Friday, March 19, 2010

The Walking Dead  

Comics: I know I've written about it before, but it bears repeating. If you haven't read Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead, you're missing out on some of the best writing being done in comics today.

The premise of the book is basically what you'd expect: the zombie apocalypse descends on the world, and everything goes to hell.

Kirkman’s story follows a sheriff, his wife and son, and the group of survivors they meet as they struggle for safety and a semblance of their former lives. On the surface, it seems like pretty standard stuff. However, what makes The Walking Dead so powerful is Kirkman’s ability to spin stories that hinge not on the zombies, but on the living characters.

Over the course of the series, I've continually been impressed by how real he writes -- how people react to certain situations, how emotions would play a factor in survival, and how people don't stop being people just because the dead return to life. Plenty of movies and books focus on the practical aspects like scavenging for food and ammo or building an impregnable base for defense, but very few zombie tales really examine what it might be like to continue to be a warm, breathing person with hopes and fears and needs in the face of inevitable horror.

Thanks to a half-off sale at my local comic shop, I was able to pick up the last four volumes I needed and get caught up after a long hiatus. Quite eager to jump back in, it's fair to say that I was already engrossed with the characters and their hardships, but my emotional involvement was taken to a whole new level thanks to certain events which I will not spoil here. As I sat turning the pages in a public place around by people, I literally thought I was about to start crying. I actually had to close the book for a few minutes and pull myself together in order to avoid having to dab my eyes with some Kleenex.

Very few things that can be classified as ‘entertainment’ ever connect with me on a personal, real basis. It just doesn't happen. However, my hat is off to Kirkman for not only touching me with his work, but for kicking me hard with a muddy combat boot and making me feel sickeningly ill with his words and ideas. Eliciting that kind of response from a reader takes true talent, and I honestly, openly admire the caliber and quality he delivers, issue after issue.

Like I said, if you're not reading The Walking Dead, you need to be. Go down to your local comic shop and pick up the first few collections. I sincerely doubt that anyone (including you) who gives it a chance will be disappointed.

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2 comments: to “ The Walking Dead


    I second this notion more than I can say. WD is a seriously excellent read from top to bottom.

    Once you get started with it, it will have it's claws in deep...

    Here's hoping that it shambles on to an amazing conclusion. ( It's so dark now, though, I can't imagine what could be in-store in the future... )

    Read this book!


    Just finished vol 2 from the library. Wow. Thanks for pointing me in that direction. It's been a great trip so far.