen Gieni to the mix, and you get Last Blood, a webcomic about a world ruled by zombies.

According to the wikipedia article for Blatant Comics, the company distributed around 20,000 copies of Last Blood during 2007’s Free Comic Book Day. They must not have reached Seattle, because I remember going to four different comic book stores and never seeing a copy. (To be fair, I was mainly picking up kid’s comics for my girlfriend’s elementary school.) Still, if that article is accurate, that makes Last Blood one of the few webcomics with a large print distribution, even if, you know, no one actually paid for it. Last Blood is also yet another one of those comics that Bobby Crosby wants to turn into a movie, which he will film. (He said the same thing about his other webcomic, Marry Me.) Why Bobby doesn’t just focus on his comics and let others do the filming is open to debate … but hey, the American dream, huh? I mean, Alan Moore and Frank Miller were just friggin’ underachievers.

As I mentioned before, the world of Last Blood is one dominated by zombies. The story opens with what looks like a homage to Jaws, except the girl in the bikini is eaten by the accursed undead instead of a great white shark. Things go precipitously downhill over the span of the next 30 days. The entire world becomes a fabulous zombie buffet, and humanity is poised on the brink of extinction.

So far, standard Romero fare.

A small band of humans find shelter in a schoolhouse far away from civilization. April is the colony’s heart: she’s a schoolteacher and perennial optimist with a winsome smile. Which means that if there’s going to be romance in this comic, she’s candidate A. Mac is big man with the build of a rugby player who seems to enjoy himself a bit too much when mowing down the zombie hordes. And there’s Murdo, a former marine with a hat who’s got a thing for sexy lady vampires. Heh, who doesn’t? There are other characters, but these are the starting line-up of a 30-plus roster for humanity.

At this point, I start to wonder: where in the world is Chris Crosby? I mean, the very first cover page credits both Bobby and Chris Crosby. At this point in the story, though, it seems like everything’s Bobby Crosby. The blog, the general tone of the story … it’s Bobbyland. Crap, even the header says “Written by Bobby Crosby.” Have I been tempted by false promises of fraternal dominance? Does this mean that I can’t use my incredible backlog of “Crosby and Crosby” quips? There are some panels that seem to exhibit Chris’ odd sense of humor, but those moments are few and far between. If you’re reading this post, Bobby, please clarify Chris’ contributions, because it’s not that obvious to me. Perhaps Chris was only heavily involved with the initial premise of Last Blood, and that turns out to be a standard zombie movie set-up.

Actually, that’s not completely true.

Last Blood introduces two characters that manage to put a twist on the standard zombie infestation story. During a zombie attack on the school, the human defenders are joined by Matheson and Valerie — who, incidentally, look like they just stepped out of a Matrix convention. The carnage is intense, but also light-hearted at times. When Math and Val rejoin the human colony, the reveal their dark secret. They’re vampires! Dun dun DUN! And they’re here for their blood. Math and Val suspect that this small colony may be the last group of humans on earth, and, well, vampires gots a hankerin’ for plasma cocktail, you know what I’m sayin’?

A world of vampires and zombies was already explored in the classic I Am Legend. Chances, though, are that Crosby & Crosby were aware of the novel, since the main character seems to be named after Legend’s author, Richard Matheson. I don’t have a problem with exploring the same world, though, since Crosby & Crosby introduce enough curveballs to keep it from turning into another Omega Man.For example, zombies are suffering from an advanced form of vampirism. If a vampire doesn’t get enough blood, he or she becomes one of the mindless brain-munchers that roam the land. Additionally, since the colony may be the last humans on Earth, it is in the vampires’ best interest to keep them alive … or to prevent them from turning into zombies themselves.

Otherwise, it’s pretty nifty to be a vampire. Eventually, Math and Val are joined by their vampire pals, a sort of Vampiric Ultimate Avengers. They come in all shapes and sizes. One even looks like Tyler Mane playing Sabertooth from the first X-Men movie, an association that becomes even more pronounced when it turns out our hirsute vampire used to be a wrestler. A keen sense of blood is a sixth sense, giving vampires a near psychic awarness of their surroundings. If you’re lucky, you can fly. Seriously, outside of the blood cravings, there’s really no downside.

The combined human and vampire forces find themselves at the mercy of the zombies. It turns out that the zombies are under the command of a single leader known as the First Zombie… and this mystery figure has ties to protagonists. Then it’s hack, slash, and generally getting medieval on all sorts of zombie asses.The artwork is easily the best I’ve seen from Owen Gieni. His illustrations in Wickedpowered and Sore Thumbs displayed a strong manga influence and were much more cartoony. By contrast, his efforts in Last Blood are darker and more detailed, yet are softened to give the impression of a world covered in perpetual mist. The artwork is mainly rendered in black and white. Starting with Volume 2 (which began 2008), some recent panels are rendered in muted, sepia-toned color. Gieni seems to have a lot of fun drawing body parts splitting up and flying apart. He also does an admirable job depicting the buttloads of zombies, which, I imagine, must have taken him quite a while to draw.There were times that the illustrations felt a bit awkward, though. Some scenes that were supposed to depict action or suspense felt a little flat. One scene, for example, shows one of the most gentle self-inflicted stakings I have ever seen. Another unnecessary panel shows a character kneeling on the roof, and it looks very awkward. That’s because Gieni draws mostly from eye level. I think he would’ve gotten better results if he’d played with perspectives a little. Overall, though, Gieni’s art does give the series a nice, gothic feel, and there wasn’t a single time I thought his artwork was inappropriately manga.

Crosby did a good job juggling a large cast. It’s not an easy job, making each of the characters distinct. Most of the time, you can tell them apart visually. Yet Crosby writes each of them with their own distinct personalities. Once in a while, he’ll throw in a woefully one-dimensional character, but fortunately these characters are not a common occurrence. There are times, though, when Bobby Crosby seems to love his characters far too much. Like when he professes his love in the blog portion of the comic or sticks them with some “cool” (i.e., lame) dialogue. There’s nothing wrong with loving you characters, but this sort of affection is starting to cross into Mary Sue territory.

Crosby still has a little trouble handling meet-cutes and realistic human relationships. I mean, honestly … how many times do we see couples accidentally falling into bed and sleeping together? To be fair, April and Math (c’mon, you knew it was going to happen) have much more chemistry than the couple in Marry Me … which, may I remind you, is a romance webcomic.

So when the carnage begins, does Last Blood deliver on the promise of shock and horror? Some scenes were genuinely chilling, hitting hard and delivering the full effect of pain and loss. Other times, it seems like Crosby dishes out a fatality just for the shock value alone. The death of one long-suffering side character, for example, had no lead-in and was completely out of character. Also out of place are the small humorous touches. Crashing an airplane into a wall of zombies makes for some cool visuals and a ridiculous four story pile of zombie corpses is pretty funny, but it doesn’t co-exist comfortably with the earlier psychological traumas.

But my biggest pet peeve of all is that the characters don’t even act in according to the rules of Last Blood. One character, for example, requests to become a vampire, and gets his wish without much protest. Wait a minute. We’ve been told that there’s not that many humans left on earth, since they’re needed as a sort of foodstock for the remaining vampires … shenanigans! Meanwhile, we’re told that a mere scrape from a zombie’s tooth is enough to turn a human into a zombie, yet we see guys like Mac plow into zombie hordes like he’s got adamantium skin? Bah.

And finally, Last Blood provides the most retarded explanation for a zombie take-over ever. Don’t click on this link if you don’t want to be spoiled. However, I will tell you that the grand plan for total zombie dominance involved zombies dressed up in sunglasses and hoodies. Seriously.

Still, Last Blood is a fairly decent story, and much better than I would have given Bobby Crosby credit for. As for its movie potential? Well, Crosby is going to have to settle for a general tone, whether it be genuinely disturbing like Saw or a crazy-go-nuts escapade like Planet Terror. As for Crosby filming it himself… well, I guess Ed Wood eventually had Tim Burton directing a movie about him, so it’s not like his career was a total failure.

Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)

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About El Santo

Somehow ended up reading and reviewing almost 300 different webcomics. Life is funny, huh? Despite owning two masks, is not actually a luchador.

Posted on February 27, 2008, in 3 Stars, gothic, horror webcomic, The Webcomic Overlook, WCO Big Review, webcomics, zombie webcomic and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. Aside from co-creating the very basic concept of LAST BLOOD (“After zombies take over the Earth, vampires must protect the last surviving humans so they can live off their blood”) and suggesting a few character names (I believe Owen suggested Matheson), I had virtually no involvement in the writing of the comic. I actually rarely saw a page of script before it had been drawn. I did letter the comic, however. So there’s that.

    I’ll leave it to Bobby to explain to you how blood-starved vampires don’t actually turn into mindless zombies, as he does with every reviewer who gets that wrong. Which I think has been almost every single one at this point. (Incidentally, I also had nothing to do with the creation of The First Zombie or the idea of a blood-starved vampire causing the zombie outbreak.)

  2. Nothing that you said in your review made any sense on any level and at least half of everything you just said is a lie, like this nonsense:

    “Last Blood is also yet another one of those comics that Bobby Crosby wants to turn into a movie, which he will film. (He said the same thing about his other webcomic, Marry Me.)”

    I have never in any conceivable way said that I would ever attempt to film “Marry Me.”

    I could go on and on and on forever refuting all of your nonsense points, but I’m trying to stop wasting time doing such things and yours would be the longest of all. I mean, you’re yet another person who actually somehow thinks that ALL OF THE ZOMBIES USED TO BE VAMPIRES, as if the world was made up of seven billion vampires before this all started instead of seven billion humans. You CAN’T READ.

    “But my biggest pet peeve of all is that the characters don’t even act in according to the rules of Last Blood. One character, for example, requests to become a vampire, and gets his wish without much protest. Wait a minute. We’ve been told that there’s not that many humans left on earth, since they’re needed as a sort of foodstock for the remaining vampires … shenanigans!”

    I guess I’ll at least respond to your “biggest pet peeve,” though, which makes no sense on any level. The vampire who turned that human was clearly shown in the comic to think that the world was doomed and that the humans had no chance of surviving whatsoever, to the point where she was planning to kill herself to avoid the 65 years of torture, and then she felt sorry for letting that human’s whole family die when she could have saved them, and she had just discovered that the whole zombie outbreak was basically her fault in the first place and that it involved that human’s grandfather, who she also turned, so ANYWAY, it was made very clear to anyone who actually read the comic that she previously didn’t give a shit about saving the humans and that she was going to do whatever Murdo wanted at this point. Also, it’s very debatable whether it was good or bad for the survival of the human race at the time for them to get another strong vampire fighting to protect them, and whether that would be worth losing a human. Murdo, who is a hell of a lot smarter than you, decided that it was worth it and that they needed more strength, needed another fighter on the front lines who couldn’t be turned into a zombie. And keep in mind that he made this request before the plane load of vampires showed up. At the time there was only one reliable vampire protecting them (Math) and one who you couldn’t count on (Val). They badly needed more vampires protecting them.

    Blah blah blah blah blah.

  3. It’s nice to see you, too, Bobby.

  4. Bobby Crosby (or the person saying he is Bobby Crosby – I have no way of knowing if that is actually the case) – I think by “(He said the same thing about his other webcomic, Marry Me.)” is that he meant that you attempted to have that become a film, not that you are attempting to film it yourself.

    It is difficult to read a post with so much negativity – It makes people ignore the post. No matter how logical an argument is, people pay attention to the packaging. It helps to keep your cool, keep your wits, and assume good faith.

  5. Viquo: that’s correct. I meant that this was another project with the final intent of the series becoming a movie (and the comic itself being more or less a storyboard). At least, that’s what I assumed when the web address is called “marrymemovie.com”. If I’m wrong, then I’m afraid it was an honest mistake.

  6. “I think by ‘(He said the same thing about his other webcomic, Marry Me.)’ is that he meant that you attempted to have that become a film, not that you are attempting to film it yourself.”

    Uh, then why did he say “which he will film”?

    “Viquo: that’s correct. I meant that this was another project with the final intent of the series becoming a movie”

    No, you said that they’re both projects that I want “to turn into a movie, which he will film.” I’ve never once talked about making “Marry Me” myself, since that would require tens of millions of dollars, unlike “Last Blood.” You’ve insanely chosen to criticize my blog posts in your reviews, saying some nonsense about me loving a character too much (???), and it seems like every other word in your “reviews” links to some page on my sites, so it would be surprising if you hadn’t picked up on that, since I’ve mentioned it a million times.

    “It helps to keep your cool, keep your wits, and assume good faith.”

    There’s no good faith with this asshole, or any total moron who can’t read and says that absolutely everything any character does is either out of character or makes them a Mary Sue because he loves those terms so much and thinks he understands them. His review of “Marry Me” was even more retarded and filled with inaccuracies than this one. He also feels the need to mention “Pupkin” and/or Something Awful every time he talks about me, which is completely pointless and a sure fire sign that the reviewer either has no brain in their head or has hated me for years.

  7. My mistake about the movie, then, Bobby. I really did mean that you meant “Marry Me” to be filmed, not by you personally, but to be eventually be turned into a film. The sentence was poorly structured, coming after the “which he will film.” If it bothers you, I’ll edit that line for accuracy.

  8. Bobby Crosby said: “Uh, then why did he say “which he will film”?”
    * That was already answered in the above post. He acknowledged the error, so why dwell on it?

    Bobby Crosby said: “There’s no good faith with…”
    * On the contrary, he admitted to his mistakes; that’s honesty. The actions in the last Bobby Crosby post amounted to “beating a dead horse.” He acknowledged the error, so why dwell on it?

    Regarding the characterization for Last Blood here, notice how he said *starting* to cross into Mary Sue territory, and that was referring to a rare instance. That is different from saying “This guy is a Mary-Sue 100% of the time full stop.” (To be fair, this was different from the assessment of Guy in Marry Me – But we can talk about Guy over in that thread – let’s talk about Last Blood here) – El Santo liked the comic. It wasn’t perfect, but 3/5 is a *good review.*

    Since El Santo made a specific citation regarding the “starting to cross” bit, ask “Well, how does this constitute crossing into Mary Sue territory? I do not see how that is happening because of YYY.” You can question his reasoning while remaining civil. It all boils down to word choice and tone.

  9. I don’t give a shit about word choice and tone and remaining civil. I hate everyone and everything, especially morons like you idiots who can’t read.

  10. If that is you, Bobby Crosby…

    El Santo can read perfectly well. No, the issue is with the writing of his ideas. It was a poorly written sentence that had to be changed.

    Anyhow, you ought to pay attention to “word choice and tone and remaining civil” because society will react negatively to willful disregard of such. The issue is NOT with the criticism itself – You do not have to like what other people say with the comic. You do not have to take every piece of advice. *It is how you react to the response. There are correct and incorrect manners of responding to criticism.*

  11. Ah, don’t worry about Bobby, Viquo. He’s alright. And this is his comic I’m reviewing, after all. He’s free to talk as much smack about my reviews as he wants; “Last Blood” and “Marry Me” are his babies.

  12. I hate “Last Blood,” as I’ve said a trillion times, and I certainly don’t consider either of them my “babies.” And this has nothing to do with “criticism” or “advice” — El Santo just constantly says completely wrong shit that proves as a fact that he either didn’t read or failed to comprehend extremely simple things about the comics.

  13. Also wanted to add this —

    “how many times do we see couples accidentally falling into bed and sleeping together?”

    No one who has read the comic and has a brain in their head actually thinks that April and Math ever had sex, as you clearly imply, especially with the next line about how we KNEW it was gonna happen. “Last Blood” goes against that cliche by never even having those characters kiss or do anything at all like that.

  14. I’ve read entire Last blood 3 times… and was waiting for the next one to start.
    The concept is novel and I’m a DIE hard comic fan. Bobby did a great job,And one should see him do MS paint LOL he is good at MS paint sketches. So even if he wants to make a movie,i’m sure people will dig, BTw I never felt any plate was ever flat,Every page was a surprise and the script was tight.Those who have read it as it was written i think the wait was painful for each page. And if people are looking for logic reasoning in a story full of Vampires and Zombies, They are looking in the opposite (as in wrong)direction (I’m a very positive person and Defer to use negative remarks, ) .Its comics dude…Its a fantasy/horror/thrller.

  15. Loughlan Hobbes

    Bobby Crosby has the worst attitude of any amateur comic writer ever, he doesn’t respect his fan base and he sure as hell doesn’t respect his own work – using a comic just as a podium to filming what’ll inevitably be a low-budget B movie is cynical. I’m thoroughly disgusted at him.

  16. BTW How many comics have you produced ,…. Loughlan.

  17. Loughlan Hobbes

    I don’t need to have produced a comic to offer my viewpoint, Anil. If I produced a comic I would at least respect it, not think of it as merely a means to an end.

  18. Janet The Saint

    Personally, I don’t know how to feel. I’ve been a big supporter of Marry Me and Last Blood – while I thought that yes, they both had their Mary Sues, Marry Me was lighthearted and ridiculous, in an entertaining way, and Last Blood didn’t have the best plot, but deeper characters than I expected.

    Reading these reviews isn’t what upset me. I found they were honest assessments on the comics, maybe a bit overrexagerated. That’s just my opinion; I am not a reviewer, I’m a teenage girl.

    What upsets me is how little respect Bobby Crosby has for either comic. I enjoyed the comics and to see that the author for either claims to ‘hate’ them even hurts *my* pride in them.

    Inspired to be an artist myself, I found it was key to be level headed and love what you do and what you write, despite what everyone else says. Unfortunately, my faith is belittled by reading this, and Bobby has lost a fan in result.

    • As weird as it sounds, I’m going to stick up for Bobby here.

      Around the time this review was written, Bobby Crosby was going to every site, acting in like manner any time his name was mentioned. There was an article at ComixTalk, for example, that didn’t really criticize him but rather got one of the facts wrong. (In fact, the article was fairly positive toward Mr. Crosby.) A similar tirade followed. Since then, however, I have to say that Bobby’s mellowed down somewhat.

      I believe that Bobby’s attitude is much changed from the one who wrote the above comments. If I’m wrong, though, the man is free to come to this site to correct me. :)

      • Thanks for that statement. I just enjoyed reading Dreamless, heard that this guy had authored other comics that seemed very different, googled his name, and here I got. I too was very disappointed in such a petty tone–but, hey, we all make mistakes online, if we have an internet addiction. ^_^ I hope Bobby is feeling much more secure in his reputation and his work–it really speaks for itself, regardless of what’s written in reviews.

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