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.
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?
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.
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.