Monday, 31 October 2011

Walking Dead (a recap)

Series: The Walking Dead
Words: Robert Kirkman
Images: Tony More (at first) followed by Charlie Adlard
Issue Number: n/a
Release Date: n/a
Format: Trades
I wasn’t planning on reviewing The Walking Dead. I figure everyone and their dog has heard of it. Even if you have not read it yet. But this weekend I have been talking to a bunch of people about comics. Quite a few people I was ranting to had no idea what Walking Dead was. Other people were familiar with the show but had no idea it was based off of a comic.

Before I get into reviewing the comic itself I want to give people a few suggestions on timing for when you should read it.

If you have no idea what I am talking about.
If you have never read the comic or seen the T.V. show? First I would wonder what rock you have been living under over the last few years. If you like horror and you are interested in Zombies read or watch as soon as possible.
How you approach this depends on how you enjoy your media. Typically nothing measures up to reading for me. If you are like me I would suggest watching the show first and then reading the comic for the best experience. I started reading the comics before the show was announced and it has taken some effort for me to separate the two enough to actually enjoy the show.

If you have only been watching the TV show?
Wait. Very few people are able to read and enjoy the comic and watch the show at the same time. There are a lot of differences between the show and the comic but if you read ahead you will miss out on some of the dramatic tension the show is building. Since it is a honking long collection of comic books? You may want to buy the trades at the end of each season to catch yourself up with them while you are stuck during the break with no zombie fix.

Waiting though is hard.

We got Walking Dead last year. It was on the list of things the mister wanted for his birthday. Being a good geeky girlfriend I got him the large hard covers 1 to 6 (which had two trades worth in one). I think when he finished with them I read them all in all of a few days.

The art? Is great. I am not always fond of black and white comics. But with the Walking Dead it adds to the whole mood. The black, white and gray world that the survivors live in is very effective. I found that my mind was filling in the blanks while I read. Providing little details about colours itself and that made the characters far more relatable and people I got far more attached to. I cared more about the little boy who had dark hair that my brain had decided matched my cousin's or the woman with dark hair that clearly matched my coworkers.

At various times I have hated pretty much ever single character in the comic. Also? At various times I have felt for most of them and have rooted for them to survive or win or succeed in what they are trying to do.
The comic is much darker then the T.V. show to date. Much, much, much, much darker. Granted the author of the comic can probably push a few more boundaries then something on T.V.. It is probably one of the darkest graphic novels I have read. More often than not in the comic the biggest dangers come from other people. Sure the zombies are there. Sure they are a threat and they will eat people but most of the actual evil seems to come from other humans. With such a long running book there are a whole ton of different scenarios that the author explores from rape to suicide, murder to blood lust, PTSD to hope.  

I do caution you that in large doses I was finding myself overdosing on the Walking Dead. As much as I love zombies. As much as I love horror and humanity being evil and trying to survive in horrific situations?  There is so much of it that it does become quite a slog.

If you do not like zombies. If you are sick of zombies. If you just over dosed on zombies. Well then I would suggest staying away from this one. As much as I have enjoyed it The Walking Dead is a huge investment of time and potentially money. There are tons of issues out now and a bit of a back log to get through to catch up.

For those of you who want to catch up I would suggest buying either the trade paper backs or the hard covers that have two trades worth of comics in them. Jumping in with the monthly comic wouldn't give that connection to the characters that makes this such a good story.

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