I am a huge fan of the horror genre: movies, video games, books… anything. However I am only a fan of horror when the story is done right. Night of the Living Dead (the original) is one of the greatest movies ever made… Dawn of the Dead, one of the worst. I’ll take Silent Hill over Resident Evil any day, and Walking Dead is my favorite comic book hands down.
Horror for the sake of gore is nothing but senseless tripe. I want to be scared and entertained. And while the Walking Dead doesn’t exactly scare me, it definitely entertains. The gore is a sidebar. The meat of the comic is the interaction between characters. The trials and hardships they face. The everyday mundane events that are either amplified or played down when juxtaposed with a world filled with death and slow quiet mayhem.
Two years have passed since Walking Dead #1 was released. I started this series after the 3rd volume had been out for some time. I purchased all three and read them within just a few days. Not because the story lacks thoughtfulness, or because the art lacks detail. I just couldn’t put it down. I read as soon as the baby would fall asleep and in to the wee hours of the night. I read when she was awake and my wife needed help. I read when I was supposed to be taking out the trash or watching a movie. I just couldn’t put it down. I was (and still am) highly adicted.
The story behind the Walking Dead is a simple: Officer Rick Grimes gets shot and wakes up in the hospitol… only to find that the world has turned zombie for some unexplained reason.
The intricacies to the plot are complex: love, murder, insanity and death… lots of death. People die left and right… quite often people you have become attached to.
Each issue leads directly in to the next… like one big unending movie. That’s part of the appeal for me. I love seeing the deterioration of the characters, the minuet changes in their appearances, and sometimes massive changes in their character as everything becomes harder to deal with.
After reading the Walking Dead two things becomes clear: Robert Kirkman is a genius, and Tony Moore, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn are masters of the arts. Every issue is done in black and white with grey tones using inks and wash. This creates a very dramatic bleak feel to the whole series.
My only real problem with this series is it’s so horribly depressing. It just seems like nothing ever goes right for these people… but that’s life I suppose.
If you haven’t read the Walking Dead yet, now is a good time to start as Image has released the Walking Dead Omnibus which collects all of the issues up to #24 (the current issue) in one hard cover book. Very cool, but ringing in at $100 (US) it’s also a tad on the pricey side. If you’re hesitant to drop 100 bucks without knowing what you’re getting in to, check out the online preview at imagecomics.com. You can read the entire first issue for free. If you like what you see but still don’t want to spend the cash, you can purchase the individual volumes for $12.95 a piece ($9.95 for volume 1). Of course this will only get you to issue #18 as volume 4 hasn’t been released yet… but it’s on the way.
The Walking Dead has went through two years of consistent, slow paced entertainment and is supposedly selling better now than ever before. If you like horror, read this series.
Update: The Walking Dead Vol. 4: The Heart’s Desire has been released. This encompasses issues 19 – 24 and is definitely worth reading.