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    • Now available: The Lovecraft eZine 2014 Megapack! August 10, 2015
      Hello Ghouls and Boils, So for the brief week off. But I had a case of life. I was on a bit of a mission and it went quite swimmingly. But fear not wicked ones. I am still here to bring you the strange and spooky! Today we have some news from a wonderful ezine […]
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    • A Conversation With Craig Yoe August 1, 2015
      Hello Ghouls and Boils, Today I was fortunate enough to sit and have a chat with the wonderfully fascinating creative genius, Craig Yoe. Craig and I met at HeroesCon this summer when he accepted an award at The Inkwells on Steve Ditko‘s behalf (sort of). I was beyond thrilled when this incredible talent agreed to […]
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    • Flesh of my Flesh —- The Review! July 29, 2015
      Hello Ghouls and Boils, It is day seven of Flesh of my Flesh week! FomF was a zombie movie filmed here in Portland, OR. Please check out Tuesday’s interview to hear about it’s inception and long awaited release from the Writer/Director – Edward Martin III – of the film, Wednesday’s article written by yours truly, and Thursday’s interview with Sean Strauss […]
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    • Flesh of my Flesh: Interview (/Happy-Hour) With Actress Tara Walker July 28, 2015
      Hello Ghouls and Boils, It is day six of Flesh of my Flesh week! FomF was a zombie movie filmed here in Portland, OR. Please check out Tuesday’s interview to hear about it’s inception and long awaited release from the Writer/Director –Edward Martin III – of the film, Wednesday’s article written by yours truly, and Thursday’s interview with Sean Strauss – […]
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    • Flesh of my Flesh: An Interview With Director of Photography Ryan K. Johnson July 27, 2015
      Hello Ghouls and Boils, It is day five of Flesh of my Flesh week! FomF was a zombie movie filmed here in Portland, OR. Please check out Tuesday’s interview to hear about it’s inception and long awaited release from the Writer/Director – Edward Martin II – of the film, Wednesday’s article written by yours truly, and Thursday’s interview with Sean […]
      Sarah L. Gerhardt
    • Flesh of my Flesh – Zombies Need Love Too July 25, 2015
      Hello Ghouls and Boils, It is day four of Flesh of my Flesh week! FomF was a zombie movie filmed here in Portland, OR. Please check out Tuesday’s interview to hear about it’s inception and long awaited release from the Writer/Director – Edward Martin III – of the film, Wednesday’s article written by yours truly, and yesterday’s interview […]
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    • Flesh of my Flesh – An Interview With Documentarian and Location Manager Sean Strauss July 24, 2015
      Hello Ghouls and Boils, It is day three of Flesh of my Flesh week! FomF was a zombie movie filmed here in Portland, OR. Please check out Tuesday’s interview to hear about it’s inception and long awaited release from the Writer/Director of the film and yesterday’s article written by yours truly!  Today we will be talking with […]
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    • Flesh of my Flesh – Through The Eyes of the 2nd Assistant Director – Madness, Mayhem, and Love July 23, 2015
      Hello Ghouls and Boils, Welcome to day two of Flesh of my Flesh week! FomF was a zombie movie filmed here in Portland, OR. Please check out yesterday’s interview to hear about it’s inception and long awaited release from the Writer/Director of the film.  Today you get to hear me ramble on about my time on the set. […]
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    • Flesh of my Flesh – An Interview With Writer/Director Edward Martin III July 21, 2015
      Hello Ghouls and Boils, Those of you who know me personally and professionally have probably at one time or another been regaled with the stories of my time on the Flesh of my Flesh movie set. For those who are not aware, I was 2nd Assistant Director (amongst other things) of a feature film shot […]
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    • So Long For Now and Hello Again! July 11, 2015
      Hello Ghouls and Boils, Today is both a sad and joyful day for us at She Never Slept. Our Assistant Editor Sean Lee Levin has stated he would like to step down for personal reasons… we hate to see him go, but we wish him the best of luck in all of his endeavors and […]
      Sarah L. Gerhardt

The Happy Undertaker

Good evening, readers,

I am stepping in this evening to present to you a review by Guest Minion Marc Nocerino. Coming up later this week will be a recap of the Heroes Convention from Sarah and Henry Covert, as well as some other surprises (once Sarah’s computer is brought back from the brink of apocalypse).

Now, if you will excuse me, since I have just finished reading Marc’s review myself, I think I will head on over to the Happy Undertaker site. It sounds really interesting.

Until we meet again,
Floyd Brigdon

When I first got the assignment to review a web-comic, I thought to myself: well this should be easy. I’ll just concentrate on character, dialog, continuity, story, and art. Clearly, I had no idea what Drazen Kozjan’s The Happy Undertaker had in store for me.

The first three criteria almost don’t apply here. The only truly recurring character is the titular Undertaker, a cute and creepy little fellow who whistles to himself contentedly amidst a variety of macabre settings and incidents. He’s infused with a sort of sardonic glee, and I love it.

There is literally no dialog whatsoever; only a handful of strips have any writing at all over the course of its four year run. Kozjan expertly uses the expressions of his characters to take the place of dialog. He proves the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words, telling his tales through artwork that is simultaneously quirky, beautiful, creepy, and very evocative.

As for continuity, most of the strips are self-contained. There have only been a few story arcs that spanned any length, and the longest of those was only four strips before returning to the usual “one tale per strip” framework.

But those stories… they are clever. Kozjan blends cultural icons, fairy tales, literary characters, and genre references to create his fun and somewhat disturbing vignettes. There is a bit of a morality-play feel to some of them, and the Undertaker can come across as the arbiter of Karma to some rather wicked secondary characters, but it never gets “preachy” and the overall mood remains light-hearted despite the darkness.

Kozjan’s artwork is both astounding and accessible, with a great retro feel to it. Everything from his characters, to his buildings, to the stuff just “in the background” is dripping with personality. His eye for color is nothing short of brilliant, and he uses this tool not just aesthetically but efficiently as well. If the character’s expressions replace the dialog, then the palette substitutes for description, subtext, and mood.

Final Thoughts:
To me, experiencing The Happy Undertaker is more akin to admiring a painting than reading a comic. I really am amazed at how succinctly Drazen Kozjan can tell stories without using a single word. Overall, I give The Happy Undertaker 3.666 out of 5 tentacles. This would never be my ‘go-to’ when I’m in the mood for a traditional web-comic; but on a dark stormy day or late in the evening as I sip an Absinthe, this blend of morbid comedy, beautiful illustration, and clever micro-stories would make for a pleasant companion.

Marc Nocerino – Guest Minion

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