Undead Friend follows the story of Orrick, a spikey-haired high-school student who has just met a cute new girl: Mahalah is smart, friendly, and clever...unfortunately she's also dead and has been haunting Orrick's school for years. She has the chance to make contact with one living person and shes chosen Orrick as her new friend. Unfortunately there's more to the deal than either of them know and they both get pulled into a deadly game with the unlikely name of Undead Friend.
Undead Friend originally ran from 2005 to 2007 simultaneously with Emergency Exit but was then put on hiatus so NJ could focus on EE and school, leaving it incomplete at chapter 10 and over 300 pages posted (the old comics are available to read in the archives).
In 2011 NJ suffered a serious back/neck injury that caused her chronic pain that kept her from working on comics for 7 years. In 2018 she made a complete recovery and returned to webcomics but decided to bring back UF instead of EE (but claims she will eventually revive EE in some way). UF officially re-launched on July 25th, 2018 (same day as NJ's birthday) with Chapter 01 completed and started updating new pages every MWF. After a couple months the update schedule got changed to a monthly format. Then the comic updated with a full completed chapter on the 1st of every month, with early access to the next chapter given to Patreon supporters. Starting on May 31st, 2019 the comic switched back to single page updates Monday-Friday.
For the new version of Undead Friend NJ is working with her husband, Orion Gates who originally created Beyond Reality. Orion is noted as being a co-author and editor.
Undead Friend is a story- and character-driven comic, done in a standard comic page layout and is in black and white with occasional colored pages. It updates with new pages five days a week Monday-Friday and has over 300 pages in its archive. It is a mix of Romance, Comedy and Action.
Undead Friend provides examples of:
- Anime Hair: Orrick has your standard insane anime hairstyle that sometimes get commented on, but his personality doesn't really fit into the Shonen Hair trope.
- Attractive Zombie: Orrick is fairly zombified but manages to remain fairly similar-looking to his human form, so he still comes across as attractive. It helps he doesn't deal with rotting; he just easily loses his limbs sometimes.
- Cute Ghost Girl: Mahalah is basically everything you would want from a cute ghost girl.
- Dark-Skinned Redhead: Mahalah in her human form.
- Dead to Begin With: Half the cast are ghosts.
- Deadly Game: The Undead Friend game itself.
- Elemental Powers: Ghosts gain elemental powers after joining the game. The elements they can have are: fire, lightning, water, wind, earth and metal.
- Dead to Begin With: Half of the cast are already ghosts who live alongside humans; only some people can see them.
- Death Glare: Wylie commonly does this, mainly at Orrick.
- Elemental Powers: Ghosts each get control over a elemental power after joining the game. The elements they have are: fire, lightning, water, wind, earth and metal.
- Feel No Pain: While reversed Undead feel no pain, even when losing limbs.
- Friendly Ghost: The webcomic is full of these, as all ghosts are allowed to make friends with a human in order to be seen.
- Friendly Zombie: Zombies are made from making contracts with ghosts in place of a virus, so they completely retain who they are in their new forms.
- Ghost Amnesia: Mahalah has no memories of her life or what it even was like to be alive, making her a bit ignorant of what is appropriate human behavior. She is different from the other ghosts in the series who tend to only not be able to remember how they died.
- Ghostly Chill: A human can physically touch the ghost they have partnered with, and they have been described as being very cold to the touch.
- Gibberish of Love: Orrick, when Haley suggests there's romantic tension between him and Mahalah.
- Glowing Eyelights of Undeath: Zombies have large empty black sockets and red glowing pupils.
- Grave Robbing: The entirety of Chapter 8 is devoted to the main characters robbing a grave together in order to retrieve a human bone that Orrick must turn into a weapon.
- Growling Gut: Orrick's stomach growls during a tense conversation with his parents.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Wylie is extremly easy to piss off and blows up frequently.
- Handshake Refusal: When Orrick introduces himself to Wylie he offers a handshake. Wylie just glares at it and then mocks his name.
- Monochrome Apparition: All the ghosts are pure white and glow slightly and appear solid. They can however become full color physical beings through a process called reversing.
- Oh My Gods!: The world of Undead Friend has a bit of a Greek Mythological background and people use phrases like "Oh Hades," and "Thank Gaia."
- Our Zombies Are Different: Zombies come from forming pacts with ghosts where they gain the ability to swap their lives with them temporarily, causing them to become undead. While they gain undead abilities they also retain their personalities and intelligence
- Pulling Themselves Together: Characters tend to lose their limbs in combat a lot, but their ghost partners have the ability to stitch their limbs back on with ease.
- Second Year Protagonist: Most of the main cast are second year students in high school.
- Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Orrick sometimes gets comments about having an unusual name.
- Win to Exit: The main characters are stuck in the Undead Friend game and the only way out is to win, the alternative being erased from existence.