Admittedly I had never read The Walking Dead before the AMC series was shown on FX last winter. I am a long time zombie fan and have always been disappointed on certain elements of zombie films, because they struggle to fit in all the implications of a zombie apocalypse in their two hour timeframe.
The Walking Dead series came recommended to me by my brother-in-law and I was hooked instantly. I had always seen the paperback trade volumes in Waterstones but could never justify their inflated price for each one. So I went in to watching it without knowing the characters or the plot, and I’m kind of glad I didn’t.
I picked up The Walking Dead compendium 1 to read about a month ago and raced through it in about a week, since then I’ve bought the remaining trade paperback volumes and somehow I’ve now caught up with the original releases of the comics at around issue 86. The fact that I’ve read it so quickly speaks volumes of its quality. It features a breathtaking narrative and some incredible artwork (see my favourite cover below). Robert Kirkman’s characters and their progression is remarkable, and because it’s an ongoing series there is no timeframe for fitting everything in. The result is the best zombie literature available.
And not only that, take the zombies out of The Walking Dead, imagine it was a post nuclear apocalypse and you’d still struggle to find a better, more realistic account of proceedings. It is truly excellent.
The main protagonist is Rick Grimes; he is one of the most interesting heroes you’re likely to come across. His heart is in the right place, his brain is screwed on, and his moral fibre is second to none, but you’re always second guessing on whether he’s lost his marbles or not. He is the classic reluctant hero, with some doubt and darkness on the side. I might write further about him in the future, but for now just know I consider him as not just one of the greatest comic book characters of all time, but one of the best literary characters ever created.