Published on January 18th, 2017 | by B. Alex Thompson
A Retrospective of Chaos Campus: Sorority Girls vs. Zombies PART 4
A Retrospective of
Chaos Campus: Sorority Girls vs. Zombies – Volume 4
School Dazed – Issues #13-16 & Extra Credit #4
Yikes, has it REALLY been six months since our last retrospective?!?! Time flies when you’re busy, let me tell you! Busy doing what, you might ask? Busy making more Chaos Campus comics for YOU fine folks, that’s what!
Right now as we speak, we’re nearly halfway through the second act of the Chaos Campus series (the second act being issues #21-40 for the uninitiated). If all goes well, all of the finished issues should be available by the middle to end of this year. Keep those eyes peeled for updates! (BTW, you can find updates on the Chaos Campus Facebook group… “like” it if you haven’t already, *hint hint*)
But enough about what lies ahead… let’s get back on track with these series retrospectives. So far we’ve covered issues #1-12… the single comics that make up the collected trade paperbacks volumes 1-3. What’s the scoop on volume four?
Volume Four takes the ongoing Chaos Campus experiment into a more grounded direction while telling the series’ first three-part story. While previous issues took the girls further and further away from school, this arc brings them back to their roots… the college campus itself.
“Grounded,” you might ask? “This doesn’t sound like the action-packed zany adventures I’ve come to love and expect.” Hold those horses, partner. Even with a more grounded and serious take on things, there’s still a lot of action-packed zany shenanigans to be had.
Follow me now as we go into details, issue-by-issue…
Issue Synopsis: After returning to the campus, the girls create a “safe” community for other survivors. Behind a massive security fence, they teach rediscovered students and faculty on how to survive during this zombie apocalypse.
Issue Retrospective: As a writer, your style, tastes, and ability is constantly evolving. Most of the Chaos Campus issues were “one and done” style self-contained stories so that new readers could pick up any issue and get the gist of the story without feeling lost. But as a result, each issue was constantly a reset button – the girls would have an adventure, they would learn something new, they change in small ways, but essentially they’d be right back where they started. With this arc, I wanted to try something bigger and more meaningful.
Although the series title is “Chaos Campus,” our trio of heroines ended up moving further and further away from the campus itself in the previous episodes. With this issue, we see the crew back on their home turf and trying to make a stand with other apocalypse survivors. With even the best laid plans, nothing ever goes as smoothly as you’d hope. But stories are built on conflict and the unexpected, to our characters’ dismay.
Favorite Panel or Gag: The standout to me for this issue is when early high school Jamie kicks a dude out of his own car. Just like The Wu-Tang Clan, Jamie Schaffer ain’t nothing to f*** with!
Issue #14 – Zombie Survival School, Part 2 of 3
Issue Synopsis:In-between classes, Mitzi and Katie continue to chip away at Paige’s self-doubt of her leadership abilities. From the shadows, a mysterious menace takes careful and calculated steps towards an unknown (but probably sinister) goal.
Issue Retrospective: Although the previous issue set the stage for the story, for me this is where the story REALLY starts! In the previous issues, our heroines met a few new characters here-and-there, usually losing them by the issue’s end. This is the first time we’ve had such a large group of other characters and I enjoyed seeing the interactions develop and unfold.
It was also fun developing the mystery of a shadow menace for our heroines and you as a reader to wonder about. Who did YOU think the mystery menace was by the end of this issue?
Favorite Panel or Gag: A lot of times we add in new dialogue for the series because either I didn’t know what would fit during the scripting stage or the art gives room for something to be added. This is where my friend John Ward comes in to make the series far funnier than I could do alone. This scene is one of those examples where he gave me three hilarious possibilities and I had such a tough time choosing between them that I lettered them all and picked from there! Which version do YOU find the funniest?
Issue Synopsis:With music, alcohol, pizza, &a certain contraband greenery, the campus party is FINALLY getting good. Of course a massive horde of zombies led by a bulletproof & electrical Zombie Nikki would have to ruin everything!
Issue Retrospective: The last issue of this arc was fun, bringing the action, horror, and zany humor we’ve all grown to love. The shadow threat was revealed (did you guess the identity before the revelation?) and defeated causing our heroine trio to venture out into the open world again, once again leaving the campus behind.
With such a major event for our heroines, they mark the occasion with a new wardrobe. I’m curious how many people like, hate, or were indifferent to the visual change. Feel free to let me know your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter!
Favorite Panel or Gag: There were a TON of great gags in this issue, so it was really tough to choose just one. The stand out has to be Worm’s terrible attempt at using the fighting moves from video games. Sadly none of them translated well to real life. The realization of this error caused his brain to resort to the Konami Code for a Hail Mary save (again, it’s not effective)!
Issue Synopsis:With new friend and mage Oliver, the girls look for possible answers to the zombie epidemic within a huge laboratory and science building.
Issue Retrospective: The original concept for this issue was a running joke I had with good friend Ant’juanAvri starring a Constantine parody, “John Constipated.” In the issue, our hero J.C. crosses paths with our Chaos Trio and they help him fight “Shit Demons” until they reach the big bad himself: “The Shitty Man.” Yes, it was juvenile and crude, but it was hilarious to us at the time. So as I tried to work it into an actual story, I realized that it all was a bit TOO juvenile and TOO crude… even for an experimental series like this that loves to push boundaries. Everything was reworked and hopefully the issue is better for it.
That said, I still have the concept on reserve for a possible later issue. The series is a 13+ title, so the repeated uses of the word “shit” wouldn’t work for our current rating. If there could possibly be a moniker that’s not as lewd, but just as funny, the concept could move forward. Got any ideas? Again, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter… I’ll gladly take suggestions!
Favorite Panel or Gag: This is going to be a potentially controversial comment, but I’m not a fan of the film “Army of Darkness.” Sorry, but the best “Evil Dead” films actually have “Evil Dead” in the title. That said, a lot of the best quotes came from AoD and that made this quick panel amusing to me.
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Issue Synopsis:Following the trail of the mysterious fiend, Tech Locke, Latoya and Oliver join forces in the mansion of the enigmatic character called, “M.M.” What mysteries will they uncover as they search the haunted grounds for the missing members of Alpha Zeta Zeta?
Issue Retrospective: MAJOR CONFESSION TIME. For long time fans of the Chaos Campus series, you might not recognize this cover. You might dig through your collection, wondering if somehow you have it, but you somehow forgot it completely. Flipping through all the issues, you notice you don’t have this, so you jump online to rectify this oversight… but lo and behold, it’s nowhere to be found. How is this issue not available for sale anywhere? Therein lies my confession.
This issue is still unfinished and as such, it has never been published.
Well, about five years ago I made a huge move from one side of the country (where I lived for over a decade) to the other side of the country (where I’m originally from). It was a move I planned to do for AGES, but things kept getting in the way… college, day job/s, girlfriend/s, etc. I finally reached a place in life where I didn’t have those attachments and could make that major move… and I did it.
It was during this time, this issue was in production. So the art was started, finished, and turned in to me electronically. Next is the simple task of lettering it and sending it off to the printer, right?
A small problem with that. This issue was created earlier in my writing career where I focused more on the visual side of things and less on the dialogue/spoken side of things. This issue was a BIG example of where I had this idea and all the scenes written up in the script (which is how the artist was able to draw it), but I planned on filling in the dialogue at a later time. As time passes, your connection to what you’ve previously written dissolves. So as months turned into years, I couldn’t figure out the dialogue to this particular issue.
More time passed. I created a lot of other projects and even more Chaos Campus issues… but the distance from this particular issue grew larger and larger. It’s a sad state of affairs.
The art is done and I refuse to waste it, so this issue WILL be completed one day. Until then, I want to thank everyone who noticed this missing issue and inquired about it for their continued patience. Your love for this series and devotion to each and every installment is humbling, heart-warming, and greatly appreciated.
Favorite Panel or Gag: For a comic that’s mostly unlettered, it’s tough to choose anything to put in this category. Instead of spotlighting something funny as usual, I’ll go with pivotal scene that explains a lot about the Chaos Campus mythology moving forward.
So there you have it!
I want to thank you for taking the time to check out this Retrospective and your continued interest, love, and support for the Chaos Campus series. You don’t know how much your readership means to me as a small press creator!
As I mentioned before, I’m knocking out the Act 2 issues of the series and groundwork has been started for Act 3 (issues #41-60). As long as you keep reading these crazy adventures, I will keep making them for you!
Before we go, I wanted to remind you to like us on the Chaos Campus and Approbation Facebook pages! We’re going to be doing some contests on both pages to give away some FREESTUFF, so don’t miss YOUR opportunity to WIN!
Thanks again for reading and until next time (which hopefully won’t be another six months from now), I hope you ENJOY the FUN side of a zombie apocalypse!