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Comic Book / iZombie

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"Come on in and meet the dead guy who'll be crowding my head for the next week."

iZOMBIE is a Vertigo Comics ongoing series about Gwen Dylan, a woman brought back from the dead for mysterious reasons. The series started in July, 2010. Set in Eugene, Oregon, Gwen has to face a preponderance of supernatural threats alongside her twentysomething life. Drawn by Madman author Mike Allred and written by Chris Roberson.

The iZombie mythology classifies supernatural creatures using the Egyptian concept of an oversoul (memories, rational thought) and an undersoul (passion, animalistic). Central character John Amon lays it out thusly:

  • Ghosts: A roaming oversoul.
  • Poltergeists: A roaming undersoul.
  • Zombies: A revived body with only an undersoul, with a hunger for brains. Gwen is an exception though.
  • Vampires: A revived body with only an oversoul, with a hunger for blood.
  • Revenants: A revived body with both undersoul and oversoul intact (but requiring human flesh to sustain itself).
  • Werewolves: A person sharing their body with an animal undersoul.
  • Possessed: A person sharing their body with (or controlled by) a human oversoul.

The series ended in 2012 due to Vertigo canceling the comic, but giving the story enough lead time to close out properly. The CW created a iZombie TV series, very loosely based on the comic. Rose McIver is the lead character, and Rob Thomas is showrunner.

This character provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Dixie, owner of Dixie's Firehouse, Ellie and Gwen's favourite hangout. There are rumors about her being a tough woman, but when the Zombie Apocalypse happens in Eugene, we get to see just how tough she is.
  • Anthropomorphic Transformation: Ubasti, who is a leopard most of the time, is something between a leopard and a human once annually.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Gwen in the final issue in order to save the world.
  • Asian and Nerdy: Scott's tech support buddies Tan and Patel are both Asian (and in Patel's case South Asian) and are shown to be stereotypically nerdy.
  • Attractive Zombie: Gwen Dylan is only marked as undead by having a slightly more purple skin tone to the still-living human members of the cast, although she states she lives with the possibility of turning into a regular rotting zombie if she doesn't get her regular ration of brains.
  • Backstory: We get a little for everyone in the story who is known to Gwen and matters to her, but not Gwen herself because of her amnesia.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Abraham Lincoln was a zombie secret agent. And so are the Dead Presidents, who only bear the names of the presidents.
  • Cute Ghost Girl: Ellie, who was killed in the 60s and still retains the fashion even as a ghost.
  • Daddy's Girl: Ellie, though this wasn't a very positive thing.
  • Dating Catwoman: Gwen and Horatio who is one of a worldwide, generations old organization of monster hunters.
  • Dead Woman Writing: Inverted. Gwen keeps journals once becoming a zombie, but finishes her story through possessing Francisco so "everyone" who wasn't there to see it all, knows how it turned out.
  • Driven to Suicide: Gwen, after Amon shows her just what happens if the Eldritch Abomination gets to come to Earth.
  • Filler Strips: Filler issues, actually. There are two issues whose art is not by Mike Allred, and the Art Shift is jarring in the difference.
  • Frankenstein's Monster: Francisco, in fact those with a keen eye will notice him and his girlfriend. Tricia (who likewise becomes a monster via vampirism and joins the Paintball Girls) in some of the background in the earlier issues.
  • Friendly Enemy: Galatea and Amon. They took tea together a few centuries ago, but they bicker like old buddies despite their diametrically opposed views.
  • Hulk Speak: The newly awakened Francisco. But by the end of the series, he is slowly starting to put sentences together, with indication that Gwen's having possessed him to finish writing her journals may give him full cognizance back.
  • Interspecies Romance: Played with. Dixie ends up dating Scott's grandfather Marty, who was technically human before his death, but who now inhabits the body of a chimpanzee.
  • Knight Templar: The Fossor Corporation drifts into this trope with its methodology and approach to hunting monsters.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Gwen for her brother Gavin, and her parents.
  • Mad Scientist: Galatea, who is convinced that if she can trap the Eldritch Abomination in human flesh, she can force it to become her wish-granting servant. She is also quite adept at creating FrankensteinsMonsters
  • Meaningful Name: Trisha's and later Ellie's boyfriend, Francisco, ends up being a Frankenstein-type monster.
  • Monster Mash
  • Monstrous Humanoid: The "hounds of Xitalu", minor EldritchAbominations that herald the arrival of the big one, possess human bodies, and transform them into these.
  • My Beloved Smother: Inverted. It was Ellie's mother who believed she needed more freedom, while her father wanted her to stay close to home. The reasoning behind this was that Ellie was her father's "life". He was a shellshocked World War II veteran who basically only came to life whenever Ellie was nearby. He never allowed her to join school clubs or activities, never allowed her to trick-or-treat, and it took two years after graduation for Ellie to apply to college.
  • Noble Demon: Amon. He is a revenant, so must kill every so often to maintain his existence. But he tries always to only rid the world of bad people. When he goes to sacrifice Scott, he is extremely apologetic, and even goes so far to say he's honored that Scott considered him a friend. Averted in the end, in that Gwen was an innocent he convinced to become a Revanant so he would not have to sacrifice himself to save the world from the Big Bad, and had a way of surviving what he was going to make Gwen do.
  • No Bisexuals: Tan and Patel spend the entire series making "he must be closeted gay" jokes at Scott's expense. He starts off the series hopelessly crushing on Gwen, then jealous and sad when she gets boyfriend Horatio, only to end up married to Gwen's brother Gavin. His original romantic feelings for Gwen have been completely forgotten by all concerned.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Not really, the turning process is pretty simple through a standard bite and drain. The body revives with an oversoul but the victim still retains their memories, along with a few cosmetic changes (fangs, pale skin, cat-like eyes, pointed ears, and grown fingernails that give their hands the appearance of claws). They also don't really need to drain their victim, about a pint of blood is all thats needed to sustain them.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Gwen's nerd friend, Scott, touched a dying terrier, and transforms on a full moon, but has no significant personality change or bloodlust during the transformation.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Gwen is different from the usual zombie in that she retains her personality and looks (if not a little pale). She still does have the hunger for brains and has to eat some every so often, though only eats those of the recently deceased (gaining their memories in the process). If she doesn't do so, however, she will turn into a typical zombie.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: The Paintball vampires use their business to lure in customers and feed on them but only enough to keep them going and never fully draining their victims so they become vampires. They also try to keep a low profile as best as they can.
  • Tastes Like Feet: Gwen's description of what brains taste like.
    Gwen: Like motor oil and someone else's vomit.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Claire, who not only got herself bitten and became a vampire, but could never keep a low profile and just attacked whomever she felt like, getting herself staked in the first few opening issues She got better via a mad scientist.
  • Took a Third Option: Gwen, when faced with the arrival of the Eldritch Abomination has a choice. Kill everyone she knows, loves, and cares about, or let the creature end the world. Gwen deduces correctly that if it eats souls and she can eat them too, she can eat it — so she does, becoming a higher being in the process, no longer able to live on Earth.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Gwen can eat regular food but it does nothing for her as a zombie. The only foods she does eat are coffee and chocolate, so much so that she asks for "the usual" whenever she shows up at Dixie's.
  • Transhuman Treachery: Self-admitted by the Paintball Girls leader Nemia, before she bites Tricia. It should be noted that Tricia made the decision to become a vampire herself.
    Tricia: W-Will it hurt?
    Nemia: I'm not gonna lie to you. Yes, it will. But it's all right. (Lunges at the unprepared Tricia, fangs bared) After a while, you start to like it!
  • Tragic Monster: The Paintball girls who, according to the leader, were just college students making their way through school. However one of their own, Claire, a very impulsive and immature girl, went out with the wrong guy, who happened to be a vampire. She was turned and then returned back to the dorm where the girls were studying, attacking them and transforming them all into vampires.
  • The Undead: Comes in many flavors here.
  • The Unmasqued World: By the end of the comic, the existence of monsters becomes known to the public. Then again, it's kinda hard to hide it when a Cthulhu-like monster pretty much appears over the city.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: A story arc saw zombies suddenly rise up and attack the city.