"The Walking Dead" is (as the name somewhat implies) one of those zombie comics that have become so popular as of late. I've read a few of them, and I must say, this one is the best. The opening is actually startlingly similar to the film "28 Days Later" as our hero, a small-town cop, wakes up from a coma to find that the world has been overrun by zombies and everything he knew and loved is missing or outright destroyed. That similar starting point aside, after that the story takes on a really unique flavor for a zombie story. It's not so much about the zombies themselves, but about our hero, the ragtag group of survivors he joins, and how they try to rebuild after the cataclysm.
Yeah, I know that a lot of zombie movies, at least the really good ones, are "commentaries on society" instead of straight horror flicks. That's very true. But every zombie movie has to have an ending. With "The Walking Dead" being an ongoing comic, and therefore open-ended, we get to see facets of life in a "zombie world" that we rarely see in a zombie movie. The comic is almost never about the immediate threat of a zombie attack (in fact, it becomes clear that many living humans are far more dangerous in this new world than zombies are). It's about how people get by after their entire world has been stripped away from them. That means it really runs the gamut of human emotion -- from terror to grief to anger. It's very dark, often painful, frequently moving, and even occasionally funny. It's like real life.
Really, this story would work almost as well in any global catastrophe scenario, from nuclear war to apocalyptic meteor strike. It's about how people survive, not what they're surviving.
Most of the folks here already know that The Walking Dead Book 1 is a compilation of Robert Kirkman's first 12 (Volumes 1 & 2) Walking Dead comic books that, beginning in 2004, picked up on a story that is well know to any zombie movie fan. The main story. The one started in earnest by George Romero in 1968 with Night of the Living Dead and later remade in 1990 (the version that I prefer) by Tom Savini (with Romero oversight).
The Walking Dead begins the story of Police Officer Rick Grimes as he wakes up from a coma--after being shot months ago in a normal world--in a world overrun by The Walking Dead. The beginning of the story starts kind of the way Paul S. Anderson's film adaptation of the popular game Resident Evil (2002) ended...with the lead character waking up from a coma (in Resident Evil after her adventure trying to stop a virus from escaping into the population that creates zombies; and you guessed it...she failed to stop it).
I'm not a regular comic book reader. But I was drawn to this volume compilation because of the convenience of being able to get a full story without the month to month waiting for each issue. And I am now hooked.
I was surprised to see that Tony Moore's art that supported Kirkman's Walking Dead story was all black and white throughout instead of color, but as I said earlier, I don't read a lot of comic books, so perhaps that's standard op.
Book 1 was like reading a screenplay with story boards of a version of Night of the Living Dead that begins simultaneously, but in a different part of the country. Yes, it's kind of a rip-off of a story (stories) already told, but the key is that it's done very very well. The zombies are true to the original Romero creation: slow and stupid as opposed to the 28 Days Later (2002) or 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead fast and thinking zombies.
Book 1 took me under 2 hours to get all the way through, so indeed, it's just like spending the time to watch a film in front of your big screen.
Volumes 3 & 4 are already available individually and the Book 2 compilation of Volumes 3 & 4 is scheduled for January 2007 (my preorder is in!). Volume 5 is also out already and Volume 6 is scheduled for February 2007; I have no info on the release of Book 3 (Volumes 5 & 6 compilation), but I'd guess mid-2007ish.
So anyone in need of a very well done zombie fix that you don't put into your DVD player should absolutely get down with The Walking Dead sickness. Add it to your cart.
In the back of this graphic novel is a letter written by the author and artist. In it he explains his love for zombie movies, but his hate for two words associated with every movie...THE END. He wanted to know what happened afterward, what happened after the helicopter flew away, what did the survivors go through, did they die, did they live where did they go? I have to admit I have this same reaction every time I finish watching a zombie film, I wanted more. For that reason The Walking Dead was created, with an open ended storyline, never ending always flowing.
First of all the book itself is gorgeous black and white with a splash of red, its heavy and you just want to rub your hands all over it because its so smooth. From the opening page, you understand that the artists and the author are true fans of the genre, and that they are talented enough to be able to introduce many characters but still giving personalities and background without confusing the reader or losing them. Drawing zombies, and giving them "life" is a hard thing to do, and they accomplish that feat even in black and white. You cannot see the tinge of rotting green, or the iridescence of the flies on their faces, or the blood when they tear into their victims but you don't need to because in black and white they are even more frightening. I could actually swear that I smelled them coming off the page, lips shrunken back, teeth long and hungry and the primordial need to eat flesh.
The storyline is simple and familiar, but it's so well scripted that it's a whole different spin on the zombie universe all together. Rick wakes up from coma, to find the whole town is deserted but for the walking dead, confused and concerned he goes to find his family but they are gone. A survivor explains to him what he knows, and Rick decided to go to Atlanta because that's where his wife and child would have headed to be with her family. So he gathers some guns, gets into a car and off he goes. I won't go into the rest, because as a graphic novel you have to see it to believe it. I read this in one sitting, slowly absorbing every single detail from to the branches on the trees down to gore flying through the air. Volume 1 does leave you with a "will be continued", but you aren't left feeling gypped at all. I already have Volume 2 on order!
on January 2, 2014
I bought this MASTER PIECE on Dec 24th and received in Costa Rica on Jan 1th. I have to say that the book came in perfect conditions, it's amazingly detailed, the colors are very powerful, amazingly printed, the material is a little different from the usual comic book pages, for example the single issues of The Walking Dead; it's made with "soft-couché" paper, wich is nice and gives the print a little more of brightness. Image Comics did an amazing job with this Book, you pay what you get, 10/10.
If you are a Walking Dead fan you MUST buy these amazing books, the compendiums have more issues in them, but it's not the same if you like to read comfortably in your bed or in any place whatsoever, since the are bigger you have some troubles while you have them in your hands. With the Books (like this one) you have an amazing reading experience, why? Because it's a hardcover and you can grab them without any inconvenience. And if you are like me and love to collect items, this is the perfect item for your TWD collection.
I'll buy the next 8 books within the next few months.
on June 20, 2007
The Walking Dead Book 1 is a wonderful hardcover collection containing the first two trade paperbacks in the series. Robert Kirman has created an interesting world and a host of even more interesting characters based on a premise that has been overused in the past (i.e. the world being overun by zombies). The art in the beginning of the book is definitely better than at the end, and once the artist changed when the second storyline came along it took a while for me to get used to it, but Kirkman's excellent writing soon won me over again. With the Walking Dead the strength of the writing really counts for a lot, and it should not really bother me that the book is in black and white, but it does. The characterization of Rick and his family is superbly done, and all the scenes are well-written and excellent. Even so, I would have given this book 5 stars if it appeared in color. Many would scream bloody murder, but I think that the only comic book in black & white worth 5 stars is Alan Moore's From Hell. The Walking Dead is entertaining, but would have looked even better in color, easily warranting the 5 stars I wish I could give. Still, I would definitely recommend it to anyone, even those who don't like the horror genre. It is so much more than just a horror comic. Read it, and find out for yourself.
on December 26, 2011
I LOVE the AMC series The Walking Dead. My BF and I watch it religiously. I also watch The Talking Dead afterwards, and happened to catch Aisha Tyler (who's freaking hilarious). She mentioned that she's read all the books. "Books" peaked my interested, so I hopped on Amazon to see what she was talking about. Turns out the hardcover books were compilations of the comic books. I was intrigued and ordered the first under the guise of being a Christmas gift for my BF's brother..
Anyway... I took the opportunity to read it before he took it home. It was great! I love seeing how the comic and TV series both overlap and diverge. The artistry is phenomenal. The storyline of "continuous survival" is engaging. The characters may be drawn in black and white... but they have the depth of the full color spectrum. My BF breezed through it in an hour or so. I took 2 or 3 hours as I got absorbed in the artistry.
I think fans of the AMC series would love this! I'm going to wait until after the end of season 2 to read any more, however, for fear of spoilers. If you love zombies, you'll love The Walking Dead books! Enjoy!
on May 28, 2007
The Walking Dead book one is a compilation of the first comics in the series (read other reviews for more info). The story isn't original in the slightest. The whole thing is sort of a smattering of ideas already done before a million times. Survivor survives, survivor finds food and shelter, survivors eventually turn on each other, etc. The book pulls it off decently enough, but if you are looking for something new steer clear. There were a few plot nuggets that struck me as original, but it's entirely possible I just missed seeing the movies they based them from.
The art for the first half of the book was quite good. It had some very detailed images, and I enjoyed the style. Unfortunately, the second half must have been done with different artists/time contraints. Every frame takes a much less detailed approach, and sometimes the characters even look distorted. I feel it really took the book down a notch, because the detailed art was one of the few things the first half had going for it. The second half is passable by all means.. just dissapointing.
Overall, if you like zombies give it a try. Just don't expect it to knock your socks off. Personally, I'll still probably buy book #2 despite #1's shortcomings.
on August 29, 2006
i bought this and read it through in 2 nights, enjoying it as though it were a lengthy zombie movie. it was all very enjoyable but i grew impatient maybe 3/4 of the way through when it transformed from survival to passion. good artwork, not too gruesome, high quality book materials. looks good on shelf.
on October 31, 2015
So this is the first legitimate graphic novel I’ve ever read. I’ve read comics and manga before, but not a graphic novel. I thought this one was very interesting because it was done in all black-and-white. I kind of wished they would have added the color red, like they did on the cover, because that would have been awesome. However, I thought the illustrations were great, especially facial expressions. The series first started as a comic book series in 2003 and has since combined issues to form volumes of a graphic novel. Book One of the graphic novel features issues 1 – 12 of the comic book series (two chapters total).
I know the point of a graphic novel isn’t the dialogue, but there were a lot of instances where I thought they could have written the conversations a little better. There’s a constant battle between dialogue and illustrations in graphic novels, and though sometimes the dialogue didn’t captivate me. I found myself reading before looking at the drawings and sometimes forgetting to even look at the frame before just moving to the next speech bubble. It’s like reading subtitles while watching something — you’re so caught up in reading that you don’t pay attention to what’s going on.
What I liked most about the graphic novel was that is was just different enough from the TV show that it still interested me and held my attention. Typically, I will read the source text before watching the adaptation. In this case, I’d already seen seasons 1 – 3 of the show before reading Book One, but I noticed a lot of differences. There’s so many characters added to the show that aren’t in the graphic novel, and there are characters in the graphic novel that they omitted from the show. There were also characters I had different opinions on in the graphic novel compared to the show. In the show, I hated Shane from the moment I saw him. In the graphic novel, I actually kind of liked him for a little bit. Also, some of the events from the graphic novel are either changed, taken out, or placed in a different order for the show. I loved being able to still be caught off guard while reading.
I have to say, though, I prefer to watch the show than read the graphic novel, and I think it has to do with suspense. It’s very hard to convey suspense through a graphic novel. The best way to do this is probably by having a suspenseful chain of frames interrupted by having to turn the page. If a moment keeps building and building, and you have to turn the page before finding out what happens, it can be a little suspenseful. It’s a lot easier to create suspense in television shows, and I think The Walking Dead does it really well. It’s one of those shows that holds my attention and also gives me severe anxiety. I love it.
I’m giving this 4 stars because I love the storyline and I think it’s one of the best zombie stories I’ve ever read and watched. Though many of my favorite characters have either died or will most likely die, I am going to continue following the story. Whether I continue reading the graphic novels or not, I recommend them (at least the first book) to fans of the show, and even to those of you who haven’t seen the show because it might sway you to start watching it (that’s what happened to my roommate). Also, now would be a great time to start, since it’s Halloween and all.
If you're a Walking Dead viewer wondering if the comic is as good as the series -- the short answer is yes. In some ways, the show has transcended the source material, and as someone who followed the comics before the series, I don't say that lightly. But in other ways, the comic is incredibly powerful, and remains the soul and center. One thing Kirkman, Adlard, and the writers of the show deserve praise for is the way both storylines have diverged. 'The Walking Dead' is essentially two parallel worlds, and both have really bad luck. If you know the comic, you will still have no idea what's going to happen in the show, and vice versa. There are moments where both stories seem to coalesce, but then break apart to follow separate roads once again.
This is the format to buy, without question. The deluxe hardcover is larger, the 8" x 11" oversized edition instead of the standard 7" x 10". Each hardcover book contains two of the softcover volumes; so Book 1 collects Volumes 1 and 2. Every storyline is about the same length -- 6 comicbook issues. So the Volumes are around 150 pages, and the Books are a bit longer, 320 or so pages; they come with extras -- like the original single-issue covers, and miscellaneous artwork from Charlie Adlard and Tony Moore -- that the softcover Volumes do not. While Adlard has been the series artist for a very long time, and does a brilliant, remarkably quick, and consistent job, Tony Moore's art in Book 1 played a big part in the success of 'The Walking Dead'. He's one of the many artists I consider a 'favorite', but he couldn't keep up with the unforgiving monthly pace. Pricewise, each oversized, extra-long hardcover Book is about the same price as the two softcover volumes it collects. Highly recommended.
P.S.: The Compendiums are the most affordable way to pick up the comic -- collecting 48 single issues/8 Volumes/4 Books/2 Omnibus(es) (Omnibae?). They're a bit awkward though. The Omnibus is the super-deluxe format, similar to the Absolute Editions from DC. Image does as excellent job producing each.