Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Book 12 – Zot!

The Complete Black & White Collection

By Scott McCloud

Zot! was great in that it was a dense comic read, and came in handy for in-between books where I was left dangling as to what to read next. So Zot! was on my bedside table for a few months this year.

Although I very much enjoyed the collection and appreciated this as McCloud’s early gem before he became known for Understanding Comics, it was ultimately not my style in terms of aesthetics and story. Some of the villains and ideas were fantastic, but overall, it just wasn’t dark and meaty enough for me. Yes, Zot! is like on the totally opposite spectrum as The Walking Dead (see post below).

The comic is given due respect and justice by fellow posters dsgran and Olman.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Book 11 - The Walking Dead: Books One to Four

writer Robert Kirkman & artists Tony Moore / Charlie Adlard

A continuing story of survival horror…

Book I - The Walking Dead #1-12
Book II - The Walking Dead #13-24
Book III - The Walking Dead #25-36
Book IV - The Walking Dead #37-48

A friend of Olman’s lent him all 4 books of The Walking Dead comic series. Each slickly bound hardcover contains 12 issues and two story arcs from the series. Naturally, I glommed onto Kirkman's spin on the post-apocalyptic zombie genre before Olman could get his grubby hands on ‘em. Yet right away, I was extremely wary of how fresh this take on the zombie genre would be. I mean, the story starts off with the protagonist Rick, a small-town police officer from Kentucky, waking up from a coma in an abandoned hospital! Even for non-fans, this is an obvious rip-off from a rather well-known Danny Boyle flick.

In the bonus write-ups, Kirkman has stated his passion for the zombie genre and how he wanted to take all the elements from all the movies he’s ever seen to make a kickass continuous saga about what it’s like for the survivors to live in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. So the goal was not originality or innovation, but to create a harrowing action-packed story of the struggle for human existence. Kirkman did a really bang-up job of achieving this. Once I got into the story, I was unstoppable. There was action, there was drama, there was fortitude, there was despair and very little hope. But most of all, there was mucho gore and violence. Mucho. Violence. As the story escalates, so does the brutality and despair. This is not a story for the squeamish or faint of heart!

Kirkman also does a decent job of portraying the variables of human nature fairly effectively. In a post-apocalyptic world, civilized morality is replaced by group survival where some people are better adapted and psychologically stronger than others. Even though Kirkman wanted to avoid readers having to see characters being stupid or making unbelievable mistakes (like in the movies), people still make mistakes and bad choices. I guess it ain’t easy being a survivor. But there are quite a few kickass characters, and in the tradition of James Cameron and Joss Whedon, there are definitely some strong female characters in there too.

I agree with dsgran’s assessment that this is a highly recommended read for anyone who’s interested in this kind of stuff. Hope Jocelyn will be getting the next book soon, so he can lend it to Olman!