”To me, the best zombie movies aren’t the splatter fests of gore and violence with goofy characters and tongue in cheek antics. Good zombie movies show us how messed up we are, they make us question our station in society…and our society’s station in the world. They show us gore and violence and all that cool stuff too…but there’s always an undercurrent of social commentary and thoughtfulness.” These are just some of the words that Robert Kirkman writes in his introduction to volume 1 of The Walking Dead.
Kirkman sets out to tell the story of Rick Grimes, a police officer who has awoken from a coma to find himself alone and in a very different world than the one he once knew. Waking up in an abandoned hospital he begins exploring his once familiar surroundings only to find walking corpses. Shocked and dismayed, he begins the journey from the hospital to his home, hoping to find his family. He finds his home abandoned, ransacked, and in total disarray. Meeting a young boy and his father he is told that a disease has ravaged mankind and that those untouched have gone to Atlanta where the government was working on a cure. Rick believes that his family has gone there and begins the trek to find his family.
The Walking Dead is my second venture into the world of zombies, the first being Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. After reading Kirkman’s introduction I can completely agree with him about what makes a good zombie story. In this first volume alone you see what people are willing to do/not do in the toughest of times, marriages and friendships are stretched to their limits, and you see what happens to people when almost all hope is stripped out of their lives.
Kirkman states in his introduction that he wants to take it slow with The Walking Dead. I whole-heartily agree with his assessment as it gives you the opportunity to really invest in the characters and storyline. So far 79 comics have been published since its original release in 2003. They have been compiled into 13 volumes (my copy was volume 1, which consisted of comics 1-6) with more on the way.
For those interested, AMC has also turned the graphic novels into a weekly television show on Sunday nights. The visuals of the show are absolutely stunning and the writing is wonderful. The events lay out slightly different from those in volume 1, but the important societal questions remain.
4 of 5 Stars