Monday, November 10, 2014

Winterworld - Chuck Dixon and Jorge Zaffino

I've always liked a good post-apocalyptic yarn, and Chuck Dixon and Jorge Zaffino's WINTERWORLD is a very good one indeed. Somehow I missed the original three-issue mini-series when it was published by Eclipse Comics back in 1988, but it's been reprinted in a hardback edition by IDW, which as a bonus also includes the two-part sequel "Wintersea", also by Dixon and Zaffino, which has never been published before.

We don't get any real back-story with this. Dixon and Zaffino just drop us down on a brutal future Earth where the entire planet is covered with snow and ice. Nuclear winter? Some ecological catastrophe? Who knows? Not the characters, for sure, but it doesn't matter because all they're concerned about is survival.

The protagonist is a traveling trader named Scully whose only friend is a pet badger called Rahrah, until he rescues a young teenage girl named Wynn from one of the various tribes of primitives that roam the frozen-over land once known as Texas. They're captured and enslaved by another tribe that makes its home in an artifact left over from the world before, a domed sports stadium.

That's the start of a series of dangerous adventures shared by the three companions as they try to find the possibly mythical land where Wynn came from, a land where there is warmth and science and some hope for the future. In a way Dixon's story reminds me a bit of Edgar Rice Burroughs, the way that Scully, like Tarzan or John Carter, has to deal with warring tribes and lost civilizations. He's not exactly as clean-cut and noble as those Burroughs heroes, mind you, but he has his moments.

The script is very fast-paced and hardboiled, and Zaffino's art looks to me like it was very influenced by Joe Kubert and Alex Toth, so you can't go wrong there. I'm sort of glad I missed these stories when they were first published, because I get to read and appreciate them now. WINTERWORLD is excellent and well worth reading for fans of graphic novels and post-apocalyptic SF, or anyone who just enjoys a good adventure yarn, really.


Andrew said...

IDW is publishing a new Winterworld series by Dixon and various artists (the first arc is wonderfully drawn by Butch Guice). I read the first Winterworld miniseries when it came out in the 80s, and this new stuff is just as much fun as the original stories.

James Reasoner said...

After reading this one, I'll definitely be picking up the collections of the new series. I'm a big fan of Butch Guise's art.