Junior Braves of the Apocalypse by Greg Smith, Michael Tanner and Zach Lehner Review (Gifted)

Happy Halloween Readers,

The Junior Braves of the Apocalypse volume one focuses on Tribe 65 who have gone on a camping trip to celebrate spring break, after a week of roughing it and learning survival skills from their leader they return home. But, nothing could possibly prepare them for what they face upon their return to their hometown: everyone they love is gone, and instead, the streets are filled with mutant zombies.  Now they must use the skills they have learnt to stay alive and figure out what happened to their families. Things quickly get scary when they are unlucky enough to get separated from their tribe leader. If the boys are going to figure out what happened to their town and their families, they’re going to have to stick together and use everything they know. The book even manages to sneak in some actual survival knowledge.

The plot itself is pretty solid and the characters are well developed. The group of boys consist of an extensive range of personalities that aren’t stereotypically boring as they have well-written personalities and are physically recognisable from the start of the book.

The zombie apocalypse theme isn’t particularly new but watching these kids try to deal with the remainder of humanity is engaging and it’s kind of cute how they used their boy scout like training to get through the hazards that come with zombies suddenly appearing in the world. The artwork, with its gruesome depictions of the zombies and sparse colours, really helps to tell the story. Also, credit where its due it manages to steer clear of overt graphic violence and uses no profanity. And the story didn’t suffer one bit. They honestly wrote a tense, scary, exciting story without relying on shock gore or over the top language it's honestly brilliant.

It is an interesting read and worth a look if you would like to see a more innocent (so to speak) look into a zombie/mutant apocalypse

A little Q and A with Gregory Smith

Q - Out of all the monsters why did you pick zombies?
A- First I LOVE ZOMBIES! Secondly they make for a great metaphor of life in so many ways. Third can you imagine an Apocalypse without any Zombies? Gotta have them, it's a moral imperative.

Q- How would you say your zombies are different? 
A- Our Zombies are mutated zombie monsters. They are not technically “undead” and they don't hunger for brains, they kill for reasons. These mutated zombie monsters also take many forms due to their sickness which is explored in the series.

Q- How long did it take to get the balance between good storytelling and not being too gory? 
A - This one is tougher to answer. I feel it's subjective to both myself and our readers. I am my own worst critic and think I will always be seeking better storytelling and balance in my stories and stories I create with my friend and Co-Creator Mike Tanner. It isn’t something that happens overnight, it took many years of getting to where I am now. I feel reading and aspiring to be like authors like Christopher Pike and R.L. Stein has been my dream since I was kid, so having a kid tell me our books feel like one of theirs means we must be doing something right.

Volume two synopsis from OniPress

In a zombie wasteland of unknown origin, Troop 65 marshals onwards in the hopes of finding their families in Seattle, the nearest logical evacuation location. After a difficult journey by land and river, they make a stop in a suburban town that serves as ground zero of a battle between a corporate office that may have caused the apocalypse and the survivors staying in a nearby tribal casino.
JUNIOR BRAVES is the exciting young adult graphic novel series that is part GOONIES and part THE WALKING DEAD, full of zombies, adventure, and handy tips for wilderness survival—in a new softcover format!

Links to buy Volume 2

L x