Why Hollywood should stop sleeping on “Awakening”

I’ve been working a Halloween theme with this month’s “Adapt This” picks, focusing on a different horror-influenced comic-book series or graphic novel for each of the October columns. Last week, I recommended Alex Eckman-Lawn and Nick Tapalansky’s Awakening, which mashes together a moody noir-influenced detective story with a gruesome zombie tale.

In the book, a retired police officer working as a private detective gets caught up in a missing person case that becomes something far worse. You can probably imagine what this synopsis of the story means for its main character, but Awakening is filled with a lot of surprises and offers a really interesting, fresh take on both the noir and horror genres.

Here’s an excerpt from the column:

A blend of “Night of the Living Dead” and classic Richard Stark crime novels, Awakening is a zombie story told from the perspective of a private detective investigating a missing-person case, and it’s a moody, tense exploration of the genre that blends the best parts of a noir mystery with a gruesome horror story. Given how accustomed movie audiences have become to the nonstop gore-fests of modern zombie films, an adaptation of Awakening is likely to stand out from the crowd and benefit from offering such a fresh take on the genre.

To their credit, Eckman-Lawn and Tapalansky accomplish quite a lot within the limited confines of their mid-size city setting, and the narrower focus they take on the notion of a zombie outbreak makes the entire tale feel more personal — which only adds to the terror as the threat grows. This focused, more personal approach to the genre is similar to the way the recent film “Chronicle” approached the superhero genre, and a filmmaker looking to adapt Awakening would do well to take a few hints from that movie.

You can read the rest of the column at IFC.com, and you can pick up both volumes of Awakening in comic shops now.

Oh, and many thanks to Nick Tapalansky for making this the most “Liked” of my “Adapt This” columns on Facebook!