“The Walking Dead” – TV Series

Walking Dead panel

Image by gluetree via Flickr - From left to right Andrew Lincoln, Sarah Wayne Callies, and Jon Bernthal from Comic-con's The Walking Dead panel. The season 2 trailer debuted this year at Comic-con.

AMC debuted it’s highly anticipated zombie series last year on Halloween.  My family and I huddled together in the darkness of our living room, staring in rapt attention at the TV as zombie after zombie shuffled across the screen.  It was sheer brilliance.  The zombies were so real you could almost smell their foul putrescence, each one more gruesome than the last.

I had high hopes for the season, but it didn’t pan out.  In retrospect, I think it was my fault.  I had hoped that the show would follow the books.  They were such a wealth of ideas it would be crazy not to use the material.  Instead, the show saw survivor Rick Grimes dragging his wife, son, and other survivors to the Center for Disease Control.  There they found some interesting facts about the zombie virus, and we got to see an x-ray movie of a zombie.  Cool, but not as awesome as some of the scenes in the book.

On the other hand, my gripes aside, the casting was beyond perfect!  Hero Rick Grimes is played to perfection by Andrew Lincoln, who seems to not only portray Rick’s strength but simultaneously bring an air of unspoken uncertainty and insecurity.  After all – he’s not Superman.  He’s a man who is lucky to have his wife and son still alive, and he’s fully aware of it every moment that they survive.  His guilt-stricken and confused best friend Shane is played by Jon Bernthal, who leaves nothing to be desired in the role of friend-turned-foe.  Unfaithful wife Lori is given life by Sarah Wayne Callies.  The other characters are perfect to the point of being creepy.  They look almost identical to their characters, right down to their facial expressions.

Thankfully, AMC chose not to inundate the series with cheesy celebrity cameos.  I can’t speak for other viewers, but I know I’d rather have people starting their careers.  I don’t want to watch and say, “Oh wait, I know that person”.  To me, that ruins the apocalypse because you know that actor or actress as someone else.  The one exception is Norman Reedus, of “Boondock Saints” fame.  It had been so many years since he was in that iconic movie that he was not immediately recognizable to me.

As the debut of “The Walking Dead” Season 2 gets closer I find myself excited.  The trailer for the new season can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OZ0mu8Ey6A and you NEED to watch it right now.  It’s going to be amazing.  I’m back on board fully and counting down the days.  When the season debut is televised, I will be right there, glued to my chair and devouring every frame.

“The Walking Dead” – Graphic Novel

The Walking Dead

Image by Walt Jabsco via Flickr - The sword-wielding woman would be Michonne. She's a wild one who makes some questionable decisions in the series, but remains an interesting character altogether.

Almost a year ago I read “The Walking Dead: Compendium 1” which was books 1-48).  I read it in anticipation of the beginning of the AMC show of the same name.  Incidentally, “The Walking Dead” was also the first graphic novel series I had read, so it was a new experience for me all the way around.  As with almost everything that becomes a TV show or movie, I wanted to experience it first in print.  I didn’t want to be

I immediately fell in love with the story of “The Walking Dead”.  The people were realistic, you could almost expect them to walk right off the page and into your life.  There were characters that fit specific stereotypes, but not so much that it caused them to be one dimensional.  The story never lagged – character conflict kept the story going when the zombies weren’t present.  There was never a superfluous moment.

The artwork in the book is fantastic.  The angle from frame to frame changes enough to give you an almost panoramic feel.  There are moments in the book when you can close your eyes and almost imagine a 360 degree view of where the characters are standing.  Moore and Aldard have created characters that look different enough that it’s easy to tell from frame to frame who is speaking.  In later non-“Walking Dead” graphic novels I’ve read, I have found it almost impossible to figure out who is who.  Moore and Aldard have also created terrifying frames.  They seem to know just which moment to depict, whether it’s a lone zombie sneaking up on someone or a horde descending on something.

I am currently waiting for Compendium 2 before moving onward.  Each book is so exciting and written so well it’s easily to fly through it in a few hours (after all, books 1-48 only took me a weekend).  I would have happily paid more money if they would have included the covers for the individual books in the Compendium.  They do distinguish between the individual books, but I don’t want to have to go back and buy the covers separately.  I’d rather have them where they belong, which is with the main book.

AMC’s “The Walking Dead” will be back in October – I heard on October 16th, but that may change.  Do yourself a favor and go out and get the Compendium.  It’s a great book in and of itself, but it also makes a great companion for the show (warning – the show doesn’t follow the book).