I first read the Black Tide Rising novels shortly after they came out. I’m a fan of science fiction author John Ringo, after all, and have read pretty much everything he’s written, at least as of that time.
I’m not a huge fan of the zombie genre in and of itself, but the books were very good.
A while back, though, an effort was kicked off to turn the zombie apocalypse series into a graphic novel. After all, while words on a page can be all kinds of awesome, there’s something pretty cool about seeing the action in a more visual medium.
The crowdfunding effort was successful and now the graphic novel is out. The publisher was kind enough to send me a copy–he knows I’m a Ringo fan, after all. Recently, it arrived and I couldn’t wait to give it a read.
“Tom, why are you talking about a comic book on a Second Amendment site?” you might ask.
If so, first, it’s a graphic novel, and yes, there’s a difference.
Second, the Black Tide Rising series isn’t written by some anti-gun, shrieking violet who wants everyone disarmed. Moreover, though, because it’s a book that’s about as pro-gun as you can get without being explicitly about the Second Amendment.
Of course, the zombie genre isn’t exactly full of anti-gun messages.
Even then, Black Tide Rising is a different kind of story made all the more relevant by recent events.
You see, the story starts with a virus, as many zombie stories in this day and age do. However, this isn’t some naturally mutated virus or some strain from outer space.
The virus starts as something that looks a lot like the flu but is, in fact, a manmade virus that soon overtakes the entire planet.
If it feels a little on the nose for this day and age, get over it. Ringo’s first novel in the series, Under a Graveyard Sky, was first published in 2013, more than six years before most of us had ever heard of Wuhan, China.
The graphic novel isn’t the totality of Ringo’s original work, of course, hence why this one is titled, Black Tide Rising: Volume One.
This one takes you through the earlier days of the outbreak and shows the efforts of a father to keep his family safe while also balancing that desire with greater needs. It ends with the family basically shooting their way through zombie-plagued New York to reach the safety of their sailboat.
Again, what sets the graphic novel apart from the novel it’s based on is the artwork, and while this isn’t put out by one of the big names you might associate with such storytelling like Marvel or DC, you won’t be able to tell when you open the pages.
Scripted by comic book legend Chuck Dixon who created the iconic Batman villain Bane, drawn by Delris Santacruz who has worked on titles like Batman: The Dark Knight and Fantastic Four, and colored by Brett R. Smith whose work includes things like Superman and Guardians of the Galaxy, this is the real deal in every single way.
The artwork is incredible, as is Smith’s coloring. Dixon does a great job of taking Ringo’s prose and turning it into a graphic novel format.
There is one downside to this work, though, and as a reviewer, I’d be remiss not to mention it. The problem is that it ends.
Black Tide Rising has a dark tone, but through it all is hope, the idea that people can fight through anything, can survive through anything, and Volume One doesn’t quite get to much of that.
Yet even there, the final panels are more than a little tinged with that very same hopefulness.
If you’re sick of being lectured to by your entertainment and you’re a fan of comics and graphic novels, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of Black Tide Rising: Volume One.
I mean, you don’t want to miss the gun references and discussions that crop up in the book, something every hoplophile should get a kick out of.