Garth Ennis goes overboard with Crossed
Ennis, the man responsible for the brilliant and irreverent Preacher and an ultra-violent but classic take on the Punisher, once called the first 10-issue Crossed series the most disturbing thing he has ever done.While it sounds like this might be a Bush-bashing story, what's worse is that it could be based on some of the most vile lies that turned up in the wake of Katrina (H/T: Neal Boortz). And if Ennis' story draws from a pack of media-fueled lies, then what he's doing is insulting to the refugees of Katrina, who already had enough problems dealing with the flood and storm that engulfed the city. It's bad enough he's concocting a horror story with elements as gruesome as what's stated, but basing it all upon unverified propaganda and coming up with zombies that may be metaphors for the survivors of Katrina is repellant and not something anyone with good taste should waste their money on.
"That's the kind of thing you say when you're selling something," he says now, but the premise is definitely one that would haunt more than a few people's nightmares.
"It's human evil as a weaponized virus," the Irish writer explains. "Every base instinct in humanity — murder, rape, torture, cruelty, degradation — infects the victims of the Crossed outbreak and spreads like wildfire. Society disintegrates inside a week, with 99% of the population gone, and 99% of the survivors turned into insane berserkers who are out to torture you to death. Now … survive."
Adds Burrows: "The most frightening part is that the Crossed aren't mindless. What they knew before they still know, and they will relentlessly hunt and trap any survivors they can find. This is post-apocalyptic horror fiction turned up to 11."
The ghastly concept came from an equally grim time, Ennis recalls. He began pulling it together nearing the middle of President George W. Bush's second term and just after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, "when it seemed people were simply being flung out into the cold with no hope of rescue, abandoned by all levels of government and law enforcement."
No wonder I find Ennis so awful, and not just because he's the kind of writer who dislikes superheroes so much he'd be willing to write stories about hurting them (as happened in a couple Punisher stories he wrote a decade ago, later culminating in "Punisher Kills the MU"). He then goes on to tell the interviewer:
In terms of gore and violence, Ennis doesn't think they've gone too far yet — instead of trying to outdo himself in terms of shock value, he focuses more on characterization while inserting bursts of intense violence to remind people of how high the stakes are for the last vestiges of civilization.How can it be unpredictable when it's long become a cliche? They have gone too far already, and Ennis has clearly lost his mind to a quagmire of perverted, gory galore-y, storytelling. If this is the best he can do, he's sunk to a level even worse than Stephen King.
"We want the readers to know that there is a willingness to push the envelope, which keeps things unpredictable," Burrows says.