During Lucca Comics 2011, the most important Italian comics fair, two emerging indipendent authors, Davide La Rosa and Vanessa Cardinali, presented “Zombie Gay in Vaticano” (Gay Zombies in the Vatican), a self-produced one-shot that was immediately sold out. Gay Zombie is exactly what it sounds like: during the conclave in Rome, Roman gays begin in protest a surprise gay pride that touches the borders of the Vatican city, but the white smoke announcing the election of the new Pope transforms the protesters into zombies. The Roman Curia is at first dismayed and bewildered, but the firmness of the Pope is exemplary and the suggestion of the papal library keeper decisive: the intervention of a secret and special order is required, the ninja nuns, three chosen sisters that, since the Middle Ages, receive a training in martial arts to defend the papacy from every threat.
The story and its graphic sequence are fluent, urgent, playful and above all hilarious. Texts by David La Rosa and drawings by Vanessa Cardinali show their undeniable talent, and the final product is fresh, witty and irreverent without being ever offensive, although the subject is in some ways sensible. Only drawback, the most complained about, and probably due to the authors’ limited financial resources, the excessive brevity of the comic, that compresses the story and doesn’t allow them to develop it completely.
Anyway, its potential came out, and Davide and Cardinali have been recently hired by the Italian publisher Star Comics to carry out a Gay Zombie related project, serialized in six volumes and focused on the true protagonists of the one-shot: the ninja nuns. The series of six-monthly booklets, scheduled to start in April 2013, will be focused on the trio and, presumably, its salvific missions. The first volume will be a re-writing of Gay Zombie story, telling it on more pages and with more details. While the one-shot had 28 pages, the new volume should have one hundred, thus allowing a more thorough understanding of the zombie epidemic that led the Vatican to accept gay marriage.
The project is interesting, but at the moment limited to the Italian market. Nevertheless, on account of Star Comics’ many international contacts (it has been for many years the official Marvel distributor in Italy, where later also gave a decisive contribution to spread the manga phenomenon), we can still hope that this situation may change, and that the ninja nuns will find their way to a wider distribution.