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The Walking Dead
June 6, 2010 7:49 AM   Subscribe

The Walking Dead is an American monthly black and white comic published by Image Comics beginning in 2003. The comic was created by writer Robert Kirkman and artist Tony Moore (replaced by Charlie Adlard from issue #7 onward; Moore continued to do the covers until issue #24) and chronicles the travels of a group of people trying to survive in a world stricken by a zombie apocalypse. Read more over at The Walking Dead Blog. A television series was announced to be in production on August 11, 2009. First look at The Walking Dead , with some amazing new photos of some of the zombies done by KNB. Entertainment Weekly highlights The Walking Dead behind-the-scenes video. Interview with The Walking Dead Author Robert Kirkman on His AMC Show, Plus the Worst Idea for a Dead Movie He’s Ever Been Pitched
posted by Fizz (47 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
My friend bought be the first four volumes to occupy my mind after a nasty breakup. This is some awesome, awesome stuff. I actually think it could make a pretty fantastic TV show.
posted by absalom at 7:54 AM on June 6, 2010


yeah, Kirkman's just a straight up fantastic writer, and Dead's human stories so outstrip the zombie element that you could convert it to a box of cheerios label and it would still be compelling stuff.
posted by shmegegge at 7:56 AM on June 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm just excited that Zombie-related media is now making beyond the big screen. Everywhere you look Zombies are taking over (bad pun). They're in literature with titles like Seth Grahame- Smith's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Television will be a nice medium for this type of content.
posted by Fizz at 7:56 AM on June 6, 2010


Don't forget one of the cool elements of it: the writer, director, and executive producer of the TV series is Frank Darabont (Shawshank Redemption)-- awesome!
posted by sharkfu at 7:58 AM on June 6, 2010


Considering that at some point in the series a prison becomes a location where some of the survivors congregate, Frank Darabont's expertise will come in handy having already filmed on location at a prison.
posted by Fizz at 8:12 AM on June 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can't wait for this. The comics are amazing!
posted by brundlefly at 8:25 AM on June 6, 2010


"We hope to do for zombies what Mad Men has done for advertising."

Ha. We'll see. The graphic novel series has some ups and downs but the basic idea - discuss in detail what happens to human survivors after most zombie movies end - is golden, and each time I think the story's gotten limp or predictable Kirkman bounces back and surprises me with a new, deep direction. In the right hands this could be an amazing, dark TV series; I'm keeping my expectations low and hoping to be surprised. Though I'm not sure what to think about this from the interview, about the level of violence we can expect:

A good rule of thumb is, anything they’ve done in Breaking Bad, we can do every five minutes, because there’s no limit to how much violence you can do per episode. So anything they’ve done in Breaking Bad, we can do over and over and over throughout the show.

The over-the-top gore is one of the least interesting things about the series so far. The real meat is in the psychological damage being done to the characters over the long haul. The recent sharing between Rick and his son of the things they'd experienced since the plague but kept from one another was one of the most gripping scenes I've read in a comic in years.
posted by mediareport at 8:27 AM on June 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


The over-the-top gore is one of the least interesting things about the series so far. The real meat is in the psychological damage being done to the characters over the long haul.

But you need that violence to bludgeon the characters into such a position that we can feel their pain. Without this overwhelming sense of loss, without the realization that it's not just the physical zombie beings who are the walking dead, but the humans who have survived, it doesn't work on any emotional or psychological level.
posted by Fizz at 8:32 AM on June 6, 2010


I know that there have been some zombie pilots floating around, but nothing has ever actually come together.

Oh good god, zombie pilots? And network execs are trying to organize them? We're fucked. A relentless wave of ground-walking (and sea-crawling) zombies is something I've thought about, but an aerial assault? Game over, man, game over!

That said, I'm really excited for the AMC series. I still haven't seen Breaking Bad or Mad Men, but AMC seems to be putting really well regarded shows together.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:38 AM on June 6, 2010 [5 favorites]


If the series worked like the comic, half of every episode would be talking-head shots of the main characters explaining their feelings about dramatic action that took place offscreen.

That Mamet e-mail could cause a Walking Dead adaptation writer to implode.
posted by droob at 8:40 AM on June 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


But you need that violence to bludgeon the characters into such a position that we can feel their pain.

I'm not saying the awful gore doesn't have a necessary place in the storytelling, just pointing out that it's the set-up for the real pain and not new or interesting in itself, so the official teasing about how awesome it is they'll be allowed to show Breaking Bad-style bloody horror every five minutes isn't doing much for me.
posted by mediareport at 8:49 AM on June 6, 2010


A fair point mediareport. Cheers.
posted by Fizz at 8:59 AM on June 6, 2010


I thought Dead Set worked suprisingly well as a drama.
posted by Artw at 9:05 AM on June 6, 2010 [6 favorites]


Oh hell, though I'm a little worried that one of my favorite comics will devolve into a splatter-fest onscreen, I'm glad they're doing it. I want to hate, but can't.
posted by klangklangston at 9:38 AM on June 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is exciting news for me. The fifth book had been delayed over and over and I was starting to be concerned that the series was folding.
posted by Nabubrush at 9:40 AM on June 6, 2010


Walking Dead is an absolutely amazing comic, one of my favorites. I am keeping expectations for the TV show low, just so I can be pleasantly surprised if they pull it off.
posted by gemmy at 9:48 AM on June 6, 2010


All good zombie media- fiction, comics, movies, whatever- does best when it remembers something that George Romero knew perfectly well when he was making Night of the Living Dead: it's about the living and the still-human. The comic keeps this in mind very well; here's hoping the show retains that insight.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:51 AM on June 6, 2010


I enjoy Walking Dead and it definitely adds a lot to the genre. But I agree there have been a few low points, before Kirkman gets it back up to speed with a new plot twist. Though I do wonder how long it can continue without addressing what are usually the 'endings' of post-apocalyptic stories - hope with destroying the nemesis and/or rebuilding society or doom, with the nemesis proving overwhelming.

Be interested to see how the tv series goes anyway... and I really must try and get into Mad Men and Breaking Bad once the 'to watch' pile is down to more manageable proportions.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:56 AM on June 6, 2010


I love everything zombie. If you want to get prepared in real life for zombies, there's always OZORT, Z.A.C.U.S., Zombie Initiative and more.

I had no idea about this comic. Thanks!
posted by Malice at 10:04 AM on June 6, 2010


Hmm, I'm a little surprised to see all the love for the comic. I bought the first volume almost randomly as a way to test out the Comixology app on the iPad, and I thought it was pretty mundane. I didnt know that it had any sort of real following. I remember thinking that it felt like an average TV show. Does it get any better after the first volume? Maybe I'll give the second volume a shot in light of the applause I'm seeing in here.
posted by painquale at 10:06 AM on June 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


zombie pilots

Plaaaaaaanes...
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 10:08 AM on June 6, 2010 [14 favorites]


Will the series be available anywhere online? I don't own a T.V. :(
posted by Malice at 10:08 AM on June 6, 2010


Malice: "Will the series be available anywhere online? I don't own a T.V. :("

Other AMC shows are available through Amazon Video-On-Demand and the Itunes Store, so you're good!
posted by sharkfu at 10:15 AM on June 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


painquale -- I had the same reaction after reading the first volume but kept going at the urging of a friend and it does indeed get more engaging.
posted by camcgee at 10:16 AM on June 6, 2010


And let's not forget the Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:21 AM on June 6, 2010


Speaking of zombie TV shows, several years back there was a pilot called Babylon Fields that starred Ray Stevenson (Titus Pullo from Rome!). It had an interesting take of zombies being walking, talking, and sentient as they try to return to their lives. Too bad it didn't get picked up, was interested in seeing where it went with the idea. Pilot's available online if anyone's curious.
posted by sharkfu at 10:21 AM on June 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Other AMC shows are available through Amazon Video-On-Demand and the Itunes Store, so you're good!

Awesome, thanks!
posted by Malice at 10:45 AM on June 6, 2010


Everywhere you look Zombies are taking over (bad pun).

And thus I am tired of the lovable things. Next all-purpose-bad-guys-that-good-guys-can-just-kill-without-qualm, please. Maybe an army of ugly, stupid pedophiles. Hollywood, you listening?

Meanwhile, from the same site: 5 Horror Film Cliches we'd all fall for is actually pretty good.

5- Mistaking the killer for a friend: Again, we're talking about odds. Let's say that you and I are attending a party. We saunter off somewhere for whatever reason. Upon our return, we notice that some people aren't there. Do we a) Assume that aliens from a sinister dimension have arrived to kill them, flay them and masquerade in their flesh? Or do we assume b) They went home?

And so on.
posted by philip-random at 10:55 AM on June 6, 2010


I like Walking Dead in spite of the zombies, not because of them.
posted by MegoSteve at 11:01 AM on June 6, 2010 [2 favorites]



I've been reading the Walking Dead for nearly three years now. A friend of mine had given me the first 5 and I nearly didn't make it to the third out of frustration with the overwhelming similarities to 28 Days Later. [In fact, the series even starts with a guy waking up in the hospital after being in a coma and finding everyone has disappeared. Lame.]

I would encourage anyone who starts reading these to hold out and get to at least the 4th issue. Once they get to the prison, the tone and the theme really start to develop. This is where the serious commentary on social structure begins, and the series starts to flourish.

It is truly interesting. You're seeing a post-apocalyptic world in which civilization no longer has the ability to survive and something obviously needs to be established in it's place. What you soon see is the leadership that develops sometimes grows from the intelligent and insightful, but often reverts back to the violently aggressive, physically strong, and morally hypocritical. But in the novel this isn't presented as a regression, at all. Especially with the main character being excommunicated, you see that in circumstances of pure survival, those with primal characteristics often are the ones who provide necessary security.

Where this really takes off is when he returns, and you start to see parallels between this group of humans and our population. There are subtle references and suggestion that the people we abhor as morally bankrupt and power hungry have a pedigree that may stem back to circumstances such as these. There becomes a question of whether civilization depends on primal reasoning at its roots.

One of the most important parts, for me, involved the farmer who had quarantined his infected family in the barn. It was an interesting exchange that really has changed my opinion of the opposition of "liberal vs. conservative" thinking. They flipped out at the farmer because he was keeping the infected in close proximity to where they were living. The farmer was offended because, to him, they were still his family, despite their zombification. He hoped for a cure and he hoped desperately he would get them back. Despite pleas of "reason" from everyone else, he persisted and (without spoiling anything) he did eventually learn that his hopes weren't to be realized, but he wasn't necessarily proven wrong, either. What truly got me is that it was an argument where either side's humaneness could be argued. The metaphor was brazen, but well written. Who does this farmer have the moral obligation to? His hopes and family members, or to the well being of humanity... people he's never met, people who wouldn't hesitate to point a gun at him if they felt he presented a threat?

Great stuff. Again, just try to make it past the portions that are, at best, stolen riffs.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 11:16 AM on June 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Does it get any better after the first volume? Maybe I'll give the second volume a shot in light of the applause I'm seeing in here.

From what I can remember it's a bit of a slow burner until they get to the prison... then it goes absolutely mental for a bit (in a good way for me, ymmv)... then after that, well let's just say it's been a bit of a slow burner again lately.

Oh and I've not heard anything re the World War Z film... hope that arrives eventually (and they don't screw it up - because that book was the business)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:27 AM on June 6, 2010


I found the first few issues a bit slow, but they're necessary because they establish character quite a bit. Once they reach the farm and then the prison...it's non-stop zombie action.
posted by Fizz at 11:39 AM on June 6, 2010


I tore through all the trades in the last six months. The eight (issues 43 - 48) made me emotionally numb for a couple of days. If you're read the series, you know exactly what scene I'm talking about.

While not for everyone, anything that can affect me at such a visceral is great at in my opinion.
posted by bpm140 at 12:06 PM on June 6, 2010


I hope in the next season of Mad Men the throw in a coupla zombies, just for fun. You know, cocktail drinkin', Lucky Strike smokin', brylcreamed, Skinny tie wearing zombie ad men.

And perhaps Donald Draper's next affair can be with a sexy 60s lady zombie. Hubba hubba...
posted by Skygazer at 12:07 PM on June 6, 2010


I just ordered vol. 5 of the TWD hardcover along with vol. 3 HC of Y the Last Man. Love me some Walking dead.
posted by Decimask at 12:33 PM on June 6, 2010


I hope they don't use the Governor as a character again. That clown almost made me quit the book. He's a tie for "most unbelievable villain/leader" with the Blond German Nazi Taliban Pedophile in The Kite Runner.
posted by benzenedream at 1:05 PM on June 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


I hope they don't use the Governor as a character again. That clown almost made me quit the book. He's a tie for "most unbelievable villain/leader" with the Blond German Nazi Taliban Pedophile in The Kite Runner

Eh. I see where you're coming from, but as Bathtub Blobsled alludes to, that story arc really hit on a lot of themes central to what the comic is getting at. The character of the Governor was a good/necessary one in the context of the story, but the problem was that he just wasn't well developed enough to be believable. Maybe that was the point-- the main characters' encounter with the Governor was just as limited and undeveloped, but from a narrative perspective, his character just seemed to come out of nowhere.

Anything else? Oh, yeah-- the "Hunters" story arc, which seemed to end abruptly just after it got started. Re-reading it, I realized that the story arc carried through 5 entire issues. The Walking Dead is really one of the best comics out there at the moment, but it also suffers from a flaw that very little occurs over the course of a single issue. And it's not like Kirkman is sustaining tension over a long period of time, it's that a single issue just won't be very dense, and 5 issues can cover very little actual content.

I am totally looking forward to the TV show.
posted by deanc at 1:43 PM on June 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, I gave it a second chance, and just read through to issue 52. Yeah, it's good.

(Being able to immediately buy comics over the iPad is going to break me.)
posted by painquale at 3:12 PM on June 6, 2010


Great stuff. Again, just try to make it past the portions that are, at best, stolen riffs.

The first issue was actually written and finished before 28 Days Later came out and besides the beginning there's really not much similar between the two. Of course the entire sub-genre is pretty well indebted to Romero so there tends to be a lot of commonality.
posted by Locobot at 3:38 PM on June 6, 2010


I hope they don't use the Governor as a character again. That clown almost made me quit the book.

Yeah, the ridiculous violence of that character and what it spawns in the other characters was some of the dullest, most clichéd stuff so far - like Thunderdome clichéd. But the aftermath of the (way too long) Governor arc has been really sharp and interesting in a much more human and realistic way. Kirkman's totally bounced back over the last couple of collections.

(Being able to immediately buy comics over the iPad is going to break me.)

Just out of curiosity, what do they charge per issue?

posted by mediareport at 4:08 PM on June 6, 2010


2 bucks, 10 dollars for a collection of six. Some comics are 99 cents. Cheaper than paper, more expensive than piracy.
posted by painquale at 4:22 PM on June 6, 2010


A lot of the comic is terrible (Story drags for 5 issues and then OMFG LOOK I JUST DECAPITATED A LITTLE GIRL AND RAPED EVERYONE), but the core concept is wonderful and a week-to-week zombie survival serial is a total dream scenario for me.
posted by GilloD at 5:31 PM on June 6, 2010


The character of the Governor was a good/necessary one in the context of the story, but the problem was that he just wasn't well developed enough to be believable.

Agreed. I thought it would have been a much stronger story if he had only been a shade more ruthless than Rick, to the point where you could see where people would follow him with a few misgivings -- not a Zombie Pederast/Rapist/Head-collecting Pirate.
posted by benzenedream at 6:45 PM on June 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


but the core concept is wonderful and a week-to-week zombie survival serial is a total dream scenario for me.


It really does simplify the "Monster of the Week" model.

This week. Zombies.
posted by mikelieman at 8:13 PM on June 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh good, more zombie shit!
posted by Legomancer at 6:21 AM on June 7, 2010


I love The Walking Dead. I also love the Feelies. Good day for me on Metafilter.
posted by staggering termagant at 1:38 PM on June 7, 2010


Oh yeah I have been waiting for this show to come out for a while. The comic rocks!
posted by Dick Laurent is Dead at 2:17 PM on June 8, 2010


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