Published on December 12th, 2017 | by B. Alex Thompson0
A Retrospective of Chaos Campus: Sorority Girls vs. Zombies PART 6
A Retrospective of
Chaos Campus: Sorority Girls vs. Zombies –
Volume 6: Initiation – Issues #21-24 & Extra Credit #6
Hello friends! It’s been (more than) a few months, but I’m back with a retrospective for Chaos Campus: Sorority Girls vs. Zombies Volume Six!
This collected edition holds the stories that start off Act 2 of the series… which is kinda weird to look back on as we’re still in the process of finishing up the last Act 2 comics. Things felt more like a “retrospective” back with the Act 1 issues since those were published about a decade ago. These issues are a lot more recent as they were published only a few years ago. But hey, the past is still the past so it all still counts, right?
If you’re new here, welcome! You might be confused by all of this “Act 1” and “Act 2” stuff and you might want an explanation to what those terms mean in regards to this series. Well I’m here to help you out with that! For a little “insider baseball” on story construction, stories are split into three acts:
Act 1- This is the inciting incident or catalyst. This is where you’re introduced to the hero (or in our case, heroines) and the problem that has to be dealt with.
Act 2- This is where you get a stronger idea of your hero (or heroines) while their situation gets worse. This section is also called “The Complication.”
Act 3- This is the resolution phase where everything comes to a dramatic final confrontation and the story concludes.
The Chaos Campus series as a whole follows this same structure, but with 20 issues (well, 25 issues counting the Extra Credit additions) per Act.
Got the concept now? Good! Now with that out of the way, let’s jump on in to the craziness that is the start of Act 2 for Chaos Campus: Sorority Girls vs. Zombies!
Issue Synopsis: The first issue of Act 2 gives us a zombie bashing good time when Jamie meets up with Dream Realm Entertainment’s Faint: Slasher Slayer!
Issue Retrospective: With #20 published and most of the script for #21 completed, I took a step back to see things from a reader’s perspective and from a story as a whole perspective. Although the narrative from #20 to #21 worked, I still wanted to see a little something extra to bridge the last issue of Act 1 and the first issue of Act 2 together.
My friend Ant’juan Avri wanted to see my take on his character, “Faint.” So with that in mind I brainstormed a few ideas that might work with as a crossover and the bridge between issues I was looking for.
Act 2 has two main themes: Dealing with family/familial ties along with facing your inner self. With all that in mind, I finally came up with a story and a script that satisfied everything I wanted to kick off Act 2 properly. The issue also plants a lot of seeds that will pay off in later issues.
Most of my favorite scenes in this issue have too many spoilers, so we’ll just use this fun introduction between Faint and Jamie.
To make up for it, how about I toss in a promo image of Jamie promoting the limited Wizard World Sacramento 2015 edition of this issue?
Issue Synopsis: While in the middle of the apocalyptic ruins of a major city, our Chaos Trio seeks refuge from nightfall inside a large luxury hotel. But there’s already a community of scientists inside! Though welcoming, these scientists hold a secret that will change everything we thought we knew about the zombie apocalypse.
Issue Retrospective: Most of this issue’s script was written years ago… back when I first realized this series was going on longer than expected and when I started plotting out an overarching storyline. Finishing it up was an interesting challenge considering I was personally in a different place as a writer than when I first wrote it. I think the hard work paid off and even with a few potential pacing snags, the issue is pretty good overall.
It’s also fun to see our heroines interacting with a new group of survivors… even when you know that most of them probably won’t survive for much longer!
This small running joke of Britt shocking people with stun gun and being so delighted by it brings a smile to my face every time. Out of context it might not be as funny here, so I’ll also toss in this taste of the girls having a gratuitous pillow fight… just because!
Issue Synopsis: Act 2 continues as our Chaos Trio deals with the presentation of Lucian, a scientist zombie who was able to retain his former intellect even after full infection. Could this be a step forward in human/zombie relations? Haha, you’re funny… you know it’s leading to action, violence, bloodshed, and the odds of an explosion or two are pretty high!
Issue Retrospective: As a creative type, I can be pretty critical of myself and my work. Although I still think both parts of this “Smart Zombies” mini-arch works well as a whole, separately I can see the flaws in how I sometimes tell stories. The front half is loaded with more heavy drama and dialogue while the last half has more of the zany action-packed humor. For someone like me, it all blends together well. But I can see how a person could like one of the issues and be completely stunned and confused by the tone and events of the other issue.
With that bit of self-flagellation out of the way, let’s get into some positives about this issue. Although the series as a whole is moving away from the “pop culture parody” side of things, this issue was intended to be a love letter to the movie, “Gremlins 2.” Lucian’s allegory is “Brain Gremlin” and we had Spider-Zombies and Bat-Zombies in reference to those mutated Gremlins. Originally I wanted to spotlight the mutated zombies more, but there wasn’t enough room to do it justice.
Brittany brings most of the humor and visual gags to this series, so again I’ll have to nominate her for this section. This time it’s Brittany with a flamethrower. She has such a great time with it and it’s unfortunate we didn’t get to see her use it more. Maybe later in the series she’ll get another chance!
Issue Synopsis: After Paige uses magic to rain down a meteor shower on the massive zombie herd following them, the Chaos Trio and their new friends inspect the space rocks. Through a scratch, Jamie is infected with an alien virus that increases her aggression and gives her amazing new abilities. This could be the beginning of the end for our group…
Issue Retrospective: I’m all about experimenting and the CGI covers were a fun thing to try, but for the most part it seems the readers didn’t enjoy them like I did. But this one seemed to be the exception. Everyone loved this image so much that I had to use it as the cover for the collected TPB edition.
Concerning the issue itself, this was another story that was outlined and partially written years ago and I had to flesh things out to fit what the actual series became along with my writing style of the time. The core idea of the story is a Venom parody, but it turns into a deeper look at Jamie’s anger management problems. Although her unbridled rage helped keep the girls safe up to this point, what would happen if it was allowed to grow out of control? With this issue we learn that an evil Jamie isn’t someone you can take lightly. With her plan in motion, the issue ends on a pretty frightening cliffhanger.
Although I wish we depicted the fluid process a bit better, I really enjoyed watching Jamie play around with the symbiote’s clothes changing abilities in this montage scene.
Issue #24 – Jamie the Pink, Part 2 of 2
Issue Synopsis: The alien symbiote turns Jamie into the crafty, sadistic, and murderous entity, “The Pink.” With her sister minions, “The Purple” (Paige) and “The Red” (Brittany) at her side, scientists Cheryl and Karen have an uphill battle to survive long enough to make a serum that could bring everyone back to normal!
Issue Retrospective: Now that all three of our main heroines have turned evil, the day has to be saved by two secondary characters: Surviving scientists Cheryl and Karen. In Act 1 of the series, we established that secondary characters don’t usually survive past the issue they’re introduced in. With Act 2 we’re starting to show that we’re changing that dynamic to where not only are secondary characters are surviving, but they’re also playing larger parts in the series as a whole.
Act 1 also had a lot of “done in one” style stories to where nearly every issue was a fun self-contained story. It was done purposefully that way to where a new reader could pick up a random issue for the first time and get the full gist of things. Hopefully people can still pick up any issue of the series and get the main idea, but with Act 2 we’re more focused on the story as a whole. Yes, that means purchasing more issues to gain a better understanding of things, but hopefully we’re making the story interesting enough to where people WANT to buy more!
Favorite Panel or Gag: After removing all my spoiler-y favorites, I’ll settle on this fun scene of our scientists in the process of curing their test subjects. Cheryl is all business, but Karen takes a bit of sadistic glee in fulfilling her job. Is this important to note for the future? Maybeeee…
So there you have it!
As I wrap this up, I wanted to offer a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who have been following these Retrospectives and buying these Chaos Campus issues! Whether you prefer “traditional” print or “wave of the future” digital, your hard earned dollars are what allows us to continue making these fun bits of escapism. Not many comic creators are fortunate enough to have creating comics their day job. But it’s because of people like YOU who make it possible for a series like Chaos Campus to reach 20, 25, 30 issues… and beyond!
Again, THANK YOU from all of us on the Chaos Campus and Approbation Comics team. It’s only because of YOUR support that we can do ANY of this.
Speaking of digital comics, if you’re buying copies of the series on ComiXology, could you rate each issue with five stars? It helps new readers find our comics and the more readers we have, the more comics we can make!
Oh, if you haven’t already, please “like” us on the Chaos Campus and Approbation Facebook pages! Slowly we will be using those pages to show extra art, advance previews, promos, polls, and those contests for possible free stuff!
That’s all we have for today, but stay tuned for the next Retrospective where we’ll be discussing the next issues of Act 2… Volume Seven: The Road to Salvation! Until then, make sure that you ENJOY the FUN side of a zombie apocalypse!