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!


Olman Feelyus said...

Yes, I finally finished the 4th book (only took a day and a half, I just kept putting it off). Really is entertaining. Also harrowing. I don't recommend reading it right before you want to fall asleep, as it is way too stimulating. My god, people are so stupid! I got in trouble for yelling out loud at the characters at times. But christ, you're living in a holocaust of the walking dead. Stop freaking whining and freaking out. Deal or don't survive. It sucks. Get used to it.

Lantzvillager said...

Great to see some love for The Walking Dead. I am finished up to the last compilation published (#9) and avidly await the call from my local comic shop when the next one comes out.

I was not entirely sold on the art at first (you notice that the artist changed after the first few issues?) but now I don't mind it in a stock sort of way.

I'd love to see some of the bonus materiel just to get an idea where he intends to go with the series. For now, there doesn't seem to be any end.

dsgran said...

Its great that everyone is reading this and its getting some well deserved attention! I can't wait for the next book. Good post Meez- and good observation Walker- although I think that's the point of the book, many of the survivors just can't handle it, and that's why they crack. I'm just impressed that they can keep the story going with the characters all cracking in different ways... in fact, the cracking IS the story- each character in turn begins to loose it, the only question is how long they can hold on for.