Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Walking Dead

Now that AMC has run the first episode of "The Walking Dead" I thought it would be a good time to talk about the source material. AMC's show is based (rather closely it would appear) on a series of graphic novels by Robert Kirkman. There are a dozen volumes so far and the series shows no signs of stopping.

From the very beginning The Walking Dead proves to be a cut above the typical zombie epic. The art is well executed in a realistic style ideally suited to the writing. The writing itself is dramatic, surprising, and tightly paced. Though the characters often wander at a loss the story never does, maintaining a forward momentum that pulls the reader along. Each issue offers new and horrific surprises that will leave readers waiting for the next volume with anticipation and dread. The characterization is almost painfully deep, especially considering the suddenness of some of the many, many deaths. Characters that the reader has watched survive and grow for volumes are suddenly killed with no warning. No one, it seems, is immune and death -- whether it is slow or sudden -- is always catastrophic and harder for the survivors than the dead.

The Walking Dead is a story of hard choices and harsh consequences. The violence comes in sudden shocking bursts and very often the living are worse than the dead. The zombies may be average shamblers but these comics are anything but average.

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