Friday, October 29, 2010
The dead walk
Today's edition of The New York Times includes a terrific, basically rave review of Sunday night's opening installment of the new horror series on AMC, "The Walking Dead". Based on Robert Kirkman's comic book series of the same name, I'm proud to say that I've been drinking Mr. Kirkman's zombie Kool Aid long before its well-deserved television adaptation was even a glint in his eye. Here's what I said on Amazon back in August of 2008 about the trade paperback compilation of the initial issues of "The Walking Dead":
Visceral horror and subtle ongoing character serial combine to make The Walking Dead one of the most engaging comic-book series currently being produced. This initial volume, Days Gone Bye, takes the first six issues of the Image Comics series and edits them together into one seamless (no easy feat when it comes to compilations) 130-plus page epic. Subsequent volumes collect later issues, with new volumes coming out like clockwork once there are six new issues of the monthly comic book to collect.
With its realistic looking characters (no abs-of-steel guys or buxom bimbos here) and gritty day-to-day situations (often horrifying but never over-the-top with silly horror movie situations), The Walking Dead is a comic book that doesn't feel "comic-booky", and would be a good title to recommend to friends who don't normally read comics. If they enjoy horror stories, that is.
Quibbles? Robert Kirkman is telling a great story here, but sometimes the word balloons can be a little dense with verbiage. These characters do go on a bit. But that's really about it.
As this is a comic book, I guess I should touch on the visuals. Tony Moore's art is wonderful: detailed, subtle, yet fast-moving, if that's a way to describe comic book art. What I mean is that the art makes your eye fly from panel to panel, drinking in the action. But his detail and subtlety make the quiet scenes resonate the way they should, too. Though Charlie Adlard's art in future volumes is perfectly fine, and has its own plusses, for my money the series never looked better than in this initial collection.
Give The Walking Dead a try. Its unusual mix of subtle artistry and firing-on-all-cylinders outright horror will grab you and keep you coming back for more.
Okay, back to 2010. "Days Gone Bye" is still readily available in most comic book shops and most Borders and Barnes & Noble locations, as are subsequent compilations of the individual issues of the series. Each compilation costs only 10 bucks or so, unless you go for the also-available larger compilations that collect 20 or 30 issues at a time.
It might be fun to read "Days Gone Bye" before tuning into Sunday night's television premiere. Though you certainly don't need to: All indications are that writer/director Frank Darabont ("The Shawshank Redemption", "The Green Mile") does a great job pulling in both newbies and fans of the comic book just fine.