Walking Through the Dead – A Look at the Walking Dead Volume 1

As I write this I’ve just posted my article about comiXology and digital comics in general, and hopefully at least one person left a comment otherwise this might be the one and only follow-up I ever write on the subject.

Comics used to be for children, then the market crashed and everything changed.  Today some of the most talented artists and writers in the world create comics, and they’re targeted to children, teens and adults.  I particularly love the adult books because it’s within these pages that the stories are the most creative.  It makes sense too, because most of the adult books are creator-owned so there’s no one holding the author back from killing off a main character or doing some other no-no the big publishers would never allow happen to their vintage characters.

I thought it would be a neat idea to follow yesterday’s article up with a look at one of my all time favorite adult comic book series, The Walking Dead.  It’s a series I never talk much about, but have recently went back and started rereading again.  Ever since Steven published his review I’ve been looking for an excuse to talk more about this wonderful series.  Today’s the day I suppose.

Instead of zeroing in on each and every comic, I thought I’d try and be as spoiler-free as possible just in case I convince some of you to actually buy the first volume in this incredible series.  First, here’s some technical information for those interested.  Volume 1 collects the first six issues in the series, which now sell for over $1,500 on eBay, so if you plan to get into this series, trade paperback is your only way in, that or via comiXology.  The choice is yours.  The series debuted in October 2003, and is written by Robert Kirkman, and originally drawn by Tony Moore (who would be replaced by Charlie Adlard starting with issue #7).  It’s published by Image, and is a creator-owned property, meaning Kirkman can do whatever the heck he wants with the characters.

A mint copy of the first printing of The Walking Dead #1 can run you over $1,000!

The first collected volume introduced readers to Rick Grimes, a Kentucky police officer.  He’s shot in the line of duty and wakes up in the hospital some time later.  As he stumbles out of bed, he realizes not all is well with the world.  Five seconds later he discovers the truth, a zombie apocalypse has broken out.  You didn’t just close the page did you?  Well I sure hope not, because unlike all the zombie crap that’s on the market today, what makes this series so unique is that the zombies aren’t the center of the story, sure they’re a major player, but the focus is on the characters we’re introduced to.  I can’t go into any further details, but needless to say Rick makes his way home, and very quickly realizes he has no idea what’s happened to his family.  Where could they have gone?  Is it even possible they’re alive?  Is the government doing anything to stop this outbreak?  All these questions take a backseat once he realizes the more pressing question, how the hell am I going to survive?

What would you do in these incredible circumstances?

This first volume really introduces people to the look and feel of the world and how old grudges mean nothing in the face of certain doom.  It’s a character piece set in a world turned upside down.  What would you do in Rick’s place?  Would you say screw your family and try to find safe shelter somewhere, or would you man up and try everything in your power to find the people you love.

The first volume leaves one heck of a cliffhanger, where Rick is pretty well left in charge of the small group of survivors he’s found.  He must now decide if he’s going to attempt to move all these people to safety or if he’s going to stay put and somehow try to make camp among the madness surrounding him.

For $10 you get yourself six incredible comics that introduce you to one of the best adult-themed comics ever written.

If any of this sounds enticing, or interesting I encourage you to either order yourself a copy of the first volume, or better yet purchase it from comiXology so you can read a bit whenever you have a free moment for any mobile device, or computer you happen to be holding.  The writing is very strong, although it improves as Kirkman starts to get into his groove.  You can see the evolution in his writing as you proceed from one volume to the next.  The art is top notch, although it should be mentioned this is a black and white series, which again deemphasizes the zombies.  This isn’t about them; it’s about the people just trying to cope with their everyday lives.  Imagine if you didn’t have running water, didn’t have access to food, didn’t have weapons, how could you hope to survive?  Kirkman tries to answer that very question, and in the nine years this series has been running, he’s still finding new ways to question the very foundation of what it means to be alive. 

7 thoughts on “Walking Through the Dead – A Look at the Walking Dead Volume 1”

  1. I hear nothing but great things about this series! One day I will pick up the first few trades and go from there. Good write up again man! Btw, how do you like the TV series based on this book?

    1. It’s an extremely well put together show, but they do take liberties with the story. I’ll touch on that in my follow-up article, which will showcase the differences between the show and the series, while trying to be as spoiler-free as possible. Eventually I’ll have to put a spoiler warning on here because there’s no way I’ll be able to keep being vague for long.

  2. Ever since the game came into limelight, I’ve heard nothing but great things about the series. I’m not a comic fan at all, but thanks to the site’s interest in the hobby I’ve dabbled in a few and I think it’s an awesome medium. Watchman was the first real comic I read through and loved every second of it. I’m currently waiting for The Walking Dead compilation which I ordered off amazon. Should be an interesting read.

    1. Ahmed have you ever considered jumping onboard the comiXology app on your iPad? This would allow you to sample a wide variety of series, while keeping up with your TMNT. Other graphic novels you should check out include V, From Hell, and other series you should sample include Chew and Sweet Tooth. All of these are winners in my book, and they’re all available from the app, which saves shipping and money.

      The Walking Dead: Compendium One is an excellent purchase because it’s only around $40 and gives you 46 issues, which is the best deal out there. That’s the only thing that’s not on the comiXology app unfortunately.

      I plan to start writing a bit more about comics every now and then if there’s a warm response. It’s sort of pointless just writing to hear crickets.

      1. After you mentioned it, I’m seriously considering to jump right on it…because I really do want to keep up with the new TMNT. Those other series look good, too. I’ll have to focus on one at a time though. Don’t want to go overboard here.

        I wonder if the app accepts international users though, Jarrod. Or is it only for certain countries?

        1. Give it a download and you tell me Ahmed. Just enter ‘comiXology’ in the App Store and see what happens. If you can’t download it that will suck because honestly this thing kicks butt. Keep in mind that not all publishers are onboard as of yet. This is fairly new. Even the big players are still updating their backlog so it’ll likely take another year or so until this format becomes the norm.

          There’s no harm in trying these series out either Ahmed, just follow the first arcs and you’ll be fine. I just posted about another excellent series you should check out, and if you act now it’ll only cost you $5 for the first story arc. Dislike it, and you’ve only wasted $5 instead of $10 or more ;) If you like it though, you can always return later on and purchase more when you’re caught up with everything else ;)

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