I think within the safe confines of this column, I can safely admit one thing: I’m not a fan of “The Walking Dead”.
I don’t mean that at all within the realms of I don’t like the comic series or the show. Far from it.
All it means is that I haven’t yet delved deep into the mythology and the lore of “The Walking Dead”. I have not spent countless hours wondering about the survivors’ lives and their fates.
It’s no surprise that the series has become a massive sensation in the last two years. I mean, the series was always one of the most popular independent comics being released in the last few years. Working in the comic shop, and talking to its hardcore and soft-core fans, I always got the great impression that the series was a rarity. One that was constantly good month in and month out.
So, as for what Walking Dead stuff I’ve taken in, I’ve only read the first three volumes. Nothing much, but enough to talk about it with customers who were curious.
Were some months better than others? Sure. But the comic always held its ground and maintained sales. Even in a medium primarily dominated by superheroes for years and years, it always was able to hold its own in the sales charts and carve out a spot as the premiere horror comic of its time.
So, enough about praising it for its accomplishments.
See, “The Walking Dead” is much more than just a horror comic book. On the surface it may seem like a typical zombie tale, where the greatest experience you get is watching people die in horribly spectacular fashion. I’m sure there are fans of observing poor, sad stragglers being murdered by the undead. Who are we to judge? I like stories about guys in capes.
Off topic, but maybe it needed to be stated.
No, the real reasons “The Walking Dead” is so successful is because at its core, deep down in the tasty goodness of death and blood and mayhem, is the humanism that we all possess.
This sounds strange in the greater scheme of things.
The series itself just reach its milestone 100th issue about a month ago, bringing the entirety of the series to a major breaking point. This is a huge accomplishment in the independent comics’ world. Series creator and writer, Robert Kirkman, has been nothing but dedicated to the series.
Plus, he’s like, one of the hardest working men in the entertainment industry. Besides writing two ongoing series he created, he’s also one of the co-publishers of the Image Comics Company and has been an executive producer on The Walking Dead television show for AMC.
Basically, this guy has got it going on.
Artistic collaborators have are extremely few on the series, surprisingly. Kirkman started the series with Tony Moore, but once the first storyline wrapped up he began to work with Tony Adlard. Both have similar styles in their artwork and can draw zombies with the best of them, however it’s the color of their artwork that draws it out.
It’s all in black and white.
Certainly a change from the Emmy Winning show that’s entering into its 3rd season this month.
So, talking about the details has yet to answer the real question: What makes this show about zombies so friggin’ popular?
It’s an easy answer: We all want to be Rick Grimes.
Rick Grimes being the lead character of the series. The sheriff that awakens in the hospital and finds that the entire world has been devastated by a zombie
Anyway, I’m sure we can easily think of an internet/real-life friend that has insisted that they would love to live through a zombie apocalypse. In fact, I’m sure you have even been that friend that has wanted to be in the apocalypse. We have all wanted to hit a zombie in the head with a baseball bat or shoot one with a shotgun.
But where does this desire come from?
It’s less pleasant than we think, and “The Walking Dead” plays on these emotions perfectly. As we watch Rick suffer and struggle and win and lose through this horror story, we see ourselves reflected in everything he does. We see the bad choices he makes. We see the good decisions that keep him and his friends alive.
And we wish it was us.
Fans and, considered-non-fans-at-this-time-but-after-reading-The-Walking-Dead-Diaries-will-soon-be-fans, live through every step that Rick makes. He’s a living avatar with a life of his own. A line that very few fictional characters make.
No, Rick Grimes shows us the worse parts of ourselves, coupled with our best. It’s just a plus that he’s showing us both in a time when humanity has fallen and people dying isn’t the worst thing.
So, for the rest of October, we’ll be looking at all aspects of “The Walking Dead” from the comics to the show to the concept.
I hope that, for those of you that have either read just the series or only watched just the show, or neither really, share and comment with me.
I’m going through it for the first real time myself and I hope to really bring people in with this.
We’re now a part of “The Walking Dead Diaries”.
In addition to writing for the column “Comic Matters” for the Tucson Citizen website, Bobby Acosta is also a 5th Grade Elementary school teacher, frequenter of local comic book shop Heroes & Villains, and explorer of the importance of comics. He recommends each and every comic he writes about.
Contact him at email@example.com
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