Saturday, 24 January 2009

Things What Are Great #3 - The Walking Dead

Recent years have seen the return of the zombie in a big way. In the film world, we've had the good (Shaun Of The Dead, please stand up), the bad (Dawn Of The Dead, please tell your zombies to slow down) and the ugly (Resident Evil: Apocalypse, please leave the building and don't let the door hit you in the arse on the way out). There has, however, also been a bit of a zombie renaissance in the comic book world. Marvel Zombies was a good fun romp featuring all your favourite superheroes chomping on each others spicy brains and turned into a surprise hit (it's subsequently turned into a bit of a dull franchise but the first mini-series was good entertainment value especially the zombie versions of iconic comic book covers). The standout title, though, and currently one of the best comics around for my money is today's topic of conversation...

The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman

In a nutshell:- A standard set-up - the dead arise and target the living; the survivors must try to live in a zombified world. But it's all in the telling...

The Basics:- The series begins in a manner reminiscent of 28 Days Later. Police Officer Rick Grimes awakes in hospital, recovering from a gunshot wound, to discover that the zombie apocalypse has occurred. That's where the similarities end, however. The series takes a different approach to your standard zombie film in that it's in there for the long haul and intends to show how our cast of characters struggle to keep on surviving in a world that's not safe for the living. Not that all of them make it through that struggle...

Why's It So Great Then?:- It's a character-based apocalyptic zombie-fest. Because Kirkman's in it for the long haul, you get to know and care about the characters he's crafting. However, no one is safe and nothing is sacred and this unpredictability leads the series a real sense of "Where the fuck is he going with this now?!?" that's definitely propelled it to the top of my reading pile every month (no mean feat considering I read an unhealthy amount of comics).

Surely Some Of It Must Rubbish:- Not rubbish, no, but it is unremittingly grim a lot of the time. In fact, a friend of mine stopped reading at one particularly harrowing issue as he just couldn't take it anymore. I see why he stopped (it was one of the most heart-breaking moments in a comic) but I'm sticking with it, purely because I couldn't see where the writer was going to go after that point and, having stuck with it, it looks like he's going somewhere interesting yet again.

So We Should Seek Out This Thing Of Which You Speak?:- If you like zombies and you like good comics then this is a must-have for you. If you're a fan of good storytelling and aren't really sure about the whole comics thing, then give this a try. The first 54 issues have been collected in paperback editions (around 6 issues a time) and should be pretty easy to get hold of. I will warn you though, it's pretty addictive and those collected versions can often end on quite a cliffhanger. You might find yourself in it for the long haul too...


4 comments:

Rachel Tamed said...

I have a love for zombie movies that frightens most, and I secretly long for the day when one of my coworkers tries to maul me and I have to run around the building in a skirt and heels and battle all of the corporate monsters...I will have to check out the comic book aspect though, as so far my obsession has only been with film.

This could be a good, violent in a good way, kind of new hobby for me. Thanks dear!

That Baldy Fella said...

Yeah, definitely check this one out then if you're a zombie lover. You're welcome, me dear. Always glad to get people trying something new!

Anonymous said...

I love this series!! Well done - sometimes reading this blog is like walking around inside my own head.

I don't pick my nose though...

Jonny yeah

That Baldy Fella said...

Maybe I am just a figment of your imgaination, Tyler Durden-style.

I am Jack's film-spoiling comment.