I get it now: All those screaming Beatles fans -- they were terrified.
In Alan Goldsher's new illustrated novel, Paul Is Undead, the current turn-classics-into-zombie-stories fad catches up the Fab Four, rewriting rock history to cast the Beatles as walking dead.
John Lennon, for instance, is turned into a zombie by another hungry zombie shortly after his birth. He then meets Paul, realizes the only way to secure him as a bandmate is to make him a zombie, too, and does the deed. (The description of the zombie transformation involves tongues and necks and it's way homoerotic.)
They tour the world, eating fans' brains an pursued by Britain's greatest zombie hunter: Mick Jagger.
The novel is written as a oral history, and it's a fun read. If you're a Beatles scholar, you should enjoy the playful take on hallowed history. If you're a fair-weather fan, you'll still get a kick out of the crazy zombie tale -- and acquire some basic legitimate Beatles facts, albeit framed strangely. I love, for instance, early in the book when zombie Lennon is discussing the quartet's roots in a skiffle band, opening with, "People probably don't want to hear about the skiffle days either, but sod 'em. If there's no skiffle, there's no Beatles." I don't know if John ever said as much in real life, but amen.
The "author" relating the tale mentions that, at one point during the interviews, Lennon injured him with a "horrifyingly violent attack on my person." What set zombie Lennon off? The guys suggested that George Martin "was just as important to the musical success of the Beatles' final three albums as George Harrison was."
The alternative history also chronicles Lenno's funny 1965 murder spree. "John held his own, downing 28 brains in a two-week period. That was impressive, and one can't help admire his single-mindedness," says Lyman Cosgrove.
Oh, and Ringo? He's a ninja assassin. Yoko, too.
Paul Is Undead is available Tuesday from Gallery Books, $15. There's even a film version already in the works.