Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Walking Dead COMIC BOOK (spoiler thread)

Since the season ended I "got a hold of" the entire 90-issue run the first 90 issues and started reading it them. I came out of a daze at four in the morning last night, lying in bed bleary-eyed, and realized I was on issue 73 (!). From a narrative addiction standpoint, comic book series on an iPad are even more dangerous than TV series on Netflix or DVD sets. You get to the "to be continued" panel (usually with Stan Lee writing something ridiculous about how impossibly exciting it's going to be when you return next month), and when the "open next file" button floats up, you just touch it. You don't even have to take your head off the pillow.

Anyway this is a great comic; much better than the series in many ways (as everyone's been saying). Meet me on the comments page for discussion (bearing in mind that I have no idea where any other readers are in the story; I am not "current" but am only up to issue 75 am up to issue 94, which means I've read them all except for the three or four that have been published in 2012).

ADDENDUM: Just in case anyone's starting at the beginning of the comic series, let me point something out that you may not realize (and that I wish I'd known when I started): namely that the art changes after six issues (From Tony Moore to the vastly superior Charlie Adlard) and it's immediately a whole new ball game. Moore is competent but there's an element of caricature that belies the hyper-realistic dialogue and style; as with all great comic-book-artist takeovers (like the famous Daredevil switch from Roger Maczkenzie to Frank Miller's penciling debut in 1981) there's an instant deepening and broadening of the story. (I can't think of an equivalent in any other medium -- exempt maybe those Twin Peaks episodes directed by David Lynch himself.)


Jordan said...

What makes the comic so good is the characterization, which is a reverse of the usual convention in which cinema and tv provides shadings of character that aren't available in the comics medium. I'm beginning to think that the comics medium can do anything. Kubrick said, "If it can be written or thought or felt, it can be filmed," but I'd have to consider extending that to comics. There's nothing wrong with AMC's cast, but Andrew Lincoln (for example) hasn't conveyed anywhere near the depth and complexity of Rick Grimes on paper.

Also, hello, plot changes! The series is way different, and almost every change they've made makes it worse. I understand why they didn't just want to slavishly copy the comic book's story, but it's a shame, because the masterful (near-Stephen-King-level) plotting from the comic book is really sorely missed.

Justin S. Davis said...

I've been reading since issue #1 came out, but have never really enjoyed it. It felt forced and Rick was just awful.


Last week, I plowed through and read all the issues back to back over 2 days. And you know what? The book flows MUCH better, and stuff that annoyed me didn't. (An added benefit was being able to remember who each character was, which was problematic when picking it up monthly off the racks.)

I like the series much better now, and most of my problems with Rick have gone by the wayside.

Jordan said...

Yeah, Justin, I agree.

I think it's also helped by the fact that (as with all reading/viewing experiences) one gets attuned to the storytelling style and has an easier time absorbing the story. (For example, it's much easier for me to tell all the characters apart, visually, now that I've read 90+ issues.)

Jordan said...

The story really does flow incredibly well. It divides up into sections (the "story arcs" that get re-published as books) but the seams don't really show at all; the characters don't seem to be aware of the "chapter breaks" (as happens with bad fiction) and the sense of constant dread never lets up even when you, the reader, are hyper-aware of the pacing of the whole story.

Also, the depiction of the Walking Dead world is superb. The way the perspective widens and widens from Atlanta to Rick's small group to the prison to the "Governor's" compound to the safe area near Washington and, finally, to this year's reveal of the much larger network of interconnected survival encampments is masterfully handled.

Jordan said...

You know what's interesting? Critics are calling The Walking Dead (the comic) "The best zombie story in three decades." Coincidentally or not, I just rented and copied the Blu-ray of Romero's Dawn of the Dead and I have it going in the background right now. The zombies are terrible by today's standards, but, beyond that, and beyond the basic primitive simplicity of the story, I'm amazed at how similar it is to Walking Dead -- how the basic templates of the story were set in place so flawlessly three decades ago. The bike gang that attacks the three survivors in the mall (after the fourth succumbs to a zombie bite) is the same idea as TWD repeats over and over, with variations. I'm not complaining; it's just got me so impressed with the basic Romero concept all over again.