September 12, 2015: The Walking Dead: An Appreciation
I was not an early fan of Robert Kirkman's comic opus The Walking Dead. In fact, I came to it several years into its run, after hearing that AMC was working to turn it into a TV series. (You may have heard about it.) Being a "dive in the deep end" guy, I picked up the first 48-issue collection and a couple of the subsequent hardcover collections. After a couple of false starts, I plowed through the first compendium in a marathon reading session one weekend and I was hooked.
From the buzz surrounding the book, I thought I knew what I was getting when I read it. I couldn't have been more wrong.
First of all, this is an amazingly gory comic. Going with black-and-white line art lets Kirkman and his talented artists (Tony Moore for the first several issues, Charlie Adlard for the bulk of the run) get away with a FAR more graphic story than they could if they had to color every decaying walker and bloody injury. It also gives the comic a more timeless feel, like a classic movie.
Most important, however, is that this is a story about people, not zombies. The worst violence committed in the story is by living people against each other; humans can be creatively savage in a way that zombies can't hope to match. The moral dilemmas faced by our heroes over the course of the story are compelling and far more subtle than they might first appear. What's more, it is frequently unclear whether our heroes are making the right choices, morally or tactically . . . and in this world, actions have permanent and critical consequences. The Walking Dead doesn't shy away from the implications of a world in which zombies are not just a mortal threat, but a potential lethal weapon to use on your enemies.
All of these are why I was thrilled when our partners at USAopoly said they wanted to create an
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