The best histories are the ones you’ve never heard of. The even better ones are the ones that you never even dreamed about. There’s an entire vein of fiction out there, poised somewhere between sci-fi, fantasy and fact, where the Confederates won the Civil War, Kennedy lived and Vietnam was cancelled, the Moon landings were faked and Elvis never died, and we veer into conspiracy theory as well, because what is that anyway, beyond the sneaking decision that the official version of events does not tell the whole truth?
Take Woodstock, for instance. Three days of peace and music. Hendrix greeting the dawn with the “Star Spangled Banner,” Sly Stone and Sha Na Na, Ten Years After and CSN&Y, all grasping superstardom from their time upon the stage. So many births, so many deaths, a lot of mud and don’t eat the brown acid.
Okay, truth number one about Woodstock. There were half a million people there. Do you genuinely believe that every single story that each of them had to tell has now been absorbed into the popular consciousness? No, of course they haven’t.
Truth number two. The movie is what cemented the legend into place, and that goes for the bands that rose so precipitously thereafter. Look at the bill for the entire affair, then look at the ones who made it into the film. Do you see the discrepancies creeping in? It’s almost as if the festival itself was irrelevant. It’s who escaped the cutting room that became the stars of the show.
And now that we’ve mentioned “creeping” and “cutting”… is it really that far a stretch to the zombies?
No, not those Zombies, the “Time of the Season,” Rod Argent, Colin Blunstone Zombies. They weren’t at Woodstock, were they.
Or were they?
A few frames into Woodstalk #1, the first issue of the first comic book ever to tell the true story of what happened that weekend, and we learn that they were. Five besuited English gents, compelled by their record label to rescind their decision to split, go out to promote the sudden hit single that established them as the hottest band in the land. And what better way to do that than to make their way to Max Yasgur’s farm, and bluff, bribe or just plain batter their way onto the festival bill?
The Zombies are dead, but the Zombies still live. Because they’re Zombies.
And if that was the extent of the ensuing infestation, then we could all sit back happily again.
But it isn’t.
Zombies? Meet zombies. Just a handful at first, followers of an Eastern mystic whose powers extend beyond the usual cleaning of chakras, and into the realms of reanimating the dead. Via their chakras. Which the Zombies figure out, and so we follow their adventures, fighting to get onto the stage, and fighting off the zombies who want to stop them. And eat them.
But they are not alone in their struggles. The Zombies, that is, not the zombies. Other people, too, are hauled into the battle. An archetypal hippy couple, a Vietnam vet. And the great thing is, with only five issues down, and twenty-seven more to go, we have absolutely no way of knowing how any of this will end. Or even if it will end.
Woodstock was forty-six years ago, which means there’s been plenty of time for its audience to have discovered other pursuits in life. Working in government, running big business… seriously, how do you know that the past half century of civilization has not been dictated by a cabal of sentient Woodstockian zombies? It would explain a lot, after all, and make sense of a whole lot more.
Plus, it would also mean that the Giant Vampire Squid who really rules the world doesn’t need to do all his own dirty work.
This is just conjecture. Woodstalk is still a toddler in terms of its overall destiny, which means you have plenty of time to catch up with the action, and join the rest of us readers in breathlessly awaiting the events (and the bands) who are still to show up.
Wonderfully paced, written and drawn (the first three by different artists, the last two by creator Bruce Worden alone), Woodstalk is one of those rarities in the world of comic book rock’n’roll stories. One that you will actually want to read, and not just file away untouched and unloved, in the hope that one day its value will exceed the cost of the archival bag you’ve sealed your unread copy inside.
So… read it. Go to Worden’s website, or the zombies' Facebook page; then call up your local comic shop and order up all the copies you can get. Then you, too, can turn the clock back forty-six years. Max Yasgur’s farm is calling you. The brown acid is calling you, too. And if we all chant loud enough, maybe we can stop the zombies from sinking their milky whites into our skulls and devouring all that they find within.
"No brains. No brains. No brains...."