The Walking Dead

Imagine waking up after a short coma to learn that the dead are walking around and eating the living. That's what happens to Rick, a small town sheriff. Now he's on a quest to reunite with his family, that is if they are still alive, and get them, and any other survivors, to someplace safe--if such a place exists. I first read this comic over two years ago and, after a few volumes, simply gave up in disgust. Still, I try to be open minded and borrowed the first dozen volumes from Kym this summer and quickly went through them. While I liked it better this time around, I still had the same problem. And it's for these reason's that I really enjoyed AMC's TV version of the comic.

See, the thing about zombies is that they are very simple, action oriented monsters: They want to eat you. Period. Which makes them great for movies. When it comes to less animated mediums (ie books and comics) an author needs to rely on the human element (ie dealing with what it's like to be in a living hell). This is exactly what comic author Robert Kirkman attempted to do, and exactly what he failed at, and why I couldn't deal with the comic.

Kirkman sets up a world where the dead walk and survivors try to...well, survive, and proceeds to ruin it with the zombie antithesis. And what's that? Well, if zombies are primal instinct and action, then the opposite is erudite banter (yes, I know that's an oxymoron). Kirkman's comic sucks, despite the interminable praises it constantly and undeservedly receives, because it is filled with endless soliloquies. Every character--from kids to cons--goes on and on about exactly how they feel, eloquently and articulately, all the time. What the hell! Do people ever do that?! Ever?! Never mind when they are under impossibly stressful situation that they have absolutely no frame of reference for?

The AMC television version of the comic is off to an excellent start because it is the opposite of the comic. It is quiet. Scenes speak for themselves. The horror is clear, ever-present, and palpable. People speak only when they have to, when it matter, when it adds to the development of the plot and/or character, and they do so in small doses. Hopefully, the show shall continue to be better than it's origin. If so, I'll keep watching.