For some time now, American culture has been overrun with zombies. From hit TV shows such as The Walking Dead to movies such as World War Z, to the comic book ethos that’s gone from nerdy niche hobby to mainstream juggernaut, we haven’t seen such terrifying undead creatures stalking the earth since Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms passed into the great beyond.
Although the whole concept of dead people walking around snacking on live people’s brains is inherently terrifying, zombies have become so normalized that they’ve taken on an almost comic effect, as with the Zombie Donald Trump, Zombie Taylor Swift, or Zombie <Insert Celebrity-du-Jour> costumes you’re sure to see this Halloween. So in a sense, zombies might not be that scary anymore.
But try telling that to a little kid.
Local artist Stan Yan has been doing zombie caricatures for at least a decade, but when he realized that his work was scaring the wits out of his then three-year-old son, inspiration hit. Just in time for Halloween, Yan will launch a Kickstarter funding campaign for his children’s book, There’s a Zombie in the Basement. The formal unveiling is on Friday, October 30th, during the Colorado Horror Con & Halloween Film Festival, which takes place next weekend at the Ramada Plaza Northglenn/Denver North hotel.
Yan’s book, which he wrote and illustrated, features not just zombies, but a host of other creatures—a centaur, a sasquatch, spiders, and clowns, among others—that tend to creep out kids and grownups alike. The rhyming tale has a Seussian rhythm combined with just a hint of the popular kids-adults hybrid hit, Go the F**k to Sleep (minus the profanity), and humorously soothes a young one’s jitters while delivering a universal message about friendship.
The author’s Kickstarter goal is to fund production of the first 250 hardcover copies, and early incentives for helping include digital and signed copies, and personalized zombie caricatures from Yan. The longtime advocate for financially supporting the arts—this is his fourth crowdfunding campaign—will also be sharing his insights into that process at two November events. See his website for details.
Follow 5280 editor-at-large Luc Hatlestad on Twitter at @LucHatlestad.