Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Dark and delicious Part 1 - The Walking Dead

Hey gang, the good Dr here. I know it's been a long time since I properly posted anything (a couple of months i think) but I had my reasons. I wasn't abandoning you; please don't cry, no I had some 'real life' stuffs to sort and I'm pleased to say I'm getting back on track again. Yippee !!

You'll remember waaaaayyy back in march i promised you some graphic novel goodness, so I'm here today to serve up a slice of that awesome Zombie pie also known as 'The walking Dead.'

So, as old time mothers would say - 'are you sitting comfortably, then we'll begin'.

The walking Dead is the brain child of Mr Robert Kirkman ( Invincible) and artist Tony Moore ( later replaced by Charlie Adlard around issue #7.) It started out life back in 2003 and follows the travels of a group of human survivors abandoned during a Zombie apocalypse. Fighting and fending for themselves in a world stricken with the walking dead. Now I love a great zombie story, Romero's '...of the Dead' series is a classic and will always be in my eyes the benchmark of true catastrophic story telling. This is why I love these books so much, it's an incredible journey that you will share with this rag-tag bunch of outcasts, families, fighters and freaks.

Lets have a look at 1 of the key characters ( and don't worry I'll try not to spoil anything for you)

First up we have one of the strongest leads in anything I've ever read before - Rick Grimes - a small town police officer from Kentucky. The linchpin in most of the stories that take place. He takes a wild unpredictable pure gut wrenching roller coaster ride. A real head-fuck!
At the very beginning of issue #1 he is in a coma, hospitalized while the devastation outside is taking place. This is a great starting point for the book because there is no back story to the apocalypse, several issues in some characters are introduced over different periods of time and explain their spin on what they think the origins are. But nothing remains concrete. Rick, his family and the others are forced to survive by any means necessary, and I do mean by ANY MEANS possible, Very Grim, you'll see...

The other main character(s) in the books are of course the Zombies themselves, standard Romero classic shufflers. Traditional tireless, flesh craving undead. None of this super pumped-up 28 Days later nonsense, this doesn't include Charlie Brooker's Dead-Set 'cos I love him. Rick and the gang have had several ways to describe them throughout it's ongoing course but I won't tell you what they are as it could give away story arcs. The one thing i can tell you as any self assured Zombie fan can say is that destroying the brain works. But you could find other ways to slow them down or trick them, just as the gang do here.

Again I won't go into much detail as it will spoil it for those who haven't read through this masterpiece yet.
There are many other characters, with many different arcs running through them all. Shane, Tyreese, Glenn, Alice, The Governor. The best part of The walking dead for me wasn't the gore or the Zombies, it was the attachment to the characters.
It is so well written that I feel genuine emotion for these black and white people on paper, it's a testament to Kirkman's writing ( I feel the same about Invincible.) To watch them struggle, to cry, to tear chunks out of each other, I'm with them on the harrowing journey. Every step of the way you want things to work out, you wish things where different for them. In fact there are a few sections were I nearly welled up and there is 1 panel in particular that made a friend of mine stop reading it. The whole book !!. He couldn't handle the raw bleak truth. See if you can spot it ! Of course I will never tell you which bit that's for you to read and discover for yourself.
I picked up The Walking Dead very late into its time on the shop shelf, I steamed through #1-69 in 3 days and picked up the 2 latest issues just after that.
Amazing reading, so highly recommended. Pick them up now in trade paper back form and monster through them, I guarantee you an emotional journey.

Before I leave you in peace I just wanted to add that the American network AMC ( the channel behind Madmen and the superb Breaking bad) have picked up the rights to produce a live action Walking Dead that weirdly enough actually starts shooting this Saturday 15 may to have an air time this October in the U.S. 'Shawshank Redemption' and 'Green Mile' director Frank Darabont is on board to adapt the script, direct and produce the show, with him the writer of 'The Shield' and the amazing 'Dexter' Charles H. Eglee.. And finally anyone remember the old BBC show 'This Life' well Egg played by Andrew Lincoln is going to be stepping into Rick's shoes for the role. Fair enough !!

The Walking Dead #1-#71 available in stores or online. #72 should be out this month.
Please read, enjoy and digest the rawness.

official site

The good Dr Sanchez.

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