The Sadness: the gore and disturbing comics of the creator of The Boys who inspired the horror film

The Sadness is an extreme and singular horror film in its genre, and it is also because it is inspired by Crossed by Garth Ennis and Jacen Burrows.

After making a splash from festival to festival, The Sadness arrived on July 6 in France at the cinema, and if the feature film directed by Rob Jabbaz is a gore and unique massacre that delights fans of the genre and marks the spirits, he also owes it to Crossed.

Whether for its mischievous reinterpretation of the figure of the zombie, its die-hard nihilism or its graphic violence at the limit of the bearable, the comics of Garth Ennis and Jacen Burrows have greatly influenced the Taiwanese horror filmas recognized by the director himself in various interviews, and its theatrical release is a perfect excuse to talk about this provocative and unhealthy work of American comics.

Sensitive souls, you can flee, but it is already too late.

Honey, I’m home!


Crossedas The Sadness, takes up all the codes of a zombie infection where the world finds itself inexplicably affected by a plague that transforms people as soon as they are bitten or infected. However, he brings a little subtlety to it that makes all the difference: instead of waking up as bloodthirsty undead, sick people become “Crusaders”, perverse and sadistic beings who stalk, torture, rape, murder and eat others (not necessarily in that order), giving free rein to their worst instincts.

A concept as simple as it is terrifying, which George A. Romero had already more or less exploited in 1973 in The Night of the Living Fools (The Crazies), five years after inventing the modern zombie in Night of the Living Deadand which other works then took over (including the excellent remake released in 2010), but never with so much cynicism and wickedness.

Crossed: pictureFirst class

Known for his iconoclastic and outrageous pen, having given birth to masterpieces of darkness such as preacher, Hitman Where The Punisher, Garth Ennis himself described the narrative as “the most extreme and disturbing thing he ever wrote”.

And for good reason: the story opens with a man affected by this mysterious disease who enters a bar and places an arm on the counter before biting the owner in the face while outside, the city is in flames and civilization collapses in a merry deluge of guts, hemoglobin and various bodily fluids. Therefore, it is not a question of finding out what happened or finding a cure, but only of surviving, whatever the cost.

Crossed: pictureAren’t they cute?

These Crusaders, unlike zombies, are not monstrous creatures or a pile of decaying flesh becoming a slow, messy threat in the background, but individuals still endowed with willpower, thoughtfulness, who take unhealthy pleasure in their slaughter, which adds yet another dimension to the horror in a kind of reflection of the dark nature of Man or an allegorical representation of all the sins of mankind.

All the atrocities committed by the infected exude vice and cruelty, and the boards of Jacen Burrows, without falling into one-upmanship, spare no detail : ripped off limbs, severed heads, gang rapes, lethal sex games, a horse dick that serves as a club and other atrocities, with of course a generous dose of vulgarity and scathing humor from Garth Ennis.

Crossed: pictureA piece of jawbone and an eye on the spot, please.


In this chaos, while The Sadness follows a couple and a few characters over a few hours as the world crumbles, Crossed recounts the survival of a group of more or less numerous survivors over several months, in a survivalist and desperate atmosphere which obviously recalls The Walking Dead (the comics and the series), but also 28 days later and post-apocalyptic stories like I’m a legend Where The road.

On the way to Alaska, supposedly less infected, because less inhabited, the survivors try to organize themselves, to find a reason to move on. As in most stories of the genre, the characters divide, find themselves faced with different moral dilemmas and certain revelations about their pasts that force them to question their own limits and what differentiates them from the Crusaders.

Crossed: pictureTwo squares later, three were shot and two others were ripped open

However, while The Walking Dead spreads its narrative arcs over several long chapters with a group that can hope to settle somewhere to escape the zombies and find a life, the tighter rhythm of Crossed and the threat of the Crusaders leaves almost no respite to the survivors and installs an almost permanent tension. Except when the cries stop and they can take advantage of a rare moment to observe the stars around a fire or watch a pack of wolves reclaim their rights over nature.

While they witness the gradual disappearance of all humanity in this world in perdition, the survivors cling to theirs as best they can and try to find a certain emotional stability by simple choices: by deciding to take in a stray dog ​​or to turn around to bury one of their own.

Crossed: pictureHigh School Musical for adults

Soon enough, the horror always resurfaces in one way or another and the characters are always condemned to flee and move forward towards a new dawn, until the Crusaders fall on them one day. During their journey, certain clues will allow them to answer certain questions, but as the editor HiComics sums it up quite well: “There is no hope. No heroes. No one will come to save you“.

If in France, Crossed remains little known compared to The Walking Dead or other Garth Ennis comics such as The Boys, in the United States, it has become cult and a universe in its own right. After the original work of Ennis and Burrows, other authors and artists followed on other titles like Crossed: Family values, Crossed: Psychopath Where Crossed: Cursed Landsincluding some big names like David Lapham (Black Hole), Jamie Delano (hellblazer), If Spurrier and even the legendary Alan Moore on a futuristic tale titled Crossed +100.

Crossed: pictureAll is well in the best of all possible worlds

Crossedstill today, remains a shock in the world of comics, which shook up zombie comics and traumatized everyone who read it, in exactly the same way as everyone who watched The Sadness still remember for a long time a certain scene in the subway or a passage that violates the retina. Literally.

The Sadness hits theaters July 6. Crossed is available in full from HiComics since May 18th.

The Sadness: the gore and disturbing comics of the creator of The Boys who inspired the horror film